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Posted by rexless | Sep 29, 2014 @ 01:48 PM | 1,394 Views
One of the great things about this hobby, for me, is the creation of a new multicopter and then taking it out to the field to see it fly for the first time. This weekend I had the pleasure of doing a maiden flight of the newest member of my fleet, dubbed for now as the CFI XQ550. At 550mm motor-to-motor it's 25cm smaller than my 800mm X8 octocopter. For this build I used Turnigy 28-30s 900kv motors, Armattan 30amp ESCs, KK2.1.5 flight controller, 12" Nylon Propellers (fastened with zip ties) powered by 2 China Hobby Line 3300mAH 3S 30C Lipos. The frame features my new center plates designed for my bigger multicopters (500-800mm), thin carbon fibre arms using a custom designed plate.

I found it took awhile to get a reasonably useful KK2 PID setting. Since I'm using the zip ties I found it quite difficult to centre the propellers over the shaft. I'm flying with zip ties only because I didn't have the right prop adapters on hand. I've wanted to try using zip ties so I figured I'd give it a go. The proper adaptors would have been delivered here today, except the Canada Post delivery person was too lazy to walk up the stairs to my office and instead left a failed delivery card - but that's another story. I haven't bothered to balance the propellers for this maiden flight. I'll do that when I put them onto the prop adapters.

I've never used these Turnigy motors before. To be honest, I'm not super excited about them. 3/4 seem reasonably smooth but one of the 4...Continue Reading
Posted by rexless | Sep 18, 2014 @ 01:56 PM | 1,070 Views
About a month or two ago I decided to build an Octocopter with the carbon fiber frame components I had designed and whatever parts I had lying around my shop. Since I mostly fly 250-450mm quad copters I had a lot of cheap RCX 1800KV motors and matching 30amp SimonK loaded ESCs. I tried one of the new KK2 flight controllers but unfortunately the firmware did not work with an Octo so I swapped out for one of my older KK2's and it worked fine. At first I tried flying with a single 3300mAH 3S 65C battery. It worked but I didn't get much flight time and the KK2's voltage alarm would go off frequently. Next I tried using a 2650mAH 45C and 2700mAH 30C battery in parallel. That worked a bit better, but the 2700 was pretty old and tired so the results weren't a heck of a lot better. Yesterday I tried 2 new ChinaHobbyLine 3300mAH 30C 3S batteries in parallel. I was able to fly tamely around for a but under 6 minutes without triggering the KK2 voltage alarm. When I landed the KK2 reported 11.4v. This seems like good news and inspires me to hook up one or two more of the 3300mAH batteries to see how it performs.

Octocopter flight test with new China Hobby Line Lipo batteries (5 min 29 sec)


It's too early yet to say the CHL batteries are a good replacement for the Hobby King Nano-Tech I usually buy. My first flight impression was great... we'll see how they hold up in real use.
Posted by rexless | Sep 05, 2014 @ 02:52 PM | 1,521 Views
Over the last few months I have been working on my own multicopter designs. Based on the commonly used center plate concept, I designed my own arms and center plates to try and see if I could build a quad that would be light, strong, and offer great protection for the on board components.
I've had my designs converted to CAD drawings and then cut the parts I needed from high strength carbon fiber plate. Today I finished my first custom built full-frame 390mm quadcopter featuring some of the design ideas I'm working on. For now I'm just going to call it my 390 Alpha Quad.

I've been able to place the naze and power distribution between the top and bottom plates. The battery sits nicely on top with the receiver while the speed controllers are strapped to the sides of the center to keep them off the arm. My goal with the arms was to avoid having the airflow of the propellers impeded by wide surfaces or the center body of the aircraft. I expect this will help optimize the efficiency of the motors and propellers.
...Continue Reading
Posted by rexless | Dec 13, 2013 @ 05:59 PM | 5,657 Views
When I recently had some problems with a couple of defective OrangeRX R615 receivers I decided to try some alternatives. Since I'm flying with the Devo 10 on Deviation firmware I thought it'd be fun to try the tiny little RX601 Devention receiver.

At first I had no idea how to bind it. It came with a tiny screwdriver and a bind plug but there's no port marked for battery/bind. I searched and searched but could not find any online documentation. I managed to piece things together from other devention documentation and some trial and error.

*** Before doing this I recommend removing propellers, etc. ****

First - Created a new model in your devo transmitter. I did this by copying a previous one so I could edit it. Change the name, set the type to DEVO and then delete all the numbers in the fixed ID field (if there are any). Save the settings by exiting and turning off the transmitter.

UPDATE-- Today I found I couldn't get the receiver to accept the failsafe settings until I redid the entire bind process. Once I did that the new failsafe settings seemed to work.
Next - Get the little screwdriver ready as you'll need to push down the little "clear" button hidden in the little hole in the RX601 case. Holding that button down, plug in the battery. The red light should flash once per second while the button is held down. This should indicate any previous fixed ID is cleared. You can let go of the button and power on the transmitter. The receiver should...Continue Reading
Posted by rexless | Oct 29, 2013 @ 06:10 PM | 2,000 Views
Here's some recent photos of my Armattan 258 series Quads.
Left is my favourite so far - Milled Carbon Fiber 258. No landing gear and no protective top plate. Nylon screws holding on the motors for reduced weight. Aluminium Nuts to reduce weight. Tri-props for more thrust.

Middle - my latest CNC 258 build. Pretty much a standard Armattan DIY kit.

Finally an amazing Armattan Prototype. Featuring prototype carbon fiber plates, Carbon Fiber/G10 Arms, and Carbon Fibre protective top plate. This is a very strong and tough looking build.
Posted by rexless | Jul 21, 2012 @ 01:00 AM | 3,210 Views
Here is a shot of most of my fleet as of July 20, 2012