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  #1  
Old 02-24-2017, 02:30 PM
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snopercod snopercod is offline
 
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Default CrazedPilot Bluetooth to Headset Adapter

Today I test flew my CrazedPilot Bluetooth Headset Interface that I purchased from ACS for $46.95. This little gizmo uses Bluetooth to broadcast the audio from your iPad to your headset or intercom system. My iPad/ForeFlight/Stratus2 is my primary means of navigation. ForeFlight sends audible warnings to the iPad speaker but, until today, those warnings were inaudible in the cockpit. Now I can hear them in my headset!

It comes with a 12" USB charging cable and a 12v cigarette lighter to dual USB adapter:


The unit is intended to hook up in series with your headset, but I just plugged the male end directly into the passenger's headphone jack with no headphone connected. I fly with my Intercom enabled so I can dictate comments into my Garmin Virb video recorder as I fly. The Virb audio interface is connected in series with the Pilot's headset.

The unit worked really well, although I had to bump up the sidetone level in my Icom A-210 radio, and turn down the iPad volume to get everything balanced. Here's what it sounded like:

https://www.dropbox.com/s/ro8sid1wxs..._0230.mp4?dl=0

There's an On/Off slide switch on the gizmo, as well as a blue and a red LED. When first turning the unit on, the red LED blinks until the unit is "paired" with the iPad bluetooth. Then the red LED goes off and the blue LED blinks occasionally. The iPad shows that the Bluetooth is paired with "H166" and you're good to go.

The ForeFlight audio alerts are Runway Proximity, Cabin Altitude, Traffic (if you have ADS-B out), Approaching TFR, Sink Rate, destination weather frequency (e.g. ATIS) and 500' AGL (terrain). The only alert I heard today was the runway proximity. I should have heard the 500' but that may have to do with the "priorities" of my setup. If something is being received on the COMM radio, it inhibits the secondary audio, including both the Intercom and my AoA warnings. Not good, but it is what it is.

The unit seems to work well, but one small downside is that now I have one more piece of equipment to verify powered up on my pre-flight checklist, and one more battery to charge after flight. As a bonus, you can play music from your iPad on those long cross-country flights. The battery is supposed to be good for 4-6 hours.
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Last edited by snopercod : 02-24-2017 at 02:38 PM. Reason: added battery life
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  #2  
Old 02-28-2017, 12:36 PM
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snopercod snopercod is offline
 
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Default more questions

I've stumbled across several more questions. I emailed Foreflight and asked them if I were playing music on the iPad and an Alert came through, would the Alert override the music or just mix in with it. They replied that it would override the music but I'll have to test that out before I believe it. I don't normally listen to music while I fly (too darn busy), but I might want to on one of those long flights over the desert.

The second question has to do with the ForeFlight 500' AGL alert. I made two circuits around the pattern and never got the Alert. The User's Guide says that the 500' alert is only armed when you exceed 1,000' AGL, which I had done twice, but still no alert. So I asked myself, "Are these altitudes GPS altitude or pressure altitude?" (My iPad Air 2 has a built in pressure sensor.) Then I asked myself, "If it's GPS altitude, does the Stratus 2 use the Geoid or the Elipsoid to determine height?" I dumped my ForeFlight Track Log and the altitude it was reporting on the runway was within 10' of the real runway elevation. I'm going to have to try flying with this system more. I also want to plug the Bluetooth interface into the USB charger while flying and see if it messes up the COMM radio. I fly with my iPad plugged in, but not the Stratus because it introduces noise. Go figure...
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Old 04-10-2017, 09:08 AM
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Default update

Update: The 500' annunciation is working now. I discovered yesterday that if the power gets turned off on the little black box, the sidetone audio in my headset gets extremely loud and distorted. The on-off switch on the unit doesn't have any tactile feedback, so I guess I didn't get it turned on properly before flight. The little blue LED flashes when it's paired with the iPad, but I guess I didn't catch that it wasn't blinking. Now I'm wondering if the adapter battery dies in flight, whether the headset audio will get messed up. Thankfully I have an Icom-A210 where the sidetone is adjustable. Without an adjustable sidetone setting on your COMM radio, I think this would be a real problem.
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Old 04-10-2017, 10:47 AM
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Default

I'm looking at this as a way for my wife to listen to her music while we're on XC flights. You said you plugged yours into the pax side headset jack and you could hear the audio from your iPad... is that correct? Their answer to the Q&A on Spruce's site indicates otherwise... maybe. It's very unclear.

If that does work it would be nice... I'd like to be able to hear the tunes also, but not broadcast them for everyone else's enjoyment when talking to ATC.
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  #5  
Old 04-10-2017, 12:27 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DaleB View Post
You said you plugged yours into the pax side headset jack and you could hear the audio from your iPad... is that correct?
I did it that way initially, and have absolutely no idea why it should have worked...but it did. I now have it hooked up the proper way in series with my headset and it's working fine. The only caveat is that the unit doesn't have a volume control and depends upon the audio source (iPad in my case) volume control. I had to fiddle with that, as well as the SIDETONE setting on my Icom radio. Since it hooks up only to the headphone side of the headset, I don't think it will broadcast to ATC. That said, I still don't understand all I know about this device. I think it would work fine for music for the passenger. In fact, I played some music from my iPad to see if the music would mute when a ForeFlight alert came through. It did. Keep in mind that you will have to buy a second device if you want to hear music too.
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Old 04-11-2017, 08:08 AM
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Snowflake Snowflake is offline
 
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For the audio to get from one headset to the other, it would have to travel "upstream" through the radio and back out to the other headset... That could possibly damage the radio if the input voltage from the Bluetooth adapter is high enough. I'm surprised the adapter isn't protected against sending the signal back out the input side.

An alternative might be to plug the Bluetooth adapter into the iCOM's AUX INPUT line instead. That line is intended to be used as an input, and it would be audible on both headsets.

A further benefit is that if there is a transmission from ATC, the iCOM will mute the AUX INPUT line automatically... I don't think the BT adapter will do that when plugged inline with your headset.
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Old 04-11-2017, 02:26 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Snowflake View Post
For the audio to get from one headset to the other, it would have to travel "upstream" through the radio and back out to the other headset...
I don't know what the heck I was thinking, but at first I plugged the unit into the passenger's headset jack. I have absolutely no idea why that should have worked but it did somehow.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Snowflake View Post
An alternative might be to plug the Bluetooth adapter into the iCOM's AUX INPUT line instead.
I may do that eventually, but didn't feel like disassembling the panel right now. The Icom has three AUX inputs, but only one volume control for the lot. I have my Sport AoA hooked up to Aux 1 right now. That's not ideal because ATC has priority and will blank out the warnings from the AoA.

AFAIK, the BT and ATC have equal priority in the headset and so far that hasn't been a problem. I'm still trying to figure it all out.
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Old 04-11-2017, 09:45 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by snopercod View Post
I don't know what the heck I was thinking, but at first I plugged the unit into the passenger's headset jack. I have absolutely no idea why that should have worked but it did somehow.
It may be working, but is probably not good for the avionics. I wouldn't keep doing it.

Quote:
The Icom has three AUX inputs, but only one volume control for the lot. I have my Sport AoA hooked up to Aux 1 right now. That's not ideal because ATC has priority and will blank out the warnings from the AoA.
It's been a while since I removed my iCom, but if I recall, there is a setting to disable the "mute" function. Check the manual.

Quote:
AFAIK, the BT and ATC have equal priority in the headset and so far that hasn't been a problem. I'm still trying to figure it all out.
That will be because the BT adapter is just adding it's audio signal to the headset lines, with no "smarts" to control it. If there's a signal already coming along the lines, it just adds to it. If anything, it sounds like you should put the BT audio (lower priority) on the AUX input, and the Sport AoA directly into the headset somehow, so it doesn't get muted.
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  #9  
Old 04-12-2017, 07:10 AM
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snopercod snopercod is offline
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Snowflake View Post
It's been a while since I removed my iCom, but if I recall, there is a setting to disable the "mute" function. Check the manual.
You might be right. I checked the manual but it's written in Jap-English. The manual gives the Settings for AUX Input as:
OFF - The external input does not use
ON - The external input is available while squelch is closing
ICOM - The external input is available with the intercom operations as following:
- The intercom function is off
- While the intercom function does not use
- While the intercom signal does not input to the intercom's microphone.
I can't make much sense of that, but I have mine set on ON. Maybe I should try it on INCOM and see what happens. What I can do is (on the ground) initiate an AoA self-test while listening to the ATIS on the radio.

You're right that I should connect my AoA audio directly to the headset somehow. I don't have an audio panel so I'll have to figure out how to do that.
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Old 04-12-2017, 04:54 PM
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So today I checked the priority of the AUX input on the ICOM A-210. The ATC audio blocked out the audio from the AoA in both the ON and INCOM settings. Oh well...

In other news, the Foreflight/Bluetooth audio was heard approaching the runway on takeoff today, but I didn't get the "500" warning on approach. Also, last Sunday I was within 500' of another aircraft and never got a "traffic" warning. (I was with a radar controller at the time). So I'm starting to question the reliability of this unit. To be fair, I didn't look at the iPad at the time to determine if the traffic showed up on the screen.
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