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JD-Slow-Thumbs's blog
Posted by JD-Slow-Thumbs | Jan 26, 2015 @ 09:54 PM | 1,118 Views
Today I made two modifications to my Turnigy-9X radio. The first was a mod that allows for the clean removal of the Wireless-Module, instead of the stock situation where it still hangs on by a a coax wire/cable that feeds the antenna on the main transmitter box. The second mod was to enable the use of the trainer port for buddy-box-ing or simulator-input-ing while the Wireless-Module is still installed.

I learned about them on RC-Groups dotcom, and found the how-tos on YouTube.

Turnigy 9X Antenna Hack (Allows complete removal of the 2.4GHz Wireless Module)
www - youtube - com/watch?v= W74Acmam_0c
This involved re-routing the coax cable going to the antenna and re-mounting the antenna to the wireless-module. Dang that coax is really really tiny !

Hobby King Turnigy 9X Trainer Function and Simulator Modification Fix Resolution DIY
www - youtube - com/watch?v= C-6upAsvt7w
This involved cutting a trace and soldering in a 1KOhm resistor (a lot easier to see than that coax).

Thanks for reading
JD
Posted by JD-Slow-Thumbs | Jan 19, 2015 @ 09:44 PM | 1,644 Views
Somehow I ended up with three fuselages for EasyStar derivatives (very cheaply, one of them only cost me five dollars worth of raffle tickets) and I wanted to upgrade to more modern brushless motor technology. Even with a little creativity these planes have a propeller diameter of "not-to-exceed" six inches. Previously I found a very nice motor but experimentation showed that it worked great with 7x4 and 8x3 props so now I had to find an even higher Kv motor to drive the target six inch diameter prop.

For the this iteration of experimentation I selected the HobbyKing AXN-2208-2150.
(replacement motor for AXN-Floater-Jet (EasyStar Derivative))
( 2150-kv / 11.1-V / 20-A / 180-Watts / 44-grams)
Tested with battery 3s(11.1v)-2200mAh-20c starting at 11.6v
Propeller ------- Watts - Thrust - Rank-By-Thrust
6x3---MA-GF ------ 147 -- 433 ---- 1
6x3.5-MA-GF ------ 151 -- 429 ---- 2
6x4---MA-GF ------ 147 -- 418 ---- 3
6x4x3-MA3blade --- 185 -- 407 ---- 4
6x4---APC-E ------ 166 -- 357 ---- 5
6x3---MA-E ------- 180 -- 289 ---- 6


Immediately afterward I tested a “Blue-Wonder” 24gram 1500kv Brushless Outrunner which apparently is very popular for use on small scratch-built foamies.
(1500-kv / 11.1-V / 7-A / 78-Watts / 24-grams )
Tested with battery 3s(11.1v)-1800mAh-20c starting at 12.1v
Propeller ------- Watts - Thrust - Rank-By-Thrust
6x3---MA-GF ----- 63 ---- 201 ---- 3
6x3.5-MA-GF ----- 66 ---- 209 ---- 1
6x4---MA-GF ----- 64 ----
...Continue Reading
Posted by JD-Slow-Thumbs | Jan 15, 2015 @ 01:43 PM | 1,474 Views
Background - I am experimenting with combining some of the “Armin-Wing” technique with some KF-Airfoil technique. Because I want to use half inch R-Tech foam for the KF-Airfoil step, I need to know how well it can be bent / formed in the Armin-Wing technique.

Today's experiment - Part-2 - I tried using wooden boards to accent the pressure from the fifty pound bag of sand onto the leading and trailing edges of the wing.

It was kind-of-sort-of successful, I did get good contact at both the leading and trailing edges, but the two layers of "interior-build-up" slid out of place and became only one layer of interior-build-up (not very challenging) and the glue under the wooden boards was deformed into an ugly ridge next to where the boards had been placed on the wing. Not quite what I had in mind, this will ... Require Further Research !!!

( I am curious to see if I can get good contact using "vacuum-bagging" (seel-a-meal), if I see one in a thrift store I will pick it up and try it out).

Thanks for reading.
JD

Here is information for the R-Tech foam that I am experimenting with,
http://www.rcgroups.com/forums/showthread.php?t=2289454
Posted by JD-Slow-Thumbs | Jan 12, 2015 @ 05:46 PM | 896 Views
I am combining more than one technique for building wings of my own invention. I am combining some of the “Armin-Wing” technique with some KF-Airfoil technique. Because I want to use half inch R-Tech foam for the KF-Airfoil step, I need to know how well it can be formed in the Armin-Wing technique, and this is the goal of today’s experiment.

Today's experiment showed that the R-Tech foam is harder than expected to bend / form into a good leading edge. I am using a fifty pound bag of sand to press everything together. Only about half of the twenty inch span of my experimental wing had good contact from the R-Tech foam at the leading edge. Where there was good contact at the leading edge it looked like it would make a very good hybrid wing.

I will try again tomorrow.

Thanks for reading.
JD

edit - Here is information for the R-Tech foam that I am experimenting with,
http://www.rcgroups.com/forums/showthread.php?t=2289454
Posted by JD-Slow-Thumbs | Dec 30, 2014 @ 02:14 PM | 1,790 Views
SCORE! Small Monitors For Instrument Panels $10

Last weekend I stopped into a Salvation Army thrift store looking for joysticks,
instead I found half-a-dozen smaller LCD Monitors, two of which caught my eye,
a 15 inch monitor marked as $25 and a 19 inch widescreen marked as $20,
then I noticed a sign saying "All Monitors $10",
so I bought two monitors for $20. SCORE!

I figure the smaller 15 incher can hold the beginners six-pack of instruments in front of my 32 inch scenery display, and later the 19 incher can hold all of my instruments including the radio stack.

Of course, your mileage may vary, stock at a thrift store depends on donations of discontinued equipment. Hooray! Two monitors for $20, SCORE!

BTW I am noticing a trend in the retail stores and even the thrift stores, almost nobody seems to carry/stock joysticks or PC accessories, and the retail stores seem to carry very few PC Game Titles. My local (Los Angeles) Salvation Army and Goodwill thrift stores no longer carry joysticks! These are lagging indicators (not future-tense leading indicators but past-tense lagging indicators) that games have already moved from PC's to Consoles-with-gamepads and beyond to smartphone-tablets. Ouch, makes me feel like a dinosaur

Thanks for reading
JD

Originally posted at FlightSim dotcom on 08-22-2014

Attached is a picture of my home flight simulator with 32 inch widescreen for the view out the front windshield, smaller widescreen for instruments, throttle, small keyboard with overlays, and joystick.
Posted by JD-Slow-Thumbs | Dec 26, 2014 @ 01:31 PM | 1,293 Views
Yeah !!! - I finally got them to play nicely together !!!

I had purchased RealFlight7 in early fall, it is an rc flight simulator, and I got the "interface" version so that I could use my own transmitter. Tried to get it to work with my FS-CT6B transmitter which does not really have a "trainer-port" function and would need modifications to work. Tried to get it to work with a generic wireless adapter, with no luck. Sometime in late fall I purchased a Turnigy-9X transmitter so that I could more easily tune aircraft parameters, and also tried this transmitter without success. Over the Christmas holidays I finally had the opportunity to do more research into this subject and finally got it to work, Yeah !!!

Found instructions that worked successfully here in post #7 of this thread,
http://www.knifeedge.com/forums/showthread.php?t=30989

Getting these two items working together is like getting a new toy for Christmas.

Thanks for reading
JD
Posted by JD-Slow-Thumbs | Dec 18, 2014 @ 07:02 AM | 1,296 Views
Early in my RC flying hobby, I was having planes that would take-off and a few seconds later lose power and say “Beep Beep Beep” as it was falling into the ground. After some reading here on RC-Groups I figured out that the motor (with propeller) was pulling more power than my battery could keep up with, leading to a voltage sag and the electronics resetting, not good for flying.

I bought a watt-meter and built a test stand for testing out my powertrains from the propeller, to the motor, to the ESC (electronic speed control), to the battery. I have include a drawing and a picture of my test stand. Here are some of its features.

It has an arm that pivots onto the gram-scale and can swing up to change propellers.

It has a pivot plate (for lack of a better name) that needs a weight to hold it flat.

It has a small platform on top of the pivot arm for the battery, watt-meter, ESC, and receiver to sit on.

I use my radio transmitter to control the throttle.

The pivot-arm weighs down onto the gram-scale,
The propeller's thrust also pushes down on the gram-scale,
The gram-scale has a “Tare” function which comes in handy.

In order to get useful gram measurements with the scale one must get a single point transferring weight to the scale. For the first year that I used this setup the “single-point-transfer” was approximately half the length of the arm giving me close to a 0.50 factor for converting measured grams to grams of thrust. The first...Continue Reading
Posted by JD-Slow-Thumbs | Dec 14, 2014 @ 11:53 PM | 1,610 Views
I attended the Drone Expo here in Los Angeles and had a good time visiting the exhibitors booths and seeing some of what is happening in the world of civilian drones (predominately multi-rotors). There were many exhibitors and I think thousands of attendees, a very good turnout for a first time exposition. About a quarter of the drones there were the larger versions capable of carrying the heavier Hollywood cameras. There were a few software vendors that would take your mapping data and, cloud it, integrate it, and analyze it for you). There were several vendors selling the smaller drones and services for them. There were very few vendors with fixed-winged platforms. I missed out on the speakers, because I had just worked all night the night before.

I have asked the organizer for official links to:
Their exhibitor list,
Count of attendance / tickets sold,
Links to videos and/or transcripts of the speakers and panel discussion.

Thanks for reading
JD

I put the discussion in MultiRotor Talk
http://www.rcgroups.com/forums/showt...5#post30202812
*****

DRONE EXPO – DEC 13, 2014 – Los Angeles Memorial Sports Arena
by UAV Systems Association – www.uavsa.org

(the following information from the above website retrieved 12/14/2014)
Sponsored by:
AerialMediaPros.com (sales, support, aerial filming) aerialmediaros.com
Exhibitors:
UAV Systems Association – www.uavsa.org
3D Systems (3d printers) http://www.3dsystems.com/
Rotor Drone...Continue Reading
Posted by JD-Slow-Thumbs | Dec 13, 2014 @ 08:50 PM | 2,532 Views
Just got back from visiting the LA Drone Expo (Los Angeles). Great exposition and a lot bigger than I anticipated, exhibitors came from all over the country. Attendance was very good in the thousands. At this expo I am seeing a lot of interest and in what drones can do from a commercial perspective.

I will update this note later after I have had time to process all of my brochures, flyers, and business cards.
JD
Posted by JD-Slow-Thumbs | Dec 11, 2014 @ 12:31 AM | 2,017 Views
I saw that somebody had a question that re-ingnited the tractor-vs-pusher debate and this time I joined in.

I remember reading about this Tractor-vs-Pusher debate in at least one probably two magazines for full sized real world planes for home builders. (EAA Sport Aviation magazine, long ago issue). The authors debated the pros and cons of the following:
Efficiency of propeller,
Efficiency of wings for lift,
Effectiveness of control surfaces,
Noise in the cockpit,
Noise to the ground,
Directional stability.
And for full sized planes they concluded that pushers were 7-10% less efficient than tractors, due mostly to propeller efficiency. Historically in full sized plane it takes about 100 horsepower to go 100 miles per hour so a 10% loss in power slows you down significantly.

1 - As already mentioned Dieffenbach did some fantastic work showing that propellers want clean air. http://www.rcgroups.com/forums/showt...oise+reduction
2 – Apparently there is still a debate about what wings need more, fast air or clean air, and fast air is generally preferred.
3 – Effectiveness of control surfaces especially the elevator, the elevator definitely needs abundant airflow in order to have control / elevator “authority”, the ability to change the planes direction as the pilot commands.
4 – Noise inside the cockpit to pilot and passenger would be less with a pusher, they use some serious headsets as a countermeasure for engine/cockpit noise.
5 &#...Continue Reading
Posted by JD-Slow-Thumbs | Dec 08, 2014 @ 02:34 AM | 1,171 Views
I would like to suggest an idea for FPV get-together events, FPV-Mini-Golf !!!

My concept would be for a group of FPV'ers to get together and rent some time at a local miniature golf course for a private party. Rent part or all of the mini-golf course and have some fun following the course for 18 holes and land at each hole. The landing sites would start out very easily as a wide bulls-eye pattern on the ground and become progressively more difficult as a smaller platform above the ground. Prizes or bragging rights to the winners, and feedback to pilots for how good they really are.

The platforms could take the shape of naval-aircraft-carriers (folding table) or skyscrapers (tall box).

Sponsors could bring inflated bouncy-house type obstacles/landing-zones to regional events. Using inflated objects this could even be done at indoor venues such as basketball, hockey, indoor-soccer, golf-dome.

One of the keys to this concept would be for it to be a “closed-course” where full-sized airplanes should-not-be, like below treetop level or four feet above a neighborhood putt-putt-golf.

Sure would be nice if somebody could post video of FPV-Mini-Golf ...

Thanks for reading
JD

The discussion is over here
http://www.rcgroups.com/forums/showthread.php?t=2300525
Posted by JD-Slow-Thumbs | Nov 21, 2014 @ 09:40 PM | 1,785 Views
We often hear complaints about Local Hobby Stores closing up shop, and the loss of these assets to the hobby-community. Yes I still like to see and touch what a new product is like, but the prices that I am finding are usually more than I want to pay. (Generally I have turned to scratch building foamies instead of ARF clones),

Compare To Camera Stores
Once upon a time I regularly went to camera stores to get not only film but developer and print paper too (yes I had my own darkroom). Then it became that I just needed film, because it was less hassle let somebody else develop my film and make enlargements. After digital photography became popular I stopped going to camera stores because photo-quality inks and papers could be found cheaper at office supply stores, lately I have been going to Office Depot for my “photographic” supplies.

How Soon Do You Need It?
Recently I went to a LHS looking for some small inexpensive batteries so I could fly my new model the next weekend (as a beginner I do not need the premium). At the LHS one battery cost $23, via mail-order I got three batteries plus shipping for $21, and all it took was wanting them in a week instead of this afternoon.

Plan Ahead And Stock Up
Another influencing factor, the cost of shipping from mail-order encourages people to plan ahead and purchase more than one battery or prop at a time, so people will tend to stock up on three or four batteries and a half a dozen props. When I decided to get into...Continue Reading
Posted by JD-Slow-Thumbs | Nov 21, 2014 @ 02:15 AM | 1,716 Views
To Club Or Not To Club – Many activities naturally form into leagues like; bowling, baseball, soccer, while other activities do not have a lot of formal structure like; jogging or fishing. Some of the activities that naturally form into clubs and leagues are competitive sports.

The larger heavier planes made of balsa with nitro/glow engines naturally need real flying fields and clubs to buy and maintain them. If your foamy can be hand launched or take-off from a driveway, then you don’t need a lot of formal-structure/club/league.

Annual Budget versus Annual Cost Of Membership – After your initial investment in a trainer, transmitter, charger, extra-batteries, etc… you can buy an additional ARF every year for $150 or less and think that you have it real nice and luxurious.

Some clubs are cheaper and some clubs are more expensive, I live half way between two clubs, one club costs $83 (AMA 58 + club-dues 25) the other club costs $233 (AMA 58 + club-dues 70 + initiation-field-fee 105), both of these clubs are considered cheap compared to a $300 club. People have always been value conscious, lately more people have become more frugal. Now if the budget says that you can spend only $100 per year, then the local club becomes a lot less attractive. You can get a cheap micro-airplane for around $100 or build your planes out of DTF, and you will not have to join a club to fly them, thus saving yourself one or two hundred dollars a year. These new micro pilots are just about invisible to the mainstream club fields. (BTW if you can only spend $100 per year, then you might not last very many years in this hobby). (BTW I belong to the cheaper club at $83/year and I love the camaraderie and sharing at my club).

Thanks for reading
JD
Posted by JD-Slow-Thumbs | Nov 21, 2014 @ 01:36 AM | 1,669 Views
Apartment Sized Hobby – Many of us have/had a nice garage to keep our hobby stuff in and a workbench to clutter up, and many of us live in apartments where we have to clean off the dinner table that we borrowed and put away our stuff at the end of the every evening. Park-Flyer size and Micro-size airplanes and Small quadcopters that come in a box the size of carry-on luggage is a much better size for apartments.

I just figured out that I have about twenty cubic feet (20cu-ft ~ 2 cu-meter) of rc stuff plus a six foot folding table/workbench. For a fun challenge, the next time you look over your rc stuff try to estimate how many cubic feet it takes up, it might surprise you.

Thanks for reading
JD

Update to a reply on 3-11-2014
Posted by JD-Slow-Thumbs | Nov 21, 2014 @ 01:10 AM | 1,634 Views
Customer Expectations – User Friendliness.
Thanks to the generation that put men on the moon, and thanks to the generation that learned to program their VCR's. The “Younger Generation” has enough familiarity with using computers, programming VCR’s, playing video games, fiddling with cell phones and GPS navigation systems; that they/we have acquired some confidence around technology and consumers now expect a higher level of user-friendliness. The $50 quadcopter that I bought a couple months ago was more “user-friendly” than the $120 Bixler that I bough just a couple years ago, the quadcopter flew for ten minutes on my first try versus the Bixler which crashed in ten feet on my first try. Technological advances such as piezo-gyro flight stabilization systems and other anti-crash technologies and crash resistance is one of these “user-friendly” features that can make a big difference in converting visitors into newcomers into hobbyists. Technology and price are fast catching up with these perfectly reasonable customer expectations.

Thanks for reading
JD

Update to a reply on 3-11-2014
Posted by JD-Slow-Thumbs | Nov 21, 2014 @ 12:17 AM | 1,619 Views
While looking for foam for building airplanes, foam without skin/coating or very easily removed, and not so much better as bigger/thicker...

I found a new source of foam from R-Tech available at both HomeDepot and Lowes in Los Angeles , it is white styrofoam with plastic skin on one side and aluminum foil skin on the other side which I can peel off easily and consistently. Available in the following thicknesses 0.50 , 0.75 , 1.00 , 1.50 , 2.00 , and always a little thin of the nominal dimension so bring your measuring stick.

Unlike the more popular foam core products like Dollar Tree Foam or the blue or pink Fan Fold Foam which are extruded, this still has mostly distinct Styrofoam bubbles.

I use this stuff for fuselages, my larger (medium) sized receiver and batteries fit into either the 1.5 or 1.0 inch thicknesses, now I am buying skinnier batteries and receiver to try to fit into the 0.75 thicknesses for fuselages. I have not yet tried any of this for wings, they do not seem to have a 1/4 inch size.

The only drawback is that it comes in 4x8 foot sheets, and I have to cut it down to fit it into the backseat of my car so that I can get it home.

Good luck and
Thanks for reading
JD
Posted by JD-Slow-Thumbs | Nov 20, 2014 @ 06:58 AM | 1,658 Views
In response to recurring discussions about the value of keeping a “Relationship” with a vendor.
?Do I want a relationship with a vendor? --> No and Maybe

Primarily I want my purchases to work like a “Bic-Pen that writes first time, every time”. I want my Receivers, Batteries, ESC's, Motors, and Servos to “work first time, every time”. I mean who needs tech-support or customer-service if it works.

Now I think it is cool that the Local Hobby Store usually stocks spare parts like wings and fuselage for the Super-Cub and T-28 and others. But this is to address defective flying (pilot error) not defective manufacturing, and this kind of vendor support is appreciated and worthy of a relationship. (I am too cheap to buy the ARF's, but if I can buy a “Known-Good” wing for under $20, then my semi-scratchbuild/Franken-Plane creations get to fly a little sooner).

Thanks for reading
JD
Posted by JD-Slow-Thumbs | Nov 17, 2014 @ 02:14 AM | 2,054 Views
In response to recurring general questions of:
Kit vs ARF vs RTF, and Balsa vs Foam, and Fuel or Electric. - - (Kit = box of parts, ARF = Almost Ready to Fly, RTF = Ready-To-Fly).

I see three general phases to peoples RC hobby flying:
1 – Initial Entry Point, lessons at a local flying club, or Do-It-Yourself.
2 – Beginner / Intermediate skills, where most of the action is.
3 – Special aircraft and special skills.

After the initial entry point, in phase 2 - Beginner-Intermediate-Skills, when people are ready to invest in the hobby and buy not only the next plane but the batteries, charger, transmitter, transmitter-batteries that they plan to use for the next few years, and invest more time into the hobby to learn skills. At this point I think that most people want to buy ARF's that are manufactured to a "known-good" status, so that they can concentrate on improving their flying skills. Theoretically foam comes out of the mold needing very little labor to finish adding the controls. Theoretically a balsa ARF that is assembled in a factory by someone who has built hundreds of similar models will have consistently very high quality. Also for a trainer it is not good to be the first one on the block to have a particular model of plane, good choices of trainers include models that almost everybody has experience with like, Apprentice, SuperCub, T-28, etc... Trainers are mass produced and mass distributed and priced for the masses.

Regarding...Continue Reading
Posted by JD-Slow-Thumbs | Nov 16, 2014 @ 01:54 AM | 1,996 Views
This is one of my 80-20 statements, that you can do 80% of your flying with 20% of the transmitter options. That you can cover the beginner / fundamental skills in RC-Simulators, and for that matter also RC-Fixed-Wing, RC-Helicopters, and RC-Quadcopters,

After spending considerable time in the three main free and low-cost RC-Flight-Simulators; FMS, RC-Desk-Pilot, and ClearView; I have formed the informed and experienced opinion that only four (4) channels are needed for over 95% (98%) of the planes and features of these simulators. I spent a lot of time wondering why so very few models were available that used channels five and six of my 6ch-USB-Transmitter, it is because you only really need four channels to fly around.
4 Channels will cover the beginner / fundamental flying skills needed for:
Fixed-wing Powered planes with Yaw (rudder), Pitch (elevator), Roll (ailerons), Throttle.
Fixed-wing Gliders, Coaxial Helicopters, Fixed-Pitch Helicopters, and QuadCopters.

Yes, you can quickly think of ways to outgrow these limited models with; flaps, retractable landing gear, flaps, flaperons, differential-ailerons, and other tricks; and helicopters that have Collective Pitch. But AFTER you have mastered the fundamentals and you are ready to spend hundreds of dollars on the advanced models and the advance simulators, then you should also be ready to use an advanced transmitter, probably your real transmitter with your custom mixes configured the way you like them.

With the above in mind, I recommend the E-Sky 4 Channel USB simulator for the entry level simulator controller.

Thanks for reading
JD
Posted by JD-Slow-Thumbs | Nov 11, 2014 @ 01:45 AM | 1,643 Views
Many people are asking “Why have QuadCopters become so popular?”

First the big reason.

When a newcomer is initially investigating this hobby, he wants to know if he will have fun doing this. So that first aircraft is going to be an experiment and a GAMBLE to see if he can get the hang of rc flying. Obviously it is easier to gamble $50 on a RTF QuadCopter than $200 dollars on an RTF Airplane (plus AMA membership, plus club membership).

(Many people here talk as if choosing this hobby is like choosing a college-major or career or sport and that the answer to this decision is pre-ordained. Somehow our advice to potential newcomers always seems to be about getting the “right” stuff like transmitters and chargers that are totally appropriate for second year hobbyists but might be less appropriate for a person that is still wondering if he is even going to “like” rc flying.)

Next the smaller reasons.

Smaller Footprint – QuadCopters can fly very nicely in backyards, front-driveways, basements, auditoriums, parking-lots, etc... You do not have to pack up your plane and accessories and drive an hour to a useable flying site. If you want to get in a flight in the backyard before dinner, it is easy to do. They are a very good size for life in the suburbs.

Apartment Sized Hobby – Many of us live in apartments where our "workbench" is the dinner table and we have to put away our stuff at the end of the every evening. Small quadcopters and...Continue Reading