DIY Navigation-Computer OpenVarion (Open-source)

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kburkhard

Member
Joined
Dec 17, 2014
Messages
15
Location
Germany
Hi Pilot-friends,

A rather spectacular DIY-project was designed and developed by a group of future engineers of the Academic-Pilot-Group of the Technical University of Graz/Austria.

A very well designed and even good looking Open-Source Navigation-, Soaring- and Flight-Computer, run by Open-Source Software XCSoar. Basically (but not exclusively) designed and developed for glider-pilots, the Flight-Computer is a very good and useful addition to any cockpit-panel. The best of all: Design, drawings, material-list and all you need for the build, can be downloaded at the website of the project-team free of charge. As the system is operated by the Open-source Navigation-Software XCSoar, no additional cost will arise later on by the need of updating the system or loading charts from anywhere in the world.

Material-cost is estimated to 400-500 € all together. Only problem I can see so far, that the OpenVario-Website is setup in a bar version talking from Electronic-Engineer to Electronic-Engineer in their specific technical language. Even so, the website is all in English-language.

A first and detailed description of the OpenVario-Project can be found at “UL-Segelflug.de/Blog”, at the moment in German-Language only (sorry).

UL-Segelflug.de is trying to build a bridge for people who have not studied Electronic-Science, but still like to build such a Computer. In the near future, we try to build-up a help-page with Links to Videos, showing how to solder SMD´s onto PCBs, explanations about special Technical-terms, Parts-lists and links to suppliers.

In between the blog-text, one can also find links direct to the OpenVario-Website, to the Builders-Blackboard where builders sell surplus-parts they had to order but don´t need.
One also can see at a map, whereabout the already builders are registered, 20 within Europe, 1 in the USA. You can also find their contact-address, so you can contact one or the other and ask questions about their build.

If there is a demand for an English-translation of those bridging-blogs at UL-Segelflug.de, future blogs covering the subject can also be published be-lingual (German & English).

Hope, that this fascinating and outstanding project will find lots of pilots/clubs, who are not afraid of a build-project like that and start assambling their own Nav-Computer soon.
Would be nice hearing from you. Contact via Website UL-Segelflug.de
You also can go direct to the OpenVario-Website of course, if you prefer the direct way to the project and do not need any further explanations.

Best regards from Germany

Klaus
 
Last edited:

Chlomo

Well-Known Member
Joined
Oct 8, 2014
Messages
120
Location
Seoul
Shall we talk about this promising new gadget?If I can build a true glass cockpit for 500 eruros then BOOOYA!
 

Blue Chips

Well-Known Member
Joined
Oct 15, 2014
Messages
370
Location
Mount Gilead Ohio, USA
Strange, first time I'd seen it.

Things like this do peek my interest but me and electronics just don't mix especially with this excerpt

"talking from Electronic-Engineer to Electronic-Engineer in their specific technical language"
 

fredoyster

Well-Known Member
Joined
Mar 20, 2012
Messages
333
Location
Monterey Bay, CA
Klaus, thanks for posting this, it's a good progress report. The students at Graz have done a great job with mechanical integration making it a solid package for flight. It looks as well made as most of the commercial EFISs. Basically it's the XC-Soar software (XCSoar - ... the open-source glide computer) running on a Cubieboard (embedded Linux computer) with air data sensors integrated. The parts lists say "seedstudio?" as a source for the PC boards but they don't seem to have made that arrangement yet. Seeedstudio (note the extra e) has a lot of neat stuff but these boards are not there. Schematics, board layouts and Gerber files seem to be present but I have not checked to see that everything is there. Realistically someone needs to be already plugged in to the embedded computer world to make use of this. There is certainly enough info there however for someone who is, to take it to a kit that can be assembled by non-hackers.
 

kburkhard

Member
Joined
Dec 17, 2014
Messages
15
Location
Germany
Hi Fred,

sorry for late reply, but after-works from Aero-Friedrichshafen kept me busy.

Parts all together I payed about 360 €!
The only and real problem -not to underestimate- is the soldering of those tiny parts. Normal soldering-equipment does not work at all, at least not by soldering some of the tiny SMD´s onto the boards. Many of those SMD´s have size of approx. 4x1,5x1 mm, some are little bigger, but have six or eight soldering-pads at the bottom-side. Not to be soldered with usual soldering-tip, but hot-air soldering-gun urgently needed. I was lucky to find a young pilot-friend, who did the soldering of the PCB´s for me, as I have no experience of such work at all.
Second problem is the ordering of the parts, as they come from 5 or 6 different suppliers from Germany, France, Italy, Chine and USA, so they all charge for shipping, some of them really expensive. Best way would be to order Parts for builder-group of several builders.
As I heard at the Aero, one of the German Glider-Suppliers is interested in building the computer and offer it for sale. Sure this will cost more the the parts themselves, but as long as the selling-price is not more then 600 – 800 €, I think this would be o.k.


At the moment, 29 builders are registered at the website, but there are sure some who did not register themselves. According to my knowledge, about 10 OV-Computers are finished and build in to gliders.


My one is still under construction, but nearly all soldering is done. As soon as I get the soldered pieces back from my friend, I´ll try to install the OV into my Banjo. Hope it works! Of course, I´ll write a new blog about my experiances as soon as I can.



Best regards from Germany


Klaus
 
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