Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Hampture Mk.III is complete and read to deploy.

It's even inhabited. Meet Hamdrew Ryan, Ratlas and Nomtaine.

As you can see, our three hamsternaut heroes are getting used to their new habitat and figuring out where the various rooms are and what they contain. I've got a redundant battery backup pump system running and after about 90 minutes of chilling out and watching them they seem fine, which is consonant with the original calculations indicating that the deep water air pump moves enough air to sustain 15 hamsters. 3 seems to be no sweat. I modified the tubing so that air is now supplied to every single room rather than just two (relying on airflow to carry fresh air to the other two) as I figure it's safer. Even so, it makes me nervous knowing that soon they'll be living deep underwater for days on end.

The resistive heating pad is installed and powered on, they seem to be intrigued by it but they don't hang around on it for very long. I figure if I'm going to have it in the water overnight they'll need the heat source, and they'll figure out what it's good for then. I also installed the water nozzle, which works as expected, and I'll be installing the water filter on it sometime tomorrow. After that I've just got to clear out the pond area and figure out where I'm going to sink it.

Things are really moving quickly now! :3

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Hampturecam is installed

Here's the view from inside:
This should afford a good view of the ham hams running on the saucer/wheel thing and coming/going through one of the tubes. Not ideal, but the best view available.

Meanwhile, here's the algae bioreactor so far:
Needs 18 bottles total (and algae) to provide enough oxygen for 3 hamsters with a reasonable excess to ensure it's sufficient. Guess I'll be drinking a lot of soda for a while.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Photo of progress so far

Here's the habitat(s), bolted down to the platform (the bolt heads cannot be seen as they're buried under a thin layer of cat litter) and joined by acrylic tunnels that are now sealed against water using silicone gel, which has hardened nicely overnight. I've just added the air input tubes, which will connect to the detachable umbilical once *their* silicone sealant has dried.
As you can see I've included the Hampture Mk.II habitat alongside it for size comparison, and I've been positioning the camera in different places and looking through it wiht my laptop to get a sense of where the best view would be.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Algae based life support.

I've been wanting to experiment with such a system anyway, and the end result might wind up being added to Hampture Mk.III as an upgrade. Basically the air pump circulates air from the enclosure through a series of algae water filled 2 litre soda bottles, where airstones dissolve the air into the water so the algae can remove the CO2 and replace it with oxygen. It's then forced into the next bottle where the process is repeated, and so on. I call it the Human Centipede principle of life support. Patent pending.

If this works as expected, that's one more tie with the surface I can sever, and only the power cord will remain. Eventually I'd like some kind of watertight battery pack I can drop into place; I'd keep one charging at home while the other is in use, and every day I'd go out and swap them, thus keeping Hampture supplied with power. This would be a fairly expensive solution however so for the time being, a permanent power umbilical to the surface is unavoidable.

I definitely plan to deploy Hampture Mk.III With the surface air pump first, so as not to keep you guys waiting, in case that was unclear. You'll have streaming video from inside the habitat for a week or two, and then I'll get to work on the algae bioreactor upgrade.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

All parts have arrived.

All enclosures, tubes and so on have arrived pre-cut for assembly. I'm now looking around for something to mount them on. It will probably wind up being water-sealed sheet wood, with a layer of paving tile underneath as ballast.

Just letting you know I'm still working on this. I had no idea a 4x larger habitat would be so much more work. Although really, moving cross country mid-project hasn't helped. Keep your eyes on this space, progress should be more rapid going forward.