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Old Sep 07, 2012, 08:59 PM
Registered User
BelgiŽ, Vlaams Gewest, Evergem
Joined Nov 2011
738 Posts
Question
Quadcopter / Multicopter frame for more extreme enviroments

I was thinking if there is any frame out there that can handle some more harsh environments than just a sunny sweet day. It's getting end of summer here and I don't plan to stop flying in the winter and if it starts snowing here I like to be able to get some nice aerial shots when it's snowing.

Now I have a few questions are there any frames out there than can handle dust, water resistant (not waterproof) .. for the electronic parts including the ESC's and is also easy to setup. Kind of minimalistic..

I know motors can stand some little snow and such.. most of the snow will be blown away by the propellers anyways so I don't see the problem with the brushless motors.

But it should be capable of aerial video and photo too.

Edit: also I'm using 11" props so it should handle big prop sizes too

Thanks!
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Old Sep 08, 2012, 12:12 AM
Emress
sirbow2's Avatar
United States, SD, Rapid City
Joined Nov 2011
1,935 Posts
i dont know of anything exactly like this, but id look for something that has all electronics in the center except for the 3 wires going to each motor and then some sort of detachable waterproof arm attachments(that have a 3 pin bullet connector on the end etc). sounds like a custom build.

stay away from CF unless you can get the antenna outside the case.
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Old Sep 08, 2012, 12:15 AM
Agressive driver
United States, CA, Santa Barbara
Joined Jun 2011
1,200 Posts
I agree on getting all the electronics on the center. Even if maybe you had two layers of electronics. Make sure you make everything on your frame rustproof, including screws. I think that maybe a container sitting on a rubber seal, and held on my rubber bands maybe would be adequit. Unless you are flying in a rainstorm I wouldn't think that much water/snow would go into the center, and it is all going to come from the top
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Old Sep 08, 2012, 11:30 AM
Registered User
BelgiŽ, Vlaams Gewest, Evergem
Joined Nov 2011
738 Posts
Hoped to get more reactions.. Too bad. Really need something!
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Old Sep 08, 2012, 11:56 PM
Agressive driver
United States, CA, Santa Barbara
Joined Jun 2011
1,200 Posts
Have you considered using some sort of waterproofing dip like used in youtube videos for waterproofing ESCs? Maybe one of the guys who did the videos would be able to tell you if it would work on all your quadcopter electronics. I have had good luck using epoxy to waterproof RXs but I haven't tried it on anything else
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Old Sep 09, 2012, 12:37 AM
James not bond
jy0933's Avatar
United States, MN, Minneapolis
Joined May 2012
2,074 Posts
tall landing gear
use electrical tape wrap up all connection
motor is ok even there's clean water in it(not corrosive liquid)
esc better warp both open end to prevent water/snow (or simply put inside boom, or under center plate)
FC and entire center plate gets coverd by plastic dome

basic idea, do not leave any connection/bare wire unprotected

performance wide
choose esc with crystal ( less temp affected)
others are fine

big problem... lipo will decrease output current at low temp.. better find a way to keep it at room temp.. then you are good
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Old Sep 09, 2012, 12:40 AM
Agressive driver
United States, CA, Santa Barbara
Joined Jun 2011
1,200 Posts
Hmm... Maybe if you had some system of heating the lipos before flying, and then had an insulated battery compartment so they could maintain heat while you flew
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Old Sep 09, 2012, 01:03 AM
James not bond
jy0933's Avatar
United States, MN, Minneapolis
Joined May 2012
2,074 Posts
ideally... when you take battery out of room temp and fly it.. should be fine..
if you cover with a heat insulation.. literally is fine as well...
but.. during flight, battery will heat up due to the current output.. it might result in overheating the battery w/ insulation...
if this can be solved.. everything will be just like sweet sunny day
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Old Sep 09, 2012, 01:39 AM
Agressive driver
United States, CA, Santa Barbara
Joined Jun 2011
1,200 Posts
Maybe if you had telemetry so you could monitor the battery temperature, so you could find just the perfect amount of insulation
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Old Sep 09, 2012, 06:37 PM
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Soupbones's Avatar
Australia
Joined May 2011
556 Posts
Probably not big enough for what you want, but take a look at this -
http://www.rcgroups.com/forums/showthread.php?t=1372462
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Old Sep 09, 2012, 06:58 PM
What's a servo?
Australia, QLD, Brisbane
Joined Nov 2008
441 Posts
Just order a Dex quad. That frame is available in several sizes, and you can rig it so it is waterproof.
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Old Sep 09, 2012, 07:47 PM
Registered User
United States, AK, McKinley Park
Joined Dec 2010
172 Posts
Flying in cold snowy environments

Hi,

I have a winter of experience flying a homebuilt tricopter (based on rcexplorer.se design) in the extreme cold of interior Alaska and have some tips down to -20 degrees F. I'm working on a quadcopter based on what I've learned from the Tri.
Happy Sun Dog New Year - Watch in HD! (1 min 48 sec)

1) If you are going between indoors and outdoors in the cold between flights you don't really have to do anything special for the batteries. The current draw for multicopters usually keeps the batteries warm for a short flight. If you have multiple batteries keep them in a pocket next to your body to keep them warm between flights.
2) If you want to fly in the rain or in "warm" snow it is easy enough to seal the controller board, ESCs, reciever, video transmitter, and camera off by mounting electronics under a tupperware/Glad container. Or better yet multple containers to get some distance between the radio rx and the video tx. This also has the benefit of protecting your flight controller board in the event of a crash. (see photos below for my quadcopter setup for an idea of what I'm talking about).
3) I tried carrying my tricopter with me for shooting backcountry skiing video, but I had a couple of no gos after carrying it for an hour plus. The first time I think was because snow got in the motors, melted, and then refroze, therefore robbing the motors of enough power to be able to fly them....so you will want to find a way to keep snow out of the brushless motors. The other no go seemed a bit mysterious and I wasn't sure if it was because of the snow-motor problem or water/ice condensing in the ESCs. Hopefully my tupperware solution will solve that potential problem.

Going from car to outside and back to film this at ~0 deg. F worked well for this little project:
Skiing High Above Anchorage (3 min 57 sec)
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Old Sep 09, 2012, 08:02 PM
Registered User
BelgiŽ, Vlaams Gewest, Evergem
Joined Nov 2011
738 Posts
I've seen the dex quad. Don't want to insult anyone but it looks terrible. No go for me.

I'm thinking about a H-Quad with everything nicely sealed off. Just get some high end materials to make it rather than some wood and aluminium. As you can guess I like to keep things clean and good looking but combined with functionality.. that's the tricky part ..

Thanks for the reactions!
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Old Sep 09, 2012, 08:03 PM
Fly it like you STOL it!
Endlesslag's Avatar
USA, VA, Spotsylvania
Joined Jan 2011
4,003 Posts
Just keep the lipos in your pocket before you fly, you'll be fine.
I'd go with an aluminum or CF frame, and make sure all the fasteners are stainless steel. as was said before, either coat all the electronics with corrosionx to waterproof them, or put them in a sealed plastic container.
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Old Sep 11, 2012, 02:20 AM
Registered User
Joined Jul 2009
484 Posts
My rigs are mostly waterproof. All the electronics are fully contained including batteries and ESCs. Check out the attached pics.
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