Jacques.Eloff's blog - RC Groups
Jacques.Eloff's blog View Details
Posted by Jacques.Eloff | Jun 30, 2017 @ 01:47 AM | 2,457 Views
Here is a short build log of my latest fixed wing drone, a Skywalker EVE-2000. This aircraft is intended for large area mapping and initial flight tests show that 250 hectare coverage is easily attainable at 120m height using a typical 24mm equivalent lens and 70% overlap. It could also prove useful for surveillance purposes where extended situational awareness is required. Flight time is over 2 hours and range is around 120Km. Flying characteristics are great.
The only stock components I have used are the motors (550KV, perfect for 6S). All the stock electronics went straight into the trash can.

-Flight controller is a Pixhawk 2.1 Cube, with airspeed kit and OSD.
-Power management/monitoring is a Mauch setup with dual power supply to the flight controller (sensor hub, dual power modules, dual BECs, etc.)
-Radio gear is Futaba 14SG Tx and 6303SB Rx
-ESCs are Hobbywing Platinum 50A
-Props are 12 x 6 Graupner
-Elevator servos are Hitec HS5065 (dual), ailerons and rudder are HS5085 and flaps are HS125
-Mapping camera is Sony A6000 and gimbal will be fitted shortly.
-Runcam FPV camera, Immersion RC VTX
-Power source is a pair of 6S 10,500mAh Li-ions for over 2 hours of air time.

The airframe was ordered from FPV Model, decent service.

Mods include:
-Reinforcement of tailplane
-Extended ailerons (stock ails are way too short)
-Dual elevator servos
-Capped and hinged control surfaces
-Additional boom clamp
-Screws to hold wings (I’m concerned about...Continue Reading
Posted by Jacques.Eloff | Jun 10, 2016 @ 05:35 AM | 4,917 Views
Here is a short build log showing the work required to convert my Quanum Observer to VTOL Quadplane. The mods are done in such a way that the Quadplane can be reverted to pure fixed wing in around 10mins for ultra long duration flight (+-80mins on 15AH packs) and when a landing strip is available.

Total weight added for Quadplane is 1,320g but only 270g of this is permanent (ie. fixed items such as carbon spars in the wings, mounting lugs, wiring in the wings, glue, etc). Total all-up weight in Quadplane mode is around 4,800g (including camera).

Specs as follows:
Frame size 1070mm (measured diagonal)
T-Motor MT4006 740KV
T-Motor Air 40A ESC
T-Motor carbon props 14 x 4.8
4S 10,000mAh
Pixhawk flight controller, running firmware version 3.6.0 with Quadplane support.

Amp draw at hover is 40A, giving me around 12 mins hover time incl 20% safety margin on the lipos. Still need to do more testing to find out what the duration is with typical VTOL flight profile (I'm guessing around 45mins on 10Ah packs)....Continue Reading
Posted by Jacques.Eloff | Feb 07, 2016 @ 02:07 AM | 6,226 Views
I recently completed a Skywalker X8 build for aerial mapping and here are the details of my build:

Sony RX 100 with Gentwire trigger running off flight controller (this will be replaced by Sony A6000 on 2 axis gimbal)
3DR Pixhawk flight controller, telemetry radio, GPS, airspeed kit, OSD
Immersion RC 5.8g 600mW VTX
Scorpion SII-3020-780KV V2
13 x 6.5 Aeronaut folding prop
Hobbywing 60A ESC
Hitec HS85’s on elevons
4S 10,000mAh
Fatshark FPV camera
ABS plastic nose cover

Main modifications are as follows:
2 x full length 4mm x 4mm carbon box section stiffening spars in each wing, recessed into lower surface
12mm OD/10mm ID bi-directional fibre carbon tube in fuse and wings as an outer sleeve to the stock 10mm OD carbon wing joiner
Balsa elevons

Build was fairly straightforward and I though the parts fit was not too bad, but my specific mods did require quite a bit of extra build time (total was around 70 hours). I thought the stock elevons were totally inadequate and I cannot see how these could work with all that flex.
The space in the fuse is cavernous which makes component installation and wiring so much easier. All up weight including Sony RX100 is 3.3Kg, Launch method is bungee and ramp.

...Continue Reading
Posted by Jacques.Eloff | Jan 09, 2016 @ 03:45 PM | 4,930 Views
I posted details of my build in the Aerial Photography forum but thought I would add this to my blog: The airframe has great potential for mapping as well as other aerial photography applications, such as search and rescue, conservation, security, humanitarian, etc. since it can take a stabilized camera.

Here are the details of my build:

1. Sony RX100 Mk 2 with Stratosnapper v2 trigger (fuse is wide enough in “landscape” orientation) or GoPro on 3 axis gimbal
2. Hitec HS65’s on flaps, ailerons and rudder and 2 x Futaba S3113 in elevator.
3. 3DR Pixhawk flight controller, telemetry radio, GPS, airspeed kit, OSD
4. Immersion RC 5.8g 600mW VTX
5. Turnigy SK3 3542 1000KV
6. Hobbywing 60A ESC
7. 4S 10,000mAh
8. Sony FPV camera – not mandatory for AP but nice to know that I have a chance of navigating home if something happens in auto mode, GPS loss, etc.

Build Mods:
1. Control horn mounts from 1/16 ply recessed into control surfaces (top and bottom).
2. Hinging of all control surfaces rather than moulded foam (a number of elevator and aileron failures were reported in the FPV forum)
3. Carbon tube reinforcement to fin
4. Replacement wheels/axles
5. Landing gear raked forward, to prevent nose over tendency on take-off
6. Change to thrust angle
7. Re-glued carbon stiffening rods in wings and control surfaces
8. Motor mount bolts & nuts to replace the tiny screws
9. 3D printed pitot tube mount from Shapeways (designed by “aeroscar” here on...Continue Reading