How FPV looked 2.5 years ago…

A few days ago I went back in time. Or to be more precise I started to browse my photo archive. And I've found pictures of my first FPV quadcopter… Oh my… ancient times…

my first FPV setup with OpenPilot

Doesn't it look awkward? At least a little… But this baby was pretty cool to think about it. At least when I finally learned how not to crash every few minutes. If I remember correctly, the specification was more less like this:

  • Flight controller: CC3D running OpenPilot!
  • Afro ESC 20A with BLHeli
  • Turnigy MT2213 935KV motors
  • 10" APC props
  • FlySky/Tunigy FS-i6 radio link
  • Some cheap FPV set I've found on HobbyKing with VTX, camera and crappy bucket goggles

History… and what was your first FPV setup?

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Video tutorial: 5.8GHz Inverted Vee antenna for FPV

Today another video tutorial. It's just simpler to show how to make something on video than with text and images. So, without further ado: How to make Inverted Vee antenna for 5.8GHz FPV at home. All that is required is:

  • coax cable (here RG316)
  • SMA/RP-SMA connector
  • copper welding wire
  • caliper
  • soldering station
  • basic tools

At the end we have small and light FPV antenna that just works. Sometimes it's just worth to make something by yourself, right?

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Very custom FPV quadcopter for my daughter

When few months ago my older daughter (10 years old) started to express interest in FPV quadcopters, I was both happy and concerned. Happy, since I would have someone to fly with. Concerned, since she has no idea how to fly, I do not have a quadcopter for her and there is a big chance she will get bored fast. So, instead of getting her a brand new, cheap, standard off-the-shelf drone, I checked my repository of “spare” parts and drones, purchased this and that and week later “Omlette du fromage” came to life…

Scarab Knife 200 cartoon sticker bomb

Continue reading “Very custom FPV quadcopter for my daughter” »

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Project “Dropship glider” – introduction

When I saw this video from rctestflight I knew I will build something like that for myself. A voila, few months later it is done. Here is Dropship Glider.

Dropship glider - depron FPV delta glider

It is 29cm long with 20cm wingspan. Weights 97g AUW and has 21g/dm^2 wing loading. So, in theory, should glide. Somehow… If I got center of gravity right. And did not made ailerons too big. Or…

Dropship glider - depron FPV delta glider

Delta 6mm Depron "wing" is attached to 6mm carbon fiber rod and has some quite big dihedral: 15 degrees.

Dropship glider - depron FPV delta glider

The biggest problem was radio link and mixer for ailerons. I could not use my Taranis: I need that for a carrier and only radio control link I had was EM-16 with PPM output only and no way to setup any kind of mixer. The radio just has no "features" like that…

So, took one Arduino Pro Mini and wrote short program that acts as PPM decoder and mixer for ailerons.

Dropship glider - depron FPV delta glider Arduino

  • power is supplied by 1S LiPo taken from my Tiny Whoop
  • FPV AIO Eachine TX02 also taken from my Tine Whoop
  • 5V is supplied from cheap, regulated, step-up converter
  • 3rd servo is to release tether

First flight, or rather drop, tomorrow. There will be a video from the event of course…

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GPS Racer: worklog #9 – double rangefinder setup

My GPS Racer is less and less fun project. For last few weeks it acts as sensor platform for my attempts to bring rangefinders and terrain following modes back to INAV. This time in a way that will work.

Two weeks ago it was carrying HC-SR04 sonar (crappy device). Week ago it was carrying US-100 (much better device). This week it is carrying both US-100 sonar and VL53L0X lidar!

INAV with US-100 Sonar and VL53L0X Lidar

DigitalEntity apparently had too much spare time and he finally wrote (ported) a driver for VL53L0X and starting from version 1.8 (probably) INAV will be able to use this cheap lidar.

INAV with VL53L0X Lidar

Yes, VL53L0X is cheap and that means it's not state-of-the art device. First of all, it has limited range. 2m is all it can do in a room. No idea how it will behave in sunlight. Hard to guess, but I'm afraid that 1m will be all it will able to do in real life conditions… But we will see in a next few days.

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DemonRC NOX5 racing quadcopter is done

It took my time with this build, that is sure… Somehow there were always more important things to build. Anyhow, DemonRC NOX5 FPV racing quadcopter is finally up and running. DemonRC NOX5 quadcopter

What is inside? Nothing special:

  • Frame: DemonRC NOX5
  • Flight controller: Airbot Omnibus F4 v4 running Betaflight 3.1.7
  • ESC: DYS XSD30A BLHeli_S
  • Motors: EMAX RS2205S 2300KV
  • Camera: RunCam Swift2 2.1mm lens
  • Video transmitter: TBS Unify Pro v2
  • RX: FrSky X4R-SB
  • Propellers: DAL T5045C Cyclone

DemonRC NOX5 quadcopter

DemonRC NOX5 quadcopter

As a bonus, 3D printed TPU GoPro Session mount. But the bottom line is, it flies!

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GPS Racer: worklog #7 – flying at night

Like promised, I took GPS Racer equipped with night vision camera RunCam Night Eagle and IR projectors for a night flight. And it worked. Not as good as I expected, but worked.

  1. RunCam Night Eagle is sensitive enough to fly at night. Just like that. As long as there is at least some light, you can fly. In my case, full moon and some residual light was fully enough
  2. IR projectors (3W in total) are underpowered. They help, but up to 3-4 meters. Not any further
  3. Propellers flooded with IR are no bright… I will have to look for some black props…
  4. OSD started to flicker out of the blue. I suspect new BEC for IR projectors introduces some noise. I will have to fix it somehow…

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Hands on: DemonRC NOX5 FPV 5″ Frame

So many things to do, so little time… I’ve purchased DemonRC NOX5 quadcopter frame more than a month ago, but had some time to take a look at it only today. This is not a cheap stuff. More than a $100 for a 5″ frame is few times more than I’ve used to pay. But I just had enough of cheap chinese frames. Don’t get me wrong, they usually fly alright, but both quality and user friendliness lacks a lot. With “premium” frame at least I’m sure that I’m getting a good quality carbon fiber and someone actually thought for a moment about “tiny” details a place for VTX transmitter or battery strap…

So, please welcome DemonRC NOX5:

DemonRC NOX5 FPV quadcopter frame Continue reading “Hands on: DemonRC NOX5 FPV 5″ Frame” »

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Marabou Stork reborn

It took me quite some time, but I've finally rebuilt my Depron FPV airplane Marabout Stork after last year's crash.

In theory, all I had to do, was to replace nose section. At the end, it turned out, that I should also reinforce wing mount, redo FPV system and replace flight controller. So, full list of changes:

  • Rebuilt nose section that is longer than original by 30mm
  • Full sized MinimOSD was replaced with Micro MinimOSD to save some space
  • Flip32 flight controller was replaced by SP Racing F3 and external BMP280 barometer
  • INAV 1.7 baby!
  • Various reinforcements, mainly around wing mount

Weather conditions in above video were far from perfect. Wind speed around 50km/h made everything hard.

It still awaits for new GPS module, since Ublox Neo-6M is really, really, really crappy solution…

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3D Printed Faceplate for SkyZone SKY-01 FPV goggles

While SkyZone SKY-01 are pretty good FPV goggles, they are not very comfortable. Instead big faceplate, they only have rubber eyecups. This approach works, but well…

Like always, there is a solution: 3D printed faceplate for SkyZone SKY-01. Thingieverse has at least few different designs, but I’ve chose the one from the link above. They fit right and do not have fan adapter which I do not use.

Foam pads for faceplate are a second problem. In first iteration I just uses gray sponge I had at home and white, dense, closed foam from Emax motors and glued everything together with Uhu Por. Continue reading “3D Printed Faceplate for SkyZone SKY-01 FPV goggles” »

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