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Posted by PLD | Apr 20, 2013 @ 06:32 AM | 5,581 Views
It's been almost 18 months now since I last handled sticks, 12 months since I sold my last TX (lovely JR X2720 ) but I do still miss the designing, building, testing of planes and electronics. However, life has dictated that I sort out other things first.

I'll be back though
Posted by PLD | Jul 28, 2012 @ 05:07 AM | 7,457 Views
Many of you know over the last 5~6 years I've created a lot of unique and useful electronics devices for R/C, most notable are the BAC series of regulators for DLG and small gliders, of which to this day still does not have a competitor with the same level of compactness and features.

... but I've had to move on to other work for a multitude of reasons, and now I'm offering to licence out my designs, but the question is, who would be a good candidate? I could try HobbyKing, but will they keep with the aspects that made the BACs so popular? I could try home/cottage industry people but not many are going to have the equipment needed to build them, let alone find the suitable margins to mark it worth their time.

So, if you know anyone who might be in a position to licence or buy outright the designs from me, let me know

Thanks.
Posted by PLD | Jun 28, 2012 @ 03:23 AM | 7,113 Views
So I've closed down NQRC, almost everything is now mothballed, a sad time but it had to happen, I just couldn't remain competitive against HobbyKing and similar suppliers and even though I had some great, unique prouducts, those alone could not pay the bills off.

These days I've fallen back to my older trade, servicing computers and writing software - feels good to be on the road again, visiting people, solving computer problems, hope it lasts a while (the feeling!).

All my R/C stuff has been mothballed as well, I don't even have any TXs ( had to sell my X2720 and X2610's ) but at least these days getting new gear is a lot easier than it was in the past, back when I had to save up for 4 months just to get an entry-level 4-channel generic transmitter - so glad things have changed.
Posted by PLD | Feb 21, 2012 @ 10:09 AM | 7,437 Views
As of Monday February 20, 2012, NQRC is now closed until futher notice due to personal health reasons.

New orders will not be accepted at this time. Existing orders will be finished and dispatched.

If in the future the environment improves NQRC may be reopened. The very strong Australian dollar and the depressed consumer market means that this business is not in a position to expand appropriately, even with the fantastic support from dedicated R/C enthusiasts who put their money and trust into PLD/NQRC products.

If you are an electronics manufacturer and wish to acquire the rights to the very popular PLD-BAC series of designs, then consider making contact with me via pldaniels@pldaniels.com.

I will be diverting my energy to our new Publishing Business and local computer services.

You can still contact me on Facebook, Twitter and of course RCGroups. I am frequently around in the RCGroups Live Chat (IRC) as 'Inflex'.
Posted by PLD | Dec 14, 2011 @ 03:38 AM | 8,361 Views
Hard to believe I've been doing it this long... anyhow, I pulled up an image of the old NQRC site... and comparing it with the very latest... shocking! I must say I do love that we now have larger screens, faster connections and better CSS support! Can't wait to see what'll be different in 5 more years
Posted by PLD | Dec 10, 2011 @ 10:30 AM | 8,507 Views
I'm going to start using two Amperage standards with my products;
  1. "A", actual realistic amp ratings, what the device can deliver constantly under standard operating environments.
  2. "ACh", Cheap-Amps; anything from 2x to a billion-times higher than standard #1. If it can sustain the load for 1 millisecond, then it's duly rated at that level. 10 second sustained operation will require a cryogenic tank.

I've been working on a BLDC controller, personally I'd rate it at 25A, but I know it'd be 100A rated if it came from the usual sources. I know places like CastleCreations and Jeti use genuine-"Amp" ratings, but it seems many clone/"low-cost" places are using the "ACh" ratings.
Posted by PLD | Dec 10, 2011 @ 09:09 AM | 8,546 Views
Not R/C related, but these were the best moon shots I could get tonight of the eclipse, before the weather rolled in and ruined everything

Taken with a Fujifilm S7500 camera, had to manually set the exposure, f-stop and focus, quite tricky when it's just a small blip on the LCD
Posted by PLD | Nov 26, 2011 @ 11:33 AM | 10,216 Views
Still churning out more things... today I finished up a few power-bus / expanders / isolators for servos / RXs... alas, during all this I blew up my servo tester. Need to make a new one

Oh yes, also finished up the new 4 channel programmable LED strobe. Now to upset the neighbours with a bunch of strange UFO lights (they'll just think it's Christmas come early )
Posted by PLD | Nov 24, 2011 @ 08:08 AM | 8,773 Views
NOTE: You can always keep up to date with what I'm doing over in the RCG Vendor section - http://www.rcgroups.com/nqrc-pldaniels-electronics-618/

After shuffling my feet around with the idea of closing the NQRC store, I had a change of heart (the bank helped *cough*) and I've gone full-song into developing new things, sure, many of them might never make it to full production but it's been a LOT of fun doing all the new things so far...

Pictures attached of all the new goodies - you can keep in touch with what I'm doing via Twitter as well ( http://twitter.com/nqrc ); I'm almost always designing something new or cursing at the loss of the precious "Magic Smoke" from the electronics.

The first thing to really get some life into my blood was making the first switchmode 1S to 5V booster for the DLG people, it's like my existing linear regulators but this time I went with switchmode because quite a few people asked for it. The result is the PLD-BACALL and I have to say the magnetic on/off is quite neat, though my wife is going insane from all the startup/shutdown beeping

Next thing that came in was the PLD-SLOGGER, which monitors your servo channel for volts, current and pulse-width and then lets you dump it all out via a serial-USB connection later. This went along really well and then I realised the 256Kbit EEPROM just wasn't enough... 16 MEGAbit one ordered, that'll give about 2.5 hours of logging at 100Hz sampling.

The PLD-SCC1 mAh-counter for...Continue Reading
Posted by PLD | Nov 04, 2011 @ 10:37 AM | 8,997 Views
Just a quick note of new products being worked on. It's been a surprisingly busy last two weeks and I've gone from "ideas" to "prototypes" on a lot of things concurrently. I'm sure the PCB fab factory is wondering just what on earth I'm up to.

Feel free to join in and subscribe - I enjoy the back/forth suggestions and discussion with everyone. A lot of these products have come about directly from other people making suggestions and asking about ideas.


PLD-LOM7: Precision Low-Ohms-Meter, serious bit of high end gear for high current diagnostics
http://www.rcgroups.com/forums/showthread.php?t=1147776


PLD-SCC1: Battery fuel gauge (0~10A, 4~8.5V),
Status: developed, sold and now back in PREORDER status
http://www.rcgroups.com/forums/showthread.php?t=1477133


PLD-SLOGGER1: Servo pulse, voltage and current logger
Status - Prototype PCBs submitted
http://www.rcgroups.com/forums/showthread.php?t=1533259


PLD-SFUSE1: Servo fuse, signal booster and filter combination, will have option of either a polyfuse (resetting) or a blow-once replaceable fuse
Status - Prototype PCBs submitted
http://www.rcgroups.com/forums/showthread.php?t=1533260


PLD-BACALL: Combination 1S booster BAC with USB/5V integrated charging, voltage reporting, low voltage alarm and lost model alarm option
Status - Prototype PCBs submitted
http://www.rcgroups.com/forums/showthread.php?t=1533263


PLD-MCC1: Same as the PLD-SCC1 but with a 30V, 30A capability, making it ideal for medium size electric models
Status - Prototype PCBs submitted
http://www.rcgroups.com/forums/showthread.php?t=1533265
Posted by PLD | Oct 27, 2011 @ 10:29 AM | 10,114 Views
For serious 100A+ e-flight and car enthusiasts

Ever wondered why on earth a low-ohms-meter (LOM) would ever be a nice bit of gear to have if you're into professional R/C, be it competition flying or car racing? Have a look at some of these figures and see...

First up, an important and relevant equation.... Power = current * current * resistance

Now, let's look at the LOM results on some items

Some wire comparisons, each 20cm long, tinned ends, same brand and the losses at 20A current;
16AWG 2.72mΩ - 1.088W
18AWG 4.68mΩ - 1.872W
22AWG 11.34mΩ - 4.536W

So wire gauge can make a big difference in the amount of power getting to your motor, as opposed to just heating up your fuselage pointlessly.


Next, let's look at the difference between a good solder join and a baaaaaad(ish) one;
Good join, full coverage, nice and shiney, through a Deans Ultra connector - 4.50mΩ
Bad join, missed reflow, though still shiney, - 8.80mΩ

~4mΩ doesn't seem like a lot, until you put 50A through it, then that turns into 10W of extra heat in that one spot, more than enough to melt the joint!


Now, let's look at brushless motors. Measuring the motor requires a bit of deductive work since all the windings influence each other, however you can still pick out imbalances. Going to start off with a nice AXI unit I have had for years, very good motor, expensive though as we all know.

1-2: 54.74mΩ
1-3: 55.26m&#...Continue Reading
Posted by PLD | Oct 18, 2011 @ 11:42 PM | 9,310 Views
I've been working hard on the firmware, new icons have been made, also a new user-manual and now a YouTube video have been added.

User manual - http://www.nqrc.com/datasheets/PLD-SCC1-usermanual.pdf


WARNING: a very boring ~2 minutes
SCC1 discharge sequence, 50mAh start (2 min 6 sec)



NOTE that we're still in preorder mode now, since the original batch has sold out. The new PCBs and parts are being procured.
Posted by PLD | Oct 12, 2011 @ 10:48 PM | 9,951 Views
Now available at NQRC - http://nqrc.com/?vp=PLD-SCC1 ( $49 )

Full development and discussion thread here at RCGroups - http://www.rcgroups.com/forums/showthread.php?t=1477133


Finally, a compact and effective battery odometer for your A123/LiFe cells as well as other battery systems.

The PLD-SCC1 is a mAh counting meter that is installed between your receiver pack and the rest of the system, it will measure the power consumed as well as storing other important data such as peak current, lowest voltage and total run time.

The PLD-SCC1 remembers the the power/time between operations and is simple to reset back to full capacity using one button press after you have recharged your reciever pack.

You can program in your battery capacity available to the PLD-SCC1 in 50mAh blocks, so if you have a 850mAh pack, you might set it to 800mAh to ensure you don't run out prematurely.

Features of the PLD-SCC1 are ...

* Programmable battery size in 50mAh blocks
* Manual reset/initialise (as with a normal car odometer)
* Empty battery alarm (not really very loud, but it's still there)
* Maximum of 10A sense ability
* 1mAh consumption resolution

Data display:
Top line - Battery capacity remaining
Bottom line:
* Runtime since last reset
* Current battery voltage (V)
* Peak current (mA)
* Lowest averaged battery voltage (V)
* Consumed mAh
Voltage range: 3.6~8.5V (2S lipo maximum)
Weight: 10~12g ( ~0.4oz )
Size: 38 x 25 x 7mm size (1.5 x 1 x 0.25")
Leads: Two pairs of 20AWG bare silicon fly leads
Protection: Rubberised clear heatshrink

Now available at NQRC - http://nqrc.com/?vp=PLD-SCC1 ( $49 )
Posted by PLD | Sep 11, 2011 @ 03:25 AM | 9,970 Views
10μΩ resolution Low-Ohms-Meter development

Well I'm finally pleased to announce that all the parts have gone together... and lo behold, I have actually got a single LOM unit now ready to ship to the first customer.
Posted by PLD | Jul 15, 2011 @ 05:33 AM | 10,669 Views
Here's a short(ish) video showing a BAC-55C being built ( http://nqrc.com?vp=PLD-BAC-55C ). Normally with production runs the PCBs are actually on a larger sheet in a 2D matrix (eg, 10x10 PCBs), however since these are proto-boards they're supplied as single units.

None the less, gives you some idea into part of the assembly process.

After the DPAK regulator is placed on the board (the large black brick, using the tweezers) the board goes into the oven for ~7 minutes, after cooling off I then install the round buzzer and the decoupling cap along with the various wires.

On a normal build/assembly day I'll do anything up to 50 of these, you really do get cramps in your back, wrist, forearms and eyeballs!

Building a PLD-BAC-55C, SMD process (1 min 51 sec)

Posted by PLD | Jul 14, 2011 @ 09:35 AM | 10,710 Views
You would think that after nearly 3 years I'd have stopped making revisions to our most popular product, the "BAC" units (for providing 5~5.5V power to DLGs and other small gliders).... but no, I've gone and created another improvement. This time it's slightly more compact and cheaper to boot (down to $22 for now).

http://nqrc.com/?vp=PLD-BAC-55C

Swapped out the Atmel Tiny13 SO8 chip for an even smaller Tiny10 (3x3mm) and now I've been able to cram all the active electronics onto one side of the PCB (which makes it faster to build and hence adds to making it cheaper).

I can only imagine what my next revision will be - though this one was fun to do in a strange way because instead of programming the firmware in C like I normally do, I had to break out the ASM for this one due to the design limitations of the T10 chips preventing an easy task of compiling C code for them.
Posted by PLD | Jul 09, 2011 @ 11:34 PM | 10,868 Views
Getting so close to the finish now. I've just sent off the front-panel design to be done up in Lexan/polycarbonate which will adhere to the 2mm laser cut acrylic.

The firmware is doing very nicely now with all the features I wanted and a couple more.

I've also added in two calibration options including the ability to use the newly released 4 wire 10.000R 0.01% precision metal film resistors in preference to the existing 50.000R units.

I'm also looking to offer a lower cost edition with 16-bit/100μΩ precision.

No matter how many times I go through this process, it always still amazes me how nicely things come together in the end and your bench-top hack project becomes a commercial success.
Posted by PLD | Jun 29, 2011 @ 07:05 AM | 11,218 Views
Here's a couple of pictures from today's update.

Finally my order of push buttons arrived and I could finish up the last firmware stages.

Tomorrow I'm hoping the Kelvin test leads arrive... I'll be mad if they don't.

Once everything is here I will then build LOMv7 #00002 for the first client
Posted by PLD | Jun 25, 2011 @ 07:52 AM | 10,912 Views
Basically this IS the same as the existing 2A relay solution but I've changed the physical orientation a bit, added some mount holes, changed the size of the terminal block and added another LED or so.

PLD-RELAY3: http://nqrc.com/?vp=PLD-RELAY3 $29 AUD

It's also redesigned to make it easier for me to make a few variants that some people special-order from me.

------------------
A new version of the popular RCS-RL2A relay. The configuration has been changed to allow for easy mounting with a pair of 2mm mount holes provides behind the relay. There are now also two status LEDs to let you know at a glance what the state is.
NOTE: For inductive loads (motors, coils, solenoids) we recommend using a back-EMF blocking diode across the terminals to prevent reducing the life of the relay contacts.
SPECIFICATIONS

Switching current: 2A
Switching speed: 0.05~0.10 seconds (safety feature aspect - see below)
Output connections: Common, N/O and N/C
Size: 25 x 25 x 14mm
Weight: 13g
Servo lead length: 150mm
Input voltage : 4.0V to 7.2V

SAFETY FEATURES

Requires at least 5 good frames before comitting a switch to a different state
If TX signal is lost, reverts to relay default setting (after ~0.5sec of constant loss)
Relay outputs isolated from R/C circuitry


Oh yes, this one is programmed with ASSEMBLY, so it's so much l33t3r than the previous model