First 5″ Drone – Radix FC

FPV

My first 5″ quad – flew it today. Been flying 3″ and smaller. This is a honey. BrainFPV supplied the BrainFPV Radix F4 FC, the Hobbywing 45A 4in1 ESC, the Hobbywing Xrotor 2306/2400 motors, the 5×3 Gemfan props, the TBS nano CRSF, the TBS vTx. I provided my own cam, frame and batt. I let BrainFPV source the gear cuz I’d not done 5″ before. And I’m really glad I did that. This thing flew for 8.5 min before my goggles battery ran out. Flew LOS a couple more mins. Cells were at 3.68v when I stopped. So I think it’s good for 15 min. So quiet – compared to my 3″ and smaller drones. And on a 4cell 1300 batt – it feels and flies exactly the way I like my stuff to feel and fly. Love it. BrainFPV picked out an excellent combination of gear. Almost forgot to mention the firmware … running Betaflight 4.0.2. Default PIDs.

I love closeups of this gear – so – here we go …

Motor wires soldered to the ESC (Electronic Speed Control)
The stern – a closeup.
Looking at the stack, from motor #1.
Looking at the camera and mount – in the front – my fav view. Lens still grass smeared from flying too close to the ground.

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Summer Pond – the Video

Set your resolution to either 1080p or 720p.  Else it’s not worth watching … Best bits from some pond videos.  Shot in the summertime.  In our backyard.  On some simply gorgeous days.  Nature is simply too stunning to ignore.  Vids made with two craft:  1) a Phantom 3 Professional  2) and a custom built drone sporting a Hero 3 Black camera.  All done in 1080p 60fps.

Cleanflight 1.14.2 – Clears up the Vibrations

Before I updated to Cleanflight 1.14.2, I was having vibration issues – causing my Loki 130mm quad to drift while in a hover.  In random directions.  And a drift that increased with time.  Made stable flying (angle mode is my preferred stable flight mode) untenable.

So, while still on CF 1.14.1, I started doing physical modifications to the stack, while quantifying my accelerometer data via BlackBox logging.

Besides adding the O-rings on both sides of the OSD and FC, I removed threads from the white screws holding down the FC to the stack – such that the screws would be less likely to contact the sides of the FC.  Also, I unpinned the OSD from the FC, and used wires instead.  All this was done to decrease likelihood of vibrations moving from the craft to the FC on the top of the stack.

You can see the final result of this work, in the stack shown in the main picture for this blog, at the top of this post.

That work seemed to help, just a little, and not very much – it was hard to quantify any real changes via looking at the logs – and I still had drift issues during flight.  So …

What did make a huge difference, was  upgrading from CF 1.14.1 to CF 1.14.2.   The accel RMS was about 100x less. And the before and after accelerometer graphs as viewed in Blackbox Explorer – they speak for themselves.

Before …

Vibrations with Cleanflight 1.14.1

Vibrations with Cleanflight 1.14.1

After …

Vibrations with Cleanflight 1.14.2 - lovely

Vibrations with Cleanflight 1.14.2 – lovely

What a difference.  Yowsa!

Why?  Well after scouring the solved issues list in the Cleanflight GitHub, turns out that the accelerometer code was broken in release 1.14.0.  Further, the new filters weren’t applied as well.  Both these were recitified in 1.14.2 though.

Weird part is that I’ve been using Cleanflight, rather than Betaflight, to avoid these types of issues. Hmmm … maybe I need to indulge in some CF release candidate testing.  Because obviously that’s been falling short.  Or, use Betaflight.

Loki-X3 Frame – Dodo FC

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Arty – adds a bit of class to the post, no?

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A new frame – the 130mm Loki-X3, from helipad.com.

I put the gear from my HB-122 into it.

I find this frame better than the RMRC HellBender 122 because it doesn’t have loose motor mounting holes, it protects the camera and it has more prop clearance (sometimes the rear props touched on the HB frame).

It just about fits in the palm of my hand.

Configuration

  • Storm 130 Loki-X3 frame
  • RMRC 3s35c1100 battery pack  (83 g)
  • RMRC BLheli 4 in 1 ESC – 12A (been repaired)
  • Doge OSD (pinned to FC)
  • RMRC Dodo FC – Rev 3a (pinned to OSD)
  • Storm velcro battery strap – provides seat for battery, as well as straps it in
  • 4x 3x3x3 HQ props – green
  • 4x RMRC 1306 3300kv motor
  • FrSky XSR 2.4 Ghz ACCST Receiver, PPM – 7 ch, tyrap’d to  underside of top plate.  PPM cable soldered into Dodo, plugs into XSR.
  • Runcam Eagle camera, 2 deg pitch, mounted to included U frame, which is screwed to the base plate.  Cam cable – gnd, 5-17v in, video out – cable soldered directly to OSDoge OSD, plugs into camera.
  • RMRC Cricket 25mw vTx, tyrap’d to top of top plate …   vTx cable with 3 wires – gnd, 12v in, video in – soldered into OSDoge OSD, plugs into vTx.
  • IBCrazy small blue vTx ant
  • 5v buzzer – glued to front edge of Dodo FC bd, facing frontward.
  • Cotton – for barometer on FC, none yet
  • AUW – 249g

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Such a tiny drone …

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A 24g Blade Inductrix BNF FPV drone – still considered lethal by the FAA outdoors, if flown FPV without a spotter.  Well, the wind is too much for this little critter (in spite of what the FAA thinks) so I fly it indoors, FPV, during our long dark cold winter months.

I boosted its performance, by replacing the 1.25mm plug with a 2.00mm plug – and now it runs like smoke and oakum.  The original power plug would cause LVC to come on way too soon, cutting power a minute or less into the flight.  Now I get 4 min flights – every time.

Update 2017/01/25 … Flight times have deteriorated, for the second time (last time I fixed them with a 2.0 conn). This time I think it’s my batteries (since one batt is way worse than the rest, and another is pretty bad, while two are still pretty good). At any rate, to debug this, I’ve ordered new batts. Soon, I’ll both know the cause … and have it fixed.

Had one frame strut break loose from its duct 4 weeks back.  Fixed it with hot glue.  Been good ever since.

Update 2017/05/04 … Flighttimes restored.  Couple weeks back, I replaced the FC.  Still short flights.  So I swapped the 1.25 conn that was on the new FC, with a new 2.0 conn (didn’t use the 2.0 conn from the old FC, as it’s likely worn out too) … and am now getting 3:30 min to 4:00 min flighttimes.  With the same batteries that had been giving short flighttimes on the old FC.

Also … using rubber cement to repair the struts now.  Works better than hot glue or CA.

Jan n Jims – from the Air

Took this on labor day, at Jan and Jims place.

Some ground hugging FPV in an i200

Some ground hugging FPV, in a stock Inductrix 200 quad.  It’s smaller than my hand.  Very limited range.  And nothing but fun to fly – once you learn not to bump into everything.

Main song, Slow Look, courtesy of https://www.reverbnation.com/mutantsmith

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A Tiny Drone

Drones.  Specifically, this tiny 122mm drone.  Been flying it FPV about my yard.  Following the paths under the trees and larger bushes.  Can just about do this now, without catching it in the foliage – if you look closely at the following pics, you can see green crap plastered to the standoffs.  It’s from various leaves and grasses.  I think the camera lens needs a cleaning as well.

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Left side view. The cotton is covering the Dodo FC. It keeps air drafts and direct sunlight from messing with the barometer readings. Boards from the bottom up – RMRC 3in1 ESC, DOGE OSD, Dodo FC, top plate.

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Top view – showing the vTx and SD logger stuck to the top of the top plate. Stuck underneath the top plate is the Rx. You can see the two Rx antennae strapped to two ty-raps, bound with red shrink tubing. The blue pinwheel is the vTx antenna. RHCP.

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Bottom view – showing the battery strapped in. There’s also Velcro on the bottom plate, and matching Velcro on the battery – that and the strap keeps the batter from flopping about during flight.

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Right side view.

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Back side view. The props kick vegetable matter into the stack – whenever I don’t fly just so.

The video (at the top) was taken a couple days ago – it’s not HD, because it’s a recording of what I saw, the live FPV in the video goggles, while I was flying the craft.  And these tiny things transmit the roughest of video signals – they’re so small.

And someone just reminded me … A special thanks to my spotters.

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A Tough Tiny Drone

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Upper side view, with attitude. Cotton covering barometer is visible.

Pics of my 122 mm drone.  Small enough to keep on going, no matter what I fly it into.  Trees.  Grass.  Bushes.  The side of my barn.  Doesn’t matter.  This one’s got a Dodo flight controller, a DOGE OSD, and a 4in1 ESC.

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Side view, with attitude – cotton covering over barometer just visible.

Top view

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