The latest generation of portable ADS-B receivers has proven to be quite reliable in the cockpit, but as with any technical product there is a learning curve. That’s especially true when it comes to diagnosing potential problems. Since all of these devices wirelessly transmit data to your tablet, one of the first areas to consider is the WiFi or Bluetooth connection. Let’s look at how to troubleshoot potential connection problems with a Stratus 3.
1. Check the Settings app
The place to start is with the iPad’s global Settings app. Tap on the gear symbol on the home screen to open up Settings, then tap on Wi-Fi on the left side. This will show all available Wi-Fi network connections, including your Stratus – in this case Stratus 3000236 because the Stratus model is 3 and the serial number of the unit is 000236. Tap on the Stratus name to connect.
A successful connection is indicated by a checkmark next to the Stratus network name, so if there isn’t a checkmark, your Stratus is not connected to your iPad. Notice two key points, though: an orange message will appear under the Stratus network name that says “No Internet Connection,” and the typical WiFi symbol at the top left of the screen will not be present. That’s normal. Because of Stratus 3’s Smart WiFi feature, it’s telling the iPad that while WiFi is being used for short range data transfer, there is no internet connection. That allows the iPad to use its internal LTE radio (if available) while staying connected to Stratus.
2. Check the ForeFlight Devices page
After you’ve verified the Stratus is connected to your iPad, open up ForeFlight and tap the More tab, then Devices. You should see Stratus listed here with a green check mark. Tap on the check mark to see more details about Stratus, including battery life, connection status, age of weather, and much more.
3. Check your ForeFlight version
Different models of Stratus require different versions of ForeFlight. For Stratus 3, you’ll want to have version 10.3 or higher for best performance. So if you see a checkmark next to Stratus in the iOS Settings app but you don’t see Stratus 3 in ForeFlight’s Devices page, check what version of the app you’re running. To do this, open ForeFlight, go to the More page, then tap About. The app version is at the top of the page.
While the version of ForeFlight matters a lot, the specific subscription level you have does not. Stratus works with all levels of ForeFlight, including ADS-B weather, traffic, moving map GPS, and backup attitude (synthetic vision does require a Plus subscription).
95% of connection problems are solved by the three steps above. If you’re still experiencing problems, the good old reboot idea is a valid option:
- Factory reset on Stratus: Turn on Stratus, then press and hold the power button for 30 seconds (until the lights change from green to red to orange, then go off). This will reset Stratus to its initial configuration.
- Restart ForeFlight: Double click the home button to bring up the multitasking view, the swipe the ForeFlight window up. This will completely shut down ForeFlight, so you can tap the icon and open it up again.
- Restart the iPad: Some connection problems are helped by a full iPad reboot. Don’t simply turn off the screen, though; hold the power button at the top right of the iPad and then slide the “slide to power off” switch on screen. This will completely shut down the iPad. Press the power button again to turn it on.
You can also try to isolated the problem by changing hardware. Try using another app (like Stratus Horizon), connecting Stratus to another iPad/iPhone, or even connecting a different Stratus with your iPad. Each of these will indicate which part of the process isn’t working properly.