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Posted by Tim Green | Oct 24, 2014 @ 06:22 PM | 1,081 Views
A stock DJI F550, a FY-G3 3-axis gimbal, a Hero 3 Black+ at 1960x1280x60fps - some great autumn weather - some editing, my back yard, and a cat (Boris) a dog (Miles) and two humans - Corey and myself ...


https://vimeo.com/109965085
F550 at Dusk, Behind the Ridge, Around the Pond (2 min 9 sec)

Posted by Tim Green | Oct 14, 2014 @ 12:05 AM | 1,880 Views
Here's an example of what the FY-G3 3 axis gimbal does - at least on a stock NAZA M F550 ...

Video taken with H3W camera mounted in an FY-G3 3 axis gimbal - flown on a NAZA F550 (5 min 54 sec)
Video taken with H3W camera mounted in an FY-G3 3 axis gimbal - flown on a NAZA F550 (5 min 54 sec)

Posted by Tim Green | Oct 13, 2014 @ 09:47 PM | 1,714 Views
Edit on October 20 ... Really like the gimbal. Wonderful fun.

Just finished mounting an FY-G3Ultra 3-Axis gimbal on a stock DJI F550. $209 from http://hobbywireless.com/gimbals-hea...al-p-1321.html

Here's a link to the gimbal mfg ...
http://www.feiyu-tech.com/product-en.php?id=44

I used this thread as a resource (thx wattnoise) ...
http://www.rcgroups.com/forums/showthread.php?t=2216710

Video taken with this gear here ...
http://www.rcgroups.com/forums/showthread.php?t=2264860

I have not programmed the gimbal. I have never hooked it up to my laptop even, so I do not know which version of software is running on it.

It boots up ready to use, in heading follow mode - meaning I control the tilt. Roll, tilt and yaw are stabilized. And when I yaw, it follows. With a lag.

EDIT: There's sometimes a recurring yaw correction going on in the gimbal - of a few degrees. It's not always there.
Installed FW v1.12 on Oct 25, 2014, and it fixed this problem. FeiYu-Tech makes me happy.

I am running 4s. The gimbal works best at 12v. So I used an LC filter connected to the battery balance connector, and connected that to a 12v regulator, which feeds the gimbal.

The tilt conn from gimbal to Rx only has the signal,wire, as the heading cable has the gnd wire in it. Since I do not control heading in my system, I moved the gnd wire to the tilt cable. Else there would be issues.

All in all - I like this gimbal. Only been up twice so far - both times today.

...Continue Reading
Posted by Tim Green | Aug 13, 2014 @ 01:18 PM | 2,834 Views
And a shorter vimeo HD version.
Drone over South Ridge (2 min 15 sec)


A video demonstrating the video quality of the new home built camera tilter. Used a Hero 3 Black+ cam, running at 1920x1280x60fps.

...Continue Reading
Posted by Tim Green | Aug 12, 2014 @ 09:06 AM | 2,312 Views
Here's a benchtop demo of the camera tilter mounted on an F450.

Benchtop Demo of Custom Camera Tilter on f450 (0 min 24 sec)


It's a Vector FC. The servo is connected to the Rx ch 8. the Rx is powered by the Vector PSU's 5v tap. Note that I measured the current draw of the Hitek HS5245MG servo before hand - and that it maxed out well under 1 amp during use. Even when I stalled it. This is important, cause the PSU 5v supply can drop if the draw exceeds 1 amp.
I mounted the tilter away from the center. That's why the battery was moved back from before - to keep the COG in the physical center of the quad - better for the FC that way....Continue Reading
Posted by Tim Green | Aug 07, 2014 @ 11:05 AM | 2,543 Views
I always want to be able to look forward, and down, in the same flight. Cause, I have to land in clearings in the foliage, so looking down is desirable.

To that end, I put in two cams in an F550 - one pointing down (H3) and one looking forward (FPV cam) - and I can switch between them. This is good for mapping, and ok for flying. But, I am looking for a single camera solution, so ...

I designed and built this gear, to be glued to bottom of frame. It allows pointing the camera forward, or down, via a digital servo. The COG remains largely unchanged, when the camera moves. And, someday, I'll mount this on my Vector F450.

Camera will be mounted to plate via two vertical strips of Kyosho Zeal (not shown), to damp down vibrations.

All held together via CA glue.
Pics ......Continue Reading
Posted by Tim Green | Jun 24, 2014 @ 05:54 PM | 5,002 Views
Just completed adding an EagleTreeSystems.com Vector FC to a new stock DJI F450 frame - upgraded to the DJI e300 power system.

Here's my notes, along with enough pics, including 5 setup screens, to answer just about anyone's question. (maybe)

First Impression

Wow. What an advance in technology. And, it flies too.

For instance, handling the wind. Here's a low resolution DVR recording, Vector in Wind (3 min 35 sec) where I have my Vector hovering, while the cam is pointed at some trees in the wind - and their limbs are swaying - but as you can see the quad is quite stable. (note that the e300 power system contributes to the stability as well - lighter props, allowing faster corrections) ...

And, I can open up Vector menus on my OSD, by wiggling the mode stick a certain way - and I can navigate those menus using my sticks. In my basement. In the field, in between flights - and - in the air.

What more is there to say?

There's telemetry embedded in the video stream, which the ETS Eagle Eye Diversity Box can utilize.

And it's cheap - did I mention the cost of ownership - $237 from RMRC for the Vector - which includes GPS, OSD, logging, OSD stick menus - NAZA will run you $1000 for this setup - I know - I have two. And APM will run you about $800 for similar gear.

And it's easy to setup. How about failsafe. Using the FrSky TFR8SB SBUS, here's how to setup failsafe on the Vector

...

That's it - we're done. It's all ready to go. I love it.

...Continue Reading
Posted by Tim Green | Jun 02, 2014 @ 01:06 AM | 3,704 Views
Just finished my third full FPV flight - all three in the last 2 weeks. So, it's time to post pics of my F450 and ground station, with some info on the gear. And oh yeah - this rather low res video - a recording of the live video output - but at least it includes the OSD data.

1st flight went 80m. 2nd flight went 120m. This third flight, went as far as 244m. A slow, steady and cautious start to my FPV experience.

In the vid, there were times when video got flaky. I fixed it either by repositioning the crosshair or flying back into RF LOS. I captioned the video the two times video dropouts forced me to fly back into RF LOS, for those that would like to know what that looks like.

FPV 3 on F450 FS700 FPV cam 5 8ghz IRC 600mW vTx (3 min 26 sec)


I had some FPV gear in place last year - but didn't have the confidence to quit flying LOS completely. For several reasons - one - did not trust the multicopter gear - I had weird ccw yawing behavior in my hex and my quad - where after a cw yaw command, when over, it would yaw back a bit ccw by itself. and - two - no trust in my multicopter flying skills should something go wrong. Also, it seemed squirrelly, specially in the wind, not to get too technical.

Made the following changes this winter, for better flying and good FPV ...
  1. Raised the GPS by 1.3 inches - moving it further from EMI from battery and power cables. Apparently far enough that no more yawing occurs . Not in my quad or my hex (raised
...Continue Reading
Posted by Tim Green | Jan 07, 2014 @ 04:36 PM | 5,962 Views
HexB Hovers about the Pond (2 min 7 sec)


Finally got around to editing this video I took last summer. A 3DR Hexa-B, APM 2.91. A Hero3 White camera was doing the recording. The yard was mine. A long time ago, in the summer ...
Posted by Tim Green | Jan 05, 2014 @ 01:53 PM | 7,059 Views
This blog, lately posted, documents the recent addition of a Tarot 2D GoPro Hero3 Gimbal to my F550. It also covers the subsequent addition of DJI legs, after my homemade legs broke, allowing the gimbal to come in contact with the earth oh yeah.

Note that I liked my legs, before that happened - even though they sometimes broke , they were easy to glue back on.

But ... the DJI legs haven't broken once yet. And they don't get caught in the turf on takeoff, as much as my legs did. And they flex just enough, at least for me. And they have clearance, for the Tarot gimbal, as you can see in the pics below. So I remain happy with the DJI legs. They weigh somewhere around 45g total. I used 4 for my F550. I also put them on my F450.

After:

Here's the way it was before the addition of the new DJI legs and the Tarot 2D Gimbal:


And some attached pics - starting with the after pic, followed by a few Tarot 2D build pics (still showing the old legs) ......Continue Reading
Posted by Tim Green | Dec 29, 2013 @ 10:54 PM | 4,456 Views
Pics follow text.
  • Status: body is getting painted
  • Body: Custom built from 3/16 plywood and basswood.
  • Radio: Futaba 12FG with R617FS rcvr - tried using a TFR6 rcvr, but that would not run the digital steering servos.
  • Video: 800mW 1.3ghz vTx using circular polarized antenna to reduce mutipathing - has penetrated 4 houses. Also a 1.3 ghz low pass filter.
  • Video and FPV Camera: Hero3 White
  • Camera Gimbal: ST200 from Servo City, providing pan and tilt functions
  • Ground Station: 8" monitor with sun shield, 1.3ghz circular polarized antenna to reduce multi pathing.
Why a Summit? Cause it can do the job. Also, I like the low gear....Continue Reading
Posted by Tim Green | Aug 29, 2013 @ 05:29 PM | 6,920 Views
An LOS flight around the pond on a stock F450 NAZA M, a Hero3 White camera doing the recording. No Gimbal. There are some dogs. And me (one old man) at the end, enjoying a bit of foolishness, while my quad hovers. Here's to all the old men.

Garden Passes, Dogs and One Old Man (3 min 14 sec)

Posted by Tim Green | Aug 27, 2013 @ 09:58 PM | 5,692 Views
Can't be all NAZA, can it? This blog is about my APM2.5 on an almost stock 3DR Hexa-B.

Specs
  • Started with a stock 3DR Hexa-B with APM 2.5 and GPS.
  • Running v2.91
  • Hero3 White provides the video and FPV
  • Modified the stack. Such that I can put the APM 2.5's magnetic compass as far as possible from the magentic fields produced by the battery/ESC distribution wiring in the bottom of the frame. More here ... http://www.rcgroups.com/forums/showthread.php?t=1899841
  • Added a simple H3 mount.
  • Added 1.3ghz FPV, with a 1.3ghz low pass filter on the antenna, cause, I'm using a
  • 2.4ghz radio

An LOS vid - I added music, and cut it down a bit (not enough - I apologize).
Some LOS about the yard on a HexB (6 min 24 sec)

Next steps: add OSD and upgrade to 3.x.

Now some pics ...
Posted by Tim Green | Jul 28, 2013 @ 08:31 PM | 5,821 Views
Improved visual orientation on my F550 with some paint and tape ...
  • Painted the custom wooden legs so they match their arm color.
  • Applied colored tape to the motor bells so they match their arm color.
  • Already had color matching tape on the ESCs from a previous work session.
I've noted that I can more quickly discern front from back using color, when the colors of each are uniformly white or red.
Posted by Tim Green | Jul 18, 2013 @ 01:04 AM | 6,149 Views
Here's a (long) vid of my first primarily FPV flown flight. Craft is my F550 mentioned below in other blogs. Hero 3 White edition camera on a custom made fixed mount, cushioned on a bed of Kyosho Zeal. Note how steady the hex is sometimes - there was practically no wind, and some of the shots are so steady they look fixed.

Back Yard FPV July 16, 2013 (12 min 33 sec)


For those of you new to FPV flying, it has a learning curve. It's great fun, but it has issues LOS does not have. Such as knowing what is above, below, behind and to your sides, before you move that multi copter anywhere. Nor is the live picture as detailed as the recording. Small things that might affect the props do not show until a few feet away.

Note that the onboard 5.8ghz vTx was chosen for its lack of interference with the 2.4ghz radio RCVR and the 1.5 ghz GPS RCVR. I also use circular polarized antenna on the 5.8ghz vTx and vRx to reduce multi path interference.

Accordingly, I use 1.2ghz vTx on my APM, since its ublox GPS rcvr has a 1.5ghz band pass filter in it. And I put a 1.3ghz low pass filter on the 1.2ghz vTx so it cannot interfere with the 2.4ghz radio rcvr.
Posted by Tim Green | Jul 17, 2013 @ 01:10 PM | 5,604 Views
A Primer on Increasing GPS Sat Lock Time

I never had to wait more than 2-3 minutes, until the last two times out, when it took me up to 5-8 minutes to get 7 sats.

When susequently examining the flight recordings for these two flights, I noticed that the recording was fogged up for just about the same amount of time - 5-8 minutes.

And the light went on ...

If the hero is fogged up for x minutes, and the sat lock takes the same x minutes as the hero takes to unfog - then it's obvious ...

The AC in my house and the really hot weather this week have conspired to make my GPS sat locking to be delayed long enough for the moisture in the GPS puck to evaporate.

The logic is good - only had to wait two long times for GPS sat locks - and both those long times correlated 100% with the only two times I had to wait for the Hero 3 to stop fogging up. And correlated with the really hot weather outside this week and the improvements to my AC made two weeks ago.

The physics is good - all GPS units warn they can be affected by too much moisture in the air.

So, this is a likely culprit, besides the waiting for the GPS to get all releavant sat data, for some of the long waits for sat locks - taking a cold multi out into the hot humid air for a flight. The GPS will have issues with condensed moisture inside the puck, until things even out between the puck interior and the ambient outside air.

And this is how you can increase your GPS sat lock times - start with a real cold multicopter, take it ouside on a real hot day, and wait several minutes for 7 sats.

Of course, such a small data set ... Could just be coincidence.
Posted by Tim Green | Jul 16, 2013 @ 02:13 PM | 7,262 Views
This blog captures the end results after having added stock DJI FPV and OSD to my stock DJI F550 running (dare I say it?) stock NAZA V2 on v3.12 3.14 firmware.

The video:
FPVWithLiveOverlay2 (13 min 26 sec)


Hexacopter:
  • Stock DJI F550 hex using DJI 1038 props.
  • Custom wooden legs, painted to match the arms they are attached to. See http://www.rcgroups.com/forums/showthread.php?t=1965471
  • A Zippy 25c 3s 5800 battery.
  • DJI iOSD MKII - also provides flight logs through its own USB port.
  • PMU and iOSD MKII mounted underneath.
  • Live video is via DJI AVL58 5.8ghz 550mw vTx. The vTx bluebeam antenna (circular polarization so no multipathing) juts down below frame on one of the legs - I fly high, so antenna below.
  • And a Hero 3 White camera on a custom wooden mount - providing both HiRes recording and FPV.
  • One battery powers all (Hero3 has its own battery).
  • No noise issues - the NAZA iOSD provides noise free power to the vTx.
  • The PMU powers the GPS and FC.
  • The FC powers the radio receiver and LED.

Ground Station
  • RMRC tripod.
  • RMRC 8" LCD display with shade mounted to the 1/4-20 tripod camera screw.
  • Strapped to a stick glued to the back of the display is the DJI AVL58 5.8ghz vRx - with the bluebeam antenna raised well above the display.
  • Plus, an RMRC video splitter providing video out to both the RMRC DVR and the display.
  • The DVR, velcroed to side of display shade, records the live FPV.
  • And a 3s battery - powering everything.
  • No noise issues.
  • The display is bright enough that
...Continue Reading
Posted by Tim Green | May 27, 2013 @ 12:24 PM | 7,251 Views
Although I'm looking forward to a gimbal someday, in the meantime, I came up with this real simple hero 3 fixed camera mount.

It's made from two pieces of wood, and a piece of Kyosho Zeal.

The Zeal removes vibrations, and also holds the Hero 3 to the quad.

One of the wooden pieces is a ramp, so that the camera points about 10 degrees downward. Made out of balsa, so simple to create.

The other wooden piece is a bit of rigid plywood glued to bottom of quad, serving as the main part of the mount. The ramp is glued to the bit of this plywood sticking out from under the bottom of the quad. There's also a slot in the plywood. This is for running tape around the mount and hero 3 to secure the camera to the mount, when/if the adhesive on the Zeal ever gives out.

This link shows the type of video quality I'm getting with this rig ...

f450 H3 SRW (8 min 40 sec)


And some pics of the final installation ...
Posted by Tim Green | May 27, 2013 @ 08:23 AM | 8,337 Views
I sandwiched my APM between Moon Gel bits, while also raising it well above the heavy current carrying wires that might affect the magnetic compass. Note that the top moon gel bit, above the APM, must not be larger than seen in the pic. Larger, and it increases the vibes. Also note, the moon gel bits used to dampen the wire bundles entering the APM.

Note too, the use of a modified 3DR stack - the mod being I made my own top plate, so that my wires would fit. If you have side mounts on your APM, you could use the original top plate that comes with the 3DR stack. Or, use something else.
Posted by Tim Green | May 19, 2013 @ 06:18 PM | 5,596 Views
Typical Failure Modes of Hobby UAVs
  • Firmware can't keep up with sensor inputs**
  • Firmware locks up
  • Mechanical failure - props come off, etc.
  • Electrical failure - connection opens, shorts, etc
  • Radio interference
  • GPS or compass error not handled by FC
  • Pilot error - a lot of buttons, a lot of new stuff, and pilots don't like to be told they screwed up when they're blaming the FC on the net
  • Low battery
  • Vibration induced** - FC MEMS do not tolerate vibrations
**Typically vibrations are associated with a loose or unbalanced motor and/or prop. Or any loose part. They may manifest continuously or only when the FC is working the motors the hardest. Note that it can be difficult to differentiate failures from the FC not keeping up with inputs from failures due to the vibrations from the motors being worked harder. The symptom, unpredictable FC behavior, is the same in any case. Excessive vibrations simply knock the MEMS out of whack.

Here's one of the tables from the attached word doc, created in order to better understand the risks associated with various multi copter component configurations - and the mitigations one could take, if any.

This table shows the configuration most likely to return your copter to you every flight.

The attached word doc shows other configurations.