After trying XCSoar on my HP4700, I faced a number of problems.
Firstly it would freeze up mid use. This has been reported as due to overheating. Other Hx4700 users have been known to “ice” their PDA’s before flying with them.
Secondly, to keep the PDA mobile between different club gliders, I wanted it to be a single independent unit. So I installed a CF GPS card. This made it a touch bulky, but also, reset everything if the card was removed.
Thirdly, and this is always a problem, battery life was poor.
When I heard that a Aussie paraglider pilot had installed XCSoar onto a Binatone Car GPS Nav, it was the obvious progression: Use a device that is specifically made to run a GPS app as a single device.
I also saw that the iPAQ 31x series was being actively supported. The iPAQ 31x series havent done too well as GPS Nav’s, for whatever reason, but they do have a few specifications that are great for XCSoar: A decent GPS chip. An Awesome screen 800×400 resolution and a decent processor ~600Mhz. But now for the kicker: HP has decided to pull ut of the PNA market and so the price of these models have dropped. About a month ago I saw one for AUD$340 at Officeworks. Today, at the same Officeworks: AUD$240. So I bought one.
Great looking, big screen. I unzipped the contents of the latest stable PNA version of XCsoar onto the root directory of a new 4GB (overkill) HCSD card. put it in and reset. Navigated to the cards root directory and launched XCSoar. It GPS locked quickly and appears to be working fine. By changing the “look” (Menu 11 in setting to ipaq 31x version made the interface and fonts look so much better.
I then went to the terrain generating sub site for XCSoar and made up maps for SE Queensland. I used 9 arc seconds resolution initially, and have also created a 3 arc second set. I’ll try both and see if the device struggles with the bigger file, which is about 1 meg in size, about double.
As for battery life, this will always be a problem. Paul Remde’s Cumulus Soaring has a Socket power pack for USD$100 that will increase life to about 9hours 30 min from the expected 2hrs. It plugs ito the USB port.
Now I just need to fly with it to try it out…