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Posted by Nightstone | Oct 16, 2014 @ 03:37 AM | 2,060 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 @ 05:33 PM | 2,133 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 @ 10:08 PM | 1,693 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 @ 01:42 PM | 2,473 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 @ 01:47 AM | 2,658 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 | Oct 01, 2014 @ 12:17 AM | 2,284 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 @ 02:41 PM | 2,489 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 @ 04:08 AM | 2,433 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 @ 02:53 AM | 2,392 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 @ 01:20 AM | 1,828 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 @ 01:15 AM | 2,302 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 @ 05:37 PM | 1,907 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 @ 05:25 PM | 1,752 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 @ 01:19 AM | 2,415 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 @ 01:47 AM | 1,844 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 @ 06:23 PM | 2,305 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.

Posted by Nightstone | Sep 16, 2014 @ 06:02 PM | 2,035 Views
Hobby Partz had a nice deal the other day. 4 Emax Motors. 4 20A Esc's and 8 props for $88 shipped. Decided to give them a try. Yes Emax stuff is not the top of the food chain. But I have yet to loose a single Emax motor. Thats 2 years of over propping and abusing the %^$$ out of them. I even use them on 2 of my FPV planes.

So I took the plunge. Free priority USPS had the parts to me in 2 days.

Motors were 935 KV. Same look as the rest of their line. 2 sets of screws and a prop nut. The motor shaft has the same kind if indentation as Naza uses. They also fit perfectly on a set of naza arms.

Emax Esc's. These I am sure are re-branded. They are slightly larger than the HK afro series. They do have SimonK firmware. Instructions were included. Throttle calibration was cake.

Emax props. These look a bit cheap. But time will tell. Going to try them out and see how they do.

I picked up a Disco frame from GetFPV for $75. Added 4 extra Naza white arms I had. Pulled my Second naza unit off my HK failure and we have a quad.

Flew perfect first go. Motors sound nice. Plenty of power. Was running with a 5K battery. Will do some FPV runs on it this weekend. Nice secondary quad.

Posted by Nightstone | Sep 16, 2014 @ 05:40 PM | 1,904 Views
My luck with HK parts has been pretty dismal when it comes to quadcopters. 2 bad KK boards. 1 DT700 failure ( Video ). 2 Multistar 20a ESC failures ( Camera and frame lost ).

My second time around I went again with what I thought were at least descent parts. this turned out to also not work out real well but I did dodge the bullet.

A buddy of mine gave me some old quad frames. Deciding to play around I disassembled my Iron man. The Iron man had 12 flights on it.

2 NTM motor mounts had broken in multiple places. 1 motor solder joint was hanging by a thread. 2 of the HK 12x4.7 props had cracks in them. I was a flight or 2 from loosing my nice Ironman frame.

I will never use an NTM motor on anything with any value again. The vibration caused by the poor bearings will cause a failure.

The cheap HK props. Fine for foamys. Not for quadcopters with any kind of value. These do crack and will fail.

No more NTM motors, Multistar Esc's and cheap props. At least not for quadcopters.

Posted by Nightstone | Jun 22, 2014 @ 06:24 PM | 2,322 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 @ 05:05 PM | 2,017 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)