Note to Featherweight GPS Tracker users

Discussion in 'Rocketry Electronics and Software' started by manixFan, Jul 11, 2019.

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  1. Jul 11, 2019 #1

    manixFan

    manixFan

    manixFan

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    At a recent launch I had great success with the Featherweight tracker system. I used it on 4 flights by mounting it in a 54mm nosecone that I just moved between rockets. However one issue I ran into involved using the iOS screen recording capability. I added the Screen Recording button to my control center so I could easily start recording my screen before a launch so I would be able to replay the launch later. However during the first couple of flights the recording ended well before the flight did. I finally realized that my screen was going to sleep due to the Auto-Lock setting in the Display and Brightness settings category. I had it set to auto-lock the screen after just 1 minute. So unless I touched the display to keep it awake it would go to sleep and end the recording. You can set it to 5 minutes or to Never so you don't miss out on recording your flight. Just remember to set it back to a shorter time or it will be hard on your battery. I feel the ease of use of the system and its accuracy allowed me to fly more (and higher flights) than I did when I used a RDF type tracker.


    Tony
     
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  2. Jul 11, 2019 #2

    ksaves2

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    Once you get the hang with a GPS tracking system you'll never look back unless you're forced to use RDF
    due to space limitations. Kurt
     
  3. Jul 11, 2019 #3

    Hardline

    Hardline

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    Kurt, I appreciate your enthusiasm but have to mildly disagree with you. Although Wayne and I are early adopters and two of the many beta testers of the Featherweight tracking system (as well as users of other GPS tracking systems) we STILL use RDF trackers - specifically the CSI (http://www.com-spec.com/rcplane/index.html) and LL Electronics (http://www.radiotracking.com/transmitters-2/).

    As you indicated, some of our rockets are too small to practically use the featherweight - so we use the FL3 from LL Electronics. Many of our rockets are dual deploy - so we put the featherweight GPS in the nose and a CSI tracker in the fin can. Although it rarely happens there have been instances where the recovery gear has broken and we tracked down each piece separately (most dramatically during NSL in Alamagordo, NM in 2017). I like having back ups. I like having a backup to my backup so we usually pair the featherweight with a egg finder (http://eggtimerrocketry.com/home/eggfinder-gps-tracking-system/).

    I am a firm supporter and user of the Featherweight Tracker System (https://www.featherweightaltimeters.com/). I echo ManixFan's delight at his recent launch. But, as he found, there are still issues and learning processes involved with the use of that system and I will keep using multiple systems to back up against what I call the "ah $hit factor" (which is just another way of describing the effect of Murphy's Law)
     
  4. Jul 11, 2019 #4

    manixFan

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    I feel both Kurt and Hardline are right. Now that I have a couple of the Featherweight trackers I plan on using them as much as possible, especially since mounting one in a nosecone makes it so easy to move between rockets. It is so fast and easy to drive/walk right up to the rocket compared to RDF. But I still have a sizable investment in RDF trackers from before I made the switch. I plan on using them on large rockets - connected to the shock cord of the fin can in case things do come apart, much as Hardline describes.

    Regarding size I was able to mount a Featherweight tracker and battery in a 29mm 3D printed nosecone and mount. So the size is not a huge issue for me. But still there are some rockets where the ability to just wrap an RDF tracker around the shock cord is a very quick and easy way to add tracking ability.

    The cost of both systems is pretty comparable. The price of the RDF transmitter is about the same as a Featherweight tracker and the receiver for most RDF systems is at least the price of a Featherweight base system. So it really becomes a matter of which system best meets your needs for a particular flight/application.


    Tony
     
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  5. Jul 12, 2019 #5

    ksaves2

    ksaves2

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    Listen, I’ve seen many a flier diddle around with an RDF recovery for hours when if they had a GPS tracker and a good last position fix, they would be flying more rockets rather than triapsing around a launch site.
    Furthermore, I did qualify my statement by mentioning room constraints though the Featherweight is very small which opens up being able to fly in smaller, very high flying rockets. I’ve had fun with RDF with smaller rockets but if flying to 5 figure altitudes with the possibility of landing many miles away, I’d like the piece of mind I’m getting my pricey hardware back. You get LOS with an extreme flight and can’t hold a bearing, you’re in deep kimchi.
    I can say that because I’ve seen some bizarre drifting behavior with high flying rockets on a real time live map using a variety of GPS trackers. Kurt
     
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  6. Jul 12, 2019 #6

    warnerr

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    Great info reminder on screen recording- thanks! Its in the details. I agree on backup systems- might have lost a very expensive rocket if it were not for multiple backup locating systems. Love the featherweight gps tracker (its a favorite) but on a fateful day a forced update on the field rendered it useless. That storys posted here... great product but stuff happens....always use backup systems if you really want it back!
     
  7. Jul 14, 2019 #7

    kjs

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    I was about to work on making a 3d printed AV bay for a 29mm nose cone. my plan was to keep the fiberglass nose cone and try to make the coupler be 3D printed and have the integrated AV bay. I have not gotten far enough into the process to decide if I will be successful so am also interested in what you used for your 3D printed nosecone with mount...

    Thanks!
     
  8. Jul 16, 2019 #8

    jkovac

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    This exact thing would have probably happened to me in a few weeks if you hadn’t posted this. Thanks for this and your other posts on this tracker. Looking forward to trying the system for the first time 1st weekend of August at Aeronaut.
     

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