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Flight data recorder & OSD beta unit

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I have been testing a product from Act-Labs called the Black Box. Is still in beta testing and revisions are already under way for a new improved model including GPS. However, the manufacturer would like more testing and input from modelers like you and I including suggestions for possible new features. They do have several of the versions that I have remaining and would like to sell those for $99 plus shipping. Feedback would be greatly appreciated. If you are interested please send me a PM or email me at iflyrc-AT-gmail.com.

Just to give you a brief overview of what the BB can do, it has video overlay information for engine rpm, altitude, speed, RX battery voltage monitor and an auxilary battery voltage. Some of these feature can be turned off (not displayed). It also records this information to its on board memory which can be downloaded to your computer via the supplied USB cord and played back on airplane looking gauge graphics. There are pictures and information here

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It looks great, especially at $99. I've ordered one.

But why only 1000ft altitude display limit?

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It looks great, especially at $99. I've ordered one.

But why only 1000ft altitude display limit?

That's a very good question seeing as the BB has a 15'000' operating range but it seems that once calibrated to zero it only diasplays up to 1000' I will ask the manufacturer.

Mike

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Wow

I want one, I will order it soon. :)

I ask the seller if the altitude display is in real time and fast, to fly an acrobatic plane, it's hard to judge altitude when I dive and I redress always too fast, with an accurate altitude in real time, it could work. But perhaps I want something really hard to achieve?

Edited by Vrflyer

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Received too.

I've wired the unit which goes pretty quickly with the supplied connectors. Everything works fine, and the measurements seem very precise at ground level, at least for altitude as I've only tested inside. It's very insensitive to RF, I needed to put my 100mW TX's antenna right against the PCB in order to see a little offset appear.

There is just a little printing error on the case, the "OFF - USB" and "ON" markings are swapped. They are labeled differently in the manual as well.

Regarding PC software, the link and setup was flawless. There seems to be a difference between the SW version showed in the manual and the one on the CD though, as the "Test" tab doesn't appear. That means the chart view is unavailable.

More in the near future, for now the weather seems blocked on the "snow" position... :(

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The planes is ready. Black box was very easy to install. Seagull was easy, but this one is easier. No problem with the software (unusual in my case), it work at the first trial. Easy to understand.

I first install the RPM probe near the propeller.

post-8-1141530948_thumb.jpg

Edited by Vrflyer

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And here with the cowling

post-8-1141531426_thumb.jpg

Edited by Vrflyer

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The pitot tube is inside the wing, far from the propeller

post-8-1141531585_thumb.jpg

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For more info about Black box check the topic "my FPV setup Funtana with Black box" you will find a video and more comentary on it.

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There is just a little printing error on the case, the "OFF - USB" and "ON" markings are swapped. They are labeled differently in the manual as well.

I have not seen the selling BB but the switch is only used when using the USB cable, up for on and down for off. There is no power switch for the actual BB, you have to remove the power source.

The TEST feature of the software was removed by the manufacturer and was there only during the initial software set up.

Mike

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The switch needs to be used when reading on the PC. On one position (OFF-USB, which is weird) it will take power from the battery and will stay off if battery is disconnected but USB cable is plugged. To get power from the USB it needs to be switched to "ON" position. The device will then stay off if a battery is connected and the USB cable is not present.

That's pretty stupid about the software. The graph view is the most useful in my opinion, I actually don't really see the point of the instrument player, apart maybe from playing it simultaneously with recorded video from the same flight.

But for flight analysis the graph is better. Andd the file format is not easy to load into Excel ;)

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I've just spotted a little temperature-related issue with the BB.

When it gets cold an offset appears on the speed indication.

If I put the unit outside (3°C at the moment), after some time the speed will read 28km/h. If I put it back inside it will go down to 18, 9 and back to zero in around one minute. Yesterday must have been colder, as it went up to 32km/h.

The offset can't be cancelled by resetting the device, so I guess the speed sensor must be using the absolute pressure. It would be a good idea to read the zero value at power-up to cancel error :)

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When it gets cold an offset appears on the speed indication.

That sucks - means they didn't temperature compensate the sensor.

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Yep... <_<

I wonder if it has some influence in the other way too. It seems that the speed steps are pretty big at least at the beginning, around 10km/h per step.

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When I power up the Black box, speed is always around 20 mph and goes down very slowly, do you see that on your BB.

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For those that have looked closely at the Blackbox board ... I'm curious - what video OSD chip are they using? The characters look like the STV5730A IC is involved. Am I close?

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Hehe that's exactly what I said, but I was wrong. It seems we have a new candidate, named M35055:

http://documentation.renesas.com/eng/produ...cu/e35054_5.pdf

I haven't read the datasheet thoroughly, but it seems to offer more possibilities that the STV5730A.

Once you have it in the hand you can see that the characters are a bit different. They might appear a bit deformed for me too. I've seen that the crystal was supposed to be chosen for the needed video standard. The board is fitted with a NTSC crystal, but works wit PAL too. I get a display that is badly centered, the top line appears just at the border of the screen. I guess that must be the consequence. I was ready to shout if it didn't work as there's absolutely no mention of a video system anywhere, so I assumed it would support both.

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Thanks for the info. I looked at the M35054/55 last year at the beginning of the Gecko project. I couldn't find any familiar distributor that carried it. Renesas never responded to my sales queries. Did you find a source?

Edit: My apologies for going off topic on this discussion. Kilrah, if you don't mind, please PM the response to me so that I don't drag this topic down.

Edited by Mr.RC-Cam

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