Month: March 2016

23/03/16 – Interim Update


We had a big surprise today, whilst selling raffle tickets, one of the members of the club, Jimmi, brought in a donation from his Grandfather, a cheque for £100 with a note from the Imperial College of London. This was an absolutely fantastic surprise and a huge lift for the project.

Sponsored Code

Children have also started to bring in money raised from our sponsored code initiative which all helps.

Raffle / Easter Fair

Tomorrow is the schools Easter Fair at which the club has a stall and as well as selling raffle tickets we will have a number of other activities such as a gaming competition, cake sale and coding.


17/03/16 – Weeks Update

Yesterday was club day and everyone was given a task to complete before being allowed free access to the Laptops!

Jimmi and Reece produced a short letter, which will be sent to the local papers to request news coverage of our balloon project.


Milli and special guest for the afternoon Freddie, selected some Scratch games to use at the Easter fair next week for fund raising.


Dylan was tasked with spray painting the mock payload that we put together last week.


And Ollie and Roddy started a HAB shopping list – no pics, sorry.

All in all a productive evening.

Raffle Update

After a quick count we have raised around £80 in two weeks 🙂


15/03/16 – Funding Update

Just a quick note to update on progress. Raffle tickets have been selling reasonably well but not as well as anticipated, we still have a week and a half to go before the draw so steady progress is better than none. Big thanks to everyone who has supported this so far 🙂

Raffle Tickets

We are selling tickets Mon – Thu on the school grounds and today also sold them at lunchtime outside of the school gates.

Local Authority Funding

Tonight I emailed our local councillor to apply for a grant from the locality budget so fingers crossed, any additional funding will help.

Easter Fair

We are hoping to setup a couple of tables at the Easter Fair at school next week, we will be having a last bash at selling raffle tickets, cake sale and a special treat for both ladies and men by offering mini makeovers etc courtesy of Clarins (free of charge but donation to our project fund would be most welcomed).

10/03/16 – Test Building

At the club night tonight, using some recycled foam insulation board, we made up a mock payload container. We laid out some components (Raspberry Pi, Web Camera, and a metal box to simulate a tracker) on a piece of paper to get a rough idea of the required size.

Once this was cut out we transposed the sizes onto the foam board and cut out the bottom. Using this as a guide we the started to measure up and cut out the sides.


You’ll notice the empty seat in the background, this is a Pi setup with a Webcam and a worksheet to write script for taking pictures on a time lapse. Why is no-one sat in the seat – oh they were all on Scratch researching games for another fund raising event!


Here is the mock payload container glued and taped up to dry after everyone had left.


07/03/16 – Raffle Tickets

Well today the raffle tickets went on sale. We setup a prize and information stall outside the school main door and the weather was kind to us, nice and sunny.

Two of the club members were tasked with selling the raffle tickets and considering it was the first ever time they had done anything like this they did really well.

We had two queues for tickets but had to pack up to get into class for registration! Back on it tomorrow and every day for the next couple of weeks.


03/03/16 – Site Survey and Predictions

Tonight was the first Pi, Code and Chips club since before half term. During the club we went over several aspects, fund raising, site survey and flight prediction software.

Fund Raising – We have a healthy collection of prizes for the raffle, all donated by local businesses (approximately £150 worth):

  1. Number 7 Mens grooming kit
  2. Beauticology foot spa kit
  3. Clinique gift kit
  4. Beautiful hair set
  5. Number 7 Hair protecting spritz
  6. Tokidki make up set
  7. Dispicable Me fragrance duo set
  8. Clarins beauty gift
  9. Estee Lauder gift
  10. Number 7 gift set
  11. Squires / SQ £20.00 voucher
  12. Yummies £5.00 gift voucher
  13. Riverside ‘Coffee and Cake’ voucher
  14. Mystery prize

We are planning on selling raffle tickets from Monday 07/03/16.

Site Survey – At the last club night we discussed how to measure the height of the trees in the school field, to identify its suitability as a launch site. With a homemade clinometer (protractor, string, weight and sighting straw) and trundle wheel, we measured both trees and came up with  12.5 and 19 metres.



Flight Predictions – HAB flights can be tracked using a fantastic free tracking system called habhub at This site also includes a flight predictor which we used to predict a dummy flight if launched today. We ran a prediction and if we launched today it would have flown in a South Easterly direction, crossed the channel and landed in Cherbourg!!


11/02/16 – Launch Sites and Weather


Tonight we looked at weather forecasts and discussed possible launch sites using Google Maps, Didi Maps and weather forecasting web sites. Potential locations for the launch are:

  • The School Field
  • Saunton Beach
  • Braunton Burrows
  • North Devon Athletics Track
  • The Great Field

We walked out to the school field to RECCE the location and look at its suitability. We spotted a couple of potential obstacles (trees and a nearby hill). We discussed the estimated speed of ascent and talked about the effect that any wind may have on the launch. Back in class, using Digi Map, we found out the height of the hill and the distance away. Now we need measure the field and to work out the height of the trees. We then discussed how we could use a mathematical calculation to measure the height of the trees and using this how we could work out if it would be possible to launch the balloon from the field using line graphs for each wind speed.

Club members pointing out some obstacles
Learning how to measure wind speed with an anemometer
East hill and the first tree obstacle
The other tree obstacles


04/02/16 – Fund Raising Meeting

This week we are even closer to launching our balloon than before! Tonight we set up 4 raspberry pi’s and did some coding. We talked some more about fund raising ideas and Reece carried on with coding a soccer game in Scratch. The game will be one of several used during the fund raising period.

Fund raising ideas are:

Sponsored ½ hour / 1 hour of code.

Raffle (we already have some prizes kindly donated by local businesses)

Scratch Games Arcade – an opportunity to play games created by the club members (for a small fee (10 / 20p a go)

Non-school uniform day

Cake sale.

21/01/16 – First Planning Meeting


Tonight, at the Pi Code and Chips club, we held the first meeting of our High Altitude Balloon project. During the meeting we decided on roles and responsibilities and the teams that we would need. The project teams decided upon area s follows:

  • Management
  • Planning and design
  • Procurement
  • Launch and recovery
  • Technical development, News and Media

We also chose leaders for each of the project teams.