Monday, June 30, 2014

Engineer PA-09: Crimper for Micro Connections

Got a lead on this unit, which jj604@rcgroups says:

My conclusion was that there is only one hand crimper made that works for the 1.25mm and 1.5mm connectors. It can also do the 1mm JST-SH but it's a a bit more of a struggle. They specify it as 1.25-2.5mm but show JST-SH as a typical terminal it can be used for.

On anything above 1.25mm it works a treat. It's not cheap (as in Chinese HobbyKing cheap) but don't let the stamped steel look fool you.

This is a precision Japanese made crimper with a adjustable hinge pin for alignment. It is called the Engineer PA-09.

Engineer PA-09 Micro Connector Crimpers

blogodex = {"idx" : ["crimpers", "connectors"]};

Sunday, June 29, 2014

UMX Radian, Maiden Flight

Woo Hoo, it's sweet.  After I saw Chuck's I had to have one.  It arrived, and I took it out for a spin at Caldecott Field.  No wind on the ground, but gusts up higher where we weren't sheltered in the valley.

Not a whole lot to say about setting up... take it out of the box, attach the wing, attach the velcro (I do it opposite of what they recommend -- soft velcro on the battery), charge up the battery, bind it, and go! You do need to let it sit still for a couple of seconds for the gyro to initialize.  There's no accelerometer, so it doesn't have be be laying flat.  The little batteries are great.  I flew for 30-40 minutes on two, with lots of smooth gliding.

I'll probably try this wing magnet mod.

Here's some clips of the maiden flight. I'm temporarily without a video editor, so I just cut them together with quicktime.  The second version has some music from the YouTube library (the artistry of EastBay RC never ends!), but for some reason that drops the video down from 1080p to 720p.  Anyways, they both show the basic sweetness.

blogodex = {"toc" : "UMX Radian", "idx" = ["Caldecott Field", "maiden"]};

Monday, June 23, 2014

FAA Updating Interpretation of RC Regulations

Found on the AMA blog, the FAA is issuing an update of the "Special Rule for Model Aircraft".  More details to follow, and I'll be filling in links as appropriate.

FAA Press Release:

FAA Document (17 pages)

FAA Guidelines for Hobby/Recreational Flying:

blogodex = {"idx" : ["FAA", "Regulations"]};

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Chuck's New UMX Radian

CME President Chuck Hill picked up one of the new UMX Radians
and brought it in to our monthly indoor fun fly. It's a sweet plane!  Lots of details at the link, but the tldr:  three channel, ASX stabilization, flies nicely, just fits into a single basketball court.  I'm going to get one!

Turn off ASX with the Programming Cable.
Linkage: UMX Radian Mods; Sailplanes; Micro RTF;

blogodex = {"toc" : "UMX Radian", "idx" : ["CME", "Fun Fly"]};

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Wind Resistant H Quad

Kauaiguy@RCG has posted pictures and notes for his wind resistant quad.  I guess that's necessary if you live in Kauai!  I'll be following along on his build, and I'm collecting some of his notes here.

  • I was flying fpv in 20/30 mph winds and not having any control issues,also its easy to fly some distance as its fast!Next version I make ,the frame and motor mounts will come out to about 100g.This frame is a 450 mm frame size and takes 8/9/10 inch props.

  • Build list
    • Carbon tubes 320mm (4) 14 mm Talon v2
    • Motor mounts (4) Hal 
    • Aluminum boom mount (4) Talon V2
    • Flat base plates (2) Hal 
    • All frame parts available from Hobbyking USA
    • Same foot print as the Flip fpv frame ( large frame 450) but 200 g lighter.Next frame is going to be mostly epoxied together and just over 100g with mounts.Cost will be 4 ,14 mm ,320mm long carbon booms($16.40 for 4)from Hobbyking
    • Drilled holes with a drill press after it was glued together.Probably doesn't need the screws .

    blogodex = {"idx" : "H Quad"};

    Monday, June 16, 2014

    Great Video from Jeremy Vickery

    Colleague and friend Jeremy Vickery put this video together.  Sadly I wasn't able to go to the Mount Diablo fly-in, but it looks like they had a great time.  Jeremy was one of the first people I knew that got a quad primarily for video and photo use, and I've always admired his eye and use of aerial perspective.

    Pixar Drone Meet from Jeremy Vickery on Vimeo.

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

    9xr Pro Wiring Diagram

    Brent "SkyNorth" Nelson released the 9xr Pro Wiring Diagram, which I've copied here.  Besides being useful, it looks rather nice as well!

    I hope more manufacturers start providing such useful documentation.

    blogodex = {"toc" : "9XR Pro", "idx" : "wiring diagram"};

    Tuesday, June 10, 2014

    joseico90's Workhorse H Quad

    Copied from his notes and photos posted here.

    • 15x12mm strip pine wood for arms and body frame
    • [??] mm ply for the bottom of the body 345mm Long x 125mm wide
    • 3mm light ply for the top cover 310mm long x 125mm wide. (the cover is cut in 
    • two sections at 155mm from the rear edge to allow partial access to the inside)
    • Arms are 450mm long
    • Body box is 120x595mm between the arms
    • the two 15x12mm strips for the box sides are 295mm long, they are glued to the bottom plate in an upright manner, (the 12mm side), the arms are placed resting on their 15mm side, this leaves a gap for cooling the ESC inside the box.
    • Bottom cover is glued permanently, the top cover and tower are secured with self taping screws
    • The arms are secured by two bolts each for easy replacement or dismantling/storage.

    blogodex = {"idx" : "Workhorse Quad"};

    Nifty Taranis Model Notes

    Casey101@RCG posted a nice modification to a Taranis Model Planner by VoBo@RCG.  Wouldn't it be neat if Companion9x could print this out!

    blogodex = {"idx":["Model Planner","Taranis"]};

    Monday, June 9, 2014

    Downshooter Notes

    After many years of faithful service, the old downshooter is being retired.  New downshooter is set up and (as you can see!) being tested.  In this picture the old downshooter is on the left and the new downshooter is on the right.

    Todo: figure out minimum iphone focusing distance, any way to lock white balance.

    First test shots:

    blogodex = {"toc":"DownShooter","idx":"Workshop"};

    Wednesday, June 4, 2014

    ARC - the Alonso Robot Controller

    So I'm teaching a robotics class, and hit a big problem.  Most cheapie robot projects don't include a remote controller, so they only do boring things like follow lines or bump into things.  I added an RC model style remote control to the project, and whoosh... up jumped the equipment price like crazy!!

    Thankfully, I have the awesome good fortune to work with Alonso Martinez, of Gertie the Hopping Robot fame.  He had just the thing for me!  I'm noting the parts list here, and when the parts come in I'll add a build guide.

    All up price range, for controller and receiving radio: $8 (tiny joystick) to $17 (wii nunchuck controller).  Add anywhere from $2 to $10 for your favorite flavor of battery, and it's quite a deal.

    Thanks Alonso, you saved my neck on this one!!

    Radio: $2 for two (transmitter and receiver)

    Knock-off Arduino 3.3v: $8 for two (transmitter and receiver)

    Joystick: $2

    You could also get way cooler and get a wii nunchuck that come with accelerometers and a bunch of other buttons for $7

    cheap Lipo battery for car $10 for two (one for robot and one for controller) :

    If you're not set up to conveniently handle RC lipo batteries, you could use a 9v battery, $1.44 each:

    blogodex = {"toc": "Alonso Robot Controller","idx":["ARC", "Robotics Class"]};

    Welcome to the Turnigy 9XR Pro, Video Tutorial Series

    The 9XR Pro has been released!
    And it's documented...

    The Video Series

    In conjunction with Hobby King and the 9XR Pro development team, EastBay RC has developed an introductory set of videos that will step you through the basics of getting started with the radio and its excellent open source software.

    Here's the series in one playlist:

    And pointers to each part of the series:
    Written Docs
    There are written docs, and they're good.  Read them, you will not be sorry.
    • still trying to figure out permanent home of docs...
    Till  then, I've taken the liberty of  grabbing the current versions and put them here:

    blogodex = {"toc": "Turnigy 9XR Pro","idx"="tutorials"};

    How to be a happy early adopter

    (here's a note I posted on RCG, talking about the Taranis.  I think it applies generally to a lot of things.  I had forgotten I wrote it... Thanks to Scott Page for reminding me!)

    If you're on this thread, you're probably enthusiastic about a product that most of world hasn't heard of. You are, in fact, an early adopter! Here's a few tips that will make your early adopterhood a much more pleasant experience, both for yourselves and others. This is based on my own experience in being an Open Source early adopter (since 1981!). Share and enjoy!

    You are going to be frustrated.

    If you've used a Taranis (or, reaching out, OpenTX on a Turnigy), you've experienced the joy. You're going to be surprised when other people don't automatically share your bliss.

    People will not have heard of the thing you love.

    To many people, FrSky is either nothing, or some no-name Chinese manufacturer. For some odd reason, they don't watch Bruce, but instead get most of their information in bits of chopped up tree material delivered monthly to their home. To the extent they've heard of ordering stuff off the Internet it's a bad idea, a perilous way of purchasing items of dubious quality.

    People will be skeptical of the thing you love.

    Again, if you're in the know, you realize that FrSky is incredibly high quality. I'm not talking "high quality considering the price," I mean "high quality." Radio format wise, it's equivalent or superior to all of its competitors.

    But, people don't know that. And they're suspicious of the low price -- how can something cheap be equally as good as something expensive?

    Part of this is an education problem. Used to, extra features needed extra electronics. Now all manufacturers buy the same chips in bulk, and these are the chips the consumer electronics market has pushed down to incredibly low prices.

    A new generation of consumers will understand this intuitively. Some people need to be educated about this. A certain percentage of those people will not get it, and you have to learn to accept it.

    As has been attributed to various physicists, it doesn't happen that people who disbelieve in your theory change their mind, it's more that they all die off.

    They're not necessarily evil, or corporate shills for competitors, or dumb, or intentionally intransigent. See the next point.

    If you act crazy, people will think the thing you love attracts weirdos.

    There's a certain amount of tribal enthusiasm that indicates a new thing is really a breakthrough. But you can't be impatient and crazy when people ask about it.

    Examples of this craziness abound in the computer world. I would mention an example, but I don't wan't to get the mail. (executive summary: "WE'RE NOT CRAZY, YOU REALLY ARE A MORON IF YOU DON'T UNDERSTAND WHY OUR THING IS BETTER")

    In particular, don't tell them that they are representative of any of the attributes mentioned above (no matter how much it seems they are!) or they will not be happy talking to you.

    Be patient. The rules have changed, but people don't know it yet.

    The personal electronics industry (especially smartphones) really have changed the rules of manufacturing small electronics devices. $5 for a 32 bit CPU or 6DOF gyro/accelerometer chip is an astonishing thing.

    People not plugged in still don't understand this. Especially when they're somewhat technical but not up to date, when the functionality of either of those chips would have been in the hundreds of dollars.

    You will prevail. Or maybe not!

    If you're rooting for Taranis and FrSky, I think in a couple of years you'll look back fondly on this "we few we happy few" days and be a little sad that everyone takes FrSky equipment for granted.

    Or if not, because there's been something even better come across!

    Someday, you will be the old guard.

    And finally prepare yourself... there will be a day when there is something better, and you'll probably be one of the old clueless SOBs hanging around wanting the youngsters to prove their new-fangled toy is anywhere near as good as your precious Taranis which you've been using for the past 20 years.

    Submitted for your approval... if you don't like it, the Internet will cheerfully refund your money!

    blogidx = {"idx":["philosophy","rambling","idle chitchat"]};

    Tuesday, June 3, 2014

    NutBall Aerobatics

    goldguy posts a nice tutorial here...

    #3 Rolling the NutBall is an easy to do and basic maneuver. Once you've mastered it, the roll becomes the basis for the snap roll, spins, inverted flat spin (complete with sound effects), the inverted 'elevator', both up and down, plus other silly weird stuff.

    Rolling is more than just slapping over the rudder stick with the NB, although with models like the Simple Delta, flat and with elevons, that's all it takes to look good. What you want is to practice nice smooth rolls where the speed of rotation is the same throughout the 360 degrees of travel, it can be done almost axel, it's all in the timing and rolling to the left is easier to start off with. Make sure you set the CG at 25 percent to start, you can modify that as you progress, fly the maneuver at a MEDIUM speed at first and pay attention to the amount of movement on the rudder and elevator, not too much (???) is lots. The big problem in rolling the NutBall is that with too much rudder throw it wants to flip over very quickly once past inverted. How much movement is all apart of fine tuning. Having a low wing loading is a big aid in flying aerobatics as everything is much easier to do. If there's too much of a breeze, mount a bigger battery or some lead ballast, keeping the CG unchanged.

    So, here's what to do to start off with.....................

    Fly along straight and level at a brisk speed, but not full tilt (yet), and just before you enter the roll, add a tiny bit of up elevator to rise the nose, then feed in the rudder nice and smooth and when it goes inverted give it a tiny blip of down elevator and let off on the rudder just after is goes past inverted. What you need to do in the beginning is to form a pattern or tune in your brain. Practice in your shop with the model in front of you, try and picture in your mind what's happening. I learned four point rolls by repeating this to myself as I moved the sticks in the proper sequence and at the proper speed................ta da, ta da, ta da, ta da. It's like a tune in your head and you keep to the timing. Not sure what key I'm in, but it works. Got that from the best 3D pilot I know.

    When you go out to practice, by yourself seems best and concentrate on the one thing and do just that.

    #4 Here's another easy fun one anyone can do, the 'upright elevator', although it's all down elevator, no up. You'll need a rearward CG for this one, but start off with what you've got to see the difference it makes. Gain lots of altitude and point the nose straight into the wind. Now, hit full up and hold, and kill the thottle at the same time (again, it's in the timing) and use just the rudder to keep it facing into the wind. It should float down like a leaf, and with a low wing loading and a nice breeze you can plop it right down on the wheels. You can do this one inverted too.

    blogodex = {"toc":"Nutball", "idx":"GoldGuy"};

    Monday, June 2, 2014

    Notes: Welcome to Taranis, Part 8b: Audio Telemetry Warnings

    These are notes to accompany the Welcome To Taranis series.  Follow the link to see the videos and other notes.

    Part 8b: Audio Telemetry Warnings

    blogodex = {"toc":"Welcome to Taranis","index":"Taranis"};

    Sunday, June 1, 2014

    Arduino Class

     A while back I taught an Arduino class, and friend and coworker Josh Minor snapped some pictures.
     Soaking it in...
     It blinks!
     And another one blinks. It is not a coincidence!
     Preparing to blink.
     Contemplating the blink!
    Why does it blink?  Electricity!