Project “Dropship glider” – failure #1

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” »

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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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GPS Racer: worklog #8 – sonar test platform

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.

HC-SR04 test platform for INAV

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” »

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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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GPS Racer: worklog #6

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…

GPS Racer with RunCam Night Eagle and IR projectors

Those two "eyes" are IR projectors and that almost not visible FPV camera is RunCam Night Eagle… First flight this weekend!

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GPS Racer: worklog #5

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

Runcam Night Eagle - night vision FPV camera 2

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” »

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Depron Airboat Worklog #2

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.

airboat depron hull parts

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.

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Depron Airboat Worklog #1

One of my first DIY RC projects was a Depron Airboat I've build almost exactly 2 years ago. 12x6x2 inch hull, motor, servo, rudder and ESC. And honestly, I loved it. It was a great fun playing with it. Too bad, it did not survived very long. It broke in a middle of a lake and I decided my live is worth more. All I have left is a video

This season I started to build another Depron airboat. Slightly bigger, heavier and with more power. And partially 3D printed. Hull will be made from Depron, but propulsion and steering system will be (is) printable.

Depron RC Airboat Propulsion system

After few hours of printing time, propulsion and steering is done. What is left is to make a hull. 18x8x2 inches made from 6mm Depron. I might cover bottom with glass fiber and impregnate with polyurethane wood glue diluted with alcohol.

New thing will be a reversible ESC. I've already configured and tested FVT Littlebee 20A to act as reversible ESC and it seem to be working like expected. I only wonder how effective rudder will be when on reverse. Not much I effective probably…

Depron RC Airboat 3D printed Propulsion system

And yes, STL files will be available when this is proven to be working. Everything for the community 🙂

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