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Old Jan 20, 2008, 09:49 PM
Live FPV or Die
VRflyer's Avatar
Montreal,Canada
Joined Feb 2002
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Winter flight under freezing point

Winter is very cold here in Quebec

I did not seen many remotely piloted aircraft that fly around here theses days. I did not believe flying so much this winter. But I feel like in summer waiting for sunny days with no wind. I was lucky, I had several beautiful days since two weeks.

Who would have thought that at -15C it could be fun to fly a plane with remote camera. I spent an hour outside today flying my plane and it was super fun. I almost want to say that it was perfect ... Apart from my freezing toes

After severals flights made at temperatures bellow the freezing point, I begin to master what to do when it is very cold outside. The most surprising is how are little difference between my equipment in winter compare to summer, apart me who is unrecognizable

The radio Futaba don't have any protection, such as my video goggle and headtracker. The Lipo battery for my goggle is locate in my interior pocket with an extension to the helmet. I receive the image directly into the new helmet RCV922 from Aeropix (to come). A standard 3dBi antenna is installed on the helmet.

I have an Easystar. The camera and pan/tilt servos are directly exposed to wind unprotected. All others servos have no special protection. In summer, the propulsion battery is installed at the front inside the fuselage and the video 4.8V AAA NiMh battery is install just behind. In winter I attach the NiMh battery over the Lipo battery so the Lipo heat the video battery. I cover the batteries with a small piece of foam as insulation and close the camera and servo platform. The platform is held by an elastic band.

To save my flights, I use a tape recorder Archos AV500. I put it in my inside pocket and connect it directly to my helmet for all regular flights in case I crash and I am far away, it helps me to retrace the plane. But for a higher quality recording, I use a receiver mounted on a tripod with a 8dBi patch antenna. The wire between the antenna go in a bag hold by a hook under the tripod. In this isolated bag, I stack my receiver with integrated battery and my recorder. The Archos and receiver heat slightly, it's more than enough to keep the interior above 0C.

All my batteries are on me in my interior pockets. When I leave the house, the two batteries of the aircraft are already connected ensuring that all electronics on board will work well. The receiver has a fail-safe. The radio and my goggle are turned off in my carrying case.

Arriving at destination, I turn on the radio primarily for heating and stabilize the headtracker and radio and I plug the rest of my materiel. It takes 2-3 minutes to take off so I made another calibration and don't wait any longer. I move away from my car to be away from the metal. The headtracker will not stabilize before long time when the temperature is well below zero degrees, about 30 minutes at -15C. But the drift is minimal anyway.

The air is more dense and it's noticable with a light aircraft, more lift, so the minimum speed can be reduced. The propulsion battery seems a little bit weak compared to the summer, but anyway I prefer to fly slowly in the cold air.

I made a video today, I used the new CCD camera that Aeropix sent me for evaluation. It's the same camera that Anthony had compare with a KX131 this week. I took the time to adjust the settings on my video recorder to provide optimum image with the new cam, and the result is excellent. The blue sky and white snow are magnificent. For other colors, they are not available now here

The resolution and the blue of the sky are better than my KX131 camera in my opinion. And she respond to wonder when the sun is low and behind the clouds unlike the KX131. I never been able to fly low near ground with the KX131 like I do in the video that I will present you with the lightning conditions of today.

So the next time you use the reason " it's too cold to fly FPV today "
Think about me and say, well if he does, why not me

Http://www.vimeo.com/622669
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Last edited by VRflyer; Jan 20, 2008 at 10:06 PM.
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Old Jan 20, 2008, 10:18 PM
ApachePilot
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Joined Oct 2006
1,885 Posts
Great video......


I see you are getting a little interference when flying at lower altitude around the buildings.... No problem though, for now....

I reall like the way you bring it in low like that anyways, it shows skill and practice. I eventually will get a camera system good enough to do the same, but for now, I have to stay above the trees for a good signal.


I still have plans for the first north american FPV fly though...Going to have a easter egg hunt, where each pilot will be given a color,(let's say you get the color red) you are timed from launch to search out and find a red flag posted somewhere on a stretch of property and make it back to the finish/launch line.


More ideas to come on that, but anyways, great job flying and great video.


Apache
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Old Jan 20, 2008, 11:07 PM
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oxxyfx's Avatar
Joined Jan 2007
708 Posts
Well, Denis, this is an excellent video. I am just simply amazed how well you handle that Ez.

However, I am not sure if anyone noticed yet- your head tracker does not seem to be drifting at all even in this cold weather... What kind of head tracker are you using?

Oxy.
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Old Jan 21, 2008, 01:13 AM
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AnthonyRC's Avatar
Switzerland
Joined Sep 2004
1,143 Posts
Hey Denis, I bet your car was cold after that flight... you left the trunk open

Amazing flight, really shows one of the wonders of FPV, all you need is a few obstacles in the middle of nowhere, and they provide hours of entertainment!

It would be interesting to see a similar flight with a diversity Rx hooked up to the recorder, this doesn't look like digital noise (wifi/bluetooth) that you were experiencing, looks like multipathing.

Great stuff!
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Old Jan 21, 2008, 02:00 AM
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Patscherpofel's Avatar
Patsch, Austria
Joined Jul 2007
461 Posts
once again... great video, great skills!
camera is great too!

but one thing...why no start from the ground?
you didnt want to stress your batteries too much in the beginning?
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Old Jan 21, 2008, 04:54 AM
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Impulze's Avatar
Sweden
Joined Jul 2004
712 Posts
Great video Vrflyer!

We also have lots of snow and temperatures below 0, no more excuses for being to cold outside


//Matte
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Old Jan 21, 2008, 06:25 AM
Live FPV or Die
VRflyer's Avatar
Montreal,Canada
Joined Feb 2002
3,970 Posts
Oxxyfs

I use TrackR1 from Aeropix. I got a drift but is very minimal. The anti-drift correct the drift cause by low temperature.

I was thinking too how much usefull could a Diversity receiver even for that kind of flight. But I already said how much I hate tripod, but in fact it's not the tripod that I hate but the cable that hook me to the tripod. Greg from Fatshark send me presently a 2.4Ghz 10mW transmitter, so I will install it on the tripod. The idea is to retransmit the signal received by the diversity receiver on another channel to the RCV922 goggle.

What I like of this setup, is I can install the tripod far from me or metallic fence etc, I leave it there power on for many hours if I want. I can be anywhere around even at good distance. The recorder will be in the bag under the tripod recordig all the time if I want, if I lost the plane, I always get a video to start the search.

About the car door open, my idea was finishing the flight in the car trunk, like Gabriel would done no need to remove the wings, they will pop up...

I don't start from the ground because the plane don't have enough power... I ordered a new motor much more powerfull and another easystar (no5). With a powerfull motor and large control surface, I will able to turn tight and go vertical
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Old Jan 21, 2008, 06:32 AM
Mr.Pibb's Avatar
Lewis Center, OH
Joined Jun 2006
2,275 Posts
Great flying Denis!
You had me a little nervous with some of your flying between the trees!
Did you add ailerons to your Easystar?
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Old Jan 21, 2008, 08:19 AM
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Joined Jan 2005
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Nice flying VR.

I really like the repeater idea for the goggles.

I don't mind rigging up all the gear when i arrive at the site but i don't like being tethered to one spot + or- 6 ft for the video and audion connection to the goggles
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Old Jan 21, 2008, 11:33 AM
Live FPV or Die
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Montreal,Canada
Joined Feb 2002
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Yes I have ailerons on my Easystar

I agree, I don't have problem to install a tripod, anyway when everything is always mount on the tripod, it take two minutes to set.
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Old Jan 21, 2008, 02:59 PM
Registered User
Quebec, Canada
Joined Jan 2008
202 Posts
Hi VRFlyer !

Nice vid !

The glitch on video is it possible to stop it with a bigger receiver antenna ?
Or the new google RCV922 have permanent antenna and you can't skip it with like 8 or 16dbi patch antenna ?

Next time you will fly, please bug me !!! No probs to drive to Ste-Julie to see that !
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Old Jan 21, 2008, 04:59 PM
Fly FPV, sleep; repeat
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Germantown, MD
Joined Mar 2006
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I just got done with a winter flight myself. Not quite as cold here (25*F, or about -4*C) but still cold enough!! Battery performance definitely is an issue. I found the 2S lipo I power my video Tx and camera with started to call it quits after about 6 minutes. Got what I thought was some severe glitching, so I landed. I swapped batteries, and the problem went away. So it was the battery going out. The video battery is directly exposed to the outside air on the plane, so I'm sure that doesn't help any.
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Old Jan 21, 2008, 05:53 PM
Live FPV or Die
VRflyer's Avatar
Montreal,Canada
Joined Feb 2002
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you must block your cooling hole use in summer. your battery must not be expose directly to wind

I will always have dropout when I fly with obstacles between the plane and the receiver. Most of my interference happen when the plane is behind the building or behind the line of trees in my video. Using two 8Dbi patch with a diversity receiver will help but it's will not be perfection. 14dbi patch have a too narrow beam.

p.s. even if a 8dBi patch have 60 deg beam, it is true when the plane go far, but close like I fly, I can go behind the antenna and still have good reception. In the video, I use the tripod to record and I use the internal receiver of the goggle to fly the plane. I got more dropout in the goggle because the antenna is only 3dBi and I also move my head so the antenna do stay vertical. The headset antenna is not enough for the kind of flight I do. I'm use to fly with video dropout because for 5 years I use a tx/rx with poor performance. But now i want better, i will retranmit the signal receive from the tripod to my goggle on another channel using a low power tx like alreadu explain above

the headset receiver and antenna will work well if the plane stay level and stay inside 1/4 to 1/2 Km. no obstacles between you and the plane. it will also work well for r/c car because the car antenna stay vertical and generally they stay close. But if your plane bank a lot, or you want to go far with your r/c car, the reception is less good, so you need a tripod and a fix and more sensitive antenna and retransmit to the goggle
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Old Jan 21, 2008, 07:22 PM
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Canada, BC, Duncan
Joined Dec 2006
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Quote:
Originally Posted by VRflyer
Oxxyfs

I use TrackR1 from Aeropix. I got a drift but is very minimal. The anti-drift correct the drift cause by low temperature.

I was thinking too how much usefull could a Diversity receiver even for that kind of flight. But I already said how much I hate tripod, but in fact it's not the tripod that I hate but the cable that hook me to the tripod. Greg from Fatshark send me presently a 2.4Ghz 10mW transmitter, so I will install it on the tripod. The idea is to retransmit the signal received by the diversity receiver on another channel to the RCV922 goggle.

What I like of this setup, is I can install the tripod far from me or metallic fence etc, I leave it there power on for many hours if I want. I can be anywhere around even at good distance. The recorder will be in the bag under the tripod recordig all the time if I want, if I lost the plane, I always get a video to start the search.

About the car door open, my idea was finishing the flight in the car trunk, like Gabriel would done no need to remove the wings, they will pop up...

I don't start from the ground because the plane don't have enough power... I ordered a new motor much more powerfull and another easystar (no5). With a powerfull motor and large control surface, I will able to turn tight and go vertical
re: tripod
1) Be sure to mount your tripod close to the ground as possible for best signal


re: retransmit from tripod.
2) Make sure you don't walk too far away from your tripod, or you will never noticed if some bratty kid on a bike could sweep by and scoop up your unit. Then not only do you have to leave your trunk open for those Gabriel landings, but you may have to leave the driver door open as well for those Batman get aways
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Old Jan 21, 2008, 07:58 PM
Fly FPV, sleep; repeat
twinturbostang's Avatar
Germantown, MD
Joined Mar 2006
3,376 Posts
Quote:
Originally Posted by VRflyer
you must block your cooling hole use in summer. your battery must not be expose directly to wind
Yes, good point. I forgot to cover the cooling hole. That would keep the main flight pack warmer. But my video battery is outside the fuselage, directly in the airstream. Not sure there's anything I can do about that, except relocate it to inside the fuselage.

Actually, now I'm not sure it was the battery that was giving up. The other part of the story is that I replaced the 2S lipo/linear regulator combo with a 4 cell Ni-MH pack. So not only did I replace the lipo pack, but I also bypassed the regulator. After getting home and charging the pack, I saw it only took 69 mAh to fully charge it. It's a Kokam 340 pack, so it still had plenty left in it. I'm wondering if instead the 7805 regulator started to fail in the cold.
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