What current devices are available to run Cumulus?
The old hardware devices for Cumulus are the Nokia Internet Tablets N800 and N810 with OS2008 since 2008 and the N900 with OS2009 since 2010. Cumulus can be installed with the tablet package manager on these devices without flashing the Maemo OS against another one.
The new hardware devices for Cumulus are Android devices. Cumulus has been fully ported to Android in beginning of 2012 by using the lighthouse project, which makes Qt application also runnable on Android’s OS from Google. But not all Android devices are suited to run Cumulus. At least you need a minimum screen size to be able to operate Cumulus with fingers.
You do need a GPS unit to take full advantage of Cumulus. This can be an internal or external GPS receiver. The Nokia Internet Tablet N810/N900 and many Android devices have already included a GPS receiver but they can also be connected via Bluetooth to an external GPS device.
Nokia Internet Tablet N810
The Nokia Internet Tablet N810 is one tested device for Cumulus and has the following core features:
- OMAP2420 microprocessor with a native speed of 400 MHz
- High-resolution 4.13” WVGA display, 800 x 480 pixels with up to 65.000 colors
- Sliding, backlit hardware keyboard
- Flash 256 MB & 2GB integrated internal storage
- Built-in GPS receiver
- Support for compatible miniSD and microSD memory cards (with extender)
- Supports cards up to 8GB (SD cards over 2GB must be SDHC compatible)
- Sunlight readable transreflective display
- Linux based OS called Maemo
There are a lot of Android devices on the market but not all of them are suited to run Cumulus. Because the provided palette is huge we cannot give an advice for a special device. Another problem is the variety of OS releases and that the manufacturers can modify the Android OS provided by Google. That can cause additional problems during run-time and makes a testing not more possible by us on every device and for every OS release.
Android devices should fulfil the following minimum requirements:
- Running Android Release 2.2.x (Froyo) or higher
- A screen with a resolution of at least 800 x 480 pixels turnable in landscape mode
- The minimum screen size should be greater than 4″ diagonal to allow a good operation with fingers
- The screen should be good readable in sunshine
- An external storage medium (SD-Card) is needed for storing of map and flight data
- If no internal GPS device is available Bluetooth radio is a must for connection to external BT GPS devices
- Optional a Wireless Ethernet connection to access the Internet for data downloads
- During longer flights you need an external power supply
- A device mount is recommended for usage in flight
All GPS devices that provide a standard NMEA formatted data stream via a serial, USB or a Bluetooth connection should be usable with Cumulus. To connect Cumulus with the different GPS devices special gadgets could be necessary.
FAI loggers and advanced instruments
Most FAI loggers and advanced instruments like FLARM can be used with Cumulus as they output a NMEA formatted data stream just like a normal GPS does. Often these devices have only a RS232 interface whilst the Internet Tablet has an micro USB port. To connect both together you need a USB-RS232 gadget. A adapter with a Prolific PL2303 chip should work as stated in the tablet forum. For the connection you need a female A to male micro-A adapter. Furthermore you have to install the kernel modules pl2303.ko and usbserial.ko. They are needed to connect any gadget through USB with a cable USB to Serial.
Cumulus can take advantage of the additional information these devices supply beside the normal GPS data. The manufacturers often use proprietary NMEA sentences, not standard conform, to code such data in special messages. At the moment Cumulus can process and use the proprietary data sentences (pressure Altitude, STD Altitude, QNH, Wind, Variometer) of a Cambridge, LX, Volkslogger and FLARM device.
Confirmed to work with Cumulus are:
- Filser LX20 via serial
- Garmin Pilot III via serial
- Cambridge Digital Direct Vario (302) via serial
- Volkslogger via serial
- FLARM via serial
Android and modern other PDAs have in rule not more a serial interface connector. Often only Bluetooth is available. To use hardware, like flight loggers and Flarm, which have only a serial interface, you need a Serial-Bluetooth adapter. Possible devices are:
- K6 BT 2 – Serial-Bluetooth-Adapter
- LM048V2 SRP Bluetooth RS232 Serial Adapter at Amazon
- SoarTronic’s Bluetooth adapter a cheap way to connect a Flarm
IOIO Boards for Android
There exits a board, called IOIO, which has up to 4 serial interfaces. These interfaces can be connected to Flarm and other flight recorders. The IOIO board itself will be connected with the Android device via USB. It supply also power for the Android device. Cumulus can be connected with such a IOIO board. At the moment it supports only the usage of one Uart (serial interface). More is planed for the future. Here are some examples where you can bye such IOIO boards:
- Glidertools Androport (Cumulus tested)
- SoarTronic’s IOIO UART interface board
If you have successfully ran Cumulus on other hardware than listed here, please let us know!
If you have knowleage about devices which provide additional information like Variometer, Wind, Presseure related Altitudes, … and Cumulus should integrate them, please contact us. A format description and a ascii trace would be a good help for us.
Altitude errors & correction
Not all GPS devices use geoid correction. That is, they do not provide an MSL altitude when they should, but an altitude above an ellipsoid that is an approximation to the real curvature of the earth. This introduces errors, that will show up as a relatively fixed error in the altitude Cumulus will return. Some devices do have this information, but don’t take it into account when returning altitudes. Cumulus can compensate this error in its altitude dialog, where you can define a correction factor to be added or subtracted to the delivered altitude.
Note that making sure the altitudes are approximately correct is important. If the altitudes are off, the arrival altitudes and thus the airfields in reach are not accurate for use!