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Old Mar 16, 2012, 10:27 AM
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Basel, Switzerland
Joined Mar 2008
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my very diy long range bixler (16.7km on 5.8GHZ)

As i flew 11.1km (and back) yesterday, and will attempt more in a hour or so, i thought, some people might be interested in my setup...

the rc control runs over my diy uhf system. it's very losely based on openlrs. openlrs was the inspiration to start it, but in the end, i did many things differently and wrote my software from scratch. it's based on the rfm22b module and has 100mw output. there's a moxon on the tx and a right angled dipole (taped to the tail) on the rx.
it can also return data, which is used for the antenna tracker and osd (done on the ground). osd is based on the diy osd here from rcgroups but again with heavily rewritten software. the groundstation has that nice display where i can setup the tracker, check the spectrum around 433mhz and change the used frequency for control. i implemented hopping, but it didnt perform as hoped, so it's disabled for the moment.
from the turnigy 9x i'm only using the ppm output, it doesnt do anything special. it's powered from the 2s lipo in the ground station, as is the fatshark, tracker servos, 5.8 ghz receiver and the controller.

the 5.8 ghz receiver is also diy, it's more or less the same as in the airwave-rx-module datasheet. there's a 12 turn helical, currently untuned.

on the plane, the immersionrc 600mw tx has a cloverleaf (untuned). it's powered directly from the main 3s lipo. as is the gopro-supply/charger. the gopro liveout is used for fpv. the rx's and tx's are separated as much as possible, gps in one wing, video to the other and rc control to the back. that's the best configuration i found for distance, weight balance and antenna placement.

gps is directly connected to the rx. the rx also measures pack voltage. this data is sent to the ground for the tracker and osd. i've recently added a gyro/accelerometer/compass to the rx. i'll try to code rth capability sometime, but it's no priority at the moment, it's very reliable already.

the bixler is very standard, 4x hxt900, turnigy k-force 40a esc (using builtin bec), D2826-6 2200kv outrunner and master airscrew 3 blade 6x4 prop. for the 11.1km flight, i used a 4500mah 3s 30c battery. usually fly with 1 or 2x 3s 2200mah. the wings are "permanently" taped the the body.

the goals for this setup were: cheap, extendable and as little work and setup as possible for daily flights (only need to charge groundstation 2s lipo and flight batteries and copy gopro footage at home). on the other side, it takes a lot of time to build this and program everything... but that time is quite fun too

btw, i've used the cheapest chinease sma pigtails and connectors i could find the gopro supply is a ultra cheap used KIS-3R33S with additional cap on output.

for any questions, feel free to ask

update:
here's the video of the 16.7km flight:
16.7km fpv flight with a hk bixler (4 min 40 sec)
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Last edited by quix-fz; Apr 02, 2012 at 07:18 PM. Reason: new video&record
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Old Mar 16, 2012, 11:02 AM
Registered FPVer :)
markus123456's Avatar
Switzerland, LU, Buchrain
Joined Aug 2006
2,826 Posts
Quote:
Originally Posted by quix-fz View Post
As i flew 11.1km (and back) yesterday, and will attempt more in a hour or so, i thought, some people might be interested in my setup...

the rc control runs over my diy uhf system. it's very losely based on openlrs. openlrs was the inspiration to start it, but in the end, i did many things differently and wrote my software from scratch. it's based on the rfm22b module and has 100mw output.
it can also return data, which is used for the antenna tracker and osd (done on the ground). osd is based on the diy osd here from rcgroups but again with heavily rewritten software. the groundstation has that nice display where i can setup the tracker, check the spectrum around 433mhz and change the used frequency for control. i implemented hopping, but it didnt perform as hoped, so it's disabled for the moment.
from the turnigy 9x i'm only using the ppm output, it doesnt do anything special. it's powered from the 2s lipo in the ground station, as is the fatshark, tracker servos, 5.8 ghz receiver and the controller.

the 5.8 ghz receiver is also diy, it's more or less the same as in the airwave-rx-module datasheet. there's a 12 turn helical, currently untuned.

on the plane, the immersionrc 600mw tx has a cloverleaf (untuned). it's powered directly from the main 3s lipo. as is the gopro-supply/charger. the gopro liveout is used for fpv. the rx's and tx's are separated as much as possible, gps in one wing, video to the other and rc control to the back. that's the best configuration i found for distance, weight balance and antenna placement.

gps is directly connected to the rx. the rx also measures pack voltage. this data is sent to the ground for the tracker and osd. i've recently added a gyro/accelerometer/compass to the rx. i'll try to code rth capability sometime, but it's no priority at the moment, it's very reliable already.

the bixler is very standard, 4x hxt900, turnigy k-force 40a esc (using builtin bec), D2826-6 2200kv outrunner and master airscrew 3 blade 6x4 prop. for the 11.1km flight, i used a 4500mah 3s 30c battery. usually fly with 1 or 2x 3s 2200mah. the wings are "permanently" taped the the body.

the goals for this setup were: cheap, extendable and as little work and setup as possible for daily flights (only need to charge groundstation 2s lipo and flight batteries and copy gopro footage at home). on the other side, it takes a lot of time to build this and program everything... but that time is quite fun too

btw, i've used the cheapest chinease sma pigtails and connectors i could find the gopro supply is a ultra cheap used KIS-3R33S with additional cap on output.

for any questions, feel free to ask

here's a video of the 11.1km flight (i'll delete it in a few days): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CbCEKgNCTv4
Congratulations, overal a very impressive job!

I would be interested to see the live video feed at 11km. Do you have a video of that too?

Markus
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Old Mar 16, 2012, 12:29 PM
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Basel, Switzerland
Joined Mar 2008
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Originally Posted by markus123456 View Post
Congratulations, overal a very impressive job!

I would be interested to see the live video feed at 11km. Do you have a video of that too?

Markus
thank you i don't have a video of that, the gopro is the only recorder... but will try one time, the laptop and everything is ready.

did 11.7km half an hour ago. was quite intense... i started a flight with the usualy long range lipo (4500mah), but had to turn back after 8km because the groundstation lipo was near its end... i have some many charged 2s lipos with me, but forgot to check/change... anyway, i wanted to improve the record, so used 2 older 2200mah lipos in parallel. was okay the first half of the flight... right after 11km i was getting lower, i had to fly slowly to conserve power and after turning back, i was too low and lost video for a few seconds, but could pull up again... the wind wasnt helping either... the last 5km were flown with the lipo voltage at lvc, 3.07volts per cell all the time... but that was enough landed 200m short of the starting point, because i couldnt get over the power lines in front of me, and couldnt fly up after flying under them
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Old Mar 16, 2012, 12:53 PM
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Amherst, VA
Joined Jun 2006
10,403 Posts
A Moxon rectangle! I used to fly one of these as an RX antenna years ago. I was planning on trying it as a TX. Looks like you beat me to it. Very impressive.

-Alex
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Old Mar 16, 2012, 01:43 PM
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Basel, Switzerland
Joined Mar 2008
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Originally Posted by IBCrazy View Post
A Moxon rectangle! I used to fly one of these as an RX antenna years ago. I was planning on trying it as a TX. Looks like you beat me to it. Very impressive.

-Alex
the antenna god himself thank you very very much for your designs and tutorials!
i had bad rc control range before the moxon, 2-3km at most. now i know the nagoya 771 i had before was bad. it was good new, i must have killed it in the meantime.
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Old Mar 16, 2012, 01:57 PM
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United States, TX, Mansfield
Joined Jan 2012
527 Posts
Awesome work! You are highly skilled...
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Old Mar 16, 2012, 02:00 PM
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Joined Sep 2010
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Subscribed btw sent you a PM at flytron forum

Edit: is the tracker also diy? Would you share some details?

Would you share schematics, code for the diy osd also? I warmly invite you to join the discussion in Dennis Frie's diy osd thread.
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Last edited by msev; Mar 16, 2012 at 02:37 PM.
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Old Mar 16, 2012, 02:08 PM
SILURIA / UK
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United Kingdom
Joined Jun 2009
2,440 Posts
Brilliant effort. Love the DIY / enthsiast way to achieve such a great result.
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Latest blog entry: MultiWii OSD - MWOSD NG
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Old Mar 16, 2012, 02:18 PM
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Switzerland, LU, Buchrain
Joined Aug 2006
2,826 Posts
Quote:
Originally Posted by quix-fz View Post
thank you i don't have a video of that, the gopro is the only recorder... but will try one time, the laptop and everything is ready.

did 11.7km half an hour ago. was quite intense... i started a flight with the usualy long range lipo (4500mah), but had to turn back after 8km because the groundstation lipo was near its end... i have some many charged 2s lipos with me, but forgot to check/change... anyway, i wanted to improve the record, so used 2 older 2200mah lipos in parallel. was okay the first half of the flight... right after 11km i was getting lower, i had to fly slowly to conserve power and after turning back, i was too low and lost video for a few seconds, but could pull up again... the wind wasnt helping either... the last 5km were flown with the lipo voltage at lvc, 3.07volts per cell all the time... but that was enough landed 200m short of the starting point, because i couldnt get over the power lines in front of me, and couldnt fly up after flying under them
Lucky you! Since you live in Switzerland, we may should fly once together.

Markus
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Old Mar 16, 2012, 02:27 PM
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United States, OH, Dayton
Joined Feb 2012
34 Posts
Beautiful video! Quick question about your Bixler setup. How did you route the cables for the video Tx and GPS? It looks like you cut (or used a hot iron) for the video, is that correct? I like how your GPS is mounted so cleanly.

-Brian
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Old Mar 16, 2012, 02:45 PM
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Basel, Switzerland
Joined Mar 2008
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Originally Posted by msev View Post
is the tracker also diy? Would you share some details?

What do you use for your osd?
thank you guys
tracker and osd are diy too.

osd is based on this one: http://www.rcgroups.com/forums/showthread.php?t=1473207
schematics are the same, software is based on their first version and completely rewritten. the board i made was designed to be run in the plane and repurposed for ground-osd.

the tracker software runs on a atmega644p. i designed this pcb 2 years ago, for universal use and experimenting with the display. then there's a 4017 decade counter to output the servo pulses, a burned turnigy esc as bec for the servos, a power and video distribution board with plugged in osd.

the tx, display-board and osd are connected with serial data. the tx gets gps from the plane, forwards to display board, there everything gets computed, servo positions output and osd-text/numbers forwarded to osd.
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Old Mar 16, 2012, 02:50 PM
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Basel, Switzerland
Joined Mar 2008
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Originally Posted by bgarber View Post
Beautiful video! Quick question about your Bixler setup. How did you route the cables for the video Tx and GPS? It looks like you cut (or used a hot iron) for the video, is that correct? I like how your GPS is mounted so cleanly.

-Brian
from the gps/videotx to the servo i cut out some epo. with a good knife, cut 3-4 mm into the epo left and right from the cable, and get the rest out with a screwdriver. the rest runs together with the servocable inside the precut channel, which i had to enlarge a little bit.

with the first bixler (this is the 3rd ) i had the cables and gps/videotx on top of the wings. worked well too, but i had a feeling it was slowing the plane down noticably... but maybe it was only my imagination
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Old Mar 16, 2012, 02:58 PM
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So tracker gets info via telemetry from ground openlrs txrx? Do you have a gps interfaced with openlrs on the plane?

Or is there another base on which the tracker works..
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Old Mar 16, 2012, 03:10 PM
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Basel, Switzerland
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Originally Posted by msev View Post
So tracker gets info via telemetry from ground openlrs txrx? Do you have a gps interfaced with openlrs on the plane?
exactly! gps -> serial -> openlrs-"rx"-on-plane -> lots of air -> openlrs-"tx" -> serial -> display-board -> osd/servo

here's the osd source code. i dont have the schematics anymore, overwritten it... it cant be used by it's own. it expects the data to be displayed over serial. one interesting feature is the home-arrow which is drawn in realtime for extra precision. and maybe the half-width output character for the dot

i also have two additional lines for roll and pitch of the plane (not used further then that ).
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Last edited by quix-fz; Mar 16, 2012 at 03:27 PM.
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Old Mar 16, 2012, 03:11 PM
Project Tormentor is flying!
United States, WA, White Salmon
Joined Nov 2005
2,020 Posts
Awesome job! Its amazing what people can do with (not) too much money and some time and skill and enthusiasm! But can I make a recommendation? I suggest you run a seperate, high quality BEC. Everything else you've done seems perfect, but I just have heard enough reports over the years of built in BECs failing that I always suggest running a seperate one.
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