Friday 24 January 2014

BlueFlyVario_TTL and other news

Despite the paucity of posts there is still a lot going on in my BlueFlyVario development world. I have recently return home after spending time away with family and have only just got on top of the back orders. I discovered it is possible to make and ship over 30 varios in one day! That brings the total number of version 7 prototypes shipped to over 125 since release just over two months ago.


In addition to the dual sensor version I mentioned in my last post (which I am still working on) I am in the final stages of testing a much simpler little device. I am calling this the BlueFlyVario_TTL. It is essentially just a BlueFlyVairo without the expensive RN42 Bluetooth module and battery management. I expose the TTL serial Rx and Tx which would normally go to the RN42. This allows the same hardware settings to be altered. Essentially this will provide a tiny super sensitive audio only vario which can be integrated into stuff. The current BlueFlyVario_TTL prototype is pictured next to the version 7 prototype below. It is about 35mm x 12 mm x 6 mm.

In the configuration above the BlueFlyVario_TTL does not have a case, battery, switch or battery charger. I will ship it encased in heat shrink. If power (3V) is applied to the outer pins it turns on. I envisage that the BlueFlyVario_TTL will be integrated into helmets with users providing an appropriate wiring, switch and power supply. I think that the widely available and cheap 18650 battery with a holder and switch is probably a good choice. Also, with the header pins shown above the BlueFlyVario_TTL can be plugged into a USB to serial converter for programming via a PC (or even to integrate with XCSoar or other programs via a cable). I have included a couple of holes for connection to helmet speaker systems if users want to disable the on-board speaker (by clearing the solder jumper).

I have not quite settled on the final configuration for this device. I might include a little serial programmer, or a switch, or a battery, etc. I am not quite sure. In the configuration shown above it will cost between $50 and $60, but if I start adding additional bits it would cost more. If you are interested in the BlueFlyVario_TTL please contact me and let me know your preferred configuration. Before release I will also need to write a PC app for setting hardware parameters via serial ports and document the serial protocol.

Speaker Changes

My supplier for the on board speaker discontinued the black colored speaker I used on the first version 7 prototypes. I spent some time testing a wide range of other speakers and finally settled on the white Kingsgate one pictured above. It is just as loud as the previous one and only a few cents more expensive per device. I hope this one stays available for longer.

App Update

I have recently fixed a bug with the Android app. This fixes a problem that European users had with altering hardware settings containing decimal points.