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Posted by midiman007 | Dec 31, 2012 @ 01:22 PM | 2,874 Views
I just finished the first iteration of my fpv ground station. I bought a Pelican case and used industrial strength velcro to mount all the stuff. The monitor I bought somewhere a couple of years ago for $30. It's a 10" 4X3 and it does blue screen. It's the guts for a lcd monitor, but it works great.

I used a Pyle 1in, 4out video amp and an SD DVR. I connect the vrx video into the DVR, then out into the amp. The DVR is set to record D1 at power up, no buttons to press. It records in ASF format. Connected this way, I see a record timer, so I know how long the fpv has been powered up.

I also have a DC-DC power supply that takes 9-18V in and puts out 2.1A @ 12V, into a female deans connector, that connects to a 5 way harness, to connect everything to. Everything powers from this source. I feed that with a 3S5A lipo, with alarm. I'll put an inline blade fuse holder, when it comes in, with a power on switch, so I don't have to connect/disconnect the deans connector every time.

I have the vrx mounted to the camera plate of a tripod, and run up as high as it will go.

I'm now practicing with my Ladybird FPV rig, flying by the monitor, in my house. I have lots of flight and fpv batteries so I can go almost without pause, racking up minutes of flight each cycle. This is so much fun ... and frustrating. Flying fpv is not an easy thing. Hovering is quite difficult. I believe flying outside, in a more or less, forward direction, will be much easier.

Another problem right now, is I don't have a mic, so I have to fly purely by visual clues, which ain't easy. I've got a mic I could hook up, and may eventually.
Posted by midiman007 | Aug 10, 2012 @ 04:10 AM | 5,100 Views
Came across a thread a while back, and now a few dollars and a month later ... I'm making my first in-door flights with the Sanlianhuan 6043 'LadyBug'. There is also a Walkera 'LadyBird' that is the same thing, I think. A $40 RTF quad!

It's 3-3/8" mtm. with 2-3/16" props and weighs about 33g AUW. It comes with a 300mah 1S battery, 2.4GHz 4-ch control radio, a 2 port charger, and a complete set of replacement props. Blade tip to blade tip, diagonally, it's 7".

It's really peppy, even at the HALF setting. Haven't tried the FULL setting or the acro mode yet. It can be trimmed to 'no hands' hover. It's really stable. I've banged it into stuff and haven't damaged the quad ... or the stuff.

The one thing I'd like to change on it if I could, would be to replace the props with the kind that have a circle around the outside of the prop, to keep from banging them into stuff as much, and make them safer.

Here's a really nice demo/review

Ladybug Quadcopter SH-6043 Mini Review and Flight Demo Part 1 (16 min 5 sec)

The Cons:

The motors aren't BL so they will probably wear out fairly quickly.

The props are just pressed on to the motor shafts, but seem ok.

The control box uses 4 or 6 AA's, depending on which version you get. I'm going to use NiMh rechargables.

Haven't figured a way to balance the motors or props

The joystick handles break off pretty easily. But once they've been epoxy'd back on, they seem ok. The handles are actually held to the ball...Continue Reading
Posted by midiman007 | Feb 22, 2012 @ 09:40 PM | 6,274 Views
How to shield a multirotor

I've toyed with this idea, but until now, I didn't have a good solution. I'm about to start a build and I'm going to try this with it. The idea is to wrap all wiring with aluminum foil and connect that to the neg batt connection on the power harness. The problem came when trying to find a way to connect a wire to the foil. I bought some 1/4" sticky backed 1oz copper tape.


The cool part is the sticky back is impregnated with conductive micro spheres. So you take a 1/2" strip of this and solder a wire to one end, and then stick it to the aluminum foil shield. Then make a wrap of box tape around the wire connection for strain relief.

I intend to shield everything ... the wiring from the power harness all the way out to the motors, including the esc's, the control rx, the fpv camera and the FC. The only thing that won't be shielded is the battery, the rx antenna, vtx antenna, and the GPS antenna.

The method that seems to work well is to cut the aluminum foil into strips and then wrap it around the cables and electronics. I have several dc-dc power supplies. They will be wired up and then heat shrink applied, then wrapped with foil. Where you need to connect several strips together you can use a 1/4" strip of the copper tape, connecting them together. Should make it more neat and clean.

I'm wanting to dot all the i's and cross all the t's on this build. The big...Continue Reading
Posted by midiman007 | Jan 20, 2012 @ 05:02 PM | 5,678 Views
I found a version of this method, only they removed material to balance. If you want to add tape to balance, let me tell you how it's done.

First you should only have to add weight to, at the most, two blades ... never all three. I was having trouble doing this. I'd end up with tape on all three before I was done.

Here's how you do it. Put the prop on the balancer. Here's the typical case: all 3 blades are spread around. One is probably higher than the others and one is lower, but none are pointing straight up, or straight down. Number the highest one with 1 dot, the lowest one with 3 dots, and 2 dots on the other. Don't fudge on this marking, it's important to the process to get it right.

The first step is to balance 2 and 3. You do this by adding weight to 2, until 1 is pointing straight up (2 and 3 are now balanced). Now you add weight to 1 until the prop is balanced. Works every time it's tried. It's so simple but I was having lots of trouble. Only the number 1 and 2 blades should have any tape on them.


Update: I balanced 16 props and learned something in the process. After you have 2 and 3 balanced, and you're adding weight to 1, if 1 becomes tilted off of straight up, you need to rebalance 2 and 3 to get it straight up again. As you're adding weight to 1, it becomes "lighter" in effect, to 2 and 3. This lets them re-adjust their balance point, causing 1 to tilt. 1 should stay pointed straight up until the point that you have it almost...Continue Reading
Posted by midiman007 | Jan 17, 2012 @ 05:32 PM | 7,042 Views
This will use the BlueSkyRC Micro Spider Hex frame and the same motors and esc's and other equipment in the funsize build. This should give a payload capacity of 10oz, and still lift off at 50% throttle. With the funsize it's 7oz.

I also want to try something new ... adding a Cree or Luxeon 5W LED, pointing straight ahead, and maybe, a low power green laser, pointed dead center of level flight. This would allow night FPV ... how cool would that be

Will chronicle it here.

I ordered 3 of these LEDS to see if they're bright enough to work. This one is the brightest LED I found. Now I need to figure out how to drive them. There are 4 leds inside the package. Not sure if I can tie them all in parallel and drive them as one led, but I'm going to try. Supposed to put out 430 lumens, max. It can damage your eyesite if you look directly at them. Should draw about 1.5A @ 3.3VDC, at somewhat less than 430 lumens. Might try this DC-DC stepdown reg as the driver, set at 3.3VDC (this probably won't work ... that's why I ordered 3 ). Also need to find a reflector, and a method of heatsinking. I would imagine I can get by with a smaller one, since it will be in the prop wash somewhat. All together it shouldn't add more than 15 grams to the total weight. I'm going to try using thermal epoxy and fasten a small piece of aluminum to the LED, then hot glue the led into the plastic reflector at the optimum focal point. I think you can look into the reflector as you position the led, and...Continue Reading
Posted by midiman007 | Jan 17, 2012 @ 12:35 PM | 6,248 Views
I bought a used T-Tech QC7000 CNC several years ago for making circuit boards. It takes up to 12" X 18" stock and is accurate to .25 mills. I hadn't been using it lately, because the software that came with it only does Gerber format files. That's fine for circuit boards, since Gerber is one of the accepted standards for doing that.

But most things use DXF format files, which I couldn't use. But last night I found a program for $80 that does the DXF to Gerber conversion, so now I can start using the machine to make quad frames, or whatever.

I haven't got it out of storage yet, but when I do, and get it cleaned up, I'll post pics and maybe a vid of it cutting out something.

Posted by midiman007 | Jan 09, 2012 @ 10:17 PM | 6,714 Views
Finally ... I have finished my Funsize micro quad build. Most of the month and a half, waiting for parts. But here it is:

AUW w/FR & BT - 8.7oz wo/FR w/BT - 8.1oz

...Continue Reading
Posted by midiman007 | Jan 04, 2012 @ 04:51 PM | 7,646 Views
Balance your motors with a laser

I saw a vid of someone doing this, so I can't take credit for the idea. But here's my version of it. It's simple, and used stuff I had laying around.

Not actually balancing here, just pics of the setup.

The mirror is a wedge cut from a sata drive platter, from a failed drive that I robbed the magnets from. It makes a great 1st surface mirror, that doesn't weigh much. Cuts with a hacksaw. Not sure what it's made out of. I stuck it on with VHB double sided sticky tape (that stuff is amazing!) The white target is cut from a small styrofoam plate, stuck on the end of the board with VHB. I ended up putting a piece of sticky backed aluminum tape on the styrofoam. The white made the laser dot too bright to see plainly. The aluminum surface gave a more defined view of the dot.

I used some viscoelastic foam as bushings for the arm mount, so the motor can move with the vibration, but the arm is somewhat stiff, and can't swing around.

The only other thing to say about this is that whatever you use to find the spot on the motor to add weight (I use a small piece of heavy duty clear box tape for this motor), make sure that it's weight is less than the amount of unbalance in the motor.

Here's the process

I use a servo controller from ServoCity to control the esc. Works great and you don't need to use your tx/rx to do it, which is the way I did that kind of thing before I got the controller. I'm using a 2S1A battery,...Continue Reading