tBeacon Amber Description

Features

  • learning the position of a craft using an onboard or dedicated GPS receiver
  • activation via call from UHF handheld radio or by timer
  • transmitting voice with GPS position among classical beacon tones and unique Proximity search mode
  • built-in bright LED and a buzzer to aid the searching in close proximity
  • external voltage sensor: reports the voltage of the main battery during the flight
  • equipped with a small LiPo cell (50mAh) which provides about a week of standby time
  • built-in LiPo charger to charge its own battery
  • easy configuration and calibration through a PC app
  • *power button*
  • *automatic turn on together with the aircraft*
  • *protection circuits*
  • size: 20x30mm
  • weight: 5-6g (with 50mAh battery)

* - differences from tBeacon Green.

Package includes

  • tBeacon Amber (assembled, calibrated and tested unit)
  • LiPo 1S 50mAh
  • 2 x cable for connecting to a model's GPS system and for configuration of the tBeacon
  • heat shrink tube
  • decals

Installation

It is recommended to coat the beacon with a water-resistant compound or a "liquid tape". After that, you should solder the LiPo battery and put the assembly into the heat shrink tube.

CAUTION: carefully observe the polarity of the battery connection! The beacon has no protection circuits against reverse polarity on the battery input.
Ground input (black wire) is located closer to the edge of the board. Please avoid the button, buzzer, and connector when waterproofing.
CAUTION: do not overheat LiPo battery!

Sometimes it is feasible to put the power button outside of the beacon. For the case, there is a button pin (located under the connector) which should be pulled to ground when the button is pressed. Or a contactless shutdown feature could be used.

Avoid installation locations where the beacon may be subject to strong deformation (for example, in front of a heavy battery) or may be buried under the radiopaque objects.

NOTE: Avoid using conductive instruments while preparing the beacon with a connected LiPo battery!

Powering ON and OFF

Manual switching on

The beacon can be turned on manually by a short (0.5 sec) button press. Startup process indicated by LEDs, a short buzzer signal, broadcast of a welcome tone, and LiPo voltage announcement.

Automatic switching on

The beacon turns on automatically when a charging voltage (5V) or phantom power through UART lines (RX, TX) appears. I.e. when you turn on your aircraft, the beacon will also turn on.

Powering off

Press and hold the button for at least 5 sec to turn the unit off.

Voltage monitoring

The beacon is equipped with voltage monitoring circuits: it can monitor the voltage of its own battery and an external (main flight) LiPo battery. It is possible to monitor the batteries of 2-6S.
The voltage monitoring will block the beacon startup until its own battery voltage is higher than 3.0V. It blinks with red LED waiting for the voltage to raise up to 3.3V
During normal startup, the beacon reports the voltage of its own battery. For example, "three eight" means that the battery voltage is 3.8V.

Assuming a non-zero value of the "External battery thresholds" parameter the beacon will try to detect an external battery at startup and so forth every 15 seconds.
In the presence of voltage at the corresponding input, the beacon will determine the number of cells of the battery and the buzzer will emit a corresponding number of "beeps". For example, with a connected 3S battery, the beacon will emit three "beeps".
Then the beacon will report the average voltage of the battery cells. For example, "four two" means the average voltage of 4.2V of the cells.
Next, the beacon enters the external battery monitoring cycle: it will check once per second for the excess of specified thresholds.
When the "WARNING" threshold is reached, the beacon reports the current average voltage of the cells every 15 seconds.
When the "CRITICAL" threshold is reached, the beacon reports the current voltage of the cells with an interval of 1 second and uses light and sound alarm.
The beacon considers the average cell voltage of 2.5V as an absence of battery. It will signal it with a short double "beeps" and three "zero zero" reports.
By default, the value of the "External battery thresholds" parameter is set to "0", i.e. monitoring is disabled. Recommended setting: "3533". This means the "WARNING" threshold is set to 3.5V, and the "CRITICAL" threshold is set to 3.3V.
When using this functionality it is strongly recommended that you connect the beacon to a 5V source to keep its own battery charged.

Connection

5-pin JST SH connector is used for connection to the GPS, charging voltage supply, an external (monitored) battery and for all service operation with the beacon. 2x wire harnesses with the corresponding connectors are in the package.

  • Vext  - optional connection to the positive side (+) of an external monitored LiPo battery.
  • RX  - UART input. Used for connection to a GPS location source and to a PC
  • TX  - UART output. Used only for connection to a PC
  • +5V  - 5V input connection. Used for the beacon's own LiPo charging
  • GND  - Ground.
  • EXT_BUTTON  - External button. Should be pulled to GND when the button is pressed.

Configuration and firmware flashing

Connect black, yellow and green wires with corresponding GND, RX & TX pins of UART adapter (Note that RX should be connected to TX), but do not connect the cable to the beacon yet.
There two ways to connect the beacon to the configuration utility:
1. Click the "CONNECT" button and connect the cable to the unpowered beacon. The beacon will turn on and will be switched to config mode by the configurator.
2. If the beacon is already powered on, press and hold the power button for 5 sec, then click "CONNECT" and release the button.
Firmware flashing is also can be done in two ways: 1. Click the "FLASH FW" button and connect the cable to unpowered beacon immediately after the black terminal window appears. The beacon will automatically turn on and starts firmware flashing.
2. If the beacon is already powered on, press and hold the power button for 5 sec, then click "FLASH FW" and release the button immediately after the black terminal window appears.


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