AEMontoya's blog - RC Groups
AEMontoya's blog View Details
Posted by AEMontoya | Mar 02, 2017 @ 02:44 PM | 3,314 Views
Over the last year or so, I've noticed the channel readings on my Futaba 12z pots drifting slightly from their center points as well as the max/min throws sometimes being slightly off. I decided to remedy this by cleaning the potentiometers followed by calibrating the radio. Below is a short tutorial for how to do the same....Continue Reading
Posted by AEMontoya | Oct 07, 2016 @ 03:09 AM | 3,748 Views
Life put RC stuff on hold for me during the last 9 months or so. While the remaining 25% of my AM8 multicopter will have to be put on hold for a while longer, I did indulge in a RTF v2 TBS Vendetta. So, far it's been a blast to fly, and, since I love to build, I've already made a custom case for it, which makes taking to the field all the easier. This is my first racing quad, and even though I am not even racing it in FPV yet, I cannot describe how fun these little guys are!
Posted by AEMontoya | Jan 20, 2016 @ 01:41 AM | 5,503 Views
In order to keep weight down on my AMX8 Aerial Mapper, I decided to build a 2-axis nadir gimbal that is gravity powered. It's constructed from a universal joint that is attached to the camera's center of gravity and that allows for only roll and pitch, no yaw. It will be a while before I get the chance to test it in flight; but, it is hoped to be a lightweight yet effective way of ensuring that the camera is pointed directly downward while taking photos during missions. We'll see!

Powerless Nadir Mount (0 min 17 sec)

Posted by AEMontoya | Nov 30, 2015 @ 10:00 PM | 5,116 Views
As an addition to my growing collection of professional-level multicopters (AM4, AM4XL, AM6, and soon the AM8), I decided to create a dedicated aerial mapper called the AMX8. The goal was to produce a large aerial mapper offering portability, long flight times, redundancy, and large payload capacity.

Multicopter Specs:
-Custom carbon fiber frame with removable arms
-Pixhawk FC w/ UBlox GPS and Telemetry
-KDE 4014XF (380 kv) motors
-Mejzlik 15x5" props
-3x Quadpower 10,000 mAh 6s 25C lipo

-Sony Nex 5n w/ 20 mm pancake lens
-Fat Shark FPV cam w/ IRC 1000 mW TX

-Storm iM2700 with custom clips, straps, microcell foam, ...

AUW: 18.0 lb (8.16 kg) with 3x 10,000 mAh 6s

Flight time: TBD (estimated at ~40 min)

Video Demo:
AMX8 (4 min 37 sec)
...Continue Reading
Posted by AEMontoya | Nov 05, 2015 @ 01:46 PM | 5,025 Views
After the successful design, build, and testing of the AM4 spidex quadcopter, I decided to design and test a kit that would convert the AM4 into what I call the AM4XL. As the name implies, the kit was intended to significantly increase the size, flight time, and load-carrying capacity of the AM4. The kit consists of: 1) longer dettachable arms with larger propellers and motors, 2) dettachable battery tray for 3rd battery, and 3) carbon fiber reinforcement braces to support the extra weight. The following provides a description of the kit, the results of the testing, and a conclusion about large quads in general.

Kit contents:
-5215XF 330kv motors
-Aeronavics 50 mm motor mounts
-Mejzlik 20" props (optional T-Motor 17" props)
-445 mm booms
-Dettachable carbon fiber battery tray
-Dual 3 mm carbon fiber support braces
-Optional 70 A ESCs (proved to be unneeded in practice)

Note: To see the other components of the AM4XL, please follow this link for the AM4:

AM4XL v2 (2 min 45 sec)

With the above conversion kit, the AM4XL weighed in at 8.2 kg, and was able to achieve impressive flight times of between 40 and 45 minutes to 20% lipo capacity. Moreover, the reinforced frame easily handled the extra weight, and all components ran only luke warm to the touch, without the need to upgrade from the 45 A MGM ESCs to 70 A versions.

Despite the above successes, testing revealed the AM4XL to be lacking in certain...Continue Reading
Posted by AEMontoya | Nov 27, 2014 @ 02:03 AM | 7,386 Views
After heavily modifying a Flexacopter to create a hexacopter / handheld gimbal, which I call the AM6, I decided to design and build a similar concept based on a large spidex quadcopter. I designed it around the same ESCs and lipos my AM6 uses so that I could use the same detachable arms/motors/props. The result is what I call the AM4, a professional-grade, long distance, low profile, portable quadcopter with gobs of power and stability in the wind.

Multicopter Specs:
-Custom spidex carbon fiber frame with removable arms
-Wookong-M main controller w/ 50 waypoints
-DJI Ground station
-Plettenberg 15-34 Orbit (445 kv) motors
-Mejzlik 15x5" props
-Quadpower 10,000 mAh 6s 25C lipo (can easily run two at once)
-MGM X2 Series Multicopter ESCs

TX and RX
- 6303sbt
-Futaba 12z with custom monitor mount
-5.8 GHz vTX
-Black Pearl 7" monitor with Fat Shark antennae for 12z mount
-ReadyMadeRC 8" monitor with IRC Duo for Velbon Ultramax iL tripod

-DJI Zenmuse H3-3D with travel lock and quick release bracket
-Go Pro Hero 3+ Black Edition

-Storm iM2700 with custom clips, straps, microcell foam, ...

AUW: 9.2 lb (4.17 kg) with 10,000 mAh 6s
12.2 lb (5.5 kg) with dual 10,000 mAh 6s

Flight time: 20 min to 20% with 10,000 mAh 6s
30 min to 17% with dual 10,000 mAh 6s

Video footage with H3-3D is rock solid, no tweaking necessary

-Easy to carry due to low...Continue Reading
Posted by AEMontoya | Oct 23, 2014 @ 04:33 AM | 6,360 Views
Well, I decided to take matters into my own hands, and ended up making a custom mount for my 12z. It was actually quite simple, and works very well. It utilizes the 72 MHz swivel attachment that the radio already has.

The below pics and accompanying text pretty much summarize what was done. I am quite pleased with the results, and, with a neck strap adapter flipped upside-down, it balances perfectly.
Posted by AEMontoya | Oct 16, 2014 @ 02:21 PM | 6,178 Views
I came up with some of these modifications a while back, when the s800 debuted. I just wanted to post this in my blog to keep a record.

First Modification: Quick Detach Cable System

Second Modification: Insertion of CF T-Beams

Third Modification: Carbon Fiber Wrapping

Carbon Fiber s800 Arm Mod Vid (5 min 28 sec)

Posted by AEMontoya | Sep 13, 2014 @ 03:44 PM | 6,792 Views
I decided to make a portable system that interconverts between an aerial platform and a handheld platform. The result is a Flexacopter with detachable arms that is mated to DJI retracts and that can have handles attached to it (I call it the AM6 ). Below are some pictures/info along with a short video demonstrating the conversion process.

Multicopter Specs:
-Flexacopter frame with removable arms and various custom parts
-Wookong-M main controller w/ 50 waypoints
-DJI Ground station
-Plettenberg 15-34 Orbit (445 kv) motors
-Mejzlik 15x5" props
-Quadpower 10,000 mAh 6s 25C lipo
-DJI s800 Evo retracts modified to fit Flexacopter
-MGM X2 Series Multicopter ESCs

TX and RX
-Dual RX for one-button switch between single and dual operator (6208sb and 6303sbt)
-Futaba 12z
-Futaba decoder
-5.8 GHz vTX
-IRC dual RX
-8" RMRC monitor
-Velbon Ultramax iL tripod

-DJI Zenmuse z15n
-Sony Alpha Nex 5n
-Sony 20 mm pancake lens

-Pelican 1610 with custom clips, straps, microcell foam, ...

AUW: 16 lb (7.25 kg)
Flight time: 12 - 14 min

Aerial & Handheld Gimbal Solution (4 min 32 sec)
...Continue Reading
Posted by AEMontoya | Aug 20, 2014 @ 11:27 PM | 7,312 Views
I recently purchased a 14mz, and it dawned on me how nice it is to have a backlight. I therefore decided to add a backlight to my beloved 12z. Below is a brief recount of how I accomplished this.

I first looked into using an electroluminescent panel, but found from others that it is not possible to take this approach with the 12z, since it is impossible to remove and re-attach the very fine cables running to the back of the LCD. I therefore decided to use LEDs. The LEDs I chose were elliptical, 5 mm, 3.4 V, 20 mA, ultra bright LEDs, which I ordered from Mouser (they have no purchase minimum). The product number is:
I chose green for two reasons, the LED display is green, and the Futaba radio label is lit with a green LED during normal operation. I chose elliptical bulbs, because they radiate light in a fanlike pattern, thereby allowing for only 2 LEDs to light the entire length of the LCD screen as well as minimizing light coming out through the screen.

I also purchased a generic 82 Ohm resister, which I ran in series, along with the two LEDs. The only other purchase was a sub-mini on-off switch (actually, it was an on-on switch, but they both serve the purpose). These two items were bought at Fry's Electronics.

The pictures below provide a brief summary of how everything went. Don't forget to "View All Images in Thread" so that you can see the end results....Continue Reading
Posted by AEMontoya | Feb 09, 2014 @ 01:12 PM | 8,074 Views
I decided to make a Phantom and complete AV setup using some spare equipment I already had sitting around. Below are the results and specs ...

Motors: 2216 1100 kv TMotors
ESCs: 30 A Afro (Had to put custom LED strips in arms)
Lipos: 2x4s 2700 mAh 30C TP
Props: 9x5 Graupners
FC: WKM w/ 50 waypoints
iOSD: Mark II
Gimbal: H3-2D
Camera: Hero 3+ Black Edition with lens focus mod
RX: Futaba 6203SB
TX: Futaba 12z
vTX: 2.4 GHz 600 mW IRC
vRX: 2.4 GHz IRC Duo with Cloverleaf antennae
Monitor: 8" RMRC powered with 5000 mAh 2s lipo
Tripod: Velbon UltraMax iL (best tripod for size/weight/height/quality/price)
Case: DuraTool MJ-139-20.5
Foam: High density microcell

AUW: 1950 g (with H3-2D, Go Pro, 2x above lipos, and vTX)
Flight Time Fully Loaded: 11:30
Plenty of power and performs well on both 8x5 as well as 9x5 Graupners

Anyway, so far I've put about 10 flights on her, and I'm pretty happy with the results. Due to the heavy weight and small form factor, she's pretty steady. Motors/ESCs barely get warm to the touch.

Here is the first video with this setup:
Zion, Bryce, Grand Canyon 2014 (5 min 23 sec)

Posted by AEMontoya | Jul 15, 2013 @ 07:15 PM | 7,462 Views
This is my newish Sobakin Stinger, along with some of the basics of the setup.


Wingpsan: 27.75 in
Wing Area: 75 in^2
Airfoil: RK-40
Fuse Length: 17.5 cm
COG: 25 - 27 mm

Setup 1:
Motor: Neu 1105 2Y (kv = 5000)
ESC: Thunderbird 36 A
Prop: Graupner 4.7x4.7
Battery: TP 45C 2s 1250 mAh or 1750 mAh
Servos: Futaba s3110 all around
TX/RX: 12Z/R617FS 7-ch
Spinner: 25 mm Al Bullet E-Spinner (from Espirit)
AUW: 300 g (10.6 oz) with 1250 mAh
Wing Loading: 20.3 oz/ft^2

Setup 2:
Same as above except
Neu 1105 2.5Y (kv = 3800)
3s 1250 mAh
APC 4.1x4.1
AUW: 322 g (11.4 oz) with 1750 mAh
Wing Loading: 21.9 oz/ft^2

Control Surface Settings: See pics below (Coming Soon)

Unilog Readouts: Coming Soon
Posted by AEMontoya | Feb 15, 2013 @ 08:43 PM | 9,031 Views

AUW: 48 oz (w/ 5000 mAh 2s lipo)
Wingspan: 71"
Wing Area: 427 sq. in
Wing Loading: 16.2 oz/ft^2
Airfoil: HD 46 thinned
Fuse Length: 37.6 in
CG: 70 mm from leading edge at root


Motor: Neu 1506 1D w/ 6.7 GB
ESC: cc125
Prop: 16x16s
Battery: TP 2s 5000 mAh 65C
Servos: HS 125 MG all around
TX/RX: 12z/R617FS

Control Surface Settings: See pics below

Unilog Readouts: See pics...Continue Reading
Posted by AEMontoya | Jun 08, 2012 @ 05:48 PM | 10,046 Views
Up for brief review is the Tahmazo Thrust Meter, which I orderd from Singapore Hobby Supplies for 112 USD, shipped. Overall, the meter does what it says it does (see picture of box label) and I am pleased with the purchase. I tested the meter against a $500 laboratory scale as well as a $40 kitchen scale and found the meter to be accurate within about 15 g (the unit is precise to 5 grams and has a range from 5 to 10,000 g). The operation of the meter is quite simple (although the inclusion of some sort of instructions/paperwork would have been nice). A metal plate with a universal crosshair design allows for the mounting of the motor (a puller is set up as in the pic; with a pusher, you'd have to reverse the direction of the motor and flip the prop. Either way, the motor diameter must be between 12 and 50 mm). Since I use motors with a gearbox, I had to use a drill to increase the diameter of the hole in the middle of the crosshair; no big deal.There are three buttons that form a "smiley face"--. The lower one turns the unit on and off. The "left eye" tares (resets) the unit, and the "right eye" selects between kg, lb, and oz. A backlit (constant) LCD displays the readouts. When thrust is applied, the device will give a real-time readout until the readout settles on a constant value for about 1.5 seconds. At that point, whatever this thrust reading is will be displayed constantly on the screen, until the tare button is used to reset....Continue Reading
Posted by AEMontoya | May 24, 2012 @ 06:10 PM | 9,085 Views
In my quest to cut down on torque roll when launching my Viper F5B, I used a bunch of parts I already had to make the power train shown below. I have yet to fly with this setup, and will report back when I get around to it.

Mega 16/35/1
KPG 4.2:1 GB
Jazz FAI 18 ESC
TP 5s 1800 mAh 65C
AUW of Viper = 38.0 oz

Static Unilog readings with 12.5x14 RFM (modified 14.5x14)*
Watts: 3050 W
Amps: 180 A
RPM (Motor): 52,000
RPM (prop): 12,400
Thrust: 115 oz (measured with commercial thrust meter)
Max motor T: ~150 F
Max battery T: 130 F
Max ESC temperature: 122 F
*I did 10 bursts of about 2 seconds with 45 seconds in between (total motor run time of 20 seconds)

Static Unilog Readings with 12.75x16 RFM (modified 16x16s)*
Watts: 3450
Amps: 205 A
RPM (Motor): 50,400
RPM (prop): 12,000
Thrust: 105 oz (measured with commercial thrust meter)
Max Motor T = 135 F (57 C)
Max ESC T = 145 F (49 C)
Max Batt T = 135 F (43 C)
Battery Capacity used = 30%
*I did 6 bursts of about 1.5 seconds with 45 seconds in between (total motor run time of 10 seconds)

Below are my Static Unilog 2 read-outs, Mega's recommendations, and some pics of the gear.
Posted by AEMontoya | May 24, 2012 @ 03:44 AM | 9,896 Views
I decided to make a 5s 1800 mAh lipo for my Stratair Viper. Neu Batteries makes one, but it only allows for bursts of up to ~150 A. So, I decided to make two 5s 1800 mAh 65 C batteries out of two 4s 1800 mAh 65C batteries and one 2s 1800 mAh 65C battery. The job is pretty easy, and took me about 2 hours the first time through. Below are some pics of what I did.

Battery Specs:
5s 1800 mAh 65C
117 A Cont / 234 A Burst
20 A max charge rate
250 grams
30x42x98...Continue Reading
Posted by AEMontoya | May 22, 2012 @ 02:10 AM | 10,512 Views
Mini Corado-Electric (All CF Version)

I purchased this plane built from DBox.

Wing Span: 59 in
Wing Area: 384 in^2
Length: 36 in
Airfoil: MH-32, HN-273

Setup 1:
Neu 1110 2.5D (kv 3800/old version)
KPG 25/5.2:1
14x12 Aeronaut
Ice Lite 100
4s 2200
Watts: 1400
Current: 100 A
AUW: 36 oz
Wing Loading: 13.5 oz/ft^2

Setup 2:
Mega 16/35/1
KPG 25/5.2:1
Jazz FAI 18
4s 2200
Watts: 2300
Current: 160 A
AUW: 39 oz
CG = 75 mm
Wing Loading: 14.6 oz/ft^2

Here's the only way I could get Setup 2 to work:

MC Battery Installation.MPG (0 min 26 sec)
...Continue Reading
Posted by AEMontoya | Apr 19, 2012 @ 06:47 PM | 20,043 Views
I bought a secondhand 12z and the battery time for the two Futaba batteries that came with it was not very long (maybe 1.5h). Rather than pay ~$85 for new Futaba batteries or $35 for slightly lower quality Sony NP-570 batteries, I did what a few others have done: I replaced the original cells with Fromeco Relion cells. Below is a step-by-step DIY that expains the procedure.

First, here is a comparison of the cells:

Futaba (Sony)
7.4V/17Wh/2200 mAh

Sony NPF-570
7.2V/15.8Wh/2200 mAh
These won't read 100% charged in the radio even when fully charged

Fromeco Relion
7.4V/18.5Wh/2600 mAh

I purchased two nearly new Relion 2600 mAh packs for $25. However, most vendors sell them for ~$35 a piece....Continue Reading
Posted by AEMontoya | Jul 22, 2011 @ 06:29 PM | 11,914 Views
StratAir Viper (2X carbon, with flaps)

Wingspan: 55"
Wing Area: 246.2 in^2
Fuse Length: 34.5"
Weight w/o battery: 29.5 oz
CG: 55 - 60 mm
AUW (oz)...........Battery.........Run time to 50% lipo (s)....Wing Loading
34.9..................TP 3s 1750 mAh 45C..............................55
41.8..................HP 3s 4200 mAh 45C
36.5..................TP 4s 1800 mAh 65C...............................?............... .....21.3 oz/ft^2
39.5..................TP 4s 2650 mAh 45C...............................?............... .....23.1 oz/ft^2
42.2..................HP 4s 3300 mAh 45C (Note: This size lipo used by several, and recommended by Stratair)
38.5..................TP 5s 1800 mAh 65C (home made)....?.....................22.5 oz/ft^2
42.5..................TP 5s 2700 mAh 65C
Power Setup: Mega 16/35/1 + Kontronik Jazz 150 A ESC +14x14/16x17s
Radio Setup: AR 6255 Rx + Hyperion DS09 AMD all around & CC 10A BEC off main lipo

Setup 1
3s 1750 mAh + 14x14 RFM
Results: Do not try this setup! It is grossly underpowered and will hardly even get the plane up off the ground. 3s with this setup = potential crash.
Setup 2
3s 4200 mAh + 16x17s RFM
I do not even plan to try this setup, as it will likely be underpowered just like Setup 1 above.
Setup 3
4s 2650 mAh + 16x17s (I decided not to start with 14x14)
This setup flies great, although launches can be tricky due to torque roll. Adequate speed is necessary to avoid stalls.
Setup 4
4s 3300 mAh + 16x17s
...Continue Reading
Posted by AEMontoya | Feb 13, 2011 @ 12:20 AM | 15,544 Views
StratAir Viper (3X carbon, with flaps)

Wingspan: 55"
Wing Area: 246.2 in^2
Fuse Length: 34.5"
AUW: 39.5 oz (w/ 3s 4200 mAh lipo)
CG: 55 - 60 mm
Wing Loading: 23.1 oz/ft^2
Power Setup: Mega 16/35/1 + Future 18.149F ESC + 3s 4200 mAh/4s 3300 mAh + Graupner 4.7x4.7
Radio Setup: AR 6255 Rx + Hyperion DS09 AMD all around + Outrage XP25 450 mAh lipo & CC 10A BEC
Motor Run time on 3s 4200 mAh: 1 min 30 sec WOT (to 45% capacity)
Amps (Static): ~130 A (w/ 4s lipo)
Power: ~1850 W (w/ 4s lipo)
Approximate Speed: 200 mph (w/ 4s lipo)...Continue Reading