Frequently Asked Questions

Does the Climb_and_Dive work with any ESC? If the ESC works well with a servo tester I don’t see any reason why it shouldn’t work with the timer. The timer does require an ESC with a built in BEC (battery eliminator circuit). Ideally, the ESC should have a means to calibrate the throttle to match the timer output range. It will not work with ESC’s that require a mandatory maximum throttle signal in order to complete the throttle calibration sequence prior to each and every flight. Castle Creations Phoenix line of ESC’s are a special case and more information can be found here.

Can I extend the touch sensor pin? Yes, you can. You will have to experiment to make sure it works reliably, but you can add a wire to the touch sensor pin to extend the ‘sensor’ to another location. See Optional Modifications for more information.

Why don’t I get the short throttle ‘blip’ when I start the timer? If your ESC has a procedure for throttle calibration, try that, it may help. See ESC Information. Also make sure any soft start feature in the ESC is set to fast or hard start.

The motor takes to long to get to cruising speed after take-off Do not hold the running airplane for an extended period before releasing for take-off. There is a 5 second delay after the motor reaches the programmed flight RPM until the active function of the timer becomes fully operational. This is to prevent the active function from impeding the airplane climb-out and acceleration to cruising speed.

Is a Bluetooth wireless connection allowed in competition? The Bluetooth radio is turned on only while the timer is in the programming mode. Therefore the Bluetooth connection cannot be construed as to provide any control of the aircraft during flight. Bluetooth is 2.4GHz spread spectrum technology. The timer uses low energy Bluetooth transmitted through a very small onboard antenna which limits its useful range to about 30 feet, or 10 meters, maximum.

Is Bluefruit Connect the only app that will work with the timer? No, there are plenty of other free Bluetooth apps that support wireless UART communication. Bluefruit Connect was suggested for its simplicity and ease of use.

Can I make a housing for the timer to help protect it? Of course, but making it completely weatherproof may be a challenge. If you have access to a 3D printer you can download STL files for a casing and cover here.

What type of solder do you use for the backpack PCB assembly? The backpack components are soldered with a RoHS compliant lead-free synthetic no-clean formula solder paste.

What is bootout.txt on the CIRCUITPY drive? This a small text file that is automatically generated by CircuitPython. It includes information on which version of CircuitPython is installed as well as details about the microcontroller board.

What version of the program code do I have installed? The software version is included in the device name that appears on the Bluetooth app window when you connect to the timer.

What is CircuitPython? CircuitPython is Adafruit’s fork of the MicroPython programming language. Micropython is a subset of instructions derived from Python specifically for use on microcontrollers. CircuitPython is well supported and a tonne of information can be found in various Adafruit learning guides.

Can I make changes to the program code? Yes, Adafruit and CircuitPython make it easy. If you are making minor changes, open in any text editor program, like Notebook or TextEdit. Make your changes and then save it as back onto the CIRCUITPY drive. As soon as the code is saved the program re-boots and your new code starts running. If you would like to make more substantial changes then I would suggest a free code editing program like Mu Editor. The Adafruit Learning Guides cover everything you need to know.