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CAP Talk  |  Operations  |  Emergency Services & Operations  |  Topic: Seimac ProFIND DF-500P
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Author Topic: Seimac ProFIND DF-500P  (Read 20012 times)
Eclipse
Too Much Free Time Award

Posts: 29,108

« on: July 03, 2008, 08:32:33 PM »

I was recently issued a Seimac ProFIND DF-500P:
 


It looks hardcore, feels tough as nails (especially in comparison to an L-Per), comes in a Pelican case, is rechargeable, can runs off external power, and includes a very nice practice beacon.  I should be able to leap tall beacons in a single bound with this thing.

One problem.

It doesn't appear to work.  Sure it fires up, receives a signal and makes noise and blinky lights, but that's about it.  The directionals don't correspond to where the beacon is, nor does signal strength seem to correspond to location.

Anyone else had a similar experience? I am hoping for some magic switch or calibration we've been missing, otherwise I'll
have to look into returning this to Seimac for check-out.
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_
Seasoned Member

Posts: 406

« Reply #1 on: July 03, 2008, 09:01:10 PM »

I've been told that it doesn't work like the l-per in df mode.  Apparently you have to get to where it indicates full deflection left/right and then the beacon is off to your left/right.  I may be completely wrong, I tried using it once and thought it was piece of junk so haven't used it since.  I'd much rather use a sniffer.
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Eclipse
Too Much Free Time Award

Posts: 29,108

« Reply #2 on: July 03, 2008, 09:16:25 PM »

Yes, that's how its supposed to work, but no matter where the beacon is, it always indicates right, and not in any kind of authoritative way. 

There's also no receive mode, so assuming it ever works, I'm not sure how effective it would be from longer distances.
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♠SARKID♠
Salty & Seasoned Contributor

Posts: 1,836
Unit: GLR-WI-002

Timmerman Composite Squadron - WIWG - CAP
« Reply #3 on: July 04, 2008, 12:27:26 AM »

Personally, I don't trust anything with four rubber ducks - thats like a direction finding Hydra(+1) and should be slain in a valiant manner.
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           Capt. Dan Turkal
..
                WI-204/CC
.
Eclipse
Too Much Free Time Award

Posts: 29,108

« Reply #4 on: July 04, 2008, 12:34:01 AM »

I've been poking at it with a stick tonight, and try as I might I can't get it to work right.

I charged the battery off the external belt pack battery (cool), so I know its at full charge, and the practice beacon has plenty of juice and signal.

It receives the audio fine, even indicating signal stregnth fairly accurately, though not with the granularity of an L=Per's VU-type meter.  It looks to me as though its doing some software "considering" before it'll show a change on the strength display.

But try as I might, the directionals just don't seem to work.  It always shows 1 blip right even when the beacon is direct left.

I've tried walking away form the beacon, disconnecting antenna leads, nothing.

Right now its an expesive 6-channel scanner.  >:(
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♠SARKID♠
Salty & Seasoned Contributor

Posts: 1,836
Unit: GLR-WI-002

Timmerman Composite Squadron - WIWG - CAP
« Reply #5 on: July 04, 2008, 01:35:23 AM »

Can you request to get issued something else?
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           Capt. Dan Turkal
..
                WI-204/CC
.
Eclipse
Too Much Free Time Award

Posts: 29,108

« Reply #6 on: July 04, 2008, 11:42:07 AM »

I've already got a regular L-Per that works fine, but I'm short one for my units who are active in ES, and since this was collecting dust because of its inability to do anything but receive the signal, I asked the DC to let me play with it.

Barring some magic fix from someone here, I'll contact Seimac on Monday and see about having it serviced.

I was kind of hoping for some hidden reset button, or "hey, the antenna on all those comes loose" kind of deal to make me a hero (and the others who tried sorry they gave it up).   :D
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RADIOMAN015
Banned

Posts: 1,990

« Reply #7 on: July 04, 2008, 03:00:44 PM »

Funny, we had a unit also which we gave back to Wing.  Our Squadron ES officer (12+ years ES experience, NESA instructor) told me it didn't work. I also tried it, and it only showed an indication off the Right antennas even when I knew the signal source was to my left.  Don't know IF we were missing something from when we read the instructions, BUT he had no intentions of keeping equpment & maintaining acountability for that piece of equipment we would NEVER use on a mission.  HOWEVER, the ELT simulator with the unit is great because it takes readily available AA batteries!!! 
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Eclipse
Too Much Free Time Award

Posts: 29,108

« Reply #8 on: July 04, 2008, 03:43:13 PM »

Yes, the beacon is actually really sweet, I'd post a pic, but seimac is using Flash for some reason to rotate it.   ???

Link here:  http://seimac.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=31&Itemid=51


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JoeTomasone
Salty & Seasoned Contributor

Posts: 1,661

« Reply #9 on: July 04, 2008, 03:54:23 PM »

You might want to try an MK4:  http://captalk.net/index.php?topic=5048.0

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SJFedor
Salty & Seasoned Contributor

Posts: 1,691

« Reply #10 on: July 04, 2008, 05:14:02 PM »

Nah man, our Group has one of those too, and I hate it. I had a known LOS on the beacon from maybe 3/4 of a mile, and it wouldn't pick up anything.

It's an expensive paperweight.
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Steven Fedor, NREMT-P
Master Ambulance Driver
Former Capt, MP, MCPE, MO, MS, GTL, and various other 3-and-4 letter combinations
NESA MAS Instructor, 2008-2010 (#479)
JoeTomasone
Salty & Seasoned Contributor

Posts: 1,661

« Reply #11 on: July 04, 2008, 08:51:12 PM »

I (highly) beg to differ (and suspect you might have had weak batteries, it will get deaf with weak batteries), or suggest that you got a bad unit.    My MK4 picks up signals before the old AND new L-Pers -- and I'm talking by .5 miles average.  We've had nothing but success with it, and are working on the particulars to make a proposal that we adopt it Wing-wide as opposed to the L-Per.


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Eclipse
Too Much Free Time Award

Posts: 29,108

« Reply #12 on: July 05, 2008, 12:20:32 AM »

OK, maybe missing the point is a symptom of this board.

I have an L-Per, and am not looking for suggestions on something else, I was hoping to find a magic "work" button on this 500P.

I sent an email to Seimac support this morning and already received an RMA number and expect to get a return shipper next week.  Considering this is a holiday, that't pretty impressive.  The support guy said it sounded like it needed to come back, now it will.

I'll let everyone know how this goes. Knowing how things go, Seimac will probably fix the thing and it'll turn into the sliced-bread generator it should be and Wing will want it back.
  :D
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KyCAP
Seasoned Member

Posts: 447

Ky Wing Civil Air Patrol
« Reply #13 on: July 05, 2008, 10:47:40 PM »

Eclipse,

Do post results, I would be curious.   Same "sketchy" experience here with Seimac.   Might have another to return.
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Maj. Russ Hensley, CAP
IC-2 plus all the rest. :)
Kentucky Wing
Eclipse
Too Much Free Time Award

Posts: 29,108

« Reply #14 on: July 05, 2008, 10:50:54 PM »

I'm hopeful, I can't imagine something this expensive and ruggedly built literally wouldn't work.
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KyCAP
Seasoned Member

Posts: 447

Ky Wing Civil Air Patrol
« Reply #15 on: July 05, 2008, 11:22:46 PM »

I swear I handed one to three members with a total of 60 years worth of DF experience between them and it's hit or miss with this thing... Always points Right... 
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Maj. Russ Hensley, CAP
IC-2 plus all the rest. :)
Kentucky Wing
DH
Recruit

Posts: 13

« Reply #16 on: July 12, 2008, 01:41:32 PM »

We have 3 in our Wing that we have had a fair amount of success with. One unit prefers it to anything they've used. It works well for me but then I still "like" the old L-Per more. (By the way the new L-Per seems to be more like this one) Most of my unit likes the Tracker best of all we have used.

We did have to return 1 for repair. It had worked then suddenly would not receive, give any indications, or sound. Took a while but we got it back and it seems to be working fine.

As far as using the thing. - Forget you ever knew an L-Per. Totally different animal. Think more along the line of the tracker. It uses internal sensors to adjust sensitivity and direction indications so the only thing you can really adjust is the volume.

Procedure we use, and yes I know it sounds silly but it seems to work:
1. Turn on the unit, check frequency and adjust sound.
2. Turn around (360 degrees) 2 or 3 times to let the unit detect and adjust to the signal.
3. Assuming you can hear the ELT. If you have an indication ignore it for now. Pick a direction, doesn't matter which, and walk about 20 feet. Watch the indicator. Reverse course and walk about 20 feet. Again, watch the indicator (left and right). Turn 90 degrees from the original course and repeat the process. Determine which course gave you the best (strongest) indication on the left/right arrows. If in this process you alway show to the right and always the same level, I'd suspect the unit is broke.
4. Using the process in the last step, after determining which direction gave the best indication on the left right arrow, begin moving in that direction. The vertical indicator should be toward the bottom of the scale. If you are moving in the correct direction toward the target, the indicator should begin to move up the scale. When the vertical indicator is at the highest level, you should be able to see the target. You really need to be at least a few yards away when you start the process or it probably will not desense enough to give an accurate fix.
5. After proceeding in the direction of the target. repeat step 3. Turn 90 degrees from course and walk a few feet then reverse the course and do the same. You will have to continue to do this from time to time as you get closer to make sure you are moving in the right direction. Continue to watch the vertical bar, if is starts going down, you're probably moving away from the target.

The unit seems to start out with very high sensitivity and corrects as you get closer to the target. If you are very close to the target when you turn it on, it may not desense enough to give an accurate initial reading.

Hope this helps a little.
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Eclipse
Too Much Free Time Award

Posts: 29,108

« Reply #17 on: July 12, 2008, 02:01:29 PM »

I appreciate the detail, but unfortunately ours is just busted.

I'm working right now with Cobham (Seimac's parent co) on the RMA issues.  They want me to pay for shipping it back to Canada, and I'm not excited about having to pay for this considering it never worked (the fact that many hands before me just poked at it and put it away not withstanding).
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Major Lord
Suspended

Posts: 1,817

« Reply #18 on: July 13, 2008, 01:19:50 PM »

My brief experience with the Profind was disappointing. This is not really surprising, given that the antennas are very lossy, and too close together to provide good bearing resolution. It is probably best suited for use a man-overboard locater on the open ocean. As a terrestrial direction finder, its seemed worthless. Handy, cute, rugged, and worthless....

Comparing the Australian unit (the MK4) to the the Seimac is apples to oranges. One is a switched antenna direction finding system. Switching the antennas back and forth at high speed results in antennas that are never fully "on"., and with unity gain or worse antennas, its not going to perform well. (There is a reason the L-Per has such a big antenna array-its the right thing to do!)

The MK4 is basically a receiver with a signal strength meter and a directional antenna. The antenna provides reception capabilities far in excess of the zero gain antennas used in the Seimac. The receiver has higher sensitivity, and does not suffer losses from using the switched antenna, phase shift method of direction finding. Another positive feature is that there is no directional ambiguity. I don't believe that the unit is FCC approved, since basically it is a hacked ham radio product. With the Diamond MAY 1000 antenna, it can do RFD over a wide range of frequencies, which can be pretty handy. DF'ing with Yagi antennas does not provide the high bearing resolution possible with a switched antenna system, but its simple and works at greater ranges and does not require extensive training and experience to do a fairly good job with.

Major Lord
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"The path of the righteous man is beset on all sides by the iniquities of the selfish and the tyranny of evil men. Blessed is he, who in the name of charity and good will, shepherds the weak through the valley of darkness, for he is truly his brother's keeper and the finder of lost children. And I will strike down upon thee with great vengeance and furious anger those who would attempt to poison and destroy my brothers. And you will know my name is the Lord when I lay my vengeance upon thee."
BigMojo
Seasoned Member

Posts: 259

« Reply #19 on: July 14, 2008, 11:52:40 AM »

I (highly) beg to differ (and suspect you might have had weak batteries, it will get deaf with weak batteries), or suggest that you got a bad unit.    My MK4 picks up signals before the old AND new L-Pers -- and I'm talking by .5 miles average.  We've had nothing but success with it, and are working on the particulars to make a proposal that we adopt it Wing-wide as opposed to the L-Per.

I'll second that...

We had an ELT that someone was shipping for repair that was going off inside a UPS 51' Semi Trailer this weekend. We're talking reflection hell. I pinpointed the side of the trailer it was on, and how far in. Then it was just a matter of running it over the boxes in the area, and using it kinda like a metal detector. The L-per we had out there, was all kinds of confused. I love my Sniffer and won't use anything else if I have the choice.
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Ben Dickmann, Capt, CAP
Emergency Services Officer
Group 6, Florida Wing
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CAP Talk  |  Operations  |  Emergency Services & Operations  |  Topic: Seimac ProFIND DF-500P
 


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