Saturday, October 31, 2015

Book Review: Aerial Photography and Videography Using Drones

 If you've been involved in drones for any length of time, you're probably already familiar with Eric Cheng's Aerial Photography

He's released a new book called "Aerial Photography and Videography Using Drones" which summarizes a lot of his experiences and is a great introduction to using a drone for aerial photography andvideography.

tl;dr: If you're a beginning drone pilot interested in aerial photography, you should buy this book immediately.  If you're an experienced drone pilot but would like some instruction on the photo/video side of things, it's got useful stuff for you as well.  If you like photo books with beautiful, thoughtfully composed material, ditto.


  • chapter 1: Equipment
  • chapter 2: Learning to Fly
  • chapter 3: Aerial Stills Photography
  • chapter 4: Aerial Videography
  • chapter 5: Getting the Shot: Real-World Stories
  • chapter 6: Flight, Policy, and Travel
  • appendix A: Resources
  • appendix B: Reference Material

Bonus Online Contents

You can access this material by registering your book on the website.  There's instructions in the book's introduction.

  • Chapter 1: Overview
  • Chapter 2: Exercises
  • Chapter 3: Dronie
  • Chapter 4: Toolkit (and Orbit)
  • Preflight Checklist
  • Resources

Beginning Pilots

Start with chapters 1 and 2.  That will get you into the air, with eight exercises that will quickly build your piloting skills. Be sure and follow along with the video exercises and you can watch Eric fly the moves.

Aerial Photographers

Chapters 3 and 4 are for you.  Eric talks a about the technical aspects, and then (what I found especially useful) lists some of the common camera moves, such as the crane, arc, and point of interest.  In the video supplement he give some hints on how to practice these so that you can use them smoothly and without councious thought, giving your maximum attention to the creative and storytelling aspect of what you're doing.

One excellent point of his presentation: you're telling a story, and the technical aspects of what you're doing are in support of the story you are telling.

Chapter 6 has some practical advice on travelling with and transporting your equipment, and some notes on flying legally.  This is a topic which is being continuously revised by various governments, so it's probably a good idea to check that the guidelines he mentions are still applicable in your location and time.

One interesting note:  he mentions that many people ask him about how high his aircraft will fly, but it's ironic that a lot of the best photography is from relatively low altitudes.

People who love beautiful photography

Chapter 5 is a collection of world-class drone photography.  Some of it's by Eric, and some of it by other photographers, both professional and amateur.  Stunning, Drop-dead gorgeous, etc., It's all splendid!

Note on reading the PDF version

It's obvious Eric has put a lot of effort into the layout of the book.  If you're reading the PDF version, be sure to

  • go into full-screen viewing mode
  • view pages as "side by side" or  as "two pages"
  • ensure that the right-hand page is odd numbered

Fixing your PDF version

Look at pages 142-143 of the ebook.  There should be one picture, with the beginning of chapter 5 .  If you see page 141 (with text) on the left, and page 142 on the right, you need to adjust your view of the pages.

With Adobe reader, this is easy (I'm told) to do... just move one page forward, and the left/right balance will be adjusted.

If you're on a Mac and using Preview, you'll need to do a bit more work.
  • In Preview, File / Save, save as "drone2.pdf".  Don't select "save as PDF" it will remove some of the imagery.
  • Open "drone2.pdf" in Preview
  • View /  Contact Sheet
  • Select the title page (not the cover) and delete it
  • Go back to "Two page" view and you should see the even numbered pages properly displayed on the left.

Book Link:

EastBay RC is an Amazon affiliate.  Ordering through this link supports our random scribbling!
Aerial Photography and Videography Using Drones


Eric's a longtime friend of EastBay RC, and provided a complimentary copy of the book for review.

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Great Micro Connector Resource

Micron Wings is a great resource for all things involving small models.  This page describes the battery and servo connectors to small models, along with details about each one.

The second and third are UMX and Hubsan.

Here's the servo connectors.

blogodex = {"idx" : ["Connector Mania"]};

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

The Joy of Free Flight

Here's a photo by Concord Model Engineer Lynn Price of a participant at one of the recent Free Flight contests.

Sometimes low tech is the most beautiful tech!

blogodex = {"idx" : ["free flight", "Concord Model Engineers"]};

Monday, September 7, 2015

DJI Intelligent Navigation, Part 1: The Menu

The first challenge in using Intelligent Navigation is finding the menu!

  • Have the unit flying in the air.  If the unit is not in the air, the menu will not appear.
  • Flip the flight mode switch (the three-position switch on the upper left of the remote) to the leftmost "F" position.
  • If you're in the air, the Intelligent Navigation menu will pop up.

blogodex = {"toc" : "DJI Intelligent Navigation"};

Sunday, September 6, 2015

"Intelligent Navigation": Interesting Thing Coming in DJI-Land

From an RCGroups post by blade strike of DJI Support, a pretty serious upgrade is coming.

"Intelligent Flight Mode", with the theme "Design Cinematic Shots Like a Pro."  I usually don't upgrade immediately, but this sounds pretty interesting so I think I'll give it a go.  Stay tuned!

Update: Downloaded, installed, and ready to fly!  Flight report upcoming...

Listed features are:
  • Waypoints
    "Set multiple GPS points, or Waypoints, and the aircraft will automatically fly to them while you focus on controlling the camera."
  • Point-of-Interest"Set a specific building, object or location as the Point of Interest and the aircraft will continuously cirlce around it while you record the perfect photos and video."
  • Follow Me (Phantom 3 only)
    "With Follow Me, the aircraft will automatically follow you and capture your every move from a unique aerial perspective."
  • Home Lock
    "Fix your controls to be relative to the Home Point. Easily pull back on the control stick to bring the aircraft back home, or push forward to fly farther away, no matter which way it is facing."
  • Course Lock
    "By activating Course Lock, the controls will be set to be relative to your aircraft’s current path. This easy navigation allows you to fly in a set direction as you fly alongside moving objects or across scenes."

Comments in the thread indicate that "Follow Me" won't be available for the inspire because of its size and relative power.

I'm intrigued by the comment that the firmware download will be through the app.  Does that mean we won't have to do the SD card beep-beep thing?  (Update: no, still have to do that.  It would be pretty nifty to be able to kick that off from the App!)

blogodex = {"idx" : ["Inspire 1", "DJI", "Intelligent Navigation"]};

Thursday, September 3, 2015

Eric Cheng's Cool Inspire Add-On

So Eric Cheng really is the coolest pilot in the world!  Look at the back of this Inspire, where he mounted a GoPro on a gimbal.  Eric writes:
DJI Inspire 1 flying aggressively at the beach with a Feiyu Tech FY-WG 3-Axis Wearable Gimbal for GoPro ( attached to the rear via curved GoPro mount. Shot with GoPro HERO4 Black. Footage taken during the documentary shoot with (Santa Cruz) Flight Club.

I might try this with my old no-name gimbal and see how it goes.

Eric mentions he got up to 55 MPH on this video.  Impressive!

blogodex = {"idx" : ["Inspire 1", "Gimbal", "Eric Cheng"]};

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Modding an Apple Mac Power Supply, Part 2

 Now that we've got the Apple power supply running, we need to hook it up to the charger.  It turns out that standard 110V blades fit perfectly into the GND and 12V slots, so we just harvest a couple from an old wall wart.
Solder onto 12 gauge wire.  My charger has 4mm bullets, so I soldered that onto the other end of the wire.
 Shrink wrapped.  I measured how far the blades would go into the connector, and measured the shrink wrap accordingly.
 The fit is nice and tight.  I don't think it will slip out, but if it does that's safe since it will lose connection to the hot wires.
 I used a piece of bigger heat shrink to hold everything together.  Go onto ebay and you can buy a lifetime supply of various sized shrink tube for a couple of bucks. I think this was 10mm shrink tube.
 I tried fitting a switch in place of the paper clip.  I learned that you can't solder onto a paper clip!  The Internet reveals that they are typically plated with some sort of alloy (tin/nickel?) that isn't attractive to solder.

A couple of old male servo leads worked nicely, but was wobbly.  I might run this with a length of wire, and then attach the switch onto the charger.  Till then, it's a paperclip jammed into the connector, which somehow pleases me very much!

Out with the old, in with the new.  Goodbye old Dell power supply, and thanks for the years of faithful yet kinda ugly and a bit underpowered service you provided.

blogdex = {"toc" : "Power Supply"};

Sunday, August 30, 2015

Modding an Apple Mac Pro Power Supply

 I got an old Mac Pro power supply to replace my puny old Dell.  The thing is massive!  79A of 12V power, that's over 900 watts!!

But, there's a catch.  Like all things Apple, it's a beautifully crafted, high quality unit.  And unlike the rats-nest wiring associated with PC power supplies, it's got a single clean wiring harness which is sadly undocumented on the Internet.
 I guessed the large connectors would be for 12V and ground.  Measuring the voltages would indicate the polarity.  BUT  How to turn the unit on?  I was looking for the equivalent of the PC's Green PWR Wire, the one that if shorted out turns on the power supply.

Going strictly by guess, I started shorting out pairs of connections.  I figured it couldn't do much harm, since none of the wires would be carrying current if the PWR wire were not engaged.
Using a paper clip, I quickly found the pair of PWR,GND connection.  I'm not sure which one is which, but for my purposes it doesn't really matter.  I made a note of the connections so that I'll be able to recreate them when I cons up a connector to the charger.

The outside big connectors are both GND, and the inside big connectors are both +12.2V.  The PWR/GND pair is the outside small connectors, second from the bottom.  The connector is oriented so the left side is smooth, and the right side has the edge.
A slight bit of fiddling showed that the small curve of a paper clip was the perfect size to connect PWR/GND.  I snapped a picture of it and will cover it with tape to ensure it stays put.

That's it for the experiment phase.  I'll use the flat blades from an old extension cord to bodge up a connector for 4mm bullets which is what my power supply uses.  I'll update when I do that!

Here's a video walkthrough:

blogodex = {"toc" : "Power Supplies", "idx" : ["Mac", "charging", "power", "electronics"]};

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Concord Model Engineers, August 11, 2015


Tuesday, August 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 Ashbury Dr., Concord

Fun Fly this month on Friday, Aug 21, Tenative, awaiting confirmation.


treasurer absent.




A quiet meeting, hoping all absent members are enjoying their Summer Vacation!

We will continue Indoor Fun Fly.  Cost to club is now $50, we will ask each attendee
to contribute $5.


Aug. 16, Masciano Control Line Contest. Alameda. Contact Jim,

Aug. 21-23, Jim Perrson (and others) will be running Tether Cars at the Good Guys West Coast Nationals.

Aug 29-30,

Aug 29-30, Control line speed contest, Napa.

Sept 5, Weigel Field, free flight contest.

Sept 13, Crows Landing, Former Naval Air Base, Flying Giants event, all day.

Sept. 26/27, Control Line Combat event at the Flying Electrons field.


Oakland Cloud Dusters.  1/2 Coupe, rubber powered, Ding Zarate 1st place;
.020 Gas, Jim Muether 1st place; OCD Cat, Lynn 4th place; P30 (13 entries), Lynn, 3rd place
3 max (90 sec) + P38.


1 Gal Sig 10% Nitro, Sig 1/2A Dewey Bird, Horizon Lipo Cell Voltage Checker,
Husky Screwdriver set, BHM Little Ike.


blogodex = {"toc" : "Concord Model Engineers"};

Sunday, July 26, 2015

Heat bent PVC

Andrew Newton has a nifty video showing how to use heat gun to construct things from PVC pipe.

You can get a flat piece of PVC for fabrication by cutting and splitting a ring and then heating it up with a heat gun.  I'm going to give this a try.

blogodex = {"idx" : ["PVC Construction"]};

Sunday, July 19, 2015

CME Minutes, June 2015

Walt Grant, RIP
Aeromodeller and Friend

Tuesday, June 9, 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 Ashbury Dr., Concord

Fun Fly this month on Friday, June 19.


new balance  $2854.00




RIP, Walt Grant, long time CME Member.  There will be a small memorial service the 3rd week of July.  Walt was a great guy, and started aeromodelling in 1938. He and his brother both wanted to join the Army Air Corp, but their mother said she would only allow one of them to serve.  They flipped a coin and his brother won, and Walt ended up working at the Bendix plant in Philadelphia, which adjoined a large field perfect for flying. The club's thoughts and prayers go out to his wife Barbera and her family.

Onur Yildirim met Chuck last week.  Flying for about two months. Onur is an Electronics and Telecom Engineer.

Saturday, June 13, CME Picnic.  Start arriving around 10:00. Will eat about noon. Pot Luck.


June 20, Open air swap meet, 8:30 - noon, Alameda.  See attached.

July 25, SAM 27, Small Rubber Meet, Lakeville.  Need AMA insurance.




Ed Ringeu, Swoop DeVille, own design, P30, flat wing with with winglets, so easy to put together with no dihedral.  P30 has to fit in 30 inch box 40g chassis, 10g motor.  Ding Zarate wing design.

Ding Zarate, Jorback, John Odencamp design, E36 class.  Electric free flight. 150g.


Glue caddy, 15 min epoxy, roll yellow monokote, 1 gal 5% nitro, Radix 3D foam kit, BHM red flash 1/2A kit, Brodack Baby Clown kit


blogodex = {"toc" : "Concord Model Engineers"};

9xr Pro Taranis Gimbals

OpenRCForums user Myckey has a nice pair of posts on upgrading the 9xr Pro with Taranis gimbals.
I'm preparing to try it.  I'll make a video and take some pictures.  Prepping for that, here's the steps as I understand them.


The goal of this step is to modify the wiring so that the gimbal has two sets of three wires going into each 3-pin plug.  One set of wires is for the X axis and one set of wires is for the Y axis.

  • release the six gimbal wires from the multipin plug.
  • release the wires to both pairs of the 3-pin plugs.
  • attach each set of 3 wires from the gimbal to the 3-pin plugs.
When this step is completed, you have a 3-wire set for the X axis and a 3-wire set for the Y axis.


We need to modify each gimbal to fit in the 9xr gimbal hole.  Each of the four corners of the gimbal has an "ear" with two holes.  A bit of trimming will allow the Taranis gimbals to fit securely into the 9xr gimbal mounting plate.

  • sand or dremel the outside of the ear, removing the outside hole.  leave some material around the inside hole, as we will enlarge that.
  • open the case and remove the old gimbals. note that you will disconnect two wire harnesses for each gimbal.  leave the gimbal faceplace attached.
  • push the new gimbals to the faceplate so that the gimbal holes line up with the 9xr gimbal posts.  It's a friction fit.
  • check the alignment of the holes.  each gimbal hole should be about 1mm offset from the 9xr post.
  • turn the 9xr over and see if there's a gap between the gimbal and the faceplate.
  • if there's a gap, sand or dremel the gimbal around the mounting hole so that the gimbal will sit flush to the faceplate.
  • Enlarge the holes in the faceplate only using a 3mm or 1/8'' drill bit.  Drill from the top of the 9xr.
  • Attach the gimbal to the faceplate using a slightly longer screw (TBD: length?) of the same diameter (TBD: diameter?).
  • The gimbal should fit flush against the faceplate.

Inspect the fitting, attach the wires, test the harness connections,  and close up the case!
  • connect the shorter wire harness to the inner 9xr gimbal connection.
  • connect the longer wire harness to the outer 9xr gimbal connection.
  • attach a battery and test the gimbals as described in the next step.
  • close up the case.

Two things can go wrong with the wiring.  The X and Y axis can be swapped (i.e. moving the stick up and down shows motion in the horizontal direction), and the X and Y axes can be reversed (i.e. left stick motion show right motion in the radio).
  • go to the calibration menu.
  • if the X and Y axes are swapped, swap the two connectors.
  • if either the X or Y coordinates are reversed, swap the two outer wires of that connector.

Myckey's instructions are here.  A lot of people have wanted better 9xr gimbals, so a big shoutout to him for figuring this out in such a superb way!
blogodex = {"toc" : ["9xr Pro", "9xr"], "idx" : ["Taranis", "gimbals", "9xr gimbal upgrade"]};

Saturday, July 18, 2015

Nice Wireless Mini-Keyboard

Here's a nice mini-keyboard that I've gotten for my multimedia PC.  It's wireless, comes with a dongle, has a lipo battery, and charges with a mini-B USB connection.

It claims to have an autosleep mode.  I can confirm it works while plugged in to the charger.  I've tried it on Windows and Mac, and it seems to work pretty well.  I'll try it out with an Android OTG cable as well.

It's got a set of multimedia keys, which I'll try configuring with AutoHotKey.  Fn-Space sets the mouse sensitivity

It's about $11 on BangGood and listed as "2.4G Mini Wireless Keyboard Mouse with Touchpad for PC Android TV HTPC"

blogodex = {"idx" : "Mini Keyboard"};

Sunday, June 7, 2015

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

E-Flight 1S Battery Connectors

These are the connectors on E-Flight 1S batteries.

The official name is Molex PicoBlad;. It's often referred to as a Pico, UMX connector, or Micro JST.

I use these extension cables and cut them in half to get a pair of male/female connectors with pigtails.

blogodex = {"toc" : "Connector Mania", "idx" = ["Micro JST"]};

Saturday, May 30, 2015

SMA and RP-SMA Connectors

Be careful when connecting coax SMA connectors.  It's possible to physically hook up a pair of connectors that fit perfectly but have no connection for the center part of the cable.

Be sure and check if you're using SMA or RP-SMA (RP = reverse polarity) connectors when hooking things together.

Here's an adapter to switch between the two.

blogodex = {"toc" : "Connector Mania", "idx" : "SMA"};

Sunday, May 10, 2015

Some Good Deal on Amazon Batteries

Need some rechargables AA and AAA batteries?  These seem to be a good deal.  The Internet believes they're manufactured by Sanyo and are rebranded Enerloops.  Woo hoo!

AA 2000 mAh
AA 2400 mAh
AAA 850 mAh

And two chargers:

EBL 808 8 bay charger
EBL 807 4 bay charger

blogodex = {"idx" : ["power", "batteries"]};

Sunday, April 26, 2015

The Tao of Nutball

Saw this here... GoldGuy is the designer of the NutBall, and apparently a student of Philosophy!

On NutBall.

  • Don't add anything that's not absolutely required.
  • Build light and you will be rewarded.
  • The reason why the NutBall is super simple is to keep it light.
  • The difference between a high and low wing loading is either no joy or pure joy. 

On Weight.

  • Be happy, build light.
  • Light is might.
  • Weight is the enemy.
  • Only slopers add weight.
  • Light is a delight.
  • That's, as in ballast... Although my belt size has grown.
blogodex = {"idx" : ["NutBall", "GoldGuy", "Philosophy"]};

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

LED Spectator TV for FPV

RCGroups member UniversalRC shows his external video setup.  It runs on 12V and has a beefy tripod mount.  He uses it so his aerial video clients can watch the imagery he's capturing.

The monitor runs off of  4500 mAh 3S battery. Here's the tripod.

blogodex = {"idx" : ["FPV, "external monitor"]};

Saturday, April 18, 2015

Inspire 1 in the wind, two flavors of video

Upgraded the Inspire 1 firmware, everything went OK.  Took the unit out, and was impressed with its stability in the breeze.

I'm terrible at guessing wind speeds, but I'm pretty sure it was 15 mph gusting to 20 mph.  Can anyone guess the windspeed by the flags blowing?

I recorded the video at 4k, 60 mbits/sec, and transcoded a copy to 1080p, 30 mbits/sec.  I've included both... does it make a difference once it's uploaded to Youtube?

blogodex = {"idx" : ["Inspire 1", "video test", "flags", "wind"]};

Sunday, April 12, 2015

My Cheap Ikea Workbench

I was talking with a friend, and it turned out we both had workbenches made from Ikea tables!  Here's my setup, which is both small and pretty cheap.

ADILS legs (4) - $14 ($3.50 each).  It's hard to see from the website, but it includes screws and a mounting plate.  The plate screws onto the table top, and the leg screws into the mounting plate.

It comes in a couple of different colors and is 27.5 inches long, just right for a sit-down workspace.

LINNMON table top -  $6.  It's nice because the table top is the cheapest part.  When it gets too beat up, just run down and buy another!  It's pre-drilled to accept the ADILS mounting plate.

Everything goes together in just a couple of minutes.

blogodex = {"idx" : ["workshop", "workbench", "Ikea"]};

Thursday, April 9, 2015

DIY DJI Inspire 1 Battery "Charger"

"DIY" is one of the watchwords here at EastBay RC, so you can imagine it's going to be an interesting experience to deal with a real store-bought system like the Inspire 1.

Our first project: a power supply for charging the Inspire batteries.  Here's the prototype, which is working well.

The DJI power supply has these features: rated output of 26.3V, 3.83A (100W), proprietary connectors for battery and radio.
In order to get the 26.3V, I'm using a boost converter.  It will take input from 4V to 25V and convert it to 26.3V. I got it on Amazon for $12.  You can get it for about $8 if you don't mind waiting for China shipping.  Specs on my unit are

  • 9A max input, 6A max output.

Double check the ratings for the unit you get.
We'll go into more details in a followup post about how to configure the boost converter.  Here's my initial test connectors.  They are two prongs from an old extension cord, and fit perfectly into the battery.  Positive is on the left.  I'll do a video with some more construction details as well.
 Here's a second connector.  I glued the prongs onto a piece of scrap wood and insulted with liquid tape.  I double and tripled checked the polarity was correct.
Here's the final connector.  It works really well!

I can now charge the battery using any 12V-24V power supply, including my regular charger on Pb mode.  Charging from the car should be OK as well, but I'll double check the amperage requirements.

Anyways, hope this quick note helped, and if you're interested in seeing more DIY Inspire projects let me know!

Power Equivalence.  The table below shows the required amperage at several voltage levels in order to provide the equivalent power.  The first amps column is the straight calculated equivalent, and the second amps2 column take into account the approximate 10% power loss from the boost converter.

Watts Voltage  Amps Amps2
100      26.3  3.83
100      24    3.3    4.5
100      20    5.0    5.5
100      18    5.5    6.1
100      12    8.3    9.1

Note that the 12V amperage is just barely within the maximum amperage specified for my unit, mentioned above.

If you have a standard RC 4-button charger, you can set it to Pb (lead-acid), 20V, 5A and be just a little shy of the maximum equivalent charging capacity.

There's a rumor that the built-in charger of the smart battery won't current-limit. Sadly, too much of the DJI world runs on superstition, so until a battery dies and we get to do an autopsy, we won't be able to determine if this is true.  In the meantime, if you don't exceed the  Amps2 number for your power supply voltage that won't be an issue. (update: see below)

(Update) Some people have asked why "Charger" is in quotes in the title.

  • The technically correct terms are "power supply" for the thing that plugs into the wall and "charger" for the circuitry that supplies electricity to the cells.  This is also the common industry usage.  A typical RC charger includes the circuitry to properly charge "dumb" LiPo batteries.
  • DJI uses the arguably "technically incorrect but more commonly used" term "charger" for the power supply.
  • Displaying EastBay RC's famously pedantic nature, we therefore put "charger" in quotes.

(Update) DJI has some good information on their wiki.  Specifically, this datum:
7. Over Current Protection: Battery stops charging when high amperage (more than 10A) is detected.
If this situation is detected, the document indicates that LED2 will blink twice per second.

So the total power provided to the voltage converter should be under 260 watts.

blogodex = {"idx" : ["Inspire 1", "power supply", "DIY Inspire"]};

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Things to try: the Dream Flight Libelle DLG

Rather sweet, and not crazy expensive like so many DLGs.

"There are few experiences in model aviation more satisfying to the soul than flying an efficient, slow-moving glider that has been launched to soaring altitude by hand. The Libelle takes RC hand-launch glider flying to the next level, building off of the global acceptance of the Dream-Flight Alula. Until now, this type of experience had been out of reach for many pilots for a variety of reasons. The Libelle is for everyone; it can be assembled, balanced, and trimmed for flight by pilots of any experience level."

Lots of info here:

blogodex = {"toc" : "Dream Flight Libelle DLG"};

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!)