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Posted by on Oct 31, 2012

AC1 V2 Power Upgrade… Part 2

AC1 V2 Power Upgrade… Part 2

Still down for upgrades, so we can go up faster later… Well, decisions have been made, and parts are beginning to arrive: 6 shiny new Tiger Motors,  2″ arm extensions for the F550 frame. Carbon Fibre and Gemfan composite 11 x 4.7 propellers, several 4S 4000 and 5000 maH LiPo power packs and various other bits that deal with changing up to 4S 14.8v battery power. I have decided for now to stick with stock DJI 30A ESC’s. I have resolved the ‘over-power for motor’ warnings I was getting from e-calc by changing my plan by only sending up one battery pack at a time, rather than 2 in parallel as originally planned. I will have to adapt the battery mounts so that either 4000 or 5000 maH packs can still give me a balanced CoG, which is helpful for even motor work rates and smooth flyings. I really hate soldering, but will force myself to do it until I like it, and consistently do it well. Things to...

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Posted by on Oct 27, 2012

AC1 V2 Down for upgrades…

AC1 V2 Down for upgrades…

Is 6 really better than 4 ? I am beginning to think that ‘upgrading’ to an F550 was a mistake; at least in thinking that I might be able to just sort that out quickly, and it would all be fine. 2 more motors I thought, half the lift again, surely ? No.  More stable flight, because there’s more motors ? No, worse if anything… interesting. So this week has mainly involved finding problems that need to be solved, and trying to solve them, as opposed to running round the countryside documenting Autumn like I should be. Which is slightly disappointing given that Autumn is looking especially good at the moment, in between all the rain. No, what I have now is a much heavier and less manoeuverable craft that still won’t easily lift the reasonable payload I want it to, and in the brief moments it does, won’t give me any sort of flight time or enjoyable flying fun because my confidence that the hexacopter is within my...

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Posted by on Oct 19, 2012

Drive-By Flyings Episode 8

Drive-By Flyings Episode 8

  Some people stop flying as soon as Summer is over. I am not one of them, but sometimes I very much see their point. This week has been absolutely awful for flying. If it hasn’t been raining it has been threatening to, and when it is dry, winds have been silly high, forcing me to go find new fly sites miles away from people and buildings and wires etc, where the wind would have less opportunity to get me into trouble. The other day I went exploring the South Downs, driving along its highest ridges, looking for launch spots. I found a few, the best and worst of which are covered here in this video, which gives up on cinematic aspirations about 10 seconds in, and is here to show you the various moments of joy and terror I had while learning how to fly in what felt like extreme gales, a skill I feel will be very useful living in the UK. This is really the ultimate...

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Posted by on Oct 17, 2012

Sunsets and Spaceships

Sunsets and Spaceships

2 Flights today. Epic wind in the morning at Liss Forest. But horrible flying, and lost a (previously damaged) landing leg in the process. (Mental note: never trust superglue) so abandoned that, deleted the relatively tedious video, improvised and attached a new landing leg, and went out again at sundown to investigate some crop circles I’d heard about. It is worth the 28 minute drive on the A272 to Winchester to get to the inexplicably named ‘Cheesefoot Head’, where there is a car park right next to some amazing high landscape, and as a double bonus there’s some crop circles to make the ground interesting. Unusually big danger factor from the air, of all places – several very low flying planes spotted, making this a level 3 fly site, I reckon – extra vigilance required. And the sun is going down, so we’re getting some golden hour goodness. My new favourite flying site :) There is no need to whinge that I’m re-using soundtracks :) It’s the Moonbeatz remix...

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Posted by on Oct 11, 2012

Autumn Falls Episode 1

Autumn Falls Episode 1

  ..in which we faithfully record and transcribe what stuff looked like when Summer stopped and everything started raining. Knowing how rubbish the weather was going to be tomorrow, I thought I’d make the most of the day’s brief respite from the rain, and did 2 flight missions, the first of which I haven’t bothered uploading because it’s Petersfield Heath, and we’ve seen it all before… And indeed I’ve flown from the ‘Hyperview’ at Litten Lane before too, but not this side of the hill.  Driving on down the dirt track for another 500 yards from the original viewpoint, I found easy(ish) access to a nice big field with amazing adjoining forestry happening on all sides, and beautiful drop off the South Face of Stoner Hill. The wind was there, as ever, ruining all my shots again, and I’m back on my 1.2 setup with a fixed cam mount, so the only weapon in my armoury is Google De-shake, deployed here for the first time on one of my...

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Posted by on Oct 8, 2012

Just too much…

Just too much…

  AC1 V2 Camera Mount Testing Episode 1 I say review, it’s not really; it’s the story of how upgrading my quad-copter’s camera gimbal  went… I’m not very used to my plans going wrong (more so since flying multi-rotors :), but in the thousands of pages of information I have absorbed on the hobby in the last 4 months, I have never come across anything that suggested DJI motors weren’t up to the job. Everyone knows their props are crap, but generally everyone seems fine with the motors. Indeed, AC1 Discovery (there’s a law that states we all have to name our first craft ‘Discovery’. ) v1.2. has always been quite ‘light on its toes’ so when it came to fitting a new and better camera mount I wasn’t thinking the weight of it would be a problem I particularly needed to worry about. The camera, yes, of course, but I didn’t know then how heavy servos are :) I needed to upgrade the cam department because I’m now...

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Posted by on Oct 6, 2012

AC1 Discovery V2 Arrives !

AC1 Discovery V2 Arrives !

Quad Upgrade – New Landing Gear / Cam Mount I’ve been really happy with my TPPacks isolation cam mount, as it gave me a way to get reasonable flight footage right from the start, without being too massively expensive. But now that my flight skills are approaching a decent level, it’s time to try and get some much smoother footage. I looked around at the various options available (not many), and eventually decided that the right system for me to try next was a 2-axis gimbal mount. Cost including custom landing gear / mount to make it fit to my flamewheel frame I got from OnlyFlyingMachines, and was around £500 all in, so quite a major upgrade, I hope. It all arrived in hilarious kit form – the mount being simple enough, but the gimbal itself took quite some assembly – I did a little bit every day, and it took a week. If I’m honest I don’t like the slightly Heath Robinson way the mount attaches to the...

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Posted by on Oct 5, 2012

Autumn Greens – Episode 1 – After the Rain

Autumn Greens – Episode 1 – After the Rain

Well that was Summer, apparently, and now we are firmly in the grip of chillier winds, and unfriendlier clouds. In this, the first of a new series of Autumn-flavoured videos, we catch it right at the beginning, while most things are still green, with the occasional splash of oranges and golds here and there. So I’m here on Petersfield Heath, taking in the scenery, and practicing my moves as a warm up for all the proximity tree-flying there is to come. Inspired by one of Quadcopters UK’s recent vids, I might also be here on a secret scouting mission to see if Petersfield Golf Course is worth a closer fly, so was aiming to get some high overheads of that too. I’ve got a thing for nicely mown lawns and interesting trees at the moment, so that should be ideal. The wind, as always, was present and correct to thwart my smooth filmings, and upgrading this to a level 3 fly site, but I didn’t care – I was...

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Posted by on Oct 4, 2012

Flying Sites

Flying Sites

  It’s another one of those tedious or interesting (depending on how you view these things) informational-type posts, in which I go into a bit of detail about one aspect of flying. Today, it is fly sites. Working as I do with Google maps to plan where flights might happen, and quickly realising there is more to think about when choosing one than I first guessed, I find it helpful to grade areas so that I can easily find and repeat the sort of flight I feel like doing at any particular time. Primarily these comprise my assessment of how difficult or not flying is, and how many things there are that will get in the way of good film results. Typical hazards include roads, people, wind, buildings, animals, water, trees, cables, access etc. Level 1 Fly Site Large area(s) of flat or subtly gradiented open space, protected from wind, with soft ground substrate, devoid of people and animals and anything except clear space. Some trees expected, but easy...

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Posted by on Oct 4, 2012

Drive-by Flyings Episode 5

Drive-by Flyings Episode 5

  … in which we combine 4 days flyings into 1, because I’ve had to go rain-dodging, and grab the odd flight here and there in between bouts of British weather. Notably I haven’t managed to avoid the wind, so join me as we get buffeted around the countryside and take in a lovely view or two along the way… These are the flights with my brand new set of Graupner Electros, following the horrible crash in the quarry, held down with star washers to see if that kills prop slip. On reflection I think it probably does. Have also tweaked the gains a bit while I had the props off, and not sure I have done entirely good things there. Oh well – will have to redo it anyway when I add the new cam mount and landing gear… Talking of which, as my TPPacks Isolation cam mount is slowly dying, as can be seen in various bits of footage here,  fortunately I am already building its replacement,...

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