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scruffy1's blog
Posted by scruffy1 | Sep 28, 2014 @ 01:31 AM | 2,430 Views
there's one other thread here about it, but i thought i'd selfishly start a new one to do a build log; this is the closest to the alula still reasonably easily obtainable

$34.70 (us $) delivered to australia, from korea, in just on 2 weeks using their (cheap) standard post; the cardboard box might have been a little more resilient, but despite a little wear and tear on the exterior, all the parts arrived intact and ready to go
you can buy one here if you want to, and there's another version that comes with a pair of servos and a nimh battery for around another us$20

for the money on the basic kit you will receive :

4 pieces of pre-cut foam, which looks to be hot-wired polystyrene (they say epp) :
pod - 9 grams
fin - 1.8 grams
wings x2 with pre-cut flaperon "groove" - around 24 grams each, but conveniently for this right handed thrower, the left wing is 23.9 and the right 24.4, leaving me half a gram for the peg for DLG whilst maintaining lateral balance; whether it has any use as a DLG might be debatable - but if the libelle has delusions of that role then i don't see why this foamie shouldn't try it on too

then there's two spars of fibreglass, which will get saved for future reference, as i intend to swap in carbon for the reinforcements

and there's also a pair of control horns, a throwing peg and some cord for reinforcing it to the left spar, and some 1.2mm push rods and linkage stoppers

rounding off the package is a comprehensive manual -...Continue Reading
Posted by scruffy1 | Aug 03, 2014 @ 01:47 AM | 1,936 Views
it's almost 6 months in the air, and still learning

the lesson today was don't do a fast downwind approach as the dog cuts across your flight path

although she is always very keen to chase the glider, she is also equally careful (for a dog anyway) to not step on it once grounded, but she does enjoy close passes on approach and the occasional snap at the transmitter if i am not launching fast enough for her requirements

i'm uncertain exactly what hit the (thankfully non-launch peg) wing, but there is a chord-wise crease which is more obvious when flexed, and a smaller one parallel to the leading edge near centre

managed to very effectively fix a similar delamination near the peg ages ago by injecting finish cure epoxy under the skin with an insulin syringe - but it is not easy to get it through a tiny needle for sure

presently curing under pressure (sandwich of foam and balsa over a masking tape cover of the several holes required to instil the epoxy), with similar epoxy injected under the leading edge shin

otherwise a very variable day : most of the first half hour i was lucky to get 30 - 40 seconds, and then a large patch of lift went through - see the altimeter log below

and the magpies are early onto territorial protection given spring is months away, but i had one wing strike (feathers from the bird's wing rather than a peck) that rolled me markedly; the technique reminded me of a spitfire trying to destabilise a v1 flying bomb

and i proved yet again with some evasive manoeuvres that birds will never follow you inverted
Posted by scruffy1 | Jun 15, 2014 @ 03:33 AM | 2,751 Views
it's wet and windy; flying is out for the day, and my brain is not inspired to commence teaching myself to program the taranis - shameful, but it's a day to vegetate

i have used a thunderpower tp610c for easily probably 5 years now; it has been faultless for my needs, notwithstanding the crappy chinglish instructions, but i am now able to drive it without even really thinking

one thing that has always irked me is that there is a long set of leads with alligator clips permanently poking out the left side like an umbilical cord someone failed to cut, for those times when you need to charge at the field, using an external power supply (12-18v - presumably from the good ol' days of lead acid batteries); it is asking to eventually fracture from repeated flexing unless i treat it kindly; it also makes putting it way in the box a more complicated job, and i am as lazy as possible within parameters of obsessive compulsive tendency

i haven't used an external battery for a power supply once (yet), but one day i might... i never understood why they didn't have a plug (or pair, like for the output) to use as required

that's a lie; it's obvious they did it because it lowered the production costs

i went to jaycar to source a workable plug, but they didn't have anything appropriate, and i reverted to plan (b) which involved amputation, application of an xt-60 set of plugs to allow both internal storage of the redundant lead, and also re-attachment of the alligator clips should i employ a lead acid battery - the work involved will be removing and replacing the lid (7 simple small screws)

the bonus is i can also use a big capacity 4s lipo or LiFePO4 to recharge small capacity batteries at the field as an option

doubtless this voids any warranty expressed or implied; use at your own risk, batteries not included

pictures tell the story :
Posted by scruffy1 | Jun 13, 2014 @ 11:57 PM | 3,222 Views
i have been agonising on this for a while, and suffering the infernal usb dude error

f@#& you usb dude !! you aren't my kind of dude

i know that as a prelude to communications, i needed to get the usb driver, and the one to get is zagdig 2.1.0 from here

comes with instructions, but essentially plug in your taranis via the usb port on the back with the radio switched off (did you get the importance of that step? )

then launch zagdig, go to options > list all devices, and choose stm32 bootloader and then replace driver (the big button)

stand back and live in hope

next up you'll need open companion 2.0.2 - ooh! here it is

install that one and hold your breath

now for the secret ingredient that took me a while to finally add, which got the 'dude to co-operate : go to settings > settings > radio type and choose opentx for frsky taranis
the default setting is opentx for 9x board, and it won't cut the mustard

once it is a going thing, head over and click file > download > download fw (that'll be firmware)

now we're ready to rock !

with the taranis plugged in via usb, but turned off like before, go to read/write > write firmware to radio and browse for the downloaded binary (opentx-taranis-en if you are reading this, because that's the english language version)

hit write to tx and a "dfu util" window will pop up and show progress

when it's finished there's no indication you succeeded, but if you simply...Continue Reading
Posted by scruffy1 | Jun 01, 2014 @ 05:01 AM | 3,421 Views
first a note of thanks to mark bolton of BoltRC who saw my enthusiasm and forced me to borrow a frsky taranis - although my resistance to the idea was virtually non-existent

as part of the package i also got a d4r-II receiver and a high precision variometer; i also got an x6r, but my interest lies in the small stuff really

i have been intrigued by reports of the the abilities of the taranis to allow complex and seemingly infinite mixes, but the idea of a vario for hearing the air was really appealing, and i got the itch to see if the binary 900 could accommodate the necessaries given the constraints of the pod

so i started on the path, with my google-fu leading me to the wiki here which described the possibility of achieving what i wanted

and while i confess to no electronic expertise at all, i am an established nerd who can find out things through a combination of obsessive persistence and a bad interweb addiction

long story short is that not only did it seem that can i make it do my bidding, but i have already had a few people confirm they have got it working as per this thread that i disrupted with my quest

inspired, i took out my binocular loupe and tiny tweezers, and a selection of needle nose and modelling pliers, and the trusty xacto #11... and the bright desk lamp

disengaged the red wire from the female plug of a sacrificial servo extension plug, teased open the crimp a little, prised off some insulation to make space, and re-crimped it with...Continue Reading
Posted by scruffy1 | Mar 08, 2014 @ 12:57 AM | 3,164 Views
ever so slowly i have been competing the work on this little beauty, and with the exception of some finer details on the programming, and finalising the launch peg, it's pretty much good to go

but enough redundant discussion; you can read all about it over here, or skip the earlier bits and catch up from here and onwards for the more recent work

as always, easier to look at the pictures, so here's a selection; the full thread's worth can be picked over here to quickly peruse the latter parts of build

enjoy !
Posted by scruffy1 | Dec 21, 2013 @ 06:37 AM | 4,146 Views
it had to happen some time

the surprising part was that it has been both times in the last two overly firm "arrivals" that it has been equipment, and not the pilot that takes the blame

after the mini-DLG spiralled in (and was finished off by an enthusiastic retriever living up to his pedigree), i have been slowly completing the binary 900 between distractions, and almost all my air time has been on the pitts epp, which i still love to bits as an all round fun flyer

until the elevator servo failed at around 10 metres up in a steep dive, and due to my normal response in near death circumstances being to point upwards and hit full throttle, i lacked the finesse to roll sideways and climb knife edge

despite going in hard, the only other part i think is a goner is the 1300mah lipo which took it on the nose also, and was a little inclined to puff marginally at full charge, plus the second cell is consistently a little (last charge 0.09v) under the others, despite being lovingly cared for

still, at around 100 flights i am prepared to retire it for safety; i've had my money's worth

likewise, at 250 flights as my first aerobatic full house, the pitts has served me well, and i have been eyeing the durafly hyperbipe as a worthy biplane successor (gotta build the reaktor yet too)

then i got nostalgic, and realised that between some 20 minute finish cure epoxy for all the bits that split some, and the blenderm to reattach the upper aileron and secure the partially...Continue Reading
Posted by scruffy1 | Sep 18, 2013 @ 06:01 AM | 4,733 Views
okay, so it has taken an inordinate amount of time to start to actually do the project, but on the plus side that's been time to hone my building skills with foam, and to get a feel for DLG with the (late lamented) mini DLG - may it rest in pieces

but the upside of its sad demise was that after the somewhat disappointing performance of the canary (another slow to mature project), i am really keen to have another DLG in the squadron - the mini was a great incentive to go to the park almost every day for some painless exercise

my original blog for this build is to be found here, but it's so ancient that i am starting afresh, although it is a good prelude on what is about to happen, describing my planning back in those innocent days before practical experience with foamies or DLG's - the interesting thing is that not much has changed with regard to my concept, but the details have evolved in light of other builds

i note that all the other build logs i have found seem to be for the v1 (rudder and elevator), and the aileron and elevator version (v2) has missed a detailed work log - and the building instructions supplied online by the maker are rudimentary

so, down to work

the original instructions suggest joining the wing halves, and then slotting the aileron hinges and cutting the servo holes for the aileron hardware

that seems counter-intuitive, given you need the wing inverted to get at the space for the aileron servo pits, and the dihedral will make that...Continue Reading
Posted by scruffy1 | Sep 08, 2013 @ 07:28 AM | 3,929 Views
first flights this afternoon - success

see the latest info here, or knock yourself out and take it from the top

in any event, it's a nice consolation to have a glider to play with after the premature and sad death of the mini DLG

ah well, plenty more where that came from...

up next, the binary 900, unless the reaktor grabs me first
Posted by scruffy1 | Aug 08, 2013 @ 09:09 PM | 4,120 Views
well, you can make sure you have a wingman on the field with a stop-watch and a good sense of duty

you can buy the hobbyking altimeter, and earn me some bonus points using my link; that works well on so many levels , but the gratification isn't instantaneous

however, if you own a spektrum dx8, you can select the trainer button to be a start / stop switch - but the very clever part is that if you hit the "clear" button (top left near the LCD screen) it resets the timer to zero

who'da thunk it ? not me, obviously, but someone on the dx8 thread here answered my query for "how to" almost instantly and so now my joy in flying DLG has just notched up another step
Posted by scruffy1 | Aug 06, 2013 @ 06:00 AM | 5,522 Views
what good is a mini DLG without a means to obsessively assess performance ?

actually, it's fantastic ! but the ability to measure altitude and also duration of flights is a big plus - it's really hard to go solo and manage a timepiece, let alone triangulate an altitude measurement from a single point... in fact, the last part is impossible

enter the hobbyking altimeter (cue fanfare of appreciation)

previously i was resigned to looking down at the clock on the dx8, and doing some basic subtractions after the flight ended - this required diverting my gaze from the flight to catch a glimpse of the time elapsed from initial power up of the tx/rx, and then remembering some obscure number like 12:37, then rechecking after i caught the returning plane, or touched down

clumsy, cumbersome stuff in the digital age, although i suspect i will still do it even with this baby in situ because that's how obsessive compulsive traits are, really

however, now i have this it auto-starts on plugging in the battery (gaining power from a spare plug on the rx), and records until power down - potentially for 63 hours per the included instructions, sampling once a second (with the option of 2 or 4 or 8 samples per second, programmable)

weighs in at 1.4gm per my digital scale (they claim 1.3), but there's a further 1.2gm for the power cord = 2.6gm airborne weight

the data downloads to your pc (and possibly mac with some fiddling) via usb - the software emulates a com port; the set up for win7 64bit was painless as described here...
  • install the software first (see attached zip files) - com emulator before the altimeter software
  • then plug in the connector via usb and it will autoinstall the driver for the device; mine came up as com4
  • you then need to open the software, press the FD-A<>PC icon, and make the com port setting to whatever "devices and printers" information tells you is the auto-assigned one by win7, and away you go !

    simple if you follow the directions

i'll post a sample graph once i do some flying
Posted by scruffy1 | Jul 28, 2013 @ 08:19 AM | 4,295 Views
a compilation of today's launches, to show how it goes...

mini DLG (3 min 31 sec)

Posted by scruffy1 | Jun 13, 2013 @ 04:44 AM | 4,414 Views
well in honesty it's a bit hard to do a build log about a plane kit that consisted of 7 flat pieces of epo foam, but it requires a bit of enthusiasm to squeeze the parts together, and some finesse to glue them appropriately square

it takes less effort to burn out the motor using a too large prop for the available amp rating (although it went up like a rocket before the sad demise of the windings)

further details over in the 3d foamies forum are now up; it's a work in progress really

edit : and now plan b
more details over at the link above, but waiting on better weather to get airborne again

and some further decorations because if i am going to crash and burn i will do it with style
Posted by scruffy1 | May 01, 2013 @ 10:10 PM | 5,302 Views
i have been guilty of procrastination on building the binary 900

goodness, over a year already...

anyway, i saw this sweet new toy and couldn't resist ! a more detail appraisal is to be found over here

for those interested, the "new" version is presently on backorder at hobbyking, listed as mini DLG composite discus launch glider, but i bought mine (the older version) from stella via aliexpress.com listed as mini DLG glider (or more verbosely "New! Standard Mini DLG glider yellow Balsa Radio controlled RC model airplane 2 servos pre-assembled removable fuselage head ")

it arrived really fast (just over a week) in perfect condition
Posted by scruffy1 | Jan 11, 2013 @ 06:05 PM | 5,035 Views
despite my best efforts at after flight assessment of battery use, i still find i am often very conservative with my predicted air time, and discover once i get home that i have only drained ~60% of the juice from my lipo

i had previously tried the 4s version with two buzzers, and although i was impressed by the piercing alarm, i was less enamoured by the fact that it wouldn't be quiet at peak volts until it dropped off to somewhere under 4.2v

easy to hear, hard to ignore, impossible to shut up early in the flight

so i bought its smaller brother, the 2-3s lipo alarm

works like a charm ! 4.5gm to carry aloft - negligible for the extra time you buy with it

whereas i was landing my pitts epp after 6 (to 7) minutes due to paranoia, i find that the dx8 timer makes my aware that i am getting towards the last few minutes, and the on board beeper tells me "time to land, really" - pulsing to full throttle confirms the voltage under load is getting low-ish

residual charge is at just under 3.7v per cell back at base, using the incredibly handy 6s lipoly cell checker


i could probably go longer, but 8-9 minutes is a very fine flight time and i don't mind a little stretch after that duration of looking up

buy one, and a cell checker - the combination for under $5 total is great value


Posted by scruffy1 | Dec 01, 2012 @ 04:50 AM | 4,882 Views
finally got it all together satisfactorily, and loving it

pitts redux (3 min 3 sec)

Posted by scruffy1 | Nov 21, 2012 @ 05:57 AM | 5,045 Views
here's some gratuitous shots of the tidiness that is my almost complete pitts epp

the build blog documents my thought process and the eventual outcomes of my various decisions

if you have the urge to build one you will find the details simplify your job as the included instructions are a little light on for actual measurements

you can make up your own, sure, but feel free to plagiarise my work to ease your burden

i'll update with some flight reviews once the wind moderates
Posted by scruffy1 | Oct 18, 2012 @ 06:30 AM | 5,871 Views
ah, hobbyking, you've done it again

i killed my spitfire it has a fierce tip stall just like the big one... or more correctly it had one, and too low for me to save it, as i was distracted fiddling with the trim at rather slow speed

still, i did get the opportunity to extract the servos and esc, and that's all that was needed for the pitts epp

so, while i am close to finishing the durafly slick 360 v2 and only need to mount the hardware and hook up the controls in my cuckoo, i have started another plane

i guess i always enjoyed building rather than flying, and foam is ridiculously easy to start

so, presently i am agonising over substituting carbon fibre spars in place of the supplied fibreglass rods, and i have already added carbon fibre tissue with finish-cure epoxy to the struts because i am learning the technique and it weighs ziltch for the strength it gives

i have also dragged out a really ancient hitec hs100 for the paired ailerons; it was my most micro servo way back when i scratch built a thermal glider last century; at 25gm it is a monster compared to my current (largest) 9gm from the spitfire

i've taken some education from here and a huge dose of inspiration from this video

Pitts-EPP from Hobbyking 1/2 (6 min 39 sec)


anyways, there are 3 x 1300mah batteries here without any other appropriate plane now, and i am eyeing off the belated spittie's plastic battery cage and rear wheel steering mount too

pictures as i progess to follow, but here's a teaser of the contents of the well packed (double boxed) contests for starters

please note that this build log will be continued over here in the parkflyers
Posted by scruffy1 | Sep 14, 2012 @ 11:13 PM | 5,389 Views
some further work detailed over here; a brief pic for encouragement
Posted by scruffy1 | Aug 30, 2012 @ 09:48 PM | 5,406 Views
i got miffed at the alligator clip chewing my wires when i tried to do fine (and even less fine) work, and came up with this idea

follow the link for more pics, but basically silicon fuel tubing plus teeth = mouth guard

a picture as always is worth 1k words