Flightbox Troubleshooting

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Flightbox Troubleshooting

Here are some of the most common issues and their solutions. If you don’t find an answer here, please send an email to support@openflightsolutions.com and we will help get your FlightBox system up and running. Please also read the FAQ before contacting us.

Things to check first:

  • The Raspberry Pi is shorting out on the ground plane tape. Take the main assembly (Raspberry Pi + radio modules + pigtails) out of the case and try to power it up. If it comes on, the it is very likely that the ground plane tape is touching the bottom of the Raspberry Pi and shorting it out. Remove the tape.
  • You are using a power supply (battery, cigarette lighter adapter or wall adapter) rated at 2 amps or greater. 1 amp supplies are NOT supported and do NOT provide enough power for FlightBox.
  • You are using either the included power cable or another USB cable designed for rapid charging and built with power wires that are at least 24 gauge, and preferably larger (22 or 20 gauge).
  • Your data card is seated in the Pi – it is quite easy to accidentally eject the card while inserting it into the case.
  • Your fan is connected to the proper pins on the Pi. It WILL NOT run in reverse as it uses a brushless motor. It MUST be connected as depicted in the assembly guide and video.
  • You have the fan set up to blow out through the top. The label on the fan will be against the plastic of the top. The
  • You have tightened up the nuts on the antenna bulkhead connectors enough that the 978 MHz antenna can screw all the way on. If it is flopping over, you haven’t.
  • You have the “Darq Matter” USB battery pack – make sure you are using the port labeled “Output 2.1A” and NOT the port labeled “Quick Charge”.

Symptom: Unable to fit the Raspberry Pi and other components into the case.

Make sure you keep the pigtail cables out of the way while inserting the Pi assembly. If the pigtail gets between the Ethernet jack and the case wall it is nearly impossible to get the assembly to lay down.

Make sure you have the audio jack, HDMI jack, and power jack all lined up with the cut-outs in the case. If those are not lined up, the Pi assembly will not slide down into place. Do NOT force the Pi as this can either break off the power connector or damage the case.

Symptom: The 978 MHz antenna flops over.

The 978 MHz antenna uses friction between the faces on the SMA connectors to stand up. If it flops over side-to-side, it is not tight enough for those faces to contact each other. You need to expose a bit more thread on the SMA bulkhead connector by either tightening up the nut a bit more or by removing the lock washer and tightening the nut.

Symptom: My tablet / smartphone application (aka “EFB app”) does not appear to be receiving data.

First, make sure that your phone or tablet has a solid wifi connection to the FlightBox. Use the device’s wifi configuration option (usually part of the “Settings” app) to select the “FlightBox-XXXX” network. Once that is connected, use the web browser on your device to view the status page on the FlightBox at http://192.168.10.1.

If you are able to get to the status page, you have a solid connection to FlightBox. Next check your application to see if it has ADS-B enabled. Some applications require that you manually enable ADS-B. Some require that you provide the SSID (wifi network name) which the app uses to know what port to use.

If you are using Avare, you will need the “Avare External I/O Plugin” app installed an running. After you install it, you will need to select “Wifi” from the list of connection-types, change the port setting to 4000, check the “Listen” check-box, and save the configuration.

If you are using ForeFlight*, you must make sure the AHRS option is turned off in the Settings page of the Stratux status and configuration app (http://192.168.10.1). ForeFlight automatically stops displaying data from any FlightBox or Stratux system that has AHRS enabled. (And, FlightBox does not currently have AHRS sensors, so having it enabled does nothing anyway.)

If you have multiple EFB apps on the same tablet, you may need to kill (remove from the app list) one app before you will be able to receive data on another. Apps sometimes place a hold on the port used by FlightBox, preventing other apps from being able to receive.

Symptom: When I power up FlightBox I do not see the “FlightBox-XXXXX” network.

It takes roughly 20 seconds for the system to boot up an begin advertising the access point. If you do not see it after 30 seconds, chances are good that the system is not getting enough power. Make sure you are using an appropriate cable and power supply (see above in the “Things To Check First” section).

If you have a proper power supply and cable, then the next thing to check is the status indication on the Pi. Remove the case top and check to make sure that the red LED on the Pi is solid. If it is blinking on / off, or if it goes out entirely, you have a power problem. Check to make sure that your power source is properly connected and charged.

If your system was shipped around the last week of April and includes a Raspberry Pi 3 there is a know issue with the wifi configuration file. It is subject to corruption which results in no wifi access point being created. If you experience this, please contact support for assistance. There are several ways of fixing this problem. If you’re comfortable with computers you can re-image the card. If not, we can swap cards.

One user reports having an iPad that simply would not see the network. He tried different power supplies, removing the radio modules, removing the GPS, and still could not see it. Finally he tried his iPhone and the network was visible. He powered off and rebooted the iPad and the network appeared (along with several others). So: if all else fails, try a reboot.

Symptom: I have a connection to the FlightBox-XXXX network but my app is not getting data

In some cases you will need to configure your app to receive data from FlightBox. Most apps automatically listen for ADS-B data on port 4000, but some require configuration. Make sure you have ADS-B enabled in your app, and that it is set to listen on port 4000 (if it has a port configuration option).

Some apps (Avare) require an external I/O plugin to work. Make sure you install and configure the external plugin.

If you have several EFB apps on your device and switch between them, the port to which FlightBox sends data may remain tied to the previous app. Use the task manager feature of your operating system to kill the previous app and the new app should be able to start receiving data.

Symptom: After several minutes FlightBox stops sending data to my EFB application.

Make sure your fan is blowing out through the top of the case. Without the fan it is possible for the system to overheat. With the fan running overheating is much less likely.

If you were an early adopter of FlightBox it is possible that you have a version of the system (v0.8r1 or earlier) with a known issue that causes this symptom. You can work around it temporarily by going into the wifi configuration on your tablet and renewing the lease. For a permanent fix, be sure to update to a newer version of the FlightBox software. See the support page for information on how to update.

Symptom: GPS reception is weak.

The GPS is somewhat sensitive to electronic noise and is already enclosed in a box right next to the wifi transceiver which has an impact on reception. You should located it someplace with a clear view of the sky – the glare shield is the best location, but it also works in a window or on the hat-rack of aircraft with a rear window.

The GPS module is quite sensitive to voltage drop – much more so than the Raspberry Pi or the radio modules. If you are using a long cable you can experience problems even if your power supply is capable (> 2 amps) and even if the rest of the system is functioning. Try using a shorter cable.

You can improve GPS reception by relocating the GPS outside of the FlightBox using a USB extension cable. The U-shaped notch at the end of the case can easily be removed (use an Exacto knife or similar) to make room for the USB fitting on the cable. We will be offering a remote GPS as an upgrade in the near future.

Some of the GPS modules ship from China with an empty backup battery. When first plugged in they divert a portion of the available power to charging the battery which can increase the lock acquisition time. You can “jump start” your module by plugging it into a computer or other USB power supply for 30 minutes to an hour before you plug it into the Raspberry Pi.

Symptom: Not receiving any UAT messages / data.

UAT data is not available while on the ground unless you happen to be within a few miles of an ADS-B tower. You should be able to pick up UAT towers at 500′ – 1500′ AGL in most parts of the country. In some locations tower broadcasts will not be available until you reach as much as 3,000′ AGL.

Symptom: Poor ADS-B reception in flight at any altitude.

If you experience poor reception at all altitudes, check to be sure that you have antennas and receivers matched up correctly. Mixing up the antennas will cause very poor reception, as the antennas are tuned to specific frequencies.

The taller antenna with the yellow stripes around the top must connect to the 978 MHz radio, which should be located beneath the GPS at the bottom/center of the box. Its cable should route along the edge of the case, past the vent cuts, to the hole nearest the power connector.

The shorter 1090 MHz antenna must connect to the 1090-ES radio, which should be located on the bottom row nearest the case wall and the pigtail should route between the Ethernet port and the USB ports to the hole nearest the rows of connector pins from which the fan is powered.

If you frequently remove the antennas for storage, use a Sharpie to mark short and long marks beneath the SMA connectors to make it easier to remember which goes where.

Symptom: Poor reception in a jet or other pressurized aircraft used above FL18.

This is a tough one, as the combination of a double-hull and heated windows means you are flying in a Faraday cage (a radio-proof container). UAT is particularly iffy, as it was generally intended for low-altitude aircraft. Your best bet is to put the FlightBox in / near a non-heated window.

*Please note that Open Flight Solutions is not affiliated with or endorsed by this application vendor. Interoperability has been independently confirmed by third party users of the software.