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RCLogbook, Logging Your Model History and Flight Data

Joker 53150

Mmmmmmm, balsa.
Mentor
#1
Recently I stumbled across an RC data logging app for the iPhone. It looked promising so I dropped a few bucks and purchased it. I know there are a few other ones out there for less, but I liked the look/feel of this program.

Since I got it after the 2012 outdoor season ended for me I haven't logged any planes, only my Blade mCX which is flown indoors. I've added data for my the Nutball, FT Flyer, FT Delta, and my Funbat foamies. Also 9 other planes and three Coax Helis. I may be a noob at RC, but I've got a decent job and an understanding wife! The app will log just about any data you'd want to track, including fuel and battery usage, flight times, etc.

Here's the main screen, showing the only model I've been able to log data for so far. The Scout CX is my son's and I only log the repairs and not the flights. The UJ369 was given to me by my neighbor after he broke some internal gears - the yellow wrench indicates repairs are needed.

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After selecting the blue arrow to the right of the Blade mCX the app takes me to the data screen where it gives me a history of the craft.

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I can review flight information, which includes date, time, location, battery used, flight time, etc. I set a countdown timer for 4:15 and have been reasonably consistent with my flight times. When I check the batteries later they're usually very close in voltage.

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I've got 6 batteries I use for this heli. As you can see, 2 are charged (the blue one is only blue because it's highlighted). 4 are used and awaiting a fresh charge. The two 70mAh batteries have an icon showing they're charged for storage. These are the batteries my son uses in his Scout - I don't log data on them, but I do keep them on the list. If a battery goes dead due to Josh Bixler not taking proper care of it (oh SNAP!) you can retire it. Models can also be retired. You can also delete them permanently from the list. Retired models can be un-retired.

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Before flying I have the app set to give me a pre-flight checklist. In this case it's pretty simple. You can add anything you want to the pre-flight or post-flight lists, and these lists can be specific to each model if you want. I use pretty much the same list for all of my planes, although I've added and removed a few things here and there. As I start flying for the season I'm sure I'll come up with a lot more changes specific to each plane.

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After the pre-flight I can pick a count-up or count-down timer. I normally use the count-down, at least on the Blade since I know about how much this will discharge the batteries. I haven't confirmed yet, but I think the app will let store your past count-down times per model and pack, so if you change between a 1300 and 1500mAh pack in a Super Cub it MIGHT remember what you used last time for each pack and default to that time. You can always change it before flying though. My timer is always at 4:15 for the Blade on all 6 batteries. Once the timer is set, you arm the app for flight and then shake the phone to start the timer. Once the flight is done shake it again and it stops timing, gives you a post-flight checklist (if you want one) and then logs the flight information for you.

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As stated above, if you have planned maintenance for a model it puts a yellow wrench over the model's picture. You can still select it to fly but it gives you a warning first that maintenance is needed. This is the maintenance I still have planned for my Black Hawk Models Piper J3 Cub. You can add anything you want to this list. In this case it's a new build and I'm missing a control horn for the rudder. I added "Log CoG" as I use the data field on each aircraft to note what kind of electronics are installed, if any servos are reversed, and what the recommended CoG is. It's winter and I'm bored...

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Besides planned maintenance you can also see a log of your past maintenance. Again this is an area to enter any data you want ("Secure TX and RX" should have been "Secure ESC and RX" - but I knew what I meant).

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Basically, I really like this program. It does everything I need and more. I've run into only one problem, and that's with the battery history. It's supposed to give you a graph of battery usage on a given model. Each time I try to use it on the Blade mCX it crashes and dumps me back to my phone's main screen. I might have some bad data in there since I haven't logged the 1S battery charge times/voltages/etc for all flights. It's hard to care too much about a $1.50 battery - but I'll certainly log my larger packs for the planes. I think that by using the graph, my timer, and logging properly my starting/ending data for the batteries I should be able to maximize my flight time per pack.

In theory.
 

bicyclemonkey

Flying Derp
Mentor
#2
This is awesome!!! I've been thinking about a flight log. I've only seen one guy at my club who logs his flights. He's an old timer and uses a notebook. The heli guys mark their battery cycles but that's it. I'm getting this!!!
 

Joker 53150

Mmmmmmm, balsa.
Mentor
#3
If I had to use a notebook there is NO WAY I'd do it. I don't want to carry more stuff than I already do, and I ALWAYS have my phone with me, and this does the job well. I'm really interested to see how it does once I start flying more than the mCX, and am really bummed I don't have all of my flight data from 2012 before I got the app.

The only things I can think of that would be good addition to the app would be a field to fill in how many touch-&-go's you do on a pack and maybe a box to check if the flight included a crash. My Super Cub would get a lot of use on the crash box!
 

colorex

Rotor Riot!
Mentor
#4
Attached my initial flight logs. Interesting read. Forgot to write down a couple of entries, was sad that I broke the record, stopped. Fly more, log less!

I know pgert's club keeps track of the total time/issues each flyer has!
 

Attachments

#5
I know stunt guys that write down every flight, condition, fuel, prop lap speed, yada yada. It's important for them to match data with flight conditions in contests.

Frankly, I could care less. I'm there to fly airplanes not run an accounting firm. But fly your way. It would be nice to KNOW how long flights were when you started using this prop combination and battery to know when your batteries or esc or motor are going over the hill. And might be interesting to track the history of your airplane. Enjoy.
 

Joker 53150

Mmmmmmm, balsa.
Mentor
#6
That brings up a good point, tracking performance with different props. It appears to do that as well. I like details and info, so this is right up my alley.
 
#7
I had a app like this some time ago that allowed me to print off bar codes for all my lipos. Then at the field just scan with app after each discharge. Found it easier to track lipo usage. App would also compile mah recharge values, ir readings if available and total flight times to come up with battery life expectancy graph of sorts. Can't recall app name right now but will do some digging around.
 

Joker 53150

Mmmmmmm, balsa.
Mentor
#17
He has a point. How many other fliers could pull off a look like that?

Playing with the app some more, it would be cool if it had a spot to track amps and watts with specific battery/motor/prop combinations. I'm going through now and just entering it in my text field so I know what to expect from prop changes at the field.
 

Joker 53150

Mmmmmmm, balsa.
Mentor
#18
I realized another benefit of logging flights & battery use - I've got 6 batteries I use in my Blade mCX, all are Turnigy 130mAh 1S. I usually only charge 3 at a time which give me plenty of play time. When they're used they go back in a bag with the rest of the uncharged batteries. Logging their use allows me to make sure I use all of them and don't just keep re-using one or two packs. Currently my packs have the following # of cycles: 5, 3, 3, 4, 2 and 2. Knowing this I can make sure to use the batteries with fewer cycles next.

Not that it's a big deal with $1.50 1S batteries, but when I'm using bigger and more expensive packs it will be nice to know I'm spreading the love between the packs.

I like knowing details, so this works for me.