Windsock Electronic Theodolite
Pibal Tracking System
The Windsock Electronic Theodolite (ET for short) is a miniature, hand-held, electronic theodolite designed specifically for tracking pibals. ET, when used together with the Windsock computer, can provide quick and extremely accurate wind condition measurements at all flying altitudes. ET is based on a state-of-the-art, low-power, high-performance compass and inclination (tilt) sensor module and sets a new price standard for low-cost theodolites. ET is designed to operate in rugged environments such as those encountered at remote field sites and also features an integrated temperature sensor.
Since standard compass modules do not work well (or at all) when tilted, tracking a pibalís heading at altitude can be a very difficult task. Visual alignment problems can significantly reduce measurement accuracy and results. Because ET measures extremely precise bearing information in all tilt orientations, visual alignment problems are eliminated. Also, in order to calculate the pibalís distance from the launch site, the vertical angle of the pibal needs to be periodically measured using an inclinometer. Because ET features an integrated electronic inclinometer, extremely accurate vertical angle data is automatically taken and downloaded directly to the Windsock computer along with the bearing data. This eliminates user errors associated with reading and re-entering heading and tilt information into the computer.
How it Works
ET combines a revolutionary three-axis magnetometer and a high-performance two-axis electrolytic inclinometer in a package that is smaller and consumes less power than any other theodolite currently available. ETís elimination of a mechanical gimbal is unique among electronic compass modules. All compasses must be referenced to level to be accurate, but instead of using a clumsy universal joint of fluid bath to hold its sensors level, ET uses a highly accurate inclinometer to allow the built in microprocessor to mathematically correct for tilt. This electronic gimballing eliminates moving parts providing for a more accurate, compact and reliable unit.
ETís highly advanced calibration system continuously and automatically corrects for hard iron distortions as the system is used. The unitís advanced distortion detection algorithms can detect when magnetic disturbances such as nearby ferrous metals and electrical currents are compromising system accuracy. The inclination data allows ET to provide greater accuracy in the field by calibrating for distortion fields in all tilt orientations, providing an alarm when local magnetic anomalies are present.
Heading and pitch values are continuous updated on the Windsock computer so that you can visually verify the current pibal position at all times. Measuring only 1.5" x 2.5" x 4.25" and weighing only 6 ounces, ET is small and light enough to be carried in your shirt pocket and can be used with or without a tripod. Operation is very easy and straightforward. Simply aim ET at a flying pibal. Measurements are taken automatically at the proper intervals and are downloaded to the Windsock computer so that there is no manual input of data. ET connects directly with the Windsock computer using a small, lightweight cable and can run for months on a single 9V battery. Best of all, ET is available now and at a small fraction of the cost of surveying theodolites. Order yours today!
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