Archive for February, 2011


MD80 Camera

The water rocket community is using these MD80 clone cameras more and more as they are cheap, light and provide good video. We decided to replace our heavy onboard  camera with this camera.

MD80 clone camera

Initial tests showed the video quality was quite good and much better than the cigarette lighter camera we tried. We mounted this camera on our water rocket car for our recent test day. The camera can be seen in this launch picture.

MD80 Camera attached to car

We had an issues that one of the launch videos was overwritten when we got home to download the videos, so on advice from other water rocket users of this camera we will need to download the videos off the camera after every launch.  This means we need to take the laptop and a USB cable to the launches to download the videos.

We decided also to mount the camera further back on the car to get a better chance of seeing markers on the road. Here is where we mounted it on the rear guide rail lug support.

MD80 mounted on the water rocket car

This location gives easy access to the underside where the USB cable attaches, as well as not interfering with the on/off switch and the start/stop button of the camera. We can also charge it on the bench in the garage of we need to with a USB cable to a power adapter. Here is the USB cable attached to the car

Camera attached to laptop and downloading video

This  position mounting the camera further back  provides a good view of the water rocket car as well as the ground and the front wheels. This is a shot from the camera mounted in that location.

Video grab from new mounting location

Posted by on February 14th, 2011 3 Comments

Increase Chassis Ground Clearance

We realised that the chassis of the car is scraping on the ground more than it was previously. The cable ties that hold the bottles to the chassis show quite a bit of wear due to the scraping. All the scraping is slowing the car down and reducing the distance the car will travel.

The scraping is probably due to a couple of things

  • the chassis being wet repeatedly and becoming more flexible
  • the long span between the front and rear wheels

When the  approx 2kg of water is added the middle of the chassis will touch the ground. We have a design for a lighter and stiffer chassis but decided to just modify this one slightly so we could submit a record attempt before we rebuild a new chassis.

The simplest way we came up with was just raising the rear of the car slightly . We achieved this by flipping over the L brackets that hold on the rear wheels and putting them ontop of the chassis rather than under it. This raised the rear by about 2cm and the lowest point by about 1cm. Here is a pic of the car with the rear raised.

The additional clearance of the chassis is visible in this wide angle shot

As the rear is now higher a section between the rear wheels had to be cutout to allow the launcher hose to connect to the nozzle. Also the screws used to attach the car to the guide rail had to be adjusted to slide correctly in the rail.

Posted by on February 12th, 2011 Comments Off

Optimized Mobile Access for HHWRSA

We have noticed there are a number of users accessing the site via a mobile phone. We also are using the  iphone more and more to do work on the website. So we thought we would optimize the mobile experience for the mobile users.

The website will now detect if a user is  accessing the site from a mobile device and show a new mobile optimsed version of the website to them. All the content is still there, its just easier to access and navigate for mobile users. If you are not using a mobile device you will see the normal website.

Here is what it looks like on an iphone

Main screen at the top showing recent posts

Bottom of the page showing the sidebar

Hopefully this will encourage more users to access the site via mobile devices :)

Posted by on February 6th, 2011 Comments Off

Twitter Feed and Panoramic Pictures

We have added a Twitter Feed to the website that is available in the right sidebar. This will allow us to post updates in realtime from launch days. To see our updates you can watch on the website and keep refreshing it, or  follow us directly on Twitter at the address below.!/toddhampson

We have been trying out the Twitter Client on the iphone which is working well.

We have also tried a panoramic photo  app (called autostitch) that stitches multiple pictures together into a single panoramic picture, all on the iphone.

We will be able to send out live updates from our upcoming record attempt as well as pictures as links to the twitter posts.

Posted by on February 5th, 2011 Comments Off