FPV Quadcopter - RC Groups
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May 17, 2011, 12:05 AM
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Build Log

FPV Quadcopter

After my successful MultiWiiCopter project I decided to use a similar platform to do some FPV flying with. I like the quad platform for several reasons. It allows me to take off and land vertically for smaller landing zones as well as the ability to fly slowly and close by while I am getting used to FPV flying.

This is not going to be an easy go out and be successful in one day kind of project, but rather a series of smaller projects that build into the bigger goal of flying safely and in control via FPV gear.

I started reading up on FPV last year, following the threads here about what gear people are using, antenna theory and application, radio gear, etc... Lot's of reading and information to absorb, but I felt ready to make baby steps this year at getting up and running.

I hope you enjoy this and please feel free to chime in and offer advise or just ask questions if you like.

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May 17, 2011, 12:06 AM
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May 17, 2011, 12:06 AM
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Quad Build - Update Oct 2011

Flight Controller I am going with the new Quadrino ADV board. I am using anti-vibration mounts from Quadrocopter.us. In this stacked deck configuration, I can keep wires short and clean. Rx will be a JR921 with 2 sat antennas. I am going the reuse the dome cover from my first quad project to protect the FC.

Update: I am now flying with my original wii FC I made in March.

Frame build is complete. Minus the FC dome cover and lipos we are at 1010G. Video gear mounted for initial test flights and trimming/balance.
Hoverthings.com Vic 550 x8 frame with tabbed plate for camera mount.
Last edited by cactus; Oct 16, 2011 at 04:11 PM.
May 17, 2011, 12:07 AM
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FPV Equipment - Update Oct 2011

- 1280 mhz 300mw vTx
- Cloverleaf Circular Polarized antenna/Stock dipole
- RMRC 540 OSD CCD Camera
- Power from main flight pack using LC filter
- CNCHeli simple OSD

Ground Station:
- 1280 mhz vRx
- SPW Circular Polarized antenna/Dipole or DIY 8dbi Patch
- FatShark Base goggles
- Both powered by shared 2-3 cell (450-2200) lipo
- Snap on filters for both power leads
- Tripod
- Video Recording done with old Sony miniDV camera.
Last edited by cactus; Oct 16, 2011 at 04:06 PM.
May 17, 2011, 12:28 AM
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Radio Gear - Update Oct 2011

For starters I will be using my JR9503 Tx on a Heli model slot with 90 swash normal and no mixing. I have the flight mode switch enabled so I can toggle the different modes on the Quadrino while in the different phases of flight. The Rx as mentioned above is a full range 9ch JR921 with sats. From what I have read the Spektrum based radio systems are not ideal for FPV flying and I will approach this with a healthy measure of caution. While I am learning I plan to stay within the limits of a normal club field that I guess would be within 200m of me. I will range test in phases and make adjustments as needed. If I find myself wanting to go farther, I will likely invest in a used Futaba system and adapt for 1+ mile operation.

- Update: I am now flying with Dragon Link on my 9503 and the 12ch rx on the quad. Pushing my limits slowly as to how far away I can get and still get back before the battery dies.
Last edited by cactus; Oct 16, 2011 at 04:07 PM.
May 17, 2011, 12:36 AM
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Quadrino Configuration - Update Oct 2011

My initial settings for FPV style flight via the Wii Config Application.

I am now flying with my original wii FC I made in March.
Last edited by cactus; Oct 16, 2011 at 04:09 PM.
May 19, 2011, 10:50 AM
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I got the frame built last night and all the electronics minus the FPV gear is installed and ready for test hops in the next few days. I changed the motor timing on the KDA 20-22L motors from low to medium as they made clicking noises when they where running on the 450 frame before.

Fairly straight forward build, but I do have one gripe. It was a pain in the rear to get the wires routed up through the middle hole plate and into the offset hole on the Quardrino board. Had to use long needle nose pliers to reach in and grab the connectors and in the process I mangled a few header pins and one connector.

See frame build post above for photos.
Last edited by cactus; May 20, 2011 at 11:46 PM.
May 21, 2011, 10:54 AM
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Got a quick 3-4 min test hop this morning. Was kind of cold at around 48F. Little to no wind to speak of. On default PID settings and no stick calibration it hovered nice on only the gyro with no other sensors turned on. There is a slight wobble on cyclic, so I will be doing some PID tuning before the next test.
May 30, 2011, 12:33 AM
"I want more air time!"
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What Vtx freq. did you install on this Quad and did you install an OSD?
May 30, 2011, 12:38 AM
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Video Tx is a Hobby Wireless 5.8ghz 200mw unit. Camera is a sn555. OSD is the one from CNC heli just shows two voltages and timer.
Jun 10, 2011, 03:48 PM
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Flight Controller: I had to send mine back and try another one and that is why this project has stalled out till now. I tested the new Quadrino last night and it's solid so far in acro and level mode.

Video: My CloverLeaf CP and SPW antennas are in place and I am testing before I try my first flight. I also now have Base FatSharks instead of a DVD player screen. My OSD is allowing some noise to pass through to the video feed when the quad is flying. Once I solve this I can try my first FPV flight.
Jun 10, 2011, 11:50 PM
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Video Flight Test

Got a quick flight test with the video gear running to see how it performed next to all the houses, cars and 90ft high pine trees. Just flew LOS and recorded the video to check it later. Little if any interference and never lost the picture. Video is getting transfered soon.

I'm a little nervous to take off and land my first few flights with the goggles, so I put a pool noodle "ring" around the bottom so it can skid and bounce around at first.

Last edited by cactus; Jun 11, 2011 at 01:23 AM.
Jun 12, 2011, 12:10 AM
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First FPV Flight

I did my first hops today. Awesome feeling! It's a little weird but very cool. Video gear worked flawless and I practice take-offs and hovers in a stationary location about 40 ft from my ground station facing me for reference. Now it's practice practice practice!

I think I made the right call putting the pool noodle ring around the bottom until I learn how to judge my height and movement during takeoff and landing. I bounced and slid around a bit on my first hops in the street.
Jun 13, 2011, 10:15 PM
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Another good practice session this evening. I spent more time aloft instead of skipping and bouncing off the street. At one point I was camped in one spot about 15-20ft up holding a view of some trees while trying to stay in that spot. One thing that is bugging me is when I try and yaw while holding a level hover, I get pitch and roll coupling and severe drift. Not sure what to do but try a mix on my Tx to help keep it level while spinning around slowly. I also sat down in a chair this time and that was much better.

The FatSharks get very warm on 3S. Might be good for cold weather flying! I'm going to try a small 480mah 2S Thunder Power pack I have laying around and work on a goggle mounted setup and ditch the Tripod setup.

Jun 15, 2011, 11:29 PM
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Made several changes last night and was able to test them this evening.

On-board Video: I re-routed all of the wires to better separate everything. I also removed the second lipo for powering the video system and I am running off the main flight pack using a sanders filter. So my OSD shows a single pack to watch. I also moved the video transmitter down lower for better clearance of the frame and battery for LOS with the Rx while flying low.

Airframe: I removed the full circle pool noodle and made smaller bounce pads for each leg. Still handles rough landings nice.

Ground Station: I tried a 2s pack to power both the Rx and the Fat Sharks and they run MUCH cooler with no noticeable difference in performance.

All told I dropped about 100grams off the copter and now I don't have to manage two packs for a flight. Video picture was good with no noticeable noise lines in the Fat Sharks.

So now I am going to go back to tunning my FC and working on vibration mounting options and getting the other sensors working.

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