Hands on: Eachine DIY Suitcase

I like to travel light. Also when going flying. This is why I’m not the biggest fan of all those metal or plastic suitcases. Not my style. I prefer a backpack, mini quadcopter attached on the outside of it, flying wing in one hand, travel chair in the second. Done.

Sometimes suitcases becomes handy (after all they provide some privacy and protection), so when I saw this little Eachine DIY Suitcase I’ve decided to give it a try. Description says that it can hold ZMR250, so also should not have any problems with 220 mini quad. It does have a problem after all…

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Hand on: Flip32 F4 Flight Controller

Yesterday I've received new flight controller for my Reptile X4R 220 quadcopter: Flip32 F4 from ReadyToFlyQuads. This is my first contact with STM32F4 based flight controller and I'm really looking forward to see if it really puts a difference comparing to F3 boards like SPRacingF3 I've been using last few months.

Some features:

  • STM32F405 CPU running at 168MHz
  • MPU6000 gyro connected via SPI interface
  • Integrated 1.5A voltage regulator
  • VCP port
  • 3 UARTs

Flip32 F4 Flight Controller

Flip32 F4 (and Airbot F4 which is exactly the same board) is supported by Betaflight, RaceFlight (that due to some GPL violations I'm boycotting) and INAV (at the moment of writing this post INAV support is not complete) and REVO target. Well, basically, this board was designed based on OpenPilot Revolution stripped from radio modem, barometer and those JST connectors (pin headers rules!). There are some differences between Revolution and Flip32 F4 in terms of hardware (voltage regulator for example) or separate LED header (which does not work).

There are two "problems" I've discovered so far:

  1. Whole board is getting very hot. Looks like it's because voltage regulator and battery monitoring are connected. You can not have one without the other even when you have BEC somewhere else
  2. STM32F4 does not have built in inverters. That means, S.Bus has to be connected to UART1, since this is the only UART with external inverter

Although I've been able to install it on Reptile X4R 220 already, I have no idea how it flies yet. Weather outside is very rainy…

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Preview: cheap APM Power Module for Cleanflight

Recently I’ve got my hands on a pair of cheap APM Power Modules from eBay with integrated 5V BEC and current meter (90A max). Although they are APM designed and will not work stright away with STM32 flight controllers like Naze/CC3D/SPRacingF3 (or rather would work only once since they are 5V scaled and those flight controllers require max 3.3V input) I have an intention to make them work!

So far, I’ve concluded that:

  • current measurement is done with Texas Instruments INA169 and 0.5Ohm shunt resistor
  • analog current out is 5V scaled, so probably 90A current flow results in 5V on meter output
  • voltage sensor output has 1/2 voltage divider. We can ignore it, most SMT32 flight controllers have voltage dividers (CC3D does not, but 1/2 is not enough in this case)
  • It more less works with a 1/2 voltage divider between current sensor and flight controller. Requires some tweaking, but something is measured. Will require scaling!
  • Integrated BEC works, and this is all I can tell about it I’m affraid

cheap apm power module for cleanflight

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