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Nightstone's blog
Posted by Nightstone | Jun 22, 2014 @ 05:24 PM | 2,215 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.

Posted by Nightstone | Jun 18, 2014 @ 04:05 PM | 1,908 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)

Posted by Nightstone | Jun 17, 2014 @ 11:54 PM | 2,698 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.

Posted by Nightstone | Jun 13, 2014 @ 08:25 PM | 1,856 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 | 2,051 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.

Posted by Nightstone | May 23, 2014 @ 12:49 AM | 2,577 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 | 3,461 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.

Posted by Nightstone | Apr 13, 2014 @ 01:24 AM | 2,653 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.


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 | 2,585 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.

Posted by Nightstone | Apr 11, 2014 @ 09:58 PM | 2,669 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.

Posted by Nightstone | Apr 11, 2014 @ 09:45 PM | 2,474 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.

Posted by Nightstone | Mar 31, 2014 @ 12:33 AM | 2,523 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)

Posted by Nightstone | Mar 30, 2014 @ 12:37 AM | 2,602 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.

Posted by Nightstone | Mar 27, 2014 @ 09:51 PM | 3,206 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...

Posted by Nightstone | Mar 27, 2014 @ 06:35 PM | 2,774 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...

Posted by Nightstone | Mar 26, 2014 @ 12:49 AM | 2,548 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 | 2,938 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 | 2,600 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 | 2,617 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 | 2,508 Views
C-DVR 640x480 clip. Quad Flight. Much better resolution and clarity at this resolution.

CDVR640x480 (1 min 14 sec)