Wednesday 4 May 2022

BlueFlyVario_Bluetooth_GPS_IGC_v22 released

This short post releases the BlueFlyVario_Bluetooth_GPS_IGC_v22. A few weeks ago I released the Bluetooth_USB_v22 model and indicated that the version with GPS_IGC was coming. It has been ready to go for a few weeks and I have already begun shipping it to replace the previous GPS_IGC_v12.3 model. 

This new BlueFlyVario_Bluetooth_GPS_IGC_v22 model provides a bluetooth connection to work with an app on your device, and also includes an onboard GPS for onboard IGC recording. For most pilots that will be XCTrack on Android, or Flyskyhy on iOS. The USB connector is used for charging or to provide a USB serial port connection to adjust hardware settings or download IGC files. The addition of an onboard GPS allows XCTrack to be used on Android devices which do not have their own GPS, such as some Android eReaders. 

Hardware changes

The circuit board is the same as the Bluetooth_USB_v22 model. When I released that model I indicated that there were some pads which are not populated with components. This new Bluetooth_GPS_IGC_v22 model populates the GPS and flash memory components, and incorporates new firmware. On the outside it looks exactly the same as the previous GPS_IGC model. 

The changes since the earlier GPS_IGC_v12.3 model are similar to what was described for the Bluetooth_USB_v22 model, such as a better processor and different power scheme. The GPS and memory chip are the same as the previous GPS_IGC. 

Firmware changes

The firmware builds on the Bluetooth_USB model, and adds the functions required to record the GPS data and store it in memory. It is functionally very similar to the previous GPS_IGC model. 

What is in the box

The box contains only the assembled vario, with some packaging to keep everything in place and to avoid the button being turned on. This model is shipped fully assembled by default.

Unboxing and first use

When your vario arrives, do this:

  1. Remove it from the packaging. 
  2. Remove the packaging and tape protecting the button from being turned on in transit. The low profile clear button is difficult to turn on accidently in normal use. 
  3. Short press the button. You should hear the vario turn on. See here for an explanation of the beeps and lights:
  4. Plug in microUSB cable to a charger or a computer. The red light indicates charging. 
  5. Connect it to your Android ( or iOS device ( The blue light indicates the bluetooth connection (double flash every 1 second or so).
  6. After some time the orange light will flash every second, indicating you have a GPS fix (provided you are somewhere where the antenna can pick up signals). 
  7. Connect to the BFVDesktop application via USB to adjust the settings or download IGC files. 
  8. You might instead want to connect to GPSDump to download IGC files, if you need them to be signed. 
  9. You might want to add some velcro to secure it to your flight deck or a lanyard (