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Old Aug 31, 2012, 06:34 PM
'FPV'er...not a "LOS'er
Vantasstic's Avatar
Las Vegas, NV
Joined Sep 2003
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Aquaquad aka Water Borne Flying

I'd been tempted for a long time, and lightly dabbled a few times in using a quadcopter for water filming. I finally sat down and spent the few hours required to do the conversion. Here's what I did:

1. First and foremost...the quad needs to float. Pool Noodles are your friend!!! I picked up a couple of different colored pool noodles from the local dollar store, cut them to the length of my arms and zip tied them to the bottom of the arm...easy.

2. Waterproofing. Expecting some water splashing I needed to protect the electronics. I have some Corrision X from my (little) float flying days. This stuff works great on electronics. It's provides more of an oil seal around the electronics to keep water out yet won't allow the electronics to short out. I removed the shrink wrap on my ESCs and painted on the Corrosion X. It would have been better to full dip the ESCs in the Corrosion X, but that would of required me to disassemble the frame to full remove the ESCs for dunking. I'm going to go back and disassemble and dunk...more on that later though.

3. Camera mounting. I used a GoPro camera in it's waterproof case. I used a GoPro tripod mount and some extension pieces to secure the camera to the quad and lower it below the level of the pool noddles. The extension worked out pretty good as it allows the camera the flexability to articulate front-to-back, side-to-side...good in case it 'bumps' into unseen underwater obstacles.

4. The flight controller. I'm using a Quadrino Multiwii controller in a Frankenquad protective case. I painted the Quadrino with Corrosion X, placed it in the protective case and took a trip to the local dollar store. Why? To find a small plastic bowl to place over the controller. I found a veggie snack container with built in dip bowl. I cut the 'dip' bowl out of the case, trimmed it to size and placed it over the controller. I placed the Rx inside the bowl and sealed it in place with a spare frame center piece (which doubled as the battery mount).

5. Flying. Flying the aquaquad was no problem...flew like any other quad. I did have a couple of 'splash' landing that get some water on the ESCs. A couple of which then wouldn't spin back up so I had to use my R/C 'rescue' boat to push the quad back to shore. I'm going to disassemble frame so I can fully dunk the ESCs in the Corrosion X and reseal with long pieces of heatshrink to better shield them from splashes. I even ended up flipping the quad in the water with the flight controller and receiver fully submersed. When I pushed the quad back to shore and pulled it out of the water the 'dip' bowl had kept all but a few drops of water out. Worked good. I let things dry out a little, and went flying again. It was fun and I'll be doing it again. Now to incorporate FPV gear!!!

Video and pictures below:
Wet -n- Dry (5 min 10 sec)
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Old Aug 31, 2012, 07:20 PM
More Combat Please!
Wind_of_Change's Avatar
Utah
Joined Dec 2003
7,859 Posts
Super cool Van. I loved the vid. I did something similar on the TBS Discovery, just running water noodles under the arms. I decided against trying it on the water and went flying over a corn field. On my way back, I clipped a bush and landed the darn thing in a canal. Full immersion, including an unprotected GoPro 2.

Shoulda left those water noodles on!

I then put water noodles on an X650 and had a successful water landing, which was cool. Filmed some ducks. But on take-off, I didn't give it enough juice and it flipped over. Total immersion again.

Duh.

I'm working on a new aqua quad now, hope to have it done in a few days and will post pics. This one will have the components protected better. I ordered some Corrosion X as well, should have it in a few days.

I think flying in water is a riot. I've flown around waterfalls, lakes, and rivers, and always thought to myself "If only I could land and stay a while!".

I'm gonna keep working on it until I get something stable and reliable.

I thought you had a motor on your quad to propel it in the water. did you have a separate watercraft for retrieval then?
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Old Aug 31, 2012, 08:29 PM
'FPV'er...not a "LOS'er
Vantasstic's Avatar
Las Vegas, NV
Joined Sep 2003
18,376 Posts
Quote:
Originally Posted by Wind_of_Change View Post
I thought you had a motor on your quad to propel it in the water. did you have a separate watercraft for retrieval then?
I do, four of them in fact. One on the end of each arm!!!! No really. When trolling around I just powered up and applied yaw/pitch/roll stick to steer it around. You can't get to aggressive or it'll try to tip and flip over. It was very controllable though.

I had brought along a R/C boat to use for retrieval...just in case. I ended up needing it twice. Once as shown at the end of the video. The second time when I landed with to much forward speed and flipped over. It took me a couple of tries to connect to the quad just right to push it back to shore. A long string and rubber/plastic ball might have worked well to circle and snag the quad and drag it back to shore vs pushing it back to shore. In fact, at the end of the video where the fish swims by. That shot was by total accident. I was trying to push the quad back and the boat just spun it vs pushing it. It happened to spin it just enough to see the fish. Pure luck. Having a FPV camera to look down onto the water to 'pick' your landing spot would be really nice to have.
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Old Sep 01, 2012, 06:03 AM
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Brasil, CE, Fortaleza
Joined Jun 2011
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Hey see that you are using GWS 9X5X3, I love then.... Never explode, or brake and holds a lot of punches.

Mauro
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Old Sep 01, 2012, 07:02 AM
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Joined Sep 2009
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This was done (in Mallorca Spain) 5 months ago, even with pretty big fish in the vid:
Quad Submarino (4 min 49 sec)
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Old Sep 01, 2012, 07:22 AM
I find it rather unseemly!
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United States, IN, Earl Park
Joined Aug 2012
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USO - HaHa, I love it!
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Old Sep 01, 2012, 08:54 AM
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Aaaah MANNNN! That is AWESOME!! Well Done! Love it!
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Old Sep 01, 2012, 10:52 AM
Gary
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United States, MD, Salisbury
Joined Mar 2011
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Van the Man: Awesome! Very cool about the rescue boat! But that looks LOS..lol
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Old Sep 01, 2012, 10:53 PM
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United States, TX, San Antonio
Joined Nov 2011
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Out of curiosity, have you thought of splitting the noodle and wrapping the arms?
From your pics, how firm are the noodles attached, looks like they may have potential to become skewed on a rough landing.

Of course this will lower the profile as it sits in the water, which you may/may not want.

I've done this on my X525 to assist in orientation - not being used for any flotation purposes. (I'm still a little wet behind the ears here)

Thanks,

Here's a pic of some on an empty HT-FPV frame
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Old Sep 01, 2012, 11:07 PM
'FPV'er...not a "LOS'er
Vantasstic's Avatar
Las Vegas, NV
Joined Sep 2003
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cephalexin View Post
Out of curiosity, have you thought of splitting the noodle and wrapping the arms?
From your pics, how firm are the noodles attached, looks like they may have potential to become skewed on a rough landing.

Of course this will lower the profile as it sits in the water, which you may/may not want.

I've done this on my X525 to assist in orientation - not being used for any flotation purposes. (I'm still a little wet behind the ears here)

Thanks,

Here's a pic of some on an empty HT-FPV frame
I originally had split foam pipe insulation on my arms the same as in your picture. They were more for a landing cushion as they were black and thin. The split pool noodles should work just as good. Yeah, the frame would sit lower in the water, but that'd also provide a little more distance between them and the camera's view. I might have to give that a try...after I better protect the ESCs.
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Old Sep 01, 2012, 11:28 PM
Video Juggernaut
Wingbreaker's Avatar
FL
Joined Nov 2003
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jodde73 View Post
This was done (in Mallorca Spain) 5 months ago, even with pretty big fish in the vid:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=so4Aq...5&feature=plcp
that's cool. I always wanted to go to Mallorca. I've been to sardegna looks similar, maybe mallorca is nicer. what kind of fish do you think they were?
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Old Sep 02, 2012, 04:45 PM
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Joined Oct 2007
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Thats a brilliant project. Thought about attaching a fishing line with a release mechanism for accurate casting?
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Old Sep 03, 2012, 02:10 AM
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Joined Jul 2009
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Been there, done that... I manufacture a waterborne / waterproof quad and hex. See attached pics and demo video:

Quadrotor dunk test (4 min 26 sec)


The main issue with flying off of water, or over water and not having an "incident" is protecting the electronics. Problem is, the ESCs, video Tx, and some flight controllers give off quite a bit of heat. Therefore a method of encasing the electronics and batteries while transferring and dissipating the heat outside the enclosure has to be found.

So what I did was use an aluminum base plate which replaces the bottom of the waterproof enclosure (and is glued it with silicone based glue). The ESCs are stripped of covering and the heat-sink side mounted to this plate with either pressure and CPU grease or thermal glue. This way, the ESC heat is transferred directly to the base plate, and outside the case. Works quite well.

In short, to be waterproof the whole rig needs to be designed from the beginning to be waterproof. There is no simple way to modify say a flamewheel.

Floats... I use custom cut foam ones now. For the video they were simply small water bottles taped with electrical tape to the arms.

I used to use a GoPro (as in the video) but have since switched to a Sony TX-10 since it gives me a bit more control and has MUCH better video quality (and no fisheye distortion) and does not require a case. Weight is about the same.

FYI, I am currently building a large Wethex that "should" be capable of 40+ min flights, and full amphibious operations.
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Old Sep 03, 2012, 10:30 AM
Gary
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diakatche: Very innovative. Nice job!
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Old Sep 03, 2012, 10:41 AM
'FPV'er...not a "LOS'er
Vantasstic's Avatar
Las Vegas, NV
Joined Sep 2003
18,376 Posts
Quote:
Originally Posted by diakatche View Post
Been there, done that... I manufacture a waterborne / waterproof quad and hex. See attached pics and demo video:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YUKl8NqMgyI

The main issue with flying off of water, or over water and not having an "incident" is protecting the electronics. Problem is, the ESCs, video Tx, and some flight controllers give off quite a bit of heat. Therefore a method of encasing the electronics and batteries while transferring and dissipating the heat outside the enclosure has to be found.

So what I did was use an aluminum base plate which replaces the bottom of the waterproof enclosure (and is glued it with silicone based glue). The ESCs are stripped of covering and the heat-sink side mounted to this plate with either pressure and CPU grease or thermal glue. This way, the ESC heat is transferred directly to the base plate, and outside the case. Works quite well.

In short, to be waterproof the whole rig needs to be designed from the beginning to be waterproof. There is no simple way to modify say a flamewheel.

Floats... I use custom cut foam ones now. For the video they were simply small water bottles taped with electrical tape to the arms.

I used to use a GoPro (as in the video) but have since switched to a Sony TX-10 since it gives me a bit more control and has MUCH better video quality (and no fisheye distortion) and does not require a case. Weight is about the same.

FYI, I am currently building a large Wethex that "should" be capable of 40+ min flights, and full amphibious operations.
Very good. Mine was a quicky job. Your's is much more deliberate and thought out. This certainly gives ideas for future trials...thanks for sharing.
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