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Posted by on Nov 26, 2012

Wind Chasing Episode 3

Wind Chasing Episode 3

  Take what you can get… It’s been raining all week, but trees are losing their autumn leaves, and winter is coming, so we take what we can get, and today what we get is sunny but windy. 20 mph constant wind and gusting flurries up to 35 mph, particularly up high. And cold. Big Heath So, safely away from dogs and roads and people and buildings, I ventured out to the vast expanse of Iping Heath, off the A272, to get blown about the skies while I get the measure of how my new hex behaves in high wind. It is fair to say that both the Naza and the T-motors have been tested hard today and both performed admirably, safely tackling 10 consecutive 6-7 min flights involving constant correction and hi revs to try and remain stable in all the blustery air currents. Amazingly, nothing was hot, not motors or ESC’s, so I’m pleased that it can physically stand up to these things. It can hold position...

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Posted by on Nov 20, 2012

Testing Times Episode 4

Testing Times Episode 4

  The Battle Won. This one has been a long time coming, which is why I don’t care that yet again I’m at my local test-flight field, or that my GoPro is manfully struggling against the fading light. The Deep End Finally, after weeks and weeks of endless research, tests and trials, I have managed to eliminate both secondary micro-shakes and jello FX from my F550 heay-lift hexacopter video setup. It’s been interesting. Skip this next bit if you aren’t interested in the minutiae of how I eliminated shakes and jello – it’s mainly here so I remember what I did if I crash and have to re-build. The setup (in order of vibration transmission chain) is this: Six 11 x 5 Carbon Fibre Props connected to Six T-Motor 2814-10’s connected to 2″ 3mm steel arm extensions connected to A DJI F550 frame with Extra Tall Plastic / Carbon Fibre / Aluminium Landing gear connected to OFM custom Glass Fibre Base Plate with XAircraft Rubber Grommets, which hold 2...

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Posted by on Nov 15, 2012

The Autumn Sun

The Autumn Sun

Maximum gold please. Well it was certainly nice to see a sky that wasn’t entirely grey this morning, and it got better as time went on, so that as I arrived to meet a friend in Worplesdon at 2 pm it was making everything there look pretty stunning. This was Autumn at its best, and I was damn well going to be in the air recording it. All the power… With 2 lots of new 5800 maH LiPo’s and 2 massive 8000 maH packs out for testing, I was hoping for some flight time improvements, and there they were – in the end I got a good 7 minutes of fast flight out of the 5800s and nearly 10 mins with the 8000’s, so now, combined with the veritable arsenal of other batteries I drag round everywhere with me, I can be in the air for about an hour per session, which is about as much as I can concentrate on flying for, so that’s me happy. JFX, I...

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Posted by on Nov 11, 2012

Autumn Dusk

Autumn Dusk

Original video titles Yes, it’s another Autumn ‘something’ video – I’ll run out of appending words before trees run out of leaves. It’s the cinematics from the previous narrated flight video. Or rather the better shots from all that session’s flights. Really pleased with the smoothness of video going on here – is very rewarding to see all that trial and experimentation with prop vibration isolation finally work and not ruin my videoings. Google de-shake has helped, but didn’t need to much. Now I’ve just got to make that hex get better at dealing with wind, and stop that ruining everything. So enjoy this, the latest collection in my Autumn series, as I do my best to catch the trees and lakes of Petersfield Heath at their golden seasonal best while the wind isn’t too bad and consequently, the filmings are quite smooth.. Music today harmlessly borrowed from the 80′ / 90’s best non-goth goth band, All About Eve, with a rare BBC session version of ‘Wild...

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Posted by on Nov 6, 2012

Testing Times – Part 1

Testing Times – Part 1

  Flight 1 Testing: Parallel Lipo packs, motor lift ability, gain settings, gimbal tweaks, flight times, camera shake Right, we’re in full-on testing mode, whereby we eschew to some extent the delights of exciting style flyings, and instead take things nice and slowly, and the review the on-board cam footage, see what’s wrong, and do our best to make things better. Today has been a mixed bag of results. Popped out for three 7 minutes flights this afternoon, so that was 2 x 4A Lipos in parallel, and then 2 pairs of 5A. Last night I had set my gains thusly: I also tweaked down my motor idle speed, thinking that the T-motors were running a bit fast at startup. The good news: Motors easily cope with the weight, though it does feel a little bit sluggish on the reactions with the 10A pair, as we’d expect. But unlike with DJI motors, any amount of sharp descent is rescuable, and hover remains stable at 50%, and flight is still...

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Posted by on Nov 5, 2012

Introducing SkyCrane – AC1 v3 has arrived…

Introducing SkyCrane – AC1 v3 has arrived…

Thrusters to maximum, please… Yes, my quest for ultra smooth cinematic video reaches another climactic landmark as our F450 quadcopter, which was reborn as an F550 hexacopter, which was better, but still not quite good enough to easily lift a stabilised cam mount, is reborn yet again, this time as a heavy-lift sailplane style AP platform… In this vid / blog, we’re having a quick look round it, accompanied by Jon Scofield going mental on a guitar, and then we’re out for a maiden test flight. Yes, like that, but bigger… I have modded the 550 with 2″ arm extension plates, Tiger Motors 2814-10s, and 11 x 4.7 carbon props, so it will now easily carry my Xaircraft dual axis camera mount and GoPro2. This is a great move – new motors sound like a spaceship, and have nearly 10Kg of thrust between them – they make the standard DJI motors look very small and weak… We’ve gone from 3S to 4S power, and after today’s maiden flight, I...

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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 Sep 14, 2012

AC1 Discovery Gets An Upgrade…

AC1 Discovery Gets An Upgrade…

The DJI Naza-M flight controller does a damn fine job of keeping my quad upright, and fighting the most piercing of winds to remain where I put it in the sky. My TPPacks camera mount does an admirable job of eliminating ‘jello effects’, which are video artefacts caused by the vibrations of the 4 rotors. But all my footage to date lacks that real sense of professional smoothness I am aiming for. No matter how smoothly I fly, I just can’t get rid of the movements and wobbles caused by fighting the wind, and flight controller stabilisation. To do that, I need a camera gimbal, like this one.   This will absorb the majority of smaller shakes and bounces that flight generates, and assuming my flying continues to get smoother and less ‘flingy’, then we should be on the road to broadcast quality video. Of course if you have a gimbal like that, you have to also have some landing gear so it can mount to the quad properly…...

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