Vitamin Store = Cheap Lab Gear?

One part of assembly is making sure all my circuits are properly shielded and not sending out interfering signals.  A decent magnetometer-- a meter to measure magnetic fields-- costs $200-$700 dollars.  While at the vitamin shop, I beheld a CellSensor, a device that measures and traces cell phone and power line RF (radio frequency) emission.  It has a range of milliWatts (for RF radiation) and milliGauss (for magnetic fields).  And it was discounted to $20.

So, for $20, I now have a new addition to my test rig and construction setup!  One part of 'do it yourself'-- in any domain-- is reappropriating hardware for your own purposes.  One person's fear of cell phones led to me saving several hundred $$ for my lab.

Meanwhile, up in space...

Meanwhile, I'm still my own ionosphere-- well, a magnetic rig simulating the ionosphere's field strength, so I can test my detector choices against it.  My current detector measures scales in 10s of Gauss, the ionosphere has a field strength on order of 0.3-0.6 Gauss, with fluctuations of 5% (plus we'll have orbital variations).   Since what  I am measuring is the fluctuation, not the field strength, this means I need to capture 0.06-0.1 Gauss signals.

However, that's just based on uniform signal... we'll be in a polar orbit, and the field lines dip more there so the magnetic field (and variability) will be higher.  Clearly I need to do some orbital simulations.  I suspect I will need to either rewire or rework the existing sensors.  It's a good thing I have a test rig-- every $10 spent on the ground saves thousands in potential failed mission risks!


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