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Spartan RC Spartan RC - Quark, DS760 Gyros and other Spartan RC Electronics Factory Support


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Old 02-23-2012, 04:58 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default The Spartan DataPod thread

The DataPod has been launched this week and stock is in transit to shops. It has been marketed as a display terminal for configuring Spartan gyros and soon the Vortex VX1 flybarless, but it is a bit more than that. I hope this post will allow people to see the bigger picture.

The DataPod is miniature computer that can run various programs (applications) that you can load to it from your computer via USB. The pre-installed application "Editor for ds760 & Quark", as you would expect, allows tweaking the configuration parameters of these gyros. But in the following months other handy tools will be provided. For example:

* The "USB Joystick" app turns the DataPod into a USB joystick. Plug a PPM/SBUS/Sat receiver and you can wirelessly play games and certain simulators that accept joystick control. (You still need the original sim dongle or use a free sim)

* The "RC Diagnostic Tools" app provides servo tester, radio latency analysis, servo pulse measurements such as position and frame rate and even a simulated oscilloscope view. Other handy tools can be added as ideas fly around.

So, why are all these apps pre-loaded? Well, the hardware has limited capabilities and there is only so much computer code that can fit in it. Also certain things are by nature incompatible, extremely complicated to implement and the product may loose it user friendliness it it can't auto detect your gyro, etc.

The last thing that is built in the DataPod its bootloader and "Bridge Mode". To enable either one press the [S] button whist plugging it to USB. The bootloader enables the DataPod to receive new apps. The Bridge Mode allows other products like the Vortex VX1 to be connected to USB through the DataPod so they can receive firmware updates.

If you have questions about your DataPod this is the thread to ask. Also I will be proving here notifications when new apps become available.

Cheers,
Angelos

Guide to Updating the DataPod for use with the Vortex VX1 and VX1n

Step-by-step video guide to applying firmware updates to the Datapod, Vortex VX1 and VX1n
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Last edited by Bob O; 04-01-2014 at 01:16 PM.. Reason: update description to include VX1n
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Old 02-23-2012, 05:53 PM   #2 (permalink)
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What connectivity does the data pod have? How much memory? Any potential for use as a logger?

Steve
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Old 02-23-2012, 06:10 PM   #3 (permalink)
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There are just two signal lines but support multiple protocols and signals I2C, UART, PWM generation and sampling, controllable pull up/down. The micro is a PIC24FJ64GB002 and it's internal peripherals can me remapped though a multiplexer to the two signal lines of the DataPod.

No onboard EEPROM but the 64K program flash (less space taken by the USB bootloader) can store data given some limitations. It has no byte access so it must be programmed in blocks and erased in even larger block. The CPU pauses during the few milliseconds that an erase or programming takes place.

The hardware is not really suited to make a data-logger but you can make a nice viewer for another PCB that does the logging.

-Angelos
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Last edited by Angelos; 02-24-2012 at 06:58 AM.. Reason: Added CPU part number and description.
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Old 02-23-2012, 06:34 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Default "Virtual Flash-Link" vs "Bridge Mode"

I am sure this will be asked a lot. Effectively both "Virtual Flash-Link" and "Bridge Mode" offer the same end result. They allow another Spartan products to be connected to the computer though the USB port of the DataPod.

The Bridge Mode is the new system and offers a more elegant implementation. It used drivers that are built in Windows and other operating systems so it installs instantly and with no need for computer skills. The Bridge Mode is built in to the DataPod and is always available regardless of what application is installed. To activate hold the DataPod's [S] button pressed whist plugging it to USB.

The Virtual Flash-Link makes the DataPod appear as a serial (COM) port on your computer, thus allowing the older ds760 and Quark PC programs to communicate with the gyro through the DataPod as these programs don't support the new Bridge Mode. Virtual Flash-Link is part of the DataPod application "Editor for ds760 & Quark" and was introduced in version 1v10. To activate just plug the DataPod to USB.

Cheers,
Angelos
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Old 02-24-2012, 03:08 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Looks like I gotta start watching the sites so I can get my grips on one. I'm gonna need it for the VX1!

Scott
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Old 02-27-2012, 03:57 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Ha! My DataPod is on the way! Thanks so much!

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Old 02-27-2012, 05:46 PM   #7 (permalink)
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It only took 8 days to arrive in Michigan.

I can't believe how small it is!! Comes in a nice hard plastic case with foam pocket inside.
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Old 02-27-2012, 05:59 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bob O View Post
It only took 8 days to arrive in Michigan.
Excellent news. Did you have the chance to play with it yet? BTW, there is already a firmware update that adds the Virtual Flash-Link functionality to the pre-release units. The ones that we ship now have it already installed. Unfortunately the computer side software to apply the update is not yet finished to market standards but I can sort you out with email or something if you want to apply it the update.

EDIT: By the way, this should be the first DataPod to arrive in USA!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bob O View Post
Comes in a nice hard plastic case with foam pocket inside.
Regrading the case, we noticed that few of them have some plastic flashing at the latch which stops it working nicely. Not sure what yours is but you may need to trim just a tiny bit (0.5mm or so) from the inside of the latch to fix it. To verify, it is the moving side of the latch that needs to be trimmed and not the little tab on the case that it catches on. We check these more thoroughly now.

Cheers,
Angelos
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Old 02-27-2012, 06:25 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Angelos,

The latch on my case is working just fine.

Due to working 12-hour midnight shift, I haven't had a chance to test it out. Work, sleep, shower, eat, repeat.....LOL!!

I can wait for the release of the computer side software, Angelos. Not a problem. If you'd like to email it that's fine too. If you have my spartan-rc account name, feel free to send it.
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Old 02-28-2012, 10:48 AM   #10 (permalink)
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I'll be giving the DataPod a go with a Quark after lunch.

ADDED:

Everything went well, no problems!

https://www.helifreak.com/showthread...37#post3703537
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Last edited by Bob O; 02-29-2012 at 10:42 AM.. Reason: add information
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Old 03-09-2012, 01:39 PM   #11 (permalink)
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My DataPod arrived a couple of days ago. Now all I need is the Vortex VX1!

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Old 03-09-2012, 01:40 PM   #12 (permalink)
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Yup mine arrived this week, I'll be using it this Sunday to tune my ds760 .... something is really wrong with it, it goes ape crazy when i try to do reversals.
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Old 03-26-2012, 03:23 PM   #13 (permalink)
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Hi Guys,
Where can I get the datapod in the US?
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Old 03-26-2012, 03:26 PM   #14 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nirtza79 View Post
Hi Guys,
Where can I get the datapod in the US?
There's a list of US dealers on the website, but I don't think they stock it yet.

You might be able to order it directly from the spartan-rc store.

http://www.spartanrc.com/store/
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Old 03-26-2012, 03:28 PM   #15 (permalink)
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Thanks,
I did see it on the Spartan webstore but wanted to buy it locally....
Any idea when they will have it?
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Old 03-26-2012, 03:52 PM   #16 (permalink)
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http://www.empirerc.com/ have received their order but they have not listed them yet.

http://www.heliwholesaler.com/ have received their order but they are distributors. You will need to contact them to see where the stock went.

http://www.helidirect.com/ shipment should be on the way this week.

-Angelos
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Old 03-28-2012, 09:33 AM   #17 (permalink)
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Hi Angelos,
Just received an email from HeliDirect that they will not carry the DataPod.
I am confused..
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Old 03-28-2012, 10:53 AM   #18 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nirtza79 View Post
Hi Angelos,
Just received an email from HeliDirect that they will not carry the DataPod.
I am confused..
They are probably more confused than you! We have an order from them.

In any case, I emailed Empire soon after my last post here who confirmed that they have received the DataPods but the person who maintains the website was out of office so they have not been listed yet.

-Angelos
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Old 03-30-2012, 07:35 AM   #19 (permalink)
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The DataPods are now listed at Empire Hobby. http://www.empirerc.com/advanced_sea...partan&x=0&y=0

Cheers,
Angelos
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Old 03-30-2012, 07:42 AM   #20 (permalink)
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