Diatone Roma F4 LR: Long-Range on 4 inches

For years, long-range drones were associated with big and purpose build (mainly lightweight) quadcopters. With at least 7-inch propellers, but true long-range started at 8-inches or more. Times changed, and in the 2020, a new class of long-range FPV quadcopters emerged: light, dead-cat frame, 4-inch propellers, weight around 250g, and with flight times somewhere between regular cruisers and purpose build long-range machines. Sure, they are not capable of going as far as "true long-range," but far enough that majority of pilots consider them build for distance.

Diatone Roma F4 LR Long-range drone

The Flywoo Explorer LR 4 is considered as a protoplast of the class. Competion does not sleep and today let's take a look at the Diatone Roma F4 LR

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Prusa Smooth vs Powder Coated PEI Sheets

Prusa offers two types of steel sheet beds for their Prusa i3 MK3 series 3D printers: smooth PEI and powder coated PEI. The smooth PEI version is the default, but you can get the powder-coated PEI if you pay extra. It's not cheap but has one or two handy features: it works great for bigger prints, and you can print PET-G on it without any separation layers (stick glue and similar).

Things that I hate about the DJI Digital FPV

At first glance, the DJI Digital FPV system is the best thing that happened to the FPV, drones, and airplanes since the LiPo batteries. And yes, DJI FPV is an amazing technology that lets you see so much more and works almost out of the box. It is, however, not perfect and this is my personal list of the most irritating issues it has:

  • Limited OSD
  • DVR without OSD
  • Telemetry and SRT files
  • Overheating Air Unit
  • DJI has the practical monopoly for the digital FPV

Li-Ion vs. Li-Po for drones and airplanes?

Lithium-Polymer (LiPo) batteries dominate the RC hobby. In like 98% of the cases, if you have a drone or RC airplane, or RC car, it is powered by a LiPo battery. The reasons are simple: they are high current capable, fast to charge, and have relatively high energy density.

LiPo is, however, not the only battery technology that we can use. Lithium-Ion (Li-Ion) technology has an even bigger energy density but comes with a price.

CNC cut stand for Xiaomi Mi Desk Lamp

Having a CNC router at home, even a simple 3018 Pro CNC opens new possibilities for the Do It Yourself projects. You might not be able to cut metal with a $250 CNC machine, but wood, plywood, and different plastics are soft enough to cut and engrave.

Let's go to the project itself. My Xiaomi Led Lamp is cool, but it turned out that it's not tall enough to stand above my LCD screen. Putting it on a box works but does not meet my engineering standards. This is why I took my 3018 Pro for a spin and made this plywood stand.

More in the video!

3D printing with a polypropylene (PP) filament

3D printing does not end on PLA, PET-G, and TPU filaments. Yes, they are great and work just fine for the majority of cases. However, there are more options than just the basic filament types. Polypropylene (PP filament) is one of them.

Strong, but not stiff, can be used to make hinges, enclosures, and boxes. During the impact, it deforms but with less "spring effect" that TPU filament has.

The main problem PP filament has is that it's rather difficult to print. It likes to warp and sticks almost only to other Polypropylene elements. Good luck trying to glue it!

What is the best flight controller firmware? Betaflight, Ardupilot, or INAV?

The question "What is the best flight controller firmware?" pops up here and there from time to time. Some say it's Betaflight. Some say it's Ardupilot. And reality? Reality is often disappointing, and there might be no one answer to that question.

Every flight controller firmware has strong and weak sides. Ardupilot sucks on small drones, Betaflight sucks on airplanes, and INAV is not really good at professional usage. If you want to know more, please watch the video below:

INAV for tracked rovers

INAV 2.5 introduced rover and boat support. However, INAV setup on tracked vehicles like tanks or with differential steering was never really working like expected. Turning was possible but only in forward or backward movement – throttle had to be not-idle. And that meant that turning in place was not an option.

Luckily, the INAV Programming framework can be used to build a fully functional tracked vehicle/differential steering mixer. Here is a short tutorial on how to do it.

You will need:

  • INAV compatible flight controller
  • INAV 2.5.2 or newer
  • tracked or other differential steering vehicle with two bi-directional ESC

Outputs Tab

Enable Reversible Motors Mode

INAV on tracked vehicles - Outputs

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Fat Shark was sold to Red Cat Holdings

Have you heard the news of the month? Apparently, Red Cat Holdings bought Fat Shark. Ha! Yes, the Red Cat that in 2018 wanted to buy your blackbox log and pay for them with their own cryptocurrency and in January 2020 bought Rotor Riot. The question remains if it is good for the hobby or not. Personally, I'm kind of worried…

The full news about the event is available here

My commentary with some extra context is here

FlySky FRM302 and FTR16S AFHDS3 receiver = 2.4GHz Long-Range radio system

ImmersionRC Ghost is the new long-range 2.4GHz radio system that is getting the most traction in the media in the last few days. However, IRC Ghost is not the first 2.4GHz SX1280/SX1281 LoRa based radio system that has hit the market. FlySky FRM302 TX module and FlySky FTR16S AFHDS3 receiver are available since May 2020, and underneath, they are the same technology as Ghost.

FlySky FRM302 2.4GHz long-range module and FTR16S AFHDS3 receiver

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