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Archive for October, 2016
Posted by DismayingObservation | Oct 27, 2016 @ 06:44 PM | 11,454 Views
Just over a month ago, I posted this blog entry regarding the assembly of a small AM/FM pocket radio kit from Banggood.com.

Without instructions, at least in English.

Thankfully, the instruction sheet had a schematic and the PC board was marked in English. I also had some online help in the guise of a time lapse assembly video, linked on the original blog.

I'm truly pleased to say that this grandfather/grandson project actually works! It didn't at first, but when you have a friend who happens to be a broadcast engineer, it didn't take long for him to find my one wiring mistake. I'd simply soldered the negative power wire to the wrong pad.

Pictures on the way soon! In the meantime, here's the Banggood ordering page for anyone wishing to do something truly fun on a wet afternoon:

Posted by DismayingObservation | Oct 24, 2016 @ 03:14 PM | 10,882 Views
It wasn't long ago that full hobby grade RTF quadcopters were a real rarity, let alone those with brushless motors.

Today, it's my pleasure to send us all back to October 14, 2013 to revisit the groundbreaking Skyartec Butterfly RTF quadcopter from Max Ettinger over at ParkRCModels.com.

Back then, $219.95 would net the lucky buyer a fully assembled, fully tested, fiberglass framed quad with four 2200Kv outrunners, all guided by a seven-channel Skyartec NASA701 radio.

It had been quite some time since I'd last flown this fun little machine and I'm glad that I dusted it off for a quick indoor sortie.

With its original 1300mAh li-po battery charged and ready, I armed the model, remembering not to move it while powered up. That, as I found out during the review, "confuses" the gyros. Since the Butterfly has an external power switch, arming it at its takeoff point is easy.

Despite its size and power, the Butterfly is an excellent indoor flyer if one remembers to keep its rather touchy throttle response in mind. It's possible to go into the radio's settings and adjust the expo, but doing so remains a mystery. Max, however, is a master at setting the NASA701 should one wish to tweak the factory's memory preset.

Since the original review went live, Max sells the original Butterfly at a closeout price of $129.99. A new version, the "S," has replaced the original with the capability of running three-cell batteries as opposed to the two-...Continue Reading
Posted by DismayingObservation | Oct 17, 2016 @ 06:01 PM | 10,230 Views
I thought I'd repost a request a bit further up thread.

I'm on the lookout for a "dead" LiDi or RC Leading brand hexacopter with a good transmitter. I have a LiDi L6 with a bad transmitter and nothing visibly wrong with the model's FC.

I'll post on the "wanted" page as well. Thanks for the help and please feel free to PM or email me.
Posted by DismayingObservation | Oct 08, 2016 @ 05:29 PM | 10,556 Views
I think the problem with that LiDi L6 hexacopter is with the transmitter. The antenna lead may have been shorted to an adjacent pad at the factory. That or I did it when I was fiddling around with antennas. I found that when I took apart both the model and transmitter and soaked up the solder with desoldering braid.

After removing nearly forty small screws on the model in order to open it up, I was able to ascertain that nothing visible was wrong.

There's almost no control range; it's literally about three feet! Works perfectly when the transmitter is nearby (less the props). It goes into signal loss mode and shuts down as the transmitter is moved away.

Does anyone have a "dead" LiDi or RC Leading brand hexacopter with a good transmitter with which they'd be willing to part? Or, if someone out there has figured out the radio protocol, I'm all ears. Thanks, everyone!
Posted by DismayingObservation | Oct 06, 2016 @ 08:50 PM | 9,522 Views
It certainly wasn't for a lack of effort.

The router antenna on the transmitter of the little Li Di hexacopter didn't solve the problem and actually made it somewhat worse.

I had no problem getting the transmitter and receiver to bind, but unless I literally brought the transmitter within inches of the model, it wouldn't enter flight mode. When I pulled back, nothing but blinking lights.

Disconnecting the ground lead and replacing the antenna with a fresh bit of micro coax didn't help.

All is not lost since I'll hang onto the model in the hope that a flight control board will someday be offered. Or, maybe I can find a different board and transmitter from a similar model.

Better still, I reestablished a relationship with GearBest! Adam is one of my earliest contacts and he told me that Elliot, my prior contact, is still with the company in a different capacity.

Adam, bless him, has offered up some new quads for review here on the blogs, so watch this space for more.
Posted by DismayingObservation | Oct 05, 2016 @ 05:47 PM | 9,798 Views
By that, I mean that the new transmitter antenna for the Li Di L6W hexacopter is in place per my previous entry.

What's more, the model is responding to the transmitter. However, I couldn't get it to lift off. The units bound fine, but the motors wouldn't spool up and the onboard lights were flashing. The problem was simple; I thought I was using a charged battery and I wasn't.

Time didn't allow me to charge up a battery and test fly the model, but I will tonight or tomorrow and give it a shot.
Posted by DismayingObservation | Oct 04, 2016 @ 07:51 PM | 9,156 Views
Continued experimentation with the little Li Di L6W hexacopter didn't quite turn out as I'd hoped.

As it moved away from the transmitter, the loss of control returned. It first loses yaw control and then flops to the deck, motors running.

I'd once experimented with installing a 2.4GHz router antenna in place of the very short length of coaxial cable which served as an antenna. That didn't seem to work and neither did replacing the coax with the one from another "toy" transmitter I'd successfully modified with another router antenna. That transmitter had the shield attached to ground even before I modified it.

Only the center conductor of the coax is soldered to the board which is another very likely culprit and I decided to try that setup once more with a new antenna I had on hand. Enter my friend the broadcast engineer! I told him exactly what I'm telling everyone now and he suggested grounding the shielding to the ground plane of the transmitter's PC board.

He cheerfully modified the router antenna's coax with a ground wire and plenty of exposed center conductor to solder in place. The job is, quite simply, beautiful and a continuity check with his Fluke multimeter showed it to be working perfectly. I'll get pictures and report back with the results.
Posted by DismayingObservation | Oct 03, 2016 @ 02:29 PM | 8,888 Views
Some explanation is in order before I begin.

I'd received this little entry level hexacopter from Elliot, my contact at GearBest, for an official RCGroups review some time ago. This is the ordering page:


Unfortunately, it didn't work properly. Elliot said they'd investigate and he said to go ahead and keep the model in the meantime.

It would work fine for a few moments and then it would become nearly uncontrollable and crash, even indoors. That's why the caps atop each prop - and one of the props itself - is kind of "doinked." Lots of unintended upside down landings will do that.

I figured a bit of troubleshooting might be worth the effort since this model has received some good online reviews. Off the shelf after months of no use and out of the box it came, still looking for all the world like a Christmas decoration rather than a hexacopter.

No other "toy" multirotor transmitter of mine shared the same radio protocol, so a flight test with another transmitter was out of the question. The only other option would be another battery, one with a name brand and a high discharge rate. As I nurgled around with the model straightening out one of the soft plastic props, I seemed to remember that the supposedly 800mAh flight battery came down kind of hot. Six brushed motors equal a lot of current draw...and inexpensive li-pos are sometimes a bit overrated. Another similar pack I had on hand yielded...Continue Reading