String Pots, Kiel Probes, and BoxDAQs: What's new in 2018


2017 was a hell of a year in every sense of the word, and has led to some pretty awesome stuff. The above picture was taken from Spingarage's sweet new home at a gliderport, for instance. Things are looking a bit different around here, and I wanted to take a moment to talk about some of the new things that I'm most excited about.

1) The V3 is here!


This is hands down my favorite out of all of the products I've been involved in producing. The fit and finish turned out exactly as I was picturing in my head, and the functionality is there to match. I am working with AeroDesign to produce the aluminum bits, and they're doing a fantastic job. Learn more about what this probe can do here.

2) We sell Kiel and 5-hole probe components!


Since the components we're putting into our air data booms are so freakin' good, we decided to offer them as standalone products. These are very lightweight, yet robust, probe tips that would be very well suited for installation on UAVs or experimental aircraft. They're available in our online store, and more and more calibration data is continually becoming available.

For those suspicious types, yes, this does mean a 5-hole version of the Featherweight is on the way for high-speed applications!

3) The BoxDAQ is getting way better!


The BoxDAQ is in the middle of a major facelift, and will be publicly released soon. Here's some of the awesome new stuff:

  • Integration of the SMD version of the VectorNav, meaning more robust construction and smaller overall size.
  • A shiny new aluminum enclosure.
  • A high efficiency 12-28VDC switching power supply - we find most of our customers prefer to power this widget from ship power, so we designed a great way to do it.
  • Ruggedized, circular USB connector and external on/off switch.
  • Support for CANbus! This means you'll be able to plug the new BoxDAQ into a Motec display or something similar and see live data.
  • A datalogging-only version for recording AirDAQ data hands-off.

Keep an eye out for the release of this product in the next few weeks. Update: It's here!

4) We make string potentiometers!

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After spending an embarrassing amount of time searching for a string pot that has an integration-friendly form factor and doesn't blow my price point out of the water, I finally broke down and designed my own, and it turned out great. The first four of these are headed for Oregon late this week (any guesses?), and they'll be available on the website shortly thereafter. What makes them awesome? Three different interface formats, for starters:

  • A VCP-over-USB version that requires nothing but a USB cable
  • A battery powered, wireless version that requires... well, nothing
  • A 12-28VDC version with CANbus output

I believe these are going to bring a whole new level of usability to the world of string pots. Needless to say, I'm excited. Update: They're here!

As always, none of this would be possible without the help of the incredible aviation community involved in these projects. I had a blast working with all of you in 2017, and looking forward to more of same in the year to come!