tBeacon Black Description

Features

  • build-in GPS/Glonass receiver. Do not require a connection to external GPS.
  • activation via call from UHF handheld radio or by a timer.
  • transmitting voice reports 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.
  • equipped with a small LiPo cell (90mAh) 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, does not require USB-UART.
  • equipped with a power button, which allows automatic turn on together with the aircraft.
  • size: 20x45mm;
  • weight: 7-8 g (with LiPo 90mAh).

Package includes

  • tBeacon Black (assembled, calibrated and tested unit) with wire antenna
  • LiPo 1S 90mAh
  • heat shrink tube
  • stickers

Preparation and installation

It is wise to use some sort of waterproof coating for the beacon's PCB prior installation. Then you should solder the LiPo battery an put the assembly into the heat shrink tube.

Avoid covering area, marked as "KEEP OPEN" on both sides, with LiPo, wires, or other conductive materials. Otherwise, the sensitivity of the GPS receiver may be affected.
Carefully observe the polarity of the battery connection! The beacon has no protection against reverse polarity on the battery input. Ground input (black wire) is located closer to the edge of the board.
Packaging includes a low-temperature heat shrink tube, which shrinks at about 60°C (can be used with a hairdryer). When using another high-temperature heat shrink tube avoid overheating the LiPo battery. It could lead to a fire!
When waterproofing the PCB, please avoid the button, buzzer, and connector.
Avoid using conductive instruments while working with the beacon with a connected LiPo battery!

Installing the beacon it is recommended to provide maximum sky visibility for the GPS receiver.
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.
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.

Powering ON and OFF

Manual power on

The beacon can be turned on manually with a short (0.5 sec) button press. The beacon indicates its startup with LEDs, a short buzzer signal, broadcast of a welcome tone, and LiPo voltage announcement.

Automatic switching on

The beacon turns on automatically when a micro USB is connected to a charging voltage (5V). When installing on the aircraft it is possible to leave only two wires in the micro USB cable: GND and +5V.
I.e. the beacon will turn itself on together with the aircraft.
Startup indication is the same as with manual power on.

Powering off

To turn off the beacon or force a reset, just press and hold the button for at least 5 sec.

Built-in GPS operations

Modern GPS receivers are considered as low power devices, however, they still consume significant current (about 30mA), which makes it impossible to keep is powered on constantly. That said, the beacon, being in standby mode, turns off the built-in GPS receiver to reduce power consumption. GPS/Glonass receiver used in the beacon, discover a location within about 2 minutes (with a cold start and in about any position). However, to increase accuracy and reliability, the beacon uses twice as much time to power the GPS - 5 minutes.

The beacon powers it's GPS in the following cases:

  • When external power is applied. The GPS is powered on all the time while it senses that external power is applied. And keeps it for another 5 minutes after the moment it is lost.
  • When the beacon starts and there is no external power, GPS is powered for 5 minutes to proceed with the cold start and to speedup subsequent startups.
  • With any call received, GPS is powered for 5 minutes. However, is it is already powered at the moment of the call, this time is extended for another 5 min.

Time left to GPS power off the beacon is announcing with every minute countdown reports: 5-4-3-2-1-0(off). Besides that, the beacon reports the location as soon as it is determined by the GPS. However, since the first "fix" usually is no accurate enough (the deviation could reach tens of meters), it is recommended to wait some more time, call the beacon again, and get a more accurate location.

Indication

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Configuration and flashing

The beacon can be connected to a PC using any USB-micro USB cable. In order to connect there should be installed CP210x drivers, which could be downloaded from a Silicon Labs website: CP210x USB to UART Bridge VCP Drivers.

Choose the correct COM-port and press the "CONNECT" button. After that, the beacon will reboot and enter the configuration mode.

Firmware flashing is done automatically using the "FLASH FW" button. The correct COM-port should be selected and the "CONNECT" button should NOT be pressed.


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