Shipping Pre-Orders, Full Launch Now Oct 28


Due to some test fixture issues on the production line (more details below), we had to push out our full launch until next week. We expect to have product in inventory at Amazon by Oct 28, and will launch the Ebay/PayPal store for international customers at the same time. To everyone who has contacted us and signed up for the notification lists - thank you for your support and patience. We're very close!

So - why the delay?

First, a tour of our assembly line. I spent 2 days this week with our contract manufacturer in Tucson, AZ, to make sure the assembly process was running smoothly.

Each panel going down the line (thru the pick & place and reflow machines) contains twenty-four (24) Bad Elf GPS boards.

At the end of the assembly line, each panel is visually inspected and signed off by the machine operator.

From here the boards go to the programming and test station. It's kind of funny, but it takes an old, crusty Windows laptop to program the microprocessor, giving life to an accessory that only works with Apple devices. And it takes 23.1 seconds for each board.

Our goal is to ensure every Bad Elf GPS unit that leaves the factory is in perfect operating condition. To accomplish this, EVERY unit is tested. First, we connect it to an iPod touch to verify the microprocessor, auxiliary chips, and dock connector. After that, it goes into a test fixture, where it stays until it gets a valid GPS lock (validating the microprocessor, GPS receiver, and antenna). If it fails either of these tests, it doesn't ship.

And this brings us to one of the reasons for the delay: our GPS test fixture had some bad traces, which intermittently starting giving us some false-negatives. Combined with a few legitimate failures, it took some time to get things ironed out. Once the fixture was, um, fixed, we ramped production back up.

So, we lost some momentum, but it was for a good cause - testing!


  • One other question: I am hoping to use this product to get GPS position data into my iPad to use with aviation programs such as Skycharts Pro or Foreflight.

    I will have to run tests to figure if the structure of the vehicle will allow the GPS to work, or will block the signal enough I will have to come up with a “remote antenna” solution.

    In the event I can’t get a good gps signal anywhere in the plane, I may need suction cup/velcro the GPS dongle to the dash or window and use a 30 pin extension cable so I can then move the ipad to my lap,kneeboard, or even a storage pocket.

    My question is that have you done any testing of 30 pin extension cables will work with the GPS dongle?

    I used google to look at some of the existing extension cables on the market, and it looks like some are listed to only charge and sync, others are charge, sync, and also carry audio. I don’t know enough to know which pins the GPS dongle uses, so i can’t figure out if I need the audio one or not.

    Thanks for any suggestions!


    - Richard Moore
  • I’m a pilot myself, the Bad Elf GPS works great with the iPad in my (club) Piper Archer. You’ll get a faster lock if you let it sit on the dash during your pre-flight, but after that, it should keep a lock no matter where you put it. I’ve been very happy with ForeFlight, and I use MotionX GPS HD for my trip logging.

    A pilot who flies corporate jets and bugsmashers is doing some testing in his planes, apparently he’s been having issues with GPS lock using the iPad 3G in the jet cockpits – not sure if that’s due to shielding/interference or the speed. I’ll report his testing results to the blog as soon as I have them.

    As for 30-pin extension cable – we’ll add this to the FAQs – you definitely need a cable that passes thru more than just power and USB/sync. Technically we don’t use the audio lines, but if other users report the cable works with audio accessories (like speakers or clock radios), that’s a good sign it will work with ours too. I’ll do some looking around to see if there’s a extension cable we can recommend.

    - brett
  • I really am looking forward to using this gps on my iPad. I tried to find the product to preorder on amazon, but I was unable to find it listed.

    - Rich Moore
  • Hi Rich,

    Unfortunately Amazon doesn’t allow small fish like us to set up a product for pre-order – but they should have it in stock on Thursday. We’ll send out a notification email to the list and update the blog as soon as it’s available. Thanks for your patience and support!

    - brett
  • Thank you for the info, I will spread the word to the AOPA member forums & Skycharts pro forums once they become available.

    - Richard Moore

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