Saturday, January 29, 2011

Starting the Arcticopter I

We've got most of the Arcticopter I components ordered.  Here's what we're going with for the main components.  I'll keep track of the actual pieces that go on, including the fiddly bits, and post that as we figure it out.  

Frame: AeroFPV.  This looks to be a very solid frame that will still be pretty light.  It's made from milled aircraft aluminum.  The milled joints mean that it will be more rigid than the equivalent 2D cutout pieces, and that pieces will be held in place by "mechanical advantage" (i.e., there's a groove in the center plate where the legs attach, so it's not depending on just the friction of the bolts -- what is this called?)  They've also designed it so that it will hold a gopro, and have isolated the moving parts from the electronics and camera mounts, so vibration will be less of a problem.
Controller: KapteinKUK flight controller, from  I was quite excited when I heard that dadde86 himself was going to be supplying boards.  He is one of the giants of FPV flight, and judging by all his prior work I'm confident that this unit will be well-built and well-supported.  KapteinKUK seems to be a bit of a genius himself; check out his projects and posting on RC Groups.
Props: 8x3.8 APC Slowfly and Slowfly Pusher.

Batteries: initially we're trying both of these: Turnigy 2200 mAh 3S 25C, Turnigy 3000 mAh 3S 20C.

Battery Charger: Because this will be used in a remote location,  I recommended the Turnigy 4x6S charger and 25 amp power supply.  He'll be able to charge 4 batteries at once at 2C capacity, so in principle they'll be done in 30 minutes.

Radio: Turnigy 9X transmitter and 8-channel receiver.  It seems everybody has a good opinion of this model... it is certainly hard enough to order!  I put it on backorder, and as soon as my notification mail arrived I checked and it was already in backorder again.  Same for the receivers... I was waiting for them to become available so I could add some spares onto another order, but I think the same thing happened... the entire shipment went to filling back orders, so I'm going to go ahead and back order them as a separate order.

We're also interested in experimenting with the arducopter, but we were caught in an upgrade lag for the version 2 boards.  It also comes as a kit, which means there's a lot of soldering to be done ("now attach the other 138 header pins in the same way..."  For the Arcticopter I, I want to eliminate as many variables as possible, and it would be pretty uninteresting if the entire first phase of our project were devoted to hardware debugging.

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