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Posted by GottaZoom | Oct 21, 2020 @ 10:47 AM | 7,291 Views
Nearly 5 years ago I mounted a CC3D flight controller in a Delta Ray using 2 Pro 180 Extreme motors with brushed ESCs. It was a cheap project that was fun to build and fun to fly. Maybe some day the CC3D will make it back into a DR again using brushless ESC and motors instead.

Flight controllers have progressed a lot over these few years. I've long wanted to use a newer firmware to try building up a DR with some new features going beyond the simple stabilization I tried with the CC3D - and I guess the time to start has finally come.

A post by 747TestPilot kicked off a renewed interest, so I'm hoping we can learn from, and encourage, each other in starting some fun builds. Having never used ArduPlane (or any other version of ArduPilot), I will need to select and order a FC and learn a bit about a new board and the firmware before deciding on all of the other equipment I will use on this build.

I've also long wanted to get a Nano Goblin for a very efficient and light FPV plane, so recycling and using parts mostly from available spares for the DR could be a great way to get some experience with an updated, current flight controller using a new to me firmware. I've also not done a FPV build, so not sure if I will do that later, or add that to the build from the start.

My goal with this blog is simply to document our experience, and hopefully provide examples someone else may find useful with their own build. Participation by others with similar interest are very welcome to ask questions, offer suggestions, and even participate with their own FC builds.
Posted by GottaZoom | Jan 09, 2019 @ 04:32 PM | 19,933 Views
Documenting and testing the Hobbymate FrSky compatible RX.

I've had very good experiences with other Hobbymate products, starting with some 2204 motors that I bought a few years ago and continue to use frequently.

Below is all that came with this RX purchase:

As you can see above, this came with 2 output plugs ... one that can be used for simple SBus output to something like a simple gyro like the A3Super2 I will first use for range testing AND another that will allow me to wire it to a quad's flight controller.
Posted by GottaZoom | Sep 26, 2018 @ 06:55 PM | 32,129 Views
Jumper T12 Multi-Protocol Radio Control System - branched from OpenTX (12 min 11 sec)

This video is just a quick intro of the Jumper T12. My hope is this blog entry will become both a useful introduction and a resource for people who buy the T12. Please post questions or requests on the RCGroups T12 thread linked below.

Note: Banggood provides a product sample and lets reviewers post their own findings and opinions – this is a good thing for all of us. They provide an ID for each reviewer, so they can track which reviews people are motivated to check their website . When you find a review helpful, please consider voting your thanks to Banggood with a click to their website. I’m not going to get a fee for that. Your cost is the same if you decide to buy.

What is it?

The T12 is a radio control transmitter designed as 2 parts - a system.

The first large part is a controller that runs a lightly modified version of OpenTX firmware inside a small case that has the usual sticks and switches/pots, plus a bay like one formerly offered with JR brand radios (and a few other radios still available today). Control commands are sent by wire/pins to an external radio frequency (RF) module only when it is plugged into the bay.

The second part is a removable module in the bay that has its own processor running separate multi-protocol module (MPM) firmware that takes the controller inputs and...Continue Reading
Posted by GottaZoom | Aug 30, 2017 @ 10:55 PM | 28,107 Views
My son has finally gotten a little interested in RC. I was planning to give him my DX6i but realized that my old Flysky T6 has a few more programming features and would be a better platform if only we could add modules to it.

Since he has a 3D printer I got him to print a case with a module bay/box that can be attached to the transmitter carry handle.

Next I found a diagram for the trainer output showing me that I should be able to get PPM off the back of the T6 transmitter.

My son had an old S-VHS cord to use for plugging into the trainer port.

The module needs 3 of its 5 pins to be connected to operate:

- PPM signal coming from the back of the TX
- Power or V+
- Ground

...Continue Reading
Posted by GottaZoom | Apr 01, 2017 @ 05:58 PM | 29,312 Views
The inexpensive FD802 SBus/PPM RX for FrSky will transmit two voltages via telemetry and display them on my Taranis X7.

This voltage sensor lead is available, but I may also try to build some leads to read 1S, 2S, 3S, and 4S flight pack voltages. Note that these are not for a smart port - presumably analog.

Basically the idea is to drop voltage into a 1S level and then calibrate it so that it reports the voltage for whichever multiplier is needed to get back to a multi-cell battery level. See the manual for the sensor above which shows how it uses multipliers/dividers to get voltage into range.

Below is one DIY example:

Below are notes to help.

Voltage divider circuit wiki.

Mike's 3S resistor recommendation.
Posted by GottaZoom | Nov 19, 2016 @ 05:50 PM | 29,594 Views
Tobey from Banggood invited me to try the Sunrise Sword 60A Brushless Speed Control.

In summary, this is a heavy duty controller that appears to be deluxe and up to the task. It is a product designed for helicopter and airplane models, but it is set up for heli use with the slow heli start up. I had no problems using it in default settings, but I would order the program card for it in case you want to modify any parameters.

After adding 3.5mm bullet connectors and a battery connector, weight was up to 70g. My digital multi-meter showed both the standard 3 wire and the split connector (see pictures) power leads for the receiver at 5v.

Product features and Specifications

The ESC runs off a 32-bit ARM processor designed to give high resolution for a smooth and responsive throttle. Failsafe from throttle signal loss after turning the TX off took <2 seconds to kick in and power returned to the TX setting almost instantly when the TX was turned back on (using the pictured Lemon stabilizer).

The ESC has regenerative braking, saving power compared with the other regular ESCs. It offers adaptive timing, so as to be more easily compatible with many motors.

The ESC automatically detected a regular throttle input signal from my Spektrum TX/RX. ESC calibration was normal, starting with high throttle and then moving to low throttle after 1st use.

Note: A programming card is used for implementing different settings. I do not yet have the Sword Programming Card, but there are many settings shown in the manual that might be useful, particularly for heli use.

- Lipo:2-6s
- Continuous Current:60A
- Peak Current (10s):80A
- BEC Output:5-8V/10-20A
- PWM:8-18KHz (Different PWM can be set by programming card.)
- Weight:65g
- Size(PCB):55*30mm
- Regular signal throttle range is 900us-2400us.
- Max. RPM: 300,000rolls (2 poles), 100,000rolls (6 poles), 50,000rolls (12 poles)
- Under voltage protection.
- Special designed governor mode and soft start up mode for Helicopters.
- Adaptive timing. Or manually set timing, 6 options available.
- Adjustable brake by proportion, 3 options available.
Posted by GottaZoom | Sep 20, 2016 @ 05:42 PM | 38,149 Views
This DIY converter takes brushed motor output as input to a brushless ESC. The brushless ESC uses modified BLHeli firmware to interpret the signal coming off of the Delta Ray receiver.

Previously I posted a brushless conversion of a DR receiver with burnt mosfets (motor runs without throttle input). Rather than replace the mosfets, signal was taken from the input to the mosfets' original location. Also posted was a build summary of a new brushless DR build using that receiver.

However, the goal of this build is to go brushless WITHOUT modifying the original DR receiver.

Imboeschi published a voltage divider schematic with his modified firmware as one of several ways one may convert the signal for use with brushless ESC and motors.

My concept is to make this circuit with connectors so that it is plug and play to the Delta Ray receiver. The RX is not modified and can be returned to stock if one wants to do so later - (why?) - this would allow for removing the receiver at a later time and replace or use it for a scratch build, or to keep the motors and ESCs and sell the original plane.

This is a very inexpensive project, components being <$4 dollars per motor. See Imboeschi's hardware documentation for resistor and diode specifications

1 Servo Y or 2 extension cables
2 Resistors (1.5k used)
2 Diodes (BZX55C3V9 used)
2 JST-RCY connectors with leads

Above, the parts are laid out roughly as they will be soldered.

...Continue Reading
Posted by GottaZoom | Jun 23, 2016 @ 11:00 PM | 34,295 Views
My first brushless Delta Ray is being built from parts - mostly from Horizon Hobby, including an OEM Delta Ray receiver modified to connect to external ESCs and run on 3S. The ESCs now run DR Edition BLHeli firmware instead of their original Simon K firmware.

Parts listing (includes shipping)

$023.24 - Fuselage from HH via eBay (after $15 Paypal coupon)*
$007.99 - Rubber nose from HH via eBay
$006.99 - Pushrods/Horns from HH via eBay
$007.18 - Battery cover from HH via eBay
$007.99 - Gear from HH via eBay
$008.09 - Fairings from HH via Amazon
$001.00 - Vertical stabilizer - DT foam & tape

$062.48 - New fuselage subtotal

$021.00 - Receiver (shippping 3X for donated broken RX)
$000.00 - Y cable and capacitor for RX mod (donated)
$016.90 - 2204 CW/CCW motor set by Hobbymate via Amazon
$021.61 - Afro 20A Race Spec Mini ESCs from H. King
$002.92 - 2mm connectors for motors & harness from H. King
$002.00 - Wire and battery connector for harness
$000.00 - Servos (used & gifted by a friend)
$000.00 - Props, HQ 6C30 from GotHeliRC (promotion)

$064.43 - Electronics subtotal

$126.91 - Total plane, less battery

* - Wing tips with fuselage do not include wing fins, robbed some from another kit

With a Delta Ray to use for a similar project the cost would be just the motor/ESC and a few misc items if modifying your own receiver.

A remote receiver and a 6-axis CC3D Atom were bought for ~$20 to use in case the receiver modification and firmware did not work; those will...Continue Reading
Posted by GottaZoom | Jun 22, 2016 @ 05:05 PM | 31,206 Views
Props to be tested as follows:

- Hobbymate 2204 motor mounted to Delta Ray fairing
- Afro 20A Race Spec Mini ESCs, DR edition BLHeli firmware
- Modified OEM Delta Ray RX (oem ESCs removed, main cap upgraded)
. 3S 25C 1200mAh battery, freshly charged for each test

Propellors, 4 blades
- HQ 5x4x4

Propellors, 3 blades
- Gemfan 5030x3

Propellors, 2 blades
- Lantian 6045
- HQ C6x30
- Gemfan 6030
- HQ C5x30
- DTI 5030 (ghost)...Continue Reading
Posted by GottaZoom | Mar 21, 2016 @ 03:31 PM | 34,145 Views
A collection of motors and mounts, before I start building my own brushless Delta Ray.

Click on the picture to go to the post.

Interior Firewall

DYS 1806 motor mounted from inside nacelle/fairing with wood firewall for strength behind plastic firewall:

EArHog upgrade
SunnySky 2204 2300kv-same mount as above:

Interior/Intereior Firewall Hyrbrid Mount

Turnigy C2230 1780kv
...Continue Reading
Posted by GottaZoom | Feb 23, 2016 @ 05:42 PM | 33,240 Views
Along with changing out Delta Ray motors and wanting to use traditional ESCs I've been looking at mostly inexpensive flight controller and receiver alternatives to replace the DR SAFE receiver that includes a number of other features that are either necessary or desirable to replace/improve:

- Twin electronic speed controls (for standard 180 brushed motors)
- Stabilization including rate correction, auto-leveling, angle limits, & panic
- Elevon mixing of aileron and elevator channels
- Differential thrust control via rudder stick

Not having seen many long or active threads about using a CC3D flight controller with Open Pilot firmware for fixed wing really slowed down my search. It was on the radar very early, but I've tried a variety of other gyros due to the lack of good fixed wing info about the package.

Late last year two threads encouraged me to give it a try for a couple of my planes, including the Delta Ray.

- Using an OpenPilot CopterController as a Rate and Auto-level fixed wing stabiliser

- Brushless Delta Ray Conversion with Flight Stabilization

Below are some pictures of the FC mounted to replace the DR RX.
Posted by GottaZoom | Feb 19, 2016 @ 03:28 PM | 34,283 Views
Caution: the Pro 180 motor can create more heat than the standard DR ESC can handle when flying at part throttle. After conducting prop tests on the bench, I've decided to try to improve the installation and avoid burning out my DR oem receiver.

The approach is to use external brushed ESCs with either a modified DR receiver, or a CC3D flight controller using a DSMX-compatible remote receiver as the primary receiver. The wiring shown in the modified receiver link was designed for both alternatives (and brushless ESCs/motors) and was ultimately used with the CC3D and remote receiver. A traditional receiver could also be used.

Note: Space between the front nacelle mounting posts is ~21-22mm by ruler (calipers are MIA). Without nacelle modification or replacement, this limits motor replacement alternatives to relatively small motors unless the bell is mounted ahead of, or behind, the posts.

Step 1 - Take the bottom of the nacelle off of the plane to remove the oem motor. and wiring. Pull the prop straight off the front. Remove the screws shown. (The gear can stay on if you wish.) There are also 2 screws holding the front of the motor. Push the motor back and lift out.

Step 2 - The Pro 180 motor is the same shape and size as the oem 180. Be careful not to ground or short the resistors. They need to be positioned so that they will clear the rear motor support (or re-positioned to the rear) and allow the heat sinks to slide far enough back for the motor to slide...Continue Reading
Posted by GottaZoom | Feb 16, 2016 @ 04:26 PM | 35,057 Views
Has anyone else ever wished they could connect traditional motor speed controls (ESCs) directly to the Delta Ray receiver?

My regular flying buddy has completed several Delta Ray projects, with and without the stock Delta Ray receiver. We've both dreamed of being able to connect regular ESCs to the receiver in order to keep all of the other nice features that we have enjoyed since we bought our Delta Rays.

The images below are of a once stock receiver board - resurrected from its untimely death- modified to allow connecting traditional speed controls (ESCs).

Front view - Output leads for throttle signals to ESCs replace the stock motor leads

Back view s - Mosfets removed with new leads attached

Note: large capacitor also upgraded to 16V to allow 3S power

This ESC started out stock, but one of the mosfets burned out from excess heat while running with brushed motors. Many thanks to RCG members who have inspired and/or directly contributed to this modification test:

- AJ.K., who documented the receiver board layout/components

- Imboeschi, who created a solution to run upgraded brushed motors

- EArHog, who donated this particular receiver board with its blown FET

- Anonymous for doing the modifications

- And many other Delta Ray thread participants for their ideas and encouragement.

The throttle signals have a nice linear flow from 0 to full throttle.

The amplitude of the pulses = 3.3V
The Frequency = 15kHz.

Motor tests will next help determine if ESCs will use this 3V signal to run the motors normally, or if a signal amplifier might be needed, or if a unique ESC solution will be needed.

See the next post below for motor tests using brushed and brushless ESCs, using 2 different motors for each ESC.
Posted by GottaZoom | Dec 07, 2015 @ 07:42 PM | 34,268 Views
Xtreme Productions Pro180 motor test, using Delta Ray and some larger props. Includes HobbyZone Delta Ray 180 motor/prop baseline comparison.

Static tests completed using a HobbyWing brushed ESC instead of the Delta Ray SAFE receiver with 2 integrated ESCs.

The Delta Ray motors are very well suited to a beginner. Once the beginner has learned to control the Delta Ray they may feel ready to increase power.

The Pro180s are a nearly direct swap for the original equipment manufacturer motors, the increased power draw burnt out a mosfet for one of my flying buddies who made the motor change. Since I am not aware of the power limits to the SAFE brick, I've decided to use an external ESC for testing. For this reason, I cannot recommend any motor or prop change to the oem Delta Ray equipment, but I wanted to collect and provide some data that the community may use at their own risk.

I was also unable to acquire any current draw or prop testing information from Xtreme or the many dealers listed as carrying their product. However, the company graciously provided motors for testing, without any test requirements.

RCG friends graciously supplied Hobby Zone motors/propellers and the meters used in these tests. A selection of props,and 2mm prop savers were purchased for this test.

A motor mount was made using a surplus CD-Rom drive half case (open on one side and end, plus just thick enough on other end to mount the motor). The case was...Continue Reading
Posted by GottaZoom | Nov 06, 2015 @ 10:35 PM | 32,199 Views
This will be a log of the steps I use to prepare and flash an ESC with BLHeli firmware.

1. Order Arduino Nano (purchased clone from Banggood for about $4)
2. Connect Nano to PC (first use is with Win 8.1) - driver self-downloaded and I restarted the PC
3. Download BLHeli - used mediafire link from here:
4. Extract contents of zip file to a new folder on PC
5. Run BLHeli exe file, Make Interface, select correct com port

6. Identify 1st ESC candidate and make interface cables before flashing Arduino

- First candidates are a couple SuperSimple 8-10A ESCs that were given to me. Unfortunately, these do not appear to be supported.
- Next candidate was an EFlite 30A ESC that also does not appear to be supported. Looks like I will need to budget and buy an ESC after looking through the supported ESC list.
Posted by GottaZoom | Sep 06, 2015 @ 07:20 PM | 37,462 Views
My first two purchased planes were a Delta Ray and a Sport Cub S; both of which have brushed motors. Because the SCS replacement motors have a reported trend of being very inconsistent as to lifespan I want to start planning for a conversion to brushless. The DR motors may last longer but eventually they will also lose thrust and wear out.

Ideally, I'd like to skip using a PWM to PPM converter and use an ESC that will take a PWM input to run the brushless motor. BLHeli is an ESC firmware that has PWM input as an option. I'm also wondering if SimonK or other firmwares might be alternatives.

Delta Ray planning

NOTE: Brushless Delta Ray project using modified stock brick is completed.

On the Delta Ray I would like to go to an ESC and motor that can handle 3S or 2S power with out blowing out the 2S brick. I am hoping a separate 2S receiver battery for RX and servos and PWM output might work if I wire 3S power for the motors and their external ESCs separately. Alternately, in the resource link it was found the brick can be upgraded to 3S with a capacitor change but that is likely to be too much for small brushed motors.

The correct PWM signal output point appears to be the gate pin on the power mosfet. For the Delta Ray the Gate on each motor FET is pin 4 and output from the MCU coming to the gate is 3v (so a high end ESC or signal amplifier may be needed to handle the low voltage).

I have 2S1500s and 3S 1000s (plus some small 1S and 2S batteries that aren't...Continue Reading