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Archive for October, 2017
Posted by mike_kelly | Oct 31, 2017 @ 12:56 PM | 20,344 Views
I decided to start a new blog post on my FrankenSolo build to focus on using the CANbus tools provided by Pavel with uavcan.org and owner of Zubax Robotics.

What is CANbus? You can think of it as the Internet for multirotor accessories. It comes from the automotive and aerospace industries and has one common wiring scheme, identical connectors and daisy chained devices for all your multirotor accessories. No figuring out pinouts and splicing cables together for each new device. Nice JST-GH connectors that click into place, are easy to remove and won't fall out. The GPS, Compass, Power Module, ESCs and gimbal controller etc. could all use CANbus.

As you daisy chain your devices, the last device needs a 120 ohm terminator and only one device can supply power to the CANbus, usually the flight controller. But OlliW's SLCAN can be jumpered to be a consumer or supplier of 5 volts for the bus. If you are testing just one device without a flight controller being a supplier, the SLCAN can be the supplier. But remember, only one supplier of power on the CANbus at a time!

***note don't use the above picture as an example of the detailed wires for a CANbus connector. All of my UAVCAN devices have 5v on the left side in the orientation of this picture, not on the right as shown. ***

The first task is to get to know Pavel's UAVCAN GUI. It is available for Windows, Linux and MAC. The beauty of UAVCAN is that every device can be configured and tested from one utility - Pavel's...Continue Reading
Posted by mike_kelly | Oct 13, 2017 @ 09:53 AM | 23,158 Views


For me the Holy Grail of DIY quads is to have some of the features that the expensive RTF multirotors have like HD Video with RC control and telemetry on the same radio. It is a pain having a RC receiver/transmitter and a telemetry transceiver and a Video transmitter. They tend to interfere with each other in the close spaces of a quad. There are commercial versions like Lightbridge for DJI. There are some expensive DIY attempts like the CUAV Hack Link which is supposed to provide HD Video and RC control but I have not seen anyone get it to work yet with RC Control.

...Continue Reading
Posted by mike_kelly | Oct 05, 2017 @ 06:45 PM | 23,635 Views

The 3DR Solo was way ahead of it's time but like many products introduced to the marketplace it was doomed by bad timing and bad management decisions. It was envisioned as a videography tool with features never before released in this class of multirotor, like CableCam. CableCam was the ability to define a complex route the quad would fly and then you could fly that route back and forth by just moving your, redefined right stick. But when the Solo was released, to much fanfare, they did not have the gimbal ready. This left an initial bad taste in the marketplace because a video quad was not much use without a stabilizing gimbal for the camera. Then the second problem was with a bad chip design in the ESC's that caused a logic level mis-match between the flight controller and the ESC's. The flight controller operating on 3.3v logic and the ESC's chip on 5v logic levels. This could cause the Solo to fall from the sky under certain circumstances. So with too many Solo's already built and a lot of money already on the line, management decided not to replace the ESC's and to use a software fix that reduced performance to solve the problem. The Solo originally shipped with a poor quality GPS which caused fly-aways or crashes when it lost lock on the satellites. With so much hanging on this product the problems eventually sunk 3DR.

The Solo was dumped by large retailers for pennies on the dollar and the Solo was doomed to be piled on the scrap pile of failed projects.

But the...Continue Reading