While we continue to grind away on putting together a complete set of instructions and instructional video here are the basics:
Whats in the package:
1. Tracksoar Main Board (shown here without the Radiometrix Tranmsitter module). Note the version number just below the Ublox GPS receiver module.
2. 2.54mm male / female to 2mm female adapter: This is to allow you to use most FTDI adapters to program your Tracksoar. Please note that if your FTDI adapter uses RTS instead of DTR there may be some issues programming your Tracksoar. 5v and 3.3v FTDI adapters will both work fine.
3. Battery holder for 2x AA battery with 2mm JST connector. For V1.1+ (version number is labeled on the silkscreen) of the Tracksoar the pin closest to the corner is ground and Vin is next to the PTT LED, it is also labeled + and – respectively on the silkscreen on the opposite side of the board below the JST connector. This is in keeping with most batteries with JST connectors, please double check before plugging in other battery packs.
Please note on Version 1 boards (as labeled on the silkscreen) that the current version of the board has ground on the inside (next to the PTT LED) and Vin pin closest to the edge of the board, this is the reverse of most battery connectors.
4. 2x 20” 22 gauge stranded wire dipole antenna already soldered to the board.
To program you callsign and other setting in the Tracksoar here is the basics:
1. download the Arduino IDE from here: https://www.arduino.cc/en/Main/Software
2. install the Arduino IDE
3. Download the Tracksoar firmware from tracksoar.com/source
4. extract the tracksoar zip file
5. Remove the jumpers from the Serial RX/TX pins next to the GPS receiver (be sure to put them somewhere you won’t lose them).
6. connect your FTDI adapter to the 2.54mm to 2mm adapter and connect the 2mm adapter to your Tracksoar 7 pin connector. Be sure to line the ground pin on your FTDI adapter to the ground pin your Tracksoar (which is labelled on the silk screen, its the pin closest to the GPS receiver on the 7 pin connector). Alternately if You purchased a Tracksoar Programming shield simply plug it into your tracksoar (the pins are lined up such that is can only be plugged in the correct way) and connect to your computer using a mini-USB cable.
7. connect your FTDI to your computer, the PTT LED will light up to full brightness and then dim after a half a second.
8. open the tracksoar file you downloaded earlier, open the firmware folder, and double click the tracksoar_v1.ino file, this should open the Arduino IDE.
9. In the Arduino IDE navigate to the config.h tape and edit atlas your callsign, you can additionally edit the other settings in this tab to suit your needs.
10. In the Arduino IDE select tools and set the board type to Arduino UNO and set the port to the port of your FTDI adapter.
11. hit the upload button, it may take up to a minute to fully program your Tracksoar.
12. Once you have finished programming the Tracksoar reconnect the RX/TX serial jumpers and power on the board by connecting the supplied battery pack.
12. You’re ready to fly!
Things to check before flight:
1. GPS lock light is blinking once per second: this indicates the GPS has a satellite lock and is reporting correctly.
2. PTT light is illuminated and pulses at regular intervals: The PTT light will be dim and get brighter when the Tracksoar is transmitting an APRS message.
3. Use a radio capable of decoding APRS messages, or acoustically couple a phone running the APRSdroid app to verify the APRS message is correct.
Arduino IDE fails to program with the error “programmer out of sync” This may be caused by a number of issues:
1. Arduino is not powered on, be sure the PTT light is illuminated, if not your FTDI adapter may not be supplying power
2. The FTDI adapter breaks out RTS instead of DTR. This has been a bit of an intermittent issue and may require a new FTDI such as: http://www.makershed.com/products/ftdi-friend-v1-0?gclid=Cj0KEQiAz5y1BRDZ4Z_K_eGa84cBEiQAtQkeaPlz7eccNVeJ8DMVe2lCV5yJrdZ-2SV4BZEk-U0hYf4aAnP_8P8HAQ which allows you to select DTR or RTS with jumpers on the back of the board.
3. The serial RX/TX jumpers have not been removed
4. The correct board type or port was not selected in the Arduino IDE
PTT light does not illuminate:
Tracksoar is not receiving power or power polarity is switched. Try replacing the batteries and making sure the battery connector is correctly seated and the cables are not damaged.
GPS LOCK LED is not blinking:
The GPS will need between 2 and 30 minutes to download the GPS satellite almanac when powered on. Be sure the GPS antenna (small white chip on a small bulge on the Tracksoar) has a clear view of the sky with no obstructions.
A number of users have had issues with the Tracksoar taking over 30 minutes to get a GPS lock. In some cases this has been caused by loose jumpers on the RX/TX serial header. To verify the jumpers are the issue try powering up the Tracksoar without the jumpers in place, if it acquires GPS lock faster without the jumpers than they are not making good contact with the serial header pins. Please contact us to receive replacement jumpers to resolve this issue.
For other issues you can set the Tracksoar into debug mode by removing the # marks from the following lines at the bottom of the config.h file:
// #define DEBUG_GPS // GPS sentence dump and checksum validation
// #define DEBUG_AX25 // AX.25 frame dump
// #define DEBUG_MODEM // Modem ISR overrun and profiling
// #define DEBUG_AFSK // AFSK (modulation) output
// #define DEBUG_RESET // AVR reset
// #define DEBUG_SENS // Sensors
to debug particular parts of the Tracksoar firmware.