Sunday, March 22, 2015

Getting Started with the DJI Inspire 1

WooHoo, EastBay-RC has bitten the apple and obtained a DJI Inspire 1.  Prepare yourself (we hope!) for some eye-poppingly gorgeous scenic imagery, and some EastBay-RC style tech notes on the Inspire.

First up, a quick series on getting started with the Inspire.  Everything from out-of-the-box to registration, setup, configuration, and testing.

This should be everything you need to get ready to launch.  And we're working on that series now!


1.  Unboxing
2.  Charging and Powering Up
3.  Connecting and Registration
4.  Attaching the Gimbal
5.  Updating Firmware
6.  Calibrating the Compass
7.  First Dry Run
8.  Second Dry Run
9.  Micro-SD Caution
10. Attaching the Props

Playlist Here!

(sad note: can't figure out how to get the playlist to work!  click the link above to see the entire series.)

Maiden flight:

blogodex = {"toc" : "DJI Inspire 1", "idx" : "EastBay-RC Guide"};

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Taranis D-Series Telemetry: Lightning Version

Here's what you need for Taranis D-Series telemetry setup.  This is the lightning version, focuses on battery voltage and skips what you don't need to know.

Hardware Setup

  • FBVS-01 is the voltage monitoring unit.
  • The documentation is confusing.  You don't need to modify the default power options.
  • FBVS-01 is supplied without connectors.  Attach your own connectors as necessary.
  • One end attaches to the D-Series Rx telemetry port.  The other end attaches to your battery.
  • Comes with a cable, attach it to the Rx.
  • Only need to worry about the two left connectors, ground and positive.
  • You can get rid of the other wires.
  • Final connection:   Battery -- FBVS-01 -- Rx
Telemetry Setup
  • Go the the Telemetry screen of your model setup menu.
  • Set A1 Range to 13.30V.  This monitors Rx voltage.  You probably don't care about this if you're flying electric.
  • Set A2 Range to 19.8V.  We'll cover why this is the right value later.
  • Set the low and critical alarm values.  For 3S, 10.5V and 10V are good.
Audio Voltage
  • In the Special Function menu, set SF1: SB Down, Play Val, A2, 30
  • When you flip switch B down, the current voltage will be announced every 30 seconds.
  • When the voltage drops below the low and critical levels, you will get repeating announcements appropriately.

That's all you need to get it working!

blogodex = {"toc" : "Taranis", "idx" : ["telemetry", "D4R-II"]};

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Hubsan Q4 MicroQuad Review

Our friends over at GearBest sent us one of the new Hubsan H111 Q4 MicroQuads for review.   They've got it up for presale:

(Work in Progress)

It's a really small unit.  The controller seems like it would be too small, but it's actually quite comfortable to hold.  I don't think you could pinch them, though!
Here's the LEDs.  The front LEDs are blue, although they look mostly white on the green mat.  They make the unit pretty visible.
The box is pretty nifty.  It's interesting to see this level of design.
The quad comes mounted on these tabs.  Look at the tab on the front right.  See the long thin piece? Push it down and the unit will slide out of the tabs smoothly.  If you try to push the quad out without moving the long thin piece I think you will end up messing up one of the motor mounts.
The radio is inside the main box.  There's plenty of extra room for batteries, etc.
And the middle section has a storage compartment for the USB powered charging cable and spare props.
The transmitter takes two AAA batteries.  It snaps shut.  There's screw holes in case you want to secure the battery compartment.
The radio come in either mode 1 (right hand throttle) or mode 2 (left hand throttle).  Binding is done by turning the quad on followed by turning the radio on.
The charge cable attaches to the back.  There's a tiny on/off switch right next to it.
The cover pops off.  It comes in five different colors.
the 100 mAh battery has a double-sided sticky pad holding it onto the board.  It comes off with a gentle pull.  Unlike some other nanoquads, the battery is not soldered onto the motherboard but instead attaches with a Micro JST connector.
Here's the board.  Note that the power to the motors goes through the board, and the pads at the end of the arms are labelled positive and negative.

The battery connector is Micro JST style.  I'm hoping that GearBest will carry some, but if not I will make some using the technique here.


(coming soon!)


Concord Model Engineers Minutes, March 2015


Tuesday, March 10, 2015

CALL TO ORDER:  7:33 pm


Monthly meeting, Second Tuesday, 7:30 at Concord Airport Terminal.

Friday Fun Fly, Third Friday, 7:00 - 9:00 pm.
Gym at the Church of the Nazarene, 1650 Ashbury Dr., Concord

Fun Fly this month on March 20.


The treasurer is absent.  As far as we know he has not absconded with the balance.




New member Sam introduced himself to the members who have not met him.  Sam is a senior at Northgate High School and is working on a model plane for his senior project.

If you aren't getting mail from Chuck, send him mail.

A discussion regarding lastest FAA regulations.

Picnic will be on May 16.  Details to be worked out.

Gate code has been changed.






Stephens Aero, Woody.  5A brushed motor.

P30 Squre Eagle, 30'' wingspan, 28'' len, 90g.  Designed by Phillip Hartman, 1977, easy build, good starter.


Gallon of 10% nitro, box of props, BHM Pee Wee Pup, BHM Nova, Zap Glue Set, Miss Stik Park Flyer, Tube Ambroid glue, 2E Square Eagle kits, Charger.


blogodex = {"toc" : "CME Minutes"};

Two great videos about indoor flying

Donatas posts a practice video for an upcoming F3P competition.  Rule 1: Politely ignore the rules of physics!  We've mentioned this plane before, the 2S Victory designed by Alexey Lantsov.  It's available for sale now, about $600 or so including the custom-built coaxial motor. I have no idea how it's shipped!

The ever-awesome flitetest crew explores the world of F1D indoor free flight.  It's really interesting, and amazing that you can get over 30 minutes from a rubber-powered plane.

blogodex = {"idx" : ["F1D", "F3P", "Flite Test"]};

Sunday, March 1, 2015

Recording Taranis Audio Files

Here's some notes on recording Taranis Audio Files.  It assumes you can (a) download and install software on your computer and (b) see your Taranis SD card.

  • Project Rate (Hz): 32000
  • Audio Track: Mono
  • Sample Format: 16-bit PCM
  • Export Format: WAV (Microsoft) Signed 16-bit PCM
  • Audacity -- Open source, multi-platform recording software.
  • CleanMyDrive - (Mac) Cleans junk files when disk is ejected.  Use this to get rid of the extra files the Mac Finder puts on the SD card.  Some of the filenames are too long and confuse the Taranis.
SD Card Location
  • User sounds go in /SOUNDS/en
  • System sounds go in /SOUNDS/en/system
  • The SD card will show up in the Finder (Mac) or on the Explorer (Windows).
  • If you're on Linux i'm sure you already know how to find it. :)
  • "en" is for English.  I think there's corresponding folders for different languages.

blogodex = {"toc" : "Taranis", "idx" : "audio recording"};

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

WLToys V686G Mini FPV Quadcopter

Here's some notes on my review of the WLToys V686G Mini FPV Quadcopter. It was sent to me free of charge for review by GearBest.

The unit is available here:
I don't get any money for this, but there's has a coupon code GBV686G.

Executive Summary

  • It's a good flyer and I think it will be pretty popular.
  • Video is pretty decent for the price.
  • Lights are great...  this unit looks good at night.
  • Buy some extra batteries and a charger if you don't have one already.
  • The manual is pretty terrible.  But I'll summarize everything you need below!
  • Constant Tx beeping in heading-hold mode is crazy annoying!
  • Doesn't seem to state video channel.
In the Box
  • Quadcopter, Transmitter, 1S 780mAh Lipo Battery
  • HD Camera, Video Monitor, Video Antenna, 4GB Micro SD card, USB Card Reader
  • 4 spare props, 4 prop protectors, Screwdriver, Monitor mounting hardware, Manual.
  • LiPo and Monitor chargers, manual
Note that the web page advertises a 2GB Micro SD card, but mine came with a 4GB card.

Battery Spec

  • 1S,  780 mAh, JST connector, no specification on C-rating but I'm guessing it's 25C
  • Transmitter takes 6 AA batteries (not included).
Setting Up

Setup is easy.
  • Charge the LiPo battery and Video Receiver.  Put AA's into the Transmitter.
  • Attach the Video Receiver to the Transmitter with the supplied hardware.
  • Put the quadcopter on a flat surface and plug in the battery.  The light will start to flash.
  • Turn on the Transmitter.  After a few seconds, the quadcopter light will go solid and the Tx will stop beeping.
  • Put the battery into the bottom of the compartment. The wires will fit nicely into the top.
  • Ready to Fly!

The stick controls are standard.  Special controls are:
  • Left shoulder button : video record on/off.  The blue camera light blinks while recording.
  • Right shoulder button: Flip mode. Click, hear fast beep, move right stick in direction of flip.
  • Button 1,2,3,4:  Rates: 40%, 60%, 80%, 100%
  • Button 5:  Lights on/off
  • Button 6:  Camera, still picture
  • Button 6 (2 second press) enter/exit headless mode

Monday, February 16, 2015

Notes onOneShot 125 ESC Communications

Executive summary:
  • uses a pulse with of 125-250 usec, rather than the typical 1000-2000 usec.
  • sends a pulse ("oneshot") once per execution of the flight controller main loop.

At the time of writing, Flyduino KISS ESCs and Naze boards support the protocol

Cleanflight notes. Originally put into BLHeli(?). Nice video explanation.

blogodex = {"toc" : "OneShot"};

Friday, February 13, 2015

Fixing UMX Radian Porpoising

BrownShoe at RCGroups posted a note about eliminating porpoising on his UMX Radian.

After I established the CG at 32 mm, I cranked in some negative elevator with my needle-nosed pliers; the little U-bend was almost closed. She flew kind of crazy. It was way too much negative elevator and the wind was very choppy and I came close to crashing. What I noticed was, it did not porpoise! Ha! I landed and opened up the U-bend some and tried again. She flew with nary a dip! It was the nicest flight she has ever flown!  
I performed a dive test as best I could while trying to remember what to look for. It had a nice gentle rise and not an abrupt porpoise. Nice! I flew three packs and she handled very well in spite of the very choppy air. I let it glide hands free for a good ten seconds. Finally it flies like it is supposed to and I'm having maximum joy now. 

blogodex = {"toc" : "UMX Radian", "idx" : "porpoising"};

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Concord Model Engineers Minutes, February 2015


Tuesday, Feb 10, 2015

CALL TO ORDER:  7:30 pm


Monthly meeting, Second Tuesday, 7:30 at Concord Airport Terminal.

Friday Fun Fly, Third Friday, 7:00 - 9:00 pm.
Gym at the Church of the Nazarene, 1650 Ashby Dr., Concord

Fun Fly this month on Feb 30.


Previous Balance $2582.68
- web site fees     99.00
Current Balance  $2483.68


The club welcomes Sam, a senior at Northgate High School.  Sam will be working
on a model plane for his senior project.

Indoor flying venue.  We will continue at the prior venue.  If anyone knows
of other venues please let everyone know.  George knows a guy who knows
something about the Moffit Field hangar.

If you need a badge, let Ron know.  Needs your name and AMA number.

Christmas party, concensus reached, same time (second Tues in Decemeber),
same place (Buttercups)!


Feb 28, Wagel free flight, weather permitting.


Mike Woodring, two Flite Test Bloody Wonders.

Mike Woodring, Flite Test F22.

Mark Harrison, EZFly. More pics here. Video below.

Mark Harrison, F22.  Notes here. Video below.

Jerry, Sigg Twister.  Finished with orange rustoleum, matching the monokote.

Lee, Ubanko Contest wing, from Ukraine.  Had to order off of Facebook.


bundle of balsa, roll of monocoat, BHM Vulture combat kit, .049 Cox engine, Zap Glue, Interceptor Free Flight kit, 3D Kit Lazer Cut, Roll 0.15x52 flying wires, Solder jig, Screwdriver set, digitial multimeter.



F22 flying around.

blogodex = {"toc" : "CME Minutes"};

Monday, February 9, 2015

CME Minutes, January 2015


Tuesday, Jan 11, 2015

CALL TO ORDER:  7:30 pm


Monthly meeting, Second Tuesday, 7:30 at Concord Airport Terminal.

Friday Fun Fly, Third Friday, 7:00 - 9:00 pm.
Gym at the Church of the Nazarene, 1650 Ashby Dr., Concord

Fun Fly this month on Jan 16.


Over $1100 spent on the Christmas Party. Yippee!

Current Balance $2552.53

Several checks were made out to "CME".  Those were not accepted by the bank.  Checks should be made out to one of the signatories, Ron, Mike, or Chuck.


A great Christmas gathering.  Happy New Year!


Motion: Members in good standing will have dues waived for 2015.
We've got about two years worth of operating expenses at the present time.
Ayes: 11 Nays: 5, motion carries.  Put your money in your pocket!

A membership roster will be sent out to the mailing list.

If you need to be added to the mailing list, send Mark a note:

A service for Bob Andrews was held on Dec. 16.  He was a good guy.

Looking for event ideas at the CL flight circle.  Suggest some!

Idea: Poker flight.  Take a flight and get a card.  Collect three cards, and two cards are drawn at the end.  Best hands get a prize!

San Jose State is looking for a faculty to set up a UAV program.


Watch Discovery Channel's "What Could Possibly Go Wrong?" First or second Saturday in February.  Some members assisted in the production.

PARADE OF PLANES (sorry, no pictures this month!)

Jim Muether: two 1/2A, Searcher and another model.  350 feet altitude in 2.5 seconds.

George Ellison, Black Hawk Polish Fighter.

Steam Boat, Crick kit.  Twin piston engine.

Mark Harrison, experimenting with a "Class C" UMX Radian.

Chuck, Sport Cub, flies nicely and takes off in about 10 feet.


Reno Air Races book, BHM P51 Mustang kit, 1gal Omega 10% fuel, 30m epoxy, 2'' spinner, 1/2'' spinner, BHM SkyMaster II.


blogodex = {"idx" : "CME Minutes"};

Saturday, February 7, 2015

Warren's Balsa Storage

The topic of balsa came up, and Concord Model Engineer Warren Delane shared details on his balsa storage bin.  He writes:

I store my balsa according to thickness in a swing-down bin that is located between joists under my loft.

Bin is made of recycled wood  and swings down from space under a loft between joists. Bottom is 1/8" hardboard. Small chain to restrain further movement. Pivot is black metal pipe, which doubles as pivot for a ladder for access to loft.
Other end of compartment is propped up by a broomstick attached as a handle as weight of compartment with full load of balsa is heavy. Once in place, wooden turnbuckles(?) lock bin from falling.

Crude but effective. I wish for a better system but it works, considering space is very cramped in this end of my Man Cave.

Loft is for storage of covering rolls in Xmas wrap boxes, tissue rolls, disassembled wings and fuselages, and seldom-needed, lightweight stuff. Access is by the ladder on left, made in two sections for compactness.

Pivots down from same black iron pipe as balsa bin. Old TV plays VHS aviation tapes, old hi-fi for FM radio and music cassettes.

Believe it or not, this is as tidy a mess as it gets! Unfinished models are stored in plastic bags and put aside until later. 

 My Man Cave.
10'x12', prefab shed. Strictly for model workshop. A smaller shed (8'x12') is off the the right (OOS) for family storage.
Last time I tried to weigh each sheet on my digital scale and marked the density  near the label, but I had to use a calculator to use in a formula (from the 'net) to get the density. Now, I rearranged the sheets according to increasing density. Of course, thus works only in full sheets. Partial sheets are merely guesstimated.

Close up view of bin in down position. Grooves sawed into top and bottom hold black plexiglas separators for 1/32" and smaller, 3/32", 1/8", 3/16", 1/4" sheets. Last space is for 4" wide sheets. 

Balsa (Equadorian Gold) was hoarded for decades, some sheets date from pre-wartime years! Much of it was salvaged when White Front closed in SSF, a whole display bin for $5!

blogodex = {"idx" : {["balsa", "storage", "workshop", "Warren Delane"]};

Sunday, February 1, 2015

Three F22 Videos

I was chatting with a friend about the awesomeness of the F22s that Andreas built for us, so I thought I would collect the videos here.

Here's the maiden flight, and some notes on how it was built.

Andreas flies his a lot, it may be his favorite plane.  Each time he crashed and broke off a bit of nose, he rounded off the tip a bit.  Shorter, but maybe flies even better!  Here he's painted it and it's a lot more visible.

I crashed mine, but glued the nose back on.  Beacon FoamTac is great stuff!

Share and Enjoy!

blogodex = {"toc" : "F22", "idx" : "FoamTac"};

Friday, January 30, 2015

Some EZFly Pics

 I was going to send someone some close-up pics of my beloved EZFly, the first plane I ever built from scratch that actually flew around.  And I discovered I didn't have any, or at least couldn find them... so off to the bench with camera in hand!
 Stick mounted 1500 kv motor, with 6x3 prop.  Remember, the numbers go forward even in a pusher configuration!
 The rest of the electronics... 12A ESC, OrangeRX DSM2 receiver, and two 9gram servos.
A lot of people fly 1000 mAh batteries, but I've got a lot of 500 mAh batteries for various planes, so generally use those.  2S is fine in still wind, but for me 3S gives just a bit more punch through wind.
 Hot Glue joints work well.  If I were building another, I would switch to FoamTac joints, which are a bit sturder in the long term.
 I used whatever clevis's I had.  Some people have bad experiences with this kind of pushrod connector, but it's worked fine for me.
 To get the CG forward, I had to put the servos way front, and ended up with big giant push rods.  I would try some thinner rods in a new model, although these 3mm tubes have worked well.
A tiny bit of airbrush paint makes the unit a lot more visible.  I've slightly rounded the leading edged, but motorhead's latest revision has a template for chamfered rounded edges.  I should take the time to do that.

Executive summary:  (a) this is a great plane to build, (b) big thanks to motorhead for this great design, (b) check out the RCG thread,  (c) be sure and use the latest R3 plans (on first post in link) which make it easier to balance the CG, (d) good luck and have fun, and (e) let me know if you make one!


  • For a first build, consider buying a kit from designer motorhead at Fancy Foam.
  • I knew I had a reasonable EZFly video!  Here it is flying on 2S.

blogodex = {"toc" : "EZFly"};

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Two Micro FVP Setups for UMX Radian

BWX_@RCGroups has the Ready Made RC Pico FPV Combo (5.8 GHz).

cjz89civic@RCGroups shares his setup here.  It's based on the Flite Test article.

  • Camera $20 This camera is as good as the one that Flite Test uses and there recommended camera is $50 alone.
  • Antenna $9 for 2 (added this I got better video quality and about 100 meters more distance snipped off connector and soldered right to the board as the stock whip was)
  • Dip Switch is a add on its $3 at Radio shack or cheaper on ebay You can simply solder ground to the channel inputs for desired channel to save 1.2 grams.

blogodex = {"idx" : ["UMX Radian", "FPV", "things to try"};

Monday, January 19, 2015

Cartoon SR-71

AJWoods@RCGroups has uploaded a video of a really nifty Cartoon Mini SR-71, and said he'll upload plans before too long.  I think I'll build one!  He reports:
"I have elevons, but the plane could be easily flown as just elevator/diff thrust. Very smooth flyer, a bit less nimble than the F-35, but more forgiving all around (maybe a bit slower too). I designed the fuse profile so that when on the ground the plane makes contact on 3 points with the nose high. This makes for awesome ground handling with no wheels, and allows for ROG takeoffs and touch and go's."
He's got a link to his Cartoon F-35 which also looks pretty sweet!

Here's a video:

blogodex = {"idx" : ["SR-71", "AJWoods", "Cartoon Mini SR-71", "things to try"};

Monday, January 5, 2015

A few video production notes

Here's some notes on making a custom thumbnail for videos.

To extract a single image:

ffmpeg -ss 01:42 -i -vframes 1 foamy-cf-tmp.png

-ss timecode
-i input
-vframes 1   # single frame

Using ImageMagick:

convert -font Helvetica-Bold -pointsize 200 -fill white 
    -draw 'text 50,800 "First Line"'
    -draw 'text 50,1000 "Second Line"' foamy-cf-tmp.png foamy-cf-thumb.png

-font, -pointsize, -fill  specify appearance
-draw 'text x,y "foo"' draws text "foo" at position x,y

blogodex = {"idx" : ["thumbnails","video production"]};

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

EastBay RC joins FAA in encouraging n00bs to fly safely!

Dusted off the NoodleCopter for a bit of late night flying with the KPIX news crew, all in support of  The reporter is Emmy award winner Joe Vazquez.  I thought he was smart, asked good questions, and had a good understanding of the issues involved in flying small aircraft.

There will be quite a few people getting drones, quadcopters, RC planes, etc for Christmas and trying them out for the first time.  If you're one of them, Welcome! We're glad you're here and hope you have a fun and safe time flying.  Check out the rules and guidelines... they're not complicated, they can keep you and your family from getting hurt, and make life easer for all of us if we're all careful not to cause trouble.

If you know of somebody just starting out, point them to some good resources (hint: EastBay RC!) for them to learn.

Couldn't get the video to embed, but here's the direct link: