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Posted by Nightstone | Oct 24, 2014 @ 05:28 PM | 783 Views
Did the first flight with the Gimbal this morning. It worked perfect right out of the box. Very happy with the results.

Some side notes...

Workflow. Premier does not work well with the Raw 4k footage. Stuttering on a striped SSD drive Array. I used the go pro software to do the conversion prior to editing in premier for this video. Since processing will be required I intend to run it through Mercalli first for minor tweaking and then off to Premier skipping the Go Pro software entirely.

I have decided to go and learn Premier a bit better than I do. So thats going to be soaking up some time also.

Gopro 4 Black, F450, Tarot 2D V2 Test (6 min 4 sec)

Posted by Nightstone | Oct 24, 2014 @ 12:03 AM | 1,234 Views
Mounted a Tarot Gimbal on my F450. Its a small piece of light bass wood that is in between the Tarot and frame. 3 Zip ties and 1 bolt hold it in place. Seems very sturdy. This was the lightest method I could think of. Fully loaded flying weight now is right at 1.6kg with a 5k 3s and FPV gear. Expecting 10-12 min flight times.

Tarot was disappointing in one aspect. The gopro mount does not allow for a lens protector. V2 Should have addressed this. Other than that the Gimnal worked first go around. Test and tuning coming up.

2 Planes shown are a 3D plane to replace the one my dog accidentally wrecked. The second is the one I use my new Gopro On.

Posted by Nightstone | Oct 16, 2014 @ 09:38 PM | 968 Views
I have been having issues with jello for a while now. I think I did what most would do. Match a balanced prop with a motor and go from there. Results were anything but good. Best I could get still had some jello.

Yes there are ND filters and dampening. This adds weight and is not always an option.

Yesterday after another day of you guessed it "jello" I decide to bench the motor and start testing props using a seismograph app. The results blew me away. I was stunned.

Quality well balanced props were still causing large amounts of vibration. Motor and prop feeding off each other. Getting through my plane props I still had not found a suitable combo. Then it dinged and I decided to try a Quad prop. Stuck on a 10.45 prop and for the first time we had harmony.

Flight tested two of my canards with this prop win no jello. Even the mobius behaved in bright Arizona sunlight.

Thought I had it in the bag when I began testing again today but was again thrown several curve balls. Here is what I have come up with.

1.) If you want jello free video you need to have extra motors and a variety of props.
2.) A prop may work well on one motor yet poorly on a different motor even when the same model.
3.) Its a matching game. Keep trying different props till you find one with low vibration throughout the throttle range.
4.) Lower pitch is usually less vibration.
5.) Keep some Xanax on hand.
6.) Do not give up.
7.) Try your Quadcopter props on your planes.

Basically there is no use this prop with this motor solution. Motor/prop variances are too many for that.

2 canards are jello free and I did my FX-61 tonight. Hopefully it will perform well. Next up my bixler.

Posted by Nightstone | Oct 16, 2014 @ 03:04 PM | 870 Views
Finally got the jello out of my 2 canards. While testing the jello issue I followed my buddy around in his Storch.

Quick 5 min vid.

Following A Storch (5 min 50 sec)

Posted by Nightstone | Oct 16, 2014 @ 02:37 AM | 1,329 Views
I decided to put my Hero 4 Black on one of my foamies to see what video quality would be like. Shot in 2.7k/48 and posted at 1080P/30.

This was taken late afternoon today. Plane is of of my small Canards. $500 camera on a $3 dollar tree airframe.

Results look promising.

Hero 4 Black on an RC Plane (6 min 52 sec)

Posted by Nightstone | Oct 09, 2014 @ 04:33 PM | 1,246 Views
Took the quad out today to get some sample photos as the weather started to break. These are shot in continuous mode with Protune active. Iso set to 100. Gopro color.

Do with them as you will. Have not fully looked over them yet. What I saw though was pretty good for a camera of this type.

5 pics in 2 rar files.

Posted by Nightstone | Oct 07, 2014 @ 09:08 PM | 1,022 Views
Here are some examples of pictures taken with my 4 Black. Images are sharp edge to edge. Dynamic range seems adequate. Exposure is all over the place. None of the images were blown out. Histograms were fine with a tendency to under expose. Contrast was all over the place.

Pretty much what you would expect from this kind of camera. With a little post processing decent/sharp images should be no problem.

PtGui at times had issues with my Gopro 2 images. Ptgui seems to like my black 4 images just fine. No weirdness.

Im very happy with the camera.

The pano is what I did in post processing. The rest are as shot.

Posted by Nightstone | Oct 05, 2014 @ 12:42 PM | 1,773 Views
Just picked up my Gopro 4 Black. Wanted to post weights.

Gopro 4 - 65 grams
Gopro 4 W/Battery - 88 grams
Gopro 4 W/Battery and case - 152 grams

Will post more stuff after battery is charged!

Posted by Nightstone | Oct 04, 2014 @ 12:47 AM | 1,987 Views
Me and my usual flying buddy hit one of the parks today. I flew one of my small canards. What a blast. Flying low has its challenges but I cannot seem to get enough. Its like a drug.

Canard FPV in the Cereus Giganteus (7 min 52 sec)


And a pic of the plane...
Posted by Nightstone | Sep 30, 2014 @ 11:17 PM | 1,661 Views
Here is how I am doing my tail assemblies on my tricopters. The original idea was rcexplorers version with linkage. Linkage is always sloppy. Explanation is in the pictures. Pretty self explanatory.

Posted by Nightstone | Sep 28, 2014 @ 01:41 PM | 1,881 Views
Disassembled the quad last night and started the process of putting equipment where it should go.

Here is some equipment weights to give you an idea of how out of balance the quad is. So that's 127 grams up front and a whole lot more in the back.

Gopro 2 and flight cam on the front - 127 grams
5000 Mah battery and video TX - 450 grams
6000 Mah battery and video TX - 530 grams

The battery has to come much further forward than the quad will allow with the FC at the recommended location. Even with it further forward it still will not balance.

Only solution is to put the FC on top and leave the entire inside for battery placement.

From TBS web site -
DJI Flamewheel Motors with Graupner 10x5 or 9x5 E-Prop
3S 5'000 - 6'000mAh or 4S 2500 - 3700mAh

Second issue NOT listed on the main web site is that you cannot go wide angle with 10" props and have prop free video/pics. They suggest using 127 degree field of view. Another design flaw.

We don't want to forget that when an FC manufacturer recommends the FC be located at CG its best to put it at CG. When you read the naza manual the GPS location numbers are measured against the CG not the FC location. Syncing the GPS to CG while the FC is at a different location cannot be a good thing.

So far I have moved the FC up top and i'm going to design a plate to extend the gopro position out of the props. Hopefully it will become usable at that point.

I really wish I would have done more research prior to buying. Bad design and bad layout.

Posted by Nightstone | Sep 28, 2014 @ 03:08 AM | 1,869 Views
Was out this afternoon in north phoenix on an IT job. When I left the job I could see this massive shelf coming in. With time limited I ran to the nearest park and launched my quad. Got in about 2 minutes of flight time before having to land. I got the quad back in the trunk just as the drops started to fall.

I also got to meet a gentleman from Monsoon Tracker ( Storm Chasers ) who watched me make the flight and came over to say HI.

Biggest challenge was the wind. GPS hold was struggling in the rough winds. Very scary flight for me.

We had over 70mph winds and a bunch of damage.

Here are some pics

Posted by Nightstone | Sep 28, 2014 @ 01:53 AM | 1,871 Views
I recently picked up a TBS Discovery. Had it out today for a full FPV test. I'm disappointed in it at this point. There are issues with design and weight distribution.

With equipment in suggested positions and a 5K 3s battery it flies real tail heavy. This results in a tilted flying attitude and flight times were about 10-15% less because of it. That and there was a constant struggle for the FC to control the imbalance.

Secondly... The suggested FC location is not at CG. When a company says mount the FC at CG... That is where it should go.

At this point the only solution is going to be to mount the FC on top at CG. This will allow equipment to be placed where it should be.

There are alot of posts regarding this issue. Consensus seems to be to up your pids and fly it tail heavy with the FC mispositioned. Unacceptable. FC should be at CG and quad should balance.

I wish at this point I would have done some in depth research prior to purchase. Another over hyped product.

Posted by Nightstone | Sep 27, 2014 @ 12:20 AM | 1,284 Views
Quick guide for setting up the Multiwii MWC FC Bluetooth Module Programmer from hobby king to work with the Multiwii 328p.

Its real easy to do.

RXD - Goes to signal pin on AUX3
TXD - Goes to signal pin on AUX2
VCC - Goes to power pin on AUX3 ( Middle pin)
GND - Goes to GND on AUX3

Download Multiwii EZ-Gui from the droid app store. Make sure your BT is enabled on your android device. Do the config in the software then connect. Works well off both my phone and tablet. Note - Both my droid devices are rooted. Don't think its needed though.

*** Note - this is a nice way of tuning your quad without having to constantly plug in by USB. You want to do this before enabling aux2.

Next up we will be hooking the BT device up to an APM 2.5 unit.

Posted by Nightstone | Sep 24, 2014 @ 12:15 AM | 1,823 Views
Decided tonight to see if I could get this cheap board working in Flying wing mode. Made a dollar tree mockup and took a go at it. Here is how I did it.

1.) Flash board with flying wing mode. Define your board.
2.) Right servo on D11 - Left Servo on D12
3.) Roll to roll - Pitch to Pitch
4.) Set Taranis to simple 4 channel mix. NOT ELEVON
5.) Chan 5 to aux1 on board
6.) Use win Gui 2.3 beta to program
7.) Program Aux1 with pass through/Angle/Horizon or combo you want Add baro in. Etc

Here is a vid of the results. Servos chatter a bit. It works. Going to take some tuning I think. Will try it on a wing when my bluetooth comes in from HK. This way I can program from my tablet or phone in the field.

HK328pWingMode (0 min 57 sec)

Posted by Nightstone | Sep 23, 2014 @ 04:37 PM | 1,536 Views
Just went through the whole setup on this FC. Thought I would share My setup. This is basic. Google is your friend for further info.

1.) Do throttle range on all esc's
2.) Use arduino to flash 2.3 ( Set quad type, Board type, #define RCAUXPIN12 )
2a.) Do multiwii esc calibration - define ESC_CALIB_CANNOT_FLY
3.) Set trim in acro mode. Acro is no mode selected.
4.) Calibrate ACC & Mag
5.) Set throttle curve to 30
6.) Setup aux1 and 2 for switches. Connect aux 2 to pin 12 NOT aux 2. Only signal wire is needed.
7.) Do sticks calibration while in Angle.
8.) Play with your pids
9.) Cover Baro with foam.

Have fun flying.

Posted by Nightstone | Sep 23, 2014 @ 04:25 PM | 1,470 Views
Built 2 new Multiwii copters. A tri and a quad. Both flew fine. I ended up parting out the Tri. I just could not get into how it flew ( Plane like ).

The small H copter flies really nice. Its light at 634 grams without a battery. With a 5000 mah I get about 15 mins of flight time.

To keep the frame light I used epoxy to hold it together. No hardware. Zip ties for everything including motor mounts and props.

This will be my main FPV quad going forward. Keeping the nice quads for photography.

Posted by Nightstone | Sep 19, 2014 @ 12:19 AM | 2,150 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.

Posted by Nightstone | Sep 18, 2014 @ 12:47 AM | 1,612 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.

Posted by Nightstone | Sep 16, 2014 @ 05:23 PM | 2,061 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.