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Posted by zhesto | Dec 10, 2015 @ 12:35 AM | 2,665 Views
From today (2015/12/10) the new aviation law will be executed in Japan. It is pretty long read but some of the points (at least in my understanding) are:
  • Machines, lighter then 200g does not require registration
  • Flying heavier than 200g machines require registration of the machine and the place, where you are flying
  • Included in this 200g is only required minimum for the machien to fly - frame + motors + esc +propellers + flight controller + receiver + battery. FPV gear (camera, vTx, OSD, antenna) is not part of the calculation. So your total weight can be more than 200g.
  • You can fly only as far as you can see the machine with bare eyes - no binoculars, goggles etc. Pretty much goggles are forbidden, only monitors allowed
  • You cannot fly above 150m (with even more restrictions around airports)
  • You cannot flight during the night hours
  • You cannot flight closer than 30m from people, building, cars etc.
  • You cannot transport hazardous materials (like tobacco in the jail yard )
  • You cannot drop anything from the machine - so ya, no saving drawning people or providing water for people in need
  • You cannot fly above crowds during festivals and other events
  • Flying FPV require a spotter
  • Allowed frequencies for FPV in the 5.8GHz band - 5705(31ch), 5740(41ch), 5745(17ch), 5780(43ch), 5785(15ch), 5790(24ch), 5800(44ch)

Some of the rules are reasonable, some of them just plain stupid. Will see what the future will bring us...

More detailed document on the topic is available in Japanese.

Updates: The topic is still pretty hot, so there is some new information coming constantly:
  • Machine and place registration is only needed inside DID (Densely Inhabited District) area
  • No need from machine registration, if you are flying in already registered place
  • Googles are allowed for machines below 200g. No need from spotter for such machines too.

Extra point: my last flight with 250 sized quad. Testing Betaflight 2.15 RC5 AirMode
Smoothness (4 min 6 sec)

Posted by zhesto | Oct 10, 2015 @ 03:12 AM | 3,286 Views
Some days are so good, even crashes create master pieces. That one was very unexpected - quad perfectly leveled on the ground, not even propelers broken, LiPo battery flew away (visible in the front of the camera) and the camera pointed perfectly to the sunset. Beautiful! I had another 2-3 min footage of this sunset, before I switched off the camera.
Perfect Crash (0 min 10 sec)

Posted by zhesto | May 21, 2015 @ 11:22 PM | 3,013 Views
Recently trying hard to learn FPV, so I started to forget how much fun is the usual LOS flight - you can see your bird flying around, flipping and rolling... How cool is this, ah!

After I took this video, I added also OpenLog, so I can use Cleanflight Blackbox flight recorder feature. Thanks to it, I found my PIDs are too high. Fixed now.
RCX263 quad - LOS flight (2 min 0 sec)

Posted by zhesto | May 11, 2015 @ 12:16 AM | 3,629 Views
I had the "Yaw 'bounce back' problem" on two of my Cleanflight-powered quads. The problem seems to be fixed, but until the new release come, I needed some fix for my current 1.8.1 firmware.

There are already fixed binaries for most platforms in the ledvinap's repository. His fork however does not support the new yaw_jump_prevention_limit config parameter. Another problem is, that I'm using OpenPilot GCS for uploading CC3D firmware to my boards, so I can keep the original bootloader, and in ledvinap's repository there is no .bin file, needed for that kind of upload.
Long story short, I decided to fork the cleanflight repository and make my own fixed binaries.

My fixed branch is based on the latest release (v1.8.1) and have support for the yaw_jump_prevention_limit config parameter, which will come in the new release (coding done by mj666, I think). For now there are fixed binaries for Naze32 and CC3D platforms only. Toolchain is installed on my Mac, according to the 'Building in Mac OS X' document and the binaries are created with:
make clean
make TARGET=NAZE  # Naze32 Acro
make clean
make TARGET=CC3D OPBL=yes  # CC3D (.bin file for GCS uploads)
In the CLI, I added
yaw_jump_prevention_limit = 300
, based on that Boris B post in the Cleanflight thread.

Update 2015-05-14 There was several other interesting features popping up last weeks so I created a new branch - hotfix/v1.8.1, based on v1.8.1, containing all of them. To the...Continue Reading
Posted by zhesto | May 10, 2015 @ 10:43 PM | 3,603 Views
Q200 frame is very light and not so strong. Broken after just one fall. The weakest spot is the end of the motor mount, where the arm itself start. Maybe piece of tape there will make it stronger...
Posted by zhesto | Feb 19, 2015 @ 02:34 AM | 5,322 Views
I like porta-quad frame (and specially the parts layout) very much. Don't have enough money to buy one, so I made some DIY replacement.
Only motors and ESCs are left on the frame (and optionally a power board) - this is my "dirty" level.
There is also an FPV "payload" - everything important (FPV equipment, FC, Rx, OSD etc.) is hidden in the though plastic box. This is my "clean", isolated from the vibrations, level.
The payload is attached to the frame with plastic zippies (and some soft pads to absorb the vibrations even more). In the event of crash, the zippies will broke and absorb the force from the hit. Hope to save me some money for parts and repair time.
Posted by zhesto | Feb 15, 2015 @ 03:53 AM | 4,056 Views
There was several days with bad weather, so I spend some time of improving my radio equipment:
  • Replaced the stock Devo 7E antenna. I cut an extension cable and glued the cable to the box. Now I can try different antennas - directional etc.
  • Added FPV gear to my FS-TH9X transmitter. Recently I'm using mostly FrSky with telemetry.
    Mounted the monitor (with have an embedded RC305 video receiver inside) on top. Added also a 2W WiFi signal booster.
    Both additions powered by one additional LiPo battery, attached with velcro to the back of the monitor.

Posted by zhesto | Jan 29, 2015 @ 08:45 AM | 4,238 Views
Finally fixed my RC Eye One quad. One of the motors was broken and after long search found 89028RC Crash Kit For RC Eye One on eBay. A little pricey, but made my quad fly again! Priceless
As a part of my FPV learning, I also added FPV gear to that RC Eye:Great learning platform - has stable and manual mode; very compact; working with monitor and goggles; enough power (2S 300mAh Nano-Tech LiPo); pretty crash resistant.
Pointed the antenna down and hide it between the legs for better protection (believe me, I already crashed many,many times and antenna is still OK ). No problems with the coverage too - in fact the 2.4GHz control has shorter range - usually the quad is failing down and the video is still very clear. Maybe need some transmitter antenna mod to increase the range...
Posted by zhesto | Jan 18, 2015 @ 08:23 PM | 5,112 Views
Recently the hot topic in most of the threads, I'm following is PID controllers. Just a small summary:
  • MultiWii - two PID controllers (1 and 2). Defined in config.h:
    #define PID_CONTROLLER 1
  • Base(Clean)flight (BF/CF) - 3 PID controllers (0,1,2). Activated by CLI command:
    set pid_controller = 2
    (Cleanflight source code).

More details on the BF/CF controllers

Controllers 0 and 1 are using integer numbers ()faster calculations). Controller 2 is using float numbers (so more precision). Controller 0 in CF is equal to controller 1 in MultiWii., controller 1 in CF is basically rewrite on the MultiWii controller and controller 2 is original for BF(CF).

Everything is still work in progress, so I'll quote RS2K - "...If you use self leveling at all I recommend you use PID Controller 0...". And another quote (Boris B) - "...To be honest I liked the PID controller 1 much more. Default PID controller 0 always made me have to run some TPA, but the PID controller 1 is much more forgiving and predictable..."
Seems some of the self-leveling problems are fixed in CF 1.6, so I think my next try will be with pid_controller = 2.

Additional reading

* Interesting talk about pid controllers in the MultiWii forums.
Posted by zhesto | Jan 18, 2015 @ 09:36 AM | 4,055 Views
Made a small (220mm M2M) wooden frame quad. The main reason was, that I burned my 4-in-1 EMAX ESC (picture attached). Still not sure why...
Still, I had several 12A SimonK ESCs laying around, so that was a good reason to flash them with BLHeli.
As a FC decided to use CC3D. I little too heavy for that quad (maybe will replace it soon with Afro Mini 32), but it was cheap and pretty easy to config (OpenPilot GSC). It also allow my to try other firmwares (TayLabs, Clenflight etc.) in the feature.
Only indoor flights until now:
220mm wooden frame with CC3D controller (2 min 20 sec)

Posted by zhesto | Dec 26, 2014 @ 02:56 AM | 3,941 Views
Finally migrated my acro quad to Clearflight. Tried several times before, but always unsuccessfully - last problem was not working satellite receiver.
The missing parts was serial ports scenarios. The piece of dump, which made the difference (i have 1024 bits satellite receiver):

feature RX_SERIAL
set serial_port_1_scenario = 1
set serial_port_2_scenario = 3
set serialrx_provider = 0
Be careful with the conversion - first target in the Chrome extension's 'Firmware Flasher' is CC3D, not Naze32. If you brick your board, it is not a fatal error - board can be unbricked with shortening 'boot' pads.
Enjoy also looooong Clearflight vs Baseflight discussion on Reddit, if you feel lonely during the holidays.

Update 2014/01/19 Replaced the satellite receiver with FrSky D4R-II (using PPM). Added also telemetry. (Post, that helped me a lot):

feature RX_PPM
feature telemetry
feature softserial
set telemetry_provider=0
set serial_port_3_scenario = 4
set serial_port_1_scenario = 5
set telemetry_provider=0
set telemetry_inversion=1

Posted by zhesto | Dec 11, 2014 @ 09:27 PM | 4,572 Views
Bought BLHeli 4-in-1 ESC from Bangood - a friend of mine told me. that the individual ESCs are replaceable. Well, they are not - it is just a monolithic plate with all ESCs on it.

Still, my acro quad build became more clean. And BLHeli solved my synchronization problems with that sh*tty RCX 1804 motors i used - trying to drive them with SimonK B-12A ESC was giving me headaches from months - not spinning at all on start, stopping in mid-fly...Happy now, no more such problems with BLHeli ESCs.
Posted by zhesto | Dec 10, 2014 @ 11:41 PM | 4,497 Views
Trying to fly FPV. Not easy... Tried different platforms until now - build ZMR-250, planes, but my current preferred one is a small 16cm tricopter.

First I made a small "all in one" video combo - $10 vTx module from Banggood and $20 600TVL 120degree wide angle camera from SurveilZone. Like it sooo much - small, light, can put it on all my aircrafts.

Then I decided to build a small scratchbuild tricopter - ZMR-250 is great, but I'm still an FPV newbie - it is too fast and powerful for me. For first time tried CC3D - like it, very easy to start with, default settings are good enough for me.

Pretty happy with my FPV platform now - cheap, light, mobile. Made also a "base station" for it - holding the tri itself, Devo 7E Tx and 9" monitor with RC305 vRx embedded.
Posted by zhesto | Mar 20, 2013 @ 01:17 AM | 5,070 Views
I think everybody needs a flying platform , not only cool products (RTF). What are the main platform features:
  • Cheap and widely available - the best will be something available also in your local RC store
  • Easy to maintain - lots of cheap and widely available spare parts
  • Easy to change - made from parts, compatible between different makers

So about mine platform:
  • Frame: UDI816, with 30x30mm balsa tree on the top for sticking boards with different positioning (UDI816 vs H36 for example)
  • Arms: UDI816, because they come with motors and motor caves are strong enough.
  • Propellers: what ever is available around, but I like UDI816 and X4 ones
  • FC board: H36 (SkyFly compatible), X4 (6-axis, great for beginners) etc. with added plugs

Part of the platform advantages are extended motor plugs and additional plugs to the FC boards. I know they looks a little ugly, but believe me, the maintenance (trying different boards and frames) is sooo much easier!

So ya, tell me about your platform and why it is better than mine

Interesting links

Posted by zhesto | Mar 04, 2013 @ 07:33 AM | 4,455 Views
I made a small multirotors presentation for our local HN Kansai group. Slides are available on Slideshare. There are also some event's pictures on Facebook (flying quads included ).

Useful links

Posted by zhesto | Feb 27, 2013 @ 04:08 AM | 4,630 Views
I have some parts laying around, so I made a little XS quad (hm, is XS the right type?):Next step is to add #808 camera on the bottom of the balsa body

Update: I forgot to put some interesting links in the end
Posted by zhesto | Feb 12, 2013 @ 10:06 PM | 4,981 Views
In order to consolidate my flying setup, I bought FlySky FS-TH9X-B transmitter (and 9x Solderless Programmer Board) and flashed it with er9x firmware.
companion9x EEPROM editor and simulator automated most of the boring tasks - download, fuse settings etc. Works great on Mac too (good for me ).
Now I can fly most of my quads with one transmitter. On the picture below:
Using ER9X with WLToys V929 Beetle post was very helpful.
Definitely RTFM first (several times is even better) - Er9x user guide, Installation Instructions: 9x Programmer Board

A small note about setting throttle cut with er9x:
  • Go to model settings, page 5 (mixer)
  • CH3 (throttle), [LONG MENU], [Insert]
  • Source: HALF (new name for MAX), Weight: -100, Switch: THR, Multipx: Replace

Some V929 settings specific notes (model settings):
  • Page 10 (Templates): Channel order: AETR
  • Page 6 (Limits): CH2 - INV
  • Page 5 (Mixer) - throttle cut (see above)
  • Page 4 (Expo/DR): CH1 - AIL, CH2 - ELE, CH3 - THR, CH4 - RUD
On page 4, the different rates modes can be set too. Global switch is GEAR - changing LOW/MEDIUM rate.
Every channel can be switched to HIGH with separate switch (ELE, AIL, RUD)

UPDATE: Binding

- V939
  1. Switch on the quad
  2. Switch on the Tx with [BIND] button pressed
...Continue Reading
Posted by zhesto | Feb 07, 2013 @ 02:04 AM | 4,579 Views
It was pretty rough day (and night) yesterday I broke two propellers (on Turnigy PCB and on U816 micro quads).
First, there was my Turnigy PCB micro quad: I was unprepared for the KK2.0 behavior on low voltage - the quad just turned upside down with propellers still spinning on full speed! I had a low voltage alarm, but I thought I still have time...
Next, because my U816 had some strange noise, I decided to replace one of the propellers (because the quad was constantly going it that direction, so it was the motor or the prop). I put a new propeller, but it broke after 1 sec of flight!
Maybe the hole was too tight for the shaft...

Lessons learned the hard way:
  • Trust your low voltage alarm!
  • Carefully choice your propellers and never use too much force to put them on the shaft
  • Never try fancy moves, when it's late night (all story happend after midnight, so as a result I'm pretty sleepy today...)

I replaced the propellers of my U816 quad with Nine Eagles Alien Drone ones and I should say it is flying very, very well! Pretty happy with the change.

Off topic: some interesting links from all around:
Posted by zhesto | Feb 04, 2013 @ 04:35 AM | 4,728 Views
If you own a Turnigy Integrated PCB Micro-Quad, you maybe have a problem with too small holes on the propellers (1.8mm hole for 2.0mm propeller shafts). I made a tool, similar to the mentioned in the forums post, from a screwdriver. The lady in the near home center told me, that they do not have tools for manual drilling, so I bought a screwdriver and a drill shaft (hm, is this the right word in english?) and combined them in a new type of tool

Next task is to enforce the arms weak point and I'm ready to fly. Maybe a little epoxy, power tape and parts of chopsticks will do the job... Should I also wrap the ESCs in tape?...