New Eggtimer Rocketry Tracking Hardware/Software

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cerving

Owner, Eggtimer Rocketry
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Eggfinder Users:

We've been working on an add-on to the existing LCD receiver that adds a GPS module to make it autonomous... you don't need to use an iPhone or Android to find your rocket, because the display tells you where to go to get it. It's just about ready, we've done a lot of flight testing over the past few months and are satisfied that it's going to work at least as well as our benchmark tracking app (MotionX on the iPhone). Attached is a screen shot of the navigation display (I couldn't get the in-line insert to work...)

You get the North-Up compass location of the rocket in relation to your receiver, the distance between your receiver and the rocket, your North-Up compass "track", which is the direction that you are moving, and (the money data...) which way you need to go to get your rocket. You also get the time-since-fix data from the latitude/longitude screen (since that lets you know when you pick up a ground packet as you get close). Finding your rocket is easy... just go in the direction of the "Which way do I go?" arrow, by however many degrees it tells you. It will drop you right on top of your rocket, or darn near.

The add-on LCD-GPS Module kit will be under $40, it and the software will be available in early November. You CAN use the software update without the GPS module, however instead of giving you the distance/heading from your receiver you can set a "home" point (usually the pad) and it will tell you which way and how far away it went downrange from the pad. While this is useful, it ain't the same as having the GPS module in the receiver... it's really not for finding your rocket, but it will tell you which way to look during flight. This in iteself is useful... how many times have you lost it and played "Which way did it go?"

We're also redoing the original Eggfinder RX "dongle" board so that you can solder a Bluetooth module directly to it, or cable it depending on your case. It will also be frequency programmable via a pairing cable to the Eggfinder LCD, or using the Hope RF utility. Using the LCD receiver to program the frequency of the RX receiver may sound a little silly, but most of the RX's that we've sold over the past few years have been used as "ground stations", with the LCD receiver being used to actually retrieve the rocket. You're going to be able to buy the RX receiver with your choice of either the USB cable or a Bluetooth module/cable for the same price... $25. If you want a case/battery box/hardware, it's going to be $8... it's a smaller case than the LCD's, and uses 3xAA's instead of four.

Cris Erving
Eggtimer Rocketry

LCD 1_10P.jpg
 
With the cost of GPS chipsets being so low, there's no excuse for flying without a GPS tracker for flights that are going to be out of sight for awhile. Having a programmable "dumb" receiver is a nice option for a base station.

When running two B/T LCD receivers to monitor a single flight, I found it difficult to pair the LCD's to their respective tablets while they are in close proximity to each other. Might be me but keeping track of which HC-06 is which was tough.
I got around it by pairing one station and then walking a fair distance away so I would be out of Bluetooth range to pair the second device to its respective EF LCD.

Why run two? To compare two different sets of software on a single flight. $25.00 ain't bad for a frequency programmable receiving station.

One weird observation I've seen when experimenting with the 3DR rigs is the HC-05 somehow performs better across platforms than the HC-06. I can get the HC-06 to pair with an Android device and used in a program but with WinBlows, forget it.
The HC-05 works better in that situation. With EggFinders, I haven't had issues with the HC-06 except as below. Works fine across platforms as long as there is good contact with the wiring harness.

The HC-06 with the Egg stuff works fine with one caveat. If one is using the pinned HC-06 and the removable socket wires (so reprogramming can be carried out at times) the socket wires can wear and one gets intermittent contact on the pinned HC-06 and the difficulties that are associated with that out in the field.

If one wants to dink around and I really mean "dink around" the 3DR radios are an option but are bulkier, need a 5V voltage regulator to remain on spec, need a 5V GPS chipset (which there are plenty of cheap Ublox clones) and the so-called
500mW units (I think that is "Chinese" mW mind you) can interfere with the GPS if you shrink tube the GPS to the radio. The 433Mhz units at 500mW are almost whacked. They perform better with the GPS a couple of inches away from the radio portion. The 900Mhz 500mW do better but still the attenuation from laying the GPS on top of the radio is noticeable. Being able to run the system strings through the Ublox utility UCenter allows instant feedback concerning
satellite attenuation by different proximities.

All in all, it's better to purchase a proven system (EggFinder? and others) than tool with this stuff. Perhaps can pull it off for $50.00 but the learning curve is too steep for most. Kurt
 
Looks great Chris. I'll be looking forward to integrating this. Thank you for continuing advancement of the EggTimer/Finder hardware and related software.
 
Chris, This is a great innovation. Looking forward to the update and GPS option for the receiver. I just completed my first EggFinder Mini and have one more to build, so this will certainly make it easy to include a tracker in most all flights.
 
Cool. I'll be ordering one. :)

And probably some other stuff. Eggtimer is both good and bad for my wallet...
 
Cool! You planning to go to October Skies, by any chance? If so would you have anything to demo there?

Will: Sorry, committed to Oktoberfest in Vegas. I'll definitely make it up there for LDRS next year, though!
 
Saw Cris fly in Holtville at the TRA SD launch ..he flew eGGfinders all day and didn't pull out his i-phone to punch in coordinates .

Will take a closer look in Vegas .. as the rocket locator app can be quirky at times

Kenny
 
Me thinks the day of needing frequency control at large launches is fast approaching!:wink::smile: Kurt


Absolutely. Frequency sign-up board! Interference and pairing issues wrecked the IREC launch schedule last year and Nasa SLI this year (other issues too, but frequencies popped up several times)
 
Cris
Very cool! Using a phone works, but an all in one solution will be really nice! Especially with your mentioned price point...just when I think I'm about done ordering things from you...
Keep it up!
Dave


Sent from my iPhone using Rocketry Forum
 
Eggfinder Users:

We've been working on an add-on to the existing LCD receiver that adds a GPS module to make it autonomous... you don't need to use an iPhone or Android to find your rocket, because the display tells you where to go to get it. It's just about ready, we've done a lot of flight testing over the past few months and are satisfied that it's going to work at least as well as our benchmark tracking app (MotionX on the iPhone). Attached is a screen shot of the navigation display (I couldn't get the in-line insert to work...)

You get the North-Up compass location of the rocket in relation to your receiver, the distance between your receiver and the rocket, your North-Up compass "track", which is the direction that you are moving, and (the money data...) which way you need to go to get your rocket. You also get the time-since-fix data from the latitude/longitude screen (since that lets you know when you pick up a ground packet as you get close). Finding your rocket is easy... just go in the direction of the "Which way do I go?" arrow, by however many degrees it tells you. It will drop you right on top of your rocket, or darn near.

The add-on LCD-GPS Module kit will be under $40, it and the software will be available in early November. You CAN use the software update without the GPS module, however instead of giving you the distance/heading from your receiver you can set a "home" point (usually the pad) and it will tell you which way and how far away it went downrange from the pad. While this is useful, it ain't the same as having the GPS module in the receiver... it's really not for finding your rocket, but it will tell you which way to look during flight. This in iteself is useful... how many times have you lost it and played "Which way did it go?"

We're also redoing the original Eggfinder RX "dongle" board so that you can solder a Bluetooth module directly to it, or cable it depending on your case. It will also be frequency programmable via a pairing cable to the Eggfinder LCD, or using the Hope RF utility. Using the LCD receiver to program the frequency of the RX receiver may sound a little silly, but most of the RX's that we've sold over the past few years have been used as "ground stations", with the LCD receiver being used to actually retrieve the rocket. You're going to be able to buy the RX receiver with your choice of either the USB cable or a Bluetooth module/cable for the same price... $25. If you want a case/battery box/hardware, it's going to be $8... it's a smaller case than the LCD's, and uses 3xAA's instead of four.

Cris Erving
Eggtimer Rocketry

I’m new to using GPS. Could you explain what the numbers mean on the display sample ?


Sent from my iPad using Rocketry Forum
 
I’m new to using GPS. Could you explain what the numbers mean on the display sample ?


Sent from my iPad using Rocketry Forum

The top left one is the compass direction, North-up, that your rocket is in relation to you. The arrow next to it shows which way it is in relation to North.

The number below it is the distance (this one's in feet, but you can change it to meters).

The number in the middle of the top line is the number of seconds since your last fix was received from the rocket. "**" means that it's been over 99 seconds.

The number in the upper right ("T:") is your track, the compass direction (North-up) that you were last moving. The arrow next to it is the North-up direction of your track.

And finally, the number in the lower right is the number of degrees between your current track and where the rocket is located. For example, "L:23" means that you need to go left 23 degrees from your current track, R:168 means that you need to go right 168 degrees (almost turned around) to get to the rocket. The arrows are direction-up, not North-up... they show you which way to go. Up means that you're pretty close to going the right direction towards your rocket.

To get to your rocket, you simply go in the direction of the lower-right arrow, and make little course adjustments to try to keep that number as low as possible. Most likely you'll spot your rocket before the distance gets very small.
 
Last edited:
Eggfinder Users:

We've been working on an add-on to the existing LCD receiver that adds a GPS module to make it autonomous... you don't need to use an iPhone or Android to find your rocket, because the display tells you where to go to get it. It's just about ready, we've done a lot of flight testing over the past few months and are satisfied that it's going to work at least as well as our benchmark tracking app (MotionX on the iPhone). Attached is a screen shot of the navigation display (I couldn't get the in-line insert to work...)

You get the North-Up compass location of the rocket in relation to your receiver, the distance between your receiver and the rocket, your North-Up compass "track", which is the direction that you are moving, and (the money data...) which way you need to go to get your rocket. You also get the time-since-fix data from the latitude/longitude screen (since that lets you know when you pick up a ground packet as you get close). Finding your rocket is easy... just go in the direction of the "Which way do I go?" arrow, by however many degrees it tells you. It will drop you right on top of your rocket, or darn near.

The add-on LCD-GPS Module kit will be under $40, it and the software will be available in early November. You CAN use the software update without the GPS module, however instead of giving you the distance/heading from your receiver you can set a "home" point (usually the pad) and it will tell you which way and how far away it went downrange from the pad. While this is useful, it ain't the same as having the GPS module in the receiver... it's really not for finding your rocket, but it will tell you which way to look during flight. This in iteself is useful... how many times have you lost it and played "Which way did it go?"

We're also redoing the original Eggfinder RX "dongle" board so that you can solder a Bluetooth module directly to it, or cable it depending on your case. It will also be frequency programmable via a pairing cable to the Eggfinder LCD, or using the Hope RF utility. Using the LCD receiver to program the frequency of the RX receiver may sound a little silly, but most of the RX's that we've sold over the past few years have been used as "ground stations", with the LCD receiver being used to actually retrieve the rocket. You're going to be able to buy the RX receiver with your choice of either the USB cable or a Bluetooth module/cable for the same price... $25. If you want a case/battery box/hardware, it's going to be $8... it's a smaller case than the LCD's, and uses 3xAA's instead of four.

Cris Erving
Eggtimer Rocketry

I could not find your LCD receiver on your web site. Sounds like what I have looking for.
 
Absolutely. Frequency sign-up board! Interference and pairing issues wrecked the IREC launch schedule last year and Nasa SLI this year (other issues too, but frequencies popped up several times)

Agree, last year at MWP 14 there were 3 or 4 flyers using the same frequency (I was using the Comm Spec AT-2B) during the WM Demon drag race. I recovered someone else's rocket while someone else recovered mine. A sign up board at the RSO table may help a bit. Also, powering off the transmitter between flights would help as well.
 
Eggtimer stuff should work with some frequency reuse. It has an ID that the receiver looks for and ignores other transmitters on the same frequency. It's not perfect, but it helps. There's nothing stopping someone else from having the same ID, as you just have to pick one.

I do think some sort of registration at a large launch is a good idea though. It would also help if everyone powers up their receiver first and just listens for a while to check the frequency and ID. If you don't, someone looking for a rocket might find you instead...
 
10 years ago it was RDF and if one was a Ham and made a sizable investment, APRS on the 70cm band. Frequency congestion wasn't a problem. The issue now is GPS tracking is affordable for most of the masses and it is soon to be the rule as the exception. Other unknown at least to me is fixed frequency vs. spread spectrum
how to they interfere with each other if at all and to what degree.
Example, using a spread spectrum GPS tracker on the ISM bands (900Mhz) going over 10 to 20 channels vs fixed frequency.
Same thing with 70cm. Someone runs a homemade spread spectrum 3DR tracker on 70cm what would that do to the Beeline GPS and RDF stuff?
If it's transient and occasional dropped positions then not a big deal. Anyone smarter then me please comment? Kurt
 
I've seen people fly both Eggfinders and BRB's in the same build with no issues on either one. As you mentioned, any issues would be transient. RDF is on 70 cm, no issue there either. I recommend turning your receiver on first to make sure that nobody is actively on your frequency/ID, however I would still recommend some kind of frequency board for larger launches. That being said, the only time I've been to a launch (albeit a relatively small sample) and seen any frequency conflicts with Eggfinders it was due to not changing the frequency from default (915/0), which I recommend doing after you test to make sure it's working.
 
I'd like one too. That said, can it be a kit to patch into my current LCD receiver? I'd love to not have to scrap that work if possible.
 
I'd like one too. That said, can it be a kit to patch into my current LCD receiver? I'd love to not have to scrap that work if possible.

That's exactly what it is... it goes into your current receiver. The next version of the LCD board will have a header to make wiring it in a little bit easier, but it's the same board.
 
That's exactly what it is... it goes into your current receiver. The next version of the LCD board will have a header to make wiring it in a little bit easier, but it's the same board.

Sign me up.

I flew the TRS system at Argonia last weekend and it worked great. I use the HC-06 module to feed the data to my smartphone and tracked the flight using the Rocket Locator app. It seems like Rocket Locator has some lag to it during the recovery drive/walk. I also used an old Garmin etrex Legend H that I had lying around. I plugged the coordinates (last set transmitted before the rocket landed) into the Garmin and it took us right to the landing area. I think we liked the Garmin solution better - it is very accurate and I didn't have to worry about dropping my phone. The only downside to the Garmin is the need to load the coordinates (but this add-on will fix that). As we got closer, the LCD received the final coordinates from the TRS board, but by then we could see the rocket. The difference between the two sets of coordinates was less than 30' or so.

I will definitely get the update as I have 2 other TRS boards to install.

Oh, BTW, Cris offers up exception customer service as he took care of me a few months back.
 
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