Featherweight software

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timbucktoo

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From my experience, you must be in the Track menu at the start of flight for voice reporting. If you change screen during flight, you lose voice. Kind of trivial to me. All I want to know is how high my rocket went and where it’s at when it’s on the ground.
 

Dan Griffing

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Yet another reason why I sold the product that I owned.....I didn't feel like I got what I paid for based on what was advertised. Sounds like you're similarly frustrated. I went with another product that, while it doesn't have voice (never advertised as having it) also needs zero further support other than charging the batteries and turning it on.....which is NOT something the FW product can boast.

At the end of the day, the ONLY relative data point that a GPS tracker really needs to deliver is the coordinates where the rocket hits dirt. Everything else is simply entertainment.
Before buying my Featherweight I was an Eggfinder GPS user.

With its receiver and integrated iPhone app, the Featherweight has a very responsive receiver and user interface that points right at your rocket. I have no complaints there but do wish that the audio GPS reporting feature worked better. To me, one of Featherweight‘s customers, it is not simply entertainment — any more than anything related to high power rocketry is simply entertainment.
 

Dan Griffing

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From my experience, you must be in the Track menu at the start of flight for voice reporting. If you change screen during flight, you lose voice. Kind of trivial to me. All I want to know is how high my rocket went and where it’s at when it’s on the ground.
That’s part of the problem. If your wanting to see anything else related to how your Featherweight is functioning, you lose Featherweight‘s voice. No warning — gone!
 

manixFan

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From my experience, you must be in the Track menu at the start of flight for voice reporting. If you change screen during flight, you lose voice. Kind of trivial to me. All I want to know is how high my rocket went and where it’s at when it’s on the ground.
I need to add that to my check list, one of those things I take for granted, but it's not obvious.

What I find bothersome about this thread, or any thread where folks complain about a product like the Featherweight tracker, is that the hardware is often made by a single person. While they may make some money from the product, it's often clearly a labor of love, as are so many of the products we have available to us.

For my the money the Featherweight tracker is a phenomal deal based my experience with it and from what I have heard from many others. I have used it at BALLS and Airfest with high performance flights (Mach 2+) and have never lost a rocket when using it. I had tried other tracking systems before and did not have the same success. But my experience isn't everyone's experience and it would not occur to me to bad mouth a vendor that I know many others like and support. Nothing good can come from that.

We are a hobby of a few thousand high power flyers. I am constantly amazed by the breadth and depth of product offerings available to such a small group. We should be celebrating a product like the Featherweight tracker rather than nitpicking what to me are minor shortcomings in a product that otherwise performs its main function superbly - finding rockets.

The vast majority of our vendors are our fellow hobbyists who decided to make a product available to us for our benefit. The more we take them to task for what seem to be minor issues the more likely it seems fewer will want to do so in the future. If a product has real shortcomings, that's one thing. But nothing listed in this thread is anything more than a mere annoyance from my perspective. If you don't like it, move on and leave it to those who do. But please remember that behind almost every product is a fellow hobbyist whose goal is to try and improve the hobby, not line their pockets with money.


Tony
 
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OverTheTop

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Never forgot. Phones are just more convenient and I used to carry both kinds.
I have my laptop in the car and drive to the rocket. No phone necessary. Not inconvenient. If it is in the middle of a field I just walk to the GPS coordinates.
 

OverTheTop

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What I find bothersome about this thread, or any thread where folks complain about a product like the Featherweight tracker, is that the hardware is often made by a single person. While they may make some money from the product, it's often clearly a labor of love, as are so many of the products we have available to us.
That is well understood. They just need to stop advertising "Android coming soon".
 

Dan Griffing

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I need to add that to my check list, one of those things I take for granted, but it's not obvious.

What I find bothersome about this thread, or any thread where folks complain about a product like the Featherweight tracker, is that the hardware is often made by a single person. While they may make some money from the product, it's often clearly a labor of love, as are so many of the products we have available to us.

For my the money the Featherweight tracker is a phenomal deal based my experience with it and from what I have heard from many others. I have used it at BALLS and Airfest with high performance flights (Mach 2+) and have never lost a rocket when using it. I had tried other tracking systems before and did not have the same success. But my experience isn't everyone's experience and it would not occur to me to bad mouth a vendor that I know many others like and support. Nothing good can come from that.

We are a hobby of a few thousand high power flyers. I am constantly amazed by the breadth and depth of product offerings available to such a small group. We should be celebrating a product like the Featherweight tracker rather than nitpicking what to me are minor shortcomings in a product that otherwise performs its main function superbly - finding rockets.

The vast majority of our vendors our fellow hobbyists who decided to make a product available to us for our benefit. The more we take them to task for what seem to be minor issues the more likely it seems fewer will want to do so in the future. If a product has real shortcomings, that's one thing. But nothing listed in this thread is anything more than a mere annoyance from my perspective. If you don't like it, move on and leave it to those who do. But please remember that behind almost every product is a fellow hobbyist whose goal is to try and improve the hobby, not line their pockets with money.


Tony
I wholeheartedly agree with everything that Tony has said.

Featherweight is a phenomenal product. Especially when you consider that its essentially a one-man product.

And this doesn’t at all diminish the phenomenal achievement of Vern Knowles with his Multitronix Kate.
 

Mike Haberer

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No, the poor planning is on Featherweight, not the customer. They sell a pricey tracker system that requires a unique app, and that unique app has been in beta test limbo forever (what, 5-7 years, now?) Why is this thing not approved by Apple for proper distribution in the App Store? The programmer, and there seems to be only one, has to renew every 90 days, and then the users are forced to keep track of that, too. If the programmer forgets, walks away, or gets hit by a bus, then the entire customer base is left in the lurch with a $400 paperweight.
I traded messages with the developer a while back. Getting an app certified by Apple for adding to the store is a process he doesn't have the time to go through. He has it in his to-do to renew it regularly. I was non-plussed. He gets hit by a truck and we're all screwed. More than $400 screwed if you have more than one tracker (like I do).
 

manixFan

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Hah! One of those is a fellow flyer who got his Level 3 at BALLS this year. Here's my screen shot:

found.png


For those who are wondering, the Featherweight software on the base station records any trackers that are in 'lost rocket' mode. If the transmitter has not communicated with the base station for a period of time, it sends out a 'distress call' that any base station can pick up. So if I'm out looking for my rocket and another rocket with a tracker is nearby, my base station will record the location of that rocket.

A pretty neat feature I think.


Tony
 

Michael L

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I wish the altimeter manufacturers would rally around the Linux OS, specifically for the Raspberry Pi computer. For example:

How nice would it be if you could take this to the field, run it on LiPo battery (charge with solar), and be able to track without a bunch of wires and bs?


Don't want a "giant" 10" screen? The Pi 3 or 4 is very capable, fits in the palm of your hand, and you can RD into the Pi with a PC, iPad, iPhone, whatever and use that as your monitor.

I've tried to get my TeleMetrum / TeleBT to work with Bluetooth on Apple iPad, Apple iPhone, PC, and the Raspberry Pi. It will not connect. I can get it to work on a PC if I connect a USB cable to the TeleBT. The TeleDongle is the only thing that seems to work at our (small but high altitude, sometimes) club launches.
 

Dan Griffing

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I wish the altimeter manufacturers would rally around the Linux OS, specifically for the Raspberry Pi computer.
Are you kidding?

My favorite was PC DOS on the original IBM PC. And before PC DOS came out I ran my PC on the UCSD p-System.

Its true but I am kidding.
 

Dan Griffing

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Hah! One of those is a fellow flyer who got his Level 3 at BALLS this year. Here's my screen shot:

View attachment 484275

For those who are wondering, the Featherweight software on the base station records any trackers that are in 'lost rocket' mode. If the transmitter has not communicated with the base station for a period of time, it sends out a 'distress call' that any base station can pick up. So if I'm out looking for my rocket and another rocket with a tracker is nearby, my base station will record the location of that rocket.

A pretty neat feature I think.


Tony
This is a really neat feature for Featherweight.

I only wish that Featherweight’s Adrian Adamson was as responsive to helping his customers solve problems as Eggtimer Rocketry‘s Cris Irving.

But Featherweight’s hardware and overall concepts are great!
 

schworer

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I traded messages with the developer a while back. Getting an app certified by Apple for adding to the store is a process he doesn't have the time to go through. He has it in his to-do to renew it regularly. I was non-plussed. He gets hit by a truck and we're all screwed. More than $400 screwed if you have more than one tracker (like I do).
If the developer gets hit by a truck please let me know, I'll make you a great deal on your system :)
 

schworer

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Some general comments on this thread:

* Rockets are a very, very small niche hobby. 99.9999999% of the world could care less about amateur rocketry.

* As mentioned in other posts, a lot of rocket electronics are "after hour, cottage businesses" run by fellow rocket enthusiasts who are generously sharing their electronics and coding interests & expertise with the greater rocket community......which makes us all better off because we get to leverage their efforts for far less than it would cost us to personally duplicate their offerings. We are free to buy or not buy their products.

* These are one or two person deep efforts and these small businesses certainty don't generate enough money to live on. Since a day job is required, that means work on these systems takes place in the hours after knock-off and before bed, probably with coffee, and on the weekends. In fact the return on the proprietor's time can be very low when considering the total amount of labor devoted to design, testing, production, customer support, order processing/shipping, software maintenance, along with the G&A & hassle of running a small business. And, any "profits" are subject to Federal and State taxes as well which further reduces the return on time spent.

* Writing, debugging, testing, and updating software can be much more difficult and time consuming than designing hardware, particularly if functionality is enhanced over time through spiral development.

Personally, I am very impressed with the system given developer's time and resource constraints. My experience over the last several years is the tracker works very well. At Balls 2021 I tracked a friend's two stage sustainer to over 60Kft with the audio telemetry enabled with no issues, and the system took us right to both the booster and sustainer which landed a number of miles away from the flight line. The booster had an issue with deploying the main chute and the tracker was knocked out of its carrier, free falling from a significant height onto the playa. Amazingly it was still transmitting .....after picking up the booster we carefully drove about 700 feet and stopped short of it's reported location because we were worried about accidentally driving over it....and there it was right in front of us :)
 

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Mike Haberer

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Well, I feel the same way about nearly every competitive product that has an ‘unholy’ dedication to Android. I’ve used the Featherweight trackers since they were introduced with 100% success. Many in my club have since converted to them as well based on their experience with other products. The lack of on screen map is a minor inconvenience requiring that I enter the coordinates into the mapping program of my choice, but the on-screen guide is excellent. I probably dislike AndroidGoogle as much as some folks do iOS/Apple but I still have an Android tablet because it works with an app that doesn’t run on iOS. I’m not above putting aside my feelings if a product is superior enough to warrant it.

And I’d like to know what ongoing software issues you are talking about? Once every three months you need to update the iOS software, but that’s not an issue, unless you are a poor planner. Same with firmware updates. I suppose if you’re the type of flyer who doesn’t check their electronics until you are out at the field then maybe it’s not a good fit, especially if you don’t fly often.

At BALLS this year I would have to say the Featherweight system was the most popular used, at least based on the launch announcements. The fact that so many high performance flyers use the system is telling.

I don’t understand how a person can complain about the hassle of using a product when they don’t actually use one. I have been for many years and it seems a lot less hassle than the competing systems other fliers use.

The parable of the fox and grapes comes to mind.

Tony
The real issue is the beta status of the software. If the devoper gets hit by a truck our hardware become bricks within 3 months. Did not know this until I bought it. It's totally unacceptable...
 

Richard Dierking

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Wow, a flurry of posts on this the last couple of days! I'm finding that often now on TRF it's very difficult to keep up with the posts on some subjects; you kind of get buried. And, can become hesitant to even try and post your info. Do you know what I mean?

I've never had an issue with the voice call-out using the FW GPS. It's a very useful thing to have and I use a small PA system to broadcast the info; It helps you and others keep track of what's going on with the rocket while you watch the sky.

I see many people bringing up the iPhone, but I believe it's practical to purchase a new or used iPad and use that. I had two systems running for a 2 stage flight to 26K' and used my iPhone for the sustainer and iPad for the booster; it worked great!

I started out using a small used iPad I got for $70 and it was very useful for other things at home.
 

Dan Griffing

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I traded messages with the developer a while back. Getting an app certified by Apple for adding to the store is a process he doesn't have the time to go through. He has it in his to-do to renew it regularly. I was non-plussed. He gets hit by a truck and we're all screwed. More than $400 screwed if you have more than one tracker (like I do).
The Featherweight iPhone app is currently an essential part of the Featherweight as a product. Therefore (IMHO) the job of releasing it as a stable, long term product isn’t really complete while its app is in its temporary “needs-to-be-continually-renewed” state, if in fact this is the case.

Unquestionably the Featherweight company belongs to Adrian Adamson and he has every right to run it as he sees fit.

And as a product the Featherweight GPS tracker is quite remarkable and I really hope it is successful in showing all of its promise. And I’ve been a fan and an owner of the Featherweight for over a year. But as the discussion on this thread has shown, there are a number of problems related to the Featherweight App that give some of us concern about the future of the Featherweight going forward.

For the sake of the future of this great GPS tracker I hope that these problems get resolved because it will have an impact on many of us.
 

Dan Griffing

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Wow, a flurry of posts on this the last couple of days! I'm finding that often now on TRF it's very difficult to keep up with the posts on some subjects; you kind of get buried. And, can become hesitant to even try and post your info. Do you know what I mean?

I've never had an issue with the voice call-out using the FW GPS. It's a very useful thing to have and I use a small PA system to broadcast the info; It helps you and others keep track of what's going on with the rocket while you watch the sky.

I see many people bringing up the iPhone, but I believe it's practical to purchase a new or used iPad and use that. I had two systems running for a 2 stage flight to 26K' and used my iPhone for the sustainer and iPad for the booster; it worked great!

I started out using a small used iPad I got for $70 and it was very useful for other things at home.
At LDRS-39 I had several people standing nearby to hear my “Featherweight Kate” report on the maiden launch of my Mad Cow SDX3. But just after liftoff, I switched to a different tracker status monitor screen to make sure that everything was fine and I lost the voice that was supposed to be reporting the GPS tracker signal from the launch.

Since the “demo” audio mode isn’t executed as an actual test mode, there isn’t any way to do a trial ground test to determine if everything is being done right, except during an actual launch.
 

Buckeye

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I see many people bringing up the iPhone, but I believe it's practical to purchase a new or used iPad and use that. I had two systems running for a 2 stage flight to 26K' and used my iPhone for the sustainer and iPad for the booster; it worked great!
Did you try the multistage tracking feature? Others have mentioned problems. If you need two completely redundant systems (two ground stations and two iOS devices), then multistage tracking is not a feature.

1633436722184.png
 

Michael L

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Are you kidding?

My favorite was PC DOS on the original IBM PC. And before PC DOS came out I ran my PC on the UCSD p-System.

Its true but I am kidding.
My first PC (at work) was an IBM PC. 8088 processer with TWO blazing fast 5-1/4" floppy drives. None of that silly hard drive stuff for this guy. Then we upgraded to a monstrous 10 MEGAbyte hard drive. We used LOTUS 123. It was amazing :D

I modified the autoexecute.bat on an engineers computer that basically said hit enter to start then showed formatting hard drive... then format complete, which didn't make sense because that was the boot drive, but he fell for it :) And then there was the time I found debug and the print function. I debugged a piece of engineering software (I genuinely thought I was going to be able to hack the key out of the program) and sent it to a dot matrix, wide carriage, printer in my office. It has a brand new ream of paper (remember the tear of perforations and green stripe?). It ran for about an hour and the pile was getting pretty big. It was time to go home so I just let it run. Surely it was almost through. When I got to work the next day, all of the paper was on the floor and the printer was still printing. oops.
 

manixFan

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Hah! One of those is a fellow flyer who got his Level 3 at BALLS this year. Here's my screen shot:

......

For those who are wondering, the Featherweight software on the base station records any trackers that are in 'lost rocket' mode. If the transmitter has not communicated with the base station for a period of time, it sends out a 'distress call' that any base station can pick up. So if I'm out looking for my rocket and another rocket with a tracker is nearby, my base station will record the location of that rocket.

A pretty neat feature I think.


Tony
It was pointed out to me that the 'distress call' is picked up and relayed by other Featherweight trackers while they are coming down under chute, and that signal is relayed to the base station. The big advantage of that of course is a much greater range - each tracker under chute basically acts as an airborne relay. But in my experience the trackers have been so good with their signal strength the I've never lost one during a flight. But my longest recovery to date is just under 5 miles, which is far short of the limit of the system.


Tony
 

Dan Griffing

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My first PC (at work) was an IBM PC. 8088 processer with TWO blazing fast 5-1/4" floppy drives. None of that silly hard drive stuff for this guy. Then we upgraded to a monstrous 10 MEGAbyte hard drive. We used LOTUS 123. It was amazing :D

I modified the autoexecute.bat on an engineers computer that basically said hit enter to start then showed formatting hard drive... then format complete, which didn't make sense because that was the boot drive, but he fell for it :) And then there was the time I found debug and the print function. I debugged a piece of engineering software (I genuinely thought I was going to be able to hack the key out of the program) and sent it to a dot matrix, wide carriage, printer in my office. It has a brand new ream of paper (remember the tear of perforations and green stripe?). It ran for about an hour and the pile was getting pretty big. It was time to go home so I just let it run. Surely it was almost through. When I got to work the next day, all of the paper was on the floor and the printer was still printing. oops.
A few years after buying a 5 meg hard drive and getting a memory expansion card to swap above the PCs 64k limit I upgraded its 8088 cpu with another 20% faster cpu chip. 37 years later I think it was the V20. Remember those days?
 

Michael L

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A few years after buying a 5 meg hard drive and getting a memory expansion card to swap above the PCs 64k limit I upgraded its 8088 cpu with another 20% faster cpu chip. 37 years later I think it was the V20. Remember those days?
I sure do. That was the era of dial up modems and BBS (bulletin board systems).
 

phyzzld

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Richard Dierking

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I've completed several 2 stage flights with 2 FW but have not used the multistage tracking feature. But, it's been over a year since I launched anything like that. I heard there were problems with this feature and really didn't want to experiment on my flights.

Anyway, for me having a couple systems going isn't a big problem. It's something I've had to do for a long time anyway and having two FW's going is more reliable.

Probably the best way to test this feature would be to have two FW transmitters going on the same single stage rocket and checking how well it works.
 

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my iphone 8 plus display is cutoff using the app
1633901451163.png
 
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