Ralph Weaver's blog View Details
Posted by Ralph Weaver | Jun 03, 2010 @ 11:14 AM | 8,251 Views
I'm starting this blog as a place to track comments, issues and suggestions regarding the SkyTraceGPS and XC Soaring.

All helpful comments are welcome.

SkyTraceGPS: www.magtechinc.net
Posted by Ralph Weaver | Jun 03, 2010 @ 11:10 AM | 7,631 Views
Posted by Ralph Weaver | Aug 13, 2008 @ 06:56 AM | 9,878 Views
I had a customer, who is a marine biologist, buy a SkyTraceGPS for use in tracking fishing boats. He was having trouble getting the right battery, charger, etc. so I came up with the SeaTraceGPS. It's the same GPS engine, but set to same once per minute rather than once per second.

It's in a water proof case with a 10Ah LiPo. The battery should last over a week. I still want to add a LiPo protection circuit to prevent over discharing etc. I also need to get some 1/4" closed cell foam, the 1/8" is a bit tedious to glue together.
Posted by Ralph Weaver | Jun 25, 2008 @ 07:51 AM | 9,858 Views
All I can say is Wow!. The SkyTraceGPS is really selling well. I can hardly keep up. Everytime I order enough parts to make 5 more, I get 6 orders. I need to bite the bullet and order enough parts for 20 or so. The problem for me is balance - I need to sell enough to be worth the trouble, but not so many that it interferes with my real job, family and flying time. About 5 a week would be perfect. Any more and I might have to find someone to build them for me. Oh well, could have worse problems.

I've sold more overseas than in the US??

I've been looking into adding some features for those who take digital photos from their planes. You'd save your photos in a folder, connect the GPS to the PC, point the GPS application at the folder and the position data would be inserted into the photo data tags. Then you could do geo tagging in Flickr etc. It would also add photo links to the Google Earth flight views.

I might have to get a camera onboard one of my planes and play with it.
Posted by Ralph Weaver | Jun 16, 2008 @ 08:04 PM | 10,057 Views
I just put the V1.1 of the software online for download at www.magtechinc.net. It adds a few minor features. It calculates turn radius and lateral acceleration (G's), maximum, average and inst climb rate, climb angle and shows the version on the help screen.


In the nice white box

In Google Earth
Posted by Ralph Weaver | May 30, 2008 @ 06:46 PM | 10,354 Views
I've got the SkyTraceGPS on my webite www.magtechinc.net. I'm too chicken to order too many parts at a time so everytime I order enough then I get a couple more orders and then I'm behind again.

You can download the Windows software and the preliminary user's guide and play with it. I've inlcluded a demo flight file. To download the GPS data you'll need a registration code, but everything else works.
Posted by Ralph Weaver | May 24, 2008 @ 05:36 AM | 11,410 Views
I downloaded the free eval of SeeYou http://naviter.si/index.php?option=c...d=9&Itemid=213

It's for full scale sailplane competition. I added an igc file output to my SkyTraceGPS Windows software so I could load the log into SeeYou. It is really cool! You get animated fight will all sorts of evaluation - number of thermals, time spent turning each direction all sorts of stuff. Too much to list here, check out the website.

Here's a video of the flight animation from SeeYou.

SkyTraceGPS RC Sailplane log animation (0 min 57 sec)

Posted by Ralph Weaver | May 22, 2008 @ 06:34 PM | 10,712 Views
The first two SkyTraceGPS units are boxed up and ready to go to their new owners. I'll have a couple more ready in a few days. Waiting on parts. Took more time than expected to get the shipping boxes, labels, heat shrink, etc.

The software works pretty well. I'll let the beta testers give me some feedback for a couple weeks, then start on a new cleaned up version of the code. The current version was not really designed, I just started writing C# until it did everything I wanted. Now I need to go back and clean it up. I also need to add error checking, for instance - the current version just quits if you select the wrong com port.

I'll probably have them on my web site (www.magtechinc.net) in a couple of weeks. I'm going to list them at $149, but sell them for $129.
Posted by Ralph Weaver | May 16, 2008 @ 02:33 PM | 11,267 Views
I've spent the last few weeks of lunch hours working on the "SkyTraceGPS" software. The data logger works great. This is a stand alone unit - supply 3-5V and it runs, no other parts required. I've been using it in a couple of my electric sailplanes.

When connected to the PC via USB, you first download a list of all the logs. Then select a log and download the data. Then go to the altitude screen to view altitude vs time. This screen also lets you select and save different parts of the data and zoom in etc. and calculate delta time, delta alt, and climb rate between the markers.

One of the coolest things the software will do is export the data to Google Earth.

I still need to clean up the software a bit and get some labels made for the units. I have parts for 3 units, but plane to order more shortly. I think the final unit will sell for $129. That includes software, USB cable and the SkyTraceGPS logger with a universal RC connector.

I'm making a couple of beta units for people to test. Production units should go on sale in a month or 2.
Posted by Ralph Weaver | Mar 13, 2008 @ 06:49 PM | 10,738 Views
I found a surplus GPS module that I hope will work well for RC use. I haven't had a chance to try it in a plane yet. It logs up to about 400,000 readings that include lat,long,alt,vel and time. It has a USB port and software that reads the data and lets you plot it in Google Earth.

It weighs 17g as you see it. I'll need to put some heat shrink around it and probably a label. I'll also look into getting a small 1S LiPo to power it so it's self contained.

Depending on how many I buy, I think I can sell it for some where in the $100 range. It will be sold on www.magtechinc.net if it works out.

I hope to be testing it soon.
Posted by Ralph Weaver | Feb 18, 2008 @ 02:38 PM | 10,751 Views
Posted by Ralph Weaver | Dec 12, 2007 @ 09:12 AM | 10,807 Views
Great program I've been using for a while. Let's me run other computers over the web.
Posted by Ralph Weaver | Nov 06, 2007 @ 07:49 AM | 10,915 Views