Until now my construction has relied on sticky velcro to hold things down. This included the power distribution board and controller. This week "past Peter" kindly sent me a power distribution base plate and I've done a full re-build and also mounted the controller properly on standoffs.
And here's my first (well second, I rushed in to get Phillipa to film this after all looked good).
I have an unfortunate habit of catching the little cell cable in the props. The controller is a Flip32 and I'm running Cleanflight. This is an example of "dad flying" as Andrew calls it.
Took it to the park for a fly in more space. Unfortunately this ends with a rather hard landing and it seems that an ESC has died as a result.
When up high you can see both Sydney city and Chatswood in the distance.
Yes the ESC (electronic speed controller) started smoking and had to be replaced.
Here I take a look at the roof - I told you these things were useful!
If this blog is about anything, it's about science. When I read about whiskey elements, I had to try them. They say:
"So when we walked into the liquor store and asked ourselves a very simple question “what’s the difference between top shelf and well whiskey?” the answer came simply, “TIME & OAK.” That’s when it hit us; if the goal is for the whiskey to filter in and out of the wood, get infused with flavor, and pull out those rich colors; then the barrel may not be the best design to achieve this process."
OMG Americans can't spell.
I had to try it. For this experiment, we bought the second cheapest whiskey at the local bottle shop, a brand you think of pretty much right away when you think whiskey: "Hankey Bannister" which was established at three minutes to six last night.
Jules and I bought a bottle each. One has the slotted oak stick in it and the other is as it came.
After three days of the oak being in the bottle you can see a colour change. On Friday, at "drinks n drones" we had the tasting and I have to say that the Hankey Bannister was horrible both with and without the whiskey elements.
Perhaps a good whiskey can be made a little better with this process, or perhaps more "complex".
Just heard about DeviationTX, which is alternative software that can be flashed on to a range of remote control transmitters made by Walkera. Among many interesting enhancements is the ability to control Hubsan X4 and many others.
I hear that once you learn to fly with "first person video" (FPV) it's hard to go back. This weekend hasn't been great weather so new, more powerful motors were fitted and also a 200mW transmitter and camera was added.
The little camera and transmitter is great and runs on a power rail from 5-28V so very easy to hook up - I just ran the tiny wires to spare contacts under the main power distribution board. What could possibly go wrong?
There was a break in the rain so I headed for the local football field.
I took off, hovered (fighting the wind), and landed watching only via the headset video. Scary but seemed ok. A second flight didn't go so well, a propellor came off and the craft landed heavily and then appeared to catch on fire! Seems like the wiring for the camera power had shorted and was burning the carbon fibre frame.
I over discharged a LiPo 3 cell battery pack such that one cell, the middle one, read just 0.6V and neither of my chargers would charge the pack.
This is not a new problem and rather than just give up, it seems that if you're careful you can trickle charge the low cell to bring it up to a reasonable voltage for a smart charger to take over. The advice I found suggested charging at 100mA so I put a 120 ohm resistor in series with a 12V supply, put a volt meter across the cell and watched it slowly rise.
Normal voltage for a cell is 3.7 volts but I let the slow charging bring the cell up to 3.5V and now my normal charger is doing the rest.
There's lots to learn about building multi-rotor craft. I'm particularly interested in the 250mm (motor to motor space) size as they are reasonably portable, yet able to carry a camera and not to scary.
Oscarliang has a great run down of parts alternatives.
The Hubsan X4 is a well regarded micro-drone with amazing stability when new.
Photo by Hubsan
These are the gateway drug to the world of multi-rotor craft and if you look around Hubsan's site you'll see where all this is going. They fly well in large spaces.
Or in a home or office space.
After a few crashes the propellors need to be replaced, spares are available. The other thing that goes pretty quickly are motors which either become stiff or die all together. Good news is that it is possible to replace them with some fine soldering.
Each battery only lasts about 6 minutes so you'll want to get extras and there are multi-chargers available. All charge from a USB 5V port.
This UFO micro-drone cost $50 from the market and comes with a built in still and video camera.
The motors and battery are larger than those of the Hubsan X4 or the Top Selling X6 presumably to lift the extra weight of the camera. Shown above are after market three element props which I do not recommend.
The video records to a micro-SD card in motion Jpeg format and it's very poor unless you use a Class 10 card which has enough I/O speed. Here's some sample video, you might want to turn the volume down before hitting play.
This has been a fun drone and the remote has buttons for taking photos, starting and stopping video and for turning on a light.