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Posted by smoothvirus | Oct 10, 2014 @ 10:31 AM | 2,305 Views
I told myself that I wouldn't be buying any more aircraft for the fleet this season, way back in the spring.

Anyway for 2014 the Sky Mule, and the 3DHS 51" Slick joined the fleet, and now a new multirotor will be added as well.

Parts List:
Blackout Mini H Quad Frame

Full Naze 32 - Flight Controller

Cobra 2204 2300kv (four)

Rotorgeeks 12A BLHeli ESC V4 (four)

FrSKY D4R-II Receiver

Blackout Mini H FPV build questions

Blackout Mini H Quad - 220mm - Carbon Fiber - Built for FPV

Assembly Manual

D4R + Naze32 = Taranis Telemetry Heaven

Naze32 Wiki PID tuning

Naze32 Wiki

Blackout's Build Thread

TheBakedBeans's Build Log

FinalGuideAus Build Log

CleanFlight Setup Tuning Guide for Naze32 / CC3D

Flite Test Naze 32 Board Setup
Posted by smoothvirus | Jun 26, 2014 @ 12:52 PM | 3,237 Views
So I suppose by now if you're reading this entry, you know about this already:

in short, last Monday afternoon the FAA announced that in general, all hobby FPV flying is illegal, though they were a bit unclear on flying FPV with a monitor rather than using goggles.

To say I was flabbergasted by the announcement is an understatement, I totally did not expect this, though looking back now the clues were there. Indeed, the insiders like Patrick Egan had been warning us all along that this would happen.

Last October I attended the DC Area Drone User Group conference and met all of the AMA top leadership. The impression I got from them was quite positive; I came away from the event thinking that although regulations were coming, they would be reasonable and I would be able to continue to fly FPV (legally) as long as I stuck to AMA's safety guidelines.

Alas, this was not to be.

For the first couple of days I thought about what we were told last October versus the new FAA "guidance" - and wanted to ask the AMA leadership, well, what the hell happened? Shortly afterwards a fellow flier posted to Facebook that the FAA had done this "beause of Trappy" and they didn't like having egg on their face. At first I dismissed this, but then I realized he was correct.
What the hell happened?
Huerta v. Pirker happened.
I'd like to point out that I don't personally blame Trappy. I have some mixed...Continue Reading
Posted by smoothvirus | May 06, 2014 @ 10:48 AM | 3,570 Views
Note that this will really be more of a "bang for the buck" build than a real "budget" build. Anyhow I get asked this question at the field all the time by people who are interested in flying FPV but might not have a big enough wallet to purchase a bunch of very expensive equipment. Granted, I'm on a bit of a budget myself, but I spent more than a year buying up components before I finally made it into the air!
The components I'm selecting here might not be something I'm flying but are well regarded in the FPV community.
A word of caution, a lot of these items are very popular and can become very hard to find during flying season in the northern hemisphere (April-November).
Like my other blog posts this will be a work in progress and your input is welcome! Keep in mind that this is also a bit of an experiment to see how low I can keep the costs.


EPP-FPV 1.8M X-Large EPP & Carbon Fiber R/C Plane (US Warehouse)

NTM Prop Drive Series 35-36A 1400Kv / 550W

TURNIGY Plush 40amp Speed Controller $19.99

Turnigy TG9e 9g / 1.5kg / 0.10sec Eco Micro Servo (US Warehouse) x3 $7.23
for ailerons and rudder

Turnigy TGY-50090M Metal Gear 9g Analog Servo (USA Warehouse) $5.17 Reading
Posted by smoothvirus | Apr 26, 2014 @ 12:54 PM | 5,294 Views
I have wanted a big multi engine cargo plane ever since I saw this video over on Youtube. There's just something about the harmonic sound of multiple propellers spinning that gets me going. So one week ago, I am reading posts on RCGroups when I see this big banner ad for the SkyMule.

I clicked on it, went to HK's website, and I couldn't help myself, I had to have one!

Parts List:
Durafly SkyMule Twin FPV Sports Model EPO 1500mm (PNF)
Glacier 35C 5300mAh 3S 11.1V LiPo Battery

RCG Foamies Thread
RCG FPV Thread
Manual (PDF link)
Hobby King Unboxing and Build Video
HobbyKing Live - Durafly Sky Mule Product Profile - Part 1 (10 min 59 sec)

Posted by smoothvirus | Mar 16, 2014 @ 05:49 PM | 3,890 Views
This is not my design but I was inspired to put it together by this post over at FPVLab. Dave gets nearly 5 miles of range out of it at 800' AGL using the Immersion RC 600mw 5.8ghz VTX on the aircraft.

Parts List:
5.8 Ghz Uno receiver
5.8 GHz HELIAXIAL58 (5645-5945 MHz) RCHP 12dBic Helical Antenna
RVOSD Antenna Tracker
Antenna Pan/Tilt for EagleEyes Antenna Tracker
Redpoint Sport Wrap - Olive 12

The tripod I'm using is just a $30 one I picked up from Best Buy several years ago. Of course you can use whichever antenna tracker unit suits the OSD you are using. I am using the RVGS since I am using RVOSD in my airplane. I have tested it out to 1 mile with very clear video, even in high noise environments where my Blue Beams almost completely lost signal.
Posted by smoothvirus | Jan 05, 2014 @ 11:41 PM | 9,112 Views
I have had a few people ask me about how to connect the EzUHF Transmitter to the FrSky Taranis, here's what you need to do.
First off, you will want to provide 12v of power to the EzUHF transmitter. The stock Taranis battery cannot provide this. This battery from Hobbyking will get you 12v. You will need to cut one of the battery leads off and replace it a 2s JST-XH connector, you can get this one and just cut the male plug off. The de-pin the center wire and remove it. Solder the red wire to red wire on battery likewise with the black wire. That battery is a bit of a tight fit but it does work.

Next you'll need [URL=" ucts_id=1188"]this cable.[/
URL] It connects to the pins of the module bay in the Taranis, here's a photo of the pinout:
(edit: the EzUHF unit actually comes with the cable already. )
When you get the cable from ReadyMadeRC you will need to move the black wire on the connector down two spots so that it connects to pin 4, GND.

I used this transmitter stand and then a 12" velcro strap from REI to attach the EzUHF transmitter to the back of my Taranis.

In Companion 9x you have to use these settings for RF Module 1 and RF Module 2:
RF Module 1
Protocol: OFF
RF Module 2
PPM Frame Length: 22.5 mSec
Polarity: Positive
PPM Delay: 300 usec

Posted by smoothvirus | Oct 31, 2013 @ 10:51 AM | 7,564 Views
Well this is going to be a bit of change in direction for me. I have been planning on flying my Skywalker X8 as my first fixed wing FPV platform but now that the airframe is all put together it's apparent to me that I will need to build a launcher for it. I still want to fly my X8 but I came to the conclusion that I wanted to start out with something a little more simple that would be easier to setup, and then move to the X8.

So I went out and pulled the trigger on a Finwing Penguin from RMRC. The box just arrived last night, so I'm still doing research and putting my notes together. I will update this post as the build continues. I am going to get started right away as I want this to be a fast build.

Parts List:

Penguin V2 ARF with M2815 Motor and 60A ESC w/Switchmode BEC
5.8ghz 600mw video transmitter
Blue Beam antenna set
custom decals
RVOSD Airspeed Kit
GPS extension cable
SONY Super HAD CCD II 600TVL D-WDR DNR Mini Board Camera
Pan/Tilt Basic Kit
...Continue Reading
Posted by smoothvirus | Mar 22, 2013 @ 01:22 PM | 9,207 Views
This is going to be my first FPV model aircraft. I started on the build last night. So far here's what we have:

Flame Wheel 450 W NAZA autopilot and GPS

I use the DJI 1038 props on my quad. I got mine at a LHS but Esprit sells them:

Immersion RC 5.8ghz 600mw video tx (this one is kind of hard to find right now but should be back soon)

Fat Shark Dominator video goggles

Fat Shark Dominator 5.8GHz Receiver Module

You will need a battery to power the goggles. I used a 2s 1100mah battery from the local hobby shop and soldered my own connector on it. This is the manufacturer battery, it was sold out everywhere when I was trying to get it:

also you WILL need a charger adapter for the battery, I forgot to get one and it held me up for a week!:

Bluebeam Whip Antenna set (this is how I get the impressive video range)

SONY Super HAD CCD II 600TVL D-WDR DNR Mini Board Camera

since my video transmitter puts out a 5v power lead for the camera, and the camera I'm using requires 12v, I had to use one of...Continue Reading
Posted by smoothvirus | Feb 26, 2013 @ 03:04 PM | 5,290 Views
Last year I purchased an extra Electra Kit for spare parts.. I wound up building the wing from that kit so I could make a spoiler equipped wing for my Electra. The purpose behind this was to help with target landings in ALES competitions. I built it a year ago but then got hung up on the spoiler design. I finally figured out a design that works for the Electra wing here:

But, I ran out of time to complete my project before the contest came up. In the end it did not matter because I won anyway! After that I moved on to building my Topmodel CZ Prelude and the spoiler wing project was shelved for a while. I have broken it back out now and will try to finish it before the DESS ALES Fest in three weeks. All that's left to do is complete the spoiler mechanism and then cover the wing. I already have all the materials needed to finish it.
Posted by smoothvirus | Feb 26, 2013 @ 02:43 PM | 7,956 Views
I fell in love with this plane almost a year ago. Since then I have slowly been acquiring the pieces needed to put this project together. As I build her I'll update this thread.

Parts List:

Skywalker X8 airframe
Turnigy G32
Aeronaut CAM Folding Prop 12x6.5
Turnigy 65A ESC
5.8ghz 600mw video transmitter
Blue Beam antenna set
custom decals
2 x Hitec HS-322 HD Servos
Design Master Colortool #714
Minwax Polycrylic
RVOSD Airspeed Kit
Dubro 2-56 Mini Nylon Steel Pushrod (pair)
Dubro Control Horns Nylon 1/2A (2)
SONY Super HAD CCD II 600TVL D-WDR DNR Mini Board Camera

Ground Station:

Fatshark Dominators
Fatshark 5.8ghz receiver
5.8 Ghz Uno receiver
5.8 GHz HELIAXIAL58 (5645-5945 MHz) RCHP 12dBic Helical Antenna
RVOSD Antenna Tracker


List of power setups for Skywalker X8:

Skywalker X8 assembly manual:

Openpilot build log for X8:

Another build log, with RVOSD5 and the pitot tube:

X8 Review from Flite Test

SUAS News article on X8:
Posted by smoothvirus | Feb 23, 2013 @ 11:40 PM | 5,129 Views
Many, many moons ago I wanted to get into RC when I was in high school. In case you're wondering how many moons - Ronald Regan was president when this was going on. I got a 63" trainer but never really finished the build... and then the dog ate my plane. So much for that! I still have my old TX somewhere though. Right after I moved out of mom's house I buy a Goldberg Electra, but I never build it.

Fast forward to about three years ago.. I see someone post some FPV videos of a guy flying in Brazil to the site Metafilter, and I think, "oh man, I have to do this!"

Two years ago.. I buy a house and I finally have room to store RC models. I start simple with a Parkzone Radian and a Spektrum DX6i. I start building the Electra, and somewhere in there get a couple of micro copters too. I teach myself to fly with the Radian in the soccer park. Pretty soon I have the Electra up and flying as well.

So let's skip to now. I've now been flying for a couple of years and have a few planes in my fleet:

Parkzone Radian
Blade MCX2 (micro heli)
Blade MSR (micro heli)
Goldberg Electra (now modded for ALES competition flying)
Charm 2.5m glider (I have an e-fuse for it and a pure glider fuse)
Topmodel CZ Prelude (my main ALES plane)
Parkzone T-28 (learned to fly 4 channel on this one, crashed a few times)
3DHS 41" Edge 540
Sig Kadet EP 42 (upgraded motor, man is it fun to fly)
Eflite T-34 (rebuild from the one I crashed into a tree)
Eflite Carbon Cub SS (...Continue Reading
Posted by smoothvirus | Apr 29, 2012 @ 12:45 PM | 5,151 Views
So it turned out that there was an Art Hobby fuselage available for the Charm I had picked up from the estate sale. I have it now and it fits the Charm wing nicely. It had an Aveox 1010 2y motor with a 4:1 gearbox in it, I removed that and ordered a Hyperion GS2218-10 motor for it with an 11x7 prop. I will test it out for flying in ALES, we will see how it does.
Posted by smoothvirus | Apr 01, 2012 @ 05:03 PM | 5,757 Views
Just picked this up from an estate sale. It's going to be my first pure glider, up until now all of my gliders have e-power. All I know about this model is that they were imported from the Ukraine around 2004-2005. It is a similar design to the AVA, Pulsar, or Danny.

It came with a Nicad battery pack. Have not tested it to see if it works, I may try to upgrade it to something else like a 2S lipo. It also came with a 72mhz receiver that I'll change to a Spektrum 2.4.
Posted by smoothvirus | Mar 31, 2012 @ 10:51 AM | 5,500 Views
Ooo... dog's barking.. yup, the mailman is here leaving a package on my doorstep.

Ah, my new JR 11x from Esprit. They must be next to a postal distribution center or something because they get stuff from FL to DC quick! I ordered it less than 48 hours ago.

Anyway will get down to programming this transmitter. I also got the servos and receivers I will need for my new sailplanes.
Posted by smoothvirus | Mar 22, 2012 @ 10:00 PM | 5,568 Views
Here's a couple of videos from last week's event:

East Coast ALES Festival @ DESS (9 min 6 sec)

...Continue Reading
Posted by smoothvirus | Mar 22, 2012 @ 09:58 PM | 5,602 Views
Promised I'd put up a bunch of photos from this event so here they are.

It worked out very well, had a great time and took first place for the Sportsman division. I did not finish my spoiler wing for the Electra but I will keep working on it and it should be ready for the ALES contest at CASA on Memorial Day....Continue Reading