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Old May 20, 2015, 06:37 AM
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Camera Boat project help needed 4ch/6ch & servos confusion?

Hi All,
Camera Boat project help needed – 4ch/6ch & servos confusion?
I am very new to RC and am really enjoying these forums for help and understanding.
I won’t bore you with too many detail of the project but a little info might help you help me :-)

I’m trying building a craft that is able to mount a GoPro underneath and film beneath a wildlife packed pond with good control over it. Pic is attached of an early concept which was too tall, way under-powered and had virtually no steering, but the idea was taking shape and it kinda showed me that something like this is possible.
I've proved the filming concept in a simple way, by having a floating device and dragging it through the pond (
Swimming With Tadpoles (0 min 51 sec)
) but I want steering and camera panning below the water if possible too.
No FPV is required; it’s a small pond and will be in eyeball range at all times

Soooo, this is what I have in mind…I've settled for an Styrofoam airboat design and at a sensible place for good balance, place a plastic threaded shaft through the hull to allow GoPro mounting beneath the craft. Camera panning would be from a servo driving this shaft from the deck...i hope that makes sense. See diagram below.
This is where my lack of experience is getting me stuck; in no particular order, these are my questions that will help me understand whether this is a real possibility or not.

1) Is an Airboat the appropriate boat for this purpose?
2) Does 4 channels mean left, right, throttle forward and throttle backwards? If so, I can’t control the 2nd servo as I have a 4ch transmitter.
3) Is it realistic to expect a servo to turn a shaft through the boat with a camera on the end….is that too much load for a servo?

Anyway, I hope someone might be able to help.
Thanks :-)
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Old May 20, 2015, 08:03 AM
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https://www.servocity.com/ it all depends on the size and type of servo.. an airboat by its nature might be blown about by windy conditions.. something that sits a little deeper .. with less stuff topside to act as a sail will give a more stable platform..
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Old May 20, 2015, 08:08 AM
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4ch will give you 4 seperate functions, steering, throttle and 2 others. I have a gopro mounted on a continuous rotation servo for filming other models from a model.

Brent
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Old May 20, 2015, 09:40 AM
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Thank you very much both.

Certainly I need to make it lower profile and that's the aim for the build...my limited skills will limit me to working with Styrofoam block and not using a balsa/ply and foam covering, I hope that's not going to be too much of a compromise.

Ok, so throttle and steering only take up two channels...I'm ok then, thanks.

I'll need to work on how I incorporate the continuous rotating servo for the camera panning, just glad it's possible.

So much to learn!
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Old May 20, 2015, 10:35 AM
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Your servo controls for the camera could be mounted on, or inside the boat.
One servo, modified for continuous rotation, or purchased that way would rotate
a platform in the center of the boat for panning. The second servo could be mounted on
the rotation platform and tilt the camera via linkage. No need to water proof the electronics.

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Old May 20, 2015, 11:10 AM
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Consider saving a channel to get the camera out of the water for higher transit speeds. Otherwise there will be so much drag from the camera that the air props will be struggling. If the camera is always under water, then why not use submerged props?

Dave
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Old May 20, 2015, 02:14 PM
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I like the idea of the tilting option, I fear it would challenge my capabilities but I'll give it a try depending how how I get on with the build.

As for the air props versus submerged props; I've been working on the assumption that the submerged props might disturb and spook the wildlife. The camera wouldn't be whirring or making noises.
Is it tricky to get the motor and submerged props matching? I don't need speed, I need slow and steady.

The drag from the camera is a worry, good point!....on my rough prototype, even knowing the motors were cheap things, I was surprised that it was hardly moving. Add to that the very light breeze knocking it way off course with a gentle puff, I can see that it's going to take a few attempts to get this right.....it'll be fun though

I appreciate any feedback and advice that I get on here.

Neil.
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Old May 20, 2015, 02:40 PM
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As for the air props versus submerged props; I've been working on the assumption that the submerged props might disturb and spook the wildlife. The camera wouldn't be whirring or making noises.
Is it tricky to get the motor and submerged props matching? I don't need speed, I need slow and steady.

The submerged prop will more than likely be much quieter as you are not beating the air making noise, give more push to the boat, and better control at slow or faster speed. I have found that some times that we bit of motor noise actually attracts things seeing what is new in the water.
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Old May 20, 2015, 02:46 PM
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Something to consider with submerged propellers is whether they will become
entagled in weeds or grass. A propeller cage would help, but not always fool proof.

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Old May 20, 2015, 04:20 PM
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Will do some reading about submerged props, of course the steering mechanism will be different then too.

The pond I'll be using it in has lots if weeds but it's deep enough and clear enough to avoid them, I might not need a propeller cage.

Thanks for your help,

Neil.
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Old May 22, 2015, 02:36 PM
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Why not take it one step farther to make the camera weedless. Mount the camera in a gimbal mount housed inside of a half clear dome, like one of those big security ceiling mounted cameras attached to the bottom of a flat hull. The hull could be a piece of foam with the half dome secured/ sealed to it. No need to use a waterproof camera housing just cover it with a blacked out cover to eliminate light and reflections.
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Old May 22, 2015, 04:06 PM
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While looking in servocity, I noticed that they had some nice extras - https://www.servocity.com/html/pan_t...cessories.html
and - https://www.servocity.com/html/servo_mount_gears.html

A fairly slow turning, but large, prop should be quiet and reasonably proof against many types of weed. Unless its the type that effectively anchors the boat, any fouling just gives a reduced level of performance. A rescue boat using a floating line is a good idea, if that gets weeded as well, just pull the pair in.
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Old May 23, 2015, 08:34 AM
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Love the idea of the transparent dome, that could work and would give me a number of options with mounting and gearing, like mfr02 suggested.

I've got measurements for a hull, it's going to have to be considerably bigger, but shallower than the initial prototype and better balanced with more weight towards the back.

Pretty clear now on the battery, ESC, prop and motor and steering servo. Won't need a gyro, well don't think so anyway.

So, it is the front of the boat where I need to put my thoughts now and the camera mounting and control.

I feel a lot more comfortable about my plans but still cautious as it is all very new to me...will post some photos shortly with updates.

Thanks,

Neil.
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Old May 23, 2015, 10:57 AM
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If it makes you feel more comfortable, bring a fishing pole and with a weighed line.
You can cast for the boat if it gets stuck somewhere.

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Old May 23, 2015, 12:54 PM
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Lol Umi.
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