My Attempt at a $115 ADS-B Receiver Build for Foreflight

Discussion in 'Technical Corner' started by JoseCuervo, Aug 17, 2015.

  1. Somedudeintn

    Somedudeintn Cleared for Takeoff

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    Please post the link where I can get all the parts in one batch, and assembled for free in a nice case. I will pay the parts cost.
     
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  2. denverpilot

    denverpilot Tied Down PoA Supporter

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    Nice try. Unfortunately, I know what quantity are needed for discounts, and I've sat on the Release Board for stuff that did it. So no assumptions here. Just experience. Later I had to decide how much of an end of life last purchase run of hardware components to buy for long term support.

    You? Shipped anything in quantity in tech?

    Product Support Engineering, three drink minimum, no cover charge.

    Guess what my first job playing Linux guy included? Murder Boards for products that had to be done fast and cheap and always work, and part of that analysis was hanging out with the company lawyers for a few lovely days In a conference room to set the company's open-source use and licensing policies.

    (Ah Murder Boards. Do miss those.)

    So, there's still a difference between making stuff up, and knowing what you're talking about. Sorry, but it sounds like you're playing catch up.

    The guy slapping together some commodity hardware for people in his basement -- isn't a pimple on the butt of the authors in this case.

    He might make a 20% margin on $100 in revenue per unit and about 100 units if he's lucky. That's not a tech business. That's a hobby. After taxes, he'll be in the hole. Think about it.

    Thank Xerox for your mouse while you're all huffy about people stealing things.

    For reference purposes on OS'es, you might enjoy this song... The Xerox thing reminded me of it. Heh.



    ;)
     
  3. vkhosid

    vkhosid Cleared for Takeoff

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    There isn't one...but ask a 4 year old to put a square peg into a square hole for you, and you'll have your assembled product for the price of a jolly rancher...

    Man...I'm really starting to like responding to rhetorical questions with equally rhetorical answers...If you feel the need to have someone tie your shoe laces for you as well, I'll happily do for $50/shoe.

    Anyway, I'm finished discussing this. Clearly I don't think what is being done is the "right" thing, and others seem to have a different opinion; and that's fine. Can we settle on the fact that I wont change your mind and you wont change mine? Buy the product if you feel so inclined, or put it together yourself. Either way, you'll end if with an identical piece of plastic that does the same thing. Personally, I feel that the money would be better used if donated to the stratux project to further their development. Take that opinion for what its worth.

    You seem to like talking in absolutes. Could it be possible that the magic number in your head is NOT the only threshold out there that will get you a reduced price for components? Of course not...your experience is the only one of value and any validity.

    Spending (literally) 30 seconds on google, I was able to find a price of $23/piece if buying at least 150 units. Keep in mind that's without me reaching out to Raspberrypi.org or any of their distributors. Additionally, that 23/piece is for the Pi3 and not the Pi2.

    But as I've said already, i'm through going back and forth on moral and ethical issues.
     
  4. JoseCuervo

    JoseCuervo En-Route

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    You can state stuff as often as you want, but it doesn't make it a fact.

    You have no idea what a "quantity discount" is on the components until you call up the distributors (or manufacturers).

    The battery "quantity discount" is likely the amount that are stuffed in one shipping box. Might be 8 batteries, might be 12 batteries, etc. There is nothing magical about a 100 units.

    Hell, I could probably call some distributors up and have them sample me 100 units.
     
  5. JoseCuervo

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    The bad part on placing "value" on the assembly and the box is that is the easiest part of care and feeding of a Stratux. Any knucklehead can plug the cables in, and stuff them in a box. (See the original posts in this thread.)

    The part that has caught people (see the questions and issues guys had later in this thread) are the updating the software with each new release. And, guess what, you buy the knock-off box from the profiteer, you will still have to work thru the updating process. And, if the profiteer ships with a buggy release of the code, you will be updating sooner than later.
     
  6. Joshuajayg

    Joshuajayg Line Up and Wait

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    Sigh. Why are many of my favorite forums becoming drama fests? Must be election season.

    Sent from my SM-G900T using Tapatalk
     
  7. JoseCuervo

    JoseCuervo En-Route

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    The original battery packs are $13.99..........

     
  8. CT4ME

    CT4ME Cleared for Takeoff

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    Sorry to feed the dying horse, but... Just "who" would you donate to? As far as I know there is no fund, anywhere, to donate to. And who would decide where the money goes?
     
  9. JoseCuervo

    JoseCuervo En-Route

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    I believe the guy that did the Kickstarter with the FlightBox figured out some way to kick some $$$$ back to either the "community", or to "StrangerWithAdvice".....

    It isn't that hard to find some way to give value back to the community.
     
  10. vkhosid

    vkhosid Cleared for Takeoff

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    To be completely fair, I have read quite a few posts on reddit that state the Kmashi battery pack may cause powering issues, and that the "recommended" pack is now the Anker (or however you spell it).
     
  11. denverpilot

    denverpilot Tied Down PoA Supporter

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    Well that's nice, since you're the one with the problem with the guy. Well, and one other person here -- and neither of you have anything more than zero standing in the matter... Morally, ethically, or legally.

    Enjoy saving the world from nothing.

    LOL. K-Thx-Bye!
     
  12. vkhosid

    vkhosid Cleared for Takeoff

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    The concept of an opinion is difficult to grasp for you, eh?
     
  13. ircphoenix

    ircphoenix En-Route

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    Sourcing the parts on Amazon run about 184 at my last tally with the 2 nano antennas. This doesn't include the nicer antennas that people are having better luck with, nor the case. Those two items put the total cost somewhere in the neighborhood of 215-220. So there's that.
     
  14. vkhosid

    vkhosid Cleared for Takeoff

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    It all depends on how you want your unit setup. From what I've read, the Nano SDRs produce roughly the same result as the mini SDRs. However, the Nanos generate quite a bit more heat than the Minis. Also, some have opted to use a splitter, and utilize only one antenna for both 978 and 1090 signals without much (if any) ofa degradation in reception.

    Granted, its difficult to tell from the pictures alone, but given the size of the enclosure relative to the "high gain" antennas pictured, it seems like the "assembled" boxes offer the larger Mini SDR dongles, and not the Nano.
     
  15. RotorDude

    RotorDude Pattern Altitude

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    As someone who's worked with Open Source since long before the name existed, and started using Linux when it was still a toy Linus Torvalds was playing with, I have seen (and been involved in) both sides of the commercialization issue, including the long debates and email chains in the early days. I can assure you that today this issue is well settled, in that everyone in the business realizes that every effort counts, regardless of which side of the fence it's on. So if you want to commercialize an Open Source based product, everyone will benefit. And as others have noted, if you want to develop something and bar it from commercialization, there are licenses that will do that for you, but nobody uses them any more, for the above reasons.
    In this specific case of Stratux, the principal author is well aware of the license he selected, and I have no doubt that he realizes that commercialization efforts benefit the project no less than someone contributing more Open Source code.
     
  16. denverpilot

    denverpilot Tied Down PoA Supporter

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    Not at all. Doesn't mean they're accurate or even useful. Like I said, you have no standing and the authors do, and chose their licenses appropriately.

    Same here. Ding ding ding, winner winner chicken dinner. Door prizes are available on the way out! ;)

    (It helps to sit in the Slack channel and see there's no animosity toward any of the commercialization stuff. In fact, most of them get posted there for reference and folks critique the cases. Ha. Usually goes something like, "looks nice" or the authors make fun of the price tag.)
     
  17. JimNtexas

    JimNtexas Pattern Altitude

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  18. MikeS

    MikeS Pre-takeoff checklist

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    If anyone is using one of those clunky puck-type magnetic mount (or not) GPS pucks, toss it out the storm window.

    I recently bought two tiny little USB TYPE-C thumb-drive sized GPS"s on eBay for less than $14 each. The tech comes from Switzerland by way of China and is called a VK-172.

    http://goo.gl/mvhcjF

    This is the first GPS I've ever turned on that knew where it was, out of the box, instantly. Acquisition time was no more than two seconds, if that. In a room with a roof and no nearby windows Flight Cheetah indicated it was receiving between 9 and 13 satellites - I assume the number changes as some drop below the horizon and others rise. I've since had it in the basement with several layers of roof and floors, no interruption of signal. I've had it buried below the dashboard of my old Oldsmobile with no view of the sky - no interruption of signal. I've had it in parking garages, below the dashboard - no interruption of signal. It's plugged via a Type C to micro USB short dongle into a DELL Venue 8 Pro Windows tablet running Flight Cheetah but it works just as well plugged into a notebook running Streets and Trips. That little green LED that let's you know it's working keeps blipping and the screen position it provides is rock solid. I've had the idea GPS signals are faint and fragile things but now I know they go through everything. I haven't tried a lead-lined vault yet.

    If I'm reading the Swiss website (U-Blox) correctly, this tiny little thing is getting our U.S. satellite array, Europe's, Russia's, Japan's, and a couple more I've never heard of. I haven't had it up in the air yet so there's that dimension yet to test, but I can say pretty confidently that it's quite likely to perform just as well up there - for which I bought it (them - I bought two since they were so cheap). I'm flat amazed by them.
     
  19. vkhosid

    vkhosid Cleared for Takeoff

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    You're getting the same Chinese floor sweepings programmed with the same "generic" stratux software as everyone else...the difference is (the added-value) that ssokol randomly tested a relatively large sample of the units he shipped, and he gets a substantial amount of feedback on the most recent "stable" version of stratux through the reddit community. Additionally, he's a rather large contributor to the startux project on reddit and Github...so, any code that he updates the "current" SD cards with are most likely a release that is available for download on Github.
     
  20. vkhosid

    vkhosid Cleared for Takeoff

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    While those USB GPS units are pretty good, and probably the most common one in use with Stratux to date, it doesn't ALWAYS find a location instantly. It depends on a variety of factors, and some people have indicated that it sometimes takes up to 30 minutes to get a location. Not to say that its necessarily a bad thing, but just a word of warning...
     
  21. ircphoenix

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    I dunno. I mean, sure they fixed their screwup, but it was still a screwup. Then they're effectively increasing the cost of the units 25 bucks if you want the same functionality of the existing product.
     
  22. JimNtexas

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    You can say that testing only two pi's for 25 hours was a 'screwup', but how many pi's did you test for your Stratux?

    If you Stratux had this problem, who would send you replacement parts and updated software for free?

    I don't get why you think " increasing the cost of the units 25 bucks if you want the same functionality of the existing product". The built in gps works fine. The external gps and external antennas would be nice if someone wants to put the unit somewhere other than the glare shield. Stratus offers the identical feature.

    Go to https://www.reddit.com/r/stratux/ to see how much time it can take get a Stratux working.
     
    Last edited: May 10, 2016
  23. ircphoenix

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    They said they're not shipping out the VK-172 GPS module they've been shipping out with the unit. I was under the impression that this was the source of the GPS signal they're using in their Stratux box. Is this not the case?
     
    Last edited: May 10, 2016
  24. Scrabo

    Scrabo Pattern Altitude

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    I spent more time deciding where to get the case printed than getting the Stratux to work.... that includes the soldering job.
     
  25. MikeS

    MikeS Pre-takeoff checklist

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    I haven't been tempted to invest in anything ADS-B yet. This whole market is still very much in the early adopter phase and I have a pretty good idea that well before the 2020 mandate hits that, at least in the Experimental world I live in, we'll have ADS-B In/Out units for $500. Or less. It's just silicon. Certificated flying . . . as usual, will be ten times as much . . . although the recent approval of the Dynon unit for Certificated might indicate a hopeful trend. A really useful one too. If that Bonanza that just went down in Long Island had been able to mount a TruTrak ADI in the panel he would have had reliable attitude info for less than a thousand bucks. I've had mine nine years and it's never faltered. Has a back-up battery. Wonderful piece of equipment. But illegal to use in a Certificated aircraft. Stupid.

    It's all in a high state of flux. Drones. Self-referential separation. Many things are going on and it's interesting to watch. Meanwhile I check Nexrad before I take off and don't need anything offered by ADS-B. The data is too old to use for threading cells anyway and traffic . . . meh.
     
  26. RotorDude

    RotorDude Pattern Altitude

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    Wrong.
    1. The traffic data is live, with no measurable delay (just like any other traffic tool). Anything else would be extremely hazardous.
    2. The weather data is (in my experience) typically a few minutes old, mostly around 2-5 minutes. Most weather systems typically move at around 20-30kts, so at 30kts that would be around 0.5 nm drift per minute, or around 2.5 nm during the delay time. If you assume (wisely) the cell is drifting towards its business end, you just take that rate into consideration and in general give that nasty sector an extra wide berth. (Showing the weather in loop-mode makes it easy to predict the next few "hits".)

    I use ADS-B (in only) all the time for IFR/IMC flying (I also have Zaon for traffic and Stormscope for convective weather), and have found it very valuable. Of course, like any other powerful tool, it has to be used wisely and carefully, or else.
     
  27. vkhosid

    vkhosid Cleared for Takeoff

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    Perhaps I was "lucky" with my hardware, but all of my stuff worked (literally) out of the box. The step that took me the most time was downloading and installing the program that writes the software onto the SD card. I have since updated the stratux software 2 or 3 times (for each stable release). On the most recent one, it didn't update the first time around. So....I just tried to update it again. Voila, problem solved.

    To answer your question regarding the increase in price, the unit does NOT have built-in GPS. Instead, they used a VK-172 GPS that plugs into a USB port on stratux. From the post, it seems like he's no longer shipping units with the VK-172, but instead the GlobalSat (or something like that), which he claims is more reliable. THAT is the cause of the increase in price. Though, I haven't had a problem with my GPS, and I have the vk-172. Granted, I don't use it all the time, since my tablet has GPS built-in...
     
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  28. MikeS

    MikeS Pre-takeoff checklist

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    > "The traffic data is live, with no measurable delay . . ."

    I didn't say anything about the traffic showing with delay. I said the weather is too dated to be useful for threading cells. Your post agrees with that assessment I think . . . I understand one can get good at five or six minute projections but the thing about Nexrad, whether XM or guv'mint weather, is that what's on the screen may have absolutely nothing to do with what's going on at whatever altitude one happens to be at. There's all kinds of cross-current flows around convective weather so not only is the image five or six minutes old (or more), it's also quite possibly 180ยบ off from what's actually going on around ones' little corner of the storm. It's an easy trap to fall into if one doesn't have a comprehensive understanding of what Nexrad is displaying - or rather, not displaying. It all depends on altitude and luck. Having said that, I know having live traffic and an animated weather image are useful tools. As I recklessly run around busy airspace looking out the windscreen instead of staring at a screen, at least I do make sure my position is transmitted as currently and accurately as possible. I keep my antennas clean. Although it would fit in the same space as my KT-76A, I'll tell you right now and I'm stickin' to it - if I buy a 660 it doesn't automatically mean I'm going to be putting a GTX345 in the week after. I might wait weeks, even months . . .or maybe I'll wait until just before July 1, 2020 (or whatever the date is) and choose one of the many $500 FAA-acceptable compliance options we'll surely have by then. Our world is going to look so different in just four more years that the one we live in today will be something old men talk about in hangars as they stare at their non-compliant aircraft and curse.

    Having ADS-B . . . until recently with the arrival of the Aera 660 . . . hasn't been valuable enough for me to devote the time to get involved in making accommodations for it. Mine is a single-place cockpit and I'm already having enough trouble figuring out how to mount a tablet three times bigger than the one I've been using. The recently arrived 660 appears to be a direct replacement, sizewise, for my current navigator . . . which makes it really tempting. That, along with the very nice features and down-the-line capabilities that come with it. And, considering it's Garmin, it has a shockingly reasonable price. If anything, I'll do both - replace my current little box with the 660 and continue my project of adapting me and the plane to this monster I've bought. It's every bit the size of an iPad Mini. Mini my a@@. These things are huge. Nice as the Garmin is and tasty as the Kool-Aid might be, Flight Cheetah has some capabilities that none of the other navigators have (unless I could somehow fit a used G1000 in . . . right). Whatever I do, both the DELL and the 660 support ADS-B so one way or another I'll have it pretty soon.

    The reason I jumped into this discussion (apology to OP for the diversion) was to rave a bit about the little GPS's I stumbled across. The DELL requires an external GPS - which is how I came to discover these little voodoo items. They are practically free yet have other-worldly performance. I've had and have several GPS's but nothing I've come across approaches the capability and quickness I'm experiencing with these amazing little nubs.

    Looks like everyone already knew about them :(. Oh well.
     
  29. PA28Flyer

    PA28Flyer Pre-Flight

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    Ironically, if you've been following closely you'll know that the DIY kits never had the issues that his users encountered.
     
  30. vkhosid

    vkhosid Cleared for Takeoff

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    I can say that I haven't had any issues with my DIY kit. Granted, I'm using the Pi 2 and not the Pi 3.
     
  31. JimNtexas

    JimNtexas Pattern Altitude

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    I haven't had any problems at all with his kit. And as I mentioned, go here:
    https://www.reddit.com/r/stratux/

    Hundreds of DIY users reporting problems of all kinds, from minor to major.
     
  32. PA28Flyer

    PA28Flyer Pre-Flight

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    Well, yeah. These guys are testing new hardware and new software and solving the problems so that FlightBox users can benefit :).

    There is a DIY setup that is exactly the same as your FlightBox (minus the case) and it's just as stable as your FlightBox.
     
  33. vkhosid

    vkhosid Cleared for Takeoff

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  34. denverpilot

    denverpilot Tied Down PoA Supporter

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    Get used to hazard then. It's absolutely not possible for a data tag fed up over 978 to be real-time. Only the stuff you receive directly is truly in real-time. Some traffic *is* delayed. Not by much, but it's a data stream, and time sliced, and stuff has to be processed on the ground to see if it needs to be sent up.

    If you don't believe me, it's easy to see. Turn off your receiver for the transponder returns, and then look for the remaining traffic (which will only be 978 targets). You'll see they're significantly "ahead" of where they are on the gadget, out the window. The faster they're going, the more you'll see it.
     
  35. RotorDude

    RotorDude Pattern Altitude

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    I have yet to see a single ADS-B traffic target displayed near me which is not exactly where I see it visually.
     
  36. denverpilot

    denverpilot Tied Down PoA Supporter

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    Likely because you're receiving most targets direct. Around here if I analyze the targets, about 80% are direct-received. Airliners and what not, that are transmitting extended squitter data.

    It has to be traffic that was transmitted up to you on 978 inside your "airspace puck" to be delayed. At the speed the 978 link runs at, it's not going to be delayed by much.

    For the direct reception stuff, you're equally as delayed as a controller would see. In fact your display might be a tiny bit faster than theirs if it's a center controller. TRACON has a faster update rate.

    Point is, it's impossible for any data stream system to be exactly real-time. There's delays in the entire chain from transmission of location, to decoding (very fast) to processing (there's probably s minimum standard for this speed in the software spec) to passing it to the correct uplink transmitter, to encoding, to transmission in the prioritized buffer, to reception and deciding again, and then to display. All of which add a measurable (even if small) delay.

    It ain't a CRT being driven directly off of the radar return receiver on site on a primary return... is all I'm sayin'.

    If you want real time, you hook a nice 10 GHz transmitter and receiver to an oscilloscope and count the fan blades of the turning turbine engine coming your way. ;-)

    (Which is wicked cool, by the way. We have one crazy ham radio guy who has worked all Maidenhead grid squares in Colorado from a single grid square on the Front Range, by bouncing 10 GHz off of airliners. His recordings of seeing his CW signal modulated by turbine blades is wicked wicked cool.)
     
  37. RotorDude

    RotorDude Pattern Altitude

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    I am not an ADSB expert, but if I were to design it, assuming each data packet has a timestamp plus an estimated velocity, I'd make sure the displayed data is essentially 99.99% accurate, by predicting where the target would be when displayed.
     
  38. denverpilot

    denverpilot Tied Down PoA Supporter

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    Can only play that game so much... Flight path may change, all someone has to do is yank and/or bank.

    John Collins here might know if they play any "predictive" algorithm games with the data, but I suspect you have the above problem and also the problem that any algorithm doing any guessing, takes some finite amount of time to do that also, making the output worse, rather than better.

    But it's an interesting engineering problem if you work there, I guess. If the whole thing weren't mostly a huge money-based and fake security boondoggle anyway...
     
  39. Archammer

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    FlyingSchmidt
    Hahahaha! Reading you two with your "ethical" issues makes me want to slap you in the mouth! Oh and your presumptive PM was a real treat to read... Your assumptions are completely unfounded and just plain dumb!
    [​IMG]

    The solution that we are offering supports the Stratux Project, and it's developers. Furthermore, I am paying them quite handsomely to be able to offer an exclusive prepackaged solution. I also didn't have to go take a bunch of investors/testers money to launch our system. I put all the money up front myself!!!! So take your judgmental attitude and stick it right where the sun don't shine! Better yet, before you get all "high and mighty", go ask the developer of the software, Chris Young and see what he says to you! Ya, that's what I thought.

    For everyone else without your head up inside your body:

    ADSBIN Complete Package

    ADSBIN Case

     
    Last edited: May 23, 2016
    hockeyrcks9901 likes this.
  40. ircphoenix

    ircphoenix En-Route

    Joined:
    Feb 29, 2016
    Messages:
    2,690
    Location:
    Redondo Beach, CA
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    ircphoenix
    Oh yeah? Well YOU'RE dumb. :p

    Also...

    [​IMG]
     
    Archammer likes this.