First flight

So finaly after changing and connecting all tubes, there was time for the first test flight. Weather wasn’t the best, with blue thermals and quite turbulent and pulsating as expected this early in the season. Preflight testing on the ground looked promising but would it show correct data?

I set local QNH in XCsoar and took off behind our Dynamic WT9 climbing steadily with an indication of OpenvarioGHYup to 12mps – something that would make our micro towplane more like a turbine tug on steroids.

I also experienced some pretty bad interference/noise when using comms making the system go high wire.

I turned off my radio, using a handheld for the remainder of my flight and things started to look a hole lot more promising. Noise and interference disappeared and after a system reset the vario showed correct information compared to the mechanical winter vario. Due to marginal thermals I tended to get lower fiddling with the system so I hade to land after just 40 minutes.

My “partner” an co-owner flew two flights the next day, experiencing pretty much the same, without the interference/noise after we rearranged and shielded some wiring with chokes.

To sum it up:
1. GPS stable
2. Screen performing well in sunlight even with touch screen installed.
3. Flarm radar OK
4. ADS-B in OK – needed some tweaking filtering out traffic >1500m vertical separation.
5. Vario information OK – but an update are in the works improving stability and overall performance.
7. Altimeter OK
8. Remote Stick OK – making a touch screen redundant, improving sunlight readability.

For more information and details check the forum on Xcsoar.

Preparation for glider installation

After years of changing the setup, wiring was a total mess. Therefor we decided  it was2016-03-13 12.57.03 time for spring cleaning. Everything out, and start from scratch. I spent last weekend preparing and has slowly started to lay out new wires, fuses and switches neatly arranged through a connecting panel between the battery, main switch and the electronics.

Our final cockpit layout will be as follows:2016-03-13 17.24.33

  • OpenVario 7″
  • Flarm
  • TRX-1090- ADS-B and Transponder-receiver for FLARM®
  • BT Bluetooth from (backup for PDA/Phone running XCSoar)
  • AIR COM – The next generation aircraft radio
  • AIR COM – VT01 transponder
  • Single display for radio/transponder

Next up is all pressure tubes.

To be continued….

Update – Stick remote is working 🙂

Stick Remote Control progress

Finally received all components for our Stick Remote Control. Push buttons 2016-02-18 22.57.56and 4 way joystick from eBay and PCB from, same provider we used for the OV boards.

I haven’t had the chance to test it yet, but if everything works I’ll put the gerber files for PCB card here in case somebody needs it.

Next – load software to Arduino, config and testing.

For the stick itself, Haldor will be making that out of wood something like the one on the picture just different buttons.


Stick Remote Control for our OpenVario setup

We have decided to add a stick remote to our setup although we have backside_leonardoa touchscreen. In our previous setup with PNA/PDA, touchscreen has been our only option when interacting with the gliding software of choice. This has worked pretty good, but those having a stick remote strongly advice us to add such a feature.
Parts on its way from around the world...So, with to much time on our hands during the winter no-flying season – a new project is in order.

Final installation

Finally after a good flying season, winter again opens the possibility to continue working on our OpenVario project. Haldor posted a brief update on so in order to keep this simple I’ll just past his post right here:

First of all – I would like to thank the OV development team for making this an open project and also a big thanks for all the support the OV community have provided us with during our build 😀

2016-01-24 13.37.29Status for us after this weekend is shown in the pictures :mrgreen:
We have up to this date had a rats nest of wires and with the redesign of the instrument panel to accomodate the OV we cleared out all previous wiring – a fresh start!

The slim profile of our LS6 instrument panel dont leave much room to spare, the 7″ OV take the majority obvisouly…
The bolt pattern of the panel to fix it to the canopy hinge/frame leave only enough room for a single 57mm instrument on either side.

Our new configuration is:
ASI 57mm on the left left, OV center, compensated mechanical vario 57mm to the right.
Altimeter 57mm below OV followed by a 57mm Air.Comm / Transponder unit (not complete yet)

Our Openvario is operational, read GPS and ADS-B provided by FLARM & Garrecht 1090. Maps installed.


Looking good!





The only unknown now is what kind of vario/alt/speed data it will provide when airborne!




2016-01-23 20.21.38-22016-01-23 20.22.30-2

Screenshots from OV
showing a  Norwegian B737 passing overhead, taking off from a local airport (ENTO) 🙂 displaying ads-b signal from the TRX1090.





Haldor and Jarle

Coming to an end – successfully I hope

While Jarle works on the electronics I have been adding a few more hrs on the housing. Front frame was primed then spray painted matt black. Very pleased with the outcome. The remaining holes on rear face plates are completed since this photo was taken.
This Easter we hope to mate the casing with the electronics and hopefully have a completed and functional device
At the moment the sensorboard is being completed and prepared for testing.

Front frame 3

It’s alive!

Finally I received everything and soldering could start. Being a novice never soldered PCB, I was kind of worried about how this would enfold, especially when looking at the smallest pieces and not being familiar with schematics. But to my surprise things wasn’t Adapterboardas hard as I thought it would be. The tiniest bits actually was not the issue at all, but the larger screen connector on the other hand caused me some headache. The thing is that with some preparations and practice, the proper technique is really not that hard to master. YouTube is a must and I found among others this video very helpful. The right tools is definitely also crucial and my soldering station described in earlier posts surely made the work manageable. The hotIC2_3 air gun saved my @ss on several occasions when rework was needed on the bigger parts with multiple pins (Had to change polarity to IC2 and IC3) . Well back to the screen connector, the pins are extremely small with very little spacing. The first attempt was a complete failure, with bridges, broken leads on the board and slightly off correct position. These problems was not clearly visible trough normal inspection, but it revealed it self when the first test with power connected. The 5 to 3.3 volt regulator (IC1) did not give output and went into thermal protection. After testing for continuity, reading schematics and removing items in reversed order, I was finally left with 2015-03-10 23.19.22the LCD connector. It was removed, and surly the board loaded and all 5v and 3.3v checkpoints passed the test. Luckily We had one connector in spare, so after careful positioning it with just a tiny amount of solder on each end pad, pins was soldered with the smallest amount of solder possible. Even then the continuity test failed 3 times either because of bridges or not contact on one or more pins. Adding more solder to gain contact, easily made another bridge in result. After some rework with solder wick all tests were passed, and it was time to connect the LCD screen. Success!! The screen lit up and after loading the software XCsoar surely came to live. A little trial and error to

2015-03-11 23.25.31 figure out the correct jumper settings, but now everything looks good.

Next up is the sensor board on my part.

The following two images show the key components for this Project, first one is the Cubieboard2 which is purchased as shown.  cubieboard-2Uses Linux as platform. To interface the Cubieboard2 with the screen, touchscreen, sensorboard and RJ45 connectorboard an Adapterboard is required. (Green Board).  This house the respective connections and AdapterboardDC/DC converter needed to operate the system.


front frameMy partner in crime on this project – Haldor, is busy making the housing out of aluminum sheets the good old fashion way. Based on the descriptions and his good craftsmanship, I’m confident the electronics will be well taken care of once it is installed in our LS6.  IMG_01431IMG_64421

A 25mm thick aluminum billet is used to mill the front frame for the Flight Computer.  An old-school 3-axis milling machine at work to the rescue!  The front side of the panel is completed and now we will mill from the rear side to open up the actual frame for the screen to rest in.

Thank you to everybody on for assistance and guidance. Also found this blog very helpful as an addition to the documents from the OV project page. Keep ut the good work!

To be continued 🙂

OpenVario project


A while back I stumbled on an article on Facebook I believe about an open project for a DIY glider computer and variometer. I´m a sucker for gadgets in our glider Frontand has so far installed Flarm, transponder and ADS-B in and out. Everything presented in XC-Soar on a Samsung TAB 7, via a Bluetooth adapter. My co-owner of our LS6 – Haldor, uses another setup with Seeyou on an Ipaq without Flarm and ADS-B presented. The best solution would be to have a fixed installation with all flight data presented in one integrated device. As probably all of you know these solutions are extremely expensive, reaching thousands for dollars.

cropped-XB6V9841.jpgOpenVario on the other hand looks like a perfect device, for a very affordable price, and what fun it will be to make it our self. Check the link below for more info about the project and stop by here from time to time for an update on our build.

So far we are gathering information, studying how-to, and anxiously waiting for all the bits and pieces to arrive. There is nothing as satisfying as making your own gadgets and save a few bucks in the process 🙂ov_from_behind

We will try to update this page as the project evolves with short descriptions and pictures. Haven’t set a date for completion, but I suspect we will aim for an installation in our LS6 for the 2015/16 season. In other words next winter, but we’ll see.

Stay tuned.cockpit