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Posted by PeterVRC | Sep 17, 2014 @ 07:06 PM | 957 Views
For FPV there is quite a large range of options as to what Camera you use. So I will cover all the ones I have tried and what pros and cons each have.

1) 808#16V2 (720p - CMOS)
2) Mobius (1080p - CMOS)
3) FH18C (520tvl - CMOS)
4) CAM5820 (380tvl - CMOS) with 20mW 5.8GHz inbuilt TX
5) Sony SuperHAD (600tvl - CCD) boardcam
6) Sony HADII (600tvl - CCD) minicam

I also have several pan, or pan/tilt setups - plus Headtracking via goggles or separate DIY unit, so I will cover those also.

Posted by PeterVRC | Sep 10, 2014 @ 08:47 AM | 1,424 Views
After fun with the FPV250's I decided to get something a bit bigger, to carry decent FPV/Camera payloads and be able to do more 'useful' missions. More stable... more efficient... longer flying...

There are lots of cheap X Frames around, but this H frame stood out with a bit more character. It cost a bit more than many X's, but it can also fold up into a nice small rectangle - so it won out as my final choice of the many options there are.

I have not decided on what motors and ESC's yet - nor even the Flight Controller!
I am thinking APM, but next in line could be a KK2.1.... but it will be something with GPS and thus RTH and Waypoints capability.

I have to go and do some reading and assessing of what things to use with it.....

.......Continue Reading
Posted by PeterVRC | Sep 09, 2014 @ 09:45 PM | 1,616 Views
First lets go over a few “FPV Goggle’ details…..

In order to make the smallest possible unit (Goggles) designers have chosen to use two very small display screens – one per eye. If you were to use a single display screen it would need to be 3.5” at least, so that both of your eyes can see it all – because your eyes are spaced apart and separated by your nose!
So, now we have two very small screens, and we need those to be very close to our eyes – to keep the whole goggle unit ‘short’ and small. This means we need lenses to magnify what we see of the small screens, and they need to have a LOT of magnification! Also, the more they magnify the screen image, the larger a screen result we “see” – it is forming a Virtual Screen, like watching some large TV that is further away from us! That is pretty cool really!
The larger you want that Virtual Screen to be, the more magnification you need.

The lenses are already a very complex shape because they need to ‘convert’ a ‘round’ camera source – that is our eye – into clearly seeing a rectangular screen. This is a complex lens shape to create! It is also a very ‘thick’ lens, because of the complex shape and it needing to have a huge ‘convex’ curve for magnification. The more magnification the greater that curve must be and then optics get more and more difficult to produce with clear results.
Most are done in plastic. Some are done in glass (very few!).

The goggle Specs pretty well always give a FOV – Field Of...Continue Reading
Posted by PeterVRC | Aug 26, 2014 @ 06:19 PM | 1,389 Views
This is a continual electric models question.... and it never seems to get a solid answer! Though it is also possible there CAN'T be one fixed solid answer!

Question: "Can I connect multiple SBEC's outputs together?"

Note I said SBECs.... not BECs - being that a SBEC is still a BEC, it just specifies what type of regulator is in the BEC. The S means it is a Switching Regulator - as opposed to a Linear Regulator. (Maybe Linear BECs should have been called LBEC's long ago....)
I never use Linear BECs, as they are inefficient and can even be dangerous (to failure), so I am only concerned with SBEC's here.....

To be technically sound I pop the centre (red +ve) pin out of all SBECs/ESC's bar one and heatshrink over them so I can reverse that change easily in future if need be.
Though I am not ONE HUNDRED percent sure how much of an issue having multiple switching power supplies (SBECs) all feeding one point is.....

Say you have a quadcopter with 4 ESC's/SBECs.....
You would have 4 systems (SBEC circuits) that are highly likely outputting DIFFERENT voltages, eg Say one is 5.07v, one is 5.10v, one is 4.95v, one is 4.98v..... A regulator circuits work by feeding back the output to comparator circuitry so that it adjusts the output to be what it wants it to be, thus a constant loop correcting it to be 'right'. That 'right' value is whatever their components and trimming set it for. eg the 4.95v. Each ESC/SBEC will be a bit different in its output voltage aim...Continue Reading
Posted by PeterVRC | Jul 03, 2014 @ 06:48 AM | 3,128 Views
Another Glider !! A pretty big one!

When I fly my Fox 2320mm glider around, it is quite relaxing and somewhat fun really - versus the hectic pace of EDF jets, or even warbird prop aircraft. Seeing it is such fun I saw the FlyFly 4000mm DG-808S and decided I wanted a 'proper' thermaling glider, rather than just the Fox sports glider. Having 'just' TWO gliders isn't being too greedy! (??)

The DG-808S is a Composite fuselage, and Balsa Sheeted wings and Tailplane that are covered in some form of Monokote = all of it is a shiny white finish, much like any real glider is. NOT "just" an EPO foam glider, like the Fox is. Not that foam gliders are really anything sub-standard at all, but you are unlikely to get a 4000mm (or even 3000mm) foam glider.

I read up a lot about it, as per I do for all aircraft before committing to buying any, and it seemed it was a very good buy. Such a large glider for its price, though AU$320 delivered seemed a lot to me! But many people are paying AU$400 at least, and out towards AU$1000 for some! So this is a BUDGET way to get a 4000mm glider!


Note the 5/10 Rating now......
I did this because of the very weak fiberglass fuselage, and even worse 2K paint they have on that! The fuselage is plain/raw fiberglass - not Gel Coated fiberglass - which is then spray painted with 2K paint. This paint is very 'rigid' brittle stuff, whilst the fiberglass is NOT! Thus it is quite easy for any flex in the fuselage to cause the 2K paint to...Continue Reading
Posted by PeterVRC | Jun 20, 2014 @ 10:38 AM | 2,818 Views
Well, I did have a weeny 4" one for indoors already. And had another 4" one a year or two ago....

This all started when a friend 'made' a 600mm Quadcopter, but has no idea about electronics, RC stuff etc.... so I offered to set it up and get it going. That was fun!
I already had helicopters (300, 450, 500) years ago, so I knew how to fly these things anyway, though it was still a bit 'new' and I had not flown a helicopter in over 6 months either.
Buzzing around I then decided to put my FPV gear onto it and learn that.
About that same time I ran into a few guys with quadcopters and seeing theirs (FPV) racing around it made it even more interesting!

So the two sources 'merged' to lead me into getting a 250mm FOV spec racer type. Firstly because of what those other guys had, but also when I saw HobbyKing had a kit for $110 !! Versus 'good' ones can be $250 to $500 ! Yet reviews on the HK one (a Diatone brand frame) were good too.
I also had a KK2.0 flight controller already from a year or two ago, so that meant I would finally pout that to good use too! That was a good excuse to throw into the mix!

The kit turned up on Wednesday.....

.......Continue Reading
Posted by PeterVRC | Jun 20, 2014 @ 10:02 AM | 2,385 Views
Over the 5 or so years I have had a LOT of batteries! Too many to count really!
Too many failing to count too!

Because batteries cost a lot in Australia, the 'cheapest' way to get them is via HobbyKing Aust, seeing they ship by sea in quantity and then the cost to the buyer is lower by some amount. BUT they do not have any good/great batteries really!
Zippy - very average, if just.
Turnigy Blue - average
Nanotech original - dubious
Nanotech A-Spec original - great! (and costly)
Nanotech A-Spec G2 - I didn't risk buying any because reports on them are poor!

The biggest failure is "dropping a cell", or few.....
If you overstress a battery - running at very high currents, over what it can do viably, AND/OR overheat them - whether puffing or not - then they can be permanently damaged. And fairly easily too!
This is very EASY to do with EDF aircraft!! But still occurs in prop aircraft too - just not as often, seeing they run way less relative power (Current/Amp) levels.

Worse is when they fail for NO reason of over-stress or anything known! And that is too often! This is possibly because the HobbyKing range are NOT very good batteries really. None of them, bar the A-Spec original. Not cell matched well (though they claim they are) and poor QC overall I would say. Thus sub-standard cells get into the total set of battery cells often enough.
So maybe buying TRULY GOOD brand batteries is better????

ThunderPower are supposed to be 'great', and COST a LOT.... but...Continue Reading
Posted by PeterVRC | Apr 18, 2014 @ 07:48 AM | 2,939 Views
I will finish this more later.....

It has finally come to light how there is a big issue with being tail heavy!
Not the usual 'It will be hard to control', 'It will be over-sensitive', though they are still true also..... but the 'Stuck in a hover" potential, which will leave a plane with no ability to exit from that!!

I must have been a bit slow to co-relate the data (!!), but via an F-35, F-22 and F-4, all encountering that BIG issue, it finally all makes sense!
If you are tail heavy beyond "Point X" - and that does not mean a "ton", it could be just 10mm more rearwards CofG, or whatever, per a given plane - once the plane pivots into an AoA greater than "Angle Y", it will reach an equilibrium of factors that KEEP it there!
High AoA... like 70deg or more... which then causes huge drag.... needs max power just to stop it falling out of the sky.... has no 'proper' airflow over control surfaces, so they become TOTALLY inefficient and have no authority at all then.
So it is then STUCK in this state, because nothing you have control over can achieve anything - except reducing/cutting power which will make it descend if you do that correctly... or totally stall out and fall out of the sky if you do not!
And I mean it is STUCK there..... it is not going to slowly come out of it... because the equilibrium of all factors is just right to sustain it, and as mentioned there are no controls YOU have to alter that.
A gust of wind might be...Continue Reading
Posted by PeterVRC | Apr 11, 2014 @ 11:42 PM | 3,368 Views
Seeing I have a few 7S powered aircraft now, SPARKING when you connect a battery up is a notable issue. Connectors get charred... their tips/edges eaten away by the fusing... and it can't be good for ESC's really.
This issue really begins at about 5S, and by 6S it really is a problem that should be dealt with. Then 7S upwards... DEFINITELY needs attention!

An Anti-Spark system is just a method of making a Battery to ESC connection WITH RESISTANCE in-line so that the ESC Capacitors do not charge up in "An instant" and thus draw a huge amount of current at that instant - that "Instant' being the split second your connectors first touch each other the slightest bit! And that is what causes that "Arc Welding" spark!
Theoretically, a Capacitor connected to a Voltage source, with zero resistance in-line, will charge INSTANTLY.... and the 'opposite side" of that is that the current level will be INFINITE for that micron in time! Of course the battery can only supply X Amps.... but at 6S levels that could be 200 Amps+ !! Luckily it is only for the micro second!

You can buy some nice connectors these days that have the Anti-Spark Resistor system built into them. So for $8 to $10 or so you can have a very easy solution.
For now I am using a home-made system... outlined below. It costs under $1 per plane....
Posted by PeterVRC | Mar 09, 2014 @ 03:33 AM | 3,863 Views
Back to the SAME T-45 kit as the prior destroyed one.
A new build log because many things will be done differently - for one thing it will now get Retracts.

It will also get all moving tailplanes, with Anhedral, as per the real T-45. Certainly not a necessity to do(!!), but it will be an interesting realism aspect to have this time. Versus the also "interesting" tailplane responses all of my all-moving tailplane aircraft end up having! Hyper sensitive and they amplify any servo/drive sloppiness big time! So you have to engineer them well !!

The new kit comes with different plastics... they have all been pre-cut too their finished shapes. And they have all been done very well ! So that is a nice positive addition.
BUT... my kit was missing DECALS !
Luckily I has never used the ones from the prior T-45 !!

Posted by PeterVRC | Feb 24, 2014 @ 04:59 PM | 4,433 Views
I did need an F-4....... (and a few other jet types still).....

FlyFly make great 'Baseline foam' aircraft kits!! Like getting a blank canvas of a very good aircraft base, and then you cna make of it what you want. Something very simple and and-launch... all the way to a fully decked out full-house model!

I WAS going to make the F-4 a very quick build, and hand-launcher....
Making them a hand-launcher need minimal work, almost purely assembling it as it comes.
Hmmm.... well, there are always areas that can be improved - notably the FlyFly standard tailplane pivot system!! And a bit more....

This would be the best FlyFly 90mm jet I them all. Extremely well thought out and constructed. Also a great finish really. Mine was EPO and I suspect that EPS versions are a little bit rougher, as usual. EPS being better for major work to be done on, but EPO being a better finish and a bit better a long term lifespan.
I was happy that it was EPO.... (When ordering I didn't know what it would be)

AU$170 delivered.... which puts it pretty much in the range of most typical 90mm jets, if you add up costs of extras need etc, to get it all to a flying model. So it is not any great bargain, but a fair enough price I guess, in those relative terms.

There are not many nice pics of FlyFly kits - all the pieces, laid out nicely to see etc.... and I forgot to do that myself this time too!! BAH.

Here are some general pics I found:
Posted by PeterVRC | Feb 03, 2014 @ 07:14 AM | 4,147 Views
Hmmm, I have had this Bixler 2 for quite a few months now but never finished it. And it seems I never added it to the Blog list.

I bought it as a kit so I could set things up as I want, and choose items I want for it. The aim is to run a "full house" FPV setup in it. eg Cyclops Storm for its stabilisation, but mainly OSD and Return to Home ability. Pan and tilt camera - which I have made up my own gimbal to do.

To me, these forms of 'simplistic' plane are a bit 'rubbishy'. Very minimal foam and strengths - JUST up to their task, with some flex. eg They do not compare to a scale model, like a warbird or EDF jet. These are more like a Wright Flyer in simplicity and being minimalistic.
So when I got it and saw it, I cringed a bit - but I am sure it WILL do what it needs to do.....

Posted by PeterVRC | Jan 19, 2014 @ 04:13 PM | 4,648 Views
A glider??? YAWN...
I think I have owned ONE glider in my life before....

I was thinking about getting a DLG (Discus Launch Glider), just for some 'short lived' park fun, but then I thought "That would be VERY short lived fun" (per flight)! So I went hunting for a REAL glider to get....

It came down to two choices.... both from HobbyKing as usual.
1) FOX, which was a 2320mm wingspan, aerobatic/sports glider
2) Minimoa, which was a 2000mm wingspan scale 'gliding' glider

I read up on both, and both got great reviews from owners, so it was actually a tough decision.
FOX.... "Hmmm, 320mm more...." and "Sporty", which might make gliding a bit more interesting! Thus it won the tender.... JUST.... and even as I ordered it I was still wondering of it was the right one to choose. Both had their own small differences in what they were, and intended to do.... and each case had great appeal.

I think I might have chosen the WRONG one..... (more on that later)

Posted by PeterVRC | Jan 01, 2014 @ 06:36 PM | 5,202 Views
I have been a FR-sky user and supporter since the day I returned to RC modelling. Boy was I LUCKY that when i went looking for RC gear, I baulked at the Spektrum stuff, which I ALMOST bought (locally in Australia) and wandered through the HobbyKing offerings and chose the Turnigy 9X!!!
Now the T9X as it comes is nothing too amazing, though it is a computer based 8ch radio for $50 !!

Pretty well immediately, I read stuff about Freq Hopping and decided the stock T9X RF gear was 'junk' and a bit more reading and investigating showed the FR Sky module stuff was technically as good as any - and better than Spektrum who only had DSM2 then - so that lead me to buy the FR Sky stuff!
They already had great technical and reliable stuff (as it turns out), at cheap prices, and are heading up the RC manufacturers ladder FAST!! Faster than FAAAST... lol.

Th T9X could be flashed with OpenTX.... which would be close to the ultimate firmware you could have in an RC radio! I used the ER9X derivative of it, which I found a bit better than OpenTX for that radio.
So pretty well since day 1 (or probably within 30days) I have had the all singing and dancing OpenTX based T9X radio.... and three of them.
Three because one limitation of the T9X was MEMORY to store models. You can save models to a PC, and reload them etc, but I wanted ALL models ready to go all the time. And having three T9X with FRsky moules etc was still cheaper than ONE Spektrum or Futaba!

Now FR Sky has released the Taranis......Continue Reading
Posted by PeterVRC | Dec 29, 2013 @ 05:31 AM | 4,849 Views
US$43 .... !!!???? AU$85 delivered.....
Oh dear... another plane..... LOL.

The pics looked good, and I have seen a few "Balsa-Ply" ARF's - owned by other people, and that looked great. But after GETTING one, I don't think I will ever get one again!! FOAM RULES!! LOL.
But back to this model.....

SHINY!!! That is the key attribute of the Balsa-Ply model. Covered in smooth shiny covering all over, or the just as shiny fibre-glass cowl.
The part I don't like is... the Balsa-Ply, and that covering! It makes altering/modding much more difficult and even limiting.
Then, if it crashes....... OUCH!! Or if you damage the covering in transit etc.

AU$85.... but needs another $100 by the time it is airborne.... so it is not really any cheaper than any foam aircraft of the same size.

Sitting there all finished, it looks GREAT!! Lacking panel lines and finer details of a foamie - even though on a foamie they are badly exaggerated anyway!
But if TopRC or UniqueModels.... or even FMS etc I guess... made a PT-19... then I would advise those as a better option really!

But this is worth what it cost....

Posted by PeterVRC | Dec 11, 2013 @ 03:45 PM | 5,231 Views
This SBach had been on my wishlist for a long long time. I like 'real'... scale... aircraft... generally military more than civilian, but I have a few civilian performance aircraft. And a (broken for now) Piper Cub...

The pics on this SBach foamie look great!!
The forums pretty much paint it out to be great!! A few electrical shortfalls (servos) here and there, as is typical with most foamies.
But when I actually got it, I was a bit disappointed in it as a total!!

Posted by PeterVRC | Nov 18, 2013 @ 12:04 AM | 5,458 Views
Just when it seemed safe to go to HobbyKing.....
The AustWH got more stock of the Boeing Stearman Model 75 PT-17 and I had been watching for that for quite a while.... resisting getting another plane when they did have stock a month or two back.
But I don't have a BIPLANE !!!! LOL

All reports say it is good....
Opening and checking the parts - it looks GOOD!
Others say it is well thought out, designed and implemented - more or less.... and it seems so by the looks.

Could this be the first ever "Truly plug and fly" foamie I have seen????
Not likely... but nothing stands out right away.

The competition for "Choice of Biplane" was fiercely fought out between the PT-17 and the Dynam Albatross DV.a !
Both are favourites of mine, neck and neck.... and if all things were equal then the Albatross probably would have won instead!
But the PT-17 has ALL parts colour coded ready to go - not the many grey plastic parts that Dynam do..
The Albatross also looks lairy - like a piece of bubblegum! So it would need some painting and improving there!
The Albatross costs $191 delivered.... the PT-17 was $166... and they are close to the same total result. The Dynam being 1270mm instead of 1200mm though, but needs more work - painting - which is a pain too.
Thus the PT-17 won out!! Boeing.... err UniqueModels... got the contract!!

COULD this be built, "properly", and flying in ONE day ????

Posted by PeterVRC | Oct 21, 2013 @ 05:42 PM | 5,559 Views
Well, I was always going to end up with one eventually.....

A typical Durafly (FMS?) well designed and made model!
Well thought out structure and components and an excellent paint finish - even with WHITE paint on the underside, not just plain 'white' foam.

There are a few small issues that will be useful to mod so that they are more usefully usable.

1) The EDF hatch is too small for most 'decent' EDF units to be able to get them in and out easily - but at least they have plywood rails to bolt the EDF onto.

2) The battery hatch area is passable, but I can see that it would be useful to have the main hatch go rearwards another 40mm or more - to give full easy access to the battery. Especially if you use large batteries that will probably need to go more rearwards than the design expected.

3) The nose retract mount is designed for a 'plate at the top of the retract', and it is far more useful to have 'plate at the bottom of the retract' to allow the use of pushrod steering. The stock design uses pull-pull wire... the worst steering method ever invented for models! So I will have to pull out their mount and add some ply plate to reinforce a 'base' mounted retract method (As per done with the Vampire and many other models).

4) Exhaust ducting.... it will need opening out to suit a CS10/12/14 rotor, which needs low back pressure to operate efficiently. That will need some fairly detailed testing, which is messy and annoying to do.

I will all but...Continue Reading
Posted by PeterVRC | Oct 16, 2013 @ 07:14 PM | 5,454 Views
800mm aircraft - Warbirds or EDF jets - can be great fun little park flyers!
At that size, and thus wing loading, they pretty well need to be kept to just the weight they were advised to fly at! Typically around 400g, and that means there is very little leeway to do anything that adds weight. Generally just a bit larger battery and that is all.
If you do run with more weight you will need to fly FASTER - which also means landing faster.

I had 4 EDF's and 1 warbird... the P-51. So I 'needed' and Axis warbird! LOL

The Me-109 is pretty much the only option - otherwise the Zero. Both of those have great reviews and I chose the Me-109.
From Hobby Domain in Perth they had some of the FMS 800mm aircraft on special at $55 ($73 delivered) so I decided to grab the Me-109.

Posted by PeterVRC | Sep 18, 2013 @ 10:52 PM | 5,455 Views
There are now quite a few "stabilisers" available, but that is a bit of a broad and generic term. The better ones verge on being Flight Control Systems really!!

So far I have:
OrangeRX3S V2
EagleTree Guardian
Eagle A3 Super (Note: this is NOT made by Eagle Tree!)
Bluelight BL-3G

So first lets see what this "Stabiliser" thing all means....
The base function is to STABILISE the plane! And this is where the generic term used for them all comes from.... and can mislead you too! Because of how much more some do!

The stabiliser part uses a 3-Axis Gyro to determine any of the planes rotational motions, and software (Firmware) calculates what is happening and what to do to the plane to 'fix' the issue.
They take your control inputs and say "This is what the pilot wants to do" and if the plane does anything different than that - like if wind blows it about etc - they adjust the control surfaces to 'erase' that 'error'. If they can.
Of course they can only do what is aerodynamically possible by the plane at any given time.

The result of this stabilising operation is going to depend on the quality of the hardware, and the quality and intelligence of the software.
Then there are also the Options/parameters that they may allow a user to dabble into so you can set it up optimally - or get lost in the complexity of that!

The OrangeRX3S is a very basic unit, and very cheap..... and you get a result pretty much in-line with that cost...Continue Reading