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Using XM weather with FREEDOM

ENABLING WEATHER IN FREEDOM

In-flight DataLink (XM and soon ADSB) weather inputs are only supported by default if you purchase the Freedom PRO software package.  Datalink Weather support is an optional feature that can be enabled in any other edition of Freedom by purchasing an weather upgrade code from our web store.  To see if XM weather is enabled, tap the SETTINGS button and then the WEATHER button.  You will see two sections of this screen…   “Anywhere Map Internet weather” and “XM Weather”.  If the “Enable XM Weather” button is greyed out, you must activate Datalink weather before being able to use Freedom with your XM receiver.     

To activate datalink weather you must have internet access on the tablet in question.  Go to the TOOLS menu and the SUPPORT CODE ENTRY option.   Type the weather activation code into the box and press ENTER.   Your tablet will then be registered with our server and your weather option will be enabled.

XM PAIRING

In order to use Freedom with your XM receiver, you must first “Pair” it with the Bluetooth manager on your tablet.  Turn on the power to the XM weather receiver, and from the home screen of your Android Tablet, go to the settings screen.   Often times this is represented by a GEAR icon in the Android programs screen or it can be accessed by swiping down from the top of the screen. 

Find the Bluetooth settings part of the settings screen and be sure Bluetooth is ON.   In the right part of the Bluetooth screen you should see a list of nearby Bluetooth devices, one of them should say one of the following:

  • WxRadio SPP
  • XM BLUE SPP*
  • WxWorx
  • ATC WxRadio

This is the XM weather receiver’s Bluetooth name.  If it does not say “Paired” next to this name, tap the name.   You may have to enter the “pairing code” which is either “0” (old style round XM receiver) or “9679” (newer XM box).  After this the  XM device should say “Paired” in the Bluetooth screen. 

USING XM WEATHER

When freedom is started on your tablet computer, XM weather is disabled.  To start using XM weather simply tap SETTINGS and WEATHER, and tap the “Enable XM weather” switch on the screen.  In the upper right corner of the main map screen you should see the XM weather status.  There are three status messages you can see:

· XM CONNECT – this should appear very briefly (you may not even see it go by), as FREEDOM makes a bluetooth connection to the XM receiver.  If the status stays stuck on this message, there is a Bluetooth problem, most likely that the XM device is not connected.

· XM INITIALIZE – This message will be displayed for a few seconds while the Freedom software is initially communicating with the XM receiver.

· XM SIG – GOOD – (or FAIR, or MGNL)   Once this message is displayed your XM receiver is fully linked to freedom and XM weather data is being downloaded to the system.   If your Signal says anything other than GOOD, it is possible that you will miss receiving weather data.  You need to position the antenna to insure that your signal quality is consistently GOOD for best operation. 

XM weather is broadcast at set intervals from the satellite.  After XM is enabled, it can take up five minutes to see the first Nexrad data.  Lightning is transmitted at least every 5 minutes, Metars and TAFs are sent every 12 minutes  The nexrad AGE is displayed in the upper right corner of the screen.  The ages of all the other products can be found on the XM Status Popup screen

QUICK XM STATUS POPUP SCREEN

To get a quick overview of how the XM system is working and to see which products have been received, simply tap on the letters “XM” in the upper right corner of the screen.  This will pop up the XM status screen.   This screen shows a summary of xm data products that have been received and the time the last one of each file type was received.    It also shows the XM receiver serial number, which you may need to contact XM support or to have your XM box “Activated”.   Finally this screen shows how much data has been received by Freedom.  If this number is counting upwards, you can be assured that your XM system is working properly.   The “BER” display stands for “Bit Error Rate” for XM satellite 1 and 2, which is analogous to the signal strength.  You want the BER number to be very low, less than 10, on at least one satellite for the system to work properly.

“ALWAYS ON TOP”

In order for Freedom to stay connected to the Xm receiver and to receive weather data, the Freedom app must be “On TOP” on your Android tablet.   You cannot run other applications or visit the home screen on the tablet or weather data will be lost.   If you can’t see the freedom map (or settings) screens, you are not receiving weather data.

WEATHER SETTINGS

The various weather settings allow you to turn on and off different XM features.  The weather settings screen also has the “Enable XM weather” switch.  If you ever want to disable XM weather, turn off the “Enable XM weather switch”.   If XM Weather is enabled but the weather box is not available, either turned off or in use by another device, Freedom may intermittently become VERY slow to respond as Android searches for the box.

BOX ACTIVATION

If your XM receiver needs to be “activated” by XM you will need to call their 800 number or visit their website and request a “refresh”.  If you don’t have a subscription or if you have let it lapse, you may have to speak with their billing department first.  XM periodically transmits the serial number of “valid” radio receivers.  Your XM receiver must receive one of these messages periodically or it will assume it does not have a subscription with XM any more and will go into “Activation Mode”.   Requesting a “REFRESH” on your receiver, will cause the XM satellites to send your box serial number within the next 15 minutes so that the box knows it has a valid subscription.

TROUBLESHOOTING

XM CONNECT – if the connection process does not progress beyond XM CONNECT, there is no Bluetooth connection between the box and the tablet.   This most likely means that the xm box is out of range or not powered up.  It can also mean that the box is not PAIRED.   In very rare cases the box may need to have the power cycled.   On SOME android tablets, it is possible that the tablet may need to be rebooted to clear this condition.

XM INITIALIZE… If the connection process hangs at this point – the Bluetooth connection is working properly but the XM box is not responding to Freedom’s commands.  The first thing to do in this case is to unplug the XM box, count to 10 and then reconnect it.   After a few minutes FREEDOM will most likely resync with the weather box and all will work.   You can also try turning XM weather OFF and cycling the box power, or even try exiting the Freedom app, cycling box power and then restarting everything.

 

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