NeoMatrixJR's blog View Details
Posted by NeoMatrixJR | Jun 21, 2017 @ 02:04 PM | 4,691 Views
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Posted by NeoMatrixJR | Nov 10, 2015 @ 02:29 PM | 5,299 Views
Finally met up with another member of the Drone User's Group here in town that I know that has the Atmel flash tool so I could update my ESCs. Got a chance to do a quick flash but didn't get to test bootloader communication until later. Initially I thought it wasn't working, but another post on here pointed me to the 4w-if option. In my haste to try it today I inadvertently hooked my adapter (see picture) up to my esc backwards (neg/pos, pos/neg) . In a second I was hearing futzing and seeing magic smoke float away. . Thinking I fried my ESC I starting packing up my equipment until a later time until I noticed that one leg of my little adapter was quite solid and the other was solid except for a complete break in the middle (red solid, black is solid with a break). It seems that my magic smoke and damage occurred in this adapter. I hooked my esc back to my arduino and got all set back up and THIS time I was able to talk to it! So...hopefully the entire ESC is still good and it wasn't just the "brain" that was still functioning properly. Need to hook to a motor and test at home.

EDIT: ESC fried. Motor would stutter and try to turn. Seems like it fried out one "channel" of the controller or something. Also, I ordered a HK Blueseries to replace it and noted that it is NOT exactly the same as the ZTW Spider. So, I have a Spider, a Spider mini (recently noted one of my 3 spiders was not like the others...) and a blueseries all running the same blheli. Will see how this does in the spring.
Posted by NeoMatrixJR | Oct 25, 2015 @ 09:25 PM | 4,220 Views
So, since I got this set up I've always been unhappy with the battery monitoring, but haven't had a chance to diagnose it. I finally got a power meter and checked everything out. Turns out my system was always reading like 19A+ current draw so it would always say the batt was running out. Turns out after checking this thread I discovered that my pins were set completely wrong. Fixed that and no more complaints from the tower app about the battery!
Posted by NeoMatrixJR | Jul 18, 2015 @ 11:14 PM | 4,903 Views
So, here's the quick skinny on this photo. Went flying at a local park, was trying to test out other flight modes. Went into "land" mode and thought it would go to ground...well, something went off and it started to bank left and back and it ended up hitting the metal roof of the nearby shelter (and thankfully missed the people nearby). The battery detached and hit the cement hard and the copter hit the ground. Busted up a couple props, popped the servo loose from the yaw mech, and dented the battery pretty good. The battery's a lost cause...2 cells aren't holding a charge right. Pity...very few flights on that.

Also, got back up and running and ran another flight at another park. Something's up with the APM I think or I need to tune it or something. Tried RTL again, almost from exactly above the launch point and it started flying in a wide circle around the area and started coming down. Nearly hit a shelter there too before I recovered into normal flight.
Posted by NeoMatrixJR | Jun 22, 2015 @ 01:58 PM | 4,858 Views
Hey all, been a while. So, some updates:

Took it out to a group fly back in March. Crashed hard and took out a boom and my nice, new camera/battery tray . There it sat for quite some time. Been extremely busy and weather's been mostly crap. Finally, I got it fixed last week. Camera tray has been cut down to just support the battery (and not very well...) and everything else has been fixed up. Got it back in the air and it seems to generally be flying fine. AltHold...doesn't seem to hold very well. I have a piece of open-celled non-conductive foam covering a large part of the board, but it seems to have a hard time holding a throttle that keeps it in place. I don't have it all tuned yet though. Same kind of thing with yaw...tends to fishtail a bit. Also need to work out some vibrations in two of my arms. Props are supposed to be balanced, but I'm still seeing a lot of vib in the landing arms.

Going to rebuild the frame as soon as I have time to design it the way I want. Going to work with CPO's design as it offers more space to mount things I think.
Posted by NeoMatrixJR | Mar 09, 2015 @ 09:47 AM | 5,625 Views
Battery tray still not attached...please don't shoot me for having my battery wrapped in bubble wrap and zip-tied to the top/front. Battery strap is in the mail....

Finally got it outside for a brief flight since winter is finally coming to an end here (I hope). I think I need to set some expo on it as it takes VERY little control input for throttle, pitch, and roll. Yaw seems sluggish, but I haven't put much into testing that just yet. Still working on stable hover. It still has trouble wanting to pitch forward on dead stick. I don't think I should trim this out on my TX. Any suggestions? I'm running (as previously mentioned) an APM mini board with the latest tri firmware.

As for how I did....well, sadly one landing was in a tree. Thankfully no damage. Aparently my depth perception with the tri and a leaf-less tree is horrible. I put it back up and stupidly tried to use my phone (bluetooth telemetry) to put it in alt hold mode. Stupidly because I was balancing the phone on the TX and took my eyes off the tri to do it. (remember pitch forward issue). Well, that all worked out, but the tri wigged out a few times and put me in a bit of a panic. Realizing I forgot to cover the baro I attempted to go back to stabilize mode. Accomplished that , but dropped altitude to fast after that and managed to pop off two of my landing legs and crack the third. Some tape and some zip ties later and I'm ready to fly again for now, but there's some work to be done for sure.

(Sorry, no video on this one)
Posted by NeoMatrixJR | Mar 04, 2015 @ 11:27 AM | 5,881 Views
After a recent visit to my local makerspace again I now have landing legs and a battery tray. While the tray's not attached yet I was able to get the battery on board and get it off the ground! Config so far: invert yaw servo (on FC) and inverted pitch/elevator control on TX (not sure if I should do this on FC or not instead). It stil wants to pitch forward a bit if I take my hands off the sticks so I have to keep it under manual control to keep a stable hover. Time to start tweaking the settings as soon as I have some space to fly.

Please forgive the indirect link to the video. I promised to give first publishing rights to my friends at the Area515 makerspace. Without their help and laser cutter I wouldn't posting this build at all!
Article on
Posted by NeoMatrixJR | Mar 04, 2015 @ 11:02 AM | 6,066 Views
Here's my long overdue parts list:

Banggood 1000KV Motors
ZTW Spider 30A OPTO ESCs
2x 10pk 3.5mm Gold Bullet Connectors
3x 1045 props (2cw, 2ccw)
2mtrs ea Black (and Red) 18AWG Silicone Wire..Also ordered 1mrt ea of blk/red 12AWG
2x Zippy Flightmax 2800 3S 30C
5 pairs Black XT60 connectors
Mini APM 3.1 + Neo-6M GPS
APM Power Module with 5.3V BEC & XT60 connectors
3A UBEC w/ Low Voltage Buzzer
Front Wheel Steering arm and mount set (for yaw assembly)
Other servo extensions and odd bits for assembly
4mm Carbon tube from my LHS

A few notes on this BOM:
1.) order this set of pre-terminated wires for the APM. I didn't see these and REALLY wish I had.
2.) Might also want one of these FC mounts. Not sure if it will fit the RCExplorer frame or not.
3.) The servo feels a little slow. I'm not up and flying completely yet so I'm not certain on this yet.
4.) BUY LOCAL. My APM was DOA for Power Module input. Buy anything local you don't want to wait on for a replacement.
Posted by NeoMatrixJR | Feb 21, 2015 @ 09:50 PM | 6,767 Views
Well, I have a working FC board...also, fully killed my other board going good thing I had it!

Flight electronics are wired and functional Motors arm and spin in proper direction. Servo is functioning, though it does make a bit of a popping sound as I throttle up. BEC powering receiver and then power is going back out to servo. Not sure if that's ideal but it's working...

Still need to disable onboard mag and then properly calibrate acc/gps/mag and mount to frame. Afterwards I have some wires that still need tied down and probably some landing gear, but all-in-all it's flight capable if not yet flight ready. Sadly I'm looking at a LOT of cold here for a while I have time. Pix will come when I square a few of the above things away.
Posted by NeoMatrixJR | Jan 30, 2015 @ 10:34 AM | 6,603 Views
Not much on this log I'm afraid....

I managed to build most of my cables out for the APM including rx, telemetry/OSD split, and power management.

Here's the rub...I tested my PM cable with my multimeter so as not to fry the board if I hosed it up. Everything checked out. Plugged in the batt, plugged in the board and...NOTHING! Not a damn thing happened. APM powers over USB but will NOT run on battery input. It took a damn MONTH for this to get here.... It's probably going to take a week of emailing China to sort out getting a replacement and then it will be the effing Chinese New Year. I'm going to be lucky if this thing flys by my birthday in May at this rate.

Note to anyone looking at the APM what I should have done and buy it from a US seller with a good reputation for support! It's not worth the money you "save."

*So, I submitted the issue I think on Jan 29, they asked for a video Jan 30.
*Let's stop here to point out that their responses are all "over night" so Jan 30 would have been that night. I replied same-day with the requested video of the issue.
*Their next response was Feb 2. Ok, weekend delay was expected. No prob. I was up that night sick and was able to bounce a few messages back and forth until I was ready to go back to bed. Over those emails they 1st, agreed to send me a replacement. 2nd came back and said their tech team wanted to send me a wiring diagram for PM -> APM to make sure I wired it up ok....Continue Reading
Posted by NeoMatrixJR | Jan 28, 2015 @ 12:11 AM | 6,966 Views
Got my remaining electronics in!

Managed to get 2 motors and ESC's soldered with bullet connectors and ready to run. A quick test shows the ZTW Spider OPTO ESCs aren't as OPTO isolated as you'd think. I figured I would need to provide +5v/Gnd on the servo wire in order to power the input side of the board...that should have been OPTO isolated from battery power. Turns out it's not...I was able to operate the ESC with only the signal wire. Will make my build easier, but not exactly as advertised.

I'm open to any recommendations on how to place everything on the tiny rcexplorer frame. Until next time...enjoy some progress shots!
Posted by NeoMatrixJR | Jan 05, 2015 @ 12:45 PM | 5,564 Views
So, I got into multi-rotors with a cheap Chinese v949 and the intention to build my own rotor one day. I quickly added a Nano QX to my collection to fly indoors.

Finally it's time to build!
This is my first scratch build anything...ever so this should prove interesting. I still have parts on the way so this is just me getting started with project documentation. Like the title says above, this is Made (well...assembled) in we're going to have a fun mix of Imperial and Metric. Sadly, there's observation number one: Almost everything you get will come from China. If you have any luck you might be able to get what you want shipped from the US, but basically it came from China and you're paying for the part, original shipping, and re-distribution. So prepare to wait on the "slow boat from China" or pay more for expedited shipping or US re-distribution.

First steps:
Initial parts: Frame pieces including 3mm hobby plywood and 1/2" wooden booms.
I got a copy of the Optimized Tricopter Template and ran down to my local makerspace and asked them to laser cut my plywood into 2 frame pieces. They gave me a hand and a little while later I had a nice pair of frames. As an extra helper I had them etch the CG into the plates for reference. I used the DXF I believe or DWG. I grabbed the part that said it was optimized for 12mm booms. Note... 1/2" = 12.7mm (almost 13) so this is NOT an exact fit. Note 2: Not everything will just snap...Continue Reading