ImmersionRC XuGong v2 Pro
So I thought I would create a second XuGong based blog (the first being here: https://www.rcgroups.com/forums/show....php?t=2068465). I do this especially after my rather close involvement of it since its release and the fact the ImmersionRC are kindly using a few of my videos for the manual and have worked closely with me over the last few weeks while doing the vids.
I also want this blog spot to be a location that I can update, converse and help out people (time permitting). There will no doubt be new Firmware (FW) coming out and I will show you on here all you need to know about sourcing it, updating it and what it does!
Ok so to satisfy the less patient (who can blame them) or those building now, here are the videos in question and a choice pic or two of the final product.
So lets move on to a bit of history before we begin shall we?....
XuGong v2 Pro... history
So back in 2013 I found myself in a bit of a state of quadcopter limbo. I had my DJI Phantom that started it all, I had built my DJI F450 (the obvious upgrade path). Indeed I had made my F450 so large and tall that it was not really any fun to use because it was a nightmare to carry around and flight times were not exactly dramatic (see below):
My 'layer cake' F450.... portable it really was not!
In browsing the my usual RC websites I stumbled across a pre-order for a weird looking thing called the XuGong on www.firstpersonview.co.uk The advert was stating it was a foldable quadcopter but had few photos and a series of CAD renderings. Interesting.... probably some dodgey Chinese thing I guess? Wait hang on it says ImmersionRC?! Huh?
I bit the bullet and through more luck than judgement it turned out I was one of the first UK people to receive one. Given this was over a nice lazy Xmas where I had just got my Hero 3 Black, I thought I'd do a build timelapse and hell maybe even a review... and so the XuGong journey began.
The concept which was what appealed to me was actually rather clever. Make a portable 450 10" prop sized quad that would basically fit in a shoe box. Great! The execution of the concept would be the key and it was where some problems lay.
It wasn't the fact that it didn't work. Far from it in fact. It was more the fact that it entered the market while people were flying 2-axis gimbals with every quad, using OSD's, ground stations and craving long flight times (no change hey!). Many people looked to the XuGong to replace a F450 rather than just be a portable, fun, FPV device as ImmersionRC (IRC) intended.
I, as much as anyone, fell into that catergory. I never ever tried the front mounted, servo based Hero holder on the front. I flew it once with no camera, landed and then started a journey into adding a Zenmuse, bigger battery and basically ruining IRC's hard work! It ended looking like this:
XuGong v1..... what I did to it to ruin ImmersionRC's good work.
Now don't get me wrong, the XuGong before my 'butchering' wasn't perfect. It was a bit of a bugger to build compared to say a F450. This was mainly due to lack of space in the frame, the manual wasn't actually finished and you only really had one option for a battery. Now for those who are patient and can adapt this wasn't too much of a problem. It was more just a bit of a surprise having come from the pristine primped and parcelled DJI world that there were a few loose ends. You could make a NAZA fit by doing some elect surgery on some of the plugs, if you got lucky Hobbyking had stock of a 4000 4s Zippy Compact and after a bit of swearing you'd be fine. Indeed on reflection since another year of builds on other less friendly craft the IRC guys had done a good job for their first quad frame given its concept differed so much to others in the market.
For me it didn't really ever work out. I wanted something that the XuGong should never have really been (nor was designed for). To be honest I ruined it in trying. All of this ended badly when trying to use 11" CF props from T-motor with the wrong adapters and the resulting fall from the sky ended the XuGong for me in its stock form. I realised my Phantom covered what I'd get from the XuGong anyway and then the Phantom 1.5 conversion began which kept me busy and happy for a while.
Inevitably rain set in one weekend and I took to repairing the XuGong. I had no intention of re-building it in stock form and the Xu-450-Gong was the result (below).
Salt in the wounds.... my hybrid of a XuGong v1 + F450 - at least it got me noticed! ;-)
It flew 'ok' but never set my heart on fire. I decided however to do a little video to show it off on my YouTube channel which had taken a surprising upturn in subscribers (mostly due to the Phantom 1.5 and Shapeways work).
One of the first comments came from some unknown user starting simply with
I was very glad I did too as it turns out that this unknown user turned out to be Anthony... the co-founder of ImmersionRC. Despite my butchering and complaints I think Anthony could see that I understood what the XuGong was meant to be now, just that I'd chosen to ignore that and go my own way. Something that I don't think is ever a bad thing in this hobby.... it is what makes it what it is!
Anyway he graciously offered the oppertunity to be on the Beta testers list for the new Pro frame when it came out in what was likely to be several months time.
6 months went by, a few update emails later and the XuGong v2 Pro was nearing completion. Now the 'beta' testing side of things actually never really transpired for me but to their credit the IRC guys had plenty of documented testing over the summer themselves along with the excellent Flite Test guys. I was however given opportunity to be one for the first to buy/build a frame.
With the offer on the table of a new XuGong v2 with brushless gimbal, built in OSD and 20+ mins flight time it was rude not to snap one up!
So that is the history lesson.... you can break for lunch now class.
Last edited by DeweyAXD; Jan 12, 2015 at 06:52 PM.
XuGong v2 Pro.... the build
So ok the background is laid out... let's talk about the XuGong v2 Pro!
Lets first rattle through a few pictures of what you get...
Bigger FC bay, firewall holes are further back... slightly.
Ally arms folded up (pre-assembled in box)
Ally arms unfolded
Heart of the beast... Power Distribution Board (PDB) with integrated OSD, camera switch and all the trimmings!
Toughend up alluminium in black this time. Thicking in the important areas!
Frame laid out. Left to right up/down = Firewall, Front Bulkhead, Side pods, lower frame, upper frame, side walls.
Included wiring. Left to right up/down: PPM to FC servo wire, GPS Piggyback Cable, Flight camera cable, black 5 pin vTX wire, PPM to RX servo wire, vTX power wire, USB GoPro wire (for gimbal mounted Hero).
ESC to motor extension wires
Anti vibration dampners (with 2 included locking pins)
Annodised red ally bolts with nuts and nut encapsulation clips
Top: XuGong v1 frame, Bottom: XuGong v2 Pro frame
Side wall comparison. v2 has taller battery bay for bigger batts.
As with the v1 all the kit is very high quality (this is a premium product afterall). The arms are beefed up a bit and there is much less slop in the joints (not something I noticed much on the v1 personally). The other thing that was nice to see was holes... lots of holes!! Us XuGong owners like access!
I went into the first build pretty much blind. Manley through excitement of wanting to build it and also because the IRC 'living manual' wasn't in my hands quite at that point.
Now having built the v1 I was fully aware that there were probably about 3 different ways to build the v2... all options would likely work but all would have their differing challenges. Indeed that was sure enough the case.
If you are reading this and are about to venture forth into a build, all I can say is read the manual, watch my video and THEN start the work. It's not that you will get yourself into trouble easily but you will want to map out locations of certain wires and especially look at the issue of the chunky DJI plug situation (more on this soon).
The 3 Methods in basic that I would advise are possible:
1) The way in the current manual. Build the frame fully, build the arms/PDB board, install NAZA into completed frame, mate the two together.
2) Build the bottom frame first including side walls, mate the gimbal to the front bulkhead but don't fit it until last. Partially fix the top frame to bottom, mount the arms to the top frame and then fit the bulkhead
3) Build the top frame first including side walls, front bulkhead (and gimbal). Stick the NAZA to the bottom frame and deal with its pluggery. Fit the arms to the top frame and then mount the bottom frame (with NAZA) and wire up
I have only ever done options 2 and 3 and they are the basis for my 2 revisions of videos. The reason i haven't tried the version in the manual is because I really think the space is still just too tight to work in with the frame fully built. It's not that you can't do it probably, its more that you don't really need to. It should also be noted that the 'living manual' may well have been changed (possibly by my help) to adopt 2 or 3 as the better method.
There is no escaping that there will be moments in the v2 Pro build that will require (and try) your patience a little. The fitment of the anti-vibration spheres will be one main point of contention as it was on the v1. I have done this so many times that I can do it with my eyes closed but for anyone that hasn't tried it the concept can take a bit of time (and tears). Stick at it, its really not that hard when you get a method that suits you.
I guess while I am talking about the more challenging parts of the build I should also touch on the issue of the DJI plugs. We do need to look at history here though as the same problem that was an issue with the v1 is present in lesser form on the v2. Personally I don't think it should put you off but lets look at it anyway. You are also best advised to look at 00:42:59 on the build vid which explains it.
For those into reading.... well the problem involves the distance between the firewall and the rear of the NAZA (while taking into account the front of the space in front of the NAZA too). The issue is that the DJI plugs are very long and without modifying them at all you have to push the NAZA forward so far that you are really getting close to the front bulkhead with the front of the NAZA. So much so that getting the M1-M4 ESC wires to fit will be tricky. The other consideration here is the fact that the NAZA likes to be as near the C.G as possible.
This was a real problem on the v1 because it was soooo tight in the FC bay that you basically couldn't use the firewall. With the v2 things are better for sure, just not perfect yet (but lets face it this is a compact frame so it needs to be tight). You have options though:
1) Do the plug mod (removing plastic and folding it over on itself).
2) Don't use the firewall
3) Mount the NAZA really far forward
Not using the firewall is not the end of the world but consider that your thick chunky battery carries a lot of momentum on a bumpy landing and will be impacting your wires/FC if it isn't fixed in the frame.
Now if you are a NAZA m-lite user (or at least one that isn't using a PMU v2) then you at least have one of the two offending cables that won't be a problem. Why? Well your 'pick off' cable goes directly into the back of the NAZA and that cable is much smaller and easier to bend out of the way than DJI's own. Sadly though as of writing this you will still have issues with the NAZA LED plug. You can opt not to use this of course and if you are always going to fly FPV (and on a frame like this it is likely you will), then that is actually an option to conisder. The only problem is that you won't have the USB port to do NAZA FW updates (not that there are many these days).
With that in mind lets talk a bit about the Flight Controller element.
The clever chaps at IRC have made it possible for the built in OSD to decode the NAZA's GPS signal so it can be used for itself. The GPS puck itself outputs the data in a USART format which the PDB can decode. This is where the issue of the PMUv2 comes into play. For those who know their NAZA's you will know that the GPS puck plugs into the PMUv2 and then you plug the PMUv2 into the NAZA. The problem here is that the PMUv2 converts the USART output of the GPS puck into a 'CAN' format (which DJI loves to use on all their hardware).
The nuts and bolts of this means you have to make sure the piggy back cable is the next thing after the GPS plug. For NAZA v2 this means plugging the piggy back cable into the PMUv2.
How do I know all this? Well as you can see on my maiden below, I had a GPS error from the get go.
After about a week of testing, checking and working with IRC to resolve it was finally realised what was going on by a YouTube user that had (and solved) the same problem. Props to you Ben!
I'd also like to thank Yann at IRC too here. He helped diagnose the issue as best as possible even to the point of creating several diagnosis firmware versions. While the easy solution never appeared to either of us (hiding in plain sight) it was still a good experience to go through and really helped me understand a bit more of the inner workings of the PDB.
So this is a question that will get asked a whole lot. I for one really like the NAZA. Indeed for their faults I actually really like DJI and what they have done for the industry so far. The E300 kit mated to the NAZA makes this quad a real joy to setup and use in the field. Personally I find the 9" blades excellent and while I am sure there is some efficiency loss from their mass production, ease of use and low costs makes up for it all.
Anyway I am rambling.... the point here is that, as of the date this is written, the XuGong v2 Pro is only compatible with the NAZA flight controller. To be fair though the word 'compatible' is a little misleading. If you want you can stick an APM, Vector, KK2, CC3D, Feiyu 41ap or anything in there and it will still fly but to make full use of the full OSD you will need the NAZA GPS or failing that, a second standalone compatible NMEA GPS module.
There are rumblings about new FC's being made compatible in future FW updates of course but for the short term it is NAZA only guys. Speed of new firmware will really depend on how many issues from the first batch are found (lets hope none!).
So you are pinned to NAZA but I don't see this being an issue personally as a NAZA M-Lite is about £100 now and wiz's at www.naza-upgrade.com doing their work to make it possible to turn your lite into a v2, it is great value. I should note though that while it is cracking work to do what they have done, you still need to spend £50+ on a PMUv2 to get full NAZA v2 functionality so you are only really saving about £30 on a full on v2. That is if you buy just the NAZA.... you make even better savings if you buy an F450 + E300 + NAZA v1.1 Lite GPS bundle.
If you are using v2 with a PMU v2 you will have access to a BTU and if you can work out how, you 'could' even fit a Zenmuse, lightbridge, datalink and all the other things that will ruin your XuGong with weight. My advice... stick to stock and enjoy it! (P.S you can quote me on that in 3 months after I probably fit all mentioned mods and ruin it myself just for curiosity!).
XuGong v2 Pro Gimbal....
Now the gimbal is branded IRC but, as per the box it is clear from the on set that it is actually a Feiyu-Tech G3 in IRC clothing.
Now anyone that knows of me and my RC work will know that I have a chunk of experience when it comes to the Feiyu-Tech G3 gimbal. Hell I have a YouTube playlist on it! If you don't know my work well google 'feiyu-tech review' and you will probably run across my videos fairly soon.
Of course the first thing people will say is 'OMG its only a 2-axis!'.... yes true. I will admit that, on paper, this fact seems a bit of a shame but then on a low slung frame like this a 3rd axis does cause a problem with height. With a little work it could be rigged to take a 3 axis gimbal (I am looking at finding a method of rigging the Feiyu G3-Ultra). As with anything it will be a case of weighing the pro's and cons and doing so could well ruin the flying characteristics.
Despite owning 3 Feiyu based 3 Axis gimbals (2 hand held and one flight) I still find my 'easiest best' (yes I just made that up) footage comes from my Zenmuse H3-2D fitted Phantom 1.5. I simply stick the Hero on 60fps and any yaw movements become a little less 'abrupt' with a slow down in 'post'. Sadly the Feiyu G3-Ultra Aero is just a bit too big unless it is under something like an Alien 560 (railed) frame. Having just converted my 560 to Eagletree Vector from the NAZA that went to the XuGong I will be doing that soon. I digress.
Since I first got my hands on the first G3 2-Axis gimbal I will admit it has had its fair share of problems. This is all long before the XuGong IRC branded iteration I should add. Early firmware versions had jitters and squeals on 4s and pretty much every version till about v2.11 had a nasty habit of 'Roll Drift' (where the horizon fails to stay ummm... horizontal!). Seems the IRC branded XuGong ships with 2.12 already on board which is a good starting point but 2.13 is a worthwhile step as this version boasts that it makes the IMU a little less sensitive to vibrations.
This also means you can change the tilt mode between 'Speed' or 'Position'. If you read Feiyu-Tech's PDF manual to find out what this means you will be knocking on the Chinese Embassay's door demanding a translator regardless of it being in English. Better to see the modes half way through the firmware update video:
So now lets move onto the XuGong's party piece. The PDB, its firmware and the OSD itself!
I've never owned EzOSD personally so I can't actually compare the version of the OSD to the XuGong version. I can however say it is well laid out, clear and has the amount of information you need for flying. RSSI, position, altitude (relative to home point), distance, amp draw, battery level, distance flown and speed are all present as well as satellite count.
A better demo of the OSD will display here... for now I only have a screen grab of it with the, now fixed, GPS Error:
I have recently been working with the Eagletree Vector as subscribers might have seen which does have a lot more customisation than the XuGong's OSD but then with that said it is also nice not to have to do quite as much setup on this. Turn it on, watch the screen and you are good to go (kind of goes hand in hand with the nature of the XuGong).
There are elements of calibration that can be done via the firmware where you can set the pack Mah as well as alarms for distance and altitude. There is also the option to change the channel allocations here for your gimbal tilt, video switch and Upstat (a replacement for i2c link). There is no doubt the future will hold further options and updates here of course.
Firmware updating with IRC products proves a little of a challenge to those who are less computer minded. You install the software tool, plug in the device you are updating (whether that be the XuGong itself or the EzUHF TX/RX). At this point you discover nothing is working as it should because you then have to manually point the computer at where it can find the drivers (in its own installation folder.... usually C:\Program Files (x86)\ImmersionRC).
You then have to do the same when you turn that device into 'Firmware Update' mode which uses different drivers (sourced from the same location). Don't get me wrong this isn't what I would call taxing if you read the manuals or know where to look but if you have never touched an IRC product requiring firmware you will fast be hitting YouTube or Google for answers... where they are found in spades. Once you've done it on one IRC device you'll know for the next too.
XuGong v2 Pro... in flight!
To be honest after my butcher job of the v1 and the subsequent oscilation problems I had (see here to watch my self made horror show). I went into the first flight with a slight expectation that 'tweaking' would be needed.
My NAZA had just come out of my Alien560, I hadn't re-calibrated the IMU or indeed the compass. This could have spelt trouble but the NAZA assistant showed no issues after changing to PPM (and calibrating the sticks).
Using a 4000mah Zippy Compact for flight (due to a lack of 10c multistar batts in Hobbyking UK) I took to flight and was amazed at the stability. There was a tiny amount of wobble on yaw but only when aggressively spinning. Other than that it was rock solid. The camera switch proves a real assist and the fact it has 'fail over' creates a comfort that you don't have to rely on your GoPro (not that I've ever had one fail in flight). Now my flight wasn't without some problems as proved in the video where the dreaded GPS Error was clear to all. This is at least now resolved of course with a simple re-plug of the piggy back cable (I say simple... it lead to a total re-framing so i could revision 2 of the video but meh it was raining out!).
Flight time was shorter than I had hoped but as stated before, no NAZA calibration had really been done. I had about 10 mins total flight time on each of the two packs I went with, landing both on full flashing reds. Clearly something wasn't as it should be and sure enough when I got home and re-charged there was 26% useable voltage in each pack (useable = before breaching 80% total Mah). So an easy 4-5 mins extra was doable and that is from a 25c 4000mah which weighs almost the same as a 5200mah 10c Multistar as recommended by IRC.
Early days yet and the weather in the UK has been simply horrific with wind/rain since that maiden. Suffice to say some footage with the working OSD and dare I say it 'sunshine' will appear on here soon (I hope).
So that is it for now.... feel free to comment, ask questions etc. I may not have flown it much yet but I am really seeing the v2 Pro as being a keeper now. With the OSD, the two cameras, the fact I own a NAZA and EzUHF it just ticks so many boxes for me. Add the E300 kit and the easy remove props and this thing is sooooo portable! I had a Peli style case identical to my Phantom's for the 'butched' v1. It is way too big for this now... I will find a smaller solution!
XuGong vs Phantom 2 (viewers question answered... in full!)...
So I just had an interesting a question raised by Jamie on YouTube and it deserved a pictorial answer.
There in lies the thing to consider. If you want 'out of the box' and you find soldering, laying out wires and plotting neat installs a pain then a Phantom 2 is always your best bet. You buy it, you configure it, you fly it and you love it.
For me something like the XuGong scratches more itches. You have to build it, you know it inside and out. Some parts of it might drive you nuts but the final product is something you look at and think 'yep that is just a pile of CF and clever electrics without me'.
It sounds silly but that is a major consideration in my opinion. Ask a few people on forums who started with a Phantom and went to an F450... or 550... then a Tarot, then a 250 sports quad. It is an addiction and the more you build the more you love the hobby.
Anyway enough of that.... the obvious differences between XuGong and Phantom 2 are size and compactness. Lets take a look.
Expanded... XuGong is bigger. Not a great deal but 10" props won't fit a Phantom.
XuGong's party piece.... a dramatic storage difference with props on.
Consider your transport needs when it comes to going abroad on a plane maybe....
The images speak for themselves really. Again for many (including myself if I am honest) the Phantom in a case is more than manageble for day to day use. I for one will be going to Iceland in the next 2 years and right now if everything works out I long term I will probably take the XuGong. I could bubble wrap it and it'd be the same size as the Phantom (but kickable).
Consider what you see in those pics too. Both are cable of a theoretical 20 mins flight, both are NAZA based, both have CAN-Bus, both have OSD (iOSD on my Phantom), both have a 2-axis gimbal and both fly from my Futaba 14sg.
The differences therefore really do come down to the details and for me the XuGong edges it on 2 fronts and the Phantom hits back on one.
XuGong scores one potential range... I have EzUHF fitted and with the addition of an antenna tracker the PDB has all that is needed to use my Patch Antenna and get considerably further away than the Phantom with stock Futaba 2.4 can do. Yes of course I could put the EzUHF on the Phantom but i'd need TinyTelemetry and/or EzOSD on top.
XuGong also scores on cameras. The failover switch gives me a non fish eye, non stabilised camera to view should i want to get brave and fly through (or up to) tight spots. If one cam dies, the other kicks in. Again doable with the Phantom but more electronics needed in terms of a switcher.
Now for the Phantom's heavy punch.... the Zenmuse H3-3D. Still the best 3-Axis Hero based gimbal to go on an airframe and cable of stunning shots. The XuGong can get equally as good footage with some slow frame rate and editting but no denying it is something of a plus for the Phantom. Just don't forget it sits that high for a reason.
Final thoughts now really come down to flight time per £. The Phantom 2 'snap in' battery is a joy to use. I created the Phantom 1.5 so you could use both stock Lipo's and the P2 battery but since doing so I rarely use anything but the P2 batt itself. That said I only own one due to the cost, and it is pretty slow to charge (though less clunky than a standard lipo).
If you can get hold of them and stock up on 10c Multistar 5200 4s' then you could get 4 x flight batts for the cost of one Phantom 2 battery. If you go out on the road a lot that is a serious consideration. A potential 80 mins of XuGong flight time for the cost of 20 mins Phantom time.
With the above statement I should though state that the XuGong vs Phantom argument in terms of cost overall needs to be carefully looked at. You need your own TX/RX combo which you don't on the Phantom and to get the maximum out of it you also want EzUHF of some kind which as a package is about the cost of the frame + NAZA lite together.
20 Mins of flight for Phantom:
Phantom 2 RTF with H3-3D Zenmuse bundle = £707
Total = £707
20 Mins of flight for XuGong:
XuGong frame + Gimbal = £265 (UK price likely a little more after conversion)
NAZA Lite + GPS = £107
E300 or Air 350 kit = £84
Futaba T10J with included RX = £300
1 x Multistar 5200mah 4s = £22
Charger = £30
Total = £808
They are the basic costs and flight time as always should be taken with a pinch of salt (I still havn't tested the XuGong enough to know how realistic 20 mins is yet but i'd say quite likely). The XuGong comes out higher but bare in mind you can get cheaper radio sets and if you don't you end up with a fantastic RX/TX that can be used on several future models. The Phantom leaves you with that cost still pending if you want to stray to other options.
So for kicks lets take the car to a remote location with charged batts hoping for 80 mins filming time 'at the field without charge' you get:
Phantom: = £977 (3 x £90)
XuGong = £844 (3 x £22)
Anyway you get the idea here....
Pitting these two frames for what they are against each other like this is a little fruitless in such a grandualler manner. Especially when you conside that mass of other options out there in the hobby. It is still an interesting thing to reflect on sometimes though.
Of course none of the above factors in FPV costs which will end up as being half as much again for half decent kit on either frame (yes it is wise not to leave this screen open for your 'better half' to find i might add people! ). Lets not even mention the cost of that little action cam beginning with H shall we ;-)
Ok now I have stopped crying over how bigger my house could have been if I got into stamp collecting rather than this hobby I think i will end this chapter!
With all that written down and said what would I wouldn't buy the XuGong over the Phantom or the Phantom over the XuGong.... i'd buy one and end up with both every time. You may differ from me.... just come back and comment if you say that to yourself now and end with a room dedicated to flying stuff!!
Thanks for writing such a great reply to my question, I really appriciate it. You must have sensed that I have been spending days researching.
I'm definitely the type of person to build rather than off the shelf something. Although I do love the hackability of the Phantoms, I think I would rather build from scratch and have some fun. Even if its slightly more expensive.
There is something really nice about that xugong base, being compact is essential as I want to take it everywhere.
I've also kept an eye on this (https://www.kickstarter.com/projects...d-fly-aerial-s) kickstarter, you've probably seen it a while back on engadget's site. It doesn't look very customisable but I like the look of the frame. Really dislike the look of the gimbal clip on.
What is holding me back from diving in right now is the Immersion gimbal. I want to use this to earn a bit of money so the hobby can be self funding... Not sure if a 2 axis one is going to cut it??
How did you get on acquiring a license to legally work and insure with these? Be good to know if you made progress as I can imagine a time in the future when I need two operators on a shoot.
Right now I'm miles off that I should add.
So have you ever tried the DJI ground station on anything. I really like the look of that.
I havn't gone down the commercial route as yet. My worry with it is investment costs but the Inspire 1 is now making it look like a possibility. Otherwise you are talking £10,000+ when you consider camera, gimbal and TX(s) for something that could be used for pro work of any decent standard. The Hero is an amazing camera but commercially it would limit your customer base due to the fixed wide angle (granted you can mod the lens but it will overweight the gimbals then).
A personal choice but 2-axis would be a no go for commercial use. Its not that you can't get great shots but you will have a lot of editting and post production compared to say a 3-axis Zenmuse. Again this is where the Inspire 1 looks like a viable solution.
Kick starter project looks interesting. Nice idea but claiming it is 'semi-pro' level is risky given its size.
Anyway I will leave that discussion to other forums and concentrate on the XuGong more here. Update is coming tonight with further footage and storage options too....
XuGong v2 Pro .... getting the best from it.
So the last installments were mainly around the build and maiden flights of the XuGong. All of which went very well apart from the GPS error (not that it was a very tricky fix in the end).
Before the GPS fix i was able to get out on a day with some sun and film this flight:
Shortly after this flight the weather set in for a week or two but the good news was the Multistar 5200 10c 4s came back in stock on Hobby King's UK site so a couple of those were snapped up with much glee.
During this period of time a few other early testers were making comments of 'the jitters' (Hence the title of that video). Oddly it seemed that there was an almost Jello like effect happening on some frames. Suffice to say a lot of email back and fourth between a select few of us and IRC themselves went on to see if we could find the cause.
Other than in very high winds I considered mine to be pretty good for the jitters so it made me and others wonder if it was a gimbal issue. The biggest problem in diagnosising any problem of course is not being able to replicated it however in my maiden flight with the 5200 Multistar I too contracted a case of the jitters!
All i knew was that I'd changed the fps on my camera and added the 5200 battery. This was good because it meant there were two things to test. First I tried changing the fps of the Hero.... results shown here:
Hard to tell unless you are watching on a large screen in HD but they both still have vibration... so the battery was next to look at.
To me the CG of the XuGong has always been a question. When you look/hold one with a battery in it you would instantly imagine it is very heavy on the rear. Indeed that is what i felt. The assumption is that the CG would be in the centre of the PDB board. Any way you slice it poor CG can easily cause oscillation and this will be compounded in GPS mode in wind due to large amounts of compensation on the NAZA's part.
I tried a system that would litterally add pounds to the front....
Yes I said pounds not lb's - 55g in total with that setup. I waited till a calm moment of the day and went out again. The result was this:
A little dark due to the time of day but pretty much vibration free (especially compared to the earlier flights). So that is it right? All good with a bit of weight?.... well... yes... but why?
In the back and fourth with Gerard at IRC we both touched on an odd factor where actually the point of CG that I was using (and had hence adjusted) is way off the mark of where the actual CG should be.
This diagram explains:
Where the pink cross meats is where the CG actually 'should' be. So I had infact moved it quite far forward.... but it worked?!? This lead me to think it was maybe more a resonance being causing the jitter rather than a genuine CG inbalance/oscillation.
Further testing lead to placing the same 55g at the far rear of the frame to make the CG point to the centre of the pink X above. The result of this was the same smooth footage (as long as there weren't high gusts). The conclusion really then comes down to balancing out the vibration but until others try this it won't be a firm conclusion. Either way I'm quite happy with the result now and feel i can at least fly with confidence that the footage will be perfectly acceptable.
XuGong v2 Pro with Dipole mod
As part of the testing Anthony of ImmersionRC caught site of the test footage and noted some RSSI concerns on my OSD.
I had been doing test runs along an old steam railway near by which runs about 3-4km from source to end. A perfect route for testing as it is picturesq easy to follow on camera and has a footpath all the way along it in case something bad happens and things fall from the sky! (so far so good on that though).
Anthony pointed out that at 1.6km I was getting some high RSSI figures. He suggested that the NAZA is quite a noise FC when using EzUHF and that a simple dipole modification might help this.
This was such an easy mod it seemed rude not to try. You will need the following ingrediants to make this tasty mod....
1) Galvanised Steel 1.5mm Bicycle cable (gear cable, brake cable etc)
2) something to cut it with (a clean cut needs good wire cutters)
3) A soldering iron
4) Heat shrink
Thats is it. I made my own removeable twist on this and made a video (shocker!):
Results speak for themselves really and I have since been advised that with a 90 degree twist I should see even better results from it too. Further tests will be done when the sun is back out!
XuGong v2 Pro... Portable and permanent
So as I have confessed over the course of this blog I was never 100% certain if the XuGong would work out for me. Its baby brother didn't and I retired it fairly early on. To its credit I have a very high turnover for multi-rotor frames. I build, I fly, enjoy and then I rip them to bits and build another.
Given the price of a NAZA (especially the v2 NAZA) and associated motors that is no real surprise and indeed my Phantom 1.5 is the only frame to survive in tact since its creation.
Today I confess though that the XuGong v2 Pro will be the second surviver. It just ticks all the boxes for me and I still feel some expansion fun with it is possible too.
There are several deciding factors on this and much of it is to do with the excellent working ethic of the guys at IRC and the other testers. The XuGong has been an experiance beyond just the flying and the building.
The final deciding factor though was finding a suitable transport case for it. An odd statement yes but if you are going to have a 'go to' multirotor for travelling with then you want to know it won't get beat to crap in a car, plane, airport etc. I did plenty of looking and took a punt on this one from Maplin in the UK: http://www.maplin.co.uk/p/small-flig...interior-n50fu
It is no Peli but at £25 and a carry strap it is perfect. No point in wasting time with talking about it... lets look:
To give it the perfect supported fit I added a couple of foam inserts with hot glue on the edge that will take the brunt of the weight. I also ripped out the eggshell top foam and replaced it with flat layer of foam from another case I had. This made it possible to fit the XuGong with props still attached.
To get an impression of the compact nature of the box (and its contents!) I compare it here against the Peli style case that I use for my Phantom 1.5 which is just about the only box that I could find in the UK that fits the Phantom with the 9" props still on. Granted it does fit the TX and charger in there with it too of course but it is not really 'carry on' size like the XuGong box (which will fit 2 x 5200's under the arms I should note).
The other thing that I've not mentioned yet is the GPS mount that I decided on out of a choice of a few. I went for a Tarot 'bullet' style one which doesn't flip down but does pop out for transport. Details shown in the video:
So that is it... I am sold on the v2 Pro to the point where I now need to replace the kit that went into it.
First step will be to buy an F450+Naza Lite+E300 kit... it is cheaper than buying the bits individually and gives me a spare 450 frame to toy with ;-)
Also on the list is the 4ch EzUHF rx (especially now I know they all come with the hard case). The nature of my 8ch diversity is more suited to a plane than a GPS'ed quadcopter and you can never have too many Long range RX's!
So what is next?
Well once I've got the kit I will swap out the NAZA v2 for the Lite and the RX too. I will also be playing with other dipole concepts.... and with the prospect of an Ultimaker 2 on the horizon so i can finally prototype my Shapeways stuff in house who knows what delights i might make for the XuGong!
Great source of info here! I linked it in my RCSchimHangar Xugong2 post for reference.
I see you're into Boxes and suitcases as I am ;-) ATM I haven't found a perfect Xugong case yet - you know I had to throw it into the trolley right after finishing the build ;-)
The P2 vs Xugong comparison is good. I wanted to adress this also - the pics say it all. And I feel the same about the Phantom2 RTF. So many "serious" FPVers dont leave a good word about the toy P2. But as you said, to people that don't like to build alot - the P2 with Zenmuse is really great!
I also did a ezUHF mod on my phantom - but didn't try max range yet. I just wanted safety. Before that I used a FRsky receiver and taranis - which is also a better option than that stock radio.
next I will try to get rid of the last few jellos and resonances that I had while abroad - with your CG infos this should be no big deal!
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