Anyone built a Stratux recently?

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

  1. Matthew

    Matthew Touchdown! Greaser!

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    Thanks to @WannFly I've got a working Stratux right now. I flashed the latest s/w earlier this evening and rounded up enough cables to get power to it, then had to spend a few minutes getting Avare and my tablet configured. After a few minutes I got a GPS position and traffic. The only traffic tonight is airliners. I'm not close enough to a wx station to be able to get that on the ground, so I might drive over to the opposite side of my local airport where I should be able to get the wx. Avare doesn't have AHRS support, so I had to connect to the Stratux home page and use its built in utility, and it works just fine.

    This is a pretty cool piece of odds and ends, next project is to figure out a good power and cable management system.
     
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  2. IK04

    IK04 Pattern Altitude

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    When I built mine, I already had the Pi and the radios, so adding the case, GPS and AHRS was all that was needed. I didn't consider a commercial or prebuilt unit, since they all use the same parts and I knew I would be customizing it eventually.

    It has worked great since day one and the only mod I've done to it was to remote the antennas and the GPS. Incompatibility with certain tablet software is BS and I'll just use what works. Anything related to aviation is overpriced and usually fussy to configure, so I'll stick with homebrew and experimental stuff whenever possible.
     
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  3. MacFlier

    MacFlier Pre-takeoff checklist

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    I think I finally figured out the data corruption issue on mine.
    I used a bigger sd card and mounted all the logs on a separate partition. It's bee ln stable in my tests so far at home and I'm taking it on a flight tomorrow.
    The 3b+ consumes twice as much power so if you can stick to the 3b board, that's better.
    I have two battery packs. One lasts 2:30 hrs and the other last 5hrs. I usually don't hook it up to the rental ac .
     
  4. cgrab

    cgrab Pattern Altitude

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    I built mine on an early Pi 2. I got the case with the built in fan since it would be wedged into the space between the dash and the side window. Mine is powered by a panel USB. I don't have 1090 but am OK with that. It works great with my Avare. See picture: tablet mounted to panel and Stratux on far right. The antenna is velcroed to the carpet on top.
    upload_2020-1-25_8-47-35.jpeg
     
  5. Matthew

    Matthew Touchdown! Greaser!

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    I think the 3b is still available, I really don't think they cost all that much to avoid that frustration.

    -

    We've been under IMC for nearly a week, so very few GA airplanes buzzing around. I've seen airliners since I got the Stratux running last night, but there hasn't been enough GA traffic for me to catch, so I'm waiting for a good day to test that part.

    I'm also going to do a battery test. Last night I used a 10400mAh battery and it seemed to last around 3hrs. I know it wasn't fully charged, so I charged it today. I might set it up on the kitchen table tonight if I remember, and see just how long it will run. I might wait until tomorrow, though, so I can start it earlier in the day.
     
  6. Snowmass

    Snowmass Pre-takeoff checklist

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    If you actually read what I said, I said I will only give it to someone I really don't like and I do not dislike the OP.

    The problem is not picking up signals even from Mars. The problem is that it draws gobs of current,requires fooling around with a battery pack(s), it has been reported to corrupt if not shut down properly and no warranty. The Stratus III is none of these, draws very little current. If you like playing with toys then get a Stratux. I bought the pre-built one. ADS-b IN is to valuable to trust to a toy.
     
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  7. Matthew

    Matthew Touchdown! Greaser!

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    As the OP, I thank you for not disliking me!

    To your notes: I do see your points. As I'm just getting started with using it, I haven't had a chance to test it in the air yet. I have used one last summer and my experience was not much different than yours. In my case, the Stratux wasn't mine, so the other guy had to take care of all the battery packs. I remember we spent a lot of time getting it placed somewhere inside where we could get good signals. My Android with Avare seemed to be a little more problematic than his ipad with ForeFlight. He seemed to have less trouble, I had situations where I'd simply lose all traffic for a few minutes. I can't say that's a function of the Stratux as much as a possible interface problem between Android, Avare, and Stratux.

    Any home-built one-size-fits-all is going to have the potential for problems where a dedicated commercially built unit that has some quality control and testing might have a better and more reliable performance.
     
  8. JohnAJohnson

    JohnAJohnson Cleared for Takeoff

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    My Avare PFD screen utilizes the Stratux AHRS data. In the options area, you have to tell it to reverse ailerons.
     
  9. Matthew

    Matthew Touchdown! Greaser!

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    I will check that out. Thanks
     
  10. Cap'n Jack

    Cap'n Jack Final Approach

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    My experience has been completely different.
    I built it when instructions were first available using the recommended parts list. I didn't add a GPS because I use a Bad Elf that I use for other purposes. I also didn't add the AHRS because I only fly VFR. The battery lasts several hours, at least 5 when used with the Stratux. I just plug it in as needed. I used to just shut it down by unplugging the battery without issues until they wrote a shutdown procedure into the code, and I just kept a spare microSD with the software in case it didn't boot. It has worked fine for years, and continues to do so. When I take a long commercial flight, I take the Stratux battery to charge my iPad and other things.

    I'm glad I didn't spend the money for a Stratus because I look out the windows far more than I look at ForeFlight. I mostly just glance that I'm on course, not close to towers and other things depicted on the chart, and that thunderstorms are really as far away as they appear to me. When it depicts other traffic, I will look for it but I still mostly use my eyes.
     
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  11. DFH65

    DFH65 Pattern Altitude

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    I was going to build one then I pulled together a parts list and would have had to source from multiple places because Amazon didn't have anything so bought the one from Aircraft spruce for 239 bucks. I like building stuff but this saved a bunch of hassle and didn't cost a ton more.
     
    Last edited: Jan 26, 2020
  12. Matthew

    Matthew Touchdown! Greaser!

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    Not getting the Stratux PFD to get AHRS. The Stratux help screen says “It is compatible with iLevil hardware only.” I have Avare v8.1.2, which shows as the latest version. Maybe tomorrow I’ll check on the Stratux site for ideas. Right now I’m running it on a freshly charged battery to see how long it will go.
     
  13. jrcox19

    jrcox19 Pre-Flight

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    Which AHRS did you use for the Stratux? Mine worked with Avare when I last tried it.. I'll go dig out my Stratux and try again
     
  14. Matthew

    Matthew Touchdown! Greaser!

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    The standard Stratux AHRS with the fan controller. Not sure of the firmware version. I get the AHRS info on the Stratux web browser but not in Avare.
     
  15. Matthew

    Matthew Touchdown! Greaser!

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    Been running for 6.5 hrs on a 10400mAh battery. The battery shows it's down below 25% (based on the 4-LED power level meter showing one dot). I don't know how much longer it will run, but I have an early day tomorrow so I'm not going to hang around until is shuts down. I'll shut it off now, and restart it tomorrow night until the battery fails. I'm guessing at least 7 hrs on a full battery charge.

    This is decent news, I have 2 of these batteries, so a full day or a long XC one direction won't drain a battery and I'll have a spare for the return flight if I don't have the chance or ability to recharge. This happened last summer during OSH: 4 hrs one way, 4 hrs back, and a tent at Fond Du Lac without power in between.

    But I still need a way to keep the tablet and phone charged. It's always something. Carrying all these power packs will start to cut into W&B.
     
  16. smv

    smv Pre-takeoff checklist

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    This one runs my Android phone and Galaxy Tab S4 all day long and at the end of the day, the battery is at about 50% and both devices are fully charged.

    https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B01422TC14/
     
  17. Huckster79

    Huckster79 Cleared for Takeoff

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    So w a cell gps chip in my iPad and vfr only I could build one without those just to pull inWx and possible traffic?
     
  18. Matthew

    Matthew Touchdown! Greaser!

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    That's what it does.

    If you don't have a GPS in the iPad, this can (if you install the antenna) be an external GPS.

    You'll have to use a compatible application.
    http://stratux.me/#efb-compatibility
     
  19. Cap'n Jack

    Cap'n Jack Final Approach

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    Yes, it works fine for that. Please see post #50 in this thread. If you don't have a "cell gps chip", you can also use a Bad Elf or another external GPS.
     
    Last edited: Jan 27, 2020
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  20. Jim K

    Jim K Pre-takeoff checklist

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    I have a 20k mah battery with a % readout on the front. On our trip home from Florida, I started mid day Sunday with it at 100%. I forgot to shut it off that night, and it still had over 60% in the morning. At 24 hours it was a bit under 50%.
     
  21. Matthew

    Matthew Touchdown! Greaser!

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    I just started it up again about 15 min ago. I got 6.5 hrs yesterday. If you got 12 to get to 50% I might get another 5-6 hrs. I’m not staying up that late to find out so I might have to finish tomorrow.
     
  22. Matthew

    Matthew Touchdown! Greaser!

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    It ran another 1.5 hrs. So I got 8 hrs on a 10400mAh battery.

    Something to consider: even if you will never use the AHRS, that plug-in module also acts as a thermostat fan controller. Without it, the cooling fan runs continuously and that may make a big difference in battery life.
     
  23. Cykoguy

    Cykoguy Pre-takeoff checklist

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    Built mine a few year ago with GPS issues being the only problem. Thought it was a bad external one so I moved to the chip based one but have had continued problems. Not sure if it is that or the iPad though so I need to investigate that as soon as I figure out where the kids put the iPad.
     
  24. Ryan F.

    Ryan F. Line Up and Wait

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    Stratux was a great, fun project with a commendable goal -- to bring the benefits of ADS-B In to pilots for an affordable price. I built two, the first one in 2015. They both worked, after a fashion, but not reliably. I tinkered with them quite a bit. Reliable and steady power source was an issue, as well as reliable GPS reception in one of my builds. In the other, the SDRs simply got too hot during normal operation. I really had a fun time regardless and don't regret the time or financial investment. It really was something to see my homegrown device giving me traffic and weather as I was tooling around in my Twin Comanche.

    The market has since moved on with some low cost options for ADS-B In. These options are available for similar or nominally higher total cost to build a Stratux, but they're more robust and don't require tinkering. As such I think many of us have turned the page on Stratux, but it was fun to be a part of while it lasted.
     
  25. Half Fast

    Half Fast En-Route

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    My pre-assembled Stratux was a couple of hundred bucks, and it provides GPS, ADSB-IN, and AHRS. What's available with similar functions at a similar or nominally higher price? I've had it for a couple of years and so far it has worked well and been reliable.

    BTW, it's also possible that the Stratux option has helped hold the price of other options in check.
     
  26. Ryan F.

    Ryan F. Line Up and Wait

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    The Scout, and Sentry Mini are the first to come to mind. ForeFlight-centric, I know, but most everyone uses that app anyway. I never found the AHRS in the Stratux to be worth a darn so I don't much consider it a feature, but it's not something that moves the needle either way for me.

    Quite probable! I'll always have a soft spot in my heart for the Stratux.

    A lot of airplanes are now ADS-B Out equipped with stuff that precludes the need for portables, so I imagine the whole market is rather soft, and will probably only get softer... another small nudge towards buying a production unit in my opinion.
     
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  27. Sierra_Hotel

    Sierra_Hotel Pre-Flight

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    Pretty much the same experience I've had with it. Didn't think of modding it to use a RAM mount, I'll have to do that as the included suction cups don't hold real well.

    *Edit* Actually, may not need it anymore. Will find out tomorrow which transponder the aircraft owner put in when he finally did ADS-B.
     
  28. Chris Hill

    Chris Hill Filing Flight Plan

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    I bought one from Crewdog and haven’t been able to get the AHRS to work consistently. I calibrate it and within 20min it’s 30deg off. In hindsight I wish I had purchased Sentry or Stratus.
     
  29. Ryan F.

    Ryan F. Line Up and Wait

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    You'll see reports of "Stratux has worked great for me" or "Stratux has been unreliable" interchangeably because some builds do work pretty well, and others don't. The Raspberry Pi computer is a cheap, throwaway motherboard designed for hobby projects. It's very sensitive to power fluctuations and, in my experience, heat. It was not designed or intended to be reliable for critical applications such as aviation. But it "can" work, and for some it works well. Luck of the draw.

    The base Stratux concept was freeware code to link up SDR(s) and the Raspberry Pi, along with GPS. AHRS came afterwards and was always a tough nut to crack.

    My first Stratux was always a better unit than my second, but I still spent a lot of time getting the first one to work, mainly isolating the GPS from SDR interference. On the second go I tried upgrading to the newer and smaller SDRs but they generated a great deal more heat. Neither one was "reliable" but I did use the first one successfully on any number of trips.

    If you have a reliable Stratux, enjoy it! If you don't, the easiest path -- unless you just enjoy tinkering -- is to buy something a little more rugged.