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Old Dec 10, 2009, 09:21 PM
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AleG's Avatar
Bangkok
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Mini camera plane construction thread

I'm working on a small plane to carry one of those keychai/pen cameras. The idea being a plane that can be put inside a small box so I can carry it with me when I travel around and have the chance to shoot some aerial views of the place.

The basic specs are a 60cm wingspan, twin boom rear section with either twin fins and elevator or an inverted V-tail in between. The motor is mounted on the rear of the nacelle so the front has an unobstructed view for the camera. I'm plannig on using a 10 HK motor and 5 gram servos (I may go for 3.7s but those are usually not very precise.

The wing outer panels are detachable as well as the nacelle, all the electronics and servos will stay on the center section while the battery and camera will be in the nacelle to balance the weight. This would alos allow me to have another set of wings, perhaps with more wingspan so that I can match the wings with the wind conditions. Also I'd be able to have more than one nacelle to work as replacements since that's the part that would more easily break (probably pretty far away from my workbench).

A very sketchy plan of the model. Notice the two tail versions.


I've almost finished building the wings.


Wing attachment details, I used carbon fiber and aluminum tubes, fits quite snuggly.



Here's a detail of the ailerons link. The L shape at the end of the wire fits in a slot in the aileron, so it transmits the rotation. It has very little play so I'm quite satisfied with the results.

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Old Dec 11, 2009, 12:41 AM
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Denton Tx.
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Hi AleG,
That looks good.
First I want to say, I'm not a plane designer, But I think if you build your plane like in the 2nd drawing I think you'll have problem flying it, with the tail boom angle down like that?
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Old Dec 11, 2009, 12:54 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dennis H. View Post
Hi AleG,
That looks good.
First I want to say, I'm not a plane designer, But I think if you build your plane like in the 2nd drawing I think you'll have problem flying it, with the tail boom angle down like that?
Oh, that. No problem, although the tail booms have that angle the elevons would be angled differently, a degree or two of negative AoA.
I designed it like that so that the plane has a very low profile, that way it can fit in a small box for transportation; perhaps no more than 10cm high, 25cm wide and 40 or 45cm long.

By the way, I'm going to make the tail booms a little shorter than in the drawing; they seem a bit too long now. Besides making the plane more compact it would also help to reduce the amount of weight needed in the nose for balance
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Old Dec 11, 2009, 05:07 PM
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Looks good.

I like inverted vee tails on twin booms for at least one good reason but anything with a rear motor fuse on a twin boom ought to work nicely.

I'm interesting in making similar planes. I've got tons of video that I took from my pico Tigermoth, but I would like something smaller that I can fly in more places, and even indoors. I flew the TM indoors, but with transmitted video I got a lot of multipath reflections that caused weird colors and stuff like that.

I just got a keychain camera, but the instructions are very vague. I think I have to stick a memory card in to get it to work, but I don't know what type or size.

I also have a very tiny (8mm cube) camera, but I need a new transmitter for it. The one I have now is on 2.4 gHz and is worthless with my AR6400 radio. I checked out 900 mHz tx's but the only suitable one was very, very expensive.

I look forward to reading more.

Pete
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Old Dec 28, 2009, 08:01 AM
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I had time to work on this plane the last few days.
The airframe is almost complete now, only missing a few bits for the nacelle and hatch attachments.

That's a HK 10 gram motor sticking on the back, the booms are 6mm diameter carbon fiber tube, 4mm diameter would had been better but that's what I had at hand.


Front view, you can see the hole in the nose for the camera lens.


Rear view showing the A-Tail, I picked an eye-searing neon paint to have a high visibility model in the air.


Another three quarters view. I kind of went overboard with the rounded elevon joint, but it looks nice and keeps the elevons from touching when deflected.


Here's the model disassembled, the nacelle is quite roomy since the only things that go in it are the battery (2s x 400mAh) and the guts of a spy pen camera.


And here are the part in what I think would be the storage configuration, it fits in a 20x39x8cm volume.
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Old Dec 28, 2009, 08:38 AM
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This is awesome!
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Old Dec 28, 2009, 09:30 AM
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AleG,

That looks great, Be sure to post video of it flying!
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Old Dec 28, 2009, 03:52 PM
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Ale, that is a very clever design. I like the detachable/quick connect ailerons - it reminds me of the way we used to do R/O controls with rotary actuators and a wire bale follower on the TE of the surface. You could adjust the follower nearer to or farther from the axis for less or more control throw.

Just don't get arrested for spying, now...
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Old Dec 28, 2009, 07:17 PM
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Looks really great!

I too look forward to seeing some videos that you get with this setup.

I've been playing with my keychain camera and the only problem that I've had is that I can't change the date and time. Kind of stupid having a date that is almost two years old at the bottom of the video.

I am amazed at the quality of the video it can shoot. I would like to take it apart and see how much weight I can get rid of, but I won't do that until I get a second one to play with.

Pete
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Old Dec 28, 2009, 08:14 PM
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Time and date stamp

The Key Fob Time and Date set

The Internal Flash Camera 8gb (white T&D LH TOP)

The camera keeps the date and time as long as the battery is not dead.  It stamps the date time in the upper left corner of all video, and the date time property of all AVI and JPG files.

If you don’t set the date time, 1980 Jan 1 will be used.

For example, to set the date time to May 13 2009 at 3:10pm:

Connect the USB.  Create a time.txt file in the flash root with one line inside in this format:

2009.05.13 15:10:00

Disconnect the USB.  The camera will read the file, change the camera date time, and delete the file.

The Micro SD Camera #3 ( 2,4,8,16gb micro SD, Yellow T&D RH Bottom)

We contacted the seller to get these instructions.
.
For what you call the #3 camera – settime.txt and time.txt files don’t work at all.  It has to be a file named tag.txt reading EXACTLY this way:

[date] 
2009/10/22 
03:45:00

There has to be a space after the first line AND AFTER THE SECOND LINE.  And the time stamp starts when the key chain camera is powered on with this file on the root – not when the file is created – so create it with a time a minute ahead and then disconnect it from the USB (the proper way) and power up the keychain cam at that time.
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Old Dec 28, 2009, 09:19 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mike Taylor View Post
Ale, that is a very clever design. I like the detachable/quick connect ailerons - it reminds me of the way we used to do R/O controls with rotary actuators and a wire bale follower on the TE of the surface. You could adjust the follower nearer to or farther from the axis for less or more control throw.

Just don't get arrested for spying, now...
I've flown a plane carrying a camera near the border with Myanmar, so if I didn't get shot down with a missile then I think I'm OK.
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Old Dec 28, 2009, 11:57 PM
Love the sport, not the plane
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Wow. Have you seen those 10g cameras? That would be the perfect match! What is the AUW?
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Old Dec 29, 2009, 05:19 AM
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PeteSchug yes you can,

wich model you have of kychain? 1, 2 or 3 ?
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Old Dec 29, 2009, 06:24 AM
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Originally Posted by wallaguest1 View Post
PeteSchug yes you can,

wich model you have of kychain? 1, 2 or 3 ?
I'm using a camera from a spy pen I got from Dealextreme, this one.
I've been thinking about getting one of the keychain types, probably lighter and surely more compact, but I'm not sure if I could mount the lens on an extension cable as I did with the one I already have.

This is the posts where I show how I modified the camera and installed it on another plane.
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Old Dec 29, 2009, 04:54 PM
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Elmhurst, NY (Queens in NYC)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mattyfly4fun View Post
The Key Fob Time and Date set

The Internal Flash Camera 8gb (white T&D LH TOP)

The camera keeps the date and time as long as the battery is not dead.  It stamps the date time in the upper left corner of all video, and the date time property of all AVI and JPG files.

If you don’t set the date time, 1980 Jan 1 will be used.

For example, to set the date time to May 13 2009 at 3:10pm:

Connect the USB.  Create a time.txt file in the flash root with one line inside in this format:

2009.05.13 15:10:00

Disconnect the USB.  The camera will read the file, change the camera date time, and delete the file.

The Micro SD Camera #3 ( 2,4,8,16gb micro SD, Yellow T&D RH Bottom)

We contacted the seller to get these instructions.
.
For what you call the #3 camera – settime.txt and time.txt files don’t work at all.  It has to be a file named tag.txt reading EXACTLY this way:

[date] 
2009/10/22 
03:45:00

There has to be a space after the first line AND AFTER THE SECOND LINE.  And the time stamp starts when the key chain camera is powered on with this file on the root – not when the file is created – so create it with a time a minute ahead and then disconnect it from the USB (the proper way) and power up the keychain cam at that time.
Thanks, tag.txt did the job. I almost gave up hope, especially after the camera stayed on all day today until the battery ran out of juice. I thought it was cooked because it wouldn't shut off, but it came up on my computer and after try the first two methods was getting rather unhappy, but I tried tag and Wow, it was gone after I disconnected, shut off the cam (It stays on when I take it off the computer) turned it back on, then shut off again and hooked up to the USB port.

Now let's see if it still takes video

Thanks Matt and Walla, No info with the camera but it must be a 3 according to how it eventually worked.

Pete
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