Changes to the Big Red Bee GPS
| November 8, 2012 | 1:31 pm | Reviews | Comments closed


BigRedBee has recently completed the transition to a new version of the
70cm Beeline GPS. Major highlights include a new u-blox NEO-6 GPS module
as well as a 100mw amplified version.

The 50-channel u-blox NEO-6 offers increased GPS receiver sensitivity resulting
in quicker lock times and the ability to lock indoors. Lock times after
motor burnout are vastly improved, and flights with low thrust profiles may
maintain a continuous GPS lock. The NEO-6 package is more physically robust
than the Trimble Lassen IQ previously used, eliminating the 8-pin surface
mount connector that was a common failure point. The active ceramic GPS
patch antenna connects to the board via a standard u.fl, allowing easy
antenna replacement for custom applications.

The new 70cm BeeLine GPS also incorporates 1M-bit of non-voltile storage for
in-flight recording of latitude, longitude and altitude. Eight times larger
than the previous version, it can store slightly more than 2.5 hours of
data compared to 20 minutes on the original. Because storage times are
dramatically increased, the g-switch option has been eliminated.

A new 100mw amplified version has been added. The additional power enables
flights in excess of 250K’ AGL vs 75K’ of the original unit. Power
consumption is approximately two times higher than the low power version
(resulting in a battery life of approximately 10 hours) but all other
features remain unchanged. It is not possible to upgrade the 16mw version
to the 100mw version. This 100mw device was used on the flight that captured the
Carmack Prize.

70cm BeeLine GPS 16mw
Size: 28mm x 63mm
Weight: 44 grams including 850 mah battery
Battery life: Approximately 20 hours transmitting once every 5 seconds.

70cm BeeLine GPS 100mw

Size: 31mm x 74mm
Weight: 46 grams including 850 mah battery
Battery life: Approximately 10 hours transmitting once every 5 seconds.

PerfectFlite Altimeters
| October 12, 2012 | 12:31 pm | Reviews | Comments closed

So back in 2004\2005 I needed a new altimeter to replace an aging Olsen altimeter that was really no longer being supported.  I wanted one as a backup to my G-Wiz MC for the flight of my 14x upscale of the Estes NASA Pegasus.  I had read about the Perfectflite altimeters for a while and decided to give them a chance.

PerfectFlite Altimeters

 The one that I received was the MiniAlt WD (MAWD) and I have flown it on many rockets over the last 6 to 7 years.  I have flown it in single stage and dual stage rockets on anything from Js to Os.  So a year or so back I damaged it due to my own error and was not sure how it was going to to work.  It tested OK but the next time I flew it in a rocket the only reason the rocket did not come back in hot was due to motor ejection.  It did not fire either of the two charges off, but I was still not sure if it was something I did or the altimeter.  It still tested like there were no problems with the unit.

So, it was time to replace the altimeter and since I had such good luck with the MAWD I went back to the PerfectFlite web site to see what they were up to.  As luck would have it, they were still making altimeters. But there were a few changes in them.  They were still right around the same size but the new unit, now called the StratoLogger, was bigger.  It’s still a small altimeter though, it’s 2.75″L x 0.9″W x 0.5″H and will fit into a 29mm tube.

This new altimeter is a great little unit.  Besides having to outputs for apogee and main chute deployment it also measures the temperature, and the battery voltage.  There is also an audio out port where the user can add either LEDs or an external speaker.  There is also telemetry data being outputted so you could connect it to a radio and transmit your altitudes in real time.  It has enough memory on the unit to store 31 nine minute flights.

The altimeter has more options and abilities than most altimeters of the same size.  And the best part is the retail price is just $71.96, but if you buy two of them the price drops to $67.96.  You just can’t beat being able to get an altimeter for that price with all the features this one has.

You can get the full specs of the altimeter at their web site,