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Posted by on Apr 2, 2014 in Blog

Silence Breaks

Silence Breaks

Quiet Skies

Ok, well that’s more about the headline – the skies round here are never quiet – there’s usually 1 or more Police helicopters, private planes or Chinooks at 2000 ft, so they’re rarely quiet.┬áBut today, it was a little bit noisier because me and Aerocam were back in it after really quite a long time away. So that was nice. Or was it ?

Testing ++

Having been sitting in my workshop for nearly a year, there is lots of testing to be done on the AC5 Hexacopter, cleaning up, and making sure every component still works. A lot of that was done indoors, just checking wiring and power, and how my variously storaged (or not) LiPos would do on flight time after so long without any activity. I estimate I’ve lost about 10%, or 30 secs of flight time per battery, so not too bad. I’ve got some new 8000’s I’ll wire up if flyings go well.

I needed to get a new FPV-cam, and new landing gear, though in that case, what I have in place now is serviceable enough for tests, and strong enough to support the craft. I’ve mounted the FPV cam directly into the frame of the main camera gimbal for the first time – fits very snugly, and only needs securing in with velcro.

Retrograde ?

I was hoping to pop back to the older version of the Naza firmware, but that doesn’t seem easily possible. This is not a problem as long I don’t get any of that mystery flyaway business. I am using an older version of the current V2 software, as it seems that all the updates since have been adding functionality my V1 Naza can’t support, so it seems pointless to upgrade them until I get a new V2 or 3 controller.

Up and (hopefully not) Away

To Older Hill, then, having established all is working as it should be. There’s a couple of people milling about, but no dogs, and I’ve renewed my Public Liability Insurance.

More importantly, I am miles away from anything that matters, building-wise and stand a very high chance of getting my craft back if I have to ditch it (or try some dodgy Manual-style landing) if it tries to fly off without me telling it to. Not that I’m expecting that, I’m just aware of the possibility. Including today, this setup has flown successfully 5 times without any repeat of the flyaway incident at Buriton. My confidence is slowly returning in my flyer.

Things to Note

  • The batteries are, in fact variously around 20% less flight time than last year, so extra careful on that, and only run them down to 3.7V per cel.
  • FPV Cam works fine
  • Gimbal still brilliant, but also still subject to up-down vibration, especially on descents and slow processional movement. This needs solving.
  • Prop noise a bit ‘Fuzzy’. Sounds like something’s unbalanced, or rough-edged somewhere.
  • Some yawing to the left on fast climbs, otherwise control, reasonable, though a bit gluey. Maybe gains up a bit ?
  • Auto-take-offs all fine.
  • RTH fine. Flies at break-neck speed to original location, but then takes very long time to descend. Only use when you have a full minute of batteries to land on. Otherwise take over, and land much faster.
  • GPS lock almost 100% fine – lost it briefly once or twice, got it back quickly. Craft remained controllable in Atti Mode.

Things to See, Things to Try

I was there for the testing, but I couldn’t fail to appreciate the epic views available from Older Hill either. Whilst not being very adventurous, and never attaining more than about 200 ft, the sun was lovely, and the Spring hues of the Heath made this a much less desolate place than it was when I visited here in Winter. Here’s some stills…

Nice to be back over a bit of Heath

Nice to be back over a bit of Heath

I always forget about that Racetrack over there.

I always forget about that Racetrack over there.

Another classic Hampshire Sunset

Another classic Hampshire Sunset

This time from a bit higher...

This time from a bit higher…