IMI ERIXX IGC LOGGER
From the original IMI ERIXX leaflet:
Erixx is a new smart Flight Recorder. Its tiny dimensions and light weight makes it very comfortable to use. Huge memory offers hundreds of hours of recording without overwriting recent flight data and ultra low power consumption saves your battery on board. In addition, Erixx includes high efficiency switch-mode PDA power supply, therefore you don't need any external DC-DC converter and many other cables. Only one cable provides all required functions, powering and communication. Whole device is controlled by ARM® based microprocessor, which provides sufficient computing capacity for very fast G-record calculation and excellent download performance via mini USB. Reading of flight headers takes just few seconds.
Power consumption: < 40 mA at 12 V (0.48 W)
PDA power supply: 5 V / 1.5 A
1 x USB mini for Flight Recorder to PC connection
2 x serial RS-232 for connection with PC & PDA
Flight memory capacity: > 700 hours with 1 fix per 5 second
ERIXX has been certified by International Gliding Commission. The level of approval is for all flights including world records. The Engine Noise Level function has not been implemented yet, but we are keep working on this issue. It should be available within few months. ERIXX with some PDA device and suitable gliding software brings the ideal navigation system for competitors or tourist. In addition, the huge flight memory (up to 1000 flight hours with one fix per 5 seconds) makes from ERIXX ideal back-up logger.
IMI-Gliding provides a wide set of products for gliding. Among others the company offers glider assembly helpers, tow out gear, canopy covers and heating equipment. It also provides gliding electronics like PDA/PNA connecting cables and an IGC certified logger called ERIXX. The latter one is the subject of that review.
ERIXX is an International Gliding Commission certified logger approved for all flights including world records. Following IMI website: “Its tiny dimensions and light weight make the use very comfortable. Huge memory offers hundreds hours of recording without overwriting recent flight data and the ultra low power consumption saves your battery on board. In addition, ERIXX includes high efficiency switch-mode PDA power supply, so you won't need any external DC-DC converter and many other cables anymore. Only one cable provides all required functions, powering and communication. The whole device is controlled by ARM® based microprocessor, which provides sufficient computing capacity for very fast G-record calculation and excellent download performance via mini USB.”
IMI-Gliding donated the latest version of ERIXX logger to the LK8000 development team in May 2011 in order to help LK developers to provide support and maintenance for it. That device will be fully supported in LK8000 2.4 version and will also be used to test the compatibility of all future releases so pilots using ERIXX and LK8000 will have the best integration possible all the time.
Here is what we received in a package:
ERIXX logger and dedicated holder
Input power cable with free end for user's connector
PNA connection cable
USB cable for PC connection
CD with necessary software
We found out everything extremely easy to setup. All wires were properly described including COM ports descriptions of typical devices.
Supplied GPS Antenna has a long connecting cable and an additional nice feature. It has permanent magnets inside which makes it really easy to mount it to any iron part in a glider (i.e. battery cover). Those magnets can be removed if needed.
Inside received package we found a holder for the Flight Recorder. It is small, easy to mount in the glider and the logger can be connected fast and tight inside it.
After closer look the only downside we found in received equipment may be the circuit board of PNA connecting cable. It does not have any hard casing so a pilot have to handle it with care, otherwise it may be damaged easily. Beside that small problem, the cable works great and it takes nearly no space inside a glider. That cable is in fact the only one really needed to have near the pilot to connect his PNA because it provides powering and position data to the device. The rest of cables and the logger itself may be stored out of pilots hands.
ERIXX Flight Recorder
ERIXX device itself is really small. Its size is only large enough to fit 4 communication ports. There is one GPS antenna input and 3 ports designed for a PC/PDA/PNA connection. Worth noting is built-in mini-USB port that allows full control over device without the need to have hardware COM port which is not common in current PC and laptop setups. One of other 2 ports may be used for powering of the device (12V) while another port can be used to provide both communication and power (5V) to PNA/PDA. That helps a lot in limiting the number of cables needed to connect all devices together. Pilot also does not have to bother about additional voltage converters. Worth noting is that during flights with IMI ERIXX on board we did not experience any radio cross-interferences caused by the voltage converters.
On top of the device there is a button and 2 LEDs. The button can be used to check or select active task. During a flight it can trigger a time period of dense GPS fixes recording which may be useful to manually increase the resolution of specific parts of the flight. Green LED indicates the fact of powering of a device and can also warn about low battery level. Red LED shows current state of the logger (i.e. if a Task A or B is selected).
The device is also equipped with a buzzer that informs the pilot about operational mode and during flight about entering waypoint's observation zone. It can be really helpful to find an observation zone for pilots that fly with printed maps only.
One of the first things we did was to connect the device to the PC. After short installation of USB drivers the device connected without any problems via USB cable. We also tested COM port connection. We found out that both ways provide really fast communication with the device.
IMI-Connect software is easy to use. A nice surprise was the fact that we found a really rich set of Flight Recorder settings and nice interface to define and review Observation Zones set for the task.
On received Installation CD we also found plugins for Naviter SeeYou and ConnectMe. After putting those files in proper place both applications connected fine with received device.
ERIXX and LK8000
ERIXX logger task declaration will be officially supported in LK8000 2.4 which is expected in July 2011. Task declaration in LK8000 will include all task waypoints and observation zones for both RT and AAT tasks. While implementing those features we found out that the IMI communication protocol with the device is not only feature rich but it is also really fast. Task declaration takes about 1 second on 19200 port speed.
During flights we experienced that IMI ERIXX informed with a sound about entering waypoints Observation Zones at exactly the same time LK8000 did. We found out that feature convenient because a pilot is always sure that the waypoint is scored properly before he can progress to the next one.
IMI ERIXX is a really nice IGC certified logger. It provides a rich set of features and works well with LK8000. We can recommend that device to anyone that wants a good and small logger and does not need an additional display on it.
(Reviewed by Mateusz Pusz)