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Nightstone's blog
Posted by Nightstone | Today @ 12:19 AM | 709 Views
Built this today. It was quite a challenge coming up with a yaw control that was light and effective. I think I succeeded. Frame with 11 gram servo came out to 64 grams. 209 grams with motors, esc, rec, props. Pretty light copter.

So far have only flown it in the work area. Will trim and tune it tomorrow.

Nightstone
Posted by Nightstone | Yesterday @ 12:47 AM | 982 Views
Picked up a couple of cheapo HK multiwii boards to play around with. They arrived this afternoon. Fearing another KK nightmare I bravely started reading. OMG, soon scores of oh $%#$ posts were scrolling across my screen. Lots of folks with issues.

It really was not bad. Flashed the board over to the latest firmware. Set prefs in config.h. Used the win config util. Calibrated. Set switches and she fired up just fine. Smooth as silk. Will do first real flight tomorrow. My work area does not count lol.

I have parts for 3 Tri Copters. This should be fun.

Nightstone
Posted by Nightstone | Sep 16, 2014 @ 05:23 PM | 1,350 Views
Finished off my second canard. This was built to fit an APM 2.5 Unit. Fuse in the back is wider to accommodate the size. Plane is roughly 40x30 in size. Fits in a trunk. 15-18 min flight time. More time with a 3k in it.

Plane flies very well. I have 2 of these right now. One for low FPV and this one for general flying. Yellow and black is the new one.

Nightstone
Posted by Nightstone | Sep 16, 2014 @ 05:02 PM | 1,302 Views
Hobby Partz had a nice deal the other day. 4 Emax Motors. 4 20A Esc's and 8 props for $88 shipped. Decided to give them a try. Yes Emax stuff is not the top of the food chain. But I have yet to loose a single Emax motor. Thats 2 years of over propping and abusing the %^$$ out of them. I even use them on 2 of my FPV planes.

So I took the plunge. Free priority USPS had the parts to me in 2 days.

Motors were 935 KV. Same look as the rest of their line. 2 sets of screws and a prop nut. The motor shaft has the same kind if indentation as Naza uses. They also fit perfectly on a set of naza arms.

Emax Esc's. These I am sure are re-branded. They are slightly larger than the HK afro series. They do have SimonK firmware. Instructions were included. Throttle calibration was cake.

Emax props. These look a bit cheap. But time will tell. Going to try them out and see how they do.

I picked up a Disco frame from GetFPV for $75. Added 4 extra Naza white arms I had. Pulled my Second naza unit off my HK failure and we have a quad.

Flew perfect first go. Motors sound nice. Plenty of power. Was running with a 5K battery. Will do some FPV runs on it this weekend. Nice secondary quad.

Nightstone
Posted by Nightstone | Sep 16, 2014 @ 04:40 PM | 1,275 Views
My luck with HK parts has been pretty dismal when it comes to quadcopters. 2 bad KK boards. 1 DT700 failure ( Video ). 2 Multistar 20a ESC failures ( Camera and frame lost ).

My second time around I went again with what I thought were at least descent parts. this turned out to also not work out real well but I did dodge the bullet.

A buddy of mine gave me some old quad frames. Deciding to play around I disassembled my Iron man. The Iron man had 12 flights on it.

2 NTM motor mounts had broken in multiple places. 1 motor solder joint was hanging by a thread. 2 of the HK 12x4.7 props had cracks in them. I was a flight or 2 from loosing my nice Ironman frame.

I will never use an NTM motor on anything with any value again. The vibration caused by the poor bearings will cause a failure.

The cheap HK props. Fine for foamys. Not for quadcopters with any kind of value. These do crack and will fail.

No more NTM motors, Multistar Esc's and cheap props. At least not for quadcopters.

Nightstone
Posted by Nightstone | Jun 22, 2014 @ 05:24 PM | 1,870 Views
Went downtown yesterday for an IT job. Brought the quad to take a few pics. Wish the monsoon skies were rolling through the valley but hey you take what you can get.

Nightstone
Posted by Nightstone | Jun 18, 2014 @ 04:05 PM | 1,579 Views
I have built a whole bunch of different types of air frames in the last few months trying out different types of airframes for flying low FPV. You would think this would be an easy choice with a flying wing being the best choice. For me it was not so. Once a wing gets down to a smaller size and you heavily load it launching can be an issue. That and gear load out in a very small space can be very difficult to manage.

As I tried different air frames there were always unwanted characteristics that would come into play. From bad flying behavior to not being able to load gear in a manner that suited me. Add to that the need for small and not very noisey and this was a challenge.

After todays flights I think I have a suitable plane. A small 40" canard. lots of room to organize gear. Small foot print. Quiet. Able to fly low. Maneuverable.

When your trying to do photography or video at a small park you don't bring a large several kilo plane and expect no one to notice you. You want that plane up and away without a lot of attention.

Anyways... Here is some footage from flying at the local park today. Trying to get a good feel for the plane down low. It did great. And of course a few of the guys had to give me a double moon ending. Now we are ready to go dodge some cactus in the desert.

CoyoteLow (3 min 27 sec)


Nightstone
Posted by Nightstone | Jun 17, 2014 @ 11:54 PM | 2,379 Views
Sharing my latest build. I was going to build a homemade version of the FPV Drifter. After thinking about it I decided to do this instead. 40" wing span. Fits in the trunk of a kia. 1100 kv motor. Dos Autopilot. Frsky and 5.8 vid. 18-20 min flight times on a 2200 3s. Fits a Mobius in the nose and a small cam up top.

Flys Excellent. Will be using it for trunk flights, Flying on the deck and some photography.

Nightstone
Posted by Nightstone | Jun 13, 2014 @ 08:25 PM | 1,563 Views
Update - Note on Sunhans Below.

I was looking into doing an antenna mod to my Taranis to increase the range. After reading up a bit I found a much easier way to do this without the risk of botching a solder on the board.

I ended up buying the XJT module and plugging it in. The module is then setup from inside the radio menu. Even bind works from the menu.

I tested the XJT and the 5db antenna at the park this morning on 3 aircraft. A Bixler, Park jet and my quad from inside the car. Flying in the city where I live we get alot of interference. In the test area we can not get past 1100 meters without a fail safe on stock. I blew past that point out to about 1600 meters with my rssi still in the sixties. Now there were points where it did drop but I never hit the warning point. I had no warnings on any flight. Antenna worked great.

As a side note I will be testing some home built antennas on the tx and rx. I also have a 2w booster on the way that I will be giving a test run with. I find it kind of stupid that folks complain about pushing the 2.4 on a radio but its excepted when we do it for video. I think this falls into the buy my product crowd ( LRS ). If I can safely/cheaply and consistently push FRSKY out to 3-5K in areas with interference I can retire my openLRSNG.

Lastly... I flew my quad from the inside of nicely air conditioned car today in the blistering Arizona heat. I ran antennas up on 3 foot dowels hooked up to some window mounts I made from...Continue Reading
Posted by Nightstone | May 24, 2014 @ 11:35 PM | 1,784 Views
Hit the local park for another sunset flight. Just me and the Bix. Met up with a few other Rc guys I had not met before. Just had to put the goggles on them. May have created a couple more FPVers.

Anyways... Beautiful eve to fly. Thank full my health is getting better again... Hopefully it holds for a while and I can get out to some new spots again.

Nightstone
Posted by Nightstone | May 23, 2014 @ 12:49 AM | 2,343 Views
With APM hardware being affordable now decided to do the plunge buying 2 units with GPS from hobbyking. I received the units on Saturday and was flying the next day. The Mission Planner software made it pretty easy to do. Even making tweaks along the way.

First flights were great. It works well. I think it handles the plane I have it on better than the fieyu equipment does. Ways points are easy to setup and seem to be working well.

I could go and do a detailed review but lets just say I like the way it works and the cost fits well into my budget. Only complaint at the point is the size. Its big.

One thing I would like to note is the huge price increase if you buy the version from 3DR. Someone noted better soldering and support. Are folks being taken for their money? At half the price I could buy 2 for what they are selling one for. Time will tell and we will see how the HK's hold up.

Did 2 FPV flights with it today trying various functions. A morning flight and a sunset flight. Here are the pics.

...Continue Reading
Posted by Nightstone | Apr 25, 2014 @ 12:14 AM | 3,243 Views
Just getting over my latest bout of illnesses... Decided to try something different. My partner uses a lot of Flite test plans. So this is a Flight test wing on a basic home built plane with a twist.

I put pods on the wings and calculated camera angle so I would not get prop in view. Secondly the plane has a low kv high power motor. DT700. I'm hopeing for a nice slow low FPV flyer with alot of power when needed. The 700kv motors is very responsive and should be great for low level flying.

My experience with the higher kv motors at low level has not been stellar. It just takes way to long for the response.

I put that DT700 motor on a small 3D plane for giggles and its actually fun to fly being that over powered. 300 gram plane with 1200 grams of thrust. Thats what gave me the idea here.

Nightstone
Posted by Nightstone | Apr 13, 2014 @ 01:24 AM | 2,476 Views
Redid my base station today and added a different tripod and an 8" monitor. What prompted this is I wanted to play around with a display other than the googles.

Most folks doing home made googles are using a small screen, fresnel and head attachments. Its bulky, heavy and ugly. There had to be another way to do this and sit comfortably.

What I came up with was mounting a 8" screen to the ball head on a funky tripod I have. With 2.5x readers its the same as standing six feet away from a 60" TV. Thats at 7 inches. The monitor swivels on the ball head so its easy to move it right where you need it. I added a foam enclosure and a safety glass frame to see how emersive it will be. So instead of attaching things to my head I just swivel the unit over.

From what I can tell from indoor testings is that its a lot larger looking than the googles. Over twice larger. Its also brighter. I'm really hopping this will be a step up from the goggles when I fly.

Other equipment being used - 2 Immersionrc 5.8 units v2, Flysight 32 channel 5.8 reciever, C-DVR, Eagle eyes.

Tripod is an odd ball. Its a Benbo Trekker. You can put it into just about any position imaginable. Its just takes a bit of getting used to.

Nightstone

FYI - RMRC - If you sell an FPV monitor it would be really nice if it came with a power cord. The one that connects to the wall is worthless. Its a 50 cent part.
Posted by Nightstone | Apr 12, 2014 @ 12:11 AM | 2,437 Views
Range video has some new 200mw 5.8ghz 2 gram DIY flysight transmitters and the new 32 channel receiver.

The VTX's are cheap at $15.00. The VRX is nicely priced at $39.99.

The VTX's need to be soldered and are a DIY project. At 2 grams they are light.

The VRX has 4 bands of 8 channels allowing it to work with most anything out there. Its also very small.

I will be using the VTX's on small foamies for those places a larger plane is just not appropriate. I have the harness done and both the fatshark camera and VTX are powered by a simple bec.

Have tested the two together and they work. Have yet to field test them for range. Antenna being king here I really don't expect any issues.

2 transmitters and one receiver for the price of a competitors single transmitter.

Will post my results here as I do tests.

Nightstone
Posted by Nightstone | Apr 11, 2014 @ 09:58 PM | 2,525 Views
My video switchers came in today. These were cheap ( $10 ) ones from Value Hobby. Came in a nice box with a 1 year warranty.

With HK out and other vendors over priced this seemed like a good choice.

Wired them up tonight. Worked perfect. I have 2 cameras setup on 2 of the channels and hooked a lost plane finder up on number 3. Yes the plane finder goes off when you flip the switch.

The switcher will be used on my FPV aircraft mainly to provide video backup in case of failure. The alarm working with it was a bonus and saved me a channel on my receiver.

Nightstone
Posted by Nightstone | Apr 11, 2014 @ 09:45 PM | 2,357 Views
I have been using my EagleEyes Unit for a while now for diversity. I use it with 2 immersionRC Receivers v2. My antennas are a 5.8 SP and a 5.8 Cross hair antenna. Contrary to advise given to me it has worked very well.

The only time I get a little bit of switching is when i'm far out and at the edges of the Cross hairs beam width. With my array mounted on a tripod its pretty easy to just move the antenna a bit and it clicks right in. For the short to medium range i'm flying in its a great inexpensive alternative.

Where I can see this being problematic is for use on the longer range narrow beam antennas. The minute you reach an edge it would start switching. So not the best choice for a narrow beam width antenna.

Nightstone
Posted by Nightstone | Mar 31, 2014 @ 12:33 AM | 2,430 Views
Pics and vid from my bixler flights today. The bixler Achilles heel is slow flight where it becomes not so stable. Fast flight stable for video but burns the battery fast.

Vid is me buzzing the top of the local hills.

Bixler flying around the Hills (6 min 38 sec)


Nightstone
Posted by Nightstone | Mar 30, 2014 @ 12:37 AM | 2,540 Views
Ran out this afternoon to do a quick repair on a clients network up in New River. Coming back I stopped at this old gas/station store called " Jack @$$ Acres ". I pulled out the quad and took some photos.

Here is a pano and an artsy pic of the gas station. Love these old places.

Nightstone
Posted by Nightstone | Mar 27, 2014 @ 09:51 PM | 3,152 Views
Figured I would post my video and picture tally since the day I got my Mobius and started doing FPV and Aerial Photography... I'm including my go-pro stuff too.

282 Videos.
41,881 Pictures.
About 300 gigs of hard drive space.

Hard to believe I have done that much since starting...

Nightstone
Posted by Nightstone | Mar 27, 2014 @ 06:35 PM | 2,721 Views
Did some flights today with my Big Canard Plane and my F450. As always its alot of fun. The quad and plane both have some jello combating methods at work. Flight cam was my Mobius.

Todays FPV Fun (8 min 28 sec)


As usual its about having fun and being safe...

Nightstone