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Jan 26, 2017, 08:45 AM
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SimonWatts's Avatar
First field test of the new CD, display and wind units today.

Overall the system worked well. A few bugs to iron out regarding pilot selection and flight order but the system ran pretty well flawlessly during the actual flights. The LED display was popular with the pilots - drawing the guys not actually flying more into watching the current flight. Having the wind speed and direction displayed was great.

The CD unit display worked really well. Very easy to see - even on a low brightness setting. On full brightness it's still very readable in full sunlight even with polaroid sunglasses on.

A few mechanical things to sort out:
- the display needs to be mounted up higher to get it above the grass
- the wind unit mount needs to have adjustable legs to cope with the slope of the ground

Due to poor wind conditions today we only managed two rounds, so battery life of the CD unit was not really tested. But it looks like it should be good for a full days' flying.

The photos provide a better idea of the units. Unfortunately, due to the refresh rate of the LEDs the digital camera could not capture the text on the display unit. To human eyes, the display is really easy to see - very readable from 20m away. Needs to be shaded from the sun though. Although you can still read it in full sun, it's not very good. I rigged up a small shade and that worked well.

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Jan 26, 2017, 10:18 AM
David Olson's Avatar
Thread OP
Great to hear things are going so well with your prototypes! Thanks for the update and photos. Excellent progresss.

Wishing you guys get better conditions for tomorrow.
Jan 29, 2017, 04:29 AM
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SimonWatts's Avatar
Two days of F3F competition and the system has worked pretty well. CD unit Li-Ion batteries lasted for five hours of non-stop competition yesterday without changing them out. So I'm happy with that. Changing batteries is a 30 second job - so easy to do between rounds if it is necessary.

One minor glitch showed up that affected the display - occasionally it did not show the finish time. Apart from that it worked really well.

Lots of ideas for adding more data to the display - probably requiring an additional unit so that one shows current flight info and one shows contest info.

Overall the system works well for F3F, just needs refinement and some bug fixes. Still have a way to go to get the CD unit to the point that it will run an F3B contest though.

BTW. If anyone is interested, the contest results are up on f3xvault:

Photos are here:

Jan 29, 2017, 10:33 PM
Registered User
concreteman's Avatar
Well done Sumon. System ran well at our f3b gig this weekend. Tim will chime in with his thoughts. I dont think we had a single glitch
Mar 26, 2017, 07:21 AM
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SimonWatts's Avatar

F3X Timing System Updates

I have updated the firmware for the Team , Base and Audio units:

Team units:
  • added support for the Wind Unit (with Davis Anemometer)
  • added F3F practice mode (continuously calls lap time)
  • added selection for audio mod on/off (requires minor hardware mod to have hard-coded beeps for no delay) - applies to older (pre-Dec 2016) units only

Audio Unit
  • new version supports audio modification for hard-coded beeps

Base Unit
  • added factory reset
  • updated signal strength indication

New firmware and audio files available here:

Wind Unit is also available. This is a standalone unit with wireless link to Team and CD units. It uses the Davis 6410 Anemometer. Provides wind speed and direction.

I'm currently working on taking the CD unit to the next stage: live internet link to F3X Vault. Tim has been building some function calls for the vault so I can download and upload events. Still a way to go, but I hope to have it working for F3F events soon.

Mar 26, 2017, 12:50 PM
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May 10, 2017, 01:52 AM
David Olson's Avatar
Thread OP
Alvaro Silgado and Simon Watts made it so easy to integrate Alvaro's MotCam Software with Simon Wireless F3F Timing System. F3F Base Workers may be a thing of the past! (pending tests of course). I am very interested to see how this impressive integrated system performs on the coast. So far looks great! I am very hopeful!

Wouldn't that be something if we use this for the Team Selects and didn't need any Base Workers (except for backup?)

Very impressive work by Alvaro and Simon.

Check out my video of both systems working together.....

Alvaro Silgado's "MotCam" Software - Madrid, Spain (3 min 55 sec)
Last edited by David Olson; May 10, 2017 at 02:23 AM.
May 11, 2017, 09:28 PM
Registered User
nodlehs's Avatar
But what about ME???

Actually, I can't wait to see this in action!!!
Jul 16, 2017, 01:04 AM
Team USA F3F Member
ttraver's Avatar
Ran Simon's system with the MotCam addon today at a contest at Point Fermin.

After some configuration mods it worked pretty well, but the changing lighting conditions gave us troubles.

We've got most all of the issues with Simon's system worked out. I still have the old team unit, but I'm building the other stuff (anemometer and display units).

Since we were going base worker less, I had to have the base units on tripods to have clear site, and I think that made for better overall connectivity between things. I may want to make that the default even if we have button pushers and figure out the remote button thing. I don't think there were any misses from connectivity this time.

Look over on the F3X MotCam thread to see my report.

Sep 30, 2017, 02:23 AM
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SimonWatts's Avatar

New CD unit for the timing system

I have developed a new CD unit for the system that now connects to F3xvault via wifi. Full colour touchscreen and works with the other timing system units.

At the moment only for F3F.

Instructions and a (not very good) video of the unit:

F3X CD Unit Demo1 (7 min 30 sec)

Sep 30, 2017, 03:46 AM
David Olson's Avatar
Thread OP
Great news Simon! Congratulations!

I know you have been working a lot on the new CD unit.

I read through the manual and watched the video, it is amazing you can download a contest from the Vault into the CD unit and then back to the Vault as the contest progresses.

I want one! I will email you........excellent job!
Sep 30, 2017, 08:42 AM
Registered User
concreteman's Avatar
Tim got a penalty lol!

We really appreciate the efforts, the systems involved are really making the contest environment more friendly and involved.

Sep 30, 2017, 12:45 PM
Team USA F3F Member
ttraver's Avatar
Sweeet! Can't wait till I get mine!

WD, that was a TEST penalty...I don't get real penalties. I paid extra so that when I'm up and you press that button, it may SEEM like I'm getting a penalty, but it doesn't upload...

One of these days I'll beat you anyways...

Great work Simon!
Feb 05, 2018, 07:02 AM
Albany, the place to slope off
When do we get one down in Albany Simon
Feb 05, 2018, 07:22 AM
Registered User
SimonWatts's Avatar
Originally Posted by MosyCott
When do we get one down in Albany Simon
Steve. You'll see it in action in Albany in just a few weeks

See you there!

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