SEN 2564

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  1. Caveat Emptor
  2. Techno-Turnip ?
  3. Lost in Cyber Space or just Space – SEN 2562 or 3
  4. Who are the interested parties ?

Caveat Emptor
A message from the Magic Timer repairs shop – we have had a few Help! Emails recently from people who have bought second hand magic timer and experienced difficulties, so make sure that you see the timer run and be programmed before you buy it – and if the timer has connectors spaced 2mm apart it is over 20 years old !

If you don’t know how to wired up it email magictimers@yahoo.com with a picture of the timer to get the timer pin out etc.

Techno-Turnip ?
Brief intro – many eons ago before the Magic Man became a professional sportsman he ran the IT department for a medium sized company – Somewhat irreverently the people who worked for him and did desktop aka PC support referred to certain people inside the company who always had trouble with their PCs as Techno Turnips – never to their face , certainly not when the boss was around.

The classic first question is always – is the PC turned on.

This last weekend at the SCAT Annual the Magic Man got a support question from someone who was having trouble programming his Magic Timer.  The person was not a TT because the timer was turned on  but the solution was #2 on the list below

Magic Timers – Programming the timer.

Classic Magic Timers are programmed with a Palm Pilot using the Super Magic program on the Palm Pilot.

A custom serial cable goes from the Palm Pilot to the timer.  For most timers this cable has a Palm connector on one end a 2.5mm stereo connector on the other.  Some small Magic Timers use a mini or micro USB connector instead of the 2.5mm stereo connector. NOTE that this not a real USB connection and should never be connected to a real USB  source.
Palm III, Palm V, TRG Palm, Palm M125, M105, m130 and Palm M5XX models can be used. M125 is the factory preferred model.

If the connection between the Timer and Palm fails with a 008 message the following are possible reasons :
1. The timer is not turned on – turn it on

2. The cable is not plugged fully into the Palm – unplug and – replug

3. The cable is not fully plugged into the Timer– unplug and – replug

4. The batteries in the Palm are not fresh.

5. The battery in the timer is not charged enough

6. The serial connection on the bottom of the Palm is damaged – try another Palm

7. The connection at either end of the cable is dirty or the connector on the Palm or the connector on the timer is dirty  – spray with an electric contact cleaner

8. The cable is damaged – try another cable and/or do a continuity check on the cable

9. The timer is not in a state where it will connect. The timer will only connect to the Palm if it is a> turned on b> the flight has not started c> timer is not making a continuous noise d> the timer is working.

10. If the timer is making a continuous noise – this means a check sum failure – read tech note on this subject and fix before trying to connect.

11. Turn the timer off and back on, make sure the LED flashes and (provided you have it set ) that the timer beeps. If the  timer does not power up properly it will not connect to the Palm

12. For most timers the connection is made through a 2.5mm stereo socket that is epoxied to the circuit board and electrically connected with 3 fine wires. If the socket is damaged it may not work.  – a continuity check using the cable can be done by a person with some knowledge electronics.

13. If any of the 3 fine wires are broken they need to be fixed. – a continuity check using the cable can be done by a person with some knowledge electronics. They can be repaired by an electronics technician.

14. The circuit board and associated components can be physically damaged by a crash or electrically damaged by a crash, landing in water or a workshop accident.  – be honest with yourself as to what might have happened and get help from an electronics technician.

15. The Super Magic program on the Palm is an old version. This program has not been changed for many years. The latest version is 4.95 and can be seen on the Info screen of Super Magic.  Versions of the program prior to 4.92 will NOT connect with any of the current timers. Super magic can be down loaded from the Magic Timers Web Site

16. When the Palm initially connects with the timer the LED will flash and the timer will start buzzing.  If the connection does not succeed after this it mean that one of the 3 connections in the cable between the Palm and timer is broken.  – could be in the palm connector, in the cable or in the timer.

17. There are other reasons, extremely rare where the circuitry of the timer or the micrcontroller that runs the timer has been damaged by an “electronic incident”, this can include connecting a LiPo battery to the wrong connector. In most cases when this happens the timer will not start at all.  It is possible but not likely that the circuitry used for the connection is damaged.

Some of the repairs in the timer can be  dome by a skilled electronic technican who has the right equipment to do fine soldering on surface mount boards. Check with the “factory’ at magictimers@yahoo.com before doing this.

Timers can be repaired at the factory or by selected people in Ukraine or Israel who have done this before.

March 2019
Finally in response to the question – When are you going to replace the Palm with a Android or iOS version, the answer is it’s well under way and we will work on more if stopped asking all those questions.  The droid version won’t help the true Techno-Turnip  because he still has a Motorola Flip Phone and thinks that an electronic timer is one where you light the fuse with an electronic cigarette light instead of a match.

Lost in Cyber Space or just Space – SEN 2562 or 3
From:BogoBox*

Is there something wrong with my mailbox? This is the last email I received. Many days passed and I didn’t receive any new emails. What’s going on?

* name “blurred” out to protect the innocent

Editors comments

SEN 2563 was sent out on 14 March
The reason there has not been one is because we have got any material from your or any other reader, SEN is (or should be) written by you the readers.

USA FAI guys
Maybe no input from USA FAI sportsmen because a> they have not recovered from Fab Feb, b>  they consumed in writing their reply to the USA Team Selection Committee about next year’s program or c> they are giving input to Chuck Etherington to help with deciding on how the USA’s rep will vote at the April CIAM meeting.

Who are the interested parties ?
Every time there is a discussion around a rules change proposal there are always comments about who should be “allowed” to provide input to the rules changes.  Clearly those who fly the event are important, should we say most important  contributors but not the only ones.  To use a popular phrase, that is no doubt not PC – we can’t have the lunatics running the asylum.    For example our National must Aero Clubs have input too. They are concerned with dealing with the civil authorities where model aviation can conflict with public safety, or with other regulations such as radio frequencies,  of conflict with other branches of model aviation, or the insurance they provide to their members.  There those who no longer fly the event and typically want it  to return to the good old days …. Nothing can ever do that, the older we get the better it was. They are the least important.  But a very important group, we forget about is the CD who run the events.  We had a semi-revolt when the Energy Limiter was introduced to F1Q, because most CD’s were not equipped to do that and did not understand it.  The CD has to believe that he can run the event according to the rules and get a sporting result.  There are two important  rules proposals in those coming up for the vote in April that are borderline for the CD. One is the DT / altimeter fly off and the other the F1C “time” ground or is it believe what the electronic timer says the engine run will be.  While the DT proposal does clarify some of the confusion that happened in 2018, the F1C engine run is not a real solution and for a techo-sport we should do better.