Saturday, 25 October 2014

Version 10 BlueFlys

In the next six weeks I expect to release the version 10 range of BlueFlyVarios. The range will consist of three models:
  • BlueFlyVario_Bluetooth_v10. This model represents the evolution of the original BlueFlyVario which started a few years ago. It is designed for Android users who want to use a vario app on their phone. However, it is also popular as a stand alone vario.  
  • BlueFlyVario_TTL_GPS_v10. Used with the Kobo (or other eReaders) running XCSoar. 
  • BlueFlyVario_USB_v10. A new model. Designed to provide a minimalist audio vario.
They all share a few new features; updated firmware, user update-able firmware, a new button design, and improved PCB quality. Some of the things you have come to expect from the BlueFly will just be the same: super sensitive vario, low cost, very hackable, great support, and open designs. See the table below for a detailed list of technical specifications.

Technical Specifications

Planned release
November 2014
(Replaces BlueFlyVario_Bluetooth_v9)
November 2014
(Replaces BlueFlyVario_TTL_GPS_v9)
December 2014
(New device)
What is it designed for?
Interfacing with Android free flight applications (BlueFlyVario app, XCSoar, other apps).
Using as a standalone audio vario when not connected via Bluetooth.
Interfacing with the Kobo running XCSoar (or other eReaders).
Using as a minimalist standalone audio vario.
Primary Data Interface
(UART 2)
RN42 Bluetooth module using the Serial Port Protocol. Simple interface to most devices supporting Bluetooth SPP (not iOS).
3.0V TTL interface via headers on the module.
On board FTDI FT230X USB-to-Serial converter. Appears as a serial port on PC. Can be interfaced to Android OTG devices.
Secondary Data Interface
(UART 1)
Exposed for hacking.
Onboard PA6H GPS. Data is multiplexed with pressure data.
Exposed for hacking.
Hardware Setting Procedure
BlueFlyVario Android App.

BFVDesktop application on PC’s with Bluetooth adapters.
Telnet into Kobo (when installed).

BFVDesktop application with a USB to Serial converter.
BFVDesktop application.
Board and battery protected by heatshrink.

Acrylic prototype case included.

3D printable enclosed case design to be distributed.
Board protected by heatshrink.

3D printable enclosed case design to be distributed.
Board and battery protected by heatshrink.
Physical dimensions
With included acrylic prototype case. 53 x 34 x 18 mm --- 41 g
The module in heatshrink.
50 x 17 x 9 mm --- 10 g
The module with battery in heatshrink.
50 x 14 x 12 mm -- 12 g
Power Supply
Included 600mAh LiPo battery charged via micro USB adapter (no data connection).

Lasts more than 10 hours with bluetooth and audio running.
Powered from TTL header.
Included 200 to 300 mAh LiPo battery charged via USB.

Expected life greater than 10 hours.
Hardware Button
Long press for soft power on/off. Short press for audio on/off.
Will be upgradeable via ds30loader.
Pleasant sounding 95dBA electromagnetic transducer.
Other audio outputs hacks possible using exposed headers.
Available Hardware Settings
Similar to BlueFlyVario version 9 devices, with some extra settings.
Pressure Sensor
MS5611 accurate to 10cm updated at 50Hz.


A few months ago I planned these next versions to be ready based on the expected demand of the version 9 range. However, they once again proved to be more popular than planned and there are no more of the version 9 models available. I am waiting on a few parts to complete the first batch of the version 10 models. If you order the Bluetooth or TTL_GPS version 9 model in the next few weeks consider it a pre-order for the version 10.


  1. Can I place a pre-order for a BlueFlyVario_USB_v10 ?

    1. Yes you can. I currently estimate I am about two weeks behind on production and shipping.

  2. How can i place a order for theBlueFlyVario_Bluetooth_v10? Do you ship to Brasil?

  3. You can purchase using PayPal using the buttons on this page The price includes standard airmail shipping. There are more reliable shipping methods for Brazil which you could choose. If you want a different form of shipping please read the information at the bottom of the page and then contact me using the contact form on the website.

  4. Hi Al

    Apologies for my technically challenged questions: If I buy from you the kit that attaches to the Kobo Glo, do I have any options for also being able to interface to theapps (like FlySkyHy) in the iPad/iPhone world? or even the rest of the Android world for that matter (like a tablet)? Or is that only Bluetooth..


    1. The kit for the KoboGlo will only interface to that. There is only a TTL UART output from the BlueFlyVario_TTL_GPS module.

      The BlueFlyVario_Bluetooth device will work with any system which supports Bluetooth SPP. That includes Android and Windows, but the Apple world does not support SPP connections.

    2. Thanks for the response - so then, is there is any way to extract flight data history from the Kobo to load to my PC or the web? Not my biggest issue, just curious really. (Thinking aloud, I could fly with my standard vario as well as the Kobo and get data from that I suppose).

    3. The short answer is yes. There are many ways to get the data (PC download, wireless transfer to smartphone, etc). Each one has various complexities associated with setting it up and then doing the transfer. Look through the xcSoar forums.

  5. Hi Al

    Can you install the BlueFlyVario_TTL_GPS_v10 into a colour reader or tablet?


    1. It is possible if the tablet has an exposed TTL serial port, and there is a version of xcsoar that can receive the data from the port. If the reader or tablet has Bluetooth then I would suggest the Bluetooth version. For some devices the USB version might be appropriate. It all depends on exactly what tablet/reader you want to use.

  6. best solution for my kobo mini?
    Which one should I buy?
    Ttl GPS v10?

  7. best solution for my kobo mini?
    Which one should I buy?
    Ttl GPS v10?

    1. For the Kobo Mini you should get a TTL_GPS version.