Saturday, 23 June 2018

Scratch-built Micro Skyhunter

3mm depron version of the wonderful little twin boom Eachine Micro Skyhunter.
Dimensions are similar to the original but with a slimmer fuselage.
1300mAH 3S battery and FPV gear.
CG best around 35mm.
The final version has a shorter nose, reinforced horizontal stab and rounded wing tips

Build video

Maiden flights

Mods Q&A and FPV

Thursday, 22 March 2018

Volantex Ranger 1600 AIR3 iNav setup

Here is how I mounted the AIR3 board in the Ranger.

The board is rotated 180º (facing the tail) making the USB port accessible (Requires board alignment - YAW 180º in iNav configurator) Mounted on a piece of corplast which jams under the wing and is taped to the ply shelf for easy removal.

I drilled a hole in the top of the body to pass the GPS cable through.

Board and servos are powered by a 5V 3A Carbonbird BEC via a power distribution cable.
FrSKY X6R receiver connects to the board by SBUS.

ESC sits on the floor to keep some distance away from the AIR3 and Rx.

Tuesday, 20 March 2018

Volantex Ranger 1600 AIR3 iNav

The Volantex Ranger 1600 or 757-7 is almost the perfect plane for me. The 2m version 757-8 is just as good and uses the same fuselage.

(Don't confuse this beauty for the terrible 757-4 Mini Ranger 1350mm. Review here)

The 757-7 has a tough plastic fuselage, 1600mm wingspan, no bad habits and excellent quality hardware. It's tough enough, aerobatic enough and glidey enough for my requirements.

Perfect for FPV cruising, aerial video, slope soaring and sport flying.

Currently I have mine setup with a Paris Sirius AIR3 F3 flight control board running iNav 1.7 from Carbonbird, FrSKY X8R reciever and 40A current sensor.

Initially the motor was a Turnigy Aerodrive 2836 1100kV with the stock 8 x 4 prop and 40A ESC
Now changed to an NTM Propdrive 2836 1200kV for better bearings and bolt on prop shaft.

With a 3000mAh 4S battery it cruises around on 3A with 25A flat out.

iNAV configurator CLI dump here

My preferred iNav modes

Ranger 1600 review

Ranger 1600 flights

Ranger 1600 sloping

Ranger 1600 motor mount mod

Ranger 2000

Banggood links

Sunday, 4 February 2018

My FPV gear

FPV Goggles, cameras and video transmitters.

My goggles are Aomway Commander V1
Much cheaper than FatSharks and have a decent quality 16:9 picture and DVR recording. Supplied with excellent patch and cloverleaf antennas and the diversity receivers give great range. Range of 3km on 200mW is possible in perfect conditions.

I strongly recommend trying goggles on before you buy. They must suit your vision, Inter Pupilary Distance IPD and the shape of your face. Idealy I would like a bit more IPD and focus adjustment to suit my vision and big head.

For normal reading I need +1.0 diopter glasses.

Or in the big screen format I like the Headplay SE box.
I needed to fit the included RHO narrower view lenses to see the screen clearly.
Spectacular viewing experience but limited by the lack of diversity receivers. Supplied with an add-on DVR unit

My preferred antennas are 5.8GHz Right handed circular polarised Aomway  clover leaf

They come in SMA or RP-SMA connector style,  and you need to choose the correct style to match your goggles and video transmitter. SMA antennas have a prong, RP-SMA have a hole.

My preferred Video transmitter (VTx) is the TS5823L  Eachine 200mW 40ch TS5823L 
It is compact and has a single push button to select channels and a single digit LED display.
The wires are stiff and delicate so need to be handled carefully.

There is a TS5823S version with a 5V regulator onboard, but I found this produced diagonal lines in the FPV feed.

Antenna connector is RP-SMA

Video transmitters come in a variety of power ratings.
25mW for small park flying and racing
200mW for general FPV
600mW for longer range, but be aware this will cause more interference to others. Only use if no-one else is flying FPV nearby.

VTx connection
I solder on a female servo-style connector to the Red, Black and Yellow wires for Power, Ground and Video signal. The other two wires are for Audio which I don't use.

I like a dedicated FPV camera like the Runcam Sparrow or Eagle 2 Pro. They are both swappable from 16:9 to 4:3 aspect ratio and have wide dynamic range and battery voltage displayed on screen.

It is possible to use the TV out signal from an HD camera like a Mobius or GoPro, but it is not as safe as a stand alone FPV camera.

More information on that here - Other FPV cameras 

To connect the camera to the VTx I solder on a male servo-style connector to the +V, Ground and Yellow. If the camera also has Voltage display capability I connect the Voltage sensor wire to directly to the Red +V wire so I can see the flight battery voltage on screen.

The camera and VTx can be safely powered from the 3S or 4S flight battery. I use a servo style Y lead with one end changed to a female balance plug (3S or 4S as required) for power. The Y lead provides flight battery voltage to the camera and VTx as well as passing the video signal from the camera to the VTx

For a swappable FPV rig I use heat bent PVC plastic to make up a small mount.

This compact FPV backpack can be mounted with tape or velcro on to any plane.

All of this gear is available from Banggood via the links above, and these category links
BANGGOOD website

Friday, 26 January 2018

Aomway Commander V1 Head tracker module

The Aomway Commander V1 FPV goggles have the option of adding a head tracker module. This means you can pan and tilt an FPV camera by moving your head around.  The head tracker module sends the head movement signals to the Taranis radio via a cable connecting the goggles to the Taranis trainer port. Then the Taranis transmits the signals to the reciever on channels 7 and 8 as TR7 and TR8, trainer inputs.
The Commander V1 Advanced version comes with the head tracker installed. I have the non advanced version so needed to buy and install the module myself.

I purchased it direct from Aomway and it came with the trainer cable, ribbon cable, mounting screws and spare push buttons. They don't actually have an online shop but send an email to "Sales" to enquire about purchasing.
I also bought a replacement DVR ribbon cable to replace the cable I had previously damaged. They are quite delicate and you must be very careful not to jam the cables when reassembling the case.

Fitting the headtracker module

One screw in the nose area allows the face plate to be unclipped. Two screw underneath hold the case together. 

Open carefully and don't over stress the ribbon cables.

There is only one spare port for the headtracker to plug in - right side, middle port, and only one way it will fit on to the mounting posts. 

I removed the top cable for better access while fitting the module. 

DVR ribbon cable replacement

Here is my damaged DVR cable. 
It was jammed between components during reassembly after I opened the goggles for a peak inside.

Push the grey clamping bar to the left to release the cable

VERY carefully reassemble the goggles making sure no cables are caught between components. The DVR cable can get in the way of the SD card slot.

Video version with the head tracker working