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Posted by thornhill | Mar 04, 2018 @ 02:43 PM | 1,400 Views
Wind gusts of 15-20 mph weren't going to stop me & my Bugs 3, especially after finishing the video switcher & DVR mods. Got some good flying in, with incredibly clear skies providing a wonderfully blue backdrop

Pesky bush did produce 2 damaged props and a chipped top cover… but we're good to fly!

MJX Bugs 3 meets bush (0 min 41 sec)

Posted by thornhill | Jan 09, 2018 @ 10:00 AM | 1,810 Views
As a new owner of an MXJ Bugs 3 and a 3D printer, I thought I'd combine the two and make some parts!

So far I've designed & made a cap to replace the fake antenna/nub on the transmitter to streamline things a bit (I'm not planning on mounting a phone or monitor, so I'm not going to miss it). Since I have 2nd hand transmitter that was modded with an external antenna, I made a cap & mount for that too that fits the RSMA connector.

If you're interested in modding or printing some caps for yourself, CAD & mesh files can be found here: https://www.thingiverse.com/thing:2734504

You might also want to check out some of the designs by user BARains, including a modified battery tray & replacement arms!

That's it for now!
Posted by thornhill | Sep 25, 2017 @ 02:10 PM | 1,888 Views
A lot of fun projects in the works, mostly for the Syma X5!

Quadcopter Gate/Hoop
I've almost finished my light-up quadcopter gate/hoop that'll change colour when I fly my quads through it. I need to mount it on a pole & make an enclosure for it, but it looks like it's working perfectly! Test video below with my Syma X5C:

Quadcopter hoop/gate: Test (0 min 16 sec)


Altitude logger
Over the summer I made a simple, light-weight altitude logger for the Syma that would record the maximum altitude & display it as a series of LED flashes. Fun to build, but it doesn't log the altitude… so I've made a second version that now logs the readings on an SD card during flight so I can graph it when I land. Still playing with the code, but it looks good so far!

Version 1:


Version 2:
Posted by thornhill | May 03, 2017 @ 06:12 PM | 3,879 Views
Here's one of my Syma X5C projects which can be easily adapted so you can use the camera channel to control servos, LEDs, or other components!
It might even work for other X5 & X8 models that use the same stock camera.

The servo project: Adding a servo to a toy quad

Turn on subtitles for annotation
Syma X5C: Controlling a servo (2 min 18 sec)


I had this crazy idea to add a servo to the Syma. I've been flying FPV with the Syma for a while, but I wanted to move the FPV camera from horizontal (normal flight) to looking straight down so I could align the quad up for the landing pad. At first I had dismissed the idea (weight, voltage… the usual bugbears with flight) and then I discovered ultra-micro servos! Weighing less than 2 grams, servos like the HK-5320 are extremely small, light, and easily powered from the Syma's 1s lipo without the need of a voltage step-up.

But how to control the servo to move during flight?

Enter the Syma camera port & a micro-controller!

Camera channel & signal

The Syma X5C has a detachable camera which can take pictures & video via a respective up or downward press of a trim button on the transmitter. It plugs into the quad via a 3 pin connector (a micro JST 1.25mm), where the red wire is positive (+3.7 v), black is ground, and yellow is signal.

The signal pin is normally high (+3.2 v), but grounds out to 0 v for 0.25 seconds to take a picture and 0.75 seconds for video (RC groups post). If you...Continue Reading