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Posted by Nightstone | Jun 28, 2015 @ 10:04 PM | 1,349 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 | 1,754 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 | 923 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

Posted by Nightstone | Jun 24, 2015 @ 11:17 PM | 874 Views
My last blog entry was over 2 months ago. Due to health issues and a death i have just not felt much like posting or flying. Well i'm back and should start posting again.

Posted by Nightstone | Apr 13, 2015 @ 05:34 PM | 1,790 Views
With 20 plus years of IT/IS im no stranger to hacks, cracks and software work a rounds. So seeing that V2 firmware was possible was really not that surprising.

Before going any further I would like to say I am not advocating for anyone to hack their Naza lite. Lets move on...

I have been flying several lite's for a while now. There are alot of issues, glitches and annoyances. Even a flyaway. Through out this period I was always under the assumption the V2 was just an FC with expanded features.

Upon flying a lite with V2 firmware I soon found out there was alot more to it than that. The quad flew much smoother. Way more locked in. GPS lock was considerably better. Ability to fly in winds was enhanced. Etc. Etc.Etc.

Upon further thought I began questioning why DJI would not upgrade the lite to be a better flying FC. Not features. Just the ability to fly better. Especially when the issues being reported are legion.

That brought up safety... Hmmm a quad that did all of the things I mentioned above would be alot safer to fly right? I mean DJI cares about fly aways and other issues Lite users are experiencing. Right? I think I already answered my own question. DJI has had the ability to firmware patch the lite all along into a better SAFER fc. And of course has not...

Money and greed trumps safety....

I think DJI has an obligation here. It should be interesting to see where all this goes. I think most lite users could careless about the V2 features. what they want is a more stable FC. Something that DJI could have provided all along and still can. Are you listening DJI?

I don't advocate hacking anything and these are my opinions...

Posted by Nightstone | Apr 11, 2015 @ 12:56 AM | 2,422 Views
I started this project knowing there were issues with APM and small quads. Some progress had been made according to what I had read. Secondly I was worried about vibration.

The board I used was the HK version with the Micro GPS.

After reading through several threads on using the external compass I decided not to try and cut sj10 jumper. Folks were having issues with the cut. Not making the cut is where my issues began. All kinds of strange issues cropped up including bad compass calibrations. I finally found a post where someone mentioned disconnecting the external compass. So that's what I did. It was smooth from there on. I'm including a diagram on which cable to cut to disable the external compass and not the GPS. Using the on board compass is not an issue so far. I could not see how a couple of inches would make that much difference.

APM 3.2.1 was used. Autotune took about 10 and a half minutes on a windy day. Loiter and alt hold are working perfect. These are the indicators that things are going well.

Just installed the FPV gear tonight.

Vid is a quick one showing how the quad is flying. I used loiter early on then switched over to althold and let her drift.

I'm quite happy how this turned out. Having safety options for me is a must when you fly FPV. APM provides that...

ZMR 250 APM Micro (1 min 47 sec)

Posted by Nightstone | Apr 02, 2015 @ 05:16 PM | 1,846 Views
This little test surprised me. I tested some vibration balls vs Cheap Harbor Freight ear plugs. They all damped the vibration but the foam seemed to perform better.


Balls vs Foam vibration quadcopter mobius (2 min 15 sec)

Judge for yourself... Short Vid.
Posted by Nightstone | Mar 22, 2015 @ 01:04 AM | 2,086 Views
Have not posted a vid in a while. This is from today. flying an ultra cheap dollar tree 30" canard mostly on the deck.

Showing that it really does not cost much to have alot of fun.

Sheet and a half of DT. Old floater jet motor. 2 used servos. HK esc. Aomway 200mw. Beatup FS cam. well used CP antenna.

The beauty of a cheap small plane like this is you can fly and land almost anywhere. Its not going to hurt anyone. Build in an evening. Stall resistant. If you crash who cares. 2k range. Its ugly and no one wants it. Fits a mobius for video. Women will like it. Dogs may sit on it. AND ITS FUN.

Mini 30" FPV Canard (7 min 14 sec)

Posted by Nightstone | Mar 20, 2015 @ 08:36 PM | 2,882 Views
Just received this Critter Sitter in the mail today. It was $63 shipped with tax from walmart. Its a backpack chair combo.

One thing I am really tired of is carrying stuff to my flying locations. Backpack, Folding chair, planes, quads, etc. Then comes the unpack and setup. Then repack when you leave.

When I saw this chair combo it seemed like it was worth giving a try. There is room in pack portion for my gear and the chair has a back rest. While not being used it acts as a table.

Safe keeping of your gear is another cool plus with this combo. Your sitting on your gear while you fly. After having my phone stolen out of my pack while flying this should help keep things safe.

For reference on the pictures... I'm 6'1 around 200lbs. The chair is comfortable.

Will report back here on how it works out...

Oh before I forget. The Dew rag makes an excellent rest for your goggles while on your head. This keeps moisture out of the goggles from your forehead.

Posted by Nightstone | Mar 16, 2015 @ 06:25 PM | 2,830 Views
Picked one of these up at hobbyking during a recent sale for $28. Put 2 servos and a floater jet motor in and it was on...

This ended up being a great mini FPV platform. It has room for a 2200. Dos autopilot. Esc. Receiver. GPS. 200mwVTX. Fatshark 600tvl cam.

First off its fast and agile. With it being small its hard to keep a visual on it. This is NOT a beginner plane. Its in the upper intermediate zone. As for bad habits go it has a nasty death spiral if you stall. Recovery is near impossible. Loaded down with FPV gear and 3s means keeping your speed up. Yes its fast....

This plane has one really cool factor. Its real stealthy. by the time your up 300' or so your pretty much invisible to folks on the ground. This will be great for flying out of those parks your not to welcome at. From launch to being pretty much invisible happens real fast.

Lastly she flies well with a Mobius. The added weight was negligible.

From the pics you can see its a fairly clean setup and not a butcher job.

Posted by Nightstone | Mar 13, 2015 @ 07:47 PM | 2,414 Views
The geek in me is always looking for new stuff to play with. I found these antennas on surveil zones site. For $10 a pop I figured why not give them a try. They promise 6dbi in an omni directional array. I'm skeptical to say the least. But you never know till you try.

Over the next week or so I will be testing these and will report back on this thread.

Also... I picked up a 12dbi patch to try also.

Here are pics of the antenna and radiation patterns.

Posted by Nightstone | Mar 09, 2015 @ 04:22 PM | 2,350 Views
Here is my latest canard. As usual its small enough to fit in a Kia Spectra Trunk. Sports an APM Autopilot. Wheels. And now front flaps.

This is version 8 of the plane. Its been my traveling plane for a while now. As a canard its not stall-able which is a perfect attribute for an FPV plane. With photography as an ever present goal in my flying I wanted to see if I could seriously slow the plane down. Being able to fly super slow or almost hover while near a photogenic location was my goal. Not to mention the cool factor.

My first go at this was by letting the APM handle stability through the flaps transition process. This was almost successful or mostly so. It came to a screeching halt when the plane did a ground loop on takeoff while flaps where down in FBWA. I did not see that coming as the plane was doing fine in the air. I think the high throttle short take off was too much for the APM to handle and up and over she went.

The new plane you see here is setup differently. All transitioning is handled at the radio level vs the AP. As the flaps go down the elevons also go down. For my current setup that came out to be about 30% down elevator. Second condition was not flying the plane at high speed then hitting flaps down. Again to much for the auto pilot to handle and your risking stability.

At this point the plane flys great. Transitions are smooth. With flaps down she becomes a slow flyer and will almost hover. With no flaps the 1100kv motor on 4s clips along at a very respectable speed. Best of both worlds.

Misc info... Plane has a 40" ws with a 3" fuse. 30" long. 2836 1100kv motor. 8x6 prop. 60a esc. 815 grams without battery. 500 square inches of wing surface. She lands nose up and the rear gear is very springy making rough landings possible.

Posted by Nightstone | Mar 03, 2015 @ 11:18 PM | 2,620 Views
At this point i'm pretty much free off the fatshark/immersionrc products. But I still have this broken 250mw. Thinking I could get it repaired for half price I could offer it to one of the fliers at our field for use.

That started the emails rolling. I sent 3 to fatshark support. About a week apart. All asked for an RMA and instructions.

Not one was answered...

I know they are wrapped up with FPVlab and run their support out of there but you would figure they would at least reply to a direct request. Not the case it seems.

As far as their choice of support location goes... I don't find the place very professional to say the least. Maturity is lacking. Moderation is... Lets leave that alone. Use of foul language. etc....

Well that was that... I tried.

Posted by Nightstone | Mar 03, 2015 @ 08:36 PM | 2,326 Views
For $9.99 I added one of these to my last order from Surveilzone. I was really not expecting much. I have had several flights now with the camera across a variety of lighting conditions.

The camera comes as a light board cam. It does work with 5v making it an easy replacement for other 5v cams. Color is good and leans a bit towards the saturated end of things. Resolution is very good when paired with my v2 skyzones.

There are some solar artifacting when aimed into the sun. On a bright sunny day the camera worked well. on an overcast day there were some issues adjusting between light and dark.

Its not an Effio V. But it sure is better than my fatshark cams that are 4.5x more expensive. The resolution difference was very noticeable. I would definitely buy again.

Link to cam

Posted by Nightstone | Feb 27, 2015 @ 12:47 PM | 3,136 Views
When I got my Skyzone goggles a few weeks back one of the first things I did was test them with my ImmersionRC 600mw Unit. Everything appeared to be working okay. I took rides on different friends flights who were all using them and things seemed okay.

At the beginning of this week I set my wing back up and immediately started having sync/interference issues. I used filters. I tried different VTX units ( Boscam & Aomway). Nothing but issues... It was driving me nuts. Then yesterday afternoon it clicked and I found the issue.

When I got my goggles I set all my VTX's to the fatshark band. This included my Boscam and Aomway units. When the wing was setup it introduced more Interference because of the proximity of components. This ended up bringing to light the real issue.

The Skyzone fatshark band is actually off on frequency when using those channels. Its not an immersionRC issue but a skyzone issue. The proof was in the Boscam and Aomway units exhibiting the same behavior as the IRC unit.

With good separation of equipment on a plane it was not noticeable as much. When the wing came into play it became very evident.

The solution here is quite simple. Do not use the skyzone 4 band. Stay off that band. Yes it will mean getting rid of your fatshark gear but is well worth it.

After switching my other 2 VTX's over to different bands all sync/interference issues went away.

I love my Skyzone, Boscam, Sony Effio V setup.

If you read this and it helped you with your Skyzones post and let me know. I'm curious if its goggle wide or just mine.

Posted by Nightstone | Feb 23, 2015 @ 08:04 AM | 2,525 Views
About 6 months ago I picked up a minim osd from HK for my APM. i could not get it working with my fatshark stuff. I'm a hard core geek and spent many hours trying to figure it out. From different firm wares to different setups it was a no go.

So I assumed it was a bad board and picked up 2 more on ebay. Again... the damn things would not work.

This morning... after converting over to Skyzone and 12v cameras for the hell of it I decided to try once more. Maybe one of the osd's was actually good.

All 3 worked flawlessly. Plug and go.

Man O Man... Foiled by a 5v camera.

On a positive note... most of my FS stuff is now gone and I have moved on to better equipment. Love that Sony Effio V. Nice match for my skyzone 2's.

Posted by Nightstone | Feb 09, 2015 @ 11:15 PM | 3,389 Views
I have been flying my Radian with velcroed on FPV gear for a while now. Tonight I decided to see if I could add an auto pilot and a long range receiver without any major mods to the plane. There are Lots of chopped up modded Radians out there.

If you turn the radian into a chopped up flying pig your loosing the whole reasonon for having it. Its a glider.

You can see from the pictures it fits a 2200. Fy-dos is on a shelf above the esc. the L9R fit nicely below. Camera and VTX are velcroed on. I used the vtx location to ensure perfect CG.

I have a better camera on the way and will be modding camera location. For now it has RTH and about a 4 mile range. Perfect for casual flying.

Posted by Nightstone | Feb 02, 2015 @ 11:15 PM | 3,465 Views
Here are my newest creations... All are setup for both line of sight and FPV. The green plane is a little 40" speedy plane. Blast to fly. Has an APM for those oops moments. I don't like flying anything fast down low at our local park without the safety of RTL.

The red bird is a slow fly 3d foamie. Yep... Its fun to fly fpv on a 3d plane. Opens up a whole new world. And a barf bag if not carefull.

The canard is new and unmaidened. Same power setup as the green plane. Also with leveling and a circle mode. Camera on this will be mounted in the tail.

Making these planes dual purpose makes for some fun flying. 3D, In and out of poles, trees etc. chase, Really low stuff etc.

No fear because the cost is so low... Priceless. Do that with a $1500 plane.

Oh before I forget... Putting a cheap APM unit in a small foamie works out well.

Posted by Nightstone | Jan 17, 2015 @ 11:33 PM | 3,525 Views
My Skyzone V2 Goggles came in today. Had enough time to hook them up and use them in the front yard. The clarity and brightness blew the attitudes out of the water. No contest at all.

I used them with a ( Dec 2013 ) ImmersionRC 600mw receiver. no issues. Will flight test tomorrow. Will also be testing these goggles against some other ones folks are using at the field.

Will followup on this thread.

Thanks for the free 2 day priority shipping GETFPV. You guys are great.

Posted by Nightstone | Jan 16, 2015 @ 02:05 PM | 3,328 Views
Last year I lost my quad due to video going black while flying. I hit return to home and ended up with a flyaway. I always blamed the video going to black on the quadcopter.

Today... the truth came out. I had put my FPV mini pod On my combat bloody wonder for fun. All went well. Several flights later I moved the pod over to my 3D plane and took off under goggles. As I started to enter my first turn my video again started to go black and within a second I had a black screen. Safety first I immediately nosed the plane straight in.

After I got back from fetching the wreckage I tried to replicate the problem. As soon as the battery was tilted a certain way The vid would go black. Me and another FPVer played with it and quickly realized it was the battery. Using his battery every thing worked great. No fade.

This appears to be an intermittent issue. Upon arrival back home I could not get it to do it again. It is also an issue internal to the battery and not a plug.

I am very lucky this occurred at the Field and not during a long distance flight . I am happy to have found the issue. It only cost me a Quad and a 3D plane.

As I am moving away from Fatshark/Immersion Its not that big of a deal. I plan on Using some different QUALITY batteries with the googles going forward. Some Skyzone V2 goggles will be here tomorrow or Monday.

If your getting weird issues with your FS Goggles try a different battery first. I think the ones they have branded are cheapies with manufactured issues.

NS - Really tired of FS/immersionrc issues. I spent more but have not gotten a better quality.