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  1. #1
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    23rd January 2009
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    Cheap Windows Tablets and Rocket Electronics - Any Experience?

    I just picked up a cheap-o Windows 10 tablet on Amazon yesterday. While I impatiently wait for it to come in, I'm curious how people on here have applied them to rocketry.

    Here's what I bought: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0...?ie=UTF8&psc=1

    I specifically bought an 8" tablet because my research suggested that 7" tablets come loaded with the "mobile" version of Windows 10 versus the "desktop" version on the larger tabs. This was deliberate because I want as good of a chance as possible to run rocketry software suites on the field. Specifically, I'm looking to use this thing as the home base for my AIM Xtra 2.0 GPS telemetry and data downloading from my Raven's and Easy Mini. It may also run my Shapeoko 3 CNC router once I'm in my new house at the end of August.

    The biggest weakness of these cheap-o tablets appears to be the fact there's a singular micro USB that's used for device connection AND charging, mutually exclusively. What gives there?

    So...thoughts? Am I going to be in driver hell trying to get the AIM Base to talk to the tablet?

    Dan Patell
    TRA 10904 L3

    Simplify your Raven's Wiring with Simple Circuit!!!

    Easy Research Rocketry
    29mm Research Hardware, 3d Printed Accessories, and Rocket Kits!

  2. #2
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    Windows 10 is Windows 10... if there's a USB port you should be fine as long as the driver for your AIM supports it. I got a cheap tablet for $79 from Wal<star>Mart to play with, it worked fine with the Prolific USB-Serial driver for the Eggtimer cable once I got the right adapter cable (it's an "OTG" cable).


  3. #3
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    26th November 2009
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    There's a thread on dual boot tablets here: http://www.rocketryforum.com/showthr...l+boot+tablets . Ideally, one could have a dual boot tablet where they could use Android or windows whenever they wanted to. Would also be nice to make cell phone calls. In that way, one could run GPS Rocket Locator on the Android side and all the windows applications for rocketry on the window side.. But alas, no such tablet exists yet. The 2 years ago, I picked up 2 dual boot tablets from China that had on board GPS chips. And the capability to connect to cell phone service. Unfortunately, they were not set up for American cell phone network. I was interested mainly in the dual boot abilities and the onboard GPS chipset so I wasn't turned off by not being able to make calls.

    Be forewarned, if one buys a cut rate Android device that does not have a GPS chip set in it, they will not be able to download any tracking software from the Android store. The online device checker will see that there is no onboard GPS chip set and won't let you download any tracking software. That said, one can technically bond an outboard bluetooth GPS device but you still will not be able to download tracking software directly. All in all a perfect tablet has not been devised yet. Ideally, one would be dual boot Android/ Windows, be able to make /place cell phone calls at least on the Android side, have an internet connection while on the cell phone backbone and have an onboard GPS chip set. 2 years ago, there were units out there that came close but missed it. (Also have a standard USB 2.0 and micro USB ports. I found one dual boot tablet with an onboard GPS chipset that had this stuff. China is the only place one can
    find dual boot tablets. If one finds a "local" source, post it. I doubt there will be an onboard GPS chipset. I picked up a dual boot Android/Win 10 for $49.00
    with no onboard GPS and it has issues. First of all can't root it safely.)

    Oh, running tracking software under Windows can get funky if using Bluetooth devices. Windows Bluetooth protocols are pretty esoteric and a device that
    only needs one port assignment ends up with two.

    If one wants to run Ham APRS tracking software on a tablet, I recommend ARSISCE/32 as I have has no issues with pairing up any external Bluetooth devices
    and I can also graphically track EggFinder GPS trackers with this: http://aprsisce.wikidot.com/
    A photomap set is available and downloadable for portable use meaning no internet connection is required once the maptiles at the various zoom levels have been downloaded.
    Last edited by ksaves2; 12th July 2017 at 03:51 PM. Reason: added stuff

  4. #4
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    First post from the new tablet. This thing rocks, set up the AIM software in no time. At $80 its essentially disposable should something happen to it, but still feels built out of high quality stuff.

    Oh... and 6+ hours of battery on power saver mode. Awesome.
    Dan Patell
    TRA 10904 L3

    Simplify your Raven's Wiring with Simple Circuit!!!

    Easy Research Rocketry
    29mm Research Hardware, 3d Printed Accessories, and Rocket Kits!

  5. #5
    Join Date
    30th January 2016
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    The Motorola Xoom, like the iPad, was 6-800 bucks. And now we're under $100 for kit that's superior in every way. Yay progress! Yay competition!

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by patelldp View Post
    First post from the new tablet. This thing rocks, set up the AIM software in no time. At $80 its essentially disposable should something happen to it, but still feels built out of high quality stuff.
    Pretty cool... didn't think anyone still used AOL Instant Messenger....

    (I just ordered one)
    David McCann
    Dave's Rockets | My Flights
    URRG |URRF 4| Level 2 | TRA# 14210

  7. #7
    Join Date
    22nd May 2015
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    Middletown, Ohio
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    I had a dell tablet with windows 8.1 and with it I bought a special cable that allowed the device to charge and use external usb devices at the same time. You should look into this. My tablet had the same issue only one charge/accessory usb port.
    Justin Bray (Videos) NAR# 102401 | TRA# 16961
    Member of Wright Stuff Rocketeers #703
    L1 - Scatch Built 'R3' 11-26-2016 on Aerotech H148R
    L2 - Scatch Built 'R3' 3-4-2017 on Aerotech J340M

  8. #8
    Join Date
    26th November 2009
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    If wanting to run rocketry software on tablets, there are some good cheap choices out there. The deal is making sure you can get the proper USB/serial conversion
    cables to connect peripherals, ie. deployment devices or trackers. Of note, one might experience USB/serial connection problems with Prolific cables as there are
    a pile of counterfeit cables out there. Rolling back the drivers usually remedies the situation or use an FTDI based USB/serial cable.
    This is a Ham Radio site that discusses the serial driver issue and it is applicable to Windows 10/8.1 based devices if one has serial connection troubles:
    http://www.miklor.com/COM/UV_Drivers.php
    One might want to flag this for future referral if they run into USB/serial communication troubles.

    Other things to consider for field use:
    Get an external battery source and/or a 12V conversion supply one can plug into their vehicle. I use both as I run tracking software and the load on a tablet with
    the screen turned up to full brightness is high and will drain the onboard battery quickly.

    Can run sim software out in the field. Great for delay fine-tuning. Especially if going for a cert with an apogee only motor deploy rocket. Bring out a cheap digital
    scale, run the sim a few times to find a reasonable delay and drill the delay if necessary. Avoids the cert killing zipper.

    If using the tablet to track, get a matte screen protector. Sometimes hard to see in the field. Also get a cardboard box so one can put their tablet in and paint the inside of the box with flat black paint to provide some shade so the screen can be seen in the sunlight. I leave a flap on the box to act as a sun visor too. One can cut finger holes for one handed use.
    If you don't believe me, take your tablet out in the sun and see if you can see anything. You won't, believe me unless it's a very pricey device.

    If you'll just be using it inside of your vehicle, trailer, RV etc., you won't have to go through that trouble. Kurt

  9. #9
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    I ordered one from Bangood online for about $170. It works fantastic.
    -----------------------
    Chuck Haislip
    NAR/Tripoli Level 3
    Formerly a Prefect of ICBM - TRA #60

    Level 1 - LOC Minie Magg; Level 2 - PR Broken Arrow;
    Level 3 - 10 inch Nike Smoke
    2015 Ns for Year: 1315 Newtons
    My rockets usually fly naked. If they survive, they earn their paint.

    Come fly with ROSCo or ICBM in Camden SC => http://rocketrysouthcarolina.org

  10. #10
    Join Date
    26th November 2011
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    Quote Originally Posted by patelldp View Post
    First post from the new tablet. This thing rocks, set up the AIM software in no time. At $80 its essentially disposable should something happen to it, but still feels built out of high quality stuff.

    Oh... and 6+ hours of battery on power saver mode. Awesome.
    Have you tried Openrocket on it?
    Jeff Jacobson, KC9VHF
    NAR #92924 L3
    www.wooshrocketry.org NAR Sec. 558

  11. #11
    Join Date
    27th January 2015
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    I used an Irulu Walkin Book (10-in Windows tablet) for a while. I ran Rocksim on it, as well as GPS mapping software, office, etc. It was nice that, for $200, it came with a detachable keyboard. It was like a 7/8 scale Surface 3 for a lot less. It ran Rocksim just fine, and was handy to bring out to launches and such. I eventually replaced it with a Surface Pro 4 primarily because it had other limitations, and since it was the only computer I had, those limitations got old quick. The big thing was heat management. If I used it hooked up to the GPS antenne for mapping, it would get so warm that the touchscreen couldn't distinguish being touched. It also wasn't quite able to keep up with streaming videos for any period of time. But for the rocketry stuff, it worked fine...
    Rick
    URRG, MARS
    Tripoli #15706
    http://www.rocketreviews.com/rick-barness-page.html

    There is a theory that states that if anyone figures out why the universe is for or why it is here, it will suddenly disappear and be replaced by something even more bizarrely inexplicable.
    There is another theory that says this may have already happened...



  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by cwbullet View Post
    I ordered one from Bangood online for about $170. It works fantastic.
    Is it Windows only or dual boot Chuck? Some of the tablets like the out of production Winbook has a standard USB2.0 port along with a micro USB port.
    If stuck with a micro USB port must have an appropriate cable

    Another thing to keep in mind if plugging a peripheral in, some of them will be sucking power from the tablet's battery and that's going to ding the time run.

    Open Rocket on a tablet should work as long as Java is installed. Kurt

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by EXPjawa View Post
    I used an Irulu Walkin Book (10-in Windows tablet) for a while. I ran Rocksim on it, as well as GPS mapping software, office, etc. It was nice that, for $200, it came with a detachable keyboard. It was like a 7/8 scale Surface 3 for a lot less. It ran Rocksim just fine, and was handy to bring out to launches and such. I eventually replaced it with a Surface Pro 4 primarily because it had other limitations, and since it was the only computer I had, those limitations got old quick. The big thing was heat management. If I used it hooked up to the GPS antenna for mapping, it would get so warm that the touchscreen couldn't distinguish being touched. It also wasn't quite able to keep up with streaming videos for any period of time. But for the rocketry stuff, it worked fine...
    There are some cheap B/T GPS sources available out there some second hand. That eliminates sucking on the tablet's battery. (I got a couple for $15.00 off ebay. They're fine for local position.) AKS

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by ksaves2 View Post
    There are some cheap B/T GPS sources available out there some second hand. That eliminates sucking on the tablet's battery. (I got a couple for $15.00 off ebay. They're fine for local position.) AKS
    Well, maybe. I'm not a real knowledgeable computer guy (barely enough to be dangerous). This was a GPS antenna that came with Delorme mapping software that I've been using for years. I'm not sure that it would be compatible with a different antenna, but who knows? What I do know is that it would drain the tablet/laptop battery quickly regardless of what I was running it on, and that required keeping the computer plugged in. So the simultaneous charge/discharging always generated a bit of heat. It was just never a problem previously, because my older laptops always had a cooling fan. Most tablets don't, of course, but that's what led me to the Surface Pro. FWIW, that machine runs Rocksim and Open Rocket well, at the same time even...
    Rick
    URRG, MARS
    Tripoli #15706
    http://www.rocketreviews.com/rick-barness-page.html

    There is a theory that states that if anyone figures out why the universe is for or why it is here, it will suddenly disappear and be replaced by something even more bizarrely inexplicable.
    There is another theory that says this may have already happened...



  15. #15
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    6th January 2016
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    I'm a MAC guy. I needed Windows to talk to a beeline tracker. I got Oracle VMbox... it's free. I bought Windows 10 Home (student version... I'm retired but take classes at our community college so... I'm a student). Had it all up and running in 20 minutes.
    Just another option......
    NAR 101529
    L1 LOC Cyclotron 7/2/16
    L2 Madcow X-Celerator 1/7/17

  16. #16
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    26th November 2009
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    Quote Originally Posted by blackwing94 View Post
    I'm a MAC guy. I needed Windows to talk to a beeline tracker. I got Oracle VMbox... it's free. I bought Windows 10 Home (student version... I'm retired but take classes at our community college so... I'm a student). Had it all up and running in 20 minutes.
    Just another option......
    Yup, And I downloaded Vbox and stuck XP on a Linux laptop and run all my rocketry apps that are 'doze only. Actually XP runs a bit faster in Vbox than it did in a the same machine on a native drive. Kurt

  17. #17
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    Open Rocket runs fine. A cheap windows tablet is now on my list of must haves for rocketeers behind sunscreen and lathes.
    Dan Patell
    TRA 10904 L3

    Simplify your Raven's Wiring with Simple Circuit!!!

    Easy Research Rocketry
    29mm Research Hardware, 3d Printed Accessories, and Rocket Kits!

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by patelldp View Post
    Open Rocket runs fine. A cheap windows tablet is now on my list of must haves for rocketeers behind sunscreen and lathes.
    But you don't have a lathe! :-D

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by dhbarr View Post
    But you don't have a lathe! :-D
    Sigh. Soon.
    Dan Patell
    TRA 10904 L3

    Simplify your Raven's Wiring with Simple Circuit!!!

    Easy Research Rocketry
    29mm Research Hardware, 3d Printed Accessories, and Rocket Kits!

  20. #20
    Join Date
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    Quote Originally Posted by ksaves2 View Post
    Is it Windows only or dual boot Chuck? Some of the tablets like the out of production Winbook has a standard USB2.0 port along with a micro USB port.
    If stuck with a micro USB port must have an appropriate cable

    Another thing to keep in mind if plugging a peripheral in, some of them will be sucking power from the tablet's battery and that's going to ding the time run.

    Open Rocket on a tablet should work as long as Java is installed. Kurt
    I have two, one android only with wifi but not celular and one dual boot with wifi.
    -----------------------
    Chuck Haislip
    NAR/Tripoli Level 3
    Formerly a Prefect of ICBM - TRA #60

    Level 1 - LOC Minie Magg; Level 2 - PR Broken Arrow;
    Level 3 - 10 inch Nike Smoke
    2015 Ns for Year: 1315 Newtons
    My rockets usually fly naked. If they survive, they earn their paint.

    Come fly with ROSCo or ICBM in Camden SC => http://rocketrysouthcarolina.org

  21. #21
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    Thei si the one I bought. I thought I paid 170, but I actually paid 162. I have no complaints. I also bought the keyboard for it.
    -----------------------
    Chuck Haislip
    NAR/Tripoli Level 3
    Formerly a Prefect of ICBM - TRA #60

    Level 1 - LOC Minie Magg; Level 2 - PR Broken Arrow;
    Level 3 - 10 inch Nike Smoke
    2015 Ns for Year: 1315 Newtons
    My rockets usually fly naked. If they survive, they earn their paint.

    Come fly with ROSCo or ICBM in Camden SC => http://rocketrysouthcarolina.org

  22. #22
    Join Date
    15th May 2016
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    Got mine in today... Pretty incredible how small it is, and that it works fairly well. On the field, it's going to be perfect. Toss it in a cargo pocket and go.

    I do wish I could figure out how to get the overhead map to load from Google Earth. There has to be some trick I'm missing.



    Tomorrow's goals- MARSA 54L and Missleworks software.

    David McCann
    Dave's Rockets | My Flights
    URRG |URRF 4| Level 2 | TRA# 14210

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