FX Radar

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    PerkyVal
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    Centercut

    I’m probably going to burst some FX Fanboy bubbles here, but while the FX Radar is novel and cool, is just “OK”. And it’s not the best thing since sliced bread that you hear all the paid FX sponsored people raving about. 

    Now I’ll preface my statements that I bought mine from Penchetta Pen and Knife. Super fast shipping and great customer service. However, it appears their stock is “old” perhaps some of the first versions in the USA.  Mine is version 1.1.25, and @perkyval just got one that’s 1.1.38. Perhaps the 13 additional firmware upgrades make a difference, not sure….

    I set up my .22 Cricket mini, normal ES about 10 FPS or so, and was getting between 844 and 881 FPS. So I moved to a different location, same story. Plus, every now and then a shot wouldn’t register. The Chrony is set up EXACTLY as directed. Radar return set at factory setting of 20%.  So I got out my old green Caldwell, set it up and my ES was between 859 and 867 FPS. Pretty much where is should be and where it was last time I checked. 

    Perhaps FX will come up with a way to flash update the firmware via Bluetooth since I don’t see any connections on the unit. 

    My advice to you all is to hold off and don’t become an FX “beta tester”.  Wait for a while until they work the kinks out of this unit. As with most things FX, it was released before it was really ready for prime time. Sorry if I offended any FX Fanboys. FYI., I have two FX guns, a Crown and a Bobcat.  

    I consider myself a FX Fanboy, well fangirl, and I totally agree. The software is in no way ready for primetime, but as I said before the potential is there. A couple more features would have made it acceptable for release, but as it is I'm afraid not.

    I was seeing the same deviation from known data that Centercut did, which is why I initially had a moment of panic apropos my guns health. 

    Perhaps the discrepancy was due to the pathetic software misreading the data or a bad bluetooth implementation that corruptsbthe data. Usually devices such as this chrony dont have any smarts as such built in. Those reside on the controlling device, the phone. I could be wrong this time though.

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    fe7565
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    The chrono sends a reading (called a BLE "notification") via one channel of the Bluetooth LE to the phone app which in turn crunches the number into a velocity reading.  Using a BLE scanner app on my phone, looks like that the FX radar sends an update 4 times per second to the phone app.  So, in theory it should be able to read a shot every quarter second assuming the phone app is fast enough to process it. But I digressed :)  .  It's all digital as far as the communication between the unit and the phone.

     

    I setup my old shot-up F1 chrony with LED light-kit and the FX radar placed right before it elevated on books inside the room.  So the difference in distance between the two chronies is about 1 foot, but the beam of the FX radar probably only measures the pellet further down the flight path, so the actual distance may be several feet of difference.

    Backstop 6 feet away, rubber mulch/cardboard.  FX radar power at max (lowest setting).  This is what I got on my air pistol with the air running out.  The relative differences between the two readings is what I am looking at.  Will run more strings later after refill with air.

    F1 Red   FX radar    Difference in readings

    505           501               4

    496           488               8

    485            494              9

    484            490              6

    483            473              10

    476           467               11

    462           452               10

    457           449               8

     

    • This reply was modified 5 months ago by fe7565.
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    PerkyVal
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    fe7565

    The chrono sends a reading (called a BLE "notification") via one channel of the Bluetooth LE to the phone app which in turn crunches the number into a velocity reading.  Using a BLE scanner app on my phone, looks like that the FX radar send an update 4 times per second to the phone app.  So, in theory it should be able to read a shot every quarter second assuming the phone app is fast enough to ;process it. But I digressed :)  .  It's all digital as far as the communication between the unit and the phone.

     

    I setup my old shot-up F1 chrony with LED light-kit and the FX radar placed right before it elevated on books inside the room.  So the difference in distance between the two chronies is about 1 foot, but the beam of the FX radar probably only measures the pellet further down the flight path, so the actual distance may be several feet of difference.

    Backstop 6 feet away, rubber mulch/cardboard.  FX radar power at max (lowest setting).  This is what I got on my air pistol with the air running out.  The relative differences between the two readings is what I am looking at.  Will run more strings later after refill with air.

    F1 Red   FX radar    Difference in readings

    505           501               4

    496           488               8

    485            494              9

    484            490              6

    483            473              10

    476           467               11

    462           452               10

    457           449               8

     

    You got less deviation than I did for sure.

    I assume apps are given a runtime priority level like in windows, and if its possible to raise that level. Maybe that would help.

    I will try it on my other phone that I dont have so much garbage running on tomorrow to see if the results are the same

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    fe7565
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    I filled back up with air and did another string.  This time I elevated the FX radar by another inch about on level with the F1 chrono that is in front of it.  The two are around 4 inches apart but the FX Radar has a clear line of sight.  I think that placing the FX rader too low to the floor (rugs,etc) may affect the readings. Use a tripod for sure or at least nothing directly ahead of the front of the unit that can cause a reflection of the signals.

    F1 Red          FX radar         Difference

    499                  498                  1

    506                   503                 3

    505                    502                1

    505                   503                 2

    511                    508                3

    506                    503                3

    512                    509                3

    Looks pretty good for me.   But FX needs to use to software themselves and see how counter-intuitive it is and lacking basic features like AVG, DEV, SD, etc,

     

    • This reply was modified 5 months ago by fe7565.
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    rob_g
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    I'm just getting back into air rifles and have been following the discussions on the FX chrono with great interest. The back to back values comparison seems pretty close. My question is if you take any two comparably priced chronographs and do a similar comparison can you expect similar results? Is the FX unit as "accurate" as any other unit?

    It seems the software has room to grow but that is a relatively easy thing to overcome with a little time. I suppose it is too soon to ask if anyone has tried updating firmware on early units. 

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    fe7565
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    I do not see a user-accessible firmware update option. Unless it’s over Bluetooth LE.   There is probably a port inside but that’s for factory firmware updates.  The app software update is another thing.  It’s possible that the app software can communicate with the unit via Bluetooth LE but as of now it does not seem to be setup that way. It’s only one way (unit sending raw speed reading to app) as far as data. 

    • This reply was modified 5 months ago by fe7565.
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    PerkyVal
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    I took the FX out to the range Sunday and it returned FPS numbers more inline with the LabRadar. 

    I had the same erroneous results with the LR here at home too, so unfortunately reports that the FX would work in locations the LR wouldnt weren't born out for me.

    The voice didnt work on my software, but I didnt investigate why. I toggled it a few times, but that was it.

    It sure is a more convenient unit than the LR was, and definately better than messing about with opticals.

    I sure hope they get the software up to minimally acceptional functionality soon.

    When they do I will fall in love.

    • This reply was modified 5 months ago by PerkyVal.
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    mmahoney
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    Just to add my evidence to the discussion…

    My biggest gripe is that placement of the FX is so finicky. It did not like being directly underneath the barrel of my rifles and seems to prefer to be set on the table under the muzzle. Since the FX had the first chance to read the velocity (it was closer) my expectation was that the FX would read slightly faster than the my Caldwell Chrony. As you can see in the 3 charts below, it wasn't until I lowered the FX that I got the expected results. Even a couple inches below the barrel resulted in some weird readings.

    If this was a person's only Chony, how would they go about figuring out the correct placement?

    • This reply was modified 5 months ago by mmahoney.
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    fe7565
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    Mmahoney good info.  I think consistency is most important vs accuracy as long as the readings are within an approx 10 FPS range of the true velocity  

    Your test certainly shows the trend, confirms it in your case.  When I get a chance I will try more variations as well.  Did you try the same three setup with:

    1. Placing the FX a couple inches before or after the muzzle? 

    2. Changing the sensitivity to min and max?

     

     

    • This reply was modified 5 months ago by fe7565.
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    bandg
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    fe7565

    Mmahoney good info.  I think consistency is most important vs accuracy as long as the readings are within an approx 10 FPS range of the true velocity  

    Your test certainly shows the trend, confirms it in your case.  When I get a chance I will try more variations as well.  Did you try the same three setup with:

    1. Placing the FX a couple inches before or after the muzzle? 

    2. Changing the sensitivity to min and max?

     

     

    Agree.  Good trial but hard to ascertain what is going on.  Looking at the numbers in the tables above by mmahoney, it appears that the FX is as consistent (high to low reading range) as the Caldwell.  How to know which is "more accurate" as to an actual velocity number?  Maybe the FX is giving the "most accurate" number as to actual velocity and not the Caldwell.  Hard to know without an outside standard.  

    The variation in the FX by position is something to be considered but I wonder whether moving the Caldwell (angle to bore) slightly might produce similar results.  Was the Caldwell position in relation to the rifle changed during the above measurements?

     

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    mmahoney
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    The Caldwell stayed in the exact same position. I'm pretty confident in it's consistency, but not it's accuracy. All readings could be 20 fps fast or slow for all I know. The FX seems like it can be consistent, but I'm noticing that the FX seems to spit out a lot more duplicate readings almost like it is less accurate.

    I don't believe the FX is giving the more accurate numbers. Mostly because any slight change in it's location causes significant variation. Here is another couple shot strings I made. This time I tried putting the chono in the same spot both times. The Caldwell was kept in the same position both shot strings and was never touched. The reg pressure on the gun was changed and that is why the velocity on the second string is lower. However,  notice how in the second shot string the velocities for the FX dropped for some strange reason in relation to the Caldwell. Again, I TRIED to put the FX in the exact same location as the first shot string.

    • This reply was modified 5 months ago by mmahoney.
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    bandg
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    Nice work trying to compare the devices.  I can't see that a duplicate reading necessarily indicates less accuracy.  It certainly might but it also could be that the shots were actually duplicates.  It seems that to compare how the change in position effects the readings you should move both devices each time.  Inconvenient for the larger unit but that is the advantage of the smaller device.  If moving the Caldwell produced similar changes in readings then that would seem to strengthen the utility of the FX. 

    If the FX proves to be too position sensitive for shooters to easily get reliable readings then it's usefullness would seem to be greatly lessened.  I did note that the video Giles posted about the FX did mention exactly this issue, that some of his guns needed different positions for good readings with some "below the muzzle" and others back from the muzzle.

    • This reply was modified 5 months ago by bandg.
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    mmahoney
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    They could have been duplicates but if you look at the last 20 shots, 11 of them were 552 fps. None were 551, or 553. With pellets straight from the tin, that kind of consistency strikes me as odd. I almost get the feeling that instead of reporting an accurate measurement that there is some rounding going on. These were taken with the radar at the most accurate setting.

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    bandg
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    Interesting and as noted a bit suspect with so many 552's.   Seems slight position variance may cause enough reading change to prevent the FX unit from being considered absolutely reliable.  I had hoped they would work well.

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    mmahoney
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    The results were really bugging me so I did a lot more testing today. First I ran a velocity distribution for the entire shot string. The gaps between the readings are not a good sign of accuracy. This is the same shot string measured by the FX and the Caldwell….The distribution of the Caldwell looks correct…The FX not so much.

    Then I shot hundreds of pellets through both chronographs again with the FX moved to different positions. I've found that moving it forward or backward along the muzzle has little impact, but moving it closer or farther away from the muzzle makes a huge one.

    Summary: My FX Radar likes the top of the chrony to be located 2.75 inches below the center of the muzzle opening. Being an inch in front, flush, or behind the barrel makes little difference. The unit happens to be 2.75 inches tall making estimating the distance easy. If too high or too low, the velocity reading seems to be reported too low. The problem of lots of duplicate velocities and gaps in the those velocities continues, however. My conclusion is that the Caldwell is more accurate.

    • This reply was modified 5 months ago by mmahoney.
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    Centercut
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    Thanks for the testing. It’s been my experience also. I think it’s best for field testing at the range or when checking sight in prior to hunting. I wouldn’t use it for tuning one of my air rifles. The $65 Caldwell is much better and more accurate for that purpose. I would not recommend this as a shooters only chronograph…

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    bandg
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    mmahoney

    The results were really bugging me so I did a lot more testing today. First I ran a velocity distribution for the entire shot string. The gaps between the readings are not a good sign of accuracy. This is the same shot string measured by the FX and the Caldwell….The distribution of the Caldwell looks correct…The FX not so much.

    Then I shot hundreds of pellets through both chronographs again with the FX moved to different positions. I've found that moving it forward or backward along the muzzle has little impact, but moving it closer or farther away from the muzzle makes a huge one.

    Summary: My FX Radar likes the top of the chrony to be located 2.75 inches below the center of the muzzle opening. Being an inch in front, flush, or behind the barrel makes little difference. The unit happens to be 2.75 inches tall making estimating the distance easy. If too high or too low, the velocity reading seems to be reported too low. The problem of lots of duplicate velocities and gaps in the those velocities continues, however. My conclusion is that the Caldwell is more accurate.

    Very nice work that will probably help many.  I would be perfectly happy with the FX given the two comparison strings above IF it did it repeatedly.  Seems it is too sensitive to position for this to be the case across multiple guns.  It might work well for a single gun once the "sweet spot" is identified but that seems to be a pretty big task.  Maybe they can improve it but it looks like it's not ready for prime time now.  Thanks for the effort to do this comparison.

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