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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GPS Racer: worklog #4

Yesterday I finally maidened my GPS Racer in full FPV configuration. RunCam Owl Plus and VTX finally arrived, it was not raining, so I took recording gear after sunset and went flying.

To be precise, it was not "night". But it was pretty dark. Too dark for my RunCam Swift. Owl Plus was sensitive enough to fly. It was not perfect, but doable. Next step: not IR blocked lens and IR emitter for real night flying. Both have been ordered.

Plus, thanks to GPS and OSD I finally saw the speed this thing can do. 92km/h recorded, but that was not the limit on those 6030 props. I do not think I've opened throttle to max…

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3D Printed Paddleboat

3D Printed Paddle Wheel Boat

It's not a secret, that me, and QuadMeUp, are not only about quadcopters. From time to time I like to do something completely different.

When I was a child (10-12 or something like that) I loved to build boats. Simple crude design: styrofoam or bark, simple sail or DC motor and tinwire propeller. No RC link. Just let it sail in "somewhere there".

When I got a 3D printer and learned that servos can be converted to continuous rotation simply by replacing potentiometer with a pair of resistors, the idea to build paddle wheel boat powered by servos was almost obvious.

So, here it is!

3d printed paddle wheel boat

  • Hull can be 3D printed, STL files are available on Thingiverse
  • Wheels are powered by 2 TowerPro 9g servos converted to continuous rotation
  • RC link by cheapest FrSky compatible D8 receiver
  • 2S LiPo gives enough "juice" and with power usage of about 300mA it can sail for hours

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GPS Racer: worklog #2

I'm once again realizing, that doing multiple things at once is not a way to work. Something like that happened to my GPS Racer project. According do original plans, week ago I was only supposed to wait for FPV camera.

Instead of that, only yesterday I finished ESC and motor assembly. But OK, it was a little trickier than I expected originally:

  1. Since I wanted to reuse onboard current meter of Airbot Omnibus F4 (v2) Pro and use Matek XT60 PDB at the same time, I had to do some creative wiring between XT60 plug and PDB. Instead of directly connecting XT60 plug to PDB, + first goes to current meter on Omnibus F4 Pro and then goes back to PDB. Not pretty, but works. I still have to design some kind for power plug holder, but this topic can wait. I still have no FPV camera
  2. I had some problems with ESCs. Not only I've destroyed Motor1 soldering pad, but failed to flash FVT Littlebee 30A with latest BLHelli. Bootloader survived, but BLHeli was gone. I have to connect ESC to other FC and then reflash. I wonder if it was hardware or software issue…
    Right now, apart from FPV gear, FrSky receiver, GPS mount, SmartPort inverter and final assembly GPS Racer is few steps closer to being finished. With upcoming Easter, it should be functional in April. Can't wait…

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Project “GPS Racer” – worklog #1

I know that I should not start new project when old one are still in progress. I really, really know that. But since I’ve somehow lost my interest in Project Dualcopter and I have a real need for a new quadcopter, Project “GPS Racer” has finally started.

What is GPS Racer? During my work as INAV developer, I’ve realized that I do not have a good platform for it. The only GPS enabled multirotor I own is Sparrow Hawk. And it has a gimbal, weight 2kg and is hard to transport. When Sparrow Hawk crashes, there is always something broken.

So, to be able to test navigation related features of INAV, and not have to rebuild every single crash, I’ve decided to build dedicated UAV. For most elements I will be using parts that I already have. I only had to order frame, propellers and GPS module. Continue reading “Project “GPS Racer” – worklog #1” »

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