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Aug 17, 2009, 10:39 AM
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So had another 3 flights yesterday. It was really windy though. Used a lot more throttle to manage flyability. Distance down from usual 10k down to 6k.

Again my landings were crap. Our runway is probably 25m*10m, so quite small. I hit the spot on one of the landings, but overshot on the other two. Strong and gusty sidewind made it very challenging. Disapointing as with early flights and good weather, hitting the runway every time.

On a positive - RSSI working really well. wnat some good weather to test properly to find the limits.
Also turned the OSD off for a while. The other EZ pro mod. This is first for a long time and have become so used to flying with it I have become almost reliant upon it. Need to get out of that habit! Almost feel naked without....

EZOSD is growing on me more and more. 2 things that I was unsure aboput last time - battery warning not working and sat display have been sorted. I think I must have set up the bat warning wrong before. I flashed the firmare to get the latest. And reset it all up. Bat warning works fine. This is good as I damaged one by pushing it too far.
Sats show when drops below a preset value. 6 I think. Worked fine. Kicked in once when low down 45 degree banking side to side - as expected.
Seems to aqquire and startup faster with new firmware. GPS is alway the issue, so presume teh EZ guys have just turned down their wait time. Understand they wait a lot longer than the specs because of what they have seen in practice. Lets hope the new GPS units are better

And today I have had 4 * 4000mah 3s lipo's arrive. Cheap from ebay. 15c rated. as I typically run at less than 3 c constant / 7c burst they should be adequate. Really cheap - 56 for 4 including all shipping etc. They look well made, but lets see in reality what they are like. Currently run 2200's so should get some good improvement on flight times. I like to generally slow charge them at 1/3 of C rating - it does really seem to make a difference to lengevity. never had an issue some of the otehr guys had with killing their lipos - and I alway fly til they are depleted. Well until I really killed one the other day. down to less than 1v on cell. Recovered to about 80% but don't trust it - so reserved for visual testing only.

Also, hdd recorder turned up today. I'm really happy to be testing it out, but really cheesed at some of the PMP's with a screen built in that are now showing up cheap. I don't know how the recordings compare, but for what I want - rough recordings, they look ideal. I really want a small screen on the base station - setting up, showing any watchers - and possibly as a backup shold goggles fail.
I'll see how I get on with this one first - may possibly use it as an on board recorder - board based it is very light. Perfect for that.
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Aug 19, 2009, 04:27 AM
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A few more flights last night.

Back on track with the landings. Mnaaged to get on the runway all three times. Weatehr was much better though. Wind quite low. Sunny when I left, but overcast as soon as I arrived at the field. When I left it cleared up. Grrrr.

800m out and 400m up on the fatshark only today. Pretty good video. Messed with the cam settings. Thing I have made it worse! In fairness, it was dull grey evening light.

Tried recording with new recorder I have, but didn't have a suitable connector, so used the cheap crappy rx/usb combo unit off ebay. Not the video quality I would want to post, but OK for debrief of the flight.

Looking forword to getting the DUO. Can really start on some recordings then.

Need to spend some timne in the workshop to sort out the recording setup. God, I can't wait for the duo RX. Better range with patch and quality and video splitter I need.

Decided, I'm going to have a go making my own too.
Aug 20, 2009, 12:18 PM
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Finally got round to testing the million virtualdub scenarios and created a FAQ for best general settings to de-interlace and smooth video. It's elsewher in my newly created blogs now.
Aug 25, 2009, 06:34 AM
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Tried a new flying location accross the border in England. First time flying FPV away from the usual field.

About 40m wide strip of grass on the edge of the river Severn estuary. But probably 1km long

New location - lots of fast moving water, unknown layout, power lines etc. gave a little bit of a buzz. A few chavs came up to see what I was up to - normally don't mind if I'm flying R/C but when you have the goggles on it's pretty weird knowing you have a few people around you and don't know who/ how many / or if they are going throughg your car!

Anyway, nice few flights. Will go there again.

Bit of interference though and the GPS really struggled to pick up sats there for some reason. I need to lengthen that cable and move away from the vtx.

grrr - left a good battery there.
Aug 27, 2009, 09:19 AM
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Ordered a DCS8091 from dogcamsport. Unfortuntely they were out of stock so offered an upgrade for free.
Net result is a dcs800 (480tvl ccd 1/3 sony 12v cam) for 15 + 4 del. Pretty good from UK -* arrived next day. Looks provising. Will fit to EZstar. Am expecting better quality than the ccd killer.

Test fitted Aiptek AHD200 into Twinstar. Wedges down well into the foam. Made up a small mounting plate to sit on top to fit ccd killer in line with it. So should be able to fly FPV whilst recording in HD. Eagerly looking forward to the results.

Also tried flying with a co-pilot for the first time - stabilises and recovers well from all sorts of nasty angles. No ailerons so using rudder to help that - not ideal but it works better than expected. Forgot to turn it off for next launch. Ha I pulled the stick back and it corrected down. Scared the hell out of me. Lurching up / down motion for probably 5 secs before I realised and put it gently into the ground. No like that.
Sep 01, 2009, 09:13 AM
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So tried some HD recording with onboard Aiptek AHD200 yesterday. FPV cam mounted on top of the Aiptek to get the directional FPV correct. The Aiptek has a norrower FOV though.

Well, it was so windy I could hardly keep the plane in the air. Even with the extra weight it was struggling. Frequently being flipped 90 degrees. The camera is a bit dody, so out of 3 short flights only captured about a minute. It was also very dull and in the evening so not the best time to test. Probably the windiest conditions I have ever flown in.

The results despite being thrown all over the place were actually better than I expected. I thought that 30 fps would be very juddery, but actually it's not too bad. Spend on a 60 fps unit thankfully has been deferred !
Sep 01, 2009, 09:45 AM
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Made up some new cables and re-installed the Blackstork OSD into the EZ*

Proper locking connectors and cabling. Much neater and probbaly more reliable. Should have read the manual first though. Forgot that the BlackStork provides 12v supply to it's power rail. I thought it was a passthrough like the EZOSD. Nearly fried camera and TX.
Accidentally comnnected up servo extender incorrect - might have fried that. Have avoided any issues like this before and then twice in a night. must have been tired - or rushing.

Completed installation of 12v board cam onto pod. Working , but the initial quality test look poor. 480 lines, but very blocky for some reason. The Sunell has unfortunately set a high standard for cams now. Anything less looks crap.

Out with the plastic again...
Hobby city order stock up for decent batteries, chargers and a couple of gyro's to play with. Never used gyros, but am moving towards making the EZ as stable platform for videos. Not sure if it's worth doing, but interesting to try out as many others do seem to use them. Might make the EZ* a bit nicer to fly. I really don't like the way it handles.
Also succumb to the shiny Jxd 990 and ordered one. It does appear to fit the bill for my requirements - record all flights and have a small screen for setup / watchers.
Ordered a WFLY high power module for use where legal / appropriate. Hoping to do some FPV overseas....

I have realised I need a small fpv plane for quick fun flights on the way home from work. Struggling to get a decent amount of time when the weather is OK, its convenient calm , and so on. Need something to make the most of opportunities when they come up. Small, keep in the boot all the time type unit. Very simple. Think I know just the thing.

This hobby is costing a fortune. On a positive I have managed to avoid spending on that fantastic RangeVideo OSD and one of the UHF Long Range Systems. At least it's not all bad. Think of how much I have saved by not buying those....!!! How long can I put it off though.

Have drawn up an FPV objectives / to do list. Not going to publish it, but there are some exiting things on here. Should get some good videos. I only I were single, had loads of money and didn't have to work....
Sep 06, 2009, 05:42 PM
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Really crap weather. To windy to fly.
So flew anyway!! Hard work and only just enjoyable. Tried out new battery packs from hobbyking. 4000mah. Nice. Plenty of power and voltage stays up. Not like cheap ebay crap.
Put the antenna tracker into a box with pan/ tilt fitted to it +quick release mount. Also UBEC for power and nice on/off with green led!. Fitted a deans and now have a use fro one of those crap ebay lipo's. 4000 mah - should last all day!
Sep 10, 2009, 04:07 PM
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Some serious flying time in last 2 days. Probably 4 hours in the air in total. A little windy, but dry and sunny.

Tested the range of the Fatsharks with stock 5bi antenna. Managed a very respectable 2.2km with 500mw. Very surprised. Every time looked down at the ground started to lose video though!

And finally had some time to setup and test the EZ tracker / DUO combi. Had the tracker assembled for some time, but not had need to use - or desire to do any long distance. And with the results above not sure I need it...
Anyway - went out to 3km with 14dbi patch. Perfect video. Not a single glitch. Usually keep in less than 1km, so going out to 3km is outside my comfort zone. Long distance is not my thing, but wanted to try it while I can.
RSSI signal so usefull in ensuring have control at that distance. Wouldn't risk my plane or worse without it.
Test above were with 35mhz Corona rx and doubled antenna. Might go up to a 4m aerial and see if I can get out to 5km. I think the higher power video is up to that.

Tried a new flying site today. 45 mins drive, but great views up there. Had an hour up in the air, but left camera programmer there. So have to go all the way back. grrrrr. Lets hope its not buggered if/when I find it.
Sep 15, 2009, 06:15 PM
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Made a few amendments to the base station.
Added JXD 990 to it. Very nice unit. Wanted to use it to set up gear on the filed without having to keep putting goggles on etc. Really usefull. Very happy with it. Will be interesting to see what the recording is like. Probably not that good.
Added power cable for the JXD.
Also fixed the pan servo fitting on correctly. Nevr noticed that there was a missing screw. It's much more stable now. Not unhappy with it anymore, but will upgrade to the better unit at some stage.
Fixed tx for bignose13. Faulty inductor.

Really gutted with some testing tonight. Bought a 9c and wfly "high power" tx module for use out in the wilds. Testing shows identical performance to stock. Wasted a lot of money, so now considering options. Maybe fit external antenna connector to the tx module.
Sep 19, 2009, 02:44 PM
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What a day.

Made the camera mounting more secure, replaces a loose servo and generally made the cam mount as secure as possible. Not brilliant, but much better - good enough for my test platform. Quite happy with the results.

Set up the Sunell camera on the ground - colours looked much better. Time to give it a whirl. Thought I'd push the range a little more today, and test the JXD recording out.

Launched with headtracker disabled, after a while turned it on and it seems a bit odd. This servo is reversed. Great. Ah well, not a big issue, can live with it for this long range flight.

Out to 4.6km flying into the wind to allow easy return. Very happy with that. Standard 35mhz tx, corona rx and a 4m rx aerial.

The camera colors looked horrendous in the sky, so reset and had another go. Much better this time. Out for a couple of minutes and within a second or two lost all video. Couldn't do anything. Crap. Off in the car to the plane and it's a right mess. front end disintegrated, wing split in centre and big crakthrough one side of it. Camera mount wiped out. What happeneed I don't crash!
Well all on video and reviewing it it looks like I dropped height a couple of hundred meters out and lost video due to no line of sight. Bad error of judgement on my part.

This isn't going to be a site repair - or possibly even a workshop one. So out with the EZstar. Now I'm not a massive fan of this plane, but removed all the copilot and BS osd just to keep it simple and it's flying much better. Almost enjoyable now. The cheap camera is actually not bad either.

So pretty close to where the twinsar was and.... you guessed it. In the ground again. In the car to pick up and another mess - front end completely wiped out, but palne is reparirable. vTX looks like end of line though. In pieces. Airwave moudeule ripped apart. I haven't crashed RRc for probably 8 or 9 years then 2 in a day. Gutted.....

So what happened. Recorded it and the Rangevideo canopy looks like it popped off. In one frame can clearly see the tail of the plane before it hits the ground. That could only happen if the camera / mount has come off. Build error on my part I guess. Crap again.

I recorded on the JXD and the K2 as a comparison. The JXD isn't the best quality on FPV - I thught it would be a bit better than it turned out. But weirdest thing is it really struggled with the Sunell camera. The K2 was much, much better but I always thought it recorded the CCD killer better. Yet on the goggles, it's pretty good. That's interesting. Wonder if there is a setting I can use to imrove that.

So gonna take a day off and decide where to go from here. It had been going so good.
Sep 24, 2009, 06:12 PM
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The good:
Twinstar is back together. Looking pretty good. With some paintwork it will hardly be noticeable. Managed to get all the pieces and expand / manipulate the foam back. Like a pheonix from the ashes!!
There was a big crack in the wing - that's fixed too, but not 100% sure how that will handle under load. Bit of testing needed.
Cleaned the mud off the Sunell pixim cam and it's still working.
The pan servo is completely trashed. Only had two flights with it, but it's not an issue as was going to repalce. Cheap unit - very jerky movements.
So only need to rebuild the camera pod - this is beyond repair.

KX550 cam turned up today. Wow - that is one small unit. Seriously impressed with the size. Quite heavy compared to board cam, but much lighter than the Sunell. Quite sturdy. If the performance is as good as expected, this has to be one of the best on the market.

Closer look at the HK funjet. Very nice finish on the foam. Tough, but nowhere near as crash resistant as the Multiplex Elapor. As all the reviews say - need to chack all the pre-assembly gluing - that's not the best. Central canopy/pod needs fixing better. It will come out very easily. I'm still astounded at the size of the electronics bay. It's unbeleiveably enourmous. I think this will become a popular FPV ship if it flies half as good as it looks. Which is pretty darned good if you like your jets.

The bad:
Atempted repair of 500mw & 1w lawmate tx's. These are not designed to be repaired. Some pretty small components in there.
Getting something out of the 500mw, but not visible properly on the TFT - you can see there is something there, but it's not legible. A bit like a TV out of tune. Could just be a frequency issue. Need to try various ones to see if can get anything. Ran out of time last night.
The 1w unit is looking less promising. Looks like 5v rail was bridged to the video input. Possibly taken that interface out - which would be a little surprising. Really need some more time and a diagram / photo to take it further. I'll post on forums later for any pics.

Not had chance to do any more with the easystar. The front end still resembles letter Z from where it's compressed !!

Looked to by a replacement vTX from FPV systems as I like their unit because it has selecteable 12/5v cam supply. 50 euro - good price, but shipping at 25 euro is a ripoff. Don't want to pay so will email them to see if can do any better.
Sep 24, 2009, 06:22 PM
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With some serious surgery, managed to repair the 500mw avionicsRC tx. every single pcb track to the airwave module including grounding was ripped off. Even worse - the video track going into the module broken too.
Traced all tracks to draw out diagram. Hot gllued module to board and started hand wiring each pin one by one. The video line into the module was a challenge. Opened up the airwae module and soldered a micro wire directly from connector to the smallest cap I have ever seen in my life. And I@ve seen a few over the years.
Anyway - tested and it's working great. 30 minute run test in still air + good old drop test sim with no issues.
Now just need to heat shrink all into place and do flight testing.
Very pleased to get it working.

Also started to put the Funjet together. Soo glad I spot tested the cyano - completely melted the foam. Tried some foamsafe - no issues there. But I hate it - does't stick as well + takes ages to set. Will invest in some decent multiplex stuff in the future.
This plane is looking sooo good. Just like a manta ray from the underside. Hints of the su33 from front at some angles. Cool plane.
Sep 24, 2009, 06:31 PM
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Started planning for the first big long distance trip. 8km return trip over water to another country with a lighthouse on the way.
Established launch site + destination target.
BUT - one issue - nearby nautical radar 100m away. Need some good testing to determine if any interference to video rx, GPS or RX rx.
GPS struggled on the opposite side. This may be an issue and blow this operation out of the water.
Plan B location forming in the mind already, but hopefully testing will show no issues. This is a perfect spot.
Sep 25, 2009, 04:15 PM
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The Pheonix flies again. Well the twinstar did.
Flew perfectly but some challenges with the video. Changed the camera. Seemed better but stil not happy. Kept losing video. Real bad static. Looked like my tx repair failed. Tried all sorts - no joy still same. A couple of hours and no luck.
But then, noticed the tx aerial had been chopped a little bit by the prop when it crashed. Just nicked the plastic. And just below it a hardly noticebale crack that looked seriously deep. Couldn't see that the antenna was cut inside, but changed it anyway. Perfect video!! Need to follow up and dismantle to find out why.
Out to 2.4 km no issues. Back on form.
A couple of nice flights. Just off the ground 2km out. Accross the ridge. Buzzed some guys RC'ing their cars. Made the sheep run and generally had a good flight. The farmer came up to have a chat. Really interested in the technology. He'd been wonderin why I was facing the one way and the plane was way behind me.
Use the KX550 for the first time. A little dissapointed. Great when the sun is out and up high, but not as good as the Sunell un contracting situations - or sun in sky. It is much smaller and lighter. Ideal for the funjet.