Wednesday, 26 November 2014

BlueFlyVario_Bluetooth_v10 released

Today I started shipping the first back orders for the BlueFlyVario_Bluetooth_v10. This comes just a week after releasing the BlueFlyVario_TTL_GPS_v10 and is the second in the lineup of version 10 models. I hope to release the USB model in a few weeks after I have caught up with all of the back orders of the TTL_GPS and Bluetooth models.

What is in the bag? [Edit - From May 2015 I started shipping a slightly different configuration - See this post for details]

The image below shows an assembled device.



To get one of these you will need to do final assembly yourself or convince a fiend who is mildly handy. There is a little more assembly with the v10 than there was with the v9. I can't ship the battery connected because the button is likely to be bumped in the post, and a beeping package is not cool. This means you will need to put the heatshink on yourself. The components in the package are:
  • A BlueFlyVario_Bluetooth_v10 module. This has been bench tested.
  • A translucent blue acrylic prototype case based on a custom version of the DP5031. The acrylic is covered in brown paper.
  • A 600mAh battery with 1.25mm 2 pin molex connector. The battery has some double sided tape on one side.
  • Some clear PVC heatshrink cut to size with a small hole for the button.
  • A small piece of neoprene for putting over the pressure sensor (this is really important).


New Hardware Features
There are a few hardware changes from the version 9 model. Many of the features are similar to the TTL_GPS_v10. In summary:
  • The most significant change in this version is to replace the small micro switch with a tact button. The operation of it is the same as the TTL_GPS_v10.
  • To accommodate the button there is a 4.5mm hole drilled in one side of acrylic prototype case.
  • The circuitry for the soft power on and off is the same as the TTL_GPS_v10
  • The layout of most components has changed. Most significant change is to make the USB connector central.
  • The PCB is slightly thinner.



New Firmware Featuers

The firmware changes are the same as the TTL_GPS_v10. The same boot loader is used, but it needs to be accessed through the Bluetooth connection set up as a virtual serial port on a PC. I will post more about that when I have future firmware updates.

Assembly [Edit - From May 2015 I started shipping a slightly different configuration and assembly is different - See this post for details]

Assembly is not hard. It should only take about 15 minutes. You will need a hairdryer or low heat gun (for the heatshink), a small screwdriver and pliers (for the prototype case), and some patience.

Step 1 - Unpack the components 

Make sure the you have all of the parts listed above

Step 2 - Pre-test the module

Connect the battery to the module and press the button. The vario should come to life.
  • Lift the vario up and down (gently - the battery is only loosely connected) and you should hear lift beeps and the sink alarm.
  • A momentary press on the button will turn the audio off. Lifting up and down now should only light the green led.
  • Another momentary press will turn the audio back on.
  • A long (2-3s) press will shut the vario down.
  • Turn it back on again then pair it to your Android device (you might need pass code 1234 if you have an old device).
  • Open the BlueFlyVario app (or another app like XCSoar) and connect it to the paired BlueFlyVario.
  • If the device connects after a few seconds and data starts getting sent through then all is good.
Step 3 - Battery

Carefully remove the double sided tape from the battery with your fingernail. Make sure the connector wires are not twisted then place the battery on the bottom of the module so the end of the battery (away from the wires) is lined up as shown in the image below. The trick is to leave enough space at each end of the battery so the prototype case hex spacers do not interfere with the battery too much. It is ok for the top of the battery to be slightly over the molex connector.



Step 4 - Neoprene

The neoprene is really important. Without it, the pressure sensor is really susceptible to light. The neoprene allows more than enough air to get into the small holes in the top of the pressure sensor. Half of one side of the neoprene has double sided tape, remove that and stick it to the board, making sure to completely cover the pressure sensor (do not put the sticky tape on the pressure sensor, that would seal the holes). 



Step 5 - Heatshrink

The clear PVC heatshink is not super important. It's main purpose is to hole the Neoprene in place. It does provide some protection to the components, but you should still be careful. Electronics are fragile.
  • Make the battery cable neat.
  • Put the heatshink over the module with battery and neoprene. The small hole should be lined up with the button.
  • Use a hairdryer on high heat or a heat gun on very low heat to shrink the pvc. Start at the button end and work along one side, then flip it over and do the other side. The heatshink is not going to be really neat. If it is holding the neoprene in plact then it is good enough.
  • If you completely screw it up then cut it off and just use some tape wrapped around a few times, or ask me for some more heatshink.

Step 6 - Prototype case

This video from earlier models shows how to assemble the prototype case. If you could not be bothered watching the video use these steps:
  • Remove the brown paper from the acrylic case.
  • Assemble the first side by putting the 12mm M3 screws through the side of the case with the hole for the button, and secure them with the 5mm hex spacers.
  • Place the assembled first side on the component side of the case lining up the hole with the button. If it does not line up perfectly you might need to scrape the button hole a little bigger with a sharp knife. Make sure the button actuates cleanly.
  • Secure the first side with the 6mm hex spacers on the battery side of the PCB. You might need to push the heatshrink aside a little.
  • Secure the second side on top of the battery with the remaining screws.
Adjust the hardware settings following the instructions in the Hardware Settings Manual. Play with the range of apps available. Enjoy you vario. Contact me for help or for suggestions for improvement. 

7 comments:

  1. I am ready to order a few more as my old bluefly vario is still serving me well. but need 1 for tandem kit and 1 for lightweight hiking gear!!

    BIGGEST question ever-- When will we see a small solar cell to sustain the power demand?? does not necessarily need to power it fully but just sustain the battery life and give the option of charging it on the go(i.e. when you forgot it on in your bag and you have nothing else to power it up with, and no backup device)
    If this is not one of your near future projects, would it be possible to to simply connect the terminals from a suitable solar cells to the terminals of the battery at the molex connector?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You should try using one of the solar phone chargers with a USB output. Search on ebay for hundreds of options. The BlueFlyVario consumes about 200mA @ 5V in the micro USB charging port, although the MCP 73831 charger controller IC will control current/voltage to the battery.

      It is possible I will think about solar cells for future devices, but there are other pressing developments to pursue first.

      Delete
    2. Thank you for the reply.

      Will play around a bit with the concept.

      Delete
  2. Hi Al

    any news on the "pressing developments" you mentioned? Earlier in March you wrote "In a future post I will describe plans for a BlueFly model that includes Blutooth, GPS, an SDCard for recording tracks, and USB computer interface."
    Do you have a tentative timeline?

    Best,
    Nils

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Nils, I am still working on it. For the last few months I have been focusing on keeping up with ever increasing orders. Perhaps three to six months from now I will have this new all in one device, but no promises.

      Delete
  3. Hi,
    I am looking for a bluetooth vario with GPS. I saw one of these BlueFlyVario_Bluetooth with a GPS module on it. Is it possible to order this from you or do you have any documentations which can help me to do this?
    BR, Juergen

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Jurgen, I am sorry that I do not provide it with the current model, perhaps with future models.

      Delete