Out of beta

This week the beta testing phase of the SkyShield and Saturn V Rig ended. Five versions of the SkyShield autoKAP controller have been produced since April, and the current version is ready for its public debut. The Saturn V Rig also improved between April and June, but has not changed much since then. 

Some highlights of SkyShield evolution: 

Five versions of the SkyShield PCB were made between April and August.
Version 0.4: The original design, and the only version with LEDs to indicate which of the eight modes was selected. There were six of these made.

Version 2.0: The only version with a four switch DIP. It's a mystery why this one got named Version 2.0. There were three of these.

Version 2.1: Has a three switch DIP, and like Version 2.0 was designed for a resistor network which was never installed. Instead the resistor built into the Atmel chip on the Nano was called into action in software and some contacts on the PCB were jumped. We forgot to change the version number on the board. There were three of these made.

Version 2.3: The headers (for connecting servos and cameras) were rearranged and a diode was added for reverse polarity protection. Five of these were made, and ten other PCBs were never used.

Version 2.4: An additional servo header (D5) was added and some traces were made wider. The big capacitor is mounted under the PCB. We finally got the name right. I made a few of these and sent a few kits to others to make. This is the current version and there are nine PCBs remaining.


Don Blair designed the first four PCBs in Eagle CAD, but my geek envy overcame me and I learned to use the program and made the modifications for Version 2.4. Each of these versions worked, and a lot of them have flown and made aerial photographs, but I have lost track of where they all are. 

Some of the salient features of the current Saturn V Rig and SkyShield are described in this video:

Version 2.5 of the SkyShield has been ordered. There are no functional changes, I just wanted to have enough on hand. It takes a couple of weeks to have each batch of PCBs fabricated, so I am planning ahead. There should be plenty available.

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