ILEC SN10 Flight-Computer Resources

Last Update 19-September-2022

ILEC SN10 Sources

The ILEC SN10 is manufactured and sold by ILEC Gmbh, in Bayreuth, Germany.
This Nadler & Associates web page is the primary source for the current SN10 manual and software.

In North America, ILEC products are sold and supported by: Cumulus Soaring
In Australia and New Zealand: ILEC Australia

ILEC SN10 Software and Documentation

Note: Please update your FLARM software to version 7.07 or later (and for FLARM Fusion, hub firmware to 1.42 or later) !
FLARM have fixed a few bugs that impacted those using FLARM with SN10.

Links to the most recent ILEC SN10/SN10B software and documentation:

ILEC SN10 Service

In the unlikely event your ILEC instrument needs to be returned to ILEC for service, please carefully follow these shipping instructions to avoid delays in service:
Checklist for ILEC Instrument Shipping.pdf

Using TopHat with your ILEC SN10

Many ILEC SN10 pilots like to have a large moving map in addition to the SN10. The TopHat open-source project provides a great moving map, and SN10 software 2.41 onwards provides the following features:

Here are a few snapshots of TopHat running on a Kobo Glo in the ArcusM (click on thumbnail for larger image):
ArcusM panel snapshot ArcusM front panel ArcusM rear panel

Quick movie showing TopHat receiving updated task from SN10.

Connecting TopHat to your ILEC SN10

Typical SN10 installations use PowerFLARM to provide both GPS and FLARM input to the SN10. The SN10 serial output echoes FLARM messages and adds information about the current task, wind, etc. The SN10 serial output is connected to both the FLARM serial input and the TopHat serial input. A USB-serial converter converts the SN10 NMEA RS-232 output to USB for the Kobo, and a 12v-to-5v supply powers the Kobo (and USB converter).

Details about how to set this up:
Diagram for SN10-to-Kobo connection.
USB Power Supply from Aircraft Spruce (no RF noise like cheapo parts on Amazon)
Complete Amazon shopping list for EVERYTHING you'll need (but skip cheapo USB power supply).
See the TopHat website for details on TopHat Kobo setup, but note the SN10 output replaces the GPS puck shown in the TopHat illustrations.
Warning: Do not directly connect a USB-serial-adapter to any SN10 port or cable except via SN10-PC cable. Follow the wiring diagram above for Kobo/PDA hookup!
Warning: Do not connect any USB device except a USB memory stick to the SN10's USB adapter!

Connecting a FLARM® to your ILEC SN10

For a decade, the ILEC SN10 has supported FLARM, and pilots world-wide use FLARM to provide GPS as well as traffic info to the SN10. Enable the optional FLARM support features on the "SN10 Options 2" page:

Make sure you set both FLARM and ILEC SN10 GPS baud rates to 19200 !
Your ILEC SN10 will optionally declare your task from the SN10 into the FLARM (only works for IGC-approved versions of FLARM).

Connecting a PowerFLARM® brick to your ILEC SN10

PowerFLARM brick is supplied with a DB-9 cable to ease connections. This cable is color-coded but please double-check the pin connection of each DB-9 wire before soldering.

ILEC SN10 Function ILEC Panel Cable
DB-9M pin number
ILEC Panel Cable
wire color
Cable wire color
Pin Number
PowerFLARM Brick Function
NMEA-format serial input S/N >=100: pin 9
S/N 1-99: pin 3
Green Brown 2 serial port #2 NMEA-format output
NMEA-format serial output 2 Yellow Red 3 serial port #2 NMEA-format input
Do NOT connect to SN10 power output! The SN10 cannot provide enough power to run a FLARM or PDA safely! Connect FLARM power input to your battery via a separate fuse! Blue 7 +12v power input
Do NOT connect to SN10 power output ! Yellow 5 Power ground

Note: The PowerFLARM serial port in the DB-9 connector must be enabled (by default it sends no output). Please create a FLARMCFG.TXT file on a USB-memory stick and configure your brick to enable serial port #2. Manuals here:

Connecting your SN10 to a PDA

The SN10 provides an output stream that echoes input data from your GPS or FLARM, and adds additional information for use by PDA programs. A number of pilots have damaged their SN10s by making unfortunate wiring connections... Please, to avoid damage and expensive repairs, do not do what some pilots have done:

Here's a diagram showing how to hook a PDA and GPS/FLARM to the panel cable.

TE Compensation

There are a lot of misconceptions and myths about Total Energy compensation.
Faster is not better ! Rudy Brozel (designer of the ILEC TE probes used world-wide) wrote this classic paper explaining TE, and how to test your installation:
Brozel article on TE_Compensation
Note: Needs an update to properly explain V^2 problem with gusts.

ILEC SN10 USB adapter

With the ILEC SN10 USB adapter, a USB "thumb-drive" "memory-stick" can be used to save flight logs, load new site information into the SN10, and load new SN10 software versions - no more carrying a laptop to the glider, searching for the SN10 PC-cable, or fighting with cranky USB-to-serial adapters. See:
ILEC SN10 Manual supplement for USB adapter

Updating the USB adapter software

Download the file ILEC SN10 USB adapter software ZIP and unzip it onto a memory stick (you should see ILECUSBA.HEX). Follow the update instructions in section 10.5 of the USB manual supplement above. The link above points to the most version of ILECUSBA.HEX. Updates to the USB software are detailed below.

USB adapter software update 19-September-2022

- reduce network load (speeds 2nd seat display, also helps SN10C)

USB adapter software update 11-April-2020

- Better special character support and error checking
- Supports exFAT formatted sticks (except for loading new USB firmware)
- Adds LFN support (but NDB names must be unique first 8-chars)

USB adapter software update 25-May-2016

- too long comments in NDB files don't cause errors
- more reliable reporting of USB stick disk label

USB adapter software update 6-August-2010

Some DOS and Windows text editors stick a DOS-specific control character (ctrl-Z) at the end of a file. The USB adapter, as with many of us, was surprised and confused by this ctrl-Z, and the SN10 displayed an error "USB-NDB Error, Line 554, unrecog. record" with the line number pointing to the last line of the file. This update of the USB-adapter software (not the SN10 software) ignores the ctrl-Z

USB adapter software update 18-May-2010

The SN10 got pretty excited when presented with a USB memory stick requiring too much power. To stop getting the warning message "USB stick requested too much power", it was not only necessary to unplug the stick, but to turn the SN10 off and on again and clear one last warning. This software update calms it down, only one warning ! Thanks to JJ for bringing this to our attention and sending me a stick that actually requested more than 100ma. A tenth of an Amp should really be enough power, but there are some el cheapo sticks out there that ask for more... This bug is in the software within the USB adapter (not the SN10 software).

USB adapter software update 3-February-2010

We found a bug that caused some NDB files not to load properly (only some NDBs without airspace information). This bug is in the software within the USB adapter (not the SN10 software).

Talking to your ILEC SN10

ILEC SN10 pilots who haven't yet installed an SN10 USB adapter use a laptop to upload turnpoint and map data to the SN10, and to download flight logs from the SN10. Most pilots have no problems, however...

ILEC SN10 PC-cable

Use the ILEC PC-cable !!

You must use the ILEC PC-cable to connect a PC to the SN10. The wrong cable will typically short out various SN10 signals and power supplies, cause the knobs and buttons to stop working, and possibly damage the SN10 and/or the PC. The ILEC PC-cable looks like the picture at left.

Do not plug a USB-serial adapter directly into the SN10 or panel cable.

Do not use a "standard" serial cable, or the cable you found underneath the desk in your clubhouse, or you will have problems.

My PC doesn't have a serial port...

The elimination of "real" serial ports on new PC's has resulted in much pain and suffering.
We really suggest you get an ILEC USB-adapter to avoid needing a PC at the glider.
However, if you must use a PC, find an FTDI USB-to-serial adapter (beware of clones; buy from a reputable source). Older details on which USB-to-RS232 solutions work, how to use a Mac instead of a PC, and what to avoid here:
Talking to your SN10 via a USB Port (old)

For help in using a PocketPC instead of a PC, Paul Remde has provided assistance here (Thanks Paul !):
ILEC SN10 Transfers with PocketDOS

Volkslogger flight declarations with ILEC SN10

Note: In 2020 IGC reduced Volkslogger to "Level 2 security" (no world records), but it is still OK for all badges and distance diplomas. Several people have had badge applications denied because of a missing aircraft registration in a Volkslogger flight log. If you are still using a Volkslogger with an ILEC SN10, please follow the instructions below.


To declare a flight for an IGC badge or record, you will need to fill in the "Aircraft Registration". While the ILEC SN10 can declare the task, pilot, and contest ID to a Volkslogger, you must fill in the aircraft registration (N number) using the Volkslogger directly.

(1) Using the 3-buttons on the Volkslogger, enter your aircraft registration number. This is under the menu:
(2) IMMEDIATELY erase the flight recorder memory:

Paradoxically, erasing the Volkslogger's memory is what permanently saves the current FAI info.
If you do not erase the memory after entering the registration, the next time you declare a task from the SN10, the aircraft registration field will be BLANK !

Note: "Declare Task" does NOT save the aircraft registration permanently ! You must ACT > MEMCLR !

Once you've performed this procedure, you will never need to re-enter the aircraft registration in the Volkslogger - it will be permanently saved.

Please lobby your SSA Regional Director and our IGC representative to use common sense when homologating badge and record claims.
The aircraft, pilot and competition ID in the flight log, plus an official observer's signature should be enough !

ILEC SN10 Technical Notes

The following are technical notes to help create software and services that work with the ILEC SN10.

ILEC SN10 PDA Support

The ILEC SN10 optionally produces output to drive an in-cockpit PDA. This output is used by some popular PDA software. Here's how it works:
ILEC SN10 PDA Support (documentation needs update for latest task output as used by TopHat)

ILEC SN10 Airspace Support

The ILEC SN10 displays a moving map including airspace features. Starting with airspace information in Tim Newport-Peace's format, the information is translated into the SN10's internal format and appended to the NDB file. Using utility software we provide, this is performed automatically by some popular PC programs and web sites, including StrePla and John Leibacher's World-Wide Turnpoint Exchange. Here's how the process works:
SN10 Airspace Support

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