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Old Jun 10, 2012, 11:54 PM
I land in the trees
United States, OH, Bellefontaine
Joined Oct 2011
112 Posts
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Flying my first tricopter

Here's my very first attempts at getting this thing off the ground, on the evening of June 9, 2012. This is just about as noob as you can get.

Tricopter - first flights (2 min 58 sec)


And with these lift-off attempts, I was determined to have a better Day 2. Well, it turned into a roller coaster of frustration and excitement. I had my first experiences with epic crashes. After two nasty wrecks, three broken arms, a few hours of "back to the workshop" time, and some additional education on control board setup, I feel like I finally got this beast under control.

The video below shows every single flight attempt I made today after returning from my second repair job. It's a bit shy of 9 minutes, but it's pretty cool seeing the progression of "practice practice practice" in effect.

Progression of flight attempts with tricopter - June 10, 2012 (8 min 32 sec)


Some things I discovered today after the second major crash:
  • initially, the arms were made from basswood. After the second crash, I switched to poplar. It seems to withstand the shock of an impact much better.
  • realizing I needed to reverse my gyros. That, in itself, made a world of difference.
  • basic confidence is a big deal. As you can see in the video, starting out, I was rather nervous getting it too high in the air. But when you really get the feel for how it acts during take-off, and then how it responds in the air, it's a great feeling.

So yeah, if my math is correct, I should have this thing in the clouds by next year, right??
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Old Jun 11, 2012, 12:01 AM
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onlyifamppowered's Avatar
brisbane
Joined Jul 2005
600 Posts
My advice to to keep at it and get it a little higher. At about 3-4 foot high you will be out of ground effectand things get easier !
Rob
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Old Jun 11, 2012, 06:33 AM
I land in the trees
United States, OH, Bellefontaine
Joined Oct 2011
112 Posts
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Originally Posted by onlyifamppowered View Post
My advice to to keep at it and get it a little higher. At about 3-4 foot high you will be out of ground effectand things get easier !
Rob
Here's hoping "easier" comes sooner than later. I'm still working on getting a steady hover, instead of it trying to move all over the place. Hopefully, it won't take too much adjusting.
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Old Jun 11, 2012, 07:27 AM
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Wright's Avatar
King, NC
Joined Aug 2000
488 Posts
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Originally Posted by bazman View Post
I feel like I finally got this beast under control.
I was in your spot last year. Other folks are right. Get a little higher and things smooth out. Get in a open field with high grass to cushion and give yourself more time to correct. Put some LED's on the arms to help with orientation. My biggest problems came when something needed tightening like set screws or motor mounts, vibration is a killer. I am just really restating what's in the sticky: http://www.rcgroups.com/forums/showthread.php?t=1097355

Next comes turning left and right then it's easy after that. Mine needed a lot of coordination with yaw, roll and pitch. What board are you using?

marcus
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Old Jun 11, 2012, 07:56 AM
I land in the trees
United States, OH, Bellefontaine
Joined Oct 2011
112 Posts
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Originally Posted by Wright View Post
I was in your spot last year. Other folks are right. Get a little higher and things smooth out. Get in a open field with high grass to cushion and give yourself more time to correct. Put some LED's on the arms to help with orientation. My biggest problems came when something needed tightening like set screws or motor mounts, vibration is a killer. I am just really restating what's in the sticky: http://www.rcgroups.com/forums/showthread.php?t=1097355

Next comes turning left and right then it's easy after that. Mine needed a lot of coordination with yaw, roll and pitch. What board are you using?

marcus
I'll get the orientation worked out. I figure I'll eventually get differently-colored front props to help out with that.

I'm using HobbyKing's KK board with 1.6 firmware.
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Old Jun 11, 2012, 09:08 AM
Do a Barrel Roll!
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United States, OH, Medina
Joined Jun 2005
1,023 Posts
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Originally Posted by bazman View Post
I'll get the orientation worked out. I figure I'll eventually get differently-colored front props to help out with that.

I'm using HobbyKing's KK board with 1.6 firmware.
I'd suggest using a fake cardboard arrow shaped canopy to get started. It helps so much.

For flight, I'd recommend the following order

- practice hover without touching the yaw control, and keeping the tail pointing at you. When the tail has rotated out, and is no longer pointed at you, land, reset, and try do again
- same thing as above, but now introduce little bits of yaw to keep the tail pointed at you. Kinda like controlling a weather-vane
- practice moving forward and backward, still using the yaw to keep that tail toward you
-practice moving forward, backward and side to side while keeping the tail toward you.
- move out going forward, turn around using yaw, and come back. Keep doing these straight line passes, and turning around at the end of each pass. This will really test your orientation.
- after that you will progress a bit more naturally from flight to flight and eventually learn to combine yaw and roll for some nice turns.
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Old Jun 11, 2012, 09:11 AM
I land in the trees
United States, OH, Bellefontaine
Joined Oct 2011
112 Posts
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Originally Posted by rcbif View Post
I'd suggest using a fake cardboard arrow shaped canopy to get started. It helps so much.

For flight, I'd recommend the following order

- practice hover without touching the yaw control, and keeping the tail pointing at you. When the tail has rotated out, and is no longer pointed at you, land, reset, and try do again
- same thing as above, but now introduce little bits of yaw to keep the tail pointed at you. Kinda like controlling a weather-vane
- practice moving forward and backward, still using the yaw to keep that tail toward you
-practice moving forward, backward and side to side while keeping the tail toward you.
- move out going forward, turn around using yaw, and come back. Keep doing these straight line passes, and turning around at the end of each pass. This will really test your orientation.
- after that you will progress a bit more naturally from flight to flight and eventually learn to combine yaw and roll for some nice turns.
I'll definitely give these a try. I haven't even touched the yaw control yet.
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Old Jun 11, 2012, 09:13 AM
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United States, DC, Washington
Joined Dec 2007
418 Posts
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Originally Posted by bazman View Post
With yesterday's successful lift-offs, I was determined to have a better Day 2. Well, it turned into a roller coaster of frustration and excitement. I had my first experiences with epic crashes. After two nasty wrecks, three broken arms, a few hours of "back to the workshop" time, and some additional education on control board setup, I feel like I finally got this beast under control.

The video below shows every single flight attempt I made today after returning from my second repair job. It's a bit shy of 9 minutes, but it's pretty cool seeing the progression of "practice practice practice" in effect.

http://youtu.be/Olb4prYV51k

Some things I discovered today after the second major crash:
  • initially, the arms were made from basswood. After the second crash, I switched to poplar. It seems to withstand the shock of an impact much better.
  • realizing I needed to reverse my gyros. That, in itself, made a world of difference.
  • basic confidence is a big deal. As you can see in the video, starting out, I was rather nervous getting it too high in the air. But when you really get the feel for how it acts during take-off, and then how it responds in the air, it's a great feeling.

So yeah, if my math is correct, I should have this thing in the clouds by next year, right??
It looks like you're having trouble compensating when it gets out of a tail-in orientation.

Download a flight sim, and spend a few hours playing around on it, flying in orientations other than tail in. It makes a world of difference.
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Old Jun 11, 2012, 09:20 AM
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King, NC
Joined Aug 2000
488 Posts
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Originally Posted by bazman View Post
I'll definitely give these a try. I haven't even touched the yaw control yet.
Flying multi rotorcraft (and heli's) requires the left thumb. The left and right passes is an excellent suggestion. This helped me learn how to turn my quad. The bright orange fin helped a lot as well.

Marcus
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Old Jun 11, 2012, 09:59 AM
Do a Barrel Roll!
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United States, OH, Medina
Joined Jun 2005
1,023 Posts
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Originally Posted by Wright View Post
Flying multi rotorcraft (and heli's) requires the left thumb. The left and right passes is an excellent suggestion. This helped me learn how to turn my quad. The bright orange fin helped a lot as well.

Marcus
Yep, it's required, but if your tri is setup and trimmed nice, you should to be able to take off and get at least a 10sec flight without making a yaw correction. So make sure your yaw is trimmed out good, or you'll just end up taking off, slowly rotating, and loosing orientation.
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Old Jun 11, 2012, 10:02 AM
I land in the trees
United States, OH, Bellefontaine
Joined Oct 2011
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Originally Posted by rcbif View Post
Yep, it's required, but if your tri is setup and trimmed nice, you should to be able to take off and get at least a 10sec flight without making a yaw correction. So make sure your yaw is trimmed out good, or you'll just end up taking off, slowly rotating, and loosing orientation.
That's really my goal here, starting out. I'd rather take the steps to get a proper yaw trim, and then focus just on forward, back, left, right....with just a touch of yaw to keep me oriented. Baby steps...
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Old Jun 11, 2012, 03:19 PM
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United Kingdom, Scotland, Glasgow
Joined Feb 2012
346 Posts
It looks like you're getting it dialed in toward the end of that last video. Getting the TX trims right takes a bit of experimenting, but you should be able to get it stable enough that any drift can be corrected with very small cyclic movements.

Getting the hang of throttle control for hovering is another thing. You can spool up a lot quicker than you do in the videos - you'll soon get to know how much throttle you need before the tricopter gets light enough to start lifting off. If you get too high or disoriented, just reduce throttle a little bit and the copter will drift back down - you don't want it dropping like a stone from a few feet.

What gyro gains have you got now? They should be set to just below the point where the copter wobbles/oscillates, so you get the maximum help from them. It looks like you're about right near the end of the last video.
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Old Jun 11, 2012, 08:05 PM
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Troy ,OH
Joined Jan 2004
1,813 Posts
Small steps. Don't rush ,there is no test.
I have prior heli experience so this wasn't a big stretch. Still orientation is an issue on a quad and leds as others have mentioned make a difference. stay away from blue leds.
It won't take long getting use to rudder or yaw input.
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Old Jun 11, 2012, 10:32 PM
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Joined Jan 2011
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Originally Posted by grumman5277 View Post
Small steps. Don't rush ,there is no test.
I have prior heli experience so this wasn't a big stretch. Still orientation is an issue on a quad and leds as others have mentioned make a difference. stay away from blue leds.
It won't take long getting use to rudder or yaw input.
Just curious as to why you suggest staying away from blue leds?
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Old Jun 11, 2012, 10:42 PM
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United States, CA, Hayward
Joined Apr 2006
710 Posts
i recommend getting some sim time. you will learn about 10x faster.
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