Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Fat Sharks!

Got my Fat Shark wireless 2.4GHz goggles in from the Memorial Day sale from Range Video. Excited to try them out, but I have been very distracted with work and weekends at the cabin, so haven't had time to rebuild my EZ* fuse or even try these out with any setup. I also go the GoPro HD camera in and need to figure out how to put it in the EZ*. I'm very tempted to just try to work it into the system as my primary camera too using the USB power hack...

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Going HD...

Well, I ordered a GoPro HD camera for my plane last weekend from This is a pretty good 1080p/30fps or 720p/60fps HD camera that records to SD card in MPG4 and has a light lion battery and waterproof case plus a ton of helmet and vehicle mounts.  Planning to run it as a separate feed/local recorder for now. There is talk that they are planning to have a FW update that will allow it to output composite standard def video while recording HD, which would be AWESOME (there are some tricks to being able to do this now, but it isn't real friendly).

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Ahhh, the rain...

Flew last night and last Monday (it was >30mph then). It was really green last night and I got a flight in at 7PM between rain storms, and pretty calm. I put a gyro on my roll to see if it would help stabilize some of the pitching (it works ok, but need to dial the gain a little). I think I’m exceeding my BEC for the receiver, with the gyro, all the servos and the OSD. I kept getting dropped throttle, then it would go into failsafe, and was only about 150 yards away…RTH saved my butt a couple times and powered up, then I got connection again. Happened Monday too. This eventually lead to a crash. Further research on this lead to this FAQ that points out that it is a low Rx battery warning...well, that answers that. Didn’t get video from Monday, but flew really low over the Falcon Creast GC. Kept the motor slow to not disturb the putts. Grin.

Monday, April 26, 2010


Went out today and tried out the new filter on the video Tx antenna. It didn't help, but I think the cheap HXT servos are just picking up noise from it. Also tested out the gyro on the roll axis for the ailerons, which is set a little too aggressive on the response. Too bad I forgot my sony miniDV recorder. I also got the pitot tube airspeed kit in. Worked MUCH better than the GPS speed, especially with the wind, which was gusting up to 25-30mph. I got a couple low flights over the golf course, and the return to home saved my butt when I was a little low and lost radio transmission...fortunately the motor powered back up and it climbed to where I could get reception again. Also got one of the cheap head trackers, but didn't have a chance to try it. The 3600mAh 3S lipos are heavy.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Ahhh...the fog...

Took the plane up to the cabin to try some scenic mountain flying. I've been waiting to get a better distance and practice before trying in trees and tough recovery locations, like mountains and dense trees. Well, with the last couple flights and testing out the eagle eyes diversity and antenna tracker, and with spring setting on, I figured it would be a good time to try. So, packed it all up. I always forget something, but it is better now with a dedicated tote box of stuff. I still forgot any way to recharge the futaba 9CAPs, but made due. Well, Saturday morning hit, and there was a dense fog (typical in Cascade, ID) from all the snow melt and warm weather coming after a chilly night. It stays low in the valley and can be pretty spectacular when I've rode my dirt bike up the ridge to get above it. So, I wanted to see if I could get video.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Mile High Club!!!

So, I finally made it up over a mile. 5280ft above the ground. And on that SAME day, I flew two other ~20 minute flights. The last one, of which, also got up to about a mile high, but also was almost 11,000ft (over 2 miles!!!) line of sight away. And the subsequent glide back down was long and peaceful. I had a great time. I'm now pushing about 2ft/mAh of battery with the 2835 Turnigy inrunner and an APC 6x4E prop and around a 40oz plane AUW with 2600mAh lipo. Everything went well. I'm still getting some ground loop noise on my second channel video rx with the 3dbi omni antenna. I've decided I'm just going to have to isolate the Eagle Eyes from the rx's with two separate lipo batteries.

Saturday, March 20, 2010


Well, I got up and left the house with my DW Foamies BAF 48" Yak 54 and my Tiger 2 electric conversion plane in my back seat with plenty of batteries to fly. Temp, a chilly 33'F. Got over to a sod farm that people are flying regularly at over by Eagle Road, and no one was there, but the wind wasn't up yet. Perfect. Flew the Yak for about 4 packs, and had a great time. Wind coming up a bit and my hands are freezing. But I decide to try the Tiger. Hum, forgot my ch 30 module for the plane...sigh. Ok, lets rob the Rx from my Yak. Got it all pulled out and switched over and set all the radio up (first time it has been setup on this new Futaba 9CAPs). Also got the CoG set about 4" back. Hum, ailerons seem to be binding a little. Oh well, lets fly. Full throttle on the 5S1P 4000mAh pack, and it is off like a rocket. Hum...seems tail heavy...and WTF! it wants to roll left ok, I now have full right aileron to try to keep it in the air. Keeps pitching up...trying desperately to get trim set. Long story short, I managed to bring it back around and land safely after a couple terrifying minutes. Turns out, the control horn on the aileron servo was stripped, and it was slipping when I got to full throws..which means it wanted to return to center with a LOT of opposite throw...and to get it to click back, I was having to push the aileron full right to push it back (pretty unnatural response when it was wanting to push the wrong way). Got that fixed and should be good to go...I hope.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

OSD Pro Screen Elements

I took a sample screen of my Eagle Tree Systems On Screen Display (OSD) and highlighted what each element of the display is telling you. Just hover over the large image below.

Context sensitive tool tips for the screen elements in Eagle Eyes OSD Pro...Hover over various elements to display description of information

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Flying in the sun

Got some video of my Yak 54 from DW Foamies today. Thanks to my wonderful wife for video taping! Here is an iPhone version. Also, here is an iPhone version of me flying the pluma.

FPV 13 - Crash!

Well, in an attempt to get the 3dbi video Tx antenna moved as far away from the servos and Rx as I could, I ran an SMA 24" extension cable out to the end of the wing and put the antenna on there. Figured it would be a little unbalanced, but not completely uncontrollable. Also was a little worried it was running the exact same direction as my Rx antenna (grin). Field check showed it ok for interferance and I powered it up and hucked it. Ouch. I'll get the SHORT video uploaded soon, but I'm gluing things...nothing too serious, I don't think, but it hit straight in and busted the camera clean off the mount and found it lying 25 feet away...and there might be a slight blemish on the lens. Oh, well, was looking for an excuse to get a 2.8mm lens with a little wider angle anyway.

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Bright Shiny Day!!!

Well, I put the 3dbi longer antenna on the Video Tx (compared to the slightly shorter 2dbi one). I get all sorts of servo jitter and massive interference. goes away when I unplug the video power, and is almost completely cleared up when I go back to the 2dbi Tx.

I may have to just move to a flying wing like everyone else here and separate everything out really far. I'm still not happy with how tough it is to get everything crammed into my new EZ* with the modified belly hatches. And I think I need more lift (grin). I got just short of a mile out on my last flight, and looking at my elogger, with my 5.5x4.5 prop on that Turnigy 2835 2700kv brushless inrunner, I'm putting out just over 250W on 3S and I can basically climb just a little over 1ft/mAh. Meaning I'm not going to be able to get much over 2700ft AGL with just this one 2600mAh battery on a 40oz AUW plane and this lift. I need to step it up, get a folding prop outrunner with more lift and more separation. Maybe this Zephyr?

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Latest FPV!!!

Had my best two FPV experiences to date late yesterday. Fixed the issues with the video I was having and sounds like it is a problem with the hardware and ground loop with the pan servos. Weather was beautiful and there were big puffy low clouds all around. My elevator servo has been slowly striping out, and I was getting worried it was really bad, but it was giving me about 15% of movement (grin) and I wanted to fly. Got two separate flights in on two 2600mAh lipos. Was running full out most of the time, trying to get up over 3000 ft. Also tested out my new plan for fail safes and RTH testing on a single switch (it all worked GREAT). Need to get my head tracker from China when they get back in stock, but the pan/tilt worked great on my analog sliders on the raido. I took some time on the 5 minute glide down to just look around and stuff. That was cool.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

This is FPV!!!

This is FPV! Amazing video compilation of some FPV footage from a guy (Trappy, on RCG) in a mountain town in Austria. Wow. Click the pic for youtube or expand below to watch in better resolution on Vimeo here in a window.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Eagle Eyes Telemetry and Antenna Tracking!!!

Eagle Tree Systems (the one that provides my GPS and on screen display overlay as well as data logging for my FPV setup) has been working hard to get a ground station setup that has built in antenna tracking control, remote telemetry and video diversity (picks best of two separate receivers for video). I spent over $150 for a basic video diversity already by itself, and this new unit from ET has that plus all the tracking and antenna tracking for only $89. Anyway, this is what I’ve been waiting for since this last summer to help with longer range flights. Note, it is mostly just the electronics. You still have to buy the 9dbi square patch antenna, the receivers and actual servo tracker (all expensive, but most FPV already has all of this).

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

DW Foamies BAF Yak 48"

I finally went ahead and got one of the DW Foamies 48" Yak 54. Going to run my Turnigy 35-42C 1100kv motor in it with a 40A Turnigy ESC and either an APC 11x5.5E or 12x6E prop. Probably try to pick up some 1800mAh 3S1P Lipo's for light flight, but 2200mAh will be normal. Want to also try 4S 2200mAh. Went with 4 hitec HS-65HB servos, which are a little spendy, but not as much as the metal gear ones. I'll keep this section updated with the build thread. Final AUW with landing gear and no battery is 26oz. Including the 2650mAh 3S1P Lipo, it is 34oz. The 4S1P lipo is slightly lighter by half an ounce.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

ETOC Freestyle

This is just about the coolest indoor 3D flying I've seen. I still want to get a 48" BAF Yak 54 from Not that it is anything like flying what is below, but it works better for me to fly at the park.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Easy Star Mark ][ (update)

Took it out for a windy/chilly maiden flight today (using the old wings, since the ailerons had been all repaired). CG is still a little too far back for basic flight, even with 3300mAh lipo in, but if flew just fine (actually did some pretty nice soaring). I may see how it does with the two 2650mAh 3S1P's in parallel (yes, that is a 3S2P). Flight times would be pretty long (flew over 25 minutes on the 3300mAh).

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Easy Star Mark ][

Began work on the new FPV airframe (a new grey wing colored Multiplex Easy Star). One thing I really wanted to do, after learning a lot from the first one, was to put the elevator and rudder servos (Hitec HS-81's in this case) embedded in the tail section and to put most of the electronics in the fuselage beneath the wings. This should move the CoG back quite, which was needed for larger 3000+ maH LiPo in addition to the pan/tilt camera pod and to allow a lot more space for in the front hatch and (hopefully) clean up a lot of the massive amounts of wiring with the Eagle Tree Systems OSD Pro, eLogger, GPS, Altimeter, Mic and all the cabling daisy chained from the Rx to the OSD Pro for Return to Home (RtH) operation (sort of like autopilot when you lose radio contact).

Friday, January 8, 2010

New Transmitter!

I have been looking at upgrading my Futaba 7CAP for a while. I had been thinking about a 9ch at least, and I wanted to still be able to do 72MHz, since that seems to carry better than 2.4GHz for distance FPV. Settled on a Futaba 9CAP Super, which makes use of plug in modules for all the transmission frequency function. That means, you buy a module for whatever 72MHz channel you want, or they have a TP-FSM synthesized module that allows you to do any channel (this is what I got). The radio was brand new off EBay, and came with an R149DP 9ch Rx (PCM dual conversion 72MHz). I also bought a cheap $30 combo Tx/Rx module that works with it off Ebay for 2.4GHz too. May just buy a Spektrum 2.4GHz system that works with it too.