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Geek Culture / The RC Multirotor Thread

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Clonkex
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Posted: 5th Feb 2015 04:00 Edited at: 5th Feb 2015 04:02
Decided the multirotor discussion and news should go in its own thread, so this is where you post.

For starters, here's my build log thread on RCGroups (I've not updated it for a while, but more is coming): http://www.rcgroups.com/forums/showthread.php?t=2330324

AND I've re-written my flight algorithms to utilise a "rate" mode underneath the "angle" mode, and I'm about to go string up my quad and adjust the PIDs so that the rate mode will work properly Hopefully after this it will stop flipping over on takeoff

List of previous quadcopter-related posts by me in the post-comp:

http://forum.thegamecreators.com/?m=forum_view&t=114323&b=2&msg=2547699#m2547699
http://forum.thegamecreators.com/?m=forum_view&t=114323&b=2&msg=2547734#m2547734
http://forum.thegamecreators.com/?m=forum_view&t=114323&b=2&msg=2547969#m2547969
http://forum.thegamecreators.com/?m=forum_view&t=114323&b=2&msg=2548264#m2548264
http://forum.thegamecreators.com/?m=forum_view&t=114323&b=2&msg=2548395#m2548395
http://forum.thegamecreators.com/?m=forum_view&t=114323&b=2&msg=2548477#m2548477
http://forum.thegamecreators.com/?m=forum_view&t=114323&b=2&msg=2548497#m2548497
http://forum.thegamecreators.com/?m=forum_view&t=114323&b=2&msg=2548552#m2548552
http://forum.thegamecreators.com/?m=forum_view&t=114323&b=2&msg=2548658#m2548658
http://forum.thegamecreators.com/?m=forum_view&t=114323&b=2&msg=2548673#m2548673
http://forum.thegamecreators.com/?m=forum_view&t=114323&b=2&msg=2548969#m2548969
http://forum.thegamecreators.com/?m=forum_view&t=114323&b=2&msg=2549190#m2549190
http://forum.thegamecreators.com/?m=forum_view&t=114323&b=2&msg=2549209#m2549209 (and the funny gif Dar13 posted is response: http://giant.gfycat.com/UnitedImpureAlaskajingle.gif
http://forum.thegamecreators.com/?m=forum_view&t=114323&b=2&msg=2549451#m2549451
http://forum.thegamecreators.com/?m=forum_view&t=114323&b=2&msg=2549795#m2549795
http://forum.thegamecreators.com/?m=forum_view&t=114323&b=2&msg=2550078#m2550078
http://forum.thegamecreators.com/?m=forum_view&t=114323&b=2&msg=2550086#m2550086
http://forum.thegamecreators.com/?m=forum_view&t=114323&b=2&msg=2550093#m2550093
http://forum.thegamecreators.com/?m=forum_view&t=114323&b=2&msg=2550349#m2550349

The Zoq2
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Posted: 5th Feb 2015 10:59
Yeay, our own thread

Sadly my tricopter is down atm, turns out a bit of water got in through the shrink wrap on one of my ESCs which fried it and my flight controller when I plugged it back in.

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Clonkex
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Posted: 5th Feb 2015 14:00
Quote: "Sadly my tricopter is down atm, turns out a bit of water got in through the shrink wrap on one of my ESCs which fried it and my flight controller when I plugged it back in."


For once I'm kinda glad it rarely snows here

Clonkex
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Posted: 6th Feb 2015 08:31
I just had a seriously brilliant idea!

Ok, so I've been really struggling to get my quad to actually fly (and it hasn't so far) simply because I don't know enough (or anything) about how real flight controllers work, so I can't get the algorithms up to scratch. The quad just doesn't respond quickly enough to commands to stay (or get) in the air. I was getting quite sick of trying to work out where the issue lay.

BUT, I had an idea. Instead of trying to make the flight controller myself... I just buy one! "But then you need a traditional transmitter, silly." No, I'll control it with my Arduino!

That's my good idea. I don't actually need to come up with good flight algorithms, I just tell the FC what to do and it does all the complex flying work. And the brilliance of this plan is that I can still do all the cool stuff I wanted to do before, such as GPS RTH, perfect height and position hold with an ultrasonic and optical flow sensor, etc.

I've bought a KK2.1.5 board from HobbyKing already.

Home-made Chinese for tea! And tomorrow we're going down the coast (Ballina) for our a few days to do Summery things like go to the beach and go on Ballina's 18-metre high water slide, which is super fun! The cool thing is, this means my FC board will be here when I get back, so no waiting around for it to come!

Everything is awesome!



The Zoq2
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Posted: 6th Feb 2015 12:52
Ah, so you will use the arduino as a sort of translator between the commands you send from your PC and the flight controller? That's a really interesting idea.

Im not sure what flight controller I want to use myself. I used the KK mini which was nice but I would like something a bit more expandable. The KK is nice because it has the LCD screen and buttons which makes it easy to configure on the "field" but it's pretty basic.

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swissolo
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Posted: 6th Feb 2015 19:11 Edited at: 6th Feb 2015 19:20
Aw I was looking forward to making one of these. That's okay

Quote: "I think there's no reason not to use them (i.e. there's no disadvantages that I know of) and if you crash the props are far less likely to break. I didn't get any because my motors came with normal threaded shafts with nuts. In other words, if it comes with prop savers, use them. I wouldn't worry about it that much"

I've read a lot of stories across the web of prop savers breaking mid flight and becoming a safety hazard They also increase vibration. It's possible a lot of angular moment could pop the props right off. I'm uneasy about the idea of lifting the whole quad with what are essentially rubber bands but of course I've never used them so I couldn't really know!

Also it seems that all 4.3 pitch props are slow fly props? That essentially rules out the motors I listed in the middle (the 820g thrust ones) back on the posting competition because I believe slow fly props reduce agility

Quote: "BUT, I had an idea. Instead of trying to make the flight controller myself... I just buy one! "But then you need a traditional transmitter, silly." No, I'll control it with my Arduino!"

Why do you need the KK2.1.5? There's already open source arduino projects available for quadcopters.

Quote: "Im not sure what flight controller I want to use myself. "

In the reasonable price range the best controller is the Naze32. I'm sure there are specific features that might make someone perfer the cc3d or kk2.1.5, but in general the Naze32 is the best choice Some people feel its too complicated to setup, but I'm confident essentially anyone on this website will have no trouble with it. Some people are intimidated by the command line feature, but it's hardly complicated

Edit: My frame showed up while I was typing this

The Zoq2
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Posted: 6th Feb 2015 19:23
Yea, the naze 32 is what im looking at right now. It's not too expensive and it's pretty expandable. Plus, if I get a bluetooth reciever I can use it to change PIDs without having to plug it in or remove my waterproof canopy

Say ONE stupid thing and it ends up as a forum signature forever. - Neuro Fuzzy
swissolo
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Posted: 6th Feb 2015 21:54 Edited at: 6th Feb 2015 21:54
Quote: "Yea, the naze 32 is what im looking at right now. It's not too expensive and it's pretty expandable. Plus, if I get a bluetooth reciever I can use it to change PIDs without having to plug it in or remove my waterproof canopy"



Additionally,


This isn't exactly how you're supposed to assemble it but I wanted the pieces to be lined up to see it. The 4mm carbon fiber arms are crazy

The Zoq2
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Posted: 9th Feb 2015 18:43 Edited at: 9th Feb 2015 19:29
Ah, carbon fiber looks so cool

I found a place to buy the ESC and flight controller in europe so it should arive any day now.

I went with a Full Naze32 because I would like to experiment with GPS position hold and stuff at some point.

Edit: Oh yea, and I also broke a wire on my hubsan x4 when I was moving the electronics from the original frame to my new 3d printed frame

Say ONE stupid thing and it ends up as a forum signature forever. - Neuro Fuzzy
Clonkex
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Posted: 10th Feb 2015 10:13
Nice frame, looks awesome!

Quote: "I went with a Full Naze32 because I would like to experiment with GPS position hold and stuff at some point."


Cool, gonna have to actually find out what a Naze32 is lol

Now to get started with rewriting a large portion of my controller code to prepare for the arrival of my KK2.1.5 board. And clean up my base station program. And get my FPV camera mounted and controllable. Excited!

The Zoq2
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Posted: 10th Feb 2015 13:06
Quote: "Cool, gonna have to actually find out what a Naze32 is lol "


Lol, it's a flight controller. I used a KK but since that broke, I felt like trying something new so I went with a naze

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Clonkex
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Posted: 10th Feb 2015 13:07
The Zoq2
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Posted: 10th Feb 2015 13:13 Edited at: 10th Feb 2015 13:18
Ok then, some more information.

It's an open source/hardware flight controller that comes in a ton of versions. The full version has a magnetometer and barrometer plus support for GPS which I want to experiment with at some point. And a big reason I chose it is because you can add a bluetooth reciever to change PIDs and stuff on your phone

Edit: It's also using a 32 bit ARM processor instead of the 8bit CPU on the kk

Say ONE stupid thing and it ends up as a forum signature forever. - Neuro Fuzzy
Clonkex
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Posted: 11th Feb 2015 00:28
Oh cool. I'd done some googling but found it surprisingly difficult to find information on the thing. Your description helps a lot

The Zoq2
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Posted: 19th Feb 2015 21:20
I finally got the new ESC and flight controller and was able to do a maiden flight yesterday. After increasing the gains on the yaw axis a fair bit, it flies almost as good as it did with the KK board. And that's with almost stock parameters.

Say ONE stupid thing and it ends up as a forum signature forever. - Neuro Fuzzy
BatVink
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Posted: 19th Feb 2015 22:00
I'm not going to attempt to build a quad from scratch. Aside from having no experience with RC Flight before, I don't have the time.

So I've spent some of my Intel Compo winnings on a DJI Phantom. It's ready to fly (almost), and I can reprogram the Naza for manual flight later on if I get the hang of it.

The main reason for buying is to hang my GoPro off it Still waiting for the prop guards and extra batteries, so it will be the weekend before I get it up and running. However, it's all calibrated and ready to go as soon as they arrive.

Quidquid latine dictum sit, altum sonatur
The Zoq2
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Posted: 19th Feb 2015 22:56
Ah, a phantom. They have a pretty bad reputation of having pilots who have no idea what they are doing and crashing into all kinds of dumb things.

Don't rely on the automatic return to home or GPS position hold mode, learn to fly it manually first

The copter itself is pretty great and can get some pretty amazing photos.

Say ONE stupid thing and it ends up as a forum signature forever. - Neuro Fuzzy
Clonkex
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Posted: 20th Feb 2015 01:24
Quote: "So I've spent some of my Intel Compo winnings on a DJI Phantom."


Awesome! I have a friend who also bought one of those, and they look like cool quads, 'specially for GoPro filming!

As The Zoq2 said, make sure you can fly it around safely without GPS assistance before using the GPS features

swissolo
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Posted: 20th Feb 2015 03:21
Quote: "Ah, a phantom. They have a pretty bad reputation of having pilots who have no idea what they are doing and crashing into all kinds of dumb things."

Main thing I've heard about is the malfunctions They've been fixed but got a lot of press.

BatVink
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Posted: 20th Feb 2015 11:52
I live in Yorkshire, UK. So I'll be taking it to the top of a hill with lots of visibility, and nothing to crash into but grass. It's my childhood dream to have a flying RC model (though it was mainly planes a few helicopters then), so I'll be treating it well I can't see myself emulating Star Wars chases just yet.

Quidquid latine dictum sit, altum sonatur
Clonkex
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Posted: 20th Feb 2015 14:03
You wouldn't be doing FPV racing with a Phantom anyway lol Those things in the videos are 250 size, specially built for racing

Dark Java Dude 64
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Posted: 20th Feb 2015 14:28
I just thought of something interesting. Historically, most types of RC aircraft have been emulations of types of real aircraft, such as helicopters and planes. But the first significant incarnation of quadcopters manifests itself as RC aircraft, not real aircraft.

Clonkex
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BatVink
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Posted: 22nd Feb 2015 18:20
I had my maiden flight yesterday, and I came back with my quad, complete with all 4 propellers intact - achievement unlocked!

I was high up on a hill with a small wind, the quad was very stable, far more than I expected. I managed to get it off the ground, hover, rotate and eventually fly it in a large circle around myself about 50 feet high.

The scariest bit was when it was flying forwards and caught an updraft. I think it reached about 120 feet or more before it levelled out and I brought it back down. That's probably nothing to an experienced pilot, but as a first timer, I had no idea when or if it was going to come back down!

Quidquid latine dictum sit, altum sonatur
The Zoq2
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Posted: 22nd Feb 2015 20:20
Quote: "I was high up on a hill with a small wind, the quad was very stable, far more than I expected"


Yea, the flight controllers are amazing

Quote: "I managed to get it off the ground, hover, rotate and eventually fly it in a large circle around myself about 50 feet high."


I guess you must have flown it with the front facing weird directions then. That's easily the hardest part

Say ONE stupid thing and it ends up as a forum signature forever. - Neuro Fuzzy
Clonkex
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Posted: 25th Feb 2015 01:07
Quote: "I had my maiden flight yesterday, and I came back with my quad, complete with all 4 propellers intact - achievement unlocked!"


Woo well done!

Quote: "That's probably nothing to an experienced pilot, but as a first timer, I had no idea when or if it was going to come back down!"


An experienced pilot wouldn't let that happen in the first place, but as an noob, that is pretty scary. I've had that happen with our little Walkera Ladybird... it's tiny and it still scared me

swissolo
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Posted: 25th Feb 2015 04:37
It'll be 100 dollars for Hobby King shipping that's only half of my items (they are only available internationally). Might have to rethink Hobby King.

Clonkex
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Posted: 25th Feb 2015 05:48
Dark Java Dude 64
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Posted: 25th Feb 2015 06:21
Quote: "It'll be 100 dollars for Hobby King shipping"
That reminds me -- wasn't there a time where, if you lived in Brazil, flying to the United States, buying an xBox One there, renting a hotel, and flying back to Brazil was cheaper than just buying an xBox One in Brazil?

The Zoq2
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Posted: 25th Feb 2015 11:23
Yea, that would make sense. But AFAIK it's not because of shipping but because of the insane taxes on electronics in brazil.

Quote: "It'll be 100 dollars for Hobby King shipping that's only half of my items (they are only available internationally). Might have to rethink Hobby King.
"


Yea, hobby king are pretty terrible with shipping costs. My experience is that it's better to find some ebay sellers that sell all the items individually. Or even better, find alternatives in your own country.

Say ONE stupid thing and it ends up as a forum signature forever. - Neuro Fuzzy
swissolo
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Posted: 25th Feb 2015 22:04 Edited at: 25th Feb 2015 22:11
Thank goodness. I figured out why the cost was so high. Most of the shipping choices I have available price based upon the volume of the box items ship in, not the mass. I was originally going to purchase the Turnigy 9x. It's a great value item, but I've read that the box that it comes in is silly large. When I first read about the box size I didn't care in the slightest, but it turns out it was adding $75 to the shipping bill it also accounted for about half of the weight. A $60 item that produces $75 in shipping! Not such a great value anymore Of course, this price bump must also be a result of the 9x in combination with the result of my cart so don't necessarily expect that yourself in you're interested in the 9x. ALso, all of the sudden what I've seen regarded as the best quality shipping (DHL) is now also the cheapest too (okay it's the 2nd cheapest by 23 cents ). Alright

Quote: "That reminds me -- wasn't there a time where, if you lived in Brazil, flying to the United States, buying an xBox One there, renting a hotel, and flying back to Brazil was cheaper than just buying an xBox One in Brazil?"

Funny

Edit: Well now I feel quite clever although there aren't any mode 2 9x radios in stock at Hobby King in the US warehouses they do have Mode 1 in stock. I believe it shouldn't be too difficult to alter a mode 1 9x to function like a mode 2 one. That should save my shipping dilemma I'll double check that the modification is possible first though.

Clonkex
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Posted: 26th Feb 2015 01:02
Quote: "I believe it shouldn't be too difficult to alter a mode 1 9x to function like a mode 2 one."


Indeed you can. My brother was intending to do that when he was planning his quad (which he never ended up buying). It's about a five-minute job and there's YouTube videos to show you how

The Zoq2
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Posted: 26th Feb 2015 01:52
Nope, converting modes isn't too difficult. My radio, which I brought a few years ago came with springs on both sticks and I had to remove one of them to convert it. All I had to do was screw it open and take out one spring.

It seems like radios are pretty easy to modify in general. I was able to connect a 2.4ghz radio instead of the old 35mhz radio that was in it.

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swissolo
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Posted: 26th Feb 2015 05:26 Edited at: 26th Feb 2015 05:26
Yeah I saw some videos online right after about mode 1 -> mode 2 but I had edited that post too many times to do it again

Current price of the quad: $441.73
$45.31 of that ended up being shipping from various places, but it's good shipping

The Zoq2
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Posted: 9th Mar 2015 19:03
I think I had another part fail on me due to the crash in the snow a while back. I was flying and everything went fine until the copter suddenly started yawing like crazy and I obviously crashed. Nothing major broke but some zip-ties got ripped off.

My guess is that some water got into the servo when I crashed and when I started flying again after rebuilding everything, the water moved around and broke something. Replacing the servo has helped but I had to tune the PID settings on the yaw axis quite a bit with the new servo (which isn't hard to do in the wind)

Here are some images of my rebuild/rewiring if you are interested.

Say ONE stupid thing and it ends up as a forum signature forever. - Neuro Fuzzy
Clonkex
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Posted: 10th Mar 2015 02:16
Quote: "Nothing major broke but some zip-ties got ripped off."


Phew!

Quote: "Here are some images of my rebuild/rewiring if you are interested."


Very interesting indeed

I really need to get back to work on my quad. Last time I played with it I was trying to get auto-hover working with the ultrasonic sensor. Surprisingly difficult.

The Zoq2
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Posted: 10th Mar 2015 17:43
Quote: "I really need to get back to work on my quad. Last time I played with it I was trying to get auto-hover working with the ultrasonic sensor. Surprisingly difficult."


What stage are you in, can you fly it normally now and are working on autonomus features? Did you end up going with having an arduino be a middleman between the transmitter and flight controller?

Im planning on building a 3d printed mini quad pretty soon. My tricopter is great but it's a bit to big to fly around my yard with. And I also want a new project for my 3d printer

Say ONE stupid thing and it ends up as a forum signature forever. - Neuro Fuzzy
Clonkex
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Posted: 11th Mar 2015 02:49
Quote: "What stage are you in, can you fly it normally now and are working on autonomus features?"


Well it flies quite stably, but I have to have a laptop outside to control it because I need to be able to see the thing at the moment. The hover system currently makes it leap up and down wildly. I believe the PIDs are tuned way off, so I'm going to try a different approach (i.e. start with D).

Quote: "Did you end up going with having an arduino be a middleman between the transmitter and flight controller?"


Yup

Quote: "Im planning on building a 3d printed mini quad pretty soon."


You have a 3D printer?? Whoa, awesome! Can't wait to see that!

The Zoq2
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Posted: 11th Mar 2015 13:07
Quote: "You have a 3D printer?? Whoa, awesome! Can't wait to see that!"


Yea, I managed to get my whole family interested in them so we got one for christmas I have already printed some parts for my tricopter on it. The ladning gear on it are 3d printed aswell as my old snowproof canopy and some other smaller pieces. It has actually turned out more usefull than I expected it to be.

I have a maths final in about a week but after that I will start working on that quad. Hopefully I can order some electronics for it so I have those avalible when the time comes.

Say ONE stupid thing and it ends up as a forum signature forever. - Neuro Fuzzy
Clonkex
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Posted: 11th Mar 2015 13:23
Quote: "Yea, I managed to get my whole family interested in them so we got one for christmas"


Ah, always an excellent tactic We've managed to get many expensive items that way

Quote: "It has actually turned out more usefull than I expected it to be."


There's a lot of times I've wished we had a 3D printer when I was building something, so I can absolutely understand that

Clonkex
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Posted: 17th Mar 2015 06:09
I've decided I'm going to try to sell my quadcopter. I just decided that I'm not a good enough programmer to achieve my goals an (more importantly) I don't have the time to spend on it. More info here.

Dark Java Dude 64
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[u][/u]

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swissolo
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Posted: 17th Mar 2015 06:17


Still waiting on the chance to be home to finish building btw

Clonkex
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Posted: 17th Mar 2015 07:09
When I have the money I'll buy a new quad, but this time it'll be a more traditional one that's controlled by a normal receiver/transmitter. It'll also be smaller so it's more fun

The Zoq2
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Posted: 17th Mar 2015 16:05 Edited at: 17th Mar 2015 16:39
That sucks clonex, it sounded like a really interesting project.

Edit: I ordered all the electronics for my new quad yesterday, the ESCs arived today and the rest should come in soon. I have printed one arm which I think will work as long as all the motor holes are in the right place.

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swissolo
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Posted: 23rd Mar 2015 04:56 Edited at: 23rd Mar 2015 04:58
Little update from me: Seems like my naze 32 has poor quality drilled holes. They're not quite lined up right. The holes looked fine but when I went to put them on my frame they're just a tiny too far apart, and 3 were too snug to slide down the screw very easily (had to screw into the breadboard gently). To get the screws to line up I had to loosen the screw's grip on the frame. Now all that tension is on the board, instead of the screws and nuts When I tested the board earlier it seemed to occasionally behave erratically and very sluggishly on occasion. Might be tossing it anyways. If it breaks being mounted like that, well, it can't go anywhere else I'll just have to buy one that actually fits. Other than that issue I'm pretty close to finishing.

The Zoq2
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Location: Linköping, Sweden
Posted: 23rd Mar 2015 19:24
That sucks, perhaps you could try using some smaller screws?

Also, what do you mean by it behaving "erratically and sluggishly"?


I finished my 3d printed mini quad this weekend and it flies really well. The only mechanical problem I have with it is that it is way to light. I have to put an extra battery on as weight to be able to descend, if I don't, there is a tiny bit of lift as soon as the engines start.

I have also realised that I could have designed the arm brackets a bit better, they seem to be the weak point right now but I think I know how to fix it.

I was also very lucky with my wiring at one point. I had taken it out for a first test flight but wanted to tweak some things on it. I took it inside and unplugged the battery and moved some stuff around. When I went out to fly and plug in the battery again, I saw a ton of smoke from underneath the frame, and I figgured I had fried my naze. Turns out I had plugged an ESC in the wrong way (+ to -), but luckily I had used some really thin wires while waiting for something better and the wires burned off from the current before the ESC got damaged.

Here is a build log if you are interested: http://imgur.com/a/DRlkk
And models on thingyverse: http://www.thingiverse.com/thing:735599
And finally, the OpenSCAD code for the models: https://github.com/TheZoq2/Mini-X-Quad

Say ONE stupid thing and it ends up as a forum signature forever. - Neuro Fuzzy
swissolo
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Posted: 23rd Mar 2015 20:34
Quote: "The only mechanical problem I have with it is that it is way to light."

Too light? Now that's silly.

Quote: "I have to put an extra battery on as weight to be able to descend, if I don't, there is a tiny bit of lift as soon as the engines start."

There's a command to not automatically start spinning the engines that most people use if that's what you're talking about

Quote: "Also, what do you mean by it behaving "erratically and sluggishly"?"

In baseflight the model that represents orientation will match up perfectly with the board 1 minute, and then the next it will lag behind something like 500 ms with some sort of smoothing between positions. When it starts doing that yaw is also completely wrong. Then out of the blue it will go back to normal

Quote: "Here is a build log if you are interested: http://imgur.com/a/DRlkk"

I'd like to see the banana fly.

The Zoq2
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Posted: 23rd Mar 2015 20:37
Quote: "I'd like to see the banana fly."


Lol, I guess you could put two bananas together and put some motors on the edges. You would probably need some big bananas though.

Quote: "There's a command to not automatically start spinning the engines that most people use if that's what you're talking about"


I know and I do have that set, but it's pretty hard to descend when minimum throttle lifts it up.

The good thing about it is that I can have bigger batteries or other fun equipment onboard and not have to worry about lift.

Say ONE stupid thing and it ends up as a forum signature forever. - Neuro Fuzzy
Clonkex
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Location: Northern Tablelands, NSW, Australia
Posted: 27th Mar 2015 01:34 Edited at: 27th Mar 2015 01:35
Quote: "The good thing about it is that I can have bigger batteries or other fun equipment onboard and not have to worry about lift."


I was just about to say that. Because the motors are barely working they're also working very efficiently, which means you should be able to put a second big battery on there and get nearly double flight time (or at least 50% more).

I'd seriously love to have a 3D printer. So many ideas for Arduino projects that would be heaps easier (and more fun) to accomplish if I could create highly custom parts! (Thinking 6DOF joystick right now)

Quote: "In baseflight the model that represents orientation will match up perfectly with the board 1 minute, and then the next it will lag behind something like 500 ms with some sort of smoothing between positions. When it starts doing that yaw is also completely wrong."


I'd be checking carefully for shorts on the board itself (like maybe one of your screws is somehow touching something). That's what it sounds like to me.

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