Santa's elves were good to me this year! This is the Walkera Ladybird v2.
It flies really well - very stable in 'very stable mode'
However, it seems to steer nothing like my mCX2 co-axial heli's (which steer with the rudder & a touch of roll in FFF). So far, every attempt to fly in a circle (rather than hovering in a circle) have ended pretty quickly in a crash as it skids out of the turn!
Fortunately, it seems to be pretty indestructible apart from the battery which keeps falling out due to being too loose.
Finally got to fly the 450x at a proper field! It's a bit dumbed-down (slow head speed & D/R) but was nice to have some space to start to throw it around without worrying about banging it into anything - except the ground which, luckily, I managed to avoid.
I also took the 130x, lots of batteries & the charger. However, my DX8 transmitter ran out of battery after just two flights, even though it was fully charged. It has never lasted more than an hour from new & has slowly been getting worse.
I think I will seriously consider looking at the LiPo option.
UPDATE (20/11/12): Seems it may be broken so it might have to be returned for repair/replace (talking to supplier/HH) UPDATE (22/11/12): Gone back to HH (via supplier) to be 'looked at' ... grounded UPDATE (1/12/12): Returned from HH today (via supplier) with replacement battery ... hopefully that will fix it!
Been practicing basic flying skills recently with a Blade 130x - very robust product! However, since I had it, it has been developing a screeching noise which sounds like a faulty main shaft bearing. It hardly has any hours on it so I am reluctant to believe that is true. Below is an example of the problem:
I also have a couple of Blade mCX2, co-axial indoor heli's which I picked-up broken & really cheap - now fixed! They are fabulous for indoor hovering, orientation practice. It all goes wrong so, so slowly!
Finally got to fly the Blade 450x today with the replaced metal-gear servos. No pictures unfortunately but it went without incident
Flew a couple of packs - it has a bad vibration though. The last time I tried to fly it, & tipped it over, I thought the main gear had survived OK. But it looks like it has one damaged tooth & I think that's causing the vibration. If I flip it into throttle hold at full revs, the vibration stops immediately. I made a training gear to protect from further tips but it probably wasn't necessary now the stripped servos are replaced.
Also playing with a v2 Blade mCPx which is a lot of fun. Have flown it both inside & out (& into things). It's a bit of a handful in the breeze though.
Both of them could very easily get away from you if your attention wanders even briefly!
EDIT: It was the slightly damaged main gear causing the vibration on the 450x. You could barely see it - just looked like a few strands of hair-thin plastic where the tip of the tooth had been damaged.
In a moment of insane nostalgia, I decided to use a few left over bits to put my ancient Robbe 'Eolo R22' back into the air: using the 'free' 6-channel Rx which came with the Spektrum DX8 & a tail gyro off a long-abandoned micro-copter (whilst waiting for the upgraded metal replacements for my shredded Blade 450x servos).
One of my 5000mAh, 3s LiPo multicopter packs is 100g lighter (& slightly higher voltage) than the 3000mAh, 9.6v, 8-cell NiMH pack I used to fly it with.
Amazingly, after a bit of messing around with the settings in the DX8, it demonstrated the ability to lift off & hover successfully, with correct pitch & roll control. However, it yaw'd madly & nothing I could do would fix it.
On closer inspection (see attached picture), one of the tail blade pitch arms has snapped. I imagine this is probably the result of the plastic becoming brittle with age? For sure, it hasn't been bumped into anything since it last flew successfully (about 12 years ago!).
So the hunt is on for 'Antique heli-spares-R-Us'.
EDIT: Amazingly, Midland Helicopters has the bit I need! Just £2.94.
This resonance on the Gaui 330xs didn't happen until I put the NAZA GPS/compass on a longer (& admittedly thinner) stalk so that it clears the GoPro which can be mounted on the top deck. I tried shrouding the CF rod with some silicone, fish tank air-tube to see if that would damp it. It made no difference at all.
I guess if I don't resolve it, eventually something will shake off & break. Interestingly, the vibration doesn't seem to affect the NAZA/GPS flight capabilities.
EDIT: Does anyone know if an aluminium rod (of the same, ~3mm diameter) is likely to be more rigid & less prone to that resonance?
One thing I noticed with the gimbal I have on the F550, which is designed to be used on this 'hexapod' crawler: http://www.hexapodrobot.com/products...R-H01-PTH.html is the fact it only has a single arm attached to the pitch servo which allows the camera to vibrate a lot.
So I recently added a second arm to improve the support (see image below). The camera mount is now MUCH more rigid - I hope to flight test that soon.
I really like this gimbal. It's extremely well manufactured & uses full size servos. It's not actually designed to accomodate a GoPro but with the custom mount I made (a business card box dremel'ed in half), it performs very well.
Actually it was two flights: the first one to capture some video & the second one to take snapshots. The live feed on the GoPro blanks-out for every camera shot (2 seconds) so the second flight video only shows the OSD/FPV camera view.
There still seems to be some jerkiness coming from the gimbal mount which I think is because the final, camera link arm just hangs off the servo. I may try beefing that up.
Last step in this phase of building the F550 was to add the 2-1 camera switcher & make up a cable to get the GoPro live video feed (so can switch the video downlink between the fixed/OSD camera & the GoPro) & fix the VTX which turned out not to be broken (it was a connection error in the ground station). Also added some small CF struts between the front landing gear & the other ones to stabilise it (see pic).
With the GoPro & 5000mAh, 3s battery onboard, the all-up-weight is 2.46Kg - which makes it 60g overweight according to the DJI spec. So the question is ... do I go to 4s LiPo because I would really like to swap to the Graupner prop's due to fear of breaking a DJI prop., or stick with what I have, which flies just fine. The problem with going to 4s is that it will add another 500g or so (extra weight of the 4s pack plus an additional, small 3s pack for the video). I noticed, at the end of the flight (8.5min), all 6 motor bases were too hot to touch; although the battery & ESC's were totally cool. The OSD reports around 37A - so 6-7 amps per motor. Would going to 4s (with the added weight & the Graupner prop's) make this whole rig better or worse I wonder? Would it increase my flight times? If anyone has any opinions on that which they would like to share, please comment or PM me.
Whilst I ponder that, I plan to tidy-up my Gaui 330xs, give it an upper deck & remove the rear facing gimbaled camera/switch which seemed like a good idea at the time ...
They are not very strong in tension so notice the piece of foam between the bottom two decks. This stops the upper deck being pushed upwards too easily via the suspension links & also provides some lateral & torsional stability to the camera deck whilst not transferring vibrations from the main frame. It's just some packing foam I had lying around.
The threads on the gel mounts (M4) are quite long & I wanted to keep a reasonable gap between the upper two decks, so the spacers above & below the gel mount are some kind of hard rubber bushes I got from a local tool & car parts store. I have no idea what they are really for (nor did the store owner!) but they were a perfect & lucky fit.
Finished the F550 flight electronics today, NAZA/GPS, Spektrum AR8000/TM1000, harvested from the F450 which is now in pieces awaiting the Crius AIOP (actually I have already but still need to test some of the subsystems & clean-up the F450 before fitting).
Also fitted the leg extensions & shiny landing balls as the leg extensions on their own tend to dig-in &, on the F450, tip the quad over.
Tested in NAZA Assistant with no problems. If time allows, I should get to flight test it this week.
This was the last flight of the F450 prior to stripping it down & refitting (eventually) with the Crius All-in-one-Pro. It flew OK but it's a bit ponderous at 1.5Kg (the spec. limit for the F450), compared to the performance of my little Gaui 330xs which is totally fab!