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Sep 10, 2018, 07:46 AM
Registered User
This open source project is great and it opens the opportunity for many to build this system for themselves and train alone.

Since I am not a programmer, I was wondering whether it would be possible to develop an (android) app and add functionality in terms of timing system and pilot database,... etc and store everything in the app? This would allow to manage a f3f race with only 2 camera systems and one phone.
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Sep 10, 2018, 08:12 AM
iSlope
Pisaneli's Avatar
Subscribed.
Sep 10, 2018, 10:00 AM
Registered User
Quote:
Originally Posted by SoarFreak
This open source project is great and it opens the opportunity for many to build this system for themselves and train alone.

Since I am not a programmer, I was wondering whether it would be possible to develop an (android) app and add functionality in terms of timing system and pilot database,... etc and store everything in the app? This would allow to manage a f3f race with only 2 camera systems and one phone.
Work already happening to integrate with existing systems.
https://www.rcgroups.com/forums/show...9&postcount=33
Sep 10, 2018, 10:05 AM
Registered User
I have seen that, however this adds another system. I was wondering if only two cameras can be used with an appropriate app to do all the needed tasks for race management.
I also support the integration of system you mentioned if it is/will be relatively low cost and also open source.
Sep 12, 2018, 07:49 AM
iSlope
Pisaneli's Avatar
Hi everyone

Just thinking out loud. Would it be possible to implement this into already existing F3F timing app for android?

https://github.com/marktreble/f3f-timer/#installation
Sep 15, 2018, 12:08 PM
F3B and F3K
RetoF3X's Avatar
Tested today the piCam tracker on the field. Flew some distance laps and it was picking up the plane fine at medium to low altitudes. There were some spurious beeps, but the ones for the plane were easy to detect: first I knew where the beep should be and second there were always two beeps in rapid succession ( flying over the base and back ).
So for F3B practice it seems to work!
Thanks Barney!
Sep 19, 2018, 04:49 AM
iSlope
Pisaneli's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by barney-NG

Simon, Olav and me we are still working on the PCB to integrate power, shutdown and wireless switch on one easy to solder pcb.
Hi guys

Do you perhaps have release date for this new PCB?

Thanks,
Sep 19, 2018, 04:11 PM
Registered User
barney-NG's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by RetoF3X
So for F3B practice it seems to work!
Thanks Barney!
So at the end you build up your own tracking device and it is working!

Cool Reto!
Sep 19, 2018, 05:17 PM
Registered User
barney-NG's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Pisaneli
Do you perhaps have release date for this new PCB?
Simon is going mad because the low voltage detection is not working as expected.

Please give him some time...

Best regards

Barney
Sep 20, 2018, 08:53 AM
F3B and F3K
RetoF3X's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by barney-NG
So at the end you build up your own tracking device and it is working!

Cool Reto!
We actually employed the system at Base B last Sunday in a practice session with five winches (so lots of speed runs back to back) and two pilots. We had a helper at Base B and the beeping was very consistent between the PiCAM tracker and the human observer.

It still makes some spurious beeps (birds, big planes, clouds, other), but overall it was encouraging.

Best,
Reto

PS: I get quite loud piezo buzzing through 150m of speaker wire without amplifying the signal with a transistor.
Sep 21, 2018, 08:51 AM
Registered User
SimonWatts's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by barney-NG
Simon is going mad because the low voltage detection is not working as expected.

Please give him some time...

Best regards

Barney
Thanks Barney. All sorted out now

I had to go without the low battery voltage detection, but I've added battery voltage monitoring via the xbee. This is available to the Raspberry Pi or a remote unit (like my timing system).

So the piCAMTracker Hat provides the following:
  • Regulator providing stable 5V to the Raspberry Pi
  • Safe shutdown of the Raspberry Pi
  • Xbee radio unit, serially connected to the Raspberry Pi
  • Power and Network LEDs
  • External header for three inputs to piCAMTracker and the Turn and Cut signals
  • Monitoring by the xbee of the Turn and Cut signals from piCAMTracker, battery voltage, and the three input signals. Transmits any change to the timing system
  • One of the input signals configured as an external switch input
  • Piezo buzzer linked to the Turn signal

Photos show the PCB, built up unit and piCAMTracker. Also showing two piCAMTracker units connected to my timing system CD unit.

I'll provide the circuit diagram and PCB files to Barney to add to his GitHub pages so you can build your own. Or, if anyone wants a blank PCB, a built up PCB, or a complete piCAMTracker, then send me a PM or email. I'll bring some blank PCBs to Rugen. You'll find me with the Aussie F3F team

Many thanks to Olav for his help in sorting out the issues I found. And also for updating the 3D print files for the case to fit my PCB.

Now I just need some good flying weather to test Barney's latest updates to piCAMTracker!

Simon
Sep 22, 2018, 01:41 AM
Registered User
Simon, congrats on making a nice package and developing this system. Since I am not familiar with some of the terminology, could you just in short explain what does your system do? Is it possible to use it only for training (just beep at each base), is the buzzer located at the middle of two bases, is the timing system needed for the system to work, what is the approx cost, etc...
Sep 22, 2018, 09:11 AM
Registered User
SimonWatts's Avatar
If you just add my board to piCAMTracker, then you don't get a complete training system. It just adds the capability to link into a central system.

The reason for developing the board for piCAMTracker was primarily to make it easy to connect to my timing system. So I guess it was a bit of selfish move. My timing system runs on the xbee 2.4GHz network to link bases, the contest director, anemometer and other units. It provides full F3F contest management and timing and also links into F3XVault for live results.

With the board that I have developed, the piCAMTracker is integrated to my timing system. No cables and a reliable network. The timing system also has training modes. So it can run a full flight - countdowns, turn signals, lap counts and flight time announcement. Or just turn signals and lap time announcement for lap training.

The xbee radio modules provide a much greater range than wifi, which is one of the reasons I use them. Out of the box, piCAMTracker only has wifi, so adding an xbee module was one way of improving range.

But you don't necessarily need my timing system or the board I developed to use piCAMTracker. It provides a number of opportunities for anyone wanting a training system.

As Barney designed it, it would not be difficult to hook up a relay and use cable to a buzzer at the center of the course. Pretty limited in functionality, but cheap and simple.

It looks like some people have had some success with wifi if you hack the Raspberry Pi to add an external antenna to get more range. There's still a need for some sort of central unit to do timing and signalling though. Maybe this will get developed for Android phones.

And there's other radio modules out there being used to link back to a central system.

I am thinking of developing a simple radio linked central unit to work with piCAMTracker to provide F3F training. Rather than the relatively complex and costly CD unit I developed for contests, it would be a small device that can provide turn signals and announce lap or flight times.

Rather than clog up Barney's piCAMTracker thread with details on my timing system, I'll PM anyone who expresses interest in finding out more about it. There is an RC Groups thread started by David Olson. It's a bit outdated now, but it will give you an idea of what the system does.
https://www.rcgroups.com/forums/show...-and-F3B/page7

Simon
Sep 25, 2018, 11:32 AM
Registered User
Thanks Simon for all those achievement :
Sep 26, 2018, 12:33 AM
Registered User
Quote:
Originally Posted by SimonWatts
If you just add my board to piCAMTracker, then you don't get a complete training system. It just adds the capability to link into a central system.

The reason for developing the board for piCAMTracker was primarily to make it easy to connect to my timing system. So I guess it was a bit of selfish move. My timing system runs on the xbee 2.4GHz network to link bases, the contest director, anemometer and other units. It provides full F3F contest management and timing and also links into F3XVault for live results.

With the board that I have developed, the piCAMTracker is integrated to my timing system. No cables and a reliable network. The timing system also has training modes. So it can run a full flight - countdowns, turn signals, lap counts and flight time announcement. Or just turn signals and lap time announcement for lap training.

The xbee radio modules provide a much greater range than wifi, which is one of the reasons I use them. Out of the box, piCAMTracker only has wifi, so adding an xbee module was one way of improving range.

But you don't necessarily need my timing system or the board I developed to use piCAMTracker. It provides a number of opportunities for anyone wanting a training system.

As Barney designed it, it would not be difficult to hook up a relay and use cable to a buzzer at the center of the course. Pretty limited in functionality, but cheap and simple.

It looks like some people have had some success with wifi if you hack the Raspberry Pi to add an external antenna to get more range. There's still a need for some sort of central unit to do timing and signalling though. Maybe this will get developed for Android phones.

And there's other radio modules out there being used to link back to a central system.

I am thinking of developing a simple radio linked central unit to work with piCAMTracker to provide F3F training. Rather than the relatively complex and costly CD unit I developed for contests, it would be a small device that can provide turn signals and announce lap or flight times.

Rather than clog up Barney's piCAMTracker thread with details on my timing system, I'll PM anyone who expresses interest in finding out more about it. There is an RC Groups thread started by David Olson. It's a bit outdated now, but it will give you an idea of what the system does.
https://www.rcgroups.com/forums/show...-and-F3B/page7

Simon
Thank you Simon for the extended explanation. I think I understand now. What I was primarily looking for was a simple system, which would allow training alone without having the need to have two persons at the bases.
Anyway it is great to see such devotion towards developing a whole timing system using the PiCam and I think many people will go with the whole timing system.


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