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SD on iPad, PowerFLARM - Connection problems


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drnicolas
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I recently started flying an aircraft which is equipped with a PowerFLARM device and an Air connect. SD on my iPad, PowerFLARM and airconnect together seem to work.
My WLAN on iPad connects automatically to the Air connect and SD then can see FLARM and ADS-B targets.Also it seems to get its position from the FLARM-device.
So far it is working. But only if I have plenty of time and do not start using SD too early
In  real life , I have  Problems with the connection:
- Normally it takes time to connect to the speciifc WLAN of the air connect-device.
- If  I wait  with starting SD until the iPad has connected, then it works
- If I start SD  before the WLAN connection is etsablished, then SD fails to connect to the FLARM device‌. I see a message box that the connection has failed.
‌And it keeps failing! This does not change even when the WLAN-connection is established later on. I see that box again and again. I have to kill SD and start it again. The it works.

The next problem is probably related to the behaviour above:
I have my iPad in a protective case with  a magnetic cover. Closing the cover sends the iPad‌ to sleep.
When opening the case, SD complains that the connection to the FLARM device has been lost.
I guess, the iPad loses the WLAN connection when sleeping which causes the above problem.

Did someone else ffind this problem or has a solution for this?
If there is no good solution, I would love to see a kind of recovery-mechanism in the next SD-version.
I am thinking of a mechanism which keeps trying‌‌‌ to (re)connect to the FLARm device (or anything else) even when the WLAN-connection has been lost and or restored.

Grila
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Hi Dr Nicolas,

I have exactly the same set up as you have but I have now learnt the little foibles!  This is my procedure for starting SD with my PF Core.

1.  Make sure your iPad is open but the SD App is closed.  Also make sure you have the latest firmware and Alps Obstacles database installed in your PF Core.  This is available for downloading on the PF Core website for a small fee.  PF Core will not work without the mandatory yearly database update.

2.  ‌‌Start the engine and then turn on the avionics (including PF Core & Air Connect).  PF Core goes through a boot-up process which lasts for about 2 minutes.  When it has finished booting up, it gives a rather loud audible beep in your headset!  This is providing that you have your radio/intercom switched on AND you have purchased the optional audio license for your PF Core device.

3.  Whilst PF Core is booting-up, go into your iPad Wi-Fi settings‌‌‌‌ and make sure that it isn't connected ort trying to connect to a nearby Wi-Fi such as a WLAN in your hangar or house. 

4.  Quite soon after the PF Core boot-up beep, you will see your iPad connecting to your Air Connect WLAN.  Wait until you see the little Wi-Fi icon appear in the top left hand side of your iPad.  Now open up the SD App. 

5.  When you are ready to aviate, select 'Go Flying' and then select 'Use Flarm'.  There should be about a message saying 'Waiting for Data' and then after about 5 seconds the aircraft symbol should appear wherever you are.

I have found that if I accidentally turn off my PF Core (it's on a separate switch in my aircraft) and then turn it on, the connection to SD is lost and you will get a message telling you this.  Turning the PF Core back on DOES NOT re-connect it to SD for some reason - even after the boot-up beep is heard.  I have to close the SD App, ensure that the Wi-Fi icon is showing and then re-open SD.

Similarly, if I close SD in the air and try to re-connect it to PF Core (which is the same as you shutting your magnetic case), it doesn't want to do this.  I have to close the SD App, check I have the Air Connect Wi-Fi connected and re-open SD again.

I don't think there is any problem to solve; it just seems to me that it's the way it is!  I have been using PF Core now for about 4 years and I think it's brilliant.  Now that SD shows traffic radar (this display only occurs if your PF Core has been triggered by another aircraft with FLARM, ADSB or TXPDR - it doesn't automatically display as soon as you turn it on), it's even better.

I read in the Help Files that if you have a smart 'phone with SD installed, when the traffic radar display is showing on your iPad, you can then go into SD on your 'phone and under Navigation Options select 'Traffic' and your 'phone becomes one big traffic display! ‌‌‌‌‌‌ 

"If you have a smartphone running SkyDemon, the Traffic Radar is not displayed automatically in the corner of the screen, but instead it can be viewed as a full-screen display, which you might like to use as a complement to the normal map view on your main tablet. To bring up the full-screen Traffic instrument on your phone just open the main navigation menu by tapping the blue SkyDemon icon in the top left-hand corner of the screen, then choose ‘Traffic’."

I hope all that helps!!

Paul‌‌‌‌‌‌‌‌‌‌‌‌‌‌
drnicolas
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Grila - 5/29/2018 5:43:38 PM
Hi Dr Nicolas,

I have exactly the same set up as you have but I have now learnt the little foibles!  This is my procedure for starting SD with my PF Core.

1.  Make sure your iPad is open but the SD App is closed.  Also make sure you have the latest firmware and Alps Obstacles database installed in your PF Core.  This is available for downloading on the PF Core website for a small fee.  PF Core will not work without the mandatory yearly database update.

2.  ‌‌Start the engine and then turn on the avionics (including PF Core & Air Connect).  PF Core goes through a boot-up process which lasts for about 2 minutes.  When it has finished booting up, it gives a rather loud audible beep in your headset!  This is providing that you have your radio/intercom switched on AND you have purchased the optional audio license for your PF Core device.

3.  Whilst PF Core is booting-up, go into your iPad Wi-Fi settings‌‌‌‌ and make sure that it isn't connected ort trying to connect to a nearby Wi-Fi such as a WLAN in your hangar or house. 

4.  Quite soon after the PF Core boot-up beep, you will see your iPad connecting to your Air Connect WLAN.  Wait until you see the little Wi-Fi icon appear in the top left hand side of your iPad.  Now open up the SD App. 

5.  When you are ready to aviate, select 'Go Flying' and then select 'Use Flarm'.  There should be about a message saying 'Waiting for Data' and then after about 5 seconds the aircraft symbol should appear wherever you are.

I have found that if I accidentally turn off my PF Core (it's on a separate switch in my aircraft) and then turn it on, the connection to SD is lost and you will get a message telling you this.  Turning the PF Core back on DOES NOT re-connect it to SD for some reason - even after the boot-up beep is heard.  I have to close the SD App, ensure that the Wi-Fi icon is showing and then re-open SD.

Similarly, if I close SD in the air and try to re-connect it to PF Core (which is the same as you shutting your magnetic case), it doesn't want to do this.  I have to close the SD App, check I have the Air Connect Wi-Fi connected and re-open SD again.

I don't think there is any problem to solve; it just seems to me that it's the way it is!  I have been using PF Core now for about 4 years and I think it's brilliant.  Now that SD shows traffic radar (this display only occurs if your PF Core has been triggered by another aircraft with FLARM, ADSB or TXPDR - it doesn't automatically display as soon as you turn it on), it's even better.

I read in the Help Files that if you have a smart 'phone with SD installed, when the traffic radar display is showing on your iPad, you can then go into SD on your 'phone and under Navigation Options select 'Traffic' and your 'phone becomes one big traffic display! ‌‌‌‌‌‌ 

"If you have a smartphone running SkyDemon, the Traffic Radar is not displayed automatically in the corner of the screen, but instead it can be viewed as a full-screen display, which you might like to use as a complement to the normal map view on your main tablet. To bring up the full-screen Traffic instrument on your phone just open the main navigation menu by tapping the blue SkyDemon icon in the top left-hand corner of the screen, then choose ‘Traffic’."

I hope all that helps!!

Paul‌‌‌‌‌‌‌‌‌‌‌‌‌‌


I am absolutely not satisfied with the way SD connects to PF!
The first attempt to connect may work, but all of the following do work for me only whenever I KILL SD!
That is too much.

‌It is clearly caused by losing the WLNA-connection‌‌‌.
This can be caused by accidentally shutting down the PF or - and this happens regularly with my personal setup - closing my iPad cover, which sends the iPad to sleep-mode.

In my eyes it is essential for SD to recover the Connection from itself‌‌‌
efrenken
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I don‘t have any probs with any connections, nevertheless a big ‘Thank you‘ to Paul for his efforts to help his flying fellows.

Eric
Tim Dawson
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When you close the lid of your iPad, SkyDemon is put to sleep by the operating system. That is how iOS works. The built-in location services will keep feeding location data to SkyDemon while it's asleep, but there is no such mechanism for third-party devices like FLARM or PilotAware. That's just the way it is; even if we detected the situation and attempted a re-connect, your log would still be broken.

I‌ strongly suggest you do not close the lid on your iPad, putting it to sleep, while you are using it for navigation.‌
drnicolas
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Tim Dawson - 6/21/2018 9:34:03 AM
When you close the lid of your iPad, SkyDemon is put to sleep by the operating system. That is how iOS works. The built-in location services will keep feeding location data to SkyDemon while it's asleep, but there is no such mechanism for third-party devices like FLARM or PilotAware. That's just the way it is; even if we detected the situation and attempted a re-connect, your log would still be broken.

I‌ strongly suggest you do not close the lid on your iPad, putting it to sleep, while you are using it for navigation.‌


Hmmm. Sounds not satisfying.
Of course, iOS has ist own way to handle falling asleep.
But I still ask for thinking about a Workaround.
At the Moment ist needs lots of items solved before the Connection is established.

- ‌SD MUST not be running‌‌‌‌ at first
- it takes time until the WLAN Connection is established. The iPad may find it more funny to connect to the hangar's WLAN or to the airfields public WiFi. Of course you do not want to wipe out These WLANs as they are needed for filinig FLPs, mails or anything else.

- if SD Fails to connect, I do have not even to Close SD, for myself, I have to kill it from Memory! (tap the home-button twice and wipe all apps not needed!)

Just an idea from a non-IOS-non-professional programmer: Can you "ping" the PowerFLARM every 5 or 10 seconds and re-connect if it is available again? Just as a consequence of the detection that the Connection has been lost of whatever reason‌‌‌‌‌. You must have the detection routines already available as SD does some kind of a search for FLARM devices when I choose "USe FLARM". Simply Keep it searching. That may be enough.

the broken Log is another item.
As a Pilot you may have periods of high workload, therefore I want a robust SD which handles ‌‌These Problems itself.
Tim Dawson
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We could re-engineer our FLARM connectivity code as you suggest, but we wouldn't touch it without a very good reason, which would be that many people are suffering a disconnection problem. The problem in this case appears to be self-inflicted as you are purposely closing the lid on your device which suspends all apps and terminates any network connections.
Europa XS
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Tim Dawson - 6/21/2018 2:39:01 PM
We could re-engineer our FLARM connectivity code as you suggest, but we wouldn't touch it without a very good reason, which would be that many people are suffering a disconnection problem. The problem in this case appears to be self-inflicted as you are purposely closing the lid on your device which suspends all apps and terminates any network connections.

Hi Tim,
I read your answer with great interest because I regain the hope that the connection problems between SD and PF can finally be solved.‌ I do not use an IPad but an Android device (HUAWEI Multimedia Pad 3) and had nearly at every flight the problem with a lost WIFI connection between SD and PF (mostly after around 20 - 30 min flight time). In my case it was not a problem with any flip case or similar, because I do not use that. At the moment I use the local services of the tablet and an external display for the FLARM traffic. I am not alone with this strange behavior between SD and PF, at least 3 other colleagues in my club have the same problems. So please consider this as a functionality of SD with room for improvement.
Kind regards
Europa XS‌‌

Tim Dawson
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When you say the WIFI connection is lost, are you referring to the situation outside SkyDemon where your device becomes entirely disconnected from the WIFI hotspot created by the Air Connect device?
Europa XS
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Tim Dawson - 6/25/2018 9:21:30 AM
When you say the WIFI connection is lost, are you referring to the situation outside SkyDemon where your device becomes entirely disconnected from the WIFI hotspot created by the Air Connect device?


Hi Tim,
I must check this. The only fact at the moment is, that I have changed the Air Connect device several times without any success and I have the same behavior od SD on my other device (not a HUAWAI). During flight I get an error message that the connection was lost. Then I must close SD, interrupt the WIFI connection, restart it and after a restart of SD it is possible to use FLARM as source of GPS and traffic infos. This happens between 1 and 3 times a hour.

kr

Europa XS
‌‌‌‌‌‌
GO

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