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Thread: Lost Model Finder Choices

  1. #1
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    Question Lost Model Finder Choices

    Hey folks,

    After the second near-loss of one of my models, I've started exploring options for a lost model finder.

    I think the minimum set of requirements would be:
    • Self-powered - In both of my near-loss experiences, the battery came off the aircraft, so I can't depend on it for power to the alarm
    • Self-contained - I can drop back to 900MHz radio telemetry and a UBLOX module, which I have already and which works well, so a small self-contained device would be a must.
    • Loud beeper - I've gotta be able to hear it when I get within a couple of hundred meters
    • Small and light - In addition to putting in on longer range planes, I will probably want to put it on my 250 mini quad so I don't want something huge.


    Some nice to haves:
    • Remote control - Bluetooth, radio, cellular, whatever, it would be killer if I could trigger the alarm remotely, or have it transmit its location back to my phone
    • GPS - Able to tell me (somehow) where it is.
    • Cheap - I'd rather not spend hundreds of bucks for what needn't be more than a GPS module and a bluetooth module plus a small battery.
    • Smart alarm - Automatically trigger the alarm under certain circumstances, e.g. dead main battery, no Tx signal, etc.


    I've found a few things that seem like they might get me all of the above, but before I toss down real money, I wanted to see what you guys do for these kinds of things.

    Stuff I've found in my searches that might do everything I want:


    Stuff I've found that doesn't seem to meet all of my requirements list:


    I would love to hear any thoughts, experiences, etc. you guys can share.

    Thanks!

  2. #2
    I can't breathe Hans's Avatar
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  3. #3
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    Yeah, that is probably overkill in size and weight.

    I wonder... has anyone experimented with a model rocket beacon? Something like this:

    http://www.apogeerockets.com/Electro...rs/MicroBeacon

    or this:

    http://www.jameco.com/Jameco/PressRoom/rocket.html

    Since this kind of thing would be most important if the crash ejects the main battery, i was thinking of hacking the switch to detect loss of power on the PDB (or something like that).

    I would love to heard from anyone who's dabbled with this kind of approach.

  4. #4
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    Now this is more like it...

    http://www.instructables.com/id/433-...-radio-beacon/

    I might have to give it a try.

  5. #5
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    If you plan on flying in areas with poor cell reception (which some trackers need) and your aircraft are valuable to you (either time or money), then it's worth it to pay for a serious tracking solution like this. I've tried a few others and none of them gave me confidence. With this puppy if any of my aircraft go down, I am certain I will find it. The tracker works damn well. And the beacon battery is good for about 30 days so there's plenty of time to find it. It ain't cheap, but it's waaaay cheaper than losing one of my aircraft. Actually, my wife suggested I get it, with her knowing how much time and money gets sent off on distant flights.

  6. #6
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    Here is another interesting alternative:

    http://www.loc8tor.com/everyday/loc8tor-lite-rc.html

    $79 for the tracker and two tags.

  7. #7
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    A tiny FrSky telemetry receiver powered off of it's own lipo and waterproofed. The downside are that it consumes 60ma (which is a lot for it's purpose) and you can forget to charge it or you'll need to buy a 1S lipo charging board and let it charge off of the main LiPo. I haven't actually tried this myself yet, but see:

    B.t.w. here's a review of the loc8tor (with promo code):

    It's range is very limited, but at least it's very small and light and a self-contained unit. That's good enough for mini quadcopters or for planes where you know the general whereabouts of where it went down.
    Last edited by turdsurfer; 23rd September 2014 at 10:56 AM. Reason: add loc8tor video

  8. #8
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    I actually brought my receiver out with me during my last model hunt (I use FrSky for my mini quad) planning to use it to hunt the signal, but since the battery was ejected, no joy.

    Interesting idea to give it a dedicated 1S LiPo.

  9. #9
    Bazinga! Maximus's Avatar
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    Here's what I use. Haven't had to use it to find a model yet but it tested well on a small field. Only transmits once RC signal is lost and then only a few minutes after that, so it doesn't step on your other links during flight.
    http://rcbeacon.com/

  10. #10
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    I am trying to get one 433MHz beacon working using cheap jeenode (15$ transmitter, ~30$ recevier). For some reason, I feel like the RSSI signal is the way to go. But I am still failing to get it working since the taranis RC radio is doing the job, though very small range (~200m in corn field). Please get in touch with me if you wanna help me.

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