This page will help you build a form of AirWhere that will work with your prebuilt kobo, we have taken a new board thats just been released and added airwhere to it, there is no soldering and very little work to get the system working. The board just requires to be configured and plugged into an special usb cable and then into your kobo. Small amount of configuring and you will have AirWhere on your kobo ( and then sounds and a vario if you would like! )
Required Knowledge & Equipment
The install and setup procedure just requires basic computer knowledge, how to download files, install software and make a brew while you wait.
Hardware needed is a fully functional Kobo flight computer with GPS installed, esp32 AirWhere board, OTG USB lead, micro usb lead and a usb battery pack, info below.
Please use a quality usb cable and decent power pack, cheap ones will not work and cause alsorts of issues.
Firstly before you start you will need to register an ID for your unit.
|1.1 ||Proceed to the registration page and type in your email and choose a password and press sign up.|
You will then receive an email asking you to confirm your email address, if you dont receive one, check spam to see if its there or any other issues - contact us.
|1.2|| Once you have verified your email proceed to log in and then press add aircraft and add your details|
Your AirWhere manufacturer should stay at 04 and you can choose an ID for yourself, its 4 digits from 0001 to FFFF, but dont worry about the letters, just choose a 4 digit number if you like - eg 2345.
This will now be your flying number.
|1.3|| If you wish to have pilots names appear in LK8000 or XCSoar instead of just the pilots numbers|
Navigate to the downloads section in the site and at the bottom there is a file to add to LK or XCS when you have installed it. See the downloads page for instructions
You need to purchase the hardware we will be using
- these are available here:- Purchase the heltec board
N.B If you have problems purchasing please contact us, we usually have some stock for quick despatch.
Also needed is a right angled OTG USB cable
, these allow you to charge the kobo off an external battery pack and power the AirWhere unit
Do be careful with the micro usb connector on the Kobo, they can be damaged easily, we can provide a USB protector case which adds 2 bars around the usb cable to stop damage, please contact us for these. Along with this OTG usb cable, another micro usb cable is needed, purchase the size you want for your flight deck setup and how you are going to mount.
One more item you will need is a usb power bank - any power bank will do, try choose one around 5000mah, this will give airwhere a and your Kobo a couple of days running!
For your information
These new ESP32 SX1276 and Heltec boards are a great way to build a simple and quick AirWhere as it includes many of the components you need in one board. You can add other components to make a stand alone device. These instructions help you setup the board and get a basic AirWhere or Groundstation without the need to solder anything!
The board comes with an adequate antenna to test, we wouldn’t recommend flying with this due to its short range, but it is ok for testing
., we recommend a longer antenna for final use, please see the shop page.
If you would like a case making for your board - please contact us :)
Once the purchased hardware arrives
you will need to install the windows / mac drivers to be able to ‘see’ the board and then install the AirWhere software onto it.
||Load this page and then download the relevant driver for windows and install.
||Extract the zip file to a folder and then run the correct executable in the file.|
If your on 32 bit windows, run the exe with 86 in it and if your on a 64 bit windows run the 64 version. Your version can be found in windows device manager.
||Now you should be able to get a micro usb cable and plug your AirWhere board in..|
Windows should say its found the hardware and that is now working.
||Open windows device manager (control panel – device manager). Find ‘Ports’ you should see a new port there, perhaps com3 or com4 which is your new board.Take a note of this number you will need this in the next step.|
||Create a new folder on your PC.
Name the folder but DO NOT allow any spaces between letters.
||You will need to download into this folder 4 files:|
- ESPFlasherGUI.exe from =https://github.com/neoxharsh/ESP32-GUI-Flasher/tree/master/dist
This is the flasher program you will be using (Windows only, for the Mac see this page)
The next three files are available either on the AirWhere down loads page http://www.airwhere.co.uk/airware-downloads.php
or you may find them under files on the Airwhere-ESP32_Pilots Only page on facebook.
- Bootloader called bootloader.bin
- Partition called default.bin
- Application currently called AirWhereESP32.bin
This may change so check facebook for the live version or for the latest unstable version AirwhereESP32Dev.bin
Please make sure there are NO spaces in any of the file names and the directory it is in, this will create an issue.
||Plug the ESP32 into a microUSB and into a USB port on your computer.|
The OLED may say Heltic and then start counting packets it is transmitting. Ignore this and carry on.
||Double click on the ESPFlasherGUI.exe file and link the Bootloader, Partition and Application files.
||Select and check the COM port (you checked device manager for this number before)|
For example COM11 (even though the correct port may appear in the box you MUST click on the drop down and reselect it or the download will fail).
|| Select the memory size 4MB.
|| Finally press FLASH and immediately after press the PRG on the board once. |
The card will start to write the data, takes about 9s. You may find the programme terminates with a message that says it is rebooting and a flashing light on the ESP32 board. Ok this has probably worked. ( We have seen the buttons on the ESP32 board marked up incorrectly, so if you try one button and it fails with "cant find packet head" or similar, just try the other button, some need it held until the flashing process starts and then let go. )
||Now check to see if you can see the AirWhere ESP32 board on your wifi settings.
So now you have a working ESP32 board with the AirWhere program.
||Search for the new device in your wifi settings and connect to it..
You will be asked for default password 12345678. ( this password could have been changed when the unit was built so check with the builder.)
||Now type 192.168.4.1 in your web browser.
If you are using an android phone please switch your data oﬀ, android will try look for airwhere on the internet and the connection will take a long time.
You will now see a page titled AirWhere ESP32. This is the configuration page.
||Then use the Configure Pilot Info button to enter your details, enter the ID you registered in step one.
When you press ‘Submit’ the device will try to return to the home page but remember you have just renamed it’s identity from what it was originally to say a new Access point with your new ID; so you need to:
||Reconnect this wifi device then refresh 192.168.4.1.
||Click ‘Pilot Info’, input your pilot details, your Wifi SSID and Password..
This will allow you to upgrade the software via your Wifi connection.
||When you’ve completed the settings press submit.
The unit will restart so go back to the home page again once its started.
||Press ‘Configure Hardware’ and under ‘Radio board’ select ‘Heltec (sx1276)’.
the other choices depend on what you are building and have attached.
||Select in flight software either LK8000 - Kobo or LK8000 - Kobo.
(as we want to connect to you already made kobo in this version).
||In connection mode choose OTG/Serial Mode ( GPS attached to Kobo). Again press submit and reconnect to home page..
Sometimes this take a couple of mins, if it hangs, refresh your browser 192.168.4.1. You should now be back on the home page for your device. If the page times out, just refresh and it will appear again.
Now we proceed onto configuring the Kobo. Unfortunately due to how XCSoar is designed this way of running AirWhere is only available on LK8000 - We do however recommend using LK8000 as it has far more features for what we want and the aircraft detection software is far better. If you want to use XCSoar, just add a gps module to the esp32 as described on this :- page
Step Seven (Optional).
||Installing a USB OTG Version of LK8000.
if you have the dual boot then you can quite simply boot up and then press System, Enable USB-OTG This works on the mini, glo, glo HD and touch. If you have just LK8000 installed then pop onto the www.lk8000.it website, download the latest version and install the OTG version of the software. This should have been done previously with the standard software so should keep all your settings, if you are unsure about how to do this there are many websites already with this information on.
||Switch the kobo on.
as the kobo boots it should say USB HOST Kernel and this shows you have the correct version of LK8000 running, if you dont see this, then go to step 6.1
||Now plug the usb lead into the Kobo and into a USB Power supply. Plug the AirWhere board into the remaining plug socket and the screen should light up.
||When LK8000 is running on your kobo.
proceed to the configuration page, bottom right menu, config, config, LK8000 setup, Device Setup.
||Device A should be already configured with your GPS details and be working ok.|
We need to add a device B to send information out and back from the AirWhere unit., configure,
Name : Nmeaout
Port : /dev/ttyUSB
Ext. Sound : On
BaudRate : 115200 8bit
||Press close.and then a line saying restarting comm ports will come on screen, then detected FLARM, this shows your system is working. When your kobo gets a GPS lock, the T: value on the airwhere board will start increasing, this shows your system is sending out your location.
||Press the middle of the bottom info bar and the FLARM screens will come up, check the airwhere video sections for usage.
Hint - to see traffic on the main map, go to ‘config’ and on page 13 at the bottom ‘enable traffic’.
One of the main things thats missing from the Kobo is sounds, we can now, for the price of a piezo buzzer
very simply add these.
Step Eight (Optional).
||Purchase a piezo buzzer - we do have a really good buzzer available, contact us, however any will do, but you might want to get a decent one to increase the volume. We will have more info regarding this aswell soon, please check back
||Make sure the kobo and the esp32 board are unplugged and away from the battery pack.
||Attach the piezo to the esp32 by connecting the black wire to the pin on the AirWhere board marked GND, one of the outer pins on the board and then the red wire to the pin marked 32.
||Power the Kobo up once more and plug the AirWhere module in. when you now perform actions on LK8000 there should be sounds coming out of the buzzer!
||First purchase a GY-86 board, these shouldnt be too expensive, we have them on the shop site if your finding it difficult to find - also make sure you have a speaker attached - we need sounds for the vario ;)
||Add a small piece of black tape or neoprene to the top of the tiny pressure sensor on top of the gy86 but be careful not to cover the sensor holes, the pressure sensor is effected by light so we need to keep it in the dark so its stable.
||Follow the wiring diagram to setup the vario board.
a breadboard can be used to temporarily check the system works ok, however soldering gives a better joint.
||To configure LK8000 or XCSoar to use data from this sensor, please change the device driver to be BlueFly Vario we will have our own driver soon but for now please use this, using this driver gives you barometric height and therefore a correct climb visual climbrate, also outside air temperature, this can be setup up in config
The board now needs housing in a case and a way of securing to your flight deck, we do have cases available, so please contact
Please if you do build an AirWhere in this way, as it is so cheap and easy to do please do donate a contribution to the project, the project has taken 2 years and thousands of hours of work to get to here and we have to pay for server fees - many thanks. Our paypal is email@example.com for any donations to keep this project alive :)
Have fun with the project!