Wireless Digital Video:Flight recorder

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Flight recorder or Black box

  • With WiDV equipment you can store all the information of your flight on WiDV transmitter and receiver units at the same time.
  • This option requires an autopilot capable of sending telemetry by its local data/serial port. Many autopilots support this feature.
  • By connecting the autopilot's serial port to WiDV you can take fully advantage of this 'Flight recorder' or 'Black box' feature.

How does it work?

Figure 1 - Screen notification that the Black box is enabled on transmitter and receiver
  • By enabling this feature and connecting your autopilot to WiDV transmitter, WiDV devices will start recording all the information provided by your autopilot on their local SD Cards.
  • Each time that the transmitter and receiver are powered up, they will create a new xxxxx.tlog file on the SD Card's Data partition. 'xxxxx' will be replaced with a sequential number that it is incremented every time that the devices boot up, avoiding to overwrite previous existing files.
  • In order to see the contents recorded by this feature, you can extract the SD Card from WiDV equipment and read it with a computer.
  • The auto-generated tlog file will contain all the data provided from your autopilot while you were flying. If your autopilot provides Mavlink telemetry (ardupilot, pixhawk, arducopter or clones) you will be able to use tools like Mission Planner to open and read these files.
  • When Flight recorder is enabled, a message will pop up on the notifier section (figure 1). If there are any errors during the recording of the flight, another message will pop up alerting that the Black box has stopped recording.

Enabling the Flight recorder option

On WiDV transmitter unit

  • Insert the transmitter's SD Card on your computer, open the unit WiDV_TXBoot and edit the file widv.txt with Notepad.
  • Under section [serial], set logger = 1.
  • Save the file and Safely Remove Hardware.
  • Connect your autopilot to WiDV transmitter. This connection is the same one used by the Telemetry OSD.

On WiDV receiver unit

  • Insert the receiver's SD Card on your computer, open the unit WiDV_RXBoot and edit the file widv.txt with Notepad.
  • Under section [serial], set logger = 1.
  • Save the file and Safely Remove Hardware.
  • More information about the Configuration file can be found here.
Figure 2 - Black box file converted to Google Earth using Mission Planner

Opening flight recorded files with Mission Planner

  • Install Mission Planner. You can download it from here.
  • Access to the Data partition from the SD Card and copy the tlog file to a local folder.
  • Double click on the tlog file will open Mission Planner, reproducing all the telemetry stored on this file.
  • Mission Planner also allows to export your flight to KML so you can display it on Google Earth (figure 2).

Tips

  • Always enable this feature on the receiver. In the unfortunate event that you crash your plane, on WiDV receiver you will find all the telemetry and the GPS coordinates from the last position. This is extremely helpful when trying to find your plane.
  • Because neither the transmitter nor receiver include a backup battery, wait up to 30 seconds before you shut the transmitter and receiver down. This will allow the data to be written and flushed to the SD Card.