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The most advanced SkyBean vario
Strato has now stable software
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It wasn't always, as we faced many technical problems. If you are interested, you can learn more in Support tab on the right tab from this Description.
Here is list of current functions, not future ones:
- vario - speaker sound, average vario, barometric altimeter
- GPS - IGC tracklogs, ground speed, heading, glide ratio, GPS altimeter, altitude above ground
- whole world terrain data preloaded
- Bluetooth telemetry - connection to XC apps (XCtrack and FlySkyHy)
- thermal assistants - thermal trace (XCtrack slyle) or circle style
- wind - speed and direction calculated from circling
- FANET & FLARM radar
- color map - terrain, roads, villages, cables
- airspaces - shown in map, not pop-up warning
- Bluetooth sound - Strato can be your Bluetooth speaker for music in the air or on ground
- other - battery level, G-meter, odometer, actual time, flight time, direction and distance to takeoff place, altitude graph
Other cool WiFi functions, what has Strato as the first vario ever. Works on PC as well as mobile phone. Via hotspot or local WiFi network.
- over-the-air updates, automatic new update check - don't need cable for data transfer anymore
- IGC download - you can download IGC files directly to your phone just after landing
- GNSS simulator - you can select on map where you would like to see Strato flying map or airspaces
- vario sound editor - you can set your preferred vario sound and listen it directly from Strato in real time
EvolutionSo many new cool features and ideas, which we are no longer able to fit into our little cute SkyDrop, have challenged us to go for something new and advanced. We put the brains and skills together and voilá - here it is, high-end fly computer Strato.
PhysicalFor the size of an average middle class vario equipped with high-end functions! Strato has a sunlight readable 3” transflective color display. It weighs just 180 grams with a solid battery life of 20 hours. Strato fits your cockpit in a vertical position, so it leaves a lot of space for radio, phone or other gadgets.
SafetyDo you remember that strange feeling when you accidentally got sucked into cloud on your favourite XC highway during the “hammertag”? FLARM transmitter will notify glider pilots, keeping you from being smashed like a bug on the windshield, while the FANET transceiver will keep you aware about other paragliding pilots in proximity. Strato will also warn you about possible airspace violation and collision with power or lift lines.
SensorsStrato is equipped with the high quality sensors from market leading Swiss manufacturers. High performance GNSS receiver from u-blox supporting GPS, GLONASS, Galileo and BeiDou. Best in class barometer from MEAS Switzerland, with motion sensors provide instant vario response.
SoundAnnoyed by that typical tamagotchi beeping? Soft and precise vario tones from high quality speaker will help you effectively to climb to the cloudbase. Then enjoy your favourite music played from phone through bluetooth, during the glide. If you find unprotected speaker weak solution, watch this video ;) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5T20MyZYOG0
ConnectivityConnect to your favorite XC app via Bluetooth, Wi-Fi or directly with USB cable. Strato is connected via Wi-Fi to your phone or home network for automatic tracklogs upload. Maps, terrain and airspace data are always up-to-date without need for a computer.
Energy ManagementStrato has two USB-C ports, so in the air, energy can flow from the power bank through Strato to the phone with simultaneous data tethering. Quick Charge technology is able to provide huge amounts of energy for faster charging, an hour while driving to takeoff is enough.
User InterfaceStrato customizability will surpass his smaller brother SkyDrop. You will be able to use profiles for XC, competition, PPG or local soaring and change almost anything to your personal preferences. Choose from a large amount of widgets and place it across multiple pages.
After Flight HangoutUse strato as a music player or bluetooth speaker. Integrated torch light will help you find your way back to your tent. As a bonus Strato can also work as a powerbank for your smartphone.
HackabilityAs all our devices, Strato is also an open-source product, built on the popular platform STM32 as the main processor and ESP32 as the multimedia co-processor. If you are interested to participate, code and schematics hosted on github.
- weight 180 g
- dimensions 138 x 58 x 24 mm
- battery 5000 mAh, 20 h fly time
- memory 32 Gb
- vario - analog/digital/average, acoustic signalization, graph history
- instant vario response
- flight logs - IGC accepted for FAI Category 1 competitions, CSV
- GNSS(GPS, GloNass, Galileo) - ground speed, altitude, heading, glide ratio
- altimeters - 2 adjustable altimeters
- auto take off and landing detection
- wind speed and direction
- FANET and FLARM beacon
- detailed color map
- airspace violation audio warning with graphical representation
- bluetooth audio transmission through integrated high quality speaker
- flightbook with statistics
- android connectivity - XCTrack, FlyMe, XCSoar, LK8000, TopHat, Sky Land Tracker, Paragliding Dashboard
- iOS connectivity - FlySkyHy, SkyLogger, SkyLogger XXL
- fully customizable - multiple screens with configurable layouts and widgets
- height above ground level (AGL)
- thermal assistant
- Digital compass
- bearing and distance from take-off
- real time clock
- Measurement Specialties - MS5803 barometer
- u-blox - NEO-M8Q GNSS receiver
- SKYTRAXX - FLARM/FANET+ Modul
- ST - LSM9DS1 IMU
- Espressif - ES1ESP32 WiFi/Bluetooth module and audio coprocessor
- ST - STM32H7A MCU
- ask for more if you are interested :)
- Strato variometer
- velcro adhesive hooks&loops
- protective pocket
- USB-C to USB-A and USB-C to USB-C cable
- 18W dual port wall charger
- quick user guide
All the necessary tools and materials for strato can be found here in
Many pilots from pre-order campaign are/were disappointed due to slow software progress. Now we can proudly say that after facing many difficulties, the software is stable and keeps getting better with each update.
The true is that we underestimated so complex project (6cpu cores, sound coprocessor etc.) and its huge load for R&D, so we were too hurry with Strato release to public. Here we can explain more deeply why Strato had slow software progress.
We faced challenges due to problems in our storage system, which also affected the overall stability of the system. The major issue was faulty FAT file system (formerly used by computers). To solve this, we have decided to change the storage system from FAT to RED.
- To learn more about why the device isn't working well in real-life situations, we added a way to track problems and gather information about how the device is working.
- We found that classic FAT file system was not able to identify and fix random errors, time to time generated on SD card. Due to this random and non-trackable errors Strato's software might crash in random situations.
- Migration to another file system was huge, but for user not visible change, therefore it seemed nothing is happening for long long time.
- After implementation and testing this huge change, we also needed to create remote procedure acceptable for mid skilled user.
We can say that progress is fast, now preparing functions:
- Side view of the airspace and topography
- downloads maps and ground-level information automatically via WiFi
- New help system accessible directly in device, so you don't need to study and learn user manual anymore. Help and explaining notes will by right there and always available
- Shortcuts - quick access to different functions from pages
- Way to download airspace information directly from the device
- We expect the first testing version of this new software with these features to be ready by the end of March.
Some questions and answers about Strato:
Q - Why Strato cannot be delivered to another than billing address if ordered as company?
A - We offer VAT free purchase, so we have to verify some company details. VAT number and billing address are the only data that we can get from international databases.
Q - Why I cannot pay through PayPal or credit card when ordering as company?
A - We didn't implement automatic VAT verification in our eshop, so we have to manually verify billing data. If you proceed payment through PayPal or credit card, invoice is generated automatically with VAT.
Q - Why has Strato small LCD?
A - Strato has 3" color transflective LCD (65 x 40 mm of active area). Transflective LCD reflect environment light back, so it needs much less energy to be visible in shiny space than transmissive LCD, what uses brute force method - more light coming from sun beets by more light (= energy) from battery. Therefore Strato LCD drains battery much less than classic transmissive LCD, so battery don't have to be brick size and weight. Transflective screens are not very common and has limited maximum size. Laptops also don't have 24" screens, but if you can connect one if you need to extend working area. The same with Strato - If you need to have larger screen, there are many cheap phones/tablets, what can serve as display extension. Strato can manage extended energy demands for these devices from external power bank as pass through device - read more in power management part.
Q - Are other FLARM aircrafts visible on Strato?
A - No, they are not. FLARM interface is transmitter only - it is called beacon, so you are visible for solid gliders and other ultralight aircrafts. This use case is negotiated by out FLARM/FANET modules provider (Skytraxx) and we believe that in paragliding application is most important to be seen, because you cannot do much if 200kph flying glider don't see you on its way. We would say it is similar like bicycle on the road. Of coarse, FANET network works in bidirectional data flow, so you can see other FANET devices around you.
Q - What is the range of FLARM on Strato?
A - Standard answer like "up to 100km" would be theoretical correct, but useless in practice. We placed a goal 5 km as satisfactory. It came from theory - How far ahead you need to know about gas station while driving 200 kph on highway (in unlimited speed region in Germany of coarse :) We found it similar to fast moving aircraft around you. Therefore we tested Strato's FANET range in the worst possible conditions - flying PPG, inside cloud, freezing temperature, one device grounded - and range was around 15 kilometers. Another nice weather day, range was more than 40 km, but we assume nobody cares about nice conditions use case.
Connectivity to other equipment during flight
Q - Is possible to connect an eReader via USB and an IPhone via Bluetooth (Flyskyhy) to share telemetry data to both devices simultaneously?
A - Yes, it is possible. Bluetooth connection is working. The USB data is OTG in not active for now, it will act as virtual serial port for eReader. Then the Bluetooth connection can be used for XCtrack , Flyskyhy and other apps.
Q - Is battery in Strato exchangeable?
A - Strato is equipped with Li-Poly rechargeable battery (single cell 5000 mAh), which is installed permanently inside casing, attached with adhesive tape to back cover and connected to main electronic board with connector. Therefore is it not impossible to change it, just little skills are needed. We would compare this procedure to mobile phone battery replacement. Easy for somebody, but difficult for another person.
Q - The speaker is completely unprotected! Do you plan on placing some sort of grill/protection over it or is it really going to stay that way? Large uncovered speaker seems to be weak element of Strato. It looks like big button, just press it. Is there any speaker protection?
A - Speaker is one of dominant components, so we left it unprotected. We tested many types of speakers and we found this one to be very durable. It can play nice range of sound, even very good lows. Its mechanical construction is not flat. Overall 16mm height works not only as high quality audio transducer, but it also brings advantage of "deep" design, where active membrane is drowned 5mm below case surface. This speaker is also IP67 waterproof! Please watch this video if you have any doubts about speaker durability https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5T20MyZYOG0
Functions (this part will be separated later to sub-themes)
Q - What kind of widgets and pages are available? What kind of different screen setups?
A - The first layer of setup is preset profile, where you will choose whole set of stored settings. Profiles can be named e.g. XC, Comp, PPG, Basic, Advanced etc. The second layer are pages/screens, what can also have custom names, e.g. thermalling, gliding, FAI triangle or acro. The last layer are particular widgets, what can be specific size and position.
Q - Can you please tell me if Strato will support competition task?
A - Of course, like any other high class devices, Strato is designed for competition flying. There will be all standard functions and widgets.
Q - Can you tell me something about how responsive it will be compared to current varios, e.g. XCtracer?
A - Strato is equipped with the best possible sensor set and their software fusion results into instant vario response function. Of course, Strato is not worse than its little brother SkyDrop, which has this function also implemented. We wouldn't judge comparison with XCtracer, as we are in conflict of interests and also Koni is our friend :) but you can maybe find some independent videos on YouTube.
Q - What kind of features in airspace update and airspace warning?
A - There is detailed map on color screen of Strato, so airspaces can be presented there in very practical way. In a similar way like on XCtrack app. There are planned also obstacle warning, particularly wires (not only for PPG pilots).
Q - Would the Strato be able to connect via Bluetooth to Flyskyhy app on iOS like the Skydrop?
A - Of course, there won't be any downgrade from SkyDrop functions. Strato's bluetooth interface allows much more - bidirectional sound transfer or camera remote functions.
Q - Will be any mount (strap for the leg or mount for the riser) included? Would it be possible to mount to tandem risers? Does it have safety cord?
A - Of course, there is safety strap attachment point, little (5mm) passthrough hole, like mobile phones have 5-8 years ago, just larger one. Back of Strato is flat, there is surface for cockpit Velcro mount. We plan to design some kind of riser mount, as we believe it is much better than leg mount. This topic is not closed for now.
Q - What to do if I broke Strato display?
A - In case you have broken LCD due to mechanical damage, we can repair it for 100€. The display is permanently attached to the front cover along with other components, therefore it has to be exchanged as a whole assembly. Please write us to firstname.lastname@example.org before you will send the vario for repair. We won't accept any requests without previous consultation.
schön langsam wird das Strato ein tolles Gerät- leicht zu bedienen, schnell, die paar Kleinichkeiten die noch fehlen kommen bald, dann kann man sein Handy finster lassen und braucht keinen Zusatzakku mehr mitschleppen.
Update July 2022
Ok so the vario runs very nicely, now. Quite good at sniffing lift immediately. The speaker makes for a pleasant sound if you tweak the audio profile to your liking. Strato is really quite unique device. I just came from a vol biv trip - we made fire, played some music in the evening on the Strato, charged the phone a bit. It was quite nice. A lot of traffic in the air, but I knew that they see me with FANET and FLARM.
Superb for Paramotoring
I've been using my Strato for quite a long time and it's now in a configuration where I can do a review. The performance is really good and I'm very happy to recommend it to other pilots. The introduction of the map has been a game changer and it works very well even at this stage of development. The display is very easy to configure and moving widgets and changing them is very straightforward. Battery life is very good, the size and weight are good and the keys are a good size and easy to use.<br /> <br /> Here's a list of widgets that I use with comments.<br /> Altitude 1 - simple to set and reliable<br /> Height above take off - love it, super accurate<br /> Map - very good and easily viewed in flight<br /> Groundspeed - stable and accurate<br /> Arrow to take off point - perfect and very useful<br /> Distance to take off - perfect and super accurate<br /> Time to take off - accurate to 1/10 minute when returning to take off field<br /> Flight time - accurate and reliable<br /> Wind - seems accurate and comparable to Skydrop<br /> Compass - accurate with reference to known headings<br /> Vario Bar - love it, especially the colour display and the ability to change it's size/width<br /> Odo - Very accurate to record the whole track flown<br /> <br /> I'll stress again that I fly a paramotor so I don't need or use a lot of the clever vario widgets. I haven't been able to verify the Flarm function yet as there doesn't seem to be much OGN coverage in my area.<br /> I'd be happy to recommend the Strato to any paramotor pilot at it's current firmware standard and with the planned functions (airspace etc) coming soon, it's even more attractive. Well done! <br />
Good Idea, bad implementation
After owning a Strato for some time now I have to say I´m sadly disappointed. The Idea of the device, the Hardware, Flarm + Fanet, doubling as a powerbank and a good speaker sounded really like a good package to me, and on paper it is. <br /> <br /> Sadly the software is still early alpha at best and the customer is the tester. So far I very rarely had a flight, where the device has not crashed at least once, making it useless for recording your flights. With the latest FW update it crashes every flight several times. The Vario itself works but thats about it...That is not enough for a 600€ device..<br /> <br /> Maybe in the future, when the Software is actually ready to be released, this will be a good device, but till then its a backup / or a music device at best. Shame...<br /> <br /> 2 Stars for the Hardware and the theoretical capabilites of the device...would be 5 if it would actually work in real life.
It looks like it got shipped 1 Year too early. I received mine in July and till today it is really just a simple vario. The software is so much behind and with the speed they develop it will take another 12 Month to get somewhere the device can be used solo.<br /> <br /> 06.12.2021<br /> At this moment following works (more or less):<br /> - Vario<br /> - Compass<br /> - Track download via cable<br /> <br /> Everything else they promised is not available or barely working:<br /> - Map<br /> - Flarm<br /> - Firmware Updates<br /> - Wireless<br /> - Bluetooth<br /> - Volume Control<br /> - Music<br /> - Flashlight<br /> - Thermal Assistance<br /> - Navigation<br /> - Bluetooth connection to third party software<br /> - and the whole rest :)<br /> <br /> SkyBean started shipping this device in May and now we have December and it feels like you paid for something that is by far not ready and might never be. This is the feeling I have and if I knew I would have spend my money somewhere else. The 3 star is only because I have other products from SkyBean and they actually work.