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Posted by Nightstone | Jan 02, 2015 @ 02:35 PM | 1,770 Views
Just a brief blog entry on using the DT 700 on 4s. I know this motor pretty well from multirotor use on 3s. On 3s I ran it with 12x4.7 props without issue.

Today I put it into one of my sport foamy's to see how it would do on 4s. First prop I tried was a 10x4.7 HK slow fly prop. Flew great just a bit slow for my taste. Motor came down cool. From there I put on a 10x7 to pick up the speed a bit. Plane flew noticeably faster. I really liked the way it flew. Plenty of power. Flew it pretty hard and motor came down cool to touch.

I did not feel the need to amp test the motor with these props. The DT 700 has been tested with 13" props without over heating. Going down 3 prop sizes put me well into the safe zone.

There was some posted data with an 11x5.5" prop on 4s. Amps were around 17.4 and 1380 grams of thrust. This seems viable also.

For me the 10x7 on 4s hit a sweet spot and will be what I will be using going forward.

NOTE - The DT 700 is not rated for 4s. Use at your own risk.

Posted by Nightstone | Dec 31, 2014 @ 11:05 AM | 2,020 Views
I was in one of my latest flare ups. Morphine surging through my body. Slightly foggy and feeling pretty bad. Lets go build something.

I ended up making this offset motor plane. My understanding of asymmetrical planes is that the offset of the motor is compensated by weight on the opposite side countering the effects of the p-factor of the prop. Theoretically making the plane fly better than a tradition plane.

It flies great. Much better than expected. It feels like its on rails. I am very surprised. Two issues do effect its flight. The first is you have to use a little rudder on takeoff. The second has to do with the very slim profile. When you make turns there is more altitude loss that has to be compensated for.

Some pluses for the plane are stability. Large area for gear. Suited for FPV. Flies great with 2 4s 2200 batteries. Center area of wing provides additional lift.

Wing span is 40 inches with 8" for the center section. Length is 30". 4s. 2836 1100 with an 8x6 prop. 4 9 gram servos. Blue 30a esc.

Posted by Nightstone | Dec 25, 2014 @ 05:14 PM | 2,391 Views
I have been pretty happy with my 3s setups up until the day I was having issues climbing up to the top of some low mountains while out FPVing. I was Mr efficiency. Everything revolved around flight times. After changing some motors out on my planes I decided to try some 4s setups.

I picked up 4 2200 mah zippy slim 25c 4s batteries. These are good up to around 55 amps. Knowing HK often fudges a bit on C ratings lets just say don't go over 44 amps. weight on these are not much more than 3s packs at 210g a battery.

So what does going from 3s to 4 s get me. Well it gets me higher voltage. Higher voltage gives me more wattage and higher RPM. To make it easy lets just say we get more power to work with.

How you use this extra power will depend largely on your propeller. You can prop for better speed or better efficiency or a combination of both.

I use a 2836 1100 motor on my small canards. On 3s I fly with a 10x6e or 10x4.7sf and get around 15mins of flight time.

On 4 s I bench tested 2 props so far. An 8x4 came in at 268w at 17.17a. The 8x6e came in at 344w at 22.37a.

I test flew with 8x6. The difference was dramatic. What was a slower efficient flyer became a much faster plane. Climb rate and top end were noticeably faster as was responsiveness. For mixed flying my airtime was still 12 plus minutes. I could have extended that but I was having to much fun.

Going 4s for this plane has given me a larger speed/climb range. Will I always fly on 4s? No. But if I need the extra performance its as simple as switching a prop and battery. Why limit your plane.

Merry Christmas All
Posted by Nightstone | Dec 15, 2014 @ 10:56 PM | 1,917 Views
Here a while back I was working on some junk quads for FPV. Keep my nice quads for film and photography and use the junk ones for FPV and taking skills up to the next level.

I picked up a few real cheap multiwii boards and got things working fine. They flew fine but just had a lack luster feel when flying.

Last week I decided to try my stand alone Fy-dos unit. Was I pleasantly surprised. It did a great job as a quad controller. Much smoother and precise than the multiwii. this is without the compass or advanced features.

So this is what I ended up putting together. Quad weighs under 1000g loaded with a 5200mah battery, mobius and FPV xmitter. Flight times are around 15 mins and it fly's very well. Wood, epoxy, zip ties and rubber bands. No screws.

Posted by Nightstone | Dec 07, 2014 @ 04:57 PM | 1,560 Views
Here is my latest project. It started when I was looking through my old projects and came across my wing and a half pusher. That got me thinking and it soon turned into a seaplane I'm calling a "Bicuda".

She is pretty much put together except for esc, reciever and servos. That and a bit of touch up. Not to mention battery tray and some panels.

Pics 1-3 show what she looks like and pic 4 shows the hatch and push on wing floats.

Maiden should be in a day or so. It will be off grass as there are no RC water parks near me. I expect water performance to be good with the raised wing.

Oh... Wing is 39" and 32" long. 2200kv motor. 4 servos. Etc Etc.Etc.

Posted by Nightstone | Nov 26, 2014 @ 09:23 PM | 2,379 Views
Sharing my Bixler 2 build. Do not use this build if your not going to FPV with a large battery in the front. The plane will be tail heavy.

Parts -

SK3 - 2836 - 1500 Motor.
2 Metal gear servos for Rudder and elevator.
2 HXT 9 Gram for Ailerons.
45A Turnigy Trust ESC
Apm 2.7 + Gps
7" Prop
IRC Pan and Tilt Cam
IRC 600mw 5.8 Tx
Frsky Rec Xp Series.
Turnigy 5200mah Battery

I did not want this plane to be a butcher bird and chop it all up. I also wanted to enclose as much of the plane as possible. Less on the outside the better it flies. Note the IRC TX mounted inside the cockpit. Cockpit retains the plastic shield and is held on by Velcro underneath.

Flying weight is around 1130 grams with a 5200 mah. Flight time is 30-60 mins depending on how you fly.

Rear mounted servos. Carbon fiber rods for linkage.

Small hatch on the side for APM access. Apm, case and GPS is all that I use.

Plane was maidened yesterday. Will do 2-3 more LOS flights prior to FPV. Wing tape on order for some color.

Note - Used that new gorilla glue clear repair tape to glass the bottom of the fuse.

Posted by Nightstone | Nov 17, 2014 @ 11:23 PM | 2,528 Views
It was going to happen. I knew it was inevitable. A while back I had my first run in with a park person...

I'm not going to go into alot of detail. I was flying a quad FPV while doing photography. Alone. No one around me. I was confronted, threatened with a citation, etc. I managed to talk my way out of it and left. After the fact I did make contact with the organization.

The level of ignorance about what I was doing was pretty high. They considered my activity as an act of vandalism. They did not want me there because they wanted to keep the park vandalism free. This is how they viewed me. When I mentioned that I was a photographer and had been photographing in this manner for over a year now I was told that those photographs were "just" evidence of my criminal activity. At this point I quit while I was ahead.

I have been mulling this over for almost a month now. The conclusion I came to was that I need to stop posting any media that can be construed in a negative manner. And that boys and girls is anything shot in park areas or any other spot where someone may take offense. Till the madness ends I'm just not posting.

The citation that they were trying to hit me with carried a 30 day jail time. A non supportive judge and a bad day could have made life very unpleasant for me.

The point that ended up working for me was when I pointed out that the Quad was autonomous and was flying itself. Therefore I was not flying a remote controlled aircraft in the park. Thin but technically correct. Not something I would want to argue in front of a judge and I don't think the park official wanted to either.

I will continue to fly and photograph. I will not post anymore though...

Posted by Nightstone | Nov 14, 2014 @ 05:17 PM | 2,704 Views
I almost missed it. Oct 10th was my one year anniversary for flying FPV. One very fun year.

I fly anywhere between 3-7 days a week averaging any where between 3-6 flights a day. I conservatively estimate I made 600 plus flights in my first year.

I,m one of these guys that if I like something I do it. Alot!!!

Also in that first year I have put FPV gear on and flown over 30 different home made planes. I have yet to lose a plane.

Multirotors were a different story. I had one Naza fly away and 3 crashes due to equipment failure. 2 esc's and one motor failed.

3 different types of auto pilot ( Feiyu, Apm, Naza). Spektrum, Frsky and Uhf. Video was all 5.8. Tons of homemade stuff and experiments.

Well that was year 1... Hopefully year 2 will hold more of the same.

Posted by Nightstone | Nov 12, 2014 @ 11:25 PM | 3,558 Views
Just picked up 2 more APM 2.7 Units. $83.60 gets you The Board case and a cheap GPS.

This is all you need to safely fly FPV. You don't need the power adapter/ OSD / Wireless link. The units work fine powered off your ESC.

So how do you get home without an OSD? RTH will point you back the way you need to go. That or use way points to do the same by placing them strategically.

How do you tell battery voltage? Using your Taranis bound to an audible switch. Same for RSSI.

How do you maintain altitude or get to an altitude. You can use way points or program altitude using FBWB.

By creatively using the APM and your Taranis you can avoid the screen clutter, extra cost and weight.

I have been flying OSD free since starting this sport and have never lost a plane. And I fly in an environment with a very noisy ground floor where disconnects are common place.

Posted by Nightstone | Nov 12, 2014 @ 11:01 PM | 3,437 Views
I just purchased 4 3s 5200 mah batteries. Weight wise they are over 25% lighter. The form factor is smaller also coming in 2 different sizes. long and thin and brick like.

These are being marketed as multirotor batteries. The 3s versions I have would not be great for this purpose on my 2 450 size quads. 52 amps divided by 4 is 13 amps per motor. My quads can easily attain this and more.

Where these batteries really shine is in the smaller foamy FPV planes. My 40" canards can easily carry one of these boosting flight times out past 30 minutes.

I took my old bixler 1.1 and gave it some upgrades. A 2830 2200 motor and these batteries. The FY-dos Autopilot and 50Amp esc are pushed far to the back. My flight times with this setup are now 30-60 minutes. The battery size and weight made for near perfect cg balance. The plane flies great. Add to this mix a new L9R Receiver and we have a small plane that fits in a kia and has a 4 plus mile range. Perfect for my kind of flying.

I fly smaller planes that I take remote places and then fly there rather than fly large FPV aircraft and fly long distance. Each to their own.

FYI... I am charging these at half normal amperage and keeping them matched with motors that don't pull more than 30 amps.

Lastly... I have a bixler 2 coming that will be set up with an APM 2.7. These batteries have had an impact on how I fly.

Posted by Nightstone | Oct 24, 2014 @ 05:28 PM | 1,983 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 | 2,282 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 | 1,942 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 | 1,740 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 | 2,155 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 | 2,410 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 | 1,812 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 | 2,753 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 | 2,781 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 | 2,368 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.