Monday, 31 March 2014

BlueFlyVario version 8 released

I am super happy to release the BlueFlyVario version 8 prototype together with the BlueFlyVario_TTL. This next iteration of the Bluetooth design does not change much for most users, but under the hood I have changed the processor, updated the firmware extensively and provided a great base for ongoing improvements. The TTL version replaces the Bluetooth module with a TTL (3.3v) interface and will be covered in detail in a separate post.

BlueFlyVario Version 8 prototype

The key changes are:
  • A serial port of the PIC micro controller (UART1) is exposed with V+, Rx, Tx and Gnd (3.3v TTL interface). By default this port is configured at 9600 Baud to accept NMEA sentences from widely available GPS modules. All sentences starting with $ and ending with /n (carriage return character) are stored then immediately multiplexed with the information being sent out the Bluetooth serial port. XCSoar is smart enough to interpret the multiplexed stream via a single device.
  • I upgraded the voltage regulator from 3.0V to 3.3V. This provides slightly more power for any external device on UART1. It also provides a slightly more stable power supply which improves the performance of the pressure sensor a little. 
  • The micro controller was changed to the PIC24F32KA301. This has twice the memory of the previous micro controller which allows much more flexibility for growth. The current v8 firmware was updated to use the XC16 compiler. It takes about half of the program space. 
The image below shows the new layout. Note that this shipped device has the same pretty blue acrylic case, LiPo battery, neoprene cover (for the pressure sensor) and heatshrink. 



Availability

I have already shipped more than 50 of the version 8 prototypes. Europe is waking up from winter and the demand this spring is once again a little more than I predicted. I should be able to meet demand over the next few weeks but please understand if it takes a few weeks for me to get your order ready to ship.

Other new stuff

In conjunction with the release of the version 8 prototype:
  • See the Support page for a new Hardware Settings Manual and BFVDesktop App. 
    • The Hardware Settings Manual is a comprehensive description of all of the settings for the version 8 prototype. It expands on a previous blog post and provides information for users and developers. 
    • The BFV Desktop App is used for testing the BlueFlyVario and altering the hardware settings. It is a Java desktop application and it theoretically compatible with any platform that can run Java 6. 
  • I have updated the pricing policy. This has not changed the price, but does reflect the current reality. Essentially, the price for the BlueFlyVario includes components, production time, shipping and PayPal fees. You don’t pay for development costs, warranty, dealer mark-up, profit, website costs, taxes or profit 
Schematics

The images below show the schematic and PCB layout for the version 8 prototype.



17 comments:

  1. Can you make a TTL version that sends audio to the bt module, so I can use in helmet headphones, can you also add delta p ASI for accurate airspeed?

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    1. It would be possible, but would be quite a bit of development to make this device.

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    2. Al do you think I could louder audio if I replaced the speaker with a bigger one? (perhaps even on a short lead so that I can mount it right at the surface of my pod)

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    3. It think is possible to replace the speaker if your soldering skills are good. I have not done it though. Speaker placement is probably more important than which one you pick. Whichever one you pick you will need to ensure it does not draw too much current.

      Note that the electromagnetic transducer I use is not like a normal speaker. It is driven by a square wave so it might sound a little funny using other devices.

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    4. Cool - I'll try a few test flights with this one and if I struggle to hear it through the helmet I'll look into.

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  2. Ok, as I already use a bt transmitter in my flytec, I could do that bit myself I guess. I've heard you already do an ASI version, but can't find it, can you share a link please, and do you sell these as kits for self assembly. Thanks

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    Replies
    1. I have been experimenting with ASI stuff, but have not released anything yet. See the blog post from December last year http://blueflyvario.blogspot.com.au/2013/12/airspeed-experiments.html. I got too busy with the current products to continue over the last few months, but will do some more experiments at some stage.

      I do not sell self assembly kits, but can provide blank PCB's if you really want.

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  3. Hi, I would like to use it with xcsoar on samsung s4 mini (android). It would work just fine?
    Thanks

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  4. It should work well. However, I have not tested it with your phone so it is impossible to be 100% sure. If there are any issues I will help you work through them.

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  6. Could you tell me slide switch model and specificatuon?

    The switch toggle disappeared before i knew it. maybe broked by acccident.

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    1. i want to desolder it and replace switch somehow.

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    2. If you search on ebay for "smd slide switch" you will find a few different types. You should be able to work out from the pictures which ones are the correct switches. If you have any doubt please email me the link and I can confirm for you.

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    3. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  7. i went ebay and serch it
    http://m.ebay.com/itm/222000045984
    this looks similar but they dose not show dimension. what should i do?

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