Alpha Lantern Pictures


That is a fantastic looking prototype. Is there any way a non-backer can buy an early alpha to assist with testing? Although I really only need a chip as I have all the other hardware already.

1 Like

Thats actually really nice.

Just one question though: those holes at the sides, are they meant to be grips? Because if they are they need to be either bigger or removed completely.

@Doug Yes, we’ll add the enclosures and other parts on our store. But that won’t be for another couple of weeks, since we need to adjust the solar panel so that it doesn’t interfere with the antenna.

@dkeighobadi No, they are lash points for straps, so that it can hang off of backpack. I’m not sure it’s a real use case…

The assembly process is taking a little longer than I estimated. Hand soldering all of the battery wires was the biggest time sink.

Syed I want to build my own waterproof cover for the L-Band antenna and have the E4000 and Filter sit underneath the antenna inside the antenna cover. I will then have the CHIP computer inside my room and connect via a long USB cable.

Do you have a design for a Antenna only cover?

What material can I use.? Plastic, Fiberglass is my preferred choice. (I am worried Fiberglas may attenuate too much signal)

I would like to paint it . Does paint cause attenuation of the L-Band signal?

You have used a Black cover. Does it not get too hot for the battery and e4000?

We’re using 1mm ABS plastic on the enclosure. There is definitely a hit to the SNR as a result of the cover, but you should be fine where you are. Going from 7dB to 5dB won’t be an issue. I would like to see what happens when you use fiberglass. As long as it’s not metallic paint, I don’t see an issue–but can you record your SNR values pre and post painting?

We currently don’t have a design for just an antenna cover, but if you don’t need it to be elegant, then anything can do. I had been using a black plastic bin for a long time.

We have not yet found black to create any heat issues for the battery (we’re using a Boston Power cell that is rated for 60C). The CHIP seems fine at high temperatures. But I don’t know how hot it is in the Philippines right now, so your mileage may vary.

I did find that the RPi would cut out at really high temperatures. When the ambient was 36C and the sun was beaming, the Pi would shut down.

I was worried about that too.

As long as it has a good line of sight to the sky, I plan to keep mine in the shade when using.

As far as putting it in the sun for charging when not in use, since it can be charged via USB, as well, I plan to hook it up to an alternate portable solar charger for that, so the Lantern itself can be kept out of the sun even when solar charging.

It defeats the purpose of the integrated solar panel but I’d rather protect the components.

Here are the guidelines for designing an enclosure:

  • plastic or PVC
  • distance is not critical as long as the housing clears the antenna elements
  • maximum thickness of 0.125 inch/3.175mm
  • any color that does not use metallic paint

At some point when alpha testing has gone to where you can start using the Raspberry Pi 3 boards with this kind of setup. You should consider that they can now use mini heat syncs on the two onboard chips already. I purchased the recent Canakit starter kit which has the proper power cable (5 v 2.5 amp) and heat syncs that you put on the chips. Great work so far btw, got my tracking info for my alpha lantern and can’t wait to start testing and putting it together.

Oh, you can use a Pi3 right now:

Here is a starting point to familiarize yourself on the various platforms we support:

It would be great to receive your feedback on any of this.

This is the enclosure fabricated by me recently.

This is a really clever design. Would you be willing to release the plans? IT it made completely from cardboard?

Fabricated without any formal dimensioned plan. As you can see antenna positioned for 33.5 degrees and the hollow place behind antenna houses the kit. It has now been painted silver for protection against weather.