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…
I’ve described my Dropship Glider Project here. Previous weekend I finally tested its ability to glide when dropped from a drone 50m above the ground. And well… to be honest, I failed hard this time. Just see this short video from FPV camera:
Dropship survived two drops. After second one, AIO camera/transmitter combo got damaged. Continue reading “Project “Dropship glider” – failure #1” »
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.
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…
Delta 6mm Depron "wing" is attached to 6mm carbon fiber rod and has some quite big dihedral: 15 degrees.
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.
- 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…
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!
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.
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.
I honestly admit, that my 6″ quad (codename GPS Racer) was never very pretty. It was just ugly with that GPS tower on the front. Today it got even uglier: I’ve equipped it with HC-SR04 sonar connected via I2C bus (ATtiny85 to the rescue).
Why, you might ask, have I done something so useless? Answer is simple: to make it less useless. There are at least few problems with sonar and modern flight controllers. First of all, most new boards does not have connections for it. Second of all, it does not work reliably.
It just don’t. It was no unreliable that INAV, for example, disabled it for some time completely. Right now it is back, but used only during landing on multirotors. No terrain following or anything like that. Continue reading “GPS Racer: worklog #8 – sonar test platform” »
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.
- 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
- IR projectors (3W in total) are underpowered. They help, but up to 3-4 meters. Not any further
- Propellers flooded with IR are no bright… I will have to look for some black props…
- 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…
I have to admit, I have a talent for building ugly looking quadcopters and airplanes. But this is a step forward. This is the ugliest quadcopter I've ever seen… just look at it… So ugly, that almost beautiful…
Those two "eyes" are IR projectors and that almost not visible FPV camera is RunCam Night Eagle… First flight this weekend!
I've finally decided to make a decent use of my GPS Racer quadcopter. Until now, I mainly used it to test new things for INAV and that is more less all. RunCam Owl Plus FPV camera turned out to be non-flyable in the night, so I've decided to go one step further…
RunCam Night Eagle
Yes, RunCam Night Eagle. I've seen couple of video reviews of this camera on YouTube and decided that this is what I really need: a good night vision camera. Not a camera that can see after sundown. A camera that can see in the night!
Continue reading “GPS Racer: worklog #5” »
Next week passed and Depron Airboat is almost ready. Almost, since it still needs some finishing and I'm missing a BEC. Turned out that total power usage of one 9g servo and FrSky X4R receiver is slightly too high to just use single LM7805. 350mA during servo movement means more that 2W of heat (
(12-5) * 0.35) over single LM7805. Too much, so I will have to scavenge old models for still functional step-down converter.
Hull made from 6mm Depron is now glued together using Uhu Por and polyurethane wood glue. It measures 18x8x2 inches. I've put my 3D Printed propulsion and steering system on it and did first static test.
It works. First water tests next week.