Sunday 18 December 2016

Turnigy 9X mode change

Here's how to change a Turnigy 9X V2 from Mode 1 (throttle on the right) to Mode 2 (throttle on the left)

Simple hardware tweak on the gimbals and software selections required.

Next job is to flash the firmware to OpenTX. A dodgy SmartieParts board has stalled that operation, waiting for a new one, stay tuned.

Sunday 2 October 2016

Evolution of the X UAV One sloper

This is the story of my awesome X UAV One 1800mm wingspan V-Tail sloper. 
It was designed to be a pusher FPV cruiser with a unique prop drive mechanism that encircles the boom. However the boom prop gear box was way to noisy and caused vibrations. Bad for stealthy flying and onboard video.

This kit was sent to me by BANGGOOD for review.

While waiting for the motor to arrive I decided to try it as a sloper.
Actually I always intended to reconfigure it for sloping once the review was done.

The poorly designed gearbox really became apparent during my motor maiden flight.

Once that was out of the way it was time to try a tractor motor setup. 
Not so good for FPV with the prop in front of the camera, but a much better flight experience.

And finally as a pure sloper with slimmed down fuselage and longer nose, 
made from coreplast, hot glue and gaffer tape.

It is now a brilliant sloper that works in light wind, less than 10kn here, and will ballast up nicely for strong winds.

Boscam RX LCD5812 FPV screen review

This is a very nice 7" HD FPV screen with 40ch dual diversity receiver. Resolution 1024 x 600.
Removable sunshade folds down to protect the screen in transit.
AV in and out, HDMI in, USB port for firmware updates. External power port.
The only downside is that it doesn't have a built in DVR.

Watch on YouTube

GEARBEST purchase link

Friday 17 June 2016

Mini Ranger Tundra morph

The Volantex Ranger 757-4 eventually flew OK but I was getting bored with it.

I decided to change the pusher into a tractor and make it as close to the Tundra STOL plane as possible, and thus the Vundra was born.

Now this is a fun plane, with enormous flaps and later addition of big wheels, I can see why the Hobby King Tundra is so popular

Here's how I cut up the mini Ranger and glued it back together as the Vundra.

STOL on the beach


Repair and landing gear how to

Sloping in lots of wind


Thursday 9 June 2016

Volantex Ranger 757-4 review

...also called the mini Ranger. sent this plane to me for review. It's a 1.4m wingspan pusher style motor glider marketed as an FPV platform. It's ready to fly and includes transmitter, battery and charger.

Although the build quality and hardware are quite good, the flight performance out of the box is far from perfect.

High mounted pusher motors tend to push the nose down when power is applied. Some down thrust must be designed into the motor mount to counteract this, and there is not enough in this plane. The result is that the mini Ranger dives down under power and loops up when the throttle is cut, making it impossible to maintain level flight.

That's easy to fix. Just need to add 1.5mm thickness spacers under the bottom motor mount holes to angle the motor up a bit at the back.

Another major problem is the ineffective vertical stabiliser. The airflow over the rudder is blanketed by the big chunky fuselage causing bad adverse yaw. This means that the mini Ranger struggles to turn. When you use ailerons to bank into a turn the plane wants to head in the opposite direction. More rudder and power input is required to force it through a turn.

You need to use lots of rudder and aileron input all the time, or you can mix the rudder and aileron in the transmitter programming.

Here are build and maiden videos, as well as post maiden mods and adverse yaw explained.

I didn't enjoy flying this plane in it's original configuration so the next post will show how I converted it into a tractor motor, short takeoff bush plane, much like the HobbyKing Tundra.

Build video

Maiden flight

Post maiden mods

Adverse Yaw explained

Sunday 27 March 2016

First RC plane and RC gear recommendation

3 channel crash resistant pusher style motor glider

Turnigy i6 transmitter and receiver (about A$70) -  HobbyKing link

2 x 1300mAH Lipo batteries (about A$11 each) -  HobbyKing link

Turnigy B6 Pro pocket charger or similar (about A$30) - HobbyKing link

NOTE: Most chargers do not come with a power supply. Need to connect to car battery, or use a 12V DC power pack, like a printer or laptop wall charger.

Overview video

Dimension for the new cross tail and shortened tail boom (mm)

Tuesday 22 March 2016

FT Mini Arrow - hotwire version

This is a ripping little wing, perfect for combat and proximity FPV.

Wingspan - 775mm
Flying weight - 400g

The Flite Test version is made from cheap US foamboard, which is not available in Aus.

My arch enemy combat pilot Chris made one from 6mm depron covered with packing tape, and I made a hotwire version from XPS foam.

Initial streamer combat flights have been fantastic, very addictive. Chris is narrowly leading the scoreboard....for now.

I suspect our numbers will be growing rapidly judging by the comments from the audience on the day. Combat video coming soon.

We decided to standardise motors, ESCs and battery for matched performance.

Motor - Turnigy 2822/14 1450kV
ESC - 20 to 25A
Battery - 1300mAH
Prop - 7 to 8"

Hotwire templates (Right click and download)

Hotwire foam blank plan
(Same template with 2 different views)

Aileron and winglet templates
(6mm depron or 4mm coreplast)

Build overview

Maiden, repair and re-maiden

Mini Arrow streamer combat

Tuesday 8 March 2016

OpenTX eepe and bin model files

Here are all my current models with downloadable OpenTX version 2.16 eepe files.
I use the Taranis plus for powered planes and thermal gliders where telemetry is useful,
and the Turnigy 9XR Pro for slope soarers at salty, sandy coastal sites.
I use spoken flight duration minutes on all models (not a global function)

Taranis Plus models (eepe files)

Global functions (apply to all models)
Volume adjust - RS (Right slider)
Save logs to SD card - SE switch not up

Fokker Dr1 triplane
A crowd favourite but very draggy and struggles in any wind. A slow flying spectacle.
Stig's head turns with the rudder and also full L or R with a switch.

Fokker Dr1 eepe file

Motor - Hextronic DT750
Prop - 11 x 5.5"
ESC - 40A
Battery - 4S 3000mAH
Sensor - 40A current

Receiver - X8R
1 - R aileron
2 - L aileron
3 - throttle
4 - elevator
5 - rudder
6 - Stig

Expo Ail Ele Rud - 30
Differential - 50
Rudder Aileron mix - 50
Throttle override - SE up
Stig on rudder and SA
Spoken CNSP and VFAS - SD up
Spoken current - SD middle

DH82 Tigermoth biplane
A very smooth and satisfying flyer capable of mild aerobatics.  Steady and reliable, great camera and FPV platform.

Tigermoth eepe file

Motor - Hextronic DT750
Prop - 11 x 5.5"
ESC - 40A
Battery - 3S 3000mAH
Sensor - 40A current

Receiver - X6R
1 - R aileron
2 - L aileron
3 - throttle
4 - elevator
5 - rudder

Expo Ail Ele Rud - 30
Differential - 50
Snapflaps - 20 (only for inverted flight or Ele stick forward)
Rudder Aileron mix - variable via S1 knob
Throttle override - SE up
Spoken CNSP and VFAS - SD up
Spoken current - SD middle

DH53 Hummingbird
A wonderful smooth flyer. Faster and more agile than the Tigermoth but still looks very retro.

Hummingbird eepe file

Motor - Sunnysky X2212 980kV
Prop - 11 x 5.5"
ESC - 40A
Battery - 3S 2650mAH
Sensor - 40A current

Receiver - X6R
1 - R aileron
2 - L aileron
3 - throttle
4 - elevator
5 - rudder

Expo Ail Ele Rud - 30
Snapflaps - 40 only for forward Ele stick (inverted flight)
Rudder Aileron mix - variable via S1 knob
Throttle override - SE up
Spoken CNSP and VFAS - SD up
Spoken current and RSSI - SD middle

Bixler 2
Classic motor glider, great camera platform and longer range FPV plane. Also a very smooth sloper.
Flap servos removed, flaps and ailerons taped together for full span flaperons.

Bixler 2 eepe file

Motor - Turnigy 2826 2200kV
Prop - 6 x 4"
ESC - 40A
Battery - 3S 2200 - 3000mAH
Sensor - GPS and 40A current

Receiver - X8R
1 - R aileron
2 - L aileron
3 - throttle
4 - elevator
5 - rudder
8 - beeper

Expo Ail Ele Rud - 20
Spoilerons - SF (momentary) down
Rudder Aileron mix - 30
Throttle override - SE up
Lost model beeper - SH down
Spoken CNSP and VFAS - SD up
Spoken altitude - SD middle
Spoken distance and RSSI - SD down
Spoken RSSI every 4 sec if RSSI less than 50 - always ON

Bixler 2 with Bigaole RTH Flight Controller

Bixler 2 RTH eepe file

Normal flight - SG up
Stabilised flight - SG middle
Return to Home - SG down
Failsafe sets throttle at 40% and activates SG down (RTH)

Receiver - X8R
1 - R and L aileron
2 -
3 - throttle
4 - elevator
5 - rudder
8 - lost model alarm

Sipkill Wing
Mad little wing for close in, ripping around on FPV

Sipkill Wing eepe

Motor - Turnigy 2822 1450kV
Prop - 7 x 4"
ESC - 30A
Battery - 3S 2200mAH

Receiver - DIY 801
1 - R elevon
2 - L elevon
3 - throttle

Rate 50% and Expo 50% - SC up
Rate 75% and Expo 50% - SC middle
Rate 100% and Expo 90% - SC down
Rate 60% and Expo 40%

Ch1 -90 Ail -100 Ele
Ch2 90 AIl -100 Ele

Throttle override - SE up

Mad acrobatic plane with oversized control surfaces

Acrobat eepe file

Motor - Turnigy 2836 1000kV 
Prop - 10 x 4"
ESC - 40A
Battery - 3S 2200mAH

Receiver - X8R
1 - R aileron
2 - L aileron
3 - throttle
4 - elevator
5 - rudder

100 - 75 - 50 rates - SC
Expo Ail Ele  - 70, Rud - 60

Snapflaps - 20 

Throttle override - SE up
Motorised 3 channel thermal glider

Radian eepe file

Motor - stock
Prop - stock
ESC - Plush 40A
Battery - 1300 - 2200mAH
Sensor - Vario

Receiver - X4R
1 - rudder
2 - elevator
3 - throttle

Throttle override - SE up
Vario beeps - SD middle
Spoken altitude - SD down

V2 Discus Launch Glider
Entry level 1.5m composite DLG. The purest form of RC flight and great exercise.
I moved the momentary switch to SF (top left)

V2 DLG eepe file

BEC - Turnigy 3A
Battery - 2S 300mAH
Sensor - Vario

Receiver - X4R
1 - R aileron
2 - L aileron
3 - elevator
4 - rudder and BEC

Expo - none
Differential - R 70 and L -62 required for 15º up and down aileron range
Camber 0% - SA up
Camber 4% - SA middle
Camber 6% - SA down
Rudder Aileron 50% mix - SG up
Launch mode (Ele 18% up) - SF momentary down
Flap brakes with Ele compensation - Throttle stick full down

Turnigy 9XR Pro models with Turnigy 9X module (bin files)

Global function (applies to all models)
Volume adjust - P3

Speedy sloper
Strong wind fast sloper with no rudder. Flap or spoiler brakes on Thr stick.

Speedy sloper bin file
(For some unknown reason these save as bin rather than eepe. Same thing, they both work)

BEC - Turnigy 3A
Battery - 3S 1300 or 2200mAH (for weight)
Receiver - HobbyKing 3ch

1 - R aileron
2 - L aileron
3 - elevator and BEC

Expo Ail - 30

Flaperons and Spoilerons on Thr stick
Snapflaps - 30 for inverted flight only
Differential - 65 and -51

Fusion mad flipping sloper
Very agile light wind sloper with full flying mad elevator (90º up and 40º down).
Spring - Pull elevator and rudder.

Fusion bin file

BEC - Turnigy 3A
Battery - 3S 500
Receiver - HobbyKing 6ch

1 - R aileron
2 - L aileron
3 - BEC
4 - elevator
5 - rudder

Expo Ail - 60
Expo Ele - 80

Flaperons and Spoilerons via Thr stick - ELE switch down
Snapflaps - 20
Ele 100% - ID0
Ele 50% - ID1
Ele 20% - ID2

Le Fish mid weight
Very acrobatic VTPR sloper with full flying mad elevator
(VTPR - French for acrobatics close to the ground)

Le Fish bin file

BEC - Hobby King 5A
Battery - 3S 500mAH
Receiver - HobbyKing 6ch

1 - R aileron
2 - L alieron
3 - BEC
4 - elevator
5 - rudder

Ail and Rud rates 50 to 100 variable via P3 knob
Ele rates same as above - ELE up
Ele rate 100* - ELE down (for mad flips)
* via an expo curve

Le Fish ultralight
Very acrobatic VTPR sloper for light winds

Le Fish ultralight bin file

BEC - Hobby King 5A
Battery - 3S 500mAH
Receiver - HobbyKing 6ch

1 - R aileron
2 - L alieron
3 - BEC
4 - elevator
5 - rudder

AIL switch up
Ail - rate 100 expo 80
Ele - rate 100 expo 80
Rud  - rate 100 expo 80

AIL switch down
Ail - rate 50 expo 50
Ele - rate 60 expo 60
Rud  - rate 50 expo 40

Snapflaps 30

Phoenix 2000 sloper
Big fast sloper for all conditions (no motor) Full house setup with flaps and ailerons.

Phoenix sloper bin file

BEC - HobbyKing 5A
Battery - 3S 1500 LiFE
Receiver - Turnigy 9X 8ch

1 - R aileron
2 - L alieron
3 - BEC
4 - elevator
5 - rudder
6 - R flap
7 - L flap

Ail - expo 60
Ele - expo 40
Rud - expo 40

Ailerons and flaps working as full span ailerons. Ail 100 Flaps 50
Snapflaps - Ail 50, Flaps - 16 and 12 for inverted flight

Full span Spoilerons on Throttle stick up
Wide central deadband
Crow brakes (Ailerons up Flaps down) on Throttle stick down

Tuesday 1 March 2016

One axis servo gimbal

Here's how to make a very simple one axis camera stabilizing gimbal.
The resulting footage is very much like the MotoGP gyro cam, with the horizon staying level and the bike (or plane) moving under the camera.
I'm using a 808 #16 keyring camera for my onboard footage, but this could work with a Mobius or Run Cam.
The base is heat-bent PVC plastic, the servo is a digital metal gear Corona DS939MG and the control board is a Naze 32.
The camera lens pivots in a hole in the PVC mount at the front and the camera is directly connected to the servo by a PVC bracket and small screw. The servo is mounted at the required height on soft foam using double sided tape.
This is designed as a stand alone camera mount and all it requires for power is 5V plugged into one of the unused servo positions. I run a servo lead from a spare channel on the receiver with the signal wire removed. Don't plug 12V in by mistake, bad smells will come from the Naze 32.
The camera servo is plugged into "Servo 0" pins. This is usually for the pitch servo, but I have the board turned 90 degrees to allow access to the mini USB port.
The Naze 32 is configured in Cleanflight as a gimbal. Watch the video below to see what selections are required. (Thanks to Painless 360 on YouTube for showing me how it's done) 
Here are some onboard stills from my scratch built Tigermoth

Build overview and configuration instructions

Onboard footage

Speedy Sloper tweaks

In really strong winds, like 25kn, it was obvious that the single boom V-tail design was still too flexy. So here's the next version.

I doubled the tail boom and changed to a conventional cross tail. At this stage I have no rudder, which works fine for speed runs. If I wanted more aerobatic performance from this glider a rudder would be essential.

I've added balsa fillets at the tail join for a bit more strength.

It's all much stiffer and is working well. So far I have only flown in a 15kn breeze, can't wait for a decent blow.

Friday 15 January 2016

Speedy V-Tail sloper

For the last 2 weeks the wind strength has rarely dropped below 20kn. To keep flying I needed to
design something that could handle strong winds. The obvious candidate was a speedy slope racer.

The balsa-pod version of my Ultralight Sloper was available because it was superseded by the mad-flipping Fusion. Here are the mods needed to transform it into a high wind speedster.

V-Tail 1

Many slope racers use a V-Tail, and I had never tried one, so that was my first mod. I used tape covered 3mm balsa, hot glue and guessed the dimensions. The tail servos are down on the tail, which is not ideal. Not so much for the extra tail weight but the added aero drag.

It flew OK but did not track well at all, drifting and wandering side to side. This prototype V-Tail did not provide enough vertical area.

V-Tail 2

Further reading here suggested that my V angle should be sharper, about 110º and the area needed to be increased.

That improved the tracking heaps but I noticed my tail boom was twisting alarmingly when operating the rudder, as demonstrated in the video below.

Rudder function on a V-Tail is not as effective as a conventional vertical rudder because the control surfaces are acting at an angle to the airflow.  Most of the force goes into twisting the tail rather than moving it sideways, and the twist is in the wrong direction, a bit like adverse yaw from the ailerons.
Seems like V-Tails prefer more bank and yank style flying.

V-Tail 3

To increase the stiffness I shortened the tail boom by 150mm, cut 20cm off the 1.5m wing and 30mm off each tail section.

The shorter tail boom and smaller tail reduced the flex nicely resulting in much better speed and tracking.

In strong wind you can add ballast to give more momentum and penetration, which results in more speed. With a 2200mAH Lipo plus an extra 50g in metal washers it could handle 30kn flying crazy fast.

These photos show the final dimensions.

Flying weight with 1300mAH Lipo - 500g
Add ballast to taste
Wing - RG15 160mm chord
XPS foam hot wire cut
Covered with document laminating film
Servos - TGY9018 x 4

Strong wind V-Tail sloper overview and flights

Future design for more speed

For more speed I'll need to increase the tail stiffness further and reduce the drag.
My next high wind sloper design will have two tubes glued together for a stiffer tail boom and a conventional tail for less twisting. With a stiffer tail boom I should be able to place the servos in the fuselage for less drag, and run long push rods to the tail.

Weight is not a problem with these slopers, in fact more weight means more speed.

Stay tuned for updates.