Taking lessons from the first ignition test, the new ILIS1 V5 boards are already underway! No silkscreen this time with a simplified voltage readout. This is probably the most bare-bones fully integrated ion thruster possible. Everything is in motion for the second test soon!
In addition to the boards, several hardware changes will be made with the thruster. A thinner extractor aperture will be used, as well as switching to the Ultem 1010 3D printed housing, and all high voltage through-hole solder points will be ground smooth on the board.
There are also some big changes to the test stand and procedure. Everything has been ordered to now allow for controlled baking and thermal cycling of the chamber. The chamber will be wrapped in high temp heat tape and insulation with a PID controller for thruster, fuel, and component bakeout.
I will also be adding a short extension to the chamber to allow for an additional CF port for a 2 port thermocouple feedthrough I got on eBay for <$100 the other day. With this addition, I should now have full high vacuum bakeout capabilities for thruster hardware moving forward.
Fueling will be similar with a few changes. Upgraded to some tiny Pyrex beakers to use less fuel during fueling, and will be filling the top of the beaker with 316 SS wool as a liquid trap and to prevent the glass from bouncing around, as well as covering the beakers with foil.
Finally, I am looking to hopefully upgrade to a dedicated DSLR camera for higher def low-light video and captures of full thruster testing. For testing, visual analysis and test recording is just as crucial as actual thruster measurements itself. No more low quality thruster video and livestreams!