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Posted by Nightstone | Yesterday @ 04:21 PM | 700 Views
Some Drifter shots from various cams and pov's.

This plane has quickly become one of my favorites. Small safe form factor make urban flying alot of fun. And with my latest mods she will hand launch with ease. Great plane.

Posted by Nightstone | Aug 01, 2015 @ 12:01 AM | 1,175 Views
Picked up one of these cheap 2.4 range extenders from ebay. These are as low as $20. They claim to be 2w but I doubt that. They are nice and small though and mate up perfectly to an external Taranis external unit.

Power usage from my in home testing was around 30mins on 1000mah 3s. Not bad. My 2w full size booster uses 1500mah 3s in 15 mins.

I will test it this weekend and through out the coming weeks. we will see how it does in a dirty urban environment.

One mod that seems necessary is to put a heat sink on the unit. It gets quite hot.

Folks are reporting out to about 8 klicks with the unit. Perfect for shorter range FPV.

Lastly... Why use one of these instead of a LRS like dragonlink or IRC. Price and weight.

Posted by Nightstone | Jul 29, 2015 @ 10:18 PM | 1,098 Views
My latest build. its a canard with a lifting forward body section. Removable front for action cam and gopro. Sharing some pics. Maiden tomorrow if weather permits.

Posted by Nightstone | Jul 22, 2015 @ 02:09 PM | 1,027 Views
Put this little cam on my twin boom today to see how it performs. Pretty solid jello free video from a small foamy. Just wish the lens was a bit better. 60FPS does seem to make a difference.

Xiaomi Yi camera - FPV Flight Test (6 min 30 sec)

Posted by Nightstone | Jul 21, 2015 @ 10:03 PM | 1,018 Views
I fixed my lens focus yesterday. Had some time a bit ago and went to our local park to take some pictures. First off for a very cheap $64 camera it does a good job. Its no Hero 4 Black.

I picked one image out of the bunch and took a closer look. There was noticeable purple fringing. Wide angle artifacts ( Bends in straight lines ). Low contrast. saturation was a bit low. Dynamic range issues ( Okay for this kind of camera ).

With a little work I quickly had a very usable picture.

This little camera will be perfect for those situations I don't want to risk my hero in. pictures are 16m and it does 1080p at 60 frames. Impressive for the price.

Lastly it has a really nice droid interface and banggood has replacement lenses for $16. How can you go wrong.

Posted by Nightstone | Jul 20, 2015 @ 10:18 PM | 2,132 Views
Banggood emailed me back asking me to fix my own Yi camera. They also said it would not void my warranty. So I went ahead and fixed my cam.

The following link is what they sent to me.

Xiaomi Yi Camera - Fix Lens Out of focus Problem (6 min 48 sec)

I had a few issues with it and did things a little different.

1.) My cover was tight and I had to use an exacto to slowly loosen it till I could get a screwdriver in.

2.) Do not cut the glue off. If you slip you may damage the camera. There are exposed ribbon cables. I used needle nose pliers to slowly pry the glue off. It feels alot like hot glue.

3.) He recommends in the verbiage to not reglue it. If you don't reglue the vibration will soon put you back out of focus.

4.) Using a Micro HDMI cable did not get focus perfect for me. It may have been okay for video but stills were still off. I just snapped pictures and continued to adjust till things were sharp. Im a bit of a nut when in comes to focus.

NOTE - When adjusting the focus with cover off do not use your finger to turn it on. Use something non conductive.

Pictures are self explanatory.

Posted by Nightstone | Jul 19, 2015 @ 11:04 PM | 904 Views
Some sunrise and sunsets from the weekend. A few drifter shots too. A good weekend over all. Weather was not too bad for AZ.

...Continue Reading
Posted by Nightstone | Jul 19, 2015 @ 01:40 PM | 846 Views
Spent this weekend doing a bunch of flights testing out these antennas. I wanted to be the only one there with FPV gear to avoid any unpleasantness.

Here are my findings... With a 6db on both the plane and the goggles my reception did not seem as good. I believe it was the proximity of other gear on the plane that was causing the issues. Secondly this antenna is a bit unwieldy for a plane or quad because of size.

Once the plane antenna was switched back to a clover leaf things changed pretty dramatically. Immediately I noticed the overhead hole was not as severe. Not once did I get horizontal rolling lines. I did get some edge static.

Flying out further I noticed the signal was indeed stronger. 6db strong? Still do not know. I flew with both a drifter and my twin boom no further than a kilometer out. Reception was always strong. This was with a 200mw aomway.

The area I fly in is saturated with 2.4 and 5.8 traffic. Very noisey ground floor. Down low the antenna did well until I flew low over a residential area with a known bad noise area. I did get some static. More than if I was running clover leafs alone. this was the only spot that did this.

I tested a bunch of different combos. 2 6dbi omnis, 1 omni and 1 clover, 1 omni and 1 patch, 1 omni and my crosshair. The combo I ended up most happy with was the 12dbi Patch and the 6dbi Omni. Cost for this combo was a whopping $22 for both antennas. I will be using these 2 antennas as my daily flyers going forward and hopefully no weird issues crop up.

A note on the 12dbi patch. I really liked the size and how easy it was to aim. Secondly you don't have 8 coils of wire sticking out of your goggles that snag and bump into everything. Add to that a $12 dollar price tag.

I will do some longer range tests in a less noisey area this week.

Posted by Nightstone | Jul 16, 2015 @ 10:09 PM | 766 Views
My Xiaomi YI camera came in today. I had high hopes for this little cam. After taking the test shots my hopes were dashed.

In the images below you can see how poor the center focus is. This is from a poorly made lens or sensor. Under normal video use this would more than likely be unnoticeable by most consumers. I noticed. Well now we begin the return process with Banggood. First order with them to boot.

Me and Chinese cameras have not had a lot of luck lately. Guess this is what happens at this price point.

Posted by Nightstone | Jul 15, 2015 @ 01:18 PM | 643 Views
This is the latest evolution of my hunter style plane. This one has some major changes.

My Offset plane had a lifting body. I incorporated that in this plane. This allowed several features that I had not used on this type of plane before. With an 8" lifting body the booms no longer need to be out on the wings. This allows for the use of flaps. Secondly room was no longer an issue. No more stacking gear almost on top of each other. Third the nose is 6" wide leaving lots of room for camera gear.

The other big change was in the motor. I used one of my new exceed 1100 motors. The old motor that I had been using was a 28mm. power and speed were never to my liking. Especially once the plane was loaded. The 37mm exceed has power to spare and I had no issues getting 12-15 minutes of flight time off a 4s 2200.

Mon and tue were both test flight days. She flies great. Today was going to be photo flights but the winds were a bit higher than I would like.

Posted by Nightstone | Jul 09, 2015 @ 12:41 PM | 963 Views
Got my Runcam HD in yesterday. Had some time to update firmware and do some videos.

My initial response is fair. With the 2.8 lens video is fine as far as sharpness goes. From there my impression went down hill...

The interface is not that great. It shows a company reacting to customer wants versus a company thats invested in their product. Runcam had plenty of time to match whats already on the market. Instead they did the minimum and it shows.

Connection to the cam is with usb. Its not a direct connection though. A config file has to be copied to your mem card everytime a change is made. They claim it was automatic but that was not the case for me. Getting the cam color to an acceptable level is a big pain. Color cast issues.

Firmware is done by copying the bin file to the card. As I was trying several firmwares I had 2 instances with firmware corruption and modes and buttons would not work properly. As a by product of the corruption the camera would no longer show in the windows browser. Fix was to pull card and copy bin over using a card reader. How many non tech folks are going to get hung up here?

My biggest disappointment was no continuous photo mode. Every other product of this type has it except Runcam... speaks volumes about the mindset here. why in the world would you not match a competitors features?

For $14 more I would buy the mobius. Proven track record and features. Nice interface.

These are my views... Your mileage may vary.

Posted by Nightstone | Jul 06, 2015 @ 09:19 PM | 1,512 Views
Most folks these days shoot video. Seems to be the quick easy thing to do. A few of us though are still doing stills. For those of you who would like to do stills I wanted to show how important it is to post process. Its in the post processing the magic happens.

This is just a simple pic taken from my quad early this evening. Winds were high and the quad was all over. With a little work in photoshop that dull drab picture gets a little life...

Posted by Nightstone | Jul 06, 2015 @ 07:34 PM | 1,340 Views
Monsoons are back. Took a few photos today so I could play in Photoshop CC 2015. I have always had a love for clouds and other atmospheric events.

Anyways... Couldn't fly so played with some clouds.

Posted by Nightstone | Jul 05, 2015 @ 12:07 PM | 1,193 Views
Was at my local park this morning doing some slow proximity flying in the park. This is a light weight 40" DT plane with full apm on-board. When I fly I use the whole park and fly behind where I am sitting. My safety record is perfect...

I knew when some of the locals arrived during my last flight is was going to spark a conversation. A few minutes after landing I got the talk about how I should only fly in front. How unsafe that kind of flying was etc, etc, etc...

Now these are otherwise good folks. Fun to be around. Etc. When it comes to FPV though they absolutely just do not get it.

Its just so sad to be thought of as unsafe when your actually flying the safest aircraft in the park. I'm flying a plane with a stabilized auto pilot. Set to pop up and go to the center of the field and do slow circles in case of an incident. Not to mention being slow and light ( Do no harm ). Not one incident ever.

Yet the LOS flyers continually crash planes in the housing area. On the freeway. Store parking lot. The children's playground etc. Yet the incident free FPV guy is unsafe... Boggles the mind.

Most of it is a lack of understanding of the technology and the inability to change.

Posted by Nightstone | Jul 02, 2015 @ 10:56 PM | 1,601 Views
Well my Run Cam got here today. Well kind of sorta. Looks like USPS ran it over several times and taped it up into a lump.

If there is one organization I really really dislike its usps...

Sigh... Here we go again.

RuncamDelivery (0 min 40 sec)

Posted by Nightstone | Jul 02, 2015 @ 12:53 PM | 637 Views
Passing on some testing Info...

Emax GT2215/09 (The Beef) - This is a 3s motor usually run with a 10x7 APC prop. I have been running it on 4s with an 8x4 prop with good results. This motor is not rated for 4S.

Exceed 2220 - 1500 - Rated at 300w. 7x4 prop producing 27A/411W. The 7x4 is a bit overdoing it but I see it as usable as long as you keep the top end bursts to a minimum. 7x3 or 6x4 may be safer to use.

Exceed 3015 - 1300 - Rated at 400w. 7x6 prop producing 33A/491W. 7x4 Emp Prop Producing 30A/461W. So either seems usable as long as you watch the top end. 7x3 or 6x4 may be better suited. FYI - The EMP prop came apart at high throttle ( See Pic ). Always wear goggles when testing.

Exceed 3015-1100 - Rated at 350W. 8x4 prop producing 361W/23.8A. seems like the perfect prop for this motor.

Flight testing coming up...

Posted by Nightstone | Jul 02, 2015 @ 12:29 AM | 1,006 Views
I have completely given up on Hobby Kings NTM Motors. Early on when I first started RC they seemed fine. As my knowledge in the hobby progressed they became less fine real fast. The biggest issue with them is quality and vibration. The vibration issues create problems across the board. Effecting auto pilots, Video, Handling and even Servos.

An auto pilot is constantly making corrections using your servos. Add into that a high degree of vibration and its a recipe for servos failure. Nothing works well with high vibration.

So I started looking around for a better motor at a reasonable price. Nitro was having a sale of 60% off on Exceed Rocket Motors. I did a little research and purchased 6 of them for $77 shipped. Pretty good price.

Quality seems good and the vendor claims they have Japanese quality bearings and very hard shafts.

I will be posting my results with their usage as I put them on planes... Time and use will tell the tale.

Link to RCG Review.

Pics are from my 6 motors. 4 37mm and 2 28mm. they look and feel really well made.

Also Nitro Planes Shipped fast with no issues. Good Job.

Posted by Nightstone | Jun 28, 2015 @ 10:04 PM | 1,771 Views
Took these shots a little while ago. Taken from one of my home built quads. Double Rainbow. Arizona Monsoon season has started... I love monsoon season... the weather makes for some scenic shots.

Posted by Nightstone | Jun 27, 2015 @ 10:41 PM | 2,390 Views
I have been playing with the new Quanum V2 Goggles for about a week now. I purchased these for my wife to use as a passenger. Also for folks who want a ride along.

This started with the regular setup. With the Fresnel installed it plain sucked. It was bad. Being over 50 means I use readers. I could not focus using the Fresnel unless it was pulled back all the way towards me. This resulted in a wrap around feel that created nausea.

At this point I did my first mod. moving the screen back 4 inches and using readers. this worked decently. Then yesterday while at Harbor Freight I saw 4x magnifier that was 4"x2". I purchased it.

I cut the handle off with a Dremel. I made a frame out of Model Plane foam. This is also what I made my extension out of. I then glued the magnifier into the MPF frame. I mounted it into the goggle enclosure right behind the nose bridge using pressure only. The goggles are held together by tape.

The result was amazing. Field of view was clear and has almost the same view size as my skyzone v2's. Its the same as standing 7 feet away from my 60" TV. The glass magnifier does not distort like the Fresnel does. I can even use my readers to get an even larger image. Also my wife's prescription glasses worked perfectly with the setup.

All the folks at the park that used them had VERY positive reviews. The image quality is far better than my attitudes. This ended up being a real winner. Only drawback is you have a box on your head and it is a bit unwieldy. This would be a great setup for a new FPVer on a budget.

Im calling these NightShark Dom 3's...

One other mod you cannot see easily in the pics is I did wrap the enclosure in black cloth prior to putting on the cover. Also back cover 2 strips had to be cut and extensions added to accommodate the extra 4 inches.

Posted by Nightstone | Jun 24, 2015 @ 11:37 PM | 1,307 Views
I have had a bunch of Hobbyking equipment issues over the past 3 years. lately its been alot worse with multiple failures and a support issue.

I have had 8 servo failures in 5 months. Mostly the turnigy branded ones. One 4s 2200 failure. Out of 6 mini quad motors and 6 esc's... 3 motors and 2 esc's have failed and my mini is currently on the shelf.

The drifter I purchased had the assembly hardware all glued together. They refused to replace it wanting to play the high cost ( To Me ) RMA game. Its in paypal dispute. I ended up doing work around's so it is flying. But the point is I paid for something and deserve to get it. They feel different. They would rather loose a good customer with 79 orders in rather than send out $2-$4 in hardware. Amazing.

Its all boiled down to going elsewhere. Only item I have not been able to cheaply replace has been batteries. I may continue to use them for these unless the failures go higher.

I will start posting what im buying and where. Including alternative vendors. My intent is to start spending a bit more to get a higher quality of items.

Vendors I currently use...

Readymade RC - Expensive but handy.
Get FPV - Expensive but Great vendor. Great support.
value Hobby - Very good vendor - Inexpensive.
Aloft Hobbies - Great vendor - Inexpensive
Survielzone - Good Vendor - Good Pricing
Security Camera 2000 - Good Vendor.
Range Video - Good vendor.
BangGood - Chinese - okay so far
Goodluck Buy - Chinese Okay so far