During the off season 2017-2018 Perlan 2 has had several upgrades. More battery power was desired. New insulated battery boxes meant the old telemery and science wiring needed to be moved. Since Perlan 2 is the most sophisticated glider ever built this was a monumental task for Morgan and Stewart.
We also took the opportunity to install Inertial Measuring Unit (IMU) from our sponsor VectorNav. Greg made the carbon fiber deck and Miguel and Jim secured the IMU (small red square about the size of a quarter) in the rear cockpit. Pat Arnott from UNR brought 2 students on a Saturday to install a new UVA/B sensor and extremely sensitive temperature probe. Morgan described the process in detail below:
One of the big upgrades this year is the second battery. We are adding
more science instruments and more heaters this year so we need more
battery capacity. An extra 50% will be enough. But that means we have to
find a place to put the second battery. Not an easy task in an
This also gives us an opportunity to massively upgrade the insulation
package on the batteries, using rigid foam and carbon-fiber battery
boxes, custom-made by our resident composites expert, Greg Scates. These
new boxes take up a lot of space and all of the electrical devices have
to find new homes.
One of the consequences of the new battery arrangement is the telemetry
radio no longer fits inside the battery's insulation. So the radio needs
new insulation and a thermostat to control its internal cooling fan, to
stop it over-cooling at high altitude. There's not much space inside the
telemetry radio so the thermostat circuit had to fit on a custom PCB
just a little larger than a dime.
The photos also show one of our new science instruments: the UV sensor.
This will measure the ultraviolet light in two different frequency
bands: UVA and UVB. The UVB is filtered out by the ozone layer above
30,000ft so we expect to see all zeroes on this band until we climb up
into the ozone layer. This instrument was constructed by Pat Arnott of
the University of Nevada, Reno. Two of his students, Brandon and Brandon
came to help out with the installation.