earlwb's blog View Details
Posted by earlwb | Oct 30, 2020 @ 08:28 PM | 13,864 Views
I got back into flying FPV mutticopters again for a while.
Technology has advanced a lot since I last built up some quads. Now they have integrated stacks with the 4 in 1 ESCs, Flight Controllers, Video TX and super tiny RC receivers. My old quads only have maybe 32 video channels and no race band channels. Now they can have up to 48 channels on the video transmitters plus some VTXs have a custom band where you can program it for your favorite channels. Then they have OSD now and you can change VTX channels from your RC transmitter. With some flight controllers you can even edit your PIDS remotely too. What is really neat is being able to configure or program the ESCs via the flight controller too. That is great for reversing a motor or two without having to mess with the motor wires.

I used a Emax mini Magnum 2 stack with a 4 in 1 ESC, Flight Controller, and VTX. The motors are Emax ECO 2306 1700kv, and Emax AVAN 5x2.8x3 props. It is setup for six cell Lipos.

I just got done building up this Pyrodrone FL3X 5 inch quad. It is about as small as you can go with a 5 inch quad and not have the propellers hit the frame or components on it.

...Continue Reading
Posted by earlwb | Jan 10, 2020 @ 05:21 PM | 12,865 Views
Wow it has been like 4 years since I posted a blog entry. I thought I would add a new blog entry as I had not done one in quite a while now. I still fly airplanes and helicopters though. I have been gravitating more and more towards electric powered airplanes though. Plus going larger in size too.

I retired the Aeroworks profile Extra plane. I pulled my gear out of it and left it at the flying field for someone else to enjoy. it flew OK, but I just didn't like how it flew for me. It always seemed to just lumber through the rolls slowly, albeit nicely though.

The Hangar 9 Frenzy 100 flew much more like how I like them to fly. I first flew it with a OS FS91 four stroke engine. But it was a little under powered. I didn't want to buy a Saito 1.25 engine which is what it was made for though. I later converted it to electric using a Turnigy C6374-200kv motor. Using a 6 cell 5000 mah Lipo pack worked nicely with it as well as using a 20-6 prop on it. Alas the fuselage isn't quite large enough for a 8 cell Lipo pack. But it flies really well with the 6 cell pack. So I like it. I am leery of the single nylon 1/4x32 bolt used to hold the wing on. i replace the wing bolt from time to time just in case. I ought to put in a aluminum bolt instead.

I actually used the same C6374 Motor in a Giant Stick too. But I can run 8 cells with it. To get the speed up I had to use a 18x12 propeller. The C6374-200kv motor just doesn't rev up very high and the prop clearance has a 18 inch as...Continue Reading
Posted by earlwb | Feb 06, 2016 @ 06:12 PM | 59,142 Views
I finished up my little Diatone Spadger ET 150 quad racer and have it all ready to go now. I sort of like the way it was designed. It uses a more wide frame design that lets you use regular sized flight controllers. The Ready Made RC 4 in 1 ESC is almost made for the little quad too.

I set up my example with Eachine BG1104-4000KV motors. These use the screw mount 3x2 propellers. A Ready Made RC 4 in 1 twelve amp ESC is used to drive the motors. I used a Emax Skyline32 Flight controller to control it all. A Lemon RC small six channel receiver handles the radio control part of it. I used M2 threaded standoffs and M2 plastic nuts as well as some M2 screws to mount the ESC's and FC onto the frame.

For FPV I installed the little camera VTX combo unit named a TE93A. It is found here http://www.banggood.com/520TVL-90120...-p-988290.html
It is a fairly small unit and quite compact. The video quality isn't bad either. It is working pretty well so far for me. It appears to output around maybe 25mw of RF as the range isn't bad. They do sell it with a antenna down version and a antenna up version. That basically means the camera is right side up or upside down. I suppose one could open it up and flip the camera over if they had to. But that might be a but tricky. You need to pop the back cover off and slide the entire insides out from the rear. I am thinking that the antenna might need to be a bit longer so it can be a little more high when you have the unit mounted. But my test...Continue Reading
Posted by earlwb | Feb 05, 2016 @ 07:45 PM | 55,610 Views
I have built lots of planes over the years. But I still find that the little micro size wood models are super fun to build. Here are some of the planes I built from Radical RC kits.

In this case a Micro-stick version 1 and a Micro-stick version 2 models. Then there is the wicked little Micro-Bipe. Next is the small Mini-Intern trainer plane too....Continue Reading
Posted by earlwb | Jan 24, 2016 @ 09:59 AM | 56,484 Views
I thought I would post some pictures of various carrying cases that I use with my RC models. It might be useful to some people too. I have gotten questions about them from time to time as well.

The first type of a carry case that I use is the ubiquitous four handgun carrying case. Years ago you could get them at Walmart even. But over time the sources have become fewer. Several manufacturers have made the cases. The Plano brand cases tend to be about 1 inch or so larger in size than the MTM made cases. Some hobby shops even carried the cases as well as some arts and crafts stores too. You might have to buy them online nowadays, I am not sure. But the cases have three layers of foam padding, that you can cut to size as needed. I used a box cutter knife with a long blade to make the cutouts as needed.

Then Harbor Freight Tools is selling two types of aluminum tool cases. One type just has the padded dividers in it and the second type has foam pads and padded dividers. the cases are longer and more wide but not as deep as the handgun cases. The center foam pad is precut into 1 inch foam sections that you can simply pull out to fit the items being placed into it.

Next for my Lipo battery chargers, I used the Pelican brand cases. The cases can be purchased with and without foam pads inside. The Pelican cases are high quality but cost more of course. I used two cases that ProgressiveRC sells for their Lipo chargers and I also bought one of the shelves that Progressive...Continue Reading
Posted by earlwb | Jan 17, 2016 @ 11:09 AM | 56,397 Views
I can't believe that I forgot all about buying this little micro quadcopter a couple of years ago. I ran across it in the box of stuff at home when I was looking for something else to use. So I pulled it out to finish it up and get it going. I think it will make a great micro FPV platform, even with brushed motors.

Hobby King sold them at first as a semi-ARF kit. You had to mount the motors and solder the motor wires to the frame. Later they started selling it as a bind and fly kind of unit. So I don't know if they still sell the kit version or not.

Putting it together wasn't a big problem. I did need to use a jewelers file and carefully make the motor mount holes just a touch larger to fit the motors as the motors wouldn't squeeze into them.

Granted soldering the motors to the frame is a bit tricky as the wires are so small. But I used a desktop magnifier to help along with a pair of tweezers too.

The little quad uses a Multi-Wii flight controller. So if one needs to, they can go in and change settings etc. I have not done anything along that route though with mine.

They seem to have shipped a number of the little quads with un-programmed or configured flight controllers. Or the little tiny surface mount MosFet transistors driving the motors are bad. So a person may have to get into the details more and setup and program the flight controller. If one is unlucky they may have to replace one or more of the MosFet transistors too.

Mine is apparently one...Continue Reading
Posted by earlwb | Jan 11, 2016 @ 06:49 PM | 56,425 Views
I had started this one a while back and it is still a work in progress. As I work on it I see how I should have done things and how I should have used other things to make it work too. But it has been a fun experience though.

I used four Emax Afro 6 amp ESC's. A Atom CC3D mini flight controller. A Spektrum Satellite receiver. A Turnigy 460 two cell Lipo. Plus two little adjustable voltage regulators. For my FPV try out with it, I used a Spektrum VA1100 camera with its own separate 160mah Lipo battery. The propellers are the little tiny Walkera Ladybird 56mm props. The motors are the little tiny DP03 6500KV motors.

The little Atom CC3D flight controller was a problem getting it to fit. it would have been better with the connector pins sticking straight out the back and not up. Maybe not having the pin block already installed on the board would have been even better still. So I'll likely be replacing it with something that takes up less space.

I thought that my little postage stamp size voltage regulators were great. But with this little quad, I need to make something smaller still though. I used one voltage regulator for 5v and another one for 3v for the Spektrum Satellite receiver. But they take up a fair amount of room though.

I need to redo the wiring as it is still a lot there too.

Anyway, it came in weighing about 90 grams with the battery. So that isn't too bad. It does have fairly awesome performance. For its maiden flight, it shot up about 20 feet...Continue Reading
Posted by earlwb | Dec 31, 2015 @ 11:09 PM | 58,609 Views
I had bought this Eachine Quad Racer 250 last November for my birthday present. But it wasn't until my Christmas vacation time that I got around to getting it going.

I used a CC3D flight controller and setup a Lemon RC DMSX satellite receiver for it. I mounted the satellite receiver unit on top of the quad behind the VTX antenna. That was a bit tricky to get to work, but it did start to work OK for me.

But when I took it to the flying field, the satellite receiver seemed to quit working. At home it works just fine binding to the TX, but at the field it would not bind or link up to the TX. So I am not sure if there is a problem or not with something. Now at the club flying field we do have a WiFi setup and maybe that was interfering, I don't know yet. Or maybe it was the cold weather, as it was quite chilly that day too. Thus it might have something that is temperature sensitive. So anyway I get back at home it bound to the TX and worked great again. Thus a puzzler of a sorts there to work out.

Anyway everything went together just fine. I didn't run into any difficulties with it. I did use a RC helicopter digital leveler to ensure it was level for the accelerometer calibration. But setting up the TX and the CC3D flight controller wasn't all that difficult though.

The VTX was interesting. There may be a translation error with how they stated it worked in the manual. To change channels, you perform a long press of the red button. Each time you press the button, it switches to another channel. But the manual seems to imply that it does a autoscan for you. I did get it to work just fine with my Headplay FPV goggle set.
Posted by earlwb | Dec 27, 2015 @ 10:14 PM | 58,018 Views
Emax had sent me a set of the new 2205 2300kv racing motors to try out. Emax makes pretty good products. I have been using some of their stuff already. I have a Gaui X43 Rc helicopter with their mini-servos in it. A while back I got one of their 280 Nighthawk quad racers and it turned out to be really excellent.

The new Emax 2205 motors are quite well made and in use have worked great too. At present I have only been using 3 cell Lipo packs with the motors, but later I may go with a 4 cell pack and see how they perform then.

I built a new quad up for the motors to try out. I had a Mystery 250 quad carbon fiber racer frame kit already. It is a clone of copy of another brand that seems to have been copied by many others too, The frame parts fit well and it was no problem getting it assembled. I needed to Dremel out the motor mount holes a little as the frame arms were setup for a smaller motor.

I went through my parts and stuff and found some 30 amp Afro ESCs, so I used them. The 30 amp ESCs weigh the same as the 20 amp Afro ESCs anyway. But since they are a little large in size, I wound up mounting the ESCs on the bottom of the frame.

I used a power distribution board and mounted the Afro32 (Naze32) flight controller board above it. I used the 12v output line to feed power to the Eachine FPV camera and video transmitter. I can set the VTX frequency to one to match my Headplay FPV goggle headset.

After getting the flight controller configured and setup. I...Continue Reading
Posted by earlwb | Sep 22, 2015 @ 09:24 PM | 57,281 Views
Here are some pics from when I was at our club flying field last Sunday. I was out testing some FPV gear as well. Plus trying out the two quads too. But I did get in some nice flying though. The best part was I didn't crash anything either. Knock on wood. Always a great day when you get to go home with everything in one piece and no repairs needed.

Our club flying field is the 114th RC Aero Squadron located near Lake Grapevine in Texas. It has arguably the best grass flying field in the entire region, maybe multistate for that matter. http://114thrc.org/
Posted by earlwb | Sep 21, 2015 @ 11:06 AM | 60,351 Views
I recently bought a Emax Nighthawk Pro RTF quad. I have been quite happy with it so far. It really was a put in the battery and go flying with it. I didn't have to do anything for setting it up or configuring it.

The main thing I liked about it was that the flight controller and ESC's are all integrated into the main circuit board on the bottom of the frame. That tends to make for a very clean setup with the quadcopter and I think it will improve its reliability too.

My first maiden flights with the quad was without the wedges installed so that the motors are tilted forward. I wanted to see what it did before I got more involved. I also didn't try setting up or using the FPV capability yet either.

The first flights were sort of a anti-climax as the little quad did not exhibit any nasty traits. It simply worked very nicely for me. No problems encountered. I flew it around and did some circuits with it. It does go pretty fast. I can't tell how fast, but much faster than I can handle at this time.

Another plus is the availability of spare parts for it. Besides the highly integrated main circuit board, you can get spares for the quad from a number of different sources. Being able to repair it should you crash is a big plus and advantage. The integrated circuit board is also not terribly cost prohibitive either. Which is nice should you have a really epic crash.

Now although it is not a big deal, but it might have been nice if the box the quad came in would let...Continue Reading
Posted by earlwb | May 25, 2015 @ 05:26 PM | 59,906 Views
I had bought this plane from Maxford USA. I tend to be partial to the more unusual or different airplanes that you normally don't see at the flying fields, etc. Thus the interest in the W.29 seaplane.

It is a model of the Hansa Brandenburg W.29 seaplane that was used by the German Army in World War I. It came out near the end of the war and was the most advanced seaplane at the time. The allies were using biplanes for seaplanes and the W.29 was a monoplane. Thus it was faster and more maneuverable in comparison to the others.

Anyway I have it all setup. But with the weather we have been having lately, I do not know when I will get a chance to maiden the plane though. I was hoping to try it out at our local club's float fly. But they had to postpone the float fly due to the lake being way over its flood level at this time. The park is closed at present. I was thinking of just flying it off the wet grass at our club flying field too. But with every day being super windy I just hate to maiden something on a windy day. A mild wind is OK, but not the higher wind speeds.

For the airplane I am using a Turniqy G25 870kv brushless motor along with a 60 amp ESC. I found that a eFlite 4 cell 2800mah Lipo pack fits in the front compartment just right, nice and snug. So that is the power for the plane. I had been watching others using smaller motors and they were having some trouble with the take offs, so I opted for some extra power. Plus I wanted more weight up front with the...Continue Reading
Posted by earlwb | Sep 17, 2014 @ 09:14 PM | 62,269 Views
I have never ever thought that I would actually get a deluxe premium kit for any RC helicopter before. Normally I always got something like this piecemeal, where I buy the basic kit, then later the servos, then the motor, ESC and so on. But never everything in one fell swoop. So this is a first. But the opportunity presented itself for me. So I got my early birthday and Christmas present all wrapped up into one. I bought a Gaui X5 Premium kit. It comes with everything, blades, motor, pinion gear too, 100a Gaui ESC, Gaui servos, and a Gaui mini V-Bar as well.

Anyway some assembly is still required. But it is something I am looking forward too....Continue Reading
Posted by earlwb | Aug 25, 2014 @ 02:01 PM | 62,279 Views
I actually have been making a concerted effort at learning to fly RC Helicopters. I have been trying off and on for many years. I first tried way back in 1974 when I was stationed in Japan with the military. At the time I bought a Kalt Baron and used a Futaba radio and a Enya .45 with a heli-head. Way back then there were no gyros yet, so that made it even more difficult. I crashed it many times and only managed maybe a 30 second long flight before I crashed it. Remember we didn't have any flight simulators and the internet hadn't been established yet either.

I later tried using a MFA Sport 500 using a Airtronics radio and a Fox .45 engine. Another attempt was done with a Kyosho Concept .30 and still another try with a Century Hawk .30 size heli. These all used a mechanical gyro that had a small electric motor spin up the little gyro wheel/disc inside.

I finally started making progress with some micro-helicopters in being able to hover reasonably well. But at the time that seemed to be about all I could do.

It wasn't until the flybarless helis came out, andf with the advent of the Blade nanoCPX, that I started having success with flying a heli around. From that point forward I was able to fly them. Now granted the nanoCPX is great and it is amazingly crash resistant to damage. Which is a big plus actually.

I then advanced further up using a Blade mCPX heli and then onto the Blade mCPX BL too. That led to some customizing of course. both with the mCPX and the nanoCPX...Continue Reading
Posted by earlwb | Aug 09, 2014 @ 09:32 PM | 65,333 Views
I just finished my build of the Hobby King X900 tricopter. It is a fairly large one. I am hoping I can see it farther away too. But it is all setup and ready for its maiden tomorrow, if everything goes right. This one is pretty big with a 900mm diameter, which is almost a meter across.

I used a KK 2.1 controller board with the LCD panel on it. I sorta like no needing to perform complicated joy stick moves, etc or needing a USB port and a computer to set it up. Maybe they'll come out with one that uses GPS soon too.

The X900 was setup to use a mini-servo for YAW of about 17g weight. But many of the mini-servos cannot handle the motor on it and tend to strip out. A number of people already had problems with the servos not being able to handle the motors on their tricopters already. I went with larger NTM 35-30 1100 KV motors and felt that the mini-servos would not be able to handle the bigger motor, so I opted for a hextronic HX12 metal gear servo instead. It just happens to fit in between the two mount side plates. Thus with some glue to glue it in place (I used GOOP) it ought to work out fine.

I am using a 3 cell 5000mah Lipo battery pack with the X900 for now. It has 40 amp speed controls on it as well. I have a Lemon RC DSMX receiver with a satellite receiver too. I am using Spectrum DX-18 for the transmitter. I also have 12x4 propellers on it as well. I do have some carbon fibre 12x4 props too, but I am saving them for use later after its initial flights.

Anyway, I only need to charge the battery pack up and it is ready to go for its first flight.

Now my setup didn't quite turn out as I expected, the motor power wires are a little too short using a power distribution board on the X900. Thus mine doesn't fold up all the way. I may need to do something about it later, if I need it to fold up more.

Posted by earlwb | Jul 26, 2014 @ 10:27 AM | 62,769 Views
I had accumulated the parts to build a larger Hexacopter over time. It isn't all that trivial as you have six motors and six speed controllers as well as the other items.
I had bought a frame that had the power distribution PC board built right into it. It is more or less a DJI F550 clone. One of the hobby shops had a box full of arms for this type of aircraft too. So I got some arms and after visiting the hardware store to get lots of screw, I was in business.

Anyway, I was curious as to how well the multicopters would work which is what led to this.

I used a KK controller board to see how well it would work at first. I plan on swapping out the KK board later for a NAZA M V2 controller with GPS. The KK board works but it is more for a highly advanced multirotor flyer than myself. You have to stay on your toes for the entire flight with it. Plus coupled with the fact that you can't tell the front from the back or the sides makes it easy to get disoriented. The younger folks do not seem to have a problem with it like I do though.

Here is a short video of me doing its second flight after the maiden flight.

My 550 Hexacopter using a KK Multicopter board video (4 min 55 sec)

Posted by earlwb | Jul 26, 2014 @ 10:16 AM | 61,059 Views
I have been off and on playing around with some quadcopters and hexacopters too.

A while back I bought a Turnigy Micro Quad with the LCD version KK controller board.
I was pleasantly surprised as to how well it was flying. It actually flies a lot better than I thought it would. Even though it has self leveling capability, it is still a manual kind of operation in that you have to stay on your toes and pay attention to it the entire flight. The multi-rotor aircraft tend to all have that same problem of orientation in that you can't tell front from back or the sides. So you have to pay attention to it closely.

I really like the LCD and control and programming switches on the controller. It makes it so much easier to setup in this case. I think that gives it a much better success rate at getting it working and dialed in better too.

Here is video clip of its maiden flight a while back.

Turnigy Micro Quad (1 min 44 sec)

Posted by earlwb | Nov 11, 2012 @ 07:59 PM | 68,458 Views
Many years ago, circa 1990, my best friend at attempted a business venture, where he would have some planes made as ARF's that used foam core wings with 1/64 inch plywood sheeting, balsa, ply fuselage and tail. But the best part was they were all hand painted very nicely. Well the batch of prototype planes all worked out great. I built up six of them for my friend and had used Saito engines for three of them and Fox engines for the other three. He had three models, designed for .45 two stroke glow engines, a high wing trainer like plane, a high wing sport plane and a low wing sport plane built more like a pattern plane.

But unfortunately things didn't work out so well for the container load that came in. The planes were produced during the monsoon season and loaded into a container, which was shipped to Arizona. The dry heat in Arizona dried the wood out too much and the paint all cracked and peeled around the edges of the planes. Some planes turned out much worse than others though. But he couldn't sell them as new, high quality ARF's though.

Anyway, I have been building and flying some of the planes for years now. A while back I accidentally crashed a low wing plane. But I dug another one out of the storage shed and put it together. I almost lost it when some high winds caused it to pancake into the ground when it lost lift at the flying field. But it wasn't damaged much, so I fixed it back up to fly again.

So here is the latest incarnation of the .45 size low...Continue Reading
Posted by earlwb | Sep 10, 2012 @ 09:03 PM | 67,451 Views
I accidentally deleted the entire thread by mistake. So I recreated it here again. Sorry.

A while back I had acquired a SV-17cc engine. At the time the reviews weren't all that good for it either. But the price was right, so I couldn't resist.

When I first ran the engine, I found that I couldn't lean it out enough to run at its top speed. It stayed blubbery rich even with the needle valve all the way out, ready to fall out even. So when I looked at the carb I found that it had a Walbro WT-694 carb on it with a 12.7mm venturi bore, which I thought was way too big for a 17cc engine. As I have seen them a carb with around a 9mm venturi is about right. A 12.7mm carb is big enough to run a 35cc engine or even some 50cc engines too. So I rummaged around and found a WT-520 carb with a 9.53mm venturi and I put it on the engine. Now the engine ran great, easy to adjust, throttle response good, nice RPMs and I could lean it out good too.

At that point I didn't see any reason to not use the engine as it was performing good now.

...Continue Reading
Posted by earlwb | Sep 03, 2012 @ 08:12 AM | 68,792 Views
I had put my second NGH 9cc engine in a Great Planes Escapade 40 size plane.
The only modification done to the engine was to use 8x32 fittings for the crankcase to fuel pump diaphragm and 1/8 inch Tygon fuel tubing instead of the smaller 3/32 inch fuel tubing. Previously I showed a video clip of how well the engine ran like that so I was motivated to fly the engine to be sure it was working in the air too.

Also the carb should have the low speed needle set to about 6 turns out and the high speed needle set to about 1 and a half turns out. The LSN setting on my case was about right and I didn't need to change it from 6 turns out. Also the carb does spit fuel out, so it is not running too rich, it is just the nature of the beast, so to speak.

...Continue Reading