SonoAlti 2V
Manual and Instructional Video

 WARNING 

Skydiving is an inherently risky activity that can lead to injury or death. All skydiving equipment is subject to failure. Failure to follow instructions, warnings, and operating procedures could imperil you and others. Audible altimeters use extremely high sound pressure levels in order to cut through noise, and can cause hearing damage; Freefall Data Systems LLC recommends using earplugs when using any type of audible altimeter. It is important to understand that altimeters should only be used as a secondary indication of altitude—second to a visual ascertainment—as they are subject to error and malfunction. Many factors can compromise the accuracy of a barometric altimeter reading, including but not limited to: body position, position relative to other skydivers or objects, altimeter placement, and malfunction. In the end, each skydiver is and must be responsible for his or her own altitude awareness and safety. Loss of one's own altitude awareness can in certain cases lead to endangering others on the ground as well as in the sky. For convenience, this altimeter contains no security features; this also means that if Bluetooth mode is on and has not yet timed out (two minutes), anyone with the FDS Altis app within range (approximately ten feet from the altimeter) could change the settings of your altimeter. SonoAlti 2V will not function as an altimeter during a skydive if Bluetooth mode is on. Although it is possible to set the altimeter using Bluetooth mode on ascent in an aircraft, it is better practice to create presets beforehand and select them using the preset button on the altimeter before a jump or during ascent. Many distractions can occur on a skydive; just because you are wearing an altimeter, it does not mean that you will necessarily register the information it is intended to convey. Additionally, just because two altimeters (e.g. a wrist mounted one and an audio-visual altimeter) are in sync during ascent, this does not necessarily mean that they will be in sync during freefall or under canopy as well, as barometric altimeters are more greatly affected by wakes (burbles) at high speeds than at low speeds. This altimeter contains a lithium polymer battery; do not use it if the case is damaged in any way.

LIMITS OF LIABILITY

This product was manufactured for skydiving only. By using this product, you accept full responsibility for its use and agree that Freefall Data Systems LLC will not be legally held responsible for any malfunction whatsoever that this product may have, whether good or defective.


1.1 SonoAlti 2V Description
2.1 Altimeter Installation and Removal
2.2 Using the 3.5 mm Audio Port
3.1 Downloading and Connecting to the App
4.1 Main Settings
4.2 Presets: General Settings
4.3 Presets: Speaker
4.4 Presets: Voice
4.5 Selecting Presets
4.6 Default Settings
5.1 Adding User Sounds
6.1 Data Syncing
7.1 Battery Life
7.2 Charging and Maintaining the Battery
7.3 Checking Battery Status
8.1 Firmware Updates
9.1 Troubleshooting
10.1 Technical Specifications

1.1 SonoAlti 2V Description

SonoAlti 2V is a speaking audible altimeter with a rugged anodized aluminum case. It has two audible components in one package: 1) a piezoelectric loudspeaker and 2) a 3.5 millimeter audio port that can be used to receive spoken announcements of altitude, speed, and temperature (e.g. ), as well as other notifications and custom user sounds. In addition to supporting most standard wired earphones or speakers, the altimeter can also be used with Bluetooth transmitters (such as a TaoTronics TT-BA07) to enable wireless functionality. User's can choose settings for the three phases of a skydive: ascent, freefall, and canopy. Just like the standard SonoAlti 2, there are 32 different sounds a user can choose from, 18 of which were conceived for freefall and 14 of which were conceived for canopy and ascent. In addition to custom altitude, speed, and temperature announcements, there are 83 pre-recorded notifications that users can insert at any point in their skydive (e.g. "Pull altitude" , "Check equipment" etc.). The altimeter stores five presets with unlimited alarms and can be set using the FDS Altis app using Android or iOS via Bluetooth® wireless technology. Bluetooth mode is initiated via a button press-and-hold and times out automatically. Presets can be selected on the fly using another button on the altimeter, eliminating the need to carry a mobile device for this purpose. The app can also be used to synchronize jump data (altitude, vertical descent speed, temperature) to Freefall Data System's cloud-based FDS Logbook, but SonoAlti 2V only logs a single jump, as it's flash memory is devoted entirely to audio. SonoAlti 2V enables users to set a custom freefall threshold (default is 80 mph), which can be useful for wingsuiters as well as swoopers. Additionally, it allows one to disable all freefall alarms below a certain altitude, so that only canopy alarms are heard below that altitude. SonoAlti 2V automatically adjusts to local elevation, allows for landing zone elevation adjustments in each preset, and is always on until the battery is discharged. No data or settings are lost when the battery has discharged. SonoAlti 2V has a rechargeable lithium polymer battery with a life of approximately 200 jumps or 2 months. The battery takes approximately 4 hours to charge fully. One can check the battery status by pressing and holding both buttons at once (more details below). A low battery warning (an audible alarm and spoken notification at 1,000 feet ) is given if the altimeter has a low battery and does not have much life remaining. Battery life depends on how the altimeter is used and transported. The longest battery life is obtained when storing the altimeter in one location. The altimeter also features a travel mode, which ensures no data is logged and can also be used as a battery-saving mode. SonoAlti 2V can be used with full accuracy as high as 30,000 feet MSL.

2.1 Altimeter Installation and Removal

SonoAlti 2V fits in the audible pocket of most skydiving helmets. The speaker should face the jumper's ear as described in the instructional video above when using the piezoelectric speaker component. Otherwise, when solely using the 3.5 mm audio port, the altimeter can be worn on various locations on a jumper's body.


2.2 Using the 3.5 mm Audio Port

There are many ways to use the spoken audio with SonoAlti 2V, with both wired and wireless setups being possible. Most wired earphones and helmet speakers will work. As mentioned above, Bluetooth transmitters such as a TaoTronics TT-BA07 can be used to enable wireless functionality. One can read reviews of different audio setups we have tested at the following link: Reviews of Audio Setups for SonoAlti 2V.


3.1 Downloading and Connecting to the App

The iOS or Android app used to set SonoAlti 2V is called FDS Altis. It can be downloaded on Google Play or Apple's App Store. First download the app onto your device from the App Store or Google Play. Open the app and first carefully read and agree to the Terms of Service. At this point you can log in if you have a Wi-Fi signal and an FDS Logbook account, or simply press "Cancel" or "Login as Guest" if you are not using the logbook or out of range of Wi-Fi. After this, press and hold the Bluetooth button (the lower button) on SonoAlti 2V until you hear a sound indicating that Bluetooth mode has been turned on . After this, select SonoAlti 2V and then "CONNECT & SYNC." Your SonoAlti 2V should appear with its serial number (e.g. FDS S2V Z4TD3, where the last five digits are the serial number). Select your device and the altimeter will begin to send data to the device. A blue light on the altimeter indicates an active connection. It generally takes approximately five seconds to transfer the data. To set up the altimeter for its first use, click on "Settings" and you will see another menu in which you can set up to five "Presets" as well as "Main" settings at the top that apply to all presets. To download data from the altimeter or upload a jump to the cloud, click on "Data Syncing" (this will be greyed out and not available if you do not have an FDS Logbook account or a Wi-Fi signal). If you click on "Info," you can check the serial number, battery status, the number of jumps since the internal memory was last reformatted, and the current device firmware version. When finished using the app, you can either disconnect on the app and manually power off Bluetooth mode by pressing and holding the Bluetooth button until you hear a sound indicating that Bluetooth mode is off . You can also simply let Bluetooth mode automatically time out after two minutes of inactivity. The time-out prevents one from accidentally leaving Bluetooth mode on, which drains the battery more quickly and does not register altitude.

4.1 Main Settings

Under "Main" settings, one can adjust the center frequency of all audible alarms. Changing this can be useful if you are having trouble hearing the audible alarms or those who find the default center of 4.0 kHz a bit too piercing. This will depend on the user's own hearing and preferences, and can also depend on the user's helmet set-up. Below this, one can choose whether or not the altimeter logs jumps; this could be useful when loaning the altimeter to another jumper. Next, one can activate or deactivate metric mode, which makes it so that the FDS Altis app displays in kilometers per hour and meters. SonoAlti 2V also features a travel mode in which it is ensured that the altimeter is not activated in any way; this is also useful as a general battery saving mode. The altimeter does not function on a skydive when in travel mode. Below this you can include an optional pre-jump brief that is automatically triggered upon the altimeter recognizing ascent in an aircraft. The pre-jump brief includes: date, time, jump number, current preset, and battery status (e.g. ). In addition, you can choose to include a post-jump brief that will be heard approximately one minute after landing. The post-jump brief includes: jump number, exit altitude, open altitude, freefall time, canopy time, and battery status (e.g. ). Finally, you can set your next jump number here; this is useful when you first set up your altimeter, or in case you did not use the altimeter on a jump and need to manually adjust the next jump number.

4.2 Presets: General Settings

When you click on a preset, you will see a menu with three options, the top of which is "General" settings. At the top, one can set a landing zone offset for that particular preset; enter a positive number if your landing zone is higher than your take-off altitude, a negative number of it is lower. A custom freefall threshold can be entered below this, which can be useful for wingsuiters and swoopers (e.g. wingsuiters might use something like 30 mph and swoopers 100 mph). Below this, one can disable all freefall alarms and alarms below a certain altitude; this is also useful for wingsuiters and swoopers who want to be absolutely sure to hear their canopy alarms below a certain altitude. At the bottom, you can set audible alarm volumes for the three different phases of the skydive for both the built-in speaker as well as voice. There are five possible volume levels for the speaker and 17 for voice (64 on iOS).

4.3 Presets: Speaker

Under "Speaker," one can set alarms for the built-in piezoelectric speaker to sound during the three phases of a skydive: ascent, freefall, and canopy. These alarms are entirely separate from the voice capabilities of the altimeter and can be used simultaneously. Ascent alarms are simply entered as a single altitude, and all alarms on ascent will sound for four seconds. Enter a number and press "Insert" with the desired alarm selected. You can hear the alarms by selecting them, or listen to them all online here. To delete an alarm, hold down on it (Android) or swipe left (iOS). Depending on the speed of the aircraft utilized, the lowest alarm that should be used is approximately 1,000 feet for fast aircraft, although altitudes in the hundreds will also work for slower aircraft. Freefall and canopy alarms—in contrast to ascent alarms—are set to sound in altitude ranges; we find this to be the most beneficial design for altitude awareness (versus sounding for a number of seconds) because it imparts the user with additional information of when they have exited an altitude window as well as entered it. For canopy alarms, we recommend a range of at least 50 feet (e.g. 1,000 to 950 feet); for freefall, at least 500 feet is recommended. One should consider one's descent rate when deciding on ranges, keeping in mind, for example, that in normal belly-to-earth freefall we cover 100 feet in only about 1/2 second—a blip. We recommend at least two alarms on ascent to verify the altimeter is working and to cross-check with other altimeters for accuracy. The number of alarms that can be set for ascent, freefall, and canopy is unlimited.

4.4 Presets: Voice

Under "Voice," one can set regular announcements and notifications to be played during the three phases of a skydive: ascent, freefall, and canopy. These alarms are entirely separate from the voice capabilities of the altimeter and can be used simultaneously. At the top, one can set the range in which one wishes to hear regular announcements for each phase of the skydive. Just below this, one can choose to include altitude, speed, and/or temperature for the regular announcements. One can then choose the announcement increment in feet: this is the setting that tells you how often you get updates (e.g. 200 would mean you hear an announcement every 200 feet—or meters if you are in metric mode). One can then choose to abbreviate the announcements (e.g. "five-five" versus "five-thousand five-hundred feet"). One can press "Play Example Announcement" to hear the results of the current settings. Below this one can insert additional notifications; these notifications will override regular announcements when they occur at the same altitude. Simply select the sound you want and include the altitude you want it to sound at and press "Insert." There is a special notification titled Silence that can be used to silence the regular announcements at the altitude(s) indicated.

4.5 Selecting Presets

Once you have set up your altimeter with the app, you can now select between your various presets on the device itself. To select a preset, hold the top button of your altimeter down until you hear a series of beeps; make certain that your altimeter is not in Bluetooth mode when doing this. The number of beeps you hear indicates the current preset (e.g. Preset 5 ). If you press and hold again, or keep holding, the altimeter will cycle through the various presets.

4.6 Default Settings

Freefall Data Systems recommends users come up with their own presets, but for convenience, SonoAlti 2V comes with pre-programmed presets. All presets have regular altitude announcements. In addition to these, Preset 1 has as default notifications "Seatbelts" at 1500 feet on ascent, "Break-off" and "Pull altitude" at 5500 and 4000 feet respectively in freefall, and "Downwind leg," "Base leg" and "Final approach" at 1000, 600, and 300 feet. For the built-in speaker, the settings are as follows for Preset 1 (no other preset has default sounds for built-in speaker): two ascent alarms at 1,500 and 12,000 feet ; three freefall alarms at 6,000-5,500 , 4,500-4,000 , and 3,000-2,500 feet ; three canopy alarms at 1,000-950 , 600-550 , and 300-250 feet .

5.1 Adding User Sounds

One can add user sounds (up to 70 seconds) to the altimeter provided they are in the correct format. The sounds will then appear alongside the other notifications and can be selected in the same way as the other notifications. The upload needs to occur via USB and the format used is a mono WAV file in CD quality, meaning 16-bit and 44.1 kHz pulse code modulation (PCM). It is important to understand that this process will erase all settings on your altimeter. Once one has a sound file in the correct format, connect the altimeter to a computer using a USB data cable; a charging cable won’t work. Using a paper clip, double click the reset button. A drive should appear called FEATHERBOOT. You now have to download a file called SonoAlti 2V Flash Revealer. After unzipping the file, drag the file contained in the resulting folder (called SonoAlti_2V_16MB.uf2) onto FEATHERBOOT and that will enable one to view the folder containing SonoAlti 2V’s sounds, which one can then drag a sound file into. The sound file's name can be a maximum of 17 characters long and must begin with a capital letter. After this it is required to again double click the reset button drag the SonoAlti 2V firmware (find the latest firmware here: SonoAlti 2V Firmware) back onto the altimeter. This is the same way a firmware update is carried out. The file should now appear in the FDS Altis app alongside the other notifications.

6.1 Data Syncing

You must have a Wi-Fi connection, and a set-up subscription to FDS Logbook to log a jump. Once you have set up your logbook, in "Logbook Settings" you will see dropzones, aircraft, and equipment located on the first tab: these are the "Current Settings" in your logbook, which can be changed in FDS Logbook as well. When syncing jumps in the Data Syncing tab, the jumps will be uploaded according to the current settings in the logbook. The number of data files on the altimeter is shown at the top (this altimeter only logs one jump). Press "Go" next to "Download Files from Altimeter" to begin downloading data. The file will download and will only be erased from your altimeter when it has successfully been downloaded to your mobile device. Below this, you can see the number of files on your mobile device waiting for upload to the cloud. You can "Upload All Files" by pressing "Go" or upload them individually in the list below; this can be useful if you know that certain jumps were made at different locations. Then one can change the Logbook (aka "Current") Settings. To delete a file from the mobile device (if one wishes to discard data), press and hold on that file (Android) or swipe left (iOS). Deleting a jump file from a mobile device is permanent and cannot be undone.

7.1 Battery Life

SonoAlti 2V's battery typically lasts approximately 150 jumps or 1 month. Digital altimeters that are subject to long car rides through hilly or mountainous terrain will naturally discharge the battery faster. The longest battery life is obtained by leaving the altimeter in one location. Simply driving with the altimeter to work in normal circumstances, however, will not significantly reduce the battery life of SonoAlti 2V.

7.2 Charging and Maintaining the Battery

SonoAlti 2V has a lithium polymer battery that is rechargeable with the included USB cord. It takes approximately four hours to fully charge the battery when it is completely empty. A red LED indicates that the battery is charging, and this LED will go off to indicate the altimeter is done charging. It should only be necessary to recharge the altimeter periodically, as it was designed to have a long battery life. During long periods of storage (e.g. winter months), the altimeter should be charged once every two months in order to preserve battery life. It is best to store the altimeter in a cool, dry place.

7.3 Checking Battery Status

In addition to being able to check SonoAlti 2V's battery status on the app under "Info," one can also hold down both buttons (provided one is not in Bluetooth mode). Then the number of beeps indicates the status of the battery. 10 beeps indicates 100%, 9 beeps indicates 90%, 8 beeps 80%, etc. (e.g. battery at 40% ).

8.1 Firmware Updates

Refer to the Instructional Video to carry out a firmware update.

9.1 Troubleshooting

If the altimeter fails to function on a skydive, first make sure the altimeter is charged. Next, if the altimeter is charged, see if you can select a preset on the unit on the ground to see if it is responding as expected (press and hold the top button). Perhaps the wrong preset was selected. If the altimeter does not respond to any type of button presses, take a small paper clip and insert it into the small hole adjacent the Bluetooth button and depress the manual reset button (you should feel the button slightly give way). This will reset the unit, which takes several seconds. If necessary, it will also reformat the flash memory in the altimeter in the case that it has been corrupted. This unfortunately means that you have lost your data and settings. Now try to connect your altimeter via the app. Certain Android devices may be required to bind the device via Bluetooth settings before the altimeter is visible. It also may be necessary to restart certain Android devices before being able to connect. If this fails to solve your problem, visit the FDS Forum or contact Freefall Data Systems LLC for assistance.

10.1 Technical Specifications