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


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Old 09-03-2010, 04:05 PM   #81 (permalink)
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> Hmmmm... and I see that Angelos suggested the name HERE so I guess he gets "prize" of the pre-production unit as promised HERE!!!

We have been using the name DataPod in the office for the last couple of weeks. Though it was just one of the options at first it sort of stuck. I would still like to give a free pre-production unit, perhaps pick my next favourite name or one at random?

> My first thought was disappointment to not see a "top secret" area of the instructions blacked out just to keep up the guessing games a little longer!!

Actually there are a few more interesting things you can do with it that will be added via firmware updates later. So now that you know you can continue guessing The instructions at the rear are very basic explaining how to operate the unit. Additional PDF will provided for each product the DataPod interfaces to: ds760, Quark, iGV etc.

> I have a suspicion that it's firmware will be USB upgradable

Yes the DataPod is firmware upgradable. Also it can be used to bridge other products (Quark, ds760, iGV, etc) to the computer and update their firmware.

> Rather frustratingly a search on that bar-code comes up blank!

In contrast I am glad it comes back blank. UPC numbers are meant to be unique.

-Angelos
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Old 09-03-2010, 04:11 PM   #82 (permalink)
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Someday I will have to teach you how to Multiqoute Angelos
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Old 09-03-2010, 04:13 PM   #83 (permalink)
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Quote:
Someday I will
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have to teach you
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how to Multiqoute Angelos
I know how it is done. I just prefer the >

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Old 09-03-2010, 04:20 PM   #84 (permalink)
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Quote:
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> Hmmmm... and I see that Angelos suggested the name HERE so I guess he gets "prize" of the pre-production unit as promised HERE!!!

We have been using the name DataPod in the office for the last couple of weeks. Though it was just one of the options at first it sort of stuck. I would still like to give a free pre-production unit, perhaps pick my next favourite name or one at random?
Or perhaps on the basis of bare-faced cheek and observational skills?

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> My first thought was disappointment to not see a "top secret" area of the instructions blacked out just to keep up the guessing games a little longer!!

Actually there are a few more interesting things you can do with it that will be added via firmware updates later. So now that you know you can continue guessing The instructions at the rear are very basic explaining how to operate the unit. Additional PDF will provided for each product the DataPod interfaces to: ds760, Quark, iGV etc.
Well recovered, that man!!!!!

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> Rather frustratingly a search on that bar-code comes up blank!

In contrast I am glad it comes back blank. UPC numbers are meant to be unique.
Ah, but that suggests that your photo is a mock-up! I was actually looking for adjacent codes in the hope that they weren't allocated randomly, but that you might been have allocated a block. Of course if you had, with code names like we've been suggesting, I'd have been none the wiser!!!!


Steve
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Old 09-04-2010, 03:59 AM   #85 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Steve Evans;
Ah, but that suggests that your photo is a mock-up! I was actually looking for adjacent codes in the hope that they weren't allocated randomly, but that you might been have allocated a block. Of course if you had, with code names like we've been suggesting, I'd have been none the wiser!!!!


Steve
Of couse it is a mock-up! It is 3D illustration from SolidWorks. But it is 100% accurate as it was put together directly from the engineering drawings and artwork we have prepared for production. The bardcode is correct but you won't find it in any database as nobody has entered it. The UPC managing authority only care that product/number assignment is unique. They are not interested in the product name. As such entering the name in 3rd party barcode databases is optional.

As for the instructions I figured that this is the only time people will read them. Once the product is on the market nobody looks at them

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Old 09-04-2010, 04:40 AM   #86 (permalink)
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Hi Angelos,

On the subject of those rarely read instructions; I see that the DataPod offers support of some sort for Intel based Apple Macs running 10.6.x or later.

What kind of support does this refer to? The Quark config software is currently windows only, so does this imply that OS X versions of the config software will be forthcoming, or will this only apply to firmware upgrades of the DataPod itself?

What about us folks who are still happily using 10.5.x on PowerPC based Macs? Will your support really be Intel only rather than universal?

Steve
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Old 09-05-2010, 03:06 PM   #87 (permalink)
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The reference to OSX is for the DataPod's own firmware updater. For the Quark and other new products that connect to the computer via the DataPod we will offer at least a basic firmware updater for OSX. Sorry no plans for supporting PowerPC Macs at this time.

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Old 09-05-2010, 03:11 PM   #88 (permalink)
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Given that the whole idea of the datapod is to avoid needing a laptop, I guess to only have to drag the heli through to the PC I use as a backup server for updates won't really be a hardship!

Steve
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Old 09-07-2010, 09:29 AM   #89 (permalink)
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I know the name pickup competition is almost considered over, but what about naming it GyBoard ? Or GyControl ? That would sound "spartan" enough...

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Old 09-08-2010, 04:17 PM   #90 (permalink)
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Actually there are a few more interesting things you can do with it that will be added via firmware updates later. So now that you know you can continue guessing
Steve,

I'm gonna spoil it again... The following are ideas of extra functionality the DataPod could provide via future firmware updates. They are theoretically possible but they are still untested, thus there is a tiny possibility that some may not happen.

* The DataPod could be connected to a serial pulse receiver (Futaba/Robbe R6007SP or R6107SP) or SBUS receiver (Futaba R6108SB) or Spektrum satellite which will enable it to read all servo channels via a single connection. Using the right firmware the DataPod can present itself as a USB joystick to the computer. Thus you could use your radio wirelessly for flight sim or games.

* Could be used as a mini oscilloscope to display servo pulses and measure pulse width, frequency, etc.

* Could be used to measure the latency of the radio system, but I won't say how that's done You can try guessing.

Oh, there is more but I won't mention them just yet.

-Angelos
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Old 09-08-2010, 04:37 PM   #91 (permalink)
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Quote:
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* Could be used to measure the latency of the radio system, but I won't say how that's done You can try guessing.


-Angelos

Have one of the servos move the Tx stick ?
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Old 09-08-2010, 04:52 PM   #92 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HFG;
Have one of the servos move the Tx stick ?
Isn't that going to induce an unknown delay from the servo? The inductance of the motor windings causes 5-10ms delay before the motor even starts turning. That is significant in comparison to what we try to measure.

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Old 09-08-2010, 05:05 PM   #93 (permalink)
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Yes, but that is the real delay of the system. Let me keep thinking of a better way (that the average pilot can do).
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Old 09-08-2010, 05:54 PM   #94 (permalink)
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Yes, but that is the real delay of the system.
I agree with that. But since different servos would give different results and they are also affected by the voltage it is best to leave them out of the equation. This will make comparions of different radios more accurate and meaningful.

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Old 09-08-2010, 06:02 PM   #95 (permalink)
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A servo deadband test would be very helpful.
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Old 09-09-2010, 01:57 AM   #96 (permalink)
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Steve,

I'm gonna spoil it again... The following are ideas of extra functionality the DataPod could provide via future firmware updates. They are theoretically possible but they are still untested, thus there is a tiny possibility that some may not happen.
Spoil? This is quite entertaining! I'd been thinking about suggesting you support using the DataPod as an S-Bus channel assignment controller (you'll recall where that idea stems from! ), but now you've opened this pandora's box yourself... here goes!

The following assumes that you have two IO channels, both of which can support PWM/SP/S-Bus (in either direction) as well as USB.
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* The DataPod could be connected to a serial pulse receiver (Futaba/Robbe R6007SP or R6107SP) or SBUS receiver (Futaba R6108SB) or Spektrum satellite which will enable it to read all servo channels via a single connection. Using the right firmware the DataPod can present itself as a USB joystick to the computer. Thus you could use your radio wirelessly for flight sim or games.
Presumably you'd also be able to read PWM outputs from a tx directly using the SP format (which I believe is the same as you get out of the trainer port normally used for sim connection). In that case you could use the DataPod as a wired USB->tx interface without the cost of an rx. Power will be an interesting issue in either case, but there's a bigger problem...

What's the most popular sim? Phoenix at a guess. And their business model for licensing? They license the USB-dongle. If you start supporting whatever USB interface it is they provide you'll be getting a letter from their legal team!!!! Of course you could still use the DataPod as a bridge from an SP or S-Bus rx to trainer port PWM interface (redundant in the first case?) to make the Phoenix USB dongle wireless. You still have the power issue to contend with.
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* Could be used as a mini oscilloscope to display servo pulses and measure pulse width, frequency, etc.
Or generate servo pulses for use as a servo tester... I'll be shocked if you don't include that one!!!!

But why not go a step further and support the various manfacturers' protocols for digital servo programming for setting speed, limits, rates, endpoints, deadband etc? And as mentioned above, for S-Bus this would include channel assignment.
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* Could be used to measure the latency of the radio system, but I won't say how that's done You can try guessing.
Connect an output to the PWM input of the tx trainer port, and and monitor an rx output via the input would be one way. That'll not be measuring stick to rx response though. To do that you could connect an output, via a suitable resistor, to the centre pot connection for one stick axis in the tx, but that would involve surgery. Should the tx manufacturers start using graycoded optical position detection for sticks you'd be sunk doing that too!
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Oh, there is more but I won't mention them just
Doesn't mean we won't stop suggesting them! Hmmmm... should we be giving you all these ideas for free? My patent portfolio could do with a boost to get it into double figures!

Steve
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Old 09-09-2010, 02:43 AM   #97 (permalink)
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I agree with that. But since different servos would give different results and they are also affected by the voltage it is best to leave them out of the equation. This will make comparions of different radios more accurate and meaningful.
Come to think of it, what are you trying to measure? What do you mean by "latency of the radio system"? From stick or switch or trainer input? CCPM mixer delay (I presume there is some, but there may be deterministic mixing being done all the time). Transmission delay?

For users, all that really matters is stick to servo movement. So perhaps HFG's suggestion is a good one if the servo used it the one that'll be used on the model. You could have the DataPod drive a movement of the servo, and time how long before the servo has moved the stick, the tx has sampled, mixed, encoded and transmitted the signal, the rx received it, and sent it to the DataPod again. So, the sequence of events (ignoring the DataPod processing) won't be stick->sample->mix->encode->transmit->receive->decode->output->servo, but rather servo->stick->sample->mix->encode->transmit->receive->decode->output which should amount to the same thing. Still, it could be a bit messy to setup mechanically!

On a similar note being able to time from the DataPod generating an output change to seeing an input, could be interesting for measuring the response of flybarless units and gyros.

I have wondered if the cyclic mixing performed in a tx adds a delay over direct output and how much delay there is when flybarless units do the mixing. The 3G is unusual because you use the tx mixing compared to say, the V-Bar or Skookum which do mixing for you. It would be interesting to see if tx mixing and a 3G is faster or slower than no tx-mixing and a V-Bar.

Steve
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Old 09-09-2010, 03:11 AM   #98 (permalink)
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Power will be an interesting issue in either case...
Does the DataPod ever output USB power (5V) to the servo connectors or does it expect the rx to provide power?

Steve
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Old 09-09-2010, 04:46 AM   #99 (permalink)
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ESC programming?
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Old 09-09-2010, 01:53 PM   #100 (permalink)
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* Servo tester - Was already in my list.

* Deadband test - Was not in my list because the DataPod can't do it automatically. It does not have built in current measurement ability and thus it can't see when the motor starts to draw power. I suppose it could be done manually by modulating the pulse between two positions and manually increasing the gap until the motor starts to buzz.

* SBUS setting tool - Was already in my list. Actually I just ordered the Futaba one two days ago to see what commands it sends to change the channel.

* digital servo programming - Seems viable but probably too much hassle trying to constantly keep up with changes in their firmware. Unless they are willing to co-operate with us I will probably give this one a miss.

* ESC programming - I have invited one major brand to work with us on implementing this but they have not committed yet. I guess this may have to wait until we make our own ESC.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Steve Evans View Post
For users, all that really matters is stick to servo movement. So perhaps HFG's suggestion is a good one if the servo used it the one that'll be used on the model.
I agree this makes sense. But I am more interested in comparing the radios on their own. Since people don't usually have more than one radio I want to remove the servo delay from the measurement. This will allow for example to compare my 12FG with your 8FG without needing the same servo and exact same power source. My intention is to measure time from stick movement to change on the RX output.

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Originally Posted by Steve Evans View Post
What's the most popular sim? Phoenix at a guess. And their business model for licensing? They license the USB-dongle. If you start supporting whatever USB interface it is they provide you'll be getting a letter from their legal team!!!! Of course you could still use the DataPod as a bridge from an SP or S-Bus rx to trainer port PWM interface (redundant in the first case?) to make the Phoenix USB dongle wireless. You still have the power issue to contend with.
Power for the RX is available via USB. We don't intend to step on anyone's toes by bypassing the dongle. The sim software developers need make a living too. There are two ways integration with the sim could be done: 1) The DataPod will emulate the behaviour of a joystick. If the sim can work with external joystick (as many do) then you can choose to fly with that. 2) The DataPod can read SP, SBUS, Spekrum sat and produce a signal suitable to be fed to the sim's dongle.

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Originally Posted by Steve Evans View Post
Does the DataPod ever output USB power (5V) to the servo connectors or does it expect the rx to provide power?
Here are the hardware capabilities... it may inspire new ideas. There are two programmable pins offering the following:

* Digital input or output on both pins
* Programmable pull-ups or pull-downs on both pins
* RS232 transmit, receive or bi-directional on both pins
* Hardware I2C bus master or slave
* Hardware PWM capture or generation on both pins
* Hardware event (time capture) on both pins
* Interrupt from either pin
* Hardware/switched loop-back from one pin to the other
* Aprox 500mA power from USB switchable under software control

-Angelos
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