Frequently Asked Questions
Q: Does ColorAlti 2® have a speaker as well?
A: Yes, ColorAlti 2 has all the capabilities of our audible altimeter SonoAlti 2.
Q: What makes ColorAlti 2 different from other altimeters?
A: ColorAlti 2 is one of the most capable devices ever manufactured for skydiving altitude awareness. No other audio-visual altimeter comes close in terms of its capabilities and durability. Compare to L&B's Optima II™, which simply has a light that flashes in sync with the audible.
Q: Are ColorAlti's lights compatible with ColorAlti 2?
A: No, ColorAlti 2 uses a more advanced (individually addressable) type of LED than the original ColorAlti.
Q: Is it possible to trim StickyLights?
A: No. StickyLights are almost always damaged irreversibly when cut, causing a short that will cause the altimeter to reset upon displaying a light.
Q: I'm a wingsuiter. What are your recommendations for setting ColorAlti 2?
A: FDS recommends lowering the freefall threshold under "Main" settings from 80 mph to something like 30 mph, depending on the size of one's suit and weight. It can also be a good idea to "Disable Freefall Alerts Below" something like 2000 feet, so that no freefall alerts and alarms are triggered below this; this ensures that one only sees canopy alerts and alarms below this altitude. This will also give one a more accurate assessment of freefall time in one's logbook.
Q: I'm a swooper. What are your recommendations for setting ColorAlti 2?
A: FDS recommends raising the freefall threshold under "Main" settings from 80 mph to something like 100 mph, depending on the size of one's canopy and wing loading. As for wingsuiting, it can be a good idea to "Disable Freefall Alerts Below" something like 2000 feet, so that no freefall alerts and alarms are triggered below this; this ensures that one only sees canopy alerts and alarms below this altitude. This will also give one a more accurate assessment of freefall time in one's logbook.
Q: Is it possible phase ColorAlti 2 out (lose attention to it) while using it?
A: Any type of altimeter can be phased out, but with both visual and audible capabilities
and with a wealth of attention-getting effects, ColorAlti 2 has an amazing ability to cut through distractions and impart altitude awareness even in the busiest situations in freefall.
Q: How long does the battery last?
A: This will depend on how often the altimeter is used as well as where it is stored. If the altimeter is often in a moving car in hilly territory, the battery will drain a bit more quickly. Generally speaking, the user should be able to get approximately 200 jumps on the unit before it needs to be recharged. When stored charged, the battery can last as long as two months. The units should be able to get approximately 300-400 charge cycles without significantly affecting battery life.
Q: Can I set the altimeter on the way to altitude?
A: Yes, one can select presets by holding the top button. One can also use the FDS Altis app in the aircraft (not recommended) as long as Bluetooth mode is off before exiting the aircraft.
Q: How many jumps does it log?
A: ColorAlti 2 can log hundreds of jumps before needing to sync to the cloud, but it is recommended to sync often to avoid logging errors.
Q: Does ColorAlti 2 have GPS?
A: ColorAlti 2 does not have GPS as that would reduce the battery life greatly.
Q: What helmets does it fit?
A: ColorAlti 2 fits almost any skydiving helmet that has an audible port. The Kiss helmet requires an adapter that can be purchased.
Q: Does my mobile device need to be connected to the altimeter for it to work?
A: No, in fact, Bluetooth mode must be off for the altimeter to work.
Q: Do I need Wi-Fi (or an Internet connection) to connect to the altimeter?
A: No, but a Wi-Fi signal is necessary to log in to FDS Logbook and sync to the cloud.
Q: Why do my freefall speed graphs look so spiky?
A: ColorAlti 2 (and all barometric altimeters) read altitude based on air pressure. This means that if you change body positions, or are flying in someone's burble, there will be some inconsistencies in altitude readings. These inconsistencies cause the spikiness in the vertical speed graphs. Even the most advanced barometric altimeter in the world would be susceptible to this issue. If you are using the device purely for data tracking, the cleanest data is usually obtained with the altimeter located on one's ankle.
Q: Why am I seeing a light or hearing a sound before exit?
A: You are likely seeing a canopy alert or hearing a canopy alarm as the plane is slowly descending. You should see a freefall alert as soon as you reach freefall speeds (80 mph is the standard freefall threshold). One can adjust the freefall threshold in each individual preset.
Q: Why does it take several seconds after I exit the aircraft to see the light?
A: ColorAlti 2 will only give freefall alerts when you are above freefall speeds, which is 80 mph by default.
Q: Is ColorAlti 2 water resistent?
A: ColorAlti 2 is highly water resistant, but not water-proof.
Q: Is there a differentiation between canopy and freefall alerts?
A: Yes. ColorAlti 2 differentiates between the three types of alerts and alarms: ascent, freefall, and canopy.
Q: I notice some deviation between my wrist-mounted altimeter and my ColorAlti 2. Is this normal? Which is correct?
A: Yes. Because barometric altimeters are subject to wakes and burbles, their placement can affect their readings. Which is closer in accuracy will depend on the type of jump you are doing and how you have the altimeters mounted. In most cases, the deviation is not larger than a couple hundred feet at the very most. If the deviation is more, see whether the altimeters are at least synchronized during ascent in the plane and go from there. If they are synchronized in the plane or under canopy but not in freefall, then the placement of the altimeters is certainly affecting their synchronization in freefall. Altimeters placed in a wake will read higher than those in clean air. So if you are, for example, sit-flying or doing a tandem, it isn't an unlikely possibility that your altimeter is being subjected to a significant burble.
Q: Does Freefall Data Systems LLC collect data from its customers?
A: Nothing other than the information required to ship and provide a warranty to our customers. We respect our customer's privacy: Freefall Data Systems LLC's philosophy is that if a customer bought our product, then the data gathered with it should belong to them.