Guest Mike261

stratus ADS-B doesn't work in the clag

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Guest Mike261

The last two actual IFR flights i made the stratus 2 ADS-B dropped off line. The GPS signal still worked, but the green ADS-B light went dark. Unit works fine VFR. I have it up on the glare shield and I've never had an issue with connecting to the towers when VFR. today we were IMC for the duration of our round robin flight for practice approaches. Ceilings ranged from 300 to 600 AGL and we never broke out on top. We tried resetting, moving the receiver around to different windows, different working angles for the receiver, side windows...front of glare shield. Nothing. we were in precip and out of precip...no change. I'm wondering if this is related to the weather and or precip. Has anyone else encountered this? any pireps on an external antenna? The most critical flight regime to need NEXRAD and the stratus gave me nothing. I thought maybe it was an anomaly the first time and didn't mess with it, but when it gave up the ghost on us today we decided to fiddle with positioning and resetting to figure it out but had no luck.

Thoughts?

I'm a little pissed right now.

Mike

 

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Mine works fine. I've got it mounted on the pilot side back window with the suction cup mount. It's connected to ship's power. Seems to work fine regardless of the weather or time of day or night.

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I flew 4 hours last week to/from Cincinnati, over half in clouds and sporadic rain showers.  ADS-B IN was solid the entire flight.  System: GDL-88D with 2 external antennas.  

The 978 MHz UAT signals are not attenuated significantly by clouds or rain.  (Well under 1 dB above free space loss in path lengths of tens of miles).  Rain and cloud are not the problem. 

The problem (and it's an interesting one) is within your aircraft.   The Stratus ADS-B receiver may have failed, and doing so in weather was both more noticeable and coincidental. Or perhaps some other system in the plane that's on in IMC is disturbing reception (pitot heat?) Anything new like a different USB charger?  A new or different cell phone or data-enabled tablet aboard whose 850 MHz transmissions might be interfering with the UAT receiver inside Stratus?   I presume you tried the Stratus powered by the internal battery to isolate the power supply as a potential problem.  Static charge on plane is a more arcane thought-but are your wicks good? 

Agree strongly that when you're flying in IMC you want to see NEXRAD and other weather products.  Sure, we used to fly IMC 'blind' without it, but once you've seen wx on the screen, you miss it keenly.

 

 

 

 

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External antennas will help immensely, but you might have just experienced a fluke drop of reception

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I've found that after adding an external antenna I get coverage in areas that previously did not have coverage and get 3-4 towers around my home area instead of one, but one tower is all you need. 

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Just for consideration in troubleshooting:

The GPS antenna looks upward toward the satellites. The ADS-B weather reception looks downward to ground towers. So I can certainly envision situations and cockpit locations where one works and the other has some issues in certain situations.

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I've had no issues using the bare unit (no external antenna) except in remote areas at low altitudes. After adding the external antenna (suction cupped to side window) the coverage has been stellar. Returning from last week's formation clinic I was locked onto 11 towers approaching my home base. T'was a bit of traffic in the area. aa3e7abadc53cfbc0d230c0048c2cbd3.jpg

Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk

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Guest Mike261
7 hours ago, Jerry 5TJ said:

I flew 4 hours last week to/from Cincinnati, over half in clouds and sporadic rain showers.  ADS-B IN was solid the entire flight.  System: GDL-88D with 2 external antennas.  

The 978 MHz UAT signals are not attenuated significantly by clouds or rain.  (Well under 1 dB above free space loss in path lengths of tens of miles).  Rain and cloud are not the problem. 

The problem (and it's an interesting one) is within your aircraft.   The Stratus ADS-B receiver may have failed, and doing so in weather was both more noticeable and coincidental. Or perhaps some other system in the plane that's on in IMC is disturbing reception (pitot heat?) Anything new like a different USB charger?  A new or different cell phone or data-enabled tablet aboard whose 850 MHz transmissions might be interfering with the UAT receiver inside Stratus?   I presume you tried the Stratus powered by the internal battery to isolate the power supply as a potential problem.  Static charge on plane is a more arcane thought-but are your wicks good? 

Agree strongly that when you're flying in IMC you want to see NEXRAD and other weather products.  Sure, we used to fly IMC 'blind' without it, but once you've seen wx on the screen, you miss it keenly.

 

 

 

 

All excellent points...

I have never used any of the devices with in cockpit charger, so that's removed from the equation.

Devices have remained the same. no new cell phone, or tablets.

Static charge...I hadn't considered that, but all my wicks are in good shape and i had some brittle ones replaced at annual in march.

I bought a second Bose headset for the wife, I used it in place of my own only on the last flight...maybe theres something there.

Another fact: I only have four samples of flight operational data so i need to research further:

Flight #1 (VFR)  ADS-B functioned properly during a local flight

Flight #2 (IMC with precip) round robin KLWM, KPSM, KSFM, KLWM ADS-B didn't work 

Flight #3 (VFR round robin practice approaches KLWM, KPSM, KCON, KLWM ADS-B functioned properly.

Flight #4 (IMC with precip yesterday) round robin KLWM, KPSM, KPSM, KLWM ADS-B didn't work.

These flights happened pretty much back to back within a week period, so far the only common denominator i have is the IMC with precip. I agree that it's too small a sample size...but there is a trend here and one can hazard guess what will happen on the next VFR flight.

Mike

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Yeah, I don't know about the Stratus.  I have SatWX on the panel so tend not to care about the weather on the iPad, but the traffic drops in and out, IMC or no IMC, and that is what I got the unit for.  I mount it on one of the side windows.  Besides that, the suction cup gives up the ghost a fair amount, so I have to keep reseating the unit.  Kind of a PITA.

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Sounds like a similar experience to one I had...  (Is your plane old enough for this...?)

The signal is not terribly strong, especially near the ground where it gets blocked.

Other things in the cabin emit signals that can be interfering.

my situation...

my Narco 12 would bleed signals differently depending on what was tuned in the receiver.  When using it to navigate via VORs, It would make my portable Garmin GPS completely unable...

Old nav Coms and other devices of the pre-digital age have some pretty strong quirks to look out for...

This is the dark side of the certified is better than portable argument. Some old certified stuff is just old...

is there anything else you turned on in the clag that you didn't use in VMC? (Strobes, motorized lights, other electronic noise makers?)

Hoping this may help,

-a-

 

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Another possibility: A thin layer of water moisture on the windows is somewhat conductive. It may be forming a shield that attenuates RF more than dry plexiglass. (I'm assuming the UAT signals to the Stratus box mainly come through the windows)

A better-performing 978 MHz antenna (even inside the aircraft) may solve the problem.  

 

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7 hours ago, Jerry 5TJ said: I flew 4 hours last week to/from Cincinnati, over half in clouds and sporadic rain showers.  ADS-B IN was solid the entire flight.  System: GDL-88D with 2 external antennas.  

The 978 MHz UAT signals are not attenuated significantly by clouds or rain.  (Well under 1 dB above free space loss in path lengths of tens of miles).  Rain and cloud are not the problem. 

The problem (and it's an interesting one) is within your aircraft.   The Stratus ADS-B receiver may have failed, and doing so in weather was both more noticeable and coincidental. Or perhaps some other system in the plane that's on in IMC is disturbing reception (pitot heat?) Anything new like a different USB charger?  A new or different cell phone or data-enabled tablet aboard whose 850 MHz transmissions might be interfering with the UAT receiver inside Stratus?   I presume you tried the Stratus powered by the internal battery to isolate the power supply as a potential problem.  Static charge on plane is a more arcane thought-but are your wicks good? 

Agree strongly that when you're flying in IMC you want to see NEXRAD and other weather products.  Sure, we used to fly IMC 'blind' without it, but once you've seen wx on the screen, you miss it keenly.

 

 

 

 

All excellent points...

I have never used any of the devices with in cockpit charger, so that's removed from the equation.

Devices have remained the same. no new cell phone, or tablets.

Static charge...I hadn't considered that, but all my wicks are in good shape and i had some brittle ones replaced at annual in march.

I bought a second Bose headset for the wife, I used it in place of my own only on the last flight...maybe theres something there.

Another fact: I only have four samples of flight operational data so i need to research further:

Flight #1 (VFR)  ADS-B functioned properly during a local flight

Flight #2 (IMC with precip) round robin KLWM, KPSM, KSFM, KLWM ADS-B didn't work 

Flight #3 (VFR round robin practice approaches KLWM, KPSM, KCON, KLWM ADS-B functioned properly.

Flight #4 (IMC with precip yesterday) round robin KLWM, KPSM, KPSM, KLWM ADS-B didn't work.

These flights happened pretty much back to back within a week period, so far the only common denominator i have is the IMC with precip. I agree that it's too small a sample size...but there is a trend here and one can hazard guess what will happen on the next VFR flight.

Mike

At what altitudes? Tower reception is all about altitude, particularly if you're using only the internal antenna.

Using the external antenna I get reception even down low.

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Guest Mike261
3 minutes ago, cnoe said:

At what altitudes? Tower reception is all about altitude, particularly if you're using only the internal antenna.

Using the external antenna I get reception even down low.

Virtually the same altitudes for all of the flights...3500 enroute, down to 2500 for vectoring, 2000 to intercept...or there abouts.

My VFR local flight was also at 2500.

Generally the ADS-B comes on line during the initial climb before the first turn...so before pattern altitude, which is 1200 at klwm.

My house is about 4 miles from KMHT and the elevation of my house is 644 feet and i can pick up the ADS-B in my living room if i put the stratus on the window sill. I don't know where the tower is, maybe its close to me...have to look into that.

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Guest Mike261
33 minutes ago, carusoam said:

Sounds like a similar experience to one I had...  (Is your plane old enough for this...?)

The signal is not terribly strong, especially near the ground where it gets blocked.

Other things in the cabin emit signals that can be interfering.

my situation...

my Narco 12 would bleed signals differently depending on what was tuned in the receiver.  When using it to navigate via VORs, It would make my portable Garmin GPS completely unable...

Old nav Coms and other devices of the pre-digital age have some pretty strong quirks to look out for...

This is the dark side of the certified is better than portable argument. Some old certified stuff is just old...

is there anything else you turned on in the clag that you didn't use in VMC? (Strobes, motorized lights, other electronic noise makers?)

Hoping this may help,

-a-

 

Hmm...

Turned on the Landing lights for the approaches but by then I already knew about the problem.

no strobes in the clouds.

Beacon only mostly...
 

1998 j with king stack.

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Guest Mike261
18 minutes ago, Jerry 5TJ said:

Another possibility: A thin layer of water moisture on the windows is somewhat conductive. It may be forming a shield that attenuates RF more than dry plexiglass. (I'm assuming the UAT signals to the Stratus box mainly come through the windows)

A better-performing 978 MHz antenna (even inside the aircraft) may solve the problem.  

 

Maybe, lots of water on the windscreen.

here's a video of 1 approach, lots of water at times but not always...notice the dark ADS-B light, we just gave up on it eventually.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9R067q7fz4g&sns=em

 

mike

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Mike,

Have you tried to contact customer service at Stratus?

With all the experience you have collected trying to problem solve the situation...  I would bet they will be interested in helping you out.

Include the YouTube video and this thread(?) in your request.

Could be a simple quick fix, or a real challenge that requires their input.

It is really helpful when MS members make contact directly with our favorite venders.

Best regards,

-a-

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Guest Mike261
13 minutes ago, carusoam said:

Mike,

Have you tried to contact customer service at Stratus?

With all the experience you have collected trying to problem solve the situation...  I would bet they will be interested in helping you out.

Include the YouTube video and this thread(?) in your request.

Could be a simple quick fix, or a real challenge that requires their input.

It is really helpful when MS members make contact directly with our favorite venders.

Best regards,

-a-

I definitely will. I want to try one more VFR flight and one more IMC flight to verify the behaviour. I will get film of them as well. I think that before i call i want to be sure of my theory. This site is a treasure trove of experience and i thought i might find the answer here.

Mike

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1 hour ago, Mike261 said:

Virtually the same altitudes for all of the flights...3500 enroute, down to 2500 for vectoring, 2000 to intercept...or there abouts.

My VFR local flight was also at 2500.

Generally the ADS-B comes on line during the initial climb before the first turn...so before pattern altitude, which is 1200 at klwm.

My house is about 4 miles from KMHT and the elevation of my house is 644 feet and i can pick up the ADS-B in my living room if i put the stratus on the window sill. I don't know where the tower is, maybe its close to me...have to look into that.

I was going to ask about altitudes, too.  I've noticed better tower reception on the glare shield vs putting it in the back.

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Please let us know what Appareo (Stratus) says. Yours is a strange issue that I've never heard of or encountered. If they weren't usable in IMC we would have heard about it long ago.

Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk

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Guest Mike261

I did email Appareo. they responded quickly.

They told me this should not happen and they've never encountered it before.

They want me to make sure I'm on the latest firmware and latest apple IOS.

Also instructed me to do a factory hard reset...hold the power button down for 30 seconds.

Should this not fix the issue, they want the unit back to diagnose, but i have to go through Sportys' because i bought it there.

So I have some instructions to complete, and see what happens.

Mike

 

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It is good not to wait to get the line of communication going.  Computerized customer service record keeping has the amazing ability to track progress of a solution as it develops over days.  In some cases they can resolve the issue immediately by giving sage advice.  In other cases they may give you some ideas to try out and report back.

Best regards,

-a-

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Guest Mike261

update...

i downloaded the new firmware, did a hard reset. updated the IOS. went out into the 400 OVC weather saturday morning. Was IMC the entire flight. shot 3 approaches. altitudes 4000 enroute, 3000 enroute, 2000 for vectoring to intercept. ADSB was flawless. Fixed maybe? will try again and see.

mike

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Mike, is this a Stratus 2s?  If so, where did you get the firmware upgrade and figure that you were behind from?  I have not had this problem with my unit but have it mounted on the back right window.  Yes a PITA when it falls off but have figured out to remount with each day of flying.  Usually have 4 or more towers at above 3000ft for the most part.

Thanks ... Don Swing N800MS

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On ‎5‎/‎2‎/‎2016 at 11:53 PM, Mike261 said:

The last two actual IFR flights i made the stratus 2 ADS-B dropped off line. The GPS signal still worked, but the green ADS-B light went dark. Unit works fine VFR. I have it up on the glare shield and I've never had an issue with connecting to the towers when VFR. today we were IMC for the duration of our round robin flight for practice approaches. Ceilings ranged from 300 to 600 AGL and we never broke out on top. We tried resetting, moving the receiver around to different windows, different working angles for the receiver, side windows...front of glare shield. Nothing. we were in precip and out of precip...no change. I'm wondering if this is related to the weather and or precip. Has anyone else encountered this? any pireps on an external antenna? The most critical flight regime to need NEXRAD and the stratus gave me nothing. I thought maybe it was an anomaly the first time and didn't mess with it, but when it gave up the ghost on us today we decided to fiddle with positioning and resetting to figure it out but had no luck.

Thoughts?

I'm a little pissed right now.

Mike

 

You may have been too low for good reception. Try higher next time.

José

Edited by Piloto

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