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Archive for January, 2015
Posted by mike_kelly | Jan 27, 2015 @ 05:52 PM | 19,515 Views
>>> Feel free to post your Tarot travel case solution as a comment at the end of this blog post <<<

Now that I have my Tarot built I need a travel case. The aluminum ones from Asia are way too expensive for me and the Pelican cases are worse. After looking and following other posts I finally came upon the Plano 114400 Bow Case.

This case is 41"x17" x7" which is enough room for the Tarot 650i 650s 680 680 Pro and 690 even with extended arms. It is lockable and has room for my gimbal too.

It comes with a thin layer of pluck foam so I plan to put a layer of solid foam underneath the pluck foam.

It is not a perfectly rigid case like the Pelcan cases. It flexes a bit and it is definitely a cheaper build quality but it is lighter and a lot less expensive.

I got mine off Amazon for $75 shipped.
Posted by mike_kelly | Jan 26, 2015 @ 10:07 PM | 68,808 Views
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* Be advised that this article is now obsolete for Pixhawk. I have written a new article for Pixhawk.

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I have been wrestling with this issue for weeks and I thought I should document what I discovered. Many people these days need to use more channels to control external devices like Gimbals, Lights, Retracts, Camera Shutter and Video switches. For more traditional buillds it is not hard to take the pwm outputs of your reciever and directly connect them to your devices, by-passing the APM flight controller...until you run out of channels. But for newer builds with PPM or S.bus receivers you may not have any pwm outputs to use directly from your receiver. Yes with many Frsky receivers you can do both s.bus and pwm but that is a different story.

So if you are using ppm input to your APM how do you control extra devices?
Mission Planner provides a optional hardware page in setup for APM, it is labeled "Camera Gimbal". It allows you to map input channels from your transmitter to an output pin on the APM board. This is where the documentation gets a little tricky. First APM does not support more than 8 channels. Pixhawk does but not APM. Second the documentation is poorly written and uses...Continue Reading
Posted by mike_kelly | Jan 22, 2015 @ 11:32 AM | 23,913 Views
One of the fun things about multirotors right now is that we are at the very beginning. Someday soon there will be mostly RTF (ready-to-fly) multirotors out there with all the problems solved. But right now we get to figure it out ourselves and have the fun of designing and solving problems.

One of those problems for me was how to get a video and shutter control cable connected to my Canon S100. I went to Gentles in the UK, who makes lots of different shutter video solutions for RC and he said it was not possible with the Canon S100. What?

So I did some digging and this is what I found. The Canon Powershot series uses a mini USB cable for connection to a desktop computer and for video out. They make a cable for video out, the Canon AVC-DC400 and the Canon AVC-DC400ST. The only difference is the 400 is single-channel audio and the 400ST is two-channel stereo. But why do they also make the USB Cable IFC-200PCU? Why two cables? It turns out that our favorite connector, the mini USB, has many versions. The typical cable that we use for connecting our flight controllers only needs to use a few pins. It needs power and ground and transmit and receive. But the mini USB can have up to 11 pins. It has five on the top side and six on the bottom.

11pin mini USB connector

This is what Canon does; they use the top five pins like any normal USB for communications with the PC and they use the bottom six for video out....Continue Reading