Espritmodel.com Telemetry Radio
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Old Sep 23, 2008, 11:39 AM
Hal
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Louisville, CO
Joined May 2003
154 Posts
I've tried using them in an open class (F3J) sailplane with less than spectacular results. In an open field the best range I have gotten is about 50-60 feet. Of course this is inside a carbon fuse that is not really 2.4 GHz friendly. Add some moisture like a cornfield and the range drops to about 10-20 feet.

If the range could be extended with the use of external antenna and/or increased power I think this would be THE solution for all sailplane and even rocketry applications and replace all the lost model alarms that are being used today.
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Old Sep 28, 2008, 03:36 AM
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krafty's Avatar
France, Aquitaine, Duras
Joined Jan 2006
322 Posts
Quote:
Originally Posted by theKM
How old were the batteries in the tag that had the range reduced to 50ft?...
The batteries in the tag [there are 2 in each tag] were new, but I find mine last a little over a year. The sets bought from Marks and Spencer were supplied with receiver batteries that were as good as flat right from the start. My handset batteries last well over a year, but the lifetime depends on how often you use the system I guess.

I have had an odd effect with one of my outfits that the people at Loc8tor cannot explain. I have 4 tags registered on one handset, each with a model name. I found one time that 2 of the 4 tag names had disappeared from the handset, and even though I deleted and re-registered the tags, the names still disappeared after a short time. Only when I renewed the tag batteries did they stop disappearing from the handset. This is difficult to explain, since the handset should retain the tag names even if the tag is a million miles away, or if the tag has no battery at all. I offer this just in case any other user has tags disappearing from the handset.

As for the range of the Loc8tor system, it operates on the 2.4g band, and as we know from Spektrum and Futaba 2.4 radio systems, range is very dependant upon interfering terrain or objects, and very much altered by water or moisture. The local boating boys will not use 2.4g radio because spray from fast boats just blocks the radio signals.

And finally, my pal and I both have the Loc8tor system. At one time we thought it would be a good idea to register all our tags to both my handset and to my pals handset so that we could both go searching for the same lost model. We find we cannot do this. A tag can only be registered to a single handset, just like a 2.4g receiver can only be "bound" to a single transmitter.

cheers
krafty
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Old Sep 28, 2008, 11:08 AM
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USA, CA, San Diego 92120
Joined Oct 2007
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Here's my Loc8tor Field saga

Bought the product reviewed above.. and had a chance to use it under a real (worst case) scenario. I think this saga below is more challenging than that described.. and was GREAT exercise too (tho I was exhausted!).. thought you might be interested..so: Was flying this slope on 2.4 and having a ball for 5 minutes, but as I flew from the top left take off site, out 30 meters past the (shown in red) power lines to a point about 180 meters away, and up over the top of these Lines .. I lost all control as the receiver locked and plane corkscrewed straight down , but far out of sight, and into the steep gulch you see below..

Fortunately the loc8tor gave me one Red LED at the dirt fire/ break, walking down to a point another 100 feet down or so and, then I saw an object in the grass the same color of the plane i was flying, and a little spec of silver i thought was a glint from the motor.. Found It I though! but it was way too steep to walk directly to it..

Since I was under the power lines that caused the RF Interference that i believe caused the plane to go down in the 1st place.. I think this degraded teh Loc8tor handset reception too.. I never got to 2 LED's and a less than 40 degree uncertainty.. but the blue on the FAR side of the canyon looked just like my plane.. so I drove to the bottom, walked up and discovered a Blue Helium Birthday balloon shreds in the grass was NOT my plane but looked like it from 160 or so meters away.. but now the Loc8tor pointed back at the far / original site almost directly in line and I got my 1st yellow LED so I kept walking and there at the VERY bottom of the gulch on the same side I had lost it from.. was the Plane, it was in the 4 foot grass too steep and far below to see it initially.

Lessons Learned:
don't fly 2.4Gig over High Voltage power lines,

If it's in a Gulch, the plane may be far more visible to you and the Loc8or from the far side, bring binoculars and good hiking boots,

and one User Tip.. the Loc8tor worked a lot better when held very high at arms length UPSIDE down, where you can see the LED's well in the contrast between Bright Sun and shadow. (I believe it doubled my detection range in this scenario based on number of LED's showing and the narrowing pointing arc..)

Lesson Three .. Please dispose of your kid's Birthday Balloons properly!

Fun Stuff. Glad i had it in the plane !
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Old Oct 04, 2008, 06:18 PM
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central PA.
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that's a pretty cool loc8tor story right there!

glad you got your plane back!
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Old Oct 05, 2008, 12:28 PM
Tri-Quad-Hexa-Octo-copters!!
United States, TX, San Antonio
Joined Feb 2007
14,409 Posts
Hi Gents,
I've got the Loc8tor Plus and am now in the process of trying to locate my elusive quadrokopter in about a 1/2 square mile area that is full of 60ft oak trees and dense growth. I've pretty much searched the entire area with no luck so far. It is not populated by anything but wildlife. It is tough to get into it to see anything clearly. The batteries were all new and the Tag was tested last week in another more fortunate search. I've modified the power source with a 12V Lipo and an Anyvolt regulator set to 4V to keep the current high. I've mounted it on a 16ft aluminum pool cleaning pole. I've test the range this way with it mounted normally and it does seem to add range, but apparently I need more. Mounting upsiide down gave the same results in range. The time-out for searching is a PITA. Any suggestions on mods to: 1. disable the time-out and 2. increase the trigger/detection range would be appreciated. The weather here has been dry the week since I've lost it, but that could change.
Thanks for any help!
Cheers,
Jim
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Old Oct 05, 2008, 07:27 PM
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USA, CA, San Diego 92120
Joined Oct 2007
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jesolins
Hi Gents,
I've got the Loc8tor Plus and am now in the process of trying to locate my elusive quadrokopter in about a 1/2 square mile area that is full of 60ft oak trees and dense growth. I've pretty much searched the entire area with no luck so far. .. The weather here has been dry the week since I've lost it, but that could change.
Thanks for any help!
Cheers,
Jim
Hi Jim , really sorry for the loss.. I have no clue how longs the TAGS will last either.. can you get a friend to do some aerial reconnaissance.. what was the attitude of the plane as you lost it.. was it flying off straight and level .. or spiraling in.. What i would do is get on Craig's List and sponsor a free hot-dog Meet-In with the soccer kids or a youth club in the area and have them search again as a group for you.. they have much better eyes and endurance.. Hope you find it.. i take it you are not seeing even one or two Red LEDs blink as you walked out as far as possible in the best direction. Correct?
JimS
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Old Oct 05, 2008, 08:02 PM
Tri-Quad-Hexa-Octo-copters!!
United States, TX, San Antonio
Joined Feb 2007
14,409 Posts
Successful Loc8tor!

JimS,
Thanks for the ideas. BTW, A new tag battery should last 6 months or so without being used. It is not weatherproof so that would factor into search-luck. Maybe a baggie mod is in order?
Well the good news is that at 5PM the search was successful! I have the Loc8tor plus so it has a graphics LCD. I mounted it on a 16ft pool pole to max the range, although in my tests, it only made about a 50 foot difference with a tag attached to a similar aluminum base like on the lost quadrocopter. One of the nice things I discovered about the Loc8tor that helped tremendously, is a work around to the search time out if the tag is not found. On the Loc8tor Plus, if you select the tag to locate, then press and hold the center white button, the search continues until the tag is found! That helped allot since I had it on that 16ft pole and saved allot of work resetting it every 2 minutes... I used a bag clip and half a pencil eraser to hold the button down.
I will follow-up with a report on the find, but for now: I lost sight of it over trees about 500 feet away and 300 feet high. I was attempting to have it keep altitude as I was running to get a view around the trees. It is hard to tell where the head of a quadrocopter is when it is that far away, so my attempts to "guide it back to me" obviously were wrong... It was found 2000 feet away from where I was flying according to my GPS tracker. I got a first search discover beep two hours into walking the acreage on a search pattern that was parsed into the last 7 days. I was about 200 feet away from it when it triggered. It was upside down, so not optimum for propagation.
I have started a thread for others to post their ideas on how to improve using and possibly modding the Loc8tor for better functionality with our R/C models. Here: http://www.rcgroups.com/forums/showthread.php?t=934229
It paid for itself again...
Cheers,
Jim
Quote:
Originally Posted by jims123
Hi Jim , really sorry for the loss.. I have no clue how longs the TAGS will last either.. can you get a friend to do some aerial reconnaissance.. what was the attitude of the plane as you lost it.. was it flying off straight and level .. or spiraling in.. What i would do is get on Craig's List and sponsor a free hot-dog Meet-In with the soccer kids or a youth club in the area and have them search again as a group for you.. they have much better eyes and endurance.. Hope you find it.. i take it you are not seeing even one or two Red LEDs blink as you walked out as far as possible in the best direction. Correct?
JimS
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Last edited by jesolins; Oct 20, 2008 at 04:42 PM.
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Old Oct 19, 2008, 09:25 AM
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ddrake's Avatar
Milan
Joined Mar 2007
381 Posts
Hi, am interested in this loc8tor too for my mikrokopter.
I would like to understand something though.
As said previously by another user the tag signal will be disrupted by 2.4video downlink (i have a rangevideo 2.4Ghz 500mW tx onboard to help me in aerial photography. Other frequencies aren't suitable here in Europe ).
Is it possible to select channels on the loc8tor so that the signal wont be disrupted anymore by the video downlink?
Alternatively: would it be possible to use a channel to switch off the video tx remotely (most probably is the plane has crashed to the gound video downlink wont be workng anymore due to too many obstacles but will still disturb the loc8tor tag)? could you suggest a way to do this? Sorry if this sound trivial to you guys but am not much into electronics (which shows how even not uber-geeks can make a mikrokopter these days )

Ciao!
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Old Oct 19, 2008, 12:15 PM
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USA, CA, San Diego 92120
Joined Oct 2007
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ddrake
..
Alternatively: would it be possible to use a channel to switch off the video tx remotely
Ciao!
Yes.. assuming you have a spare Servo Channel, and that your Receiver/Battery etc are still working after a crash and can pick up your transmitter's signal .. I thnik you could use something like this:

http://www.dimensionengineering.com/PicoSwitch.htm

let us know Ok?
JimS
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Old Oct 21, 2008, 09:45 PM
Tri-Quad-Hexa-Octo-copters!!
United States, TX, San Antonio
Joined Feb 2007
14,409 Posts
Successful Loc8tor find of DF quad - follow-up

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Here is a re-creation of the events in a video to show what I went through to find my lost quadrocopter. It is a week's worth of searching compressed into 7 minutes.
Successful Loc8tor Quadrocopter search! (7 min 6 sec)




Hope it helps others find their wayward models!
Cheers,
Jim
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Old Nov 26, 2008, 06:21 PM
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Sydney, Australia
Joined Feb 2008
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Tag battery life: our club bought our first Loc8or 12 months ago and my tag battery died yesterday- started beeping in the car on the way home! I had tested it a couple of times but never used it in anger. So, I guess that's the best we can hope for. Good thing the club just did a bulk buy of 50 batteries - at about half the retail price. I suggest a test every 2 or 3 months.

Club experience: we have 2 of the Loc8or units with about 40 tags in use. In the last 12 months, I am aware of only one model that the Loc8tor didn't find - fuselage wedged deep into a crack in a sandstone outcrop. Our field is a sportsground surrounded on three sides by Australian bush, and lantana, so the recovery technique usually involves overalls, thick boots, rope, scythe and Loc8or. Highly recommended.
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Old Nov 26, 2008, 08:51 PM
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Manly NSW Australia
Joined Aug 2003
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tb49er
Tag battery life: our club bought our first Loc8or 12 months ago and my tag battery died yesterday- started beeping in the car on the way home! I had tested it a couple of times but never used it in anger. So, I guess that's the best we can hope for. Good thing the club just did a bulk buy of 50 batteries - at about half the retail price. I suggest a test every 2 or 3 months.

Club experience: we have 2 of the Loc8or units with about 40 tags in use. In the last 12 months, I am aware of only one model that the Loc8tor didn't find - fuselage wedged deep into a crack in a sandstone outcrop. Our field is a sportsground surrounded on three sides by Australian bush, and lantana, so the recovery technique usually involves overalls, thick boots, rope, scythe and Loc8or. Highly recommended.
Good job you are not flying out of the Darwin club field for then you would have to wade through swamps and fight off crocodiles and leaches instead!!!
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Old Jan 06, 2009, 11:01 PM
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Sydney, Australia
Joined Feb 2008
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Loc8or works again

Today, I had a midair with the Ugly Stik and lost the tail. The plane disappeared about 200 metres away into thick scrub. We walked down a fire trail and were looking in the wrong direction when the Loc8or said "look behind you, dummy" or sounds to that effect. There it was 10m up a tree alongside the fire trail. I doubt if we would have found it without the Loc8or. At least we recovered all the expensive bits.
Good news Ozzy, we didn't need to fight through the bush - although the 40 degrees C heat wasn't much fun.
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Last edited by tb49er; Jan 06, 2009 at 11:03 PM. Reason: Update
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Old Jan 15, 2009, 10:01 AM
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theKM's Avatar
central PA.
Joined Sep 2004
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tb49er
Today, I had a midair with the Ugly Stik and lost the tail. The plane disappeared about 200 metres away into thick scrub. We walked down a fire trail and were looking in the wrong direction when the Loc8or said "look behind you, dummy" or sounds to that effect. There it was 10m up a tree alongside the fire trail. I doubt if we would have found it without the Loc8or. At least we recovered all the expensive bits.
Good news Ozzy, we didn't need to fight through the bush - although the 40 degrees C heat wasn't much fun.
nice loc8tor story. It's spooky how such brightly coloured things can be completely missed when looking.
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Old Mar 05, 2009, 06:19 PM
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Sydney, Australia
Joined Feb 2008
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Success again

Well, a certain anonymous member of our club crashed at the edge of the field last week. He recovered everything and then arrived home to find only the Loc8or tag was missing. Well, we found the tag that evening - so I recommend buying the Loc8or to find lost tags!
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