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Posted by Nightstone | Mar 26, 2014 @ 12:49 AM | 2,513 Views
Here is a test vid from this morning. Its off the large quad with a Gopro 2 hanging off the bottom on a 10 gram balsa mount. Could not have achieved this level of stability without the 3m Dual Lock tape. Velcro would have had the cam dancing all over the place. Winds were around 8 mph.

I did post stabilize the video. I have yet to find software that will effectively eliminate jello or other vibrations effectively. Note how stable the camera was in yaw turns.

Anyways... very happy with the results. This quality of video off a 10 gram balsa mount.

And why you may ask? Waiting for the Gopro 4 or deep discounts on the 3+.

ParkBalsaGoproMount (1 min 39 sec)


Included a pic of the quad with the mount.
Posted by Nightstone | Mar 25, 2014 @ 01:35 AM | 2,888 Views
This is just me posting my thoughts on the whole naza flyaway issue. I'm blogging it because the threads on this subject are full of misinformation and hotly contested. I have been using naza lite gear on 5 different quads now. 2 H quads, 2 F450's and recently an Iron-man. So yes I have alot of time into building and flying them.

1.) Flyaway... For me this means your quad flys away. NOT my quad went out of control and I crashed. A very high percentage of flyaway vids are just that. Quad goes out of control and it crashes. This is not a flyaway. Its a crash. When I lost my first F450 it flew away well beyond my RSSI range. Yep a 2+ klick flyaway. I got some RSSI back when I wlked far enough in the right direction.

2.) Flyaway videos show the crash but often enough there is no sound. No DVR footage to show you waited till your GPS locked. Gimbal stabilized video does not show what your quad is doing. it could be doing a death wobble and all you get is pretty video. The list goes on.

3.) After experiencing 2 crashes due to esc failures I know equipment fails. I came close on a third when I had intermittent issues with a motor. Then there is firmware issues on esc's. Then there are compatibility issues with hardware. Improper setup. Esc range not calibrated. Quad not balanced. Quad over powered. I could go on and on. Hardware fails and sometimes does so intermittently.

4.) Human error... How many folks are flying but know so little about their equipment. Oops I...Continue Reading
Posted by Nightstone | Mar 25, 2014 @ 12:21 AM | 2,567 Views
Some pictures from the weekend of FPV fun. Keep in mind this is on a shoestring budget. Cheap cameras, Sticks, bubble gum and some help from God...

No fancy quadcopters, gimbals or cameras.

Posted by Nightstone | Mar 24, 2014 @ 11:09 PM | 2,582 Views
Here is a few updates to my blog...

1.) Flew my Bixler out FPV 1K on frsky, 250mw Fatshark 5.8 and a homemade cloverleaf. I was very satisfied with the performance of all 3 items. That and I made a cloverleaf that worked.

2.) The new F450 is up and working. Already did a few LOS and FPV flights on it. Did have a surging issue right off the bat but recalibration fixed it. The new version seems to be flying alot more tightly than the old one. Much less drift. Added a stick mount for FPV gear.

3.) Made a quick go-pro mount for my large quad. Mount came out to 9 grams with reinforcing tape ( Balsa ). To get rid of slop its mounted to the boom with Dual Lock from 3m. Got a bunch of samples from a client. Unlike velcro the Dual Lock does not move making it a good choice for the mount.

Would love to get a gopro 3+ and a gimbal but the minute I do The Go-pro 4 will come out. So i'm waiting...

Posted by Nightstone | Mar 24, 2014 @ 10:51 PM | 2,461 Views
C-DVR 640x480 clip. Quad Flight. Much better resolution and clarity at this resolution.

CDVR640x480 (1 min 14 sec)

Posted by Nightstone | Mar 22, 2014 @ 01:31 PM | 2,412 Views
Picked this recorder up cheap. Under $40 shipped. This will be used to track FPV flights incase of an accident and footage is needed to find the plane or quad. This is a cheap alternative to the expensive host of other products out there.

Runs off 12v. Uses a Micro SD card. Video is recorded in 320x240 and 640x480. Manual is in Chinglish. Auto records when you power up your base station. Full menu system to set preferences.

First footage is off a few FPV flights. Its in 320x240. I did not have a BNC to RCA adapter so could not change settings.

Second footage is out front of my house in 640x480.

For what it is its a cheap insurance policy for a lost plane. It also serves as documentation for equipment failures. Say your naza quad does a flyaway you can now show exactly how long you waited for gps lock and the flyaway itself.

C-DVR 320-240 (2 min 18 sec)

...Continue Reading
Posted by Nightstone | Mar 16, 2014 @ 05:35 PM | 2,341 Views
Man... Its been a rough week. My dog was put down last Saturday. I put 2 inches of metal into my foot. Then Friday my quad decides to fly off...

5th FPV flight of the day. We are flying close in at a desert park ( 100-150 yards ). Following trails and cactus. I take off. start following this guy on a bicycle. I get bored and start a turn and my vid starts to brown. I finish my turn and its pretty dark now. I can barely see myself in the distance when it fades. Ok no panic... Lets try adjusting the fatsharks. I get vid back and im on a direct course home. Maybe 100- 150 feet from home. Vid fades again.

I pop my googles tell my partner i'm hitting failsafe ( He has a quad in the air too ). Failsafe activated. I wait for my quad. My partner lands. About 2 mins pass and the first RSSI warning comes across. They continue for a while and then Telemetry lost. Quad is gone.

We go to the last location and try to use telemetry levels to find the quad. I get week signals 43-50. Voltage is okay. Quad is not in the area. We search anyway trying to get closer to it. No luck. We give up as evening approaches.

Searched both sat and Sunday and no luck. Quad is no where in the area where I hit failsafe.

At this point I assume something in the mobius went while I was flying and that activating failsafe caused a flyaway.

Will really think twice before activating it again. Next time I will set it to land and just hike out and get it. On a positive note I did get hundreds of flights on it before this happened with not even a broken prop.

New one ordered...

Posted by Nightstone | Mar 14, 2014 @ 01:05 AM | 2,920 Views
I have about 6 los flights on my new quad. Flying great. I did the FPV stick mod tonight. Using an over under setup. Mobius/Gopro on top and flight cam underneath.

This is a very simple and light way to add FPV or AP to a quad. Its a 1/2x1/2 light balsa stick velcroed and ziptied to the bottom of the quad. Sticks out far enough so you don't get prop in the picture. Also keeps most of the vibration at bay. Did I mention its light. Lastly it gives good separation of your FPV gear.

Posted by Nightstone | Mar 12, 2014 @ 12:20 AM | 2,562 Views
Scraped the H quad and this is the rebuild. Tarot Ironman 650 frame. NTM 2836 750's. Afro 20a Esc's. Naza FC. 12x4.5 props.

Weight without battery came out to 1166 grams. Pretty good.

First flight was in my work area. About 5 secs. She flies. Extended test today at local park. 15mins off a 5000mah.

This should work for now. At least till I need a long range quad and then its lower kv motor and bigger props.

Posted by Nightstone | Mar 10, 2014 @ 07:12 PM | 2,608 Views
Posted by Nightstone | Mar 08, 2014 @ 12:30 AM | 1,882 Views
Maidened the Bixler today. Pretty much uneventful. Seemed to fly fine. Right after the maiden a buddy called and we switched flying locations. This is where the fun started.

I have never flown any thing that will thermal. At my new location I decided to fly up and cut the power. To my surprise she started climbing. wow... Flying the thermals was fun except for the soar neck ( Pun intended ). This plane thermals well.

Anyways I got back home and put together an FPV pod for local flying. I wanted to keep the weight down and maintain a sleek profile. Anyways here is what I did.

Posted by Nightstone | Mar 07, 2014 @ 12:58 AM | 2,041 Views
Just built 2 light FPV planes. A AXN Floater and a Bixler v1.1. Both were kits. Only real issue was the wing bolts on the Bixler. Those wing bolts had me wanting to burn down hobby king but i finally got them in. The AXN kit was also a better build quality.

These 2 planes will replace the flying PIG ( Fpv Raptor ). A plane I really disliked. Large landing area needed. Bad stall. Ugly. Poor flying characteristics. Not very fun to fly. I guess if you like long distance flying this would work. Thats just not my game and I find it very boring. I just don't get flying high and long distance with a screen full of OSD when you can fly lower and become a part of the landscape.

Axn has been maidened. Flys great. First FPV will be this weekend and i'm looking forward to it. Bixler gets a maiden tommorow.

I ordered a Tarot Iron man 650 frame and some NTM 2836 750kv motors and this will replace my large H quad. Naza controller and Afro simonk esc's. A nice addition to my quad Fleet.

Posted by Nightstone | Mar 04, 2014 @ 04:53 PM | 1,785 Views
After putting my H quad back together ( Esc Cooked ) a while back I had an incident with it. I was flying it los in GPS mode. I was high up. Anyways... I was flying it around pretty hotly. At one point I gunned it forward and to my surprise this big giant H quad with 12" props goes and does a front flip. It completed the flip about ten feet from the ground. Wow. I landed and have flown it around in a much gentler manor.

This incident kept nagging me so I did some more research on naza gain settings and what I found was quite surprising.

The usual spiel you hear repeated over and over is to increase the gains till you get wobble and then back them off a bit till she flies right. This is the method I was doing.

What I read stated that the first set of gains is for the copters sensors. This is how it reacts to the environment ( Wind etc ). The att gains are actually your stick response and handle how your sticks make the quad respond.

All of a sudden it all made sense. Those powerful DT700 motors with the gains set high are an accident waiting to happen. I reduced my att gains down to 80 and it made a big difference. Quad response slowed down. For AP and FPV this is what I need. Not a quad that does front flips in GPS mode.

I also tuned down my F450 to 90 and I feel much more comfortable with it now while FPVing.

I wonder how many crashes the gains set to high have caused. Hmmm

Posted by Nightstone | Mar 03, 2014 @ 01:00 AM | 1,727 Views
Stick Quad Pics from todays FPV fun. Flight cam up front. Mobius stuck to rear.

Posted by Nightstone | Mar 02, 2014 @ 01:54 AM | 1,972 Views
I was being stupid today and playing with the weather gods. Anyways took this pic with my quad just before the storm hit. We got hail shortly after that.

Fyi... Got hit by lightning at the grand canyon in 2005 while taking pictures on the Rim during a summer storm. The things you do to get a photo. Never again though. I see lightning... I go home.

Posted by Nightstone | Mar 02, 2014 @ 12:50 AM | 2,001 Views
2 Videos. Plane is my Bird Of Prey. Quad is my stick quad. Both vids were during windy flight conditions. Thanks go out to Rich for his spotting efforts and help insuring my vehicles come home.



Posted by Nightstone | Mar 01, 2014 @ 11:30 PM | 1,899 Views
Posting some of my results with some of my home built antennas.

Moxon (Horizontal) and Turnstile (Horizontal). This combo works good if you are away from any kind of interference and human structures. In town you will know pretty quick where areas of interference are.

Dipole (Vertical) and Vee ( Vertical). So far is working good in areas with lots of interference.

Moxon Vertical. Built but not used as of yet. Will try in with a Vee antenna this week after the storms are gone.

Some pics.

Posted by Nightstone | Feb 26, 2014 @ 12:41 AM | 1,895 Views
Sharing a few things in my blog. First off is a vid I did today with my mobius. Just slow flying around the park. The quad is flying great with nice long flight times.

Anyways did the FPV sitting on a new $15 stool I picked up at Big 5. It handles my 6'1 220Lb frame nicely. No more lugging the large chair around.

My fat sharks fog up alot when left on my forehead. To combat this I picked up a couple of Do rags. They absorb sweat and the goggles sit on top of them with no fog issues. lastly the do rag fits in my fatshark case making a nice cushion.


F450 put putting around the park (8 min 6 sec)

Posted by Nightstone | Feb 14, 2014 @ 09:38 PM | 2,075 Views
This is my latest FPV plane. Based on my first armin version from over a year ago. Plane is built out of MPF foam. As usual safety is a priority. The plane is designed not to do damage on impact ( see my other builds for details ).

3 wood dowels were used for supports. one on each wing and one down the center. The rear large wing was designed to flex up a little giving a slight dihedral. Top piece of foam is curved over a dowel to give the wing its shape. Front wing has a KF air foil. Rear wing is 40" and the front wing is 24".

The fuse is 3" wide and gives alot of room for gear. Battery location is over the front wing. Lots of room for antennas and FPV gear.

She flies great. Well beyond my expectations. You can see in the video how quickly she takes of and the slow speed she is at during takeoff. I did my second flight with her today. It was a 20 min LOS flight. Takeoff, landing and a few flyby's are in the vid. There was some wind.


Posted by Nightstone | Feb 14, 2014 @ 04:22 PM | 2,850 Views
These are my settings for my Taranis Naza Lite F450. You can modify these to suit your own needs. I do not use manual mode and have a double failsafe mode instead. Its quite easy to change the main failsafe back to manual. For the record I think manual mode has caused more issues through accidental activation by having it on a switch. Its not something I need for FPV/Photography.

Switch SF – Failsafe
Switch SA – GPS/A/Failsafe – you can switch failsafe to M
Knob S2 – Gains
Switch SD – Normal/Course Lock/Homelock
I am using a ORX Spektrum Module
Simple 4 channel is the type


Chan 1-4 Normal
Chan 5 SA 100
:= MAX -60 SF(arrow down)
Chan 6 S2 100
Chan 7 SD 100


Chan 5 -40 66

Note – In the mixer when setting chan 5 that second line controls the SF failsafe switch. When you add it…

Source will be MAX
Weight -60
Switch SF(Down Arrow)

Note you may need to adjust servo or weight settings to put them where you want. I am new to the Taranis. This is what works for me. If you have a better way post it.

Just hooked up companion9x. Pics are screen shots of the settings.