The Balloon Live Sensor (BLS) closes the gap of the Balloon Live App running on many different phones and the need for precise GPS and barometric measurements. This is done using an external sensor that connects to the app.
The sensor uses Bluetooth low energy to connect to the Balloon Live app. It uses a custom protocol that also includes signing of the data. Each device has its own signature key. On request of the pilots we have added an additional classic Bluetooth connection so that multiple devices such as a laptops can connect and get the same data as the Balloon Live App. USB is available as an alternative interface.
he sensor is powered by an internal LiPo battery which has approximately 20h runtime. The sensor comes with Flytec’s quality altitude and variometer sensing (@8Hz) and a state of the art GPS receiver (@5Hz) that supports all common GNSS standards. The device also stores all tracks on a SD card for backup. The small display shows the status and minimal information.
Development, production and testing
The Balloon Live Sensor (BLS) was developed in 2019 and 2020. The design is based on a previous Volirium (Flytec Balloon) product named Sensbox, but has been upgraded to the latest state of technology and extended with functions specific to balloon competition and Balloon Live. The whole design (electronics, firmware and testing infrastructure) was done by Marc André as volunteer work. The devices are produced by Volirium (Flytec Balloon).
User interface explained
The BLS has the following operation elements on the front and top of the device: