Here you can find Questions and Answers about the most common issues of SkyDrop

Device update

Q - Could you remind me how to go about updating the firmware?

A - There is web based online tool to update SkyDrop vario. Please pay attention to choose the correct version of vario.

SkyDrop v1 - firmware starting 5 (5xxx, e.g. 5305) - online configurator

SkyDrop v2 - firmware starting 8 (8xxx, e.g. 8079) - online configurator

NOTE - In any case don't cheat on your vario - Don't rename v2 firmware DROP2.FW to SKYDROP.FW (and vice versa), you will break your vario.

 

Broken LCD

Q - LCD on my vario is broken. What to do?

A - No worries, broken LCD can be repaired. The first of all write email to info@skybean.eu with subject "Broken LCD on SkyDrop".

 

Q - How much costs LCD repair? How do we proceed?

A - LCD repair on SkyDrop costs 39/32.5€ (w or w/o VAT) depends if you are inside or outside of EU. You will be asked to purchase LCD repair service on our eshop - skybean.eu/device-repair.

 

Q - Can I repair broken LCD by myself?

AIf you feel that you have some skill to DIY this repair, no problem, but obviously we cannot take guarantee for that. Here is video as example how to do LCD replacement. It is nothing dramatic, but you need some tools, like solder gun and also some skills with electronics. It is more less the same level like mobile phone LCD replacement. Easy for some people, but too difficult for the others. If you decide to do this job by yourself, you can buy it here - skybean.eu/lcd-skydrop

 

No sound - silent vario

Q - I suddenly can't hear the barrio sound. In demo mode, is heard sound. What kind of problem?

A - SkyDrop is in silent mode after start-up, so if you want to hear vario sound, select FTime widget and manually start the flight by long press. This feature will help you to be nice to other pilots before launch. By default, the sound will be enabled automatically after launch. To disable this function, please uncheck Suppress audio checkbox in Settings>Logger>Auto start/land menu entry. Also please read user manual here - vps.skybean.eu/manuals/SkyDrop_manual.pdf

 

Q - How SkyDrop manage automatic flight recorder?

A - To detect launch, vario detects GPS speed and altitude change within time period. So there may occur special situation, when you don't have GPS fix yet, e.g. you launch immediately after turn ON vario, as to get GPS fix it takes about minute. And in the same time altitude change is less than threshold, e.g. on linear coast soaring.​ You can change auto start/stop settings in menu -> logger -> auto start/land. If you don't mind to hear vario all time, just uncheck "suppress audio" checkbox.​

 

SD card problem

Q - I get a message " SD Card Error" when i want to record my flights.

A - maybe SD card just lost its contact in holder (e.g. due to air moisture) - please follow these instructions to pull out SD card and put it back​

- Use Philips PH1 or T8 key to remove two screws from back. Possibly ​you can format SD after you backup logs and AGL data.

- Gently lift back cover at bottom (other side than USB).

- Remove back cover following USB port angle - it is declinate about ~20 deg from perpendicular​ position to the front​.

- Remove rubber ring, remember its orientation. If there are spacers, remove them with rubber ring.​

- Disconnect battery connector by nail or tweezers, don't pull cable.​

- Use tweezers to pull out SD card. Don't push it, it won't have any effect (SD holder is not push-push type, it is push-pull type).​

- Insert SD to computer, backup all data, your logs and possibly AGL data (AGL can be downloaded again here https://vps.skybean.eu/agl/data/default.zip).

- Format SD card to FAT32 file system. Copy all data back. Copy update file.

- Insert SD card back to vario.

- Connect battery.

- Turn ON vario and possibly follow update instructions.

- If problem solved, reassembly vario - Pay attention to put back cover on USB port under its angle.

 

Waypoint and XC navigation

Q - How this function works? Is possible to set my own waypoints?

A - Usually waypoint files in several formats are provided by competition organizers. We choose CUP format, as many comp pilots have devices requiring this format, therefore organizers mostly release CUP file. If you make waypoints by your own, there is always risk of mistake in name or GPS coordinates. Just to let you know.​ Comp navigation on SkyDrop can by also used as XC navigation, where you really need to create your own waypoints. Please follow these steps.

How to create CUP file​:

- Open this web service flyxc.app

- Hit menu icon in upper right ​corner (3 horizontal lines).

- Enable XC planning switch.

- Edit your route. Drag waypoint to change its position. Drag the middle of line to add waypoint. Double click on waypoint to delete it.

- Hit download button on the left menu, choose SeeYou - CUP format (default).

- Upload CUP file into WPT SkyDrop folder.

- You can possibly open CUP file in text editor and check/adjust name and coordinates of waypoints.

 

How to create task in vario

- Hit Create task in menu > Navigation

- Hit Add waypoint, select CUP file to apply.

- Click on added waypoint will open its options (radius, move up/down, etc.)

- Normally comp task uses waypoint form one file, so another waypoint selection goes into the same CUP file. If you want to add waypoint from different CUP file, click on CUP file name will move you on CUP list where you van choose another CUP list.

- If vario will return to home screen after some timeout, if you don't press any button, don't panic, you can continue on that task menu > Navigation > Edit task.

We recommend to compare center and short (optimized) distance of task with XCtrack app to verify it. It take some time to calculate short distance, please wait  minute.

 

Airspace warning

Q - have you guys made available some sort of tutorial about how to read (and make sense) of the airspace warnings in Skydrop? What to do with it (turn around, fly over (if possible), fly under (are we low enough?)) so we can get familiar with it at home and be ready to understand this when we see it during a flight. 

A - There is a popup screen, what you can just hide by middle button. Then it will appear again if condition occurs again. You can or put on ignore list by pressing the left button, so it won't appear again, unless you reset ignored airspaces in menu.

- On the top of screen is name of airspace (with tower frequency), bellow is inside or outside note. Then there are is your current altitude alternating with arrow and distance to the closest horizontal airspace border and vertical borders (floor/ceiling).

- If you know that you will fly close to important airspace (e.g. CTR or TMA), we recommend to add special home screen for airspaces. Go to the widget menu, where increase pages count. Then use layout template with single widget on whole screen and finally put Airspace info widget on this screen. Then you can see information on this page if needed, not just if pop-up screen appears.

What pilot should do

- SkyDrop provides just information of the closest airspace, not what you should do.

- Generally, we recommend to do proper preflight preparation, what includes also airspaces check. SkyDrop has too small screen to show you airspaces on map, therefore use other methods - study airspaces configuration on map or use navigation app on mobile phone. We recommend to use XCtrack app, where airspaces are updated automatically, so you always have fresh information.

- Then you can set your tactics of planned flight - go parallel (almost touch) airspace from outside, turn around and go back, land, or ask tower for permit to fly through. It always depends on your current situation and decision.

 

Barometric altimeter inaccuracy

Q - Altimeter is showing negative values for last few flights, before everything worked perfectly.

A - According FAI specification, SkyDrop write altitude related to standardized QNE pressure into IGC. You can of course change baro altimeter on SkyDrop according actual QNH pressure, what compensates pressure changes caused by weather. But into IGC is always written QNE (1013.25 hPa). You can learn more about this topic here

en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Altimeter_setting

Then if there is high pressure weather, when actual QNH is higher than 1013 hPa, vario writes into IGC lower altitude than in reality. If there is actual QNH pressure 1020 hPa, vario will measure 1020 at see level, what is higher than 1013.25, so vario will show negative (below see) level altitude, as higher pressure means lower altitude. Some XC servers compensate this pressure difference or don't show negative values, some don't. There are 3 ways how to correct baro altimeter.

- You can adjust your local QNH pressure in vario according value provided by meteo service.

- You can change baro altitude to known value, e.g. on takeoff or landing place before flight.

- You can enable "auto from GPS" checkbox in the current altimeter settings. Then this baro based altimeter will be periodically compensated by GPS data. This baro altitude adjustment is changed only locally in vario. You cannot do anything with baro altitude values written into IGC, as it is always related to QNE constant. It prevent cheating options, where pilot will be able to change baro altitude in IGC, e.g. make it lower during flight if she/he is climbing out maximum allowed altitude in the current airspace.

 

Bad battery

Q - Battery in my vario doesn't show correct value. How to fix?

A - Bad battery is a real option, as batteries can get old and loose their capacity, but lets try something. There is one software and one hardware process, you can choose one or try both.

HW - There is maybe only bad contact on battery connector. Use torx T8 (or Plilips PH1 on older versions) key to open back cover and gently by nail or pen disconnect battery (upper left corner of board) and reconnect again. There is maybe just cold contact there.​

SW - Battery calibration. Menu > Settings > Advanced > Calibration > Battery. Please enable this function while charging cable is plugged. Complete discharge of full battery until vario gone off took about 2 days (vario sits on table, no sound). So you can estimate remaining capacity of your battery from discharge time in % as "hours to discharge" x 2.5%.

 

Missing compass, temperature and humidity sensors

Q - There was compass and other sensors on SkyDrop before, but I cannot find them now.

A - We stopped to provide this function due to several reasons.

- EOL - end of life - The former compass sensor is no longer produced.​

- price - another parts with magnetometer are way more expensive, what we found not worthy for function value

- chip crisis - there weren't no parts available while huge chip crisis

- calibration - magnetometer need periodical calibration to work properly, otherwise it show wrong (if it is possible, mobile phone OS would have it, but they don't)

The last and most important reason is that ground heading important, not magnetic compass. For backup situation, I would say that small classic ball compass, forever attached to cockpit is better than electronical function. Less is sometimes more, especially in air industry.

 

SkyDrop v1 and v2 difference

Q - There is SkyDrop2 now. What is different from v1?

A - Sorry for confusion. SkyDrop V1 and V2 is the same vario. There is no difference visible to user between V1 and V2, they have exactly the same functionality, just several inner hardware changes​ were made. During chip crisis we had to change some components and also implement different processor version. So we had to set another firmware thread (starting with 8, the latest is 8079), as there wasn't enough space is original one (starting with 5 or less, the latest is 5305).

V1 firmware is starting 5, file name SKYDROP.FW, now the latest firmware is 5305 - vps.skybean.eu/configurator

V2 firmware is starting 8, file name DROP2.FW, now the latest firmware is 8079 - vps.skybean.eu/configurator2

Here is tutorial how to recognize those versions - vps.skybean.eu/manuals/SkyDrop_to_XCtrack.pdf

Vario V1 won't accept DROP2.FW file, just SKYDROP.FW​.​ Warning - In any case don't rename DROP2.FW file to SKYDROP.FW​ to cheat update procedure. SkyDrop will then accept file, but you will break device, as there are different components (Bluetooth and GNNS modules), what will stop working.

 

PPG vario

Q - I intended Bluetooth to my Phone (galaxy 6) and use the phone to interface to my headset. I have the unit paired to my phone but I get no sound from it. Is there something I can use to accomplish this?

A - You need app running on phone, what will translate Bluetooth data to sound. If you connect vario to your phone via Bluetooth you can pass vario sound to your PPG headset. We've tested this function with XCtrack app and Sena R50 headset, it works fine.  Don't forget to enable audio vario in app and also move SkyDrop priority on top of sensors. Not need to change default values, just enable vario in app. If you will hear it from phone, then sound will go to headset when connected. App needs to run to pass sound to headset. You can switch off screen and just put phone into your pocket, it will run on background.