Helping to keep it green, I mean orange: The Legpsbip
Welcome the 2nd generation of probably the nicest mini solar Vario on the market the LeGPSbip. Having used and tested the original Lebipbip several years ago and using it exclusively as my main audio Vario over the other gear on my flight deck I was waiting and wondering what the designers at Stodeus Instruments would cook up for us.
I have not rushed this review as I wanted to have a good amount of time with it in real world conditions, I received it about 5 months ago and wanted to present a real opinion rather than a sponsored one sided review.
Basically the original just got better, now it comes filled with enough internal memory for an insane amount of flights (4gb) and having the ability to directly save the tracklogs to igc and kml on the fly we are left with no more fiddling around with PC's, you can connect directly through your micro usb port and pull what you want directly off the device via your smartphone. If like me you're running xctrack on a phone then you will have a 2nd igc file directly saved on your phone via xctrack which can serve as your backup during comps or when your phone battery dies.
The vario seems to have been improved upon from the basic non gps version, it still maintains its sensativity and reaction times (for more informaiton you can check out the original and more detailed review here) we now have access to an online configuration system that allows you to set all and any options of the unit in a fast and easy way, all that is needed is to download the config file and copy over to the legpsbip. During your next power up the device is automatically updated to the new configuration.
Solar panel: It's enough to charge super fast on the fly, no pun intended. It is strong enough not only ot keep the unit running but charge it to 100% without any problems. Please do adhear to the instructions and not leave the unit in the car charging through the window as it may damage the unit.
Internal battery: We just finished the Xalps and even with the LeGPSbip sitting inside a helmet in the backpack with full cloud cover and rain the internal battery lasted easily over 6hrs (as thats the longest we ran it between top ups at food break's running at 1sec gps interval). I'm not sure what the max amount of time is but I'm quite sure no one will need a Vario if conditions are like that as the chances of you going flying are slim.
Usb charge: A quick top up if needed can be done via the micro usb from a charger, battery pack or even your phone, the unit doesn't need a lot of charge to return to 100%
Con's : The button is quite sensitive and at times will be enough that you drop your backpack on the ground and the vario will turn itself on.
Wish list: Make it, if not waterproof at least water resistant as it would have been good to be able to run the unit on the top of the backpack without fear of the rain to keep the solar in some even if low level sun to keep the charge. (I know this can be difficult as the pressure sensor needs to be as sensitive as possible.
As a small bonus we also have the Lesolarpad. It comes with a 5600mah battery onboard thats enough to charge most phones 2 times. the main role of the charger is to maintain your mobility as the solar panel takes 20hrs to charge the onboard battery from zero to full so in reality to keep several things charged it wont be possible to do so as the solar panel simply cant keep up with the need unless its a very strong sun day.
Anyone interested feel free to visit the Legpsbip on the companies home page LeGPSbip