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Microvario

Review- Microvario

nvelev 15-Dec-2011 13:15 Report this Review!
Review:  website Click to visit Microvario »
Your Flying Style: XC from Bulgaria
Purchased From: Flytepark
Period of Use: 2 months
Flying Experience: 14 years
Similar Products Tested: none - this is first audio only instrument (without a screen) I use
Current Flying Setup
& Clipped in Weight:
Strengths:

-small, light & robust

-sensitive

-useable range of settings

Weaknesses:

- having to fully dismantle it for a battery change may not be very user friendly for some people (although being quite easy)

Build/Quality: very good
Review:

I've been flying with Microvario the last couple of months and I'd like to say that I'm completely satisfied with the product.
The overall impression is very good. The vario definitely does what it is designed to do.

-The sound level is very good when placed on the cockpit, could be a little loud if you go for a helmet mount option.

-The responsiveness is quite satisfying (more on that below)

-The case has a nice design and looks quite robust. I'm pretty sure it can withstand a hard knock without any damage. There are different mounting options available: adhesive velcro mounting + securing lanyard or a mount with a velcro strap.
I've initially used it with the velcro mount on my cockpit, but later I've modified it with a long lanyard instead of the original short one and I'm now wearing it on my neck under the jacket (still loud enough to hear it)

-There are 16 setting profiles (selectable through a dial switch) covering preset combinations between two responce speeds (fast and dampened), two sink alarm thresholds (-2.5m/s & -4m/s), four thresholds for zero lift (0.1m/s, -0.3m/s, -0.9m/s & -1.3m/s ) and adapted to weak or strong conditions

Basically you have the options to choose between the 4 possible "zero lift" thresholds repeated 4 times in order to be combined with the two possible sink alarm thresholds & fast/slow response.
A more detailed explanation of the meaning of the available profile settings can be found on: http://www.flytepark.com/Product/Microvario

Responce setings: The "fast responce" profiles 1-7 give precisely the same delay of the audio feedback as an Aircotec XC trainer with "time constant" = 0.5sec. When comparing I couldn't say whether any of the two instruments is faster, they just went together all the way which is very good.

The "dampened responce" profiles A-H introduce about another half a second delay, so I'd say they serve their purpose. This is not my personal taste however as I always want to get as immediate responce as possible, so I'm going to stick to the first half of the profiles set.

Weak/Strong conditions settings: Cannot really tell the difference

The "lifty zone" settings: lower limit adjustable from -1.3m/s to 0m/s and upper limit being 0m/s is marked with the corresponding audio output, so it is working as intended. The idea is that you could use this feature to explore buoyant air (lifting although not enough to overcome the sink rate of the glider) either when finding a thermal or when trying to follow a better line on glide.
Initially I found it rather hard to interpret correctly. The confusion mainly comes from the fact that we're used to hear something only when climbing and time in needed to retrain and adapt. I've reduced the zero sounds threshold to -0.2m/s until I get used to them, and will only then try to extend them further down.

Probably many people could find existence of "lifty air" tones confusing and would prefer only climb tones. But I believe the options without zero sounds and with a threshold of -0.2m/s will both be good for pilots that don't feel they want them. It is a matter of preference and it is good that on the Microvario you're able to choose.

Anyway it is good that the preset profiles have options with different depth of the "zero" band, as well as supressing it completely, so everyone will be able to find the mode that will work best for him

-The sound scheme is nice - with different tone bands for zero lift, 0-3m/s, 3-6m/s and 6+ m/s
Classic beeps that sound pleasant and do not get too frantic in strong lift.

The sink alarm sounds OK, but definitely not the "traditional" sound that you might expect. It is a little noisy for my taste, but I believe it should be easy to get used to it.

-There is a battery saver mode that will minimise battery consumption in case you've forgot to switch the unit off. It will play an alert tone and go into sleep mode after being idle for 30 minutes. The unit uses a dry cell coin type LiIon battery that is supposed to power it for about 200hrs working time.

Rating: (out of 5) Rating of 5Rating of 5Rating of 5Rating of 5Rating of 5
Conclusion:

A nice product that serves its purpose.

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