The UKRAA Magnetometer is a sensitive instrument for measuring changes in the Earth's magnetic field. The unit was designed by John Cook and uses a Honeywell magneto-resistive IC as the sensor. The instrument is a 2-axis magnetometer measuring changes in the X&Z direction on one channel and the Y direction on the other channel. The unit is not intended for use in “compass” mode where actual field vectors are measured. It is intended for the board to mounted so that the face of the printed circuit board is normal to the local field. This mechanical geometric nulling allows a very high gain amplifier to be used resulting in an extremely sensitive instrument.
The unit exports its readings as a pair of voltages in the 0 to 5Volt range, and some form of recorder will be needed to store and display these. A number of external Analogue to Digital converters are available which may be employed for this purpose. The on board PIC controller also digitises the readings which are also made available via an industry standard I2C bus.
UKRAA also offers a micro-controller board and software to control the range setting and collect measurements from the Magnetometer via the I2C bus. Controller has sufficient on board RAM to store several days readings. The controller communicates with a PC via a serial link to download stored data for display and analysis using the Starbase program. Starbase is an open source multi-platform Observatory management program which is available free and a download facility is available on this site. The unit and the software is supported UKRAA and by B.A.A Radio Astronomy Group members.
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