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Old May 16, 2014, 12:53 PM
MB-Commander
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Joined Feb 2008
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Build Log
NAZA-H setup for scale.

Hi all,
Wanted to share some of the tips and tricks I found out during my SK720 to NAZA transition.

First of all, the reason why I moved from using the SK720 to using the NAZA was drift. The SK720 I had was not a quality unit and drifted while in Self-level mode after a few minutes in flight, preventing it from being using it for large periods of time (in short, it didn't work, needs calibration done at the factory!, laughable when I paid more for the SK alone than for the complete NAZA-H GPS unit) Granted, they might or might not have fixed the issues in SL on their *newer* *cough cough* release called the "Black Edition", but since the NAZA-H GPS is a complete package for the cost of the single SK720BE without the GPS I went with that route, thus proven performance all over the internet. For me this was more of an out with the old and useless and in with the new and proven.

Box unpacking:
Pretty basic stuff here, it comes with the GPS/compass module, the main control unit and a few extra accessories: like a boom clamp for the GPS module, a few double sided tape stickers and a few Futaba connector patch cables for hooking up your receiver to the main NAZA-H unit.

Mechanical Installation:
I used a JR 9ch DSM2 receiver for this, so using Sbus or another brand is slightly different.

First off I had to take the SK720 off, which wasn't too hard. Everything in my heli was already mechanically setup correctly for the SK720 so I left everything pretty much untouched. My rotor head is phased 45 degrees, so make sure you note down what current phasing you are using on your current setup. So, in short: Take note of all the settings of your current setup, and I recommend taking a short video of the current swash movement when the heli moves around in your hands. ( I did this to make sure my phasing was correct)

I originally decided to install the receiver at the front (on top of the two front servos of a 120 deg swash) Run 6 cables from the receiver to the back of the frame, to where the pod inserts to the main frame. At a later time I moved the main RX unit to the back, thus allowing me to use the short supplied NAZA cables.
I installed the main NAZA-H unit on top of the boom support housing the supplied double sided tape and a heavy thick metal plate (that I got from my Spartan DS760) in between the NAZA and the frame support. There is a flat area there where you can just put the stuff in there.

I then used the supplied cables from the NAZA to run the following channels to the JR Receiver.
Aileron
Elevator
Rudder
Gear
Aux1
Aux 2
Follow the guide instructions to connect the NAZA outputs to the right servos, as every swash is different. Most radios nowadays allow you to assign switches so find the best set of switches to perform all the functions. You need two: one for switching between rate/heading hold tail gyro mode and another for toggling between Manual/Atti/GPS modes.

The NAZA setup tells you to connect the throttle, please don't: I bypassed the throttle as I've heard horror stories of the NAZA not cutting the engine when throttle hold is engaged and GPS or Atti modes are enabled. Throttle hold for me has been the difference between a damaged heli and a destroyed heli. So, I advice to NOT connect the Throttle channel to the NAZA. Run your Throttle channel from your receiver directly to your Speed Controller and use a governor. CC ESCs have good governors.

The next step is to make sure your swash is leveled, mine was already level from when I did the SK-720 setup, but its always worth checking while your heli is apart.

Tail rotor setup is where its different than the SK720 or the Spartan gyros I've used in the past. In those I went with a zero pitch configuration on the tail blades at zero input while in rate. This is a mistake for the NAZA, and it is not noted in the documentation, nor really anywhere officially. The NAZA-H needs rate mode setup to work and hold in the right direction: the difference is night and day if you don't do this. The tail rotor will keep on turning for 30-40 degrees after you've commanded it to stop in the opposite direction of the rotor blades. So, make sure you have a least a few degrees of pitch (to counter the main rotor) on your tail blades when the NAZA is put in rate mode. (doesn't have to be perfect, just some pitch) This is critical!!

Take the GPS out of the box and install it on the pod of your heli using the supplied attachment for zipties; alternatively you can find another spot for it, but I suggest you align it with the center of gravity longitudinal axis. Make sure it will have a good clear view of the sky. Doesn't have to be all the way at the tail rotor, mine is about 23 cm from the main mast and works terrific. Make sure the GPS is well lined up and well aligned with the frame. Secure it well!! This is very important if you want zero drift in your tail holding while in GPS/Atti mode.

Finally, there is a supplied LED module, this LED module also provides USB connectivity, so you want to connect this and the route it to wherever it will be convenient to install when the frame is back inside the fuselage. I installed mine near the front where the 500D canopy opens.

Once everything is mechanically setup, disconnect one lead of the motor and power up the heli using the main pack. Make sure no servos bind and blades aren't stuck anywhere, including tail rotor.

Computer setup:
You might need to plug the NAZA to your computer a few times to dial it in, but thats okay. I had to plug mine like 10 times to get it just right.

First get the NAZA software and drivers from their website. I am running 1.20 firmware with 2.00 software IIRC.

Start installing the drivers; it will prompt you to hook the NAZA to the computer, if your heli is already powered up from its battery then do so now, if not, make sure to power the helicopter from its battery pack (like if you were going to fly it)

The first time you hook it up, chances are you'll see a fast flashing yellow light; so no problem here, simply connect your computer to the main LED unit USB port and it should light up faint green.

Finish installing the drivers and then the software, and by time you're done with both the light on the NAZA LED unit should go bright green and the computer should recognize the NAZA as connected.

Launch the NAZA setup app. It will ask you for an email, which I hated, but I had no choice but to do it. Once that is done, chances are it will tell you the NAZA needs a firmware upgrade, if so, then apply the firmware. Make sure it has enough battery to run for a couple of minutes, you don't want to brick your brand new NAZA before you fly it!!

Once inside the NAZA, there are four main tabs/buttons at the top.
Common, Setup, Tools and Info

Click on Setup.

A bunch of tabs should come down. Go through each one of these sequentially and adjust to your helicopter setup. Everyone is different so make sure you tune your setup to match your heli, for example, if your blades spin CCW, indicate so... if you have a flybar, note that as well. Also, make sure you put the right distances to the center of gravity of your helicopter, which should be the main shaft of the rotor head. Make sure to set the tail stops correctly, and ensure that when the rudder stick is at rest, the blades have a little bit of countering pitch.

Now, what to be careful here:

NAZA has three modes of operation (manual, atti and gps): one of these modes is pretty much direct control and the other two are feedback loop based where there are no direct user input. Manual mode working doesn't guarantee the other two modes work!!!!
So, first make sure your servos match what you do using the sticks, but then make sure your swashplate does the same thing while in GPS or Atti mode. If the swash tilts or moves the wrong way (as in: feedback loop is inverted) it will crash your helicopter faster than you can blink your eyes. SO BE VERY AWARE THAT CORRECT SETUP FOR MANUAL CONTROL DOESN'T MEAN CORRECT SETUP FOR THE FEEDBACK LOOPS!! AGAIN: MAKE SURE THE SWASH PLATE AND THE TAIL ROTOR MOVE CORRECTLY when in ATTI/GPS MODE, IN ALL DIRECTIONS: UP AND DOWN, LEFT RIGHT, FRONT BACK... I didn't check for collective pitch feedback and my MB-8 scaler slammed into the ground full collective down, fortunately no damage, except to my ego and a few scratches... but you get the idea. (My MB-3 when I first set it up using the NAZA back in Dec'13, it also had a wrong aileron feedback loop and costed me a set of blades, a spindle and a main shaft.)

Once you're done with the initial setup click on the Common option button at the top:
This should show you all the gains and general status: Dial all your gains down to a 50% on everything, seriously, you don't want to resonate your helicopter to pieces if the feedback loops are too tight (and you don't know if they are so, better safe than sorry) I started on mine with 50 across the board and moved up to 65, except on collective where I left it at 50%. This can also be a serious problem in forward flight while in ATTI/GPS, so keep the feedback loop gain reasonably low for perfect control. (last thing you want is to resonate due to feedback while going full speed forward) I also cranked the agility down to 85% on mine, as well as the flybarless rates down to 140 deg/sec.

TAIL GAIN: Please notice that the tail gain is controlled by the GEAR channel value (not from the NAZA itself), so 100% in the gear channel means 100% gain, which most likely will result in a very nasty and rapid oscillation. I have mine set at 50% and it is solid as heck. (maybe too solid for my taste)

You get the idea, tune your feedback looks down and then slowly go up.

First flight in pod/boom.
Calibration is essential after all setup is done so, there are a couple of steps here. First, in the main window click on the Tools button: then peform an IMU calibration while your heli pod/boom is level.
Second is to calibrate the magnetic compass. To do so, disconnect the NAZA from the USB. Leave the helicopter on the ground and flick the lever you've selected for Manual/Atti/GPS toggle from Manual to GPS like 6 times and leave it in manual the last time. This should make the status LED glow solid yellow. Grab your heli from the main rotor and peform a full 360 rotation around its main rotor shaft. Once done, it will glow bright green. Then grab the heli from its tail boom like handling a large fish from its tail. Turn your around to perform a full rotation, and when its done, the NAZA LED status should go dark, or with 3 red bright blinks (means no GPS) The calibration is now done.

Put heli down and get ready for first flight. Power off, re-hook the motor lead that you've unplugged before you started then check everything one last time.
Finally, power the battery and get ready. Set Manual autopilot mode and set gyro in HH mode. Spool up and hover a few feet of the ground. Make sure your tail holds in both directions, if it snaps too hard or vibrates, lower the gain a little bit. It the tail blowouts... land it and make sure your rate mode is setup correctly: To check for this, spool up while in rate mode and see if the tail blades have the correct pitch to counter the main rotor by some amount. (doesn't have to be perfect holding here) If not, then add pitch to counter the main rotor.

Next step is the leap of faith: getting your first GPS hover. Make sure your status LED is dark, as in, no blinking lights are ON. If there are blinking red lights means GPS is not fully locked so your performance might suffer.
Spool up, then hover at 50 feet off the deck, then take your hands of the controls and enable GPS mode. If everything went well, the helicopter should sit there still, it it didn't, the helicopter will start leaning into any direction or start to plummet into the ground (or go sky high...) remember what direction it went bad and switch to manual. Land the heli, connect the computer to the NAZA and change the feedback for the direction you noticed it was doing the opposite as to it was supposed to do. Retry and it should hold the hover absolutely spot on. At this point feel free to play with the gains, but make sure you don't go over, as vibrations can shake the thing apart.

Make sure it flies well and tune everything while in pod/boom.

First fuselage flight

Get the fuse installed, make sure to not add everything metallic to the helicopter, as in large metal plates etc... otherwise I'd recommend doing another compass calibration with the fuselage. I've read that if your flights are within 25 miles from the place of calibration you don't need to recalibrate.

With the fuse back on, check for the swash to tilt the right way, make sure all servos were reconnected the right way... etc etc.

Fire it up in manual control and take it high. Flick to GPS mode and awe yourself at your own creation, hovering hands free.


Cheers.
G.
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Old May 16, 2014, 02:01 PM
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takeoff2's Avatar
Romania
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Is a lot of work here,good work.However Naza H is an awesome FBL controller.
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Old May 16, 2014, 03:31 PM
MB-Commander
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Joined Feb 2008
2,478 Posts
Quote:
Originally Posted by takeoff2 View Post
Is a lot of work here,good work.However Naza H is an awesome FBL controller.
I can't speak for 3D, but for Scale stuff NAZA is the best.

G.
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Old May 16, 2014, 08:25 PM
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Tokyo Setagaya-Ku, Japan
Joined Jun 2004
595 Posts
Hi Minibichus,

Thank you for a precious information! How about the manual mode (6-axis gyro mode)?
Though the Walkera G400 manual mode is very good (or, very comfortable to control) , the GPS position hold mode is not so good; because the throttle control does not work.

K2-tokyo
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Old May 16, 2014, 11:47 PM
MB-Commander
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Joined Feb 2008
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Quote:
Originally Posted by K2-tokyo View Post
Hi Minibichus,

Thank you for a precious information! How about the manual mode (6-axis gyro mode)?
Though the Walkera G400 manual mode is very good (or, very comfortable to control) , the GPS position hold mode is not so good; because the throttle control does not work.

K2-tokyo
No problem, I'll try to answer your question based on the limited flights in manual mode that I've done.

This is my second helicopter that I fly with a NAZA-H, and my impressions have been nothing but great! The NAZA is just as good as the SK720 it replaced for what I do, which is scale flight with a hint of light sports flying. But it is better in a few things, like tail holding, the NAZA probably has better algorithms for holding the tail at lower headspeeds than the SK720 did. I also felt the heli tends to move a lot less when hovering than with the SK-720, which needed the trim constantly adjusted.

So, if you're thinking about upgrading, I believe the NAZA-H GPS is one of the best all-in-one units money can buy right now; and for the price, it just can't be beat. Its proven over and over on many success videos (not just the company who makes it doing a 10 second demo of a feature that doesn't work after 2 minutes) It just works as advertised and it doesn't drift even after 20+ minutes of hovering on the same spot, like some other inferior units that I've tested that drift within a few minutes and become useless for what they were meant for...

NAZA-H GPS stabilization performance demo: A solid 14 minute hover without a single hitch. (And I've done several 20+ minute hands free hovers, I just have no videos of these)
Flight endurance record attempt for the MB-8A (14 min 43 sec)


G.
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Old May 17, 2014, 07:25 AM
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Tokyo Setagaya-Ku, Japan
Joined Jun 2004
595 Posts
Hi Minibichus,

Thanks for a great video! A rock solid helicopter!
I have one old large size Agusta 109 (1500mm rotor dia., 36 V NiMH) with a PA-1 auto-pilot. So if I buy a NAZA-H, I will install it to this large Agusta.

Graupner Agusta A109A MKII (0 min 33 sec)


Quote:
Originally Posted by Minibichus View Post
NAZA-H GPS stabilization performance demo: A solid 14 minute hover without a single hitch. (And I've done several 20+ minute hands free hovers, I just have no videos of these)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B2J4M_b3vM4

G.
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Last edited by K2-tokyo; May 17, 2014 at 07:30 AM.
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Old May 17, 2014, 05:19 PM
MB-Commander
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Joined Feb 2008
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Quote:
Originally Posted by K2-tokyo View Post
Hi Minibichus,

Thanks for a great video! A rock solid helicopter!
I have one old large size Agusta 109 (1500mm rotor dia., 36 V NiMH) with a PA-1 auto-pilot. So if I buy a NAZA-H, I will install it to this large Agusta.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gPnM6fz-Rso
Nice heli! Yeah, NAZA-H should work really well on that bird.

G.
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Old May 18, 2014, 01:41 PM
Redjestird Youser
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Well look at what you got me thinking of now, lol. What's up buddy!

What are your thoughts on this thing handling a large bodied but light-ish heli? One that kind of blows around in the wind compared your average 12lb or so scaler. And has some impressive blow-up in wind effects with a 3 blade head?

I have the big Funkey AS350 running 3 600mm asymetric blades with a T500 based airframe, 8.5lbs. Kind of a handful with wind in comparison to my 700 sized Long Ranger @12lbs which has less body area than that AS350. I have the AS350 running a mini-vbar and it is pretty much as good as it'll get without loading some more weight on it, but it is what it is.

Having some not too impressive experiences with the early days of FBL...I kind of want to have Vbar-ish normal flight performance if I go with this NAZA. I'm real particular on these things. Do you think its normal mode performance is a good match for a tougher heli to be electronically stablized? Do you think the GPS hold function will go batshit if the heli sort of handles like a sheet of plywood with a parachute attached?
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Old May 18, 2014, 11:05 PM
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Joined Feb 2008
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SidewaysLS4 View Post
Well look at what you got me thinking of now, lol. What's up buddy!

What are your thoughts on this thing handling a large bodied but light-ish heli? One that kind of blows around in the wind compared your average 12lb or so scaler. And has some impressive blow-up in wind effects with a 3 blade head?

I have the big Funkey AS350 running 3 600mm asymetric blades with a T500 based airframe, 8.5lbs. Kind of a handful with wind in comparison to my 700 sized Long Ranger @12lbs which has less body area than that AS350. I have the AS350 running a mini-vbar and it is pretty much as good as it'll get without loading some more weight on it, but it is what it is.

Having some not too impressive experiences with the early days of FBL...I kind of want to have Vbar-ish normal flight performance if I go with this NAZA. I'm real particular on these things. Do you think its normal mode performance is a good match for a tougher heli to be electronically stablized? Do you think the GPS hold function will go batshit if the heli sort of handles like a sheet of plywood with a parachute attached?
Hey man!! Long time no see!! back from the grave? How is it going? I hope everything is going well for ya!

So, I think you'll love the NAZA-H bud, it works and it is absolutely rock solid. The instructions I've laid on this thread should give you the basics to get the thing up in the air. After you see this thing working, I am safe to say you won't be trying another flybarless controller unit: the GPS hold on this thing is just unreal, and for 25+ minutes? without drift?
Flying in GPS mode its really amazing: I've already logged a couple of hours of GPS only flights and I don't think I plan on ever going back to fly manual mode for normal scale flights.

The most important thing to watch out for is the feedback loops, if they are setup wrong, it will crash the heli when switching to GPS.

Ah, if you take the plunge, get the NAZA-H with the GPS module; seriously, the Atti mode is okay, but not great; suffice to say that I much rather fly manual than Atti mode.

Hope to see you back!!
G.
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Old May 19, 2014, 11:25 AM
Redjestird Youser
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Joined Jan 2009
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Well, you sold me, lol. Just fired off an order for this. This should get interesting having a self-flying helicopter, gonna love the 'news chopper' hover effect
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Old May 19, 2014, 12:07 PM
MB-Commander
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SidewaysLS4 View Post
Well, you sold me, lol. Just fired off an order for this. This should get interesting having a self-flying helicopter, gonna love the 'news chopper' hover effect
Dang, that easy? nooo.... I really think you were ready to pull the trigger already!!

Lemme know when you get it so we take it offline if you need any help!

G.
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Old May 25, 2014, 08:11 AM
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I also like it. But on my second setup I'm having some trouble with the gains and I'm not sure waht to do next. I posted my problem on the NAZA H thread if someone's interested.

http://www.rcgroups.com/forums/showt...6#post28466359
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Old May 25, 2014, 11:08 PM
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Hi there,
So first off, leaving the gains alone at 100% is a mistake that almost costed me the airframe of the very same scale heli you've seen on this thread. You should start very low gains and build up from there. If your heli goes into a "feedback-from-heck" loop, you might lose it. So always start with the gains half and build up, no need to assume it works because you've read it elsewhere: Assumption is the mother of all f*ck-ups.

Tail issues can be due many factors. Sometimes what you described (or what I've understood) can be caused by an improperly secured Gyro; as in, you gyro is probably over way too much foam tape and can so slightly move when the heli rotates around and the tail spots abruptly. You should use a heavy metal plate sandwiched between the two heavy duty 3M double sided tape that are supplied with the NAZA.

So, another possibility, make sure your rod or goldenrod cable, or whatever it is you're using to connect your tail servo to the tail pitch slider is rock solid, as in, it can't bend around or flex, or compress or expand under stress. If you use a goldenrod or similar type of setup make sure your cable is 100% secured to something structurally sound, like the boom, all the way, from end to end.

As for gains I've upped the gain son mine since the writing of this guide, so now I run mine at 75% for cyclic and 65% on collective.

NAZA is only as good as the mechanical setup available to it.

As for higher headspeed as a cure for all sloppiness, simply don't take it. If your head is tracked spot on, and your blades are balanced to the 10th of a gram you should be able to run 400 RPM without a wobble or a hint of vibration. I can run mine as low as 800 RPM on main and have no problems with NAZA bouncing around, nor feedback loops going haywire on me. You should be able to run the regular two blade tail with a 1200-1300 RPM main rotor without any issues on your tail authority, nor mysterious gyro oscillations. So, I suspect (while I can't say with 100% confidence) that your issue here is probably something mechanical.

Hope this helps, PM me if you need any help.

G.
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Old May 26, 2014, 02:55 AM
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Minibichus, if your answer was refering to my problem, maybe I dindn't explain it well enough. My tail is solid - no problems there.

The only problem I have are strong oscillations in Pitch - bobbing back and forth along the Y-axis. The nose/tail oscillate up and down. That's why I'm not really sure what gain is causing it or which gain change would help. I also don't believe it's a head speed problem because in Manual she is very stable and stays put.
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Old May 26, 2014, 03:44 AM
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Originally Posted by gadorey View Post
Minibichus, if your answer was refering to my problem, maybe I dindn't explain it well enough. My tail is solid - no problems there.

The only problem I have are strong oscillations in Pitch - bobbing back and forth along the Y-axis. The nose/tail oscillate up and down. That's why I'm not really sure what gain is causing it or which gain change would help. I also don't believe it's a head speed problem because in Manual she is very stable and stays put.
Okay, that makes more sense.

So there are two sections in the gains: one for autopilot and one for flybarless. From the input I am seeing you should modify the gains on the autopilot section; in this particular case the elevator gain might help.

Now, the question is: how fast is this oscillation? is it rapid and violent? or is it like sloooow back, slooow forward...? like it can't seem to find the centering.

Manual mode doesn't use the accelerometers to get a sense of orientation; it only uses the gyros to eliminate all unwanted rotations that are not commanded from the user radio.

G.
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