FS1000A and XY-MK-5V range test

Very often, where you go cheap, there is a price to pay. Exactly like with cheap 433MHz transmitter-receiver pair of FS1000A and XY-MK-5V. You rather do not expect much for $1, right?

When playing with them in a middle of a big city (Berlin), few meters of range was all those modules were able to archive. Too much interferences form other devices. But what about open space in a middle of nowhere? I’ve decided to test that, and this is what I came up with:

If video was too long: 315m apart, no direct line of sight between transmitter and receiver and still stable data flow! It would be more, but nature was against me and I just was not able to go further. I did not expected that much range from those two…

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INAV can do automated landing on fixed wing?

Those of you how subscribed to my YouTube channel should have noticed, that I got an interest in automated landing of fixed wings after RTH in INAV. And the sad truth was that, well, INAV up to 1.7 was unable to do it right. When landing after RTH was enabled (nav_rth_allow_landing = ON) and it was enabled by default, airplane usually started a 20 degrees dive to the ground. One does not has to be a prophet to figure out how it ended.

For example like this:

If not manual override, that would end up in a beautiful crash and probable full rebuild of an airplane.

Luckily, that motivated DigitalEntity enough to something about that, and yesterday I was able to perform (probably the first one ever) a controlled descend after RTH that ended up with an airplane on the ground without any damage. With enough optimism one can call it even a landing. This is how it looked like:

Current implementation is still far from perfect. Although it does not crash, it has a few small problems:

  • No disarm. Throttle is open all the time
  • It happily ignores speed. Both ground and airspeed
  • It also ignores wind, heading and so on

But, to be honest, this is a nice progress. Stay tuned for more changes here, since I’m planning to work on it in the near future.

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Scarab Knife 200 finally in the air

It took me much more time to put my Scarab Knife 200 4″ from CarbonBird.com into the air and actually fly it. First try that happened 2 weeks ago failed due to beginner mistake: too long motor screw caused one of the motors to overheat. I had to order shorter M2 screws and redo some other things: add 1000uF 36V low-ESR capacitor to power rail, relocate VTX and X4RSB RX. Nothing super fancy. Final effect looks like this:

Scarab Knife 200 racing quad

Scarab Knife 200 racing quad

Scarab Knife 200 racing quad

There are a few problems that I hope proper tuning will solve. One of them, is strange wobble, or low frequency oscillation, on full throttle. I’m not sure what is the source of it. It might be from quite soft props. I will try replacing stock HQProp 4×4.5″ with DAL T4045. But second problem is that probably 4″ props do not match my flying style. Those small props just do not gip so much air as 5-inchers and do not keep flying path as good as I’m used to. I had similar feelings when testing JJPro P175, so that might be the case.

Next tries in 2 weeks…

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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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DIY brushless motor kit – first failure

Just like it was expected, my first attempt to wind a brushless motor (12N14P) was a failure. Probable cause: short circuit between phases and my creation released magic smoke.

Then I tried for a second time, and failed again. This time less, no smoke, but motor overheats and does not want to start most of the time. I suspect this can be an ESC problem (Emax 30A) that is configured for DampedLight. Perhaps motor is rotation too fast (no load after all) and ESC tries to slow it down. Hard to tell. Tomorrow I will add a propeller and disable DampedLight. Maybe it will help. I will also try WYE configuration. Right now phases are connected in Delta setup.

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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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Soldering for beginners: ESC, PDB and all those cables…

As some of you might have noticed, I’ve started to publish videos on YouTube from time to time. I was rather not advertising them here. This will change and you might expect a series of overdued posts with some of my videos.

Today something hardware related: soldering for beginners using ESC, PDB and power cables on a mini-quad as an example.

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