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  1. USA 2020 Finals are Postponed – comments
  2. Magic, Mysteries and Android
  3. Kudos to ken
  4. In the press

USA 2020 Finals are Postponed – comments

Following the announcement in the last SEN about postponing the USA Team Selection we got some comments.  We will summarize them here.

People thanked the TSC for making this decision now.

People suggested that they could be move to the Fab Feb contest with several different formats. The downside of this is that sometimes the weather is marginal, a risk of help or hindrance for others taking part in the event but not the finals. Also, the running of those event could be affected external factors such as a CIAM decision or the ability of people from outside the USA to travel to the USA. For example, Canadians who organize the North American currently cannot travel to the USA. Fab Feb lasts about 10 days which is longer that the typical finals durations.

People suggested that it could be moved to March at about the time of the SCAT Annual.  This does have the advantage of being able to have a shorter timeframe, use the real Finals format, better weather, totally under “our” control and no help or hinderance to the participants from not finals model or people.

So, I would advise all participants not to hesitate to discuss this with the TSC member for their district.


 

Magic, Mysteries and Android

It is not a secret that Magic Timers have been working on a “Palm Replacement” Current Magic Timers are programmed by a program called Super Magic on a Palm Pilot. The approach is to make a new version of Super Magic that runs on readily available modern platform.  A new version of Super Magic – called Super Magic 6 that runs on most “newish” Android phones and tablets is in final stages of field testing.

Super Magic 6 uses Bluetooth, BLE aka Bluetooth Low Energy to communicate between the Android and timer. There are 3 parts of this new system, the first is a way of working with existing Magic Timers that clearly do not have a BLE radio, the second to work with a new timer with BLE built in and third is to add new features such as RDT, altimeter, etc., that Magic Timer are currently using but could not be generally released because  the old version of Super Magic on the Palm does not include support and it was not appropriate to update it to add them.  There many different Magic Timer models currently in use, installed in working models. Because of the variety of timers and installations it is not practical to introduce a “kit” that would add the BLE radio to existing timer.  But there was no desire to render all these timers obsolete, so a Magic Dongle has been produced.  This is a little powered box that has a BLE radio and serial cable that is used by all Magic Timers.  This box is only plugged into the timer/airplane when you need to reprogram the timer. It is unplugged when you fly.  One Magic Dongle can be used for all your models, there is no need to have one for each model, you can even share one with a friend.
Because Super Magic 6 uses BLE the oldest Android version it will work with appears to be Android 4.4. We have run it on phones or tablets from Samsung, Lenovo, Huawei, and Redmi.

A pre-production version of the Magic Dongle has been produced and is the hands of a few Magic Timers customers.  This is where one of the Mysteries comes in.  Shipping/mail has been interrupted by the pandemic. We sent one to someone in Switzerland and it got there quite quickly, we sent another to the same country and it took 10 days to get from my Post Office to LAX , about 8 km and then another 10 days before they decided there were no flights to Europe so sent it to San Francisco, then only a couple of days to wait for the flight to LHR and on to Zurich.  The record looks like one of the UK shipments that so far looks like it has crossed the Atlantic 3 times already…

Back to the real stuff. These customers have uncovered some issues, made suggestions about how it works and have shown where the documentation needs to clear.  One of the USA customers who is an iPhone user got an Android tablet to take part, he adapted quickly, and his 2 tech savvy sons helped on some items that were not clear. Two of the European “factories” that use Magic Timers requested Magic Dongles and are working with them.  We do have one or two pre-production Dongles left so if there is a Magic Timer Customer just itching to try it they should email a request to magictimers@yahoo.com.  Some people may offered a year or more ago and unfortunately that list has been lost.

One other Mystery or maybe Omen or Qmen came to light. Android give names to their software releases as well as the numbers, like KitKat, Lollypop, Pie.  The latest Android release in production is Android 10, its name seems like a departure for the “food” names and it is name Q, perhaps after the Star Trek character? or F1Q …

So, when this test period is finished the production version will be available, date not confirmed yet, but if you think you might be interested let Magic Timers know at magictimers@yahoo.com as this will help in planning production.

Work is already well underway with the timers that have the BLE radio on the timer but no date yet.  These not only include BLE but other new features and some re-design to make the timers more robust.


 

Kudos to Ken

SEN depends on input from readers. Currently where we don’t see each other so often on the flying fields article like the recent one by Ken Bauer on experiments in HLG/F1N technology are very welcome.


 

In the Press

These days it is hard to find articles on how to get started. So, the first on Tow Line Gliders in Aeromodeller issue 998 from SEN contributor CHE from over the edge of beyond.


The latest Model Aviation has an excellent article by Don Deloach on E-36with some history, a very useful review of the current components, where to find them and other helpful info. This issue also has a construction article on a small field FF sport model and tech review of ESCs, maybe ties in with Don’s article.


The latest FFn has besides the usual FFn tech articles like building a composite wing with curved dihedral (Covid project?) and schedule stuff. There is another covid related piece about a locked dowm project from CIAM President Antonis Papadopoulos building a classic Kiel Kraft Caprice glider, even resisting the temptation to install an electric motor and R/C unit.