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mxk

AltiTrack Failures

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I'd like to share two AltiTrack failures that I've encountered in the last four weeks. I jump with an audible and an analog altimeter on my chest for redundancy, so neither one was a big deal, but this is a warning to others not to rely on single (especially digital) source of altitude information.

Normal canopy deployment after my second wingsuit jump of the day. I check the AltiTrack and it's indicating 18,000 ft with the Low Bat light blinking. The battery indicator was full when I turned it on in the morning (I do check this) and the Low Bat light was not blinking during the climb for the second jump. It basically went from full charge to empty without any warning. I started using this battery on jump 85 and the failure was on jump 276, which covers 11 months. I turn the altimeter off at the end of each day of jumping. Afterward, I spoke with a TI who also jumps with an AltiTrack and he told me that he experienced the exact same failure himself; full to zero in a single jump and 18k indication.

I replaced the battery with a new one four weeks ago, but had a different failure yesterday. The climb is normally detected at around 300-500 ft, but this time the arrow remained on zero until my analog altimeter was indicating 1,500 ft. At that point, the AltiTrack went up to 500 ft and continued to indicate ~1,000 ft low for the rest of the jump. There was nothing unusual about the way that the airplane (Twin Otter) climbed. I imagine that climbing very slowly may cause the altimeter to update its zero pressure instead of going into the jump mode, but I don't see how this could have happened here. The altitude indication was normal on the subsequent jumps.

I've contacted L&B support for the battery indicator issue and they told me that they are looking into it. I'll report the second failure to them this week and will post an update when I get some new information.

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I've had this a couple of times when I've used less than new batteries (My school has eight units). Replacing with fresh batteries, and cleaning the contacts with an eraser has solved the problem. I hope yours is as simple.
There have been two times that the battery has been at half mark after sitting in a box for a while, and then goes dead on a climb. I can only assume that the length of time running and not being actually turned off, has caused the unit to think it has battery juice when in fact, it does not.
Did you have it turned off each time between those jumps? I've found the batteries are good for about 800 jumps

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I turn the AltiTrack on in the morning and turn it off when I leave the DZ, same as my AAD and audible. After replacing the battery, it took about 5-10 minutes for the indicator to show full charge again, so there is a delay there. But if the original battery was getting low, I would've expected the Low Bat light to be flashing by the second jump of the day.

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