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LOL Shield in the sky with arDuino's

Phase 1

Phase 1 consist of a complete grid of 9x15 balloons successfully operating as a lol shield. Lift, Altitude Control, and Communication are not part of this phase.

1. Create all 3x3 net grids individually (15 total)
2. Attach 3x3 net grids into a 3x5 grid of 3x3 grids. (All grids should attach only at the same points where individual grids already have stress points.
3. Test the cork method.
4. Wire lol Shield to a breakout board consisting of 20 rj45 plugs
5. Wire 20 cat5 cables with rj45's on one end and terminating the individual pairs with either an led termination or a cork LED termination.


System Breakdown

LOL Balloons and LEDs

Test showed best visibility with 12" white latex balloons and 2 super bright red LED's

Balloon Grid

The balloon grid is made out of 126 12" balloons. The balloon grid structure is held rigid by using custom pieces of fishing net cut and prepared in a way so that it forms a "truss" structure. The grid is broke down into individual 3x3 grids that are all wired and constructed separately. Using this technique to create the grid allows you to create all the netting needed a head of time and then place the balloons inside once your ready to launch. An individual balloon can pop or not be present and not deform the grids structures.

Flight Balloons

Flight is achieved using a weather balloon for primary lift and a zero-pressure balloon to aid in altitude control

Altitude Control and Ballast System

Altitude is maintained using a custom ballast system that drops individual BB's to reduce weight as needed. The zero-pressure balloon releases helium through a one-way valve as well to achieve desired altitude.

Flight Computer

The main flight computer for obtaining GPS data and controlling, controlling climb rate, and ballast control was created by the White Star Balloon group for their trans-atalantic flights and just needed minor tweaks to utilize it for the LOL Shield Balloon.

Android System

An android phone is used to provide a web interface over the phones data connection. It also gathers GPS data, allows the ability to send commands to the main controller via the web interface, allows LOL messages to be sent via text message, and provides the camera for web streaming and snapshots.

Arduino Systems

An arduino tinsy is used to connect bluetooth to the android phone, send cut down abort command, and various other features. An arduino uno is used as the primary LOL Shield driver and uses a software serial connection to receive messages to be displayed from the ardruino tinsy

Arduino Code

Tinsy Code = LOL Shield Code = Flight Computer Code =

Bill of Materials

  • White 12" Balloons
  • 3sq Ft Netting (netting squares 4"x4")
  • Super Bright Red LED
  • Small Zip Ties
  • LOL Shield or alternative LED Drivers
  • Arduino Tinsy
  • Arduino Uno
  • LOL Shield
  • Weather Balloon
  • Zero Pressure Balloon
  • One Way Valve for zero pressure
  • String
  • Arduino Phone
  • Bluethooth Shield
  • LOTS of 24g and 30g wire
  • Flight computer

To-Do / To-Get List

Item Quantity Location Done?
3x3 Net Grid 15 MakeIt N
LOL Shield 1 MakeIt N
Weather Balloon 1 WhiteStar (Spaceport) N
Zero Pressure 1 Plastic Bag N