Anyone built a Stratux recently?

Discussion in 'Flight Following' started by Matthew, Jan 16, 2020.

  1. Matthew

    Matthew Touchdown! Greaser!

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    I'm considering a winter project.

    I can go online and find a parts list, and it looks like approx $190+/- all in (including a battery, GPS ($16), and AHRS ($15))?

    I see that the AHRS isn't supported by my Android Avare, so that's going to knock off a few $ if I skip that part. I am assuming it would be a simple job to add it later if I wanted it.

    My tablet does have internal GPS that works pretty well, but my experience is that an external GPS receiver can get a more reliable signal. So even though it's optional, I think that extra $16 would be a good deal.

    I didn't look into the s/w, it seems like it's a free download.

    I've played with Stratux a little bit when flying with someone that has one, so I do have a little familiarity with how it integrates with Avare.

    Are there any surprises when getting the parts and putting it all together?
     
  2. Timbeck2

    Timbeck2 Final Approach

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    I did. My recommendation: Buy a Scout instead.

    edit: you said "recently". I built mine 5 years ago, had a case 3D printed etc. Still recommend a Scout.
     
    Last edited: Jan 16, 2020
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  3. Half Fast

    Half Fast En-Route

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    I believe you can see the AHRS display from the Stratux's own page using the web interface, even if your EFB won't display it.

    See . The phone in the video is displaying the Stratux web page.

    In any case, it's only a few bucks, so why not include it in case you upgrade your EFB in a year or two?
     
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  4. Lndwarrior

    Lndwarrior Pre-takeoff checklist

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    I had quite a few problems assembling and getting mine to work. The first two raspberries I bought were bad. As was an antenna.
    I be think the quality control on this stuff is not so good. In the end I wished Id bought a pre-assembled and tested unit for the extra $50. Would have saved me time and money.
     
  5. Half Fast

    Half Fast En-Route

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    I bought mine pre-assembled from Crew Dog. Not worth the few bucks I would have saved to assemble my own. I've been using it for two years now and it works fine, no issues at all.
     
  6. Matthew

    Matthew Touchdown! Greaser!

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    Scout looks pretty cool, but it seems it only works with Foreflight.
     
  7. Matthew

    Matthew Touchdown! Greaser!

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    That seems fair enough.
     
  8. Doug Reid

    Doug Reid Pre-takeoff checklist

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    I have built a dozen or so. Buy the radio/antenna bundle with both the 1090 radio and new 978 radio...the new radio is red. When I started building, the only other option was a Stratus for $800. You need a raspberry pi 3, micro sdr card, case, suction mount optional, both radios and antennas, gps and ahrs chips optional in your case. I prefer the remote gps...it does a better job lying on my glare shield than mounted inside the case suctioned to the passenger window. Use a good battery and good usb cable that can handle the current...Anker brand cables and batteries are good.

    You can download the software online and image your micro sd card or you can purchase the sd preloaded.
     
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  9. Snowmass

    Snowmass Ejection Handle Pulled

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    The Stratux is a hobbyist toy. Buy a reliable Stratus or other dedicated units. I wasted far too much time fooling with my Stratux and finally bought a Stratus 3 which is a quality unit. I still have my Stratux and I am keeping it to give to somebody I really do not like. In an airplane you should have aircraft quality.
     
  10. Doug Reid

    Doug Reid Pre-takeoff checklist

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    Ok..so why don’t you offer your unit to the OP ? Maybe you used poor components ?

    I pick up traffic 150 miles out while I am sitting on the ramp at my airport with my Stratux...not bad, IMO.
     
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  11. 455 Bravo Uniform

    455 Bravo Uniform En-Route

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    I built one. No surprises or problems. Sourced the parts from the recommended places.

    Some people were ordering the latest Raspberry Pi (3?) at the time and it was not working with it; I ordered the older one (2?) cuz it was proven at the time. Order the correct parts, don’t buy the cheapest deal, you should be ok.

    I skipped the AHRS and the battery, I run it off the cigarette lighter. I think I invested $140 or so.

    It was fun and the inflight data is great. Trained me to spot traffic better with the eyeball and I use it to track METARs in-route.
     
  12. snglecoil

    snglecoil Pre-Flight

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    I built one last summer. It worked great for traffic and weather. I installed the AHRS module, but could never get it to calibrate and behave consistently, which is not that big a deal. Since I use ForeFlight, I decided to grab a Sentry for the CO detector and convenience of the built-in battery. The Stratux was a little unwieldy with external antennae, wires, and power needed for it but it worked fine. I'd rather have it than nothing for sure.
     
  13. Matthew

    Matthew Touchdown! Greaser!

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    I see from the Stratux website: "Raspberry Pi 3B Motherboard. NOTE: The 3B+ will not work."

    As far as a project goes, it doesn't seem like it's much more than buying a few parts and snapping them together.

    I can understand where someone would want a prebuilt with a warranty, or a more professional product that has some quality control built into its mfg process. For me, it's extra SA and a chance to learn something new. And the price is right. Sure, I know you get what you pay for.
     
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  14. RussR

    RussR Cleared for Takeoff

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    This coming from the guy who builds his own battery charger using an incandescent lightbulb, and his own audio panel using toggle switches?
     
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  15. farmrjohn

    farmrjohn Pre-takeoff checklist

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    I bought all of the components on, ahem, Amazon and it is a simple plug and play project. Instead of a battery I use a USB cable for power, and their optional suction cups to hold it to a small flat aluminum piece mounted to a shelf under the rear window. Out of the way and seems to work fine on an iPad with FltPlanGo.
     
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  16. Jim_R

    Jim_R Cleared for Takeoff PoA Supporter

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    You've got the right idea. There are a LOT of folks successfully using Stratux boxes out there. Getting enjoyment out of the DIY aspect is a good reason to go this route.

    I built mine something like four years ago, and the only "upgrade" I've done since then is adding the AHRS board when it became available. I have had consistently good performance from it--at least as good as the performance I had from the $1500 SkyGuardTWX I had been using previously.

    Calibrating the AHRS can be confusing. I originally thought I had a bad card, but the second behaved the same way, and I eventually asked Chris Young (lead Stratux dev) for help. He gave me the pointer I needed to fix the issue (which I've passed on to numerous others having similar issues, and they've all said it solved their problem): "There are calibration values that are measured from the gyro when the unit is first started up. If the unit was moved during this first-start routine, it could potentially cause this issue. If you still have the chip that exhibited this problem, try plugging it in, setting it level, and then go to the "Settings" menu and "Calibrate Gyros". This is a different function from the "Reset/Level" function on the GPS/AHRS menu. "

    As a result, I have a spare, functional AHRS board floating around somewhere. If I can find it, I'd happily send it to you, but that's a big "if".
     
  17. Clip4

    Clip4 Final Approach

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    Yes, you have to buy a premium service to use a budget device.
     
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  18. schmookeeg

    schmookeeg Pattern Altitude

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    My plane came with one, and I'm installing an FS210 this month. I plan to untangle the "permanent mounting" the previous owner did in the nose baggage, figure out where all the antennae route to, and then sell the thing off if you want dibs.

    I use Garmin Pilot, but my safety pilot buddy uses FF and says the thing works great.
     
  19. MuseChaser

    MuseChaser Cleared for Takeoff

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    I've built three. Only hitch was when I inadvertently ordered a pi3b+ instead of the regular pi3b. I can confirm that the 3b+ does not work. ;) Other than that, smooth sailing (flying). An easy project that works very reloably ifnyou follow directions. As a matter of fact, I built one for somebody who kept having problems with his Stratus 2. @Doug Reid 's advice above re/ the radio chip kit is dead on. Also, yes, include the the gps and ahrs modules..even if you don't think yoi hage a current need for them. They're cheap, and you will eventually.

    My parts cost for the full shebang including a 6000mah slim battery was $167 last time I built one. I can build one in about 20 minutes. Might take an hour the first time, mostly figuring out the software/card-writing stuff if that's new to you.
     
    Last edited: Jan 16, 2020
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  20. jrcox19

    jrcox19 Pre-Flight

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    I built one about 6 months ago, haven't used it much recently. They're not joking when they say the 3b+ won't work.
     
  21. c177tx

    c177tx Pre-Flight

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    I have built two of them, they worked well on my flights from Central Texas to Oshkosh, the downside was the Ipad constantly overheating and cutting off. I got tired of that and while up at Oshkosh the year they released the Garmin Aera 660, I purchased it and used the 660 to fly home with. The Stratux will not work with Garmin but on the flight home I fell in love with the little 660 as there were no problems with overheating, always worked and fantastic in direct sunlight unlike the Ipad. But the Garmin only plays with Garmin so purchased the GDL39 and have never looked back. I use the Stratux at home to watch the aircraft overflying the house now.
     
  22. Craigd31

    Craigd31 Pre-Flight

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    I thought it was pretty easy. Just followed the instructions...

     
  23. Hang 4

    Hang 4 Line Up and Wait

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    Mine works great as a back-up. I use WingX on an Ipad. I had one bad GPS, but the rest of the issues were related to firmware. Once I reflashed to the most current version, it has worked great. I get an attitude indicator from the AHRS on WIngx. Never used it, but I see if it works at some point on every long flight. Has been flawless for two years.
     
  24. WannFly

    WannFly En-Route

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    I built one about a year ago or so. Don’t use it, PM me I will send it your way
     
  25. Cogito

    Cogito Pre-takeoff checklist

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    +1, unless your objective is to learn Raspberry Pi. Used mine until I installed a new Garmin panel, worked perfectly.
     
  26. Jim K

    Jim K Pre-takeoff checklist

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    I built one about 3 months ago. Bought all the stuff on amazon, put it together in about 20 min. Downloaded the software to a micro-sd, plugged it in, and It has worked absolutely perfect and given me zero issues.

    I bought the suction cup mount, and while it was OK, I wound up taking the four little cups off and screwing a RAM suction mount to it. I use a 20,000 mah battery, which would run it for several days. On long flying days I then have a backup power source for my tablet, and the Stratux can stay in the airplane at night while I charge the battery in the hotel. Plus I have a huge battery pack to use when I'm not flying.

    I put a GPS chip in it, and it feeds the GPS position to the tablet, which makes the tablet battery last substantially longer. I put AHRS in it as well, but I'm too lazy to calibrate it every time. When I start IFR training I suspect that'll change.

    It's been a literal life saver for me. Our club planes all have skybeacons, so I need something portable. A few seconds to stick it to the window & plug it in...it takes care of itself otherwise. Tablet automatically connects....I couldn't be happier.
     
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  27. RussR

    RussR Cleared for Takeoff

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    I built one when they first came out (before there were any of these fancy pre-built ones!) and it worked great and I used it for a while.

    Recently, though I bought a Sentry. Why? Simply that:

    1) I am in many different airplanes, so having the device in a single unit (no antennas, power cable, separate battery) for ease of portability is nice.
    2) I fly professionally, and my version of the Stratux was decidedly homemade-looking (my case was a $2 pencil box at Walmart). I didn't think it projected the right image.
    3) I also often fly on the airlines to get to and from jobs - and with the antennas and wires and separate battery and such, some of these Stratux devices sure do look suspicious to TSA.
    4) The battery life on the dedicated units is much better - the Sentry has something like a 12 hour battery life, even though it's contained in the device, which is much smaller than any Stratux anyway.
    5) It was a tax write-off too!
     
  28. kgruber

    kgruber En-Route

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    I built one, and it worked. But too much hocus pocus.

    Ended up with GDL 50 and Aera 660
     
  29. ja_user

    ja_user Pattern Altitude

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    I built one, no issues. $190 seems a little higher, but make sure to get the good case and antenna's. I think early on people were using too many of the wrong/poor antenna's and having lots of issues.

    The GPS chip in mine is not ideal, but the alternative is a long cable and I learned that I didn't like that.

    I don't know what the comments about learning the software/code are about. You literally download and burn an image to a card.
     
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  30. pigpenracing

    pigpenracing Pattern Altitude

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    Y'all have tooo much damn time!
    I don't even have the time to build a Ham Sandwich :cool:
     
  31. asicer

    asicer En-Route

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    Your problem is that you have too many airplanes. We can help you with that.
     
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  32. Matthew

    Matthew Touchdown! Greaser!

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    I don’t think it’s Garmin compatible anyway. Gotta go gluten free for that.
     
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  33. Matthew

    Matthew Touchdown! Greaser!

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    Will follow up on that, maybe tomorrow. Thanks.
     
  34. sarangan

    sarangan Line Up and Wait

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    It is super straight forward, and works exactly as advertised. I built one some time back, and always wondered why people spend $700 to buy a Stratus. I have not noticed any difference in performance either. I bought the GPS and the AHRS modules without realizing that I didn't need them (because I am using Avare on a Samsung). The internal GPS on my Samsung has been flawless. I never had a reliability problem.
    My club plane has a Stratus, but it always switches to the forefright proprietary mode, so it is useless for me (on a side note, Stratus has been misleading customers claiming that they support open-GDL mode. But if anyone on the ramp even accidentally connects to the Stratus wifi, it will automatically switch to the proprietary mode, and you will not be able to connect again without running the Stratus Horizon Pro App, which only runs on iOS. In other words, they are implicitly promoting iOS/foreflight).
     
    Last edited: Jan 16, 2020
  35. RussR

    RussR Cleared for Takeoff

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    I should add, it's not a "winter project", unless you're really doing something fancy. It's maybe a "rainy afternoon" project. Or more accurately a "I'm bored on my lunch hour" project, or "something to do during commercials" project. When I built mine, it was actually my 8-year-old daughter who did it, and it took literally 20 minutes. It was not quite the afternoon "Daddy-daughter project, teach the kid about electronics project" I had envisioned. (But there were no fancy cases back then, the plans were literally to velcro the Pi in its standard case to the battery).
     
    Last edited: Jan 17, 2020
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  36. Lindberg

    Lindberg En-Route

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    I've built one and use it. I did get one dead SDR, but the seller had he run a few commands to make sure it was dead and then replaced it. I have the older GPS internal to the case, and it's not great. Get the newer chip. And I did get the AHRS, even though I don't really use it because it's cheap and also includes a fan controller, which saves a bunch of battery.
     
  37. Steven Untet

    Steven Untet Pre-takeoff checklist

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    Another plus one for crew dog!!!


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
     
  38. WannFly

    WannFly En-Route

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    It’s yours if you want it.
     
  39. Matthew

    Matthew Touchdown! Greaser!

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    Thanks.
     
  40. MacFlier

    MacFlier Pre-takeoff checklist

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    I'll built one but had to spend some time because I had bought the 3b+ motherboard.
    I found the software on the web recompiled to that and it worked.
    The thing works pretty well, but I have to remember to shut it down via the web page or I get a corrupt sd card... The battery consumption is also higher on the + motherboard.
    Overall ok, but I wish I had built it with the correct mb.