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Thursday, July 4, 2013

HD Wing Camera

Testing the Hobbyking HD Wing Camera (720p). It's not the best camera but for 35$ you will not find a better one.

Works fine and easy to use. It was hard to find the webcam drivers for this cam. Although this cam can be used as a webcam Hobbyking did not support the webcam feature and could not provide me the driver for it. So after searching for several weeks on the net I found the driver for this camera and upload it to the hobbyking files tab.

This camera is just an RD32 sports camera but without the casing. If you need the manual or the driver you can also download them from my google drive.

As you see the Mini-H Quad is still overtuned. I need to lower the PID values on the roll axis.

Monday, April 1, 2013

project summary

This is the end of this Mini H-Copter project. I've got a nice looking and stable flying FPV capable quad copter. No more upgrades for this multirotor. Now I can focus on finalizing my arducopter project. Here is a final overview off all components and cost to build this copter.

4 x ESC HK Blueseries Brushless Speed Controller 12A (6 euro ea)
4 x Motor C20 brushless Outrunner 1550kv (7 euro ea)
1 x Black Propeller set Three Blade 6x4.5 (CW&CCW) (1.5 euro ea)
1 x Red Propeller set Three Blade 6x4.5 (CW&CCW) (1.5 euro ea)
4 x Prop adapter M5x3mm shaft (1 euro ea)
1 x NanoWii Micro Flight Controller (16 euro ea)
1 x Woven Carbon Fiber Sheet 300x100 (11 euro ea)
2 x Alu tube U-Profile (10mm width x 10mm height x 250mm long) (1.5 euro ea)

Total damage for building this quad 89 euro

Attention! You also need the have the following items. Most RC hobbyist will have these items,
but ff you don't allready have them you will have to buy them.
- 2 Cell Lipo Battery for quad (I have got a 15C 1300mAh)  (6 euro ea)
- RC transmitter and Reciever for controlling the quad (at least 4CH). (19 euro ea)

And If you want to fly it FPV you need an FPV set
FatShark PredatorV2 RTF FPV Headset System (225 euro ea)

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

NanoWii FPV

Today I spend some extra 5min to do some pid tuning. It's still not 100% finetuned, but is allready much better then my previous setting. I also mounted the Fatshark FPV camera to the frame. Total weight all inclusive is 480grams.

Monday, March 25, 2013

NanoWii Flight

I did a little (5 min) pid tuning flight. Just take off, go left/right see what the quad does and change the PID values. Currently it's not 100% finetuned but it fly's and I don't want to spend more time at tuning :) Here is a video of my current setup with my current pid settings. With my 2 cell 1300mAh battery I got 9 min flight time when no fpv cam is mounted.

Second I would like to make a comparrsion between the 2 flight controller boards I have used in this project.

So If you choose the NanoWii board you get a very stable control board that you can extend with other hardware such as gps, baro,... and you can upload new firmwares or modify or add your own code to the firmware. But you will need to have some basic knowledge on arduino to setup and configure this board via your pc. -> buy it here

If you want a fast, cheap and easy solotion you might choose the i86L board. It is really plug and play and you do not need a pc to configure the board. Just follow the manual and after 2min your quad is flying. But this board only has a gyro sensor, so not that stable. And you can't add extra hardware like a gps or a baro. -> buy it here

Sunday, March 17, 2013

New Flight Controller

My new flight controller arrived. It's a 6DOF board and should be more stable then my previous 3DOF board. Again it's a product from hobbyking and as always it's mega cheap. It is also really small and just weights 6.5g. In comparrison with my old board this board has an opensource firmware en needs to be uploaded via USB. So everytime a new firmware version comes out you can download it from the internet and upload it to your flight controller. You can even add your own code to the firmware.

I new that the new board would be not as easy to setup as the old board. Just plugin the board to the PC gave me my first problem.  If you plan to buy this board follow the next steps.

- Download the Arduino v1.0.4 (or higher) software from and unzip all files to your harddrive (let's say c:\temp). Then launch the arduino application to check if it works fine.

- Download the Multiwii v2.1 (or higher) software from and unzip all files to your harddrive (let's say c:\temp).

- Connect the NanoWii board via usb to your pc. Your pc will look for a driver but will not find a suitable driver. If you have a windows operating system you can manually update/install the correct driver via the device manager in your control panel. In the device manager you will have to look for "arduino leonarde" click right on this item and choose update driver. Now you have to manually update the drivers by finding them in the "(c:\temp\) arduino-1.0.4\drivers" folder

- When the driver is correctly installed the "NanoWii board" AKA "arduino leonarde" will register itself as a Serial COM port. In the device manager you can see the exact COMxx port it uses. (on my system its com15 but on your system it will be somthing else)

- Now you can start the arduino software and open the MultiWii firmware. The firmware is located in the "(c:\temp\)  multiwii\multiwii" folder. Open the multiwii.ino file. Now you have to change the config.h tab (file). I advice reading before adapting the config.h file. For this NanoWii board in standard configuration you will not have to do much configuration. Define your type of multicopter and define the NANOWII fc board.

- After you have correctly configured the config.h tab save the project and make sure that your arduino application is set to "arduino leonarde" in the extra/board menu and to the corresponding COMxx port in the extra/serialport menu. Then click on upload. When the firmware is succesfully uploaded you can close the arduino application.

- Open the "(c:\temp\)  multiwii\multiwiiconf" folder. In this folder you will find the MultiWii configuration application. But you first have to choose the correct application e.g. "application.windows32". Then go inside this folder and copy all files and subfolders. Go to your "(c:\temp\) arduino-1.0.4\java\bin" folder and paste all these files into this folder.

- Then start the "multiwiiconf.exe" application. Select the com port of your NanoWii board (aka arduino leonardo). The application will connect to your NanoWii board and a lot of buttons will become green. If you push the start button data will be read from the board.

!!!  If you have a windows 7 64bit OS you might encounter the same bug as I have. The Multiwii application starts up. You can select the exact com port, but "no" data can be read from the board and all buttons stay red. Close the application, go to your explorer locate the "(c:\temp\) arduino-1.0.4\java\bin\javaw.exe" file click right, properties, compatibility and set to "windows xp sp3". Do the same for the "multiwiiconf.exe" file and restart the application.

Friday, March 1, 2013

Frame Upgrade

So I have upgrade the frame with a carbon fiber sheet. This shit looks really nice and it's stronger then the alu plate. I've cut this sheet in 2 pieces and mounted 1 on top and 1 on the bottom.

Before I had 1 alu plate 2mm thick. But an alu plate tends to bend on hard landings. No I have got 2 x 1.5mm (25cm long, 5cm wide) carbon and that is a lot more stiffer and will not bend on a hard landing. And this gives me only 10 grams more weight. That's almost nothing!

Download the frame in Google Sketchup 3D       

Saturday, February 9, 2013

FPV recorder

So I ordered myself a USB Video Grabber. This little, cheap usb device converts analog composite video or svideo signals to digital video formats such as avi, mpeg1/2/4, dvd,... The FatShark predator v2 goggle has a video out jack and composite cable. So you just have to connect the FatShark goggle via the video out jack to the usb video grabber on the analog composite connections. Then connect the usb cable to you pc and watch your FPV live on your computer screen and record the video stream to your desired file format on your hardisk.

Most USB video grabbers are just clones with another name, have the same specs and can do exactly the same. The one I have is the DeLock USB video grabber. My advice when recording is to record to AVI format. Other formats (dvd, mpg1/2/4) are available, but these formats demand a lot of enconding and processorload. This can result in frame drops. Just record to AVI format and convert later to the desired format.

Here are some short samples of recordings.
- mini H-Copter
- Fatshark Predator v2 FPV set
- delock usb video grabber.

Saturday, January 19, 2013

FatShark FPV

I mounted an FPV set on my mini H quad. Total weight of the quad copter incl. fpv set and battery is 485 grams. I'm still flying this thing with my 2cell 1300mAh 15C battery and even with the extra weight there is more than enough thrust to fly it.

The FPV set that I'm using is a Fat Shark Predator V2. It's a full package with goggles, 5.8Ghz TX and RX module, camera and battery. For they price HK sells it it's a really good product to start with FPV. It's 100% plug and play. Attach the cables and battery and you can fly, no configuration or setup is needed. The components to mount on the quad itself are small, light (42gram) and consume less than 400mA at 7,4V

You can connect the goggle to a videorecorder in order to record your FPV flight. This set includes a NTSC CMOS camera, so make sure to connect it to a ntsc compatible video recorder. I have no videorecoder at this time I can not upload any recording of my first FPV flight. :(

As you can see on the first image I wrapped the camera and the video tx module in bubble plastic. This is just to product the video components  when the quad would crash. A side effect of this is that the camera (video) is vibration free. If you would attacht the camera directly on to the frame you will see a vibrating image/video due to the vibrations on the frame that are caused by the motors.

Sunday, January 6, 2013

First test flight

So here is a photo of the front motors that are twisted towards the back. The back motors are twisted towards the front This is really a must to get good yaw control.

Today I tested the quad outside. A wet and cloudy day, but just gentle breeze. I equiped the quad with the 2Cell lipo battery. Maybe a little bit extra pid tuning is needed, but I just have to learn to be very gentle on the RC controls. After I got the feeling in my hands I'll mount the fatshark FPV set!

Current setup:
- my personal homebuild mini H-frame
- C20 1550kv motors
- 6x4.5 Tri Blade props
- HK 12amp ESC
- HK i86L control board
- 2cell 1300mAh 15C lipo
- 4 channel analog 40mhz RC system

-> total weight 430 grams

Saturday, January 5, 2013

PID tuning

The building of the mini-h quad is completed. I'm currently trying to PID tune this thing. Current total weight without battery is 366 grams.

After hooking up a “2 cell 1300mAh 15C” lipo battery it was clear that a 2s battery is more than enough to fly this quad in this current setup and weight.

The first thing I noticed was again a bad yaw authority. Although I’m using 2 x CCW props and 2x CW props the quad always turned clock wise. So like my other large X-quad project I needed to twist the motors to get a better  yaw control and overall stabilization. I have just bend the alu U-form tubes a bit and that fixed the problem.

Due to the high power and low weight the quad is reacting very aggressive to my RC transmitter control. For beginners this can be hard to learn and some practice is needed. To smoothen down the RC controls you need an RC transmitter wich allow you to configure sensitivity for your controls. Or you can choose a smaller prop which will give you less power. Another way would be to increase the size of the frame. Make it 30x30 or 35x35 instead of 25x25 cm.

to be continued...

Friday, January 4, 2013

Amps VS Thrust

This first graph show the max thrust for several configurations of propellers and batteries. I made 3 configuration on a 3 cell lipo and 1 on a 2 cell lipo.

If you know the weight of your quadcopter then you know what configuration will deliver enough performance (thrust). The max ampere drawn is important for your choice of ECS and battery (C value)

As for myself the practical comparrison between 2blade and 3blade props was the most important. As you can see on the graph, a 6 inch TriBlade prop consumes the same as a 7 inch TwoBlade prop. The max thrust for the 6 inch 3blade prop is less then 7 inch 2blade prop, so the 6 inch TriBlade is less efficient. But if you look at thrust and amps compared with the 6 inch TwoBlade, we can conclude that the 6 inch TriBlade is more efficient.

An other impartant value is to know the amps @ hover. If you know how much amps each motor consumes when hovering you can calculate an estimated flying time. For this project I'll not need more then 140gr of thrust per motor for hovering. As you can see again a 7 inch 2blade is more efficient then a 6 inch 3blade, but this last one is much more efficient then a 6inch 2blade.

This project and the components I use where chosed to work with a 3cell battery. As the graphs show a 2cell battery should theoretically be enough for my setup. If my quad is ready I'll do a pratical test with a 2cell battery to verify if it is really flyable. 

Motor and Prop

For this project I chose for a 6 inch three blade propeller. A 6 inch propeller on a 25cm frame will give me a total width of 40cm. The 6 inch 3 blade prop will produce the same thrust as a 7 inch 2 blade propeller. So I get the same thrust with a smaller surface, but remember that the 6 inch 3blade prop will consume a bit more amps than a 7 inch 2 blade. Hobbyking has introduced a new range of very nice multicolor three blade propellers.

The motor for this project is again a nice product from hobbyking called the "C20 brushless Outrunner 1550kv" It is a nice looking 26gram motor that should give enough power for my H quad. This motor can be used with 2 cell or 3 cell lipo's. The motor mountholes on the bottom of this motor are a bit strange because they do not follow the 16,19mm standard. The holes on this moter are 14 and 18mm seperated. The srews are M2 on the 14mm holes and M2.5 on the 18mm holes.

The next graph shows a full range benchmark for the combination of this motor with this prop. Red line is test on a 3 Cell battery. Blue line is test on a 2 cell battery. The end of the blue line is really at max power. For the red line I stopped testing a 6.5 amp. On my next blogpost I will post the result of max thrust on 3cell.

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Project start

New project. A little mini H quad copter for flying indoor. I chose the H frame because it has a lot space to mount all components without staking them. A physical H-frame is a logical X-frame, so almost every multirotor controller is compatible.

Building an H frame is easy. You just need a front and back arm to mount the motors and an strong center plate to mount the arms and all other stuff. I chose to make an H copter with a center plate of 25cmx5cm this gives me enough room to mount all ecs, the multirotor controller, the rc receiver, the battery and even a fatshark fpv set. The center plate is a 2mm alu plate. I recommend to use a more expensive 2mm carbon plate because is more stiff. I chose the 2mm alu plates because I had them lying around. The arms are 25cm long, 10mm alu U-shaped. They are light and should be strong enough for this little quad. Total weight of the frame with screws 101 grams.

As you can see on the images an H-copter has a large long center section to mount all electronics. It's really ideal to mount everything and to attach everything with tape. Very easy, very quick.

On the top side you can see I mounted the multirotor controller I already used in my previous project:
On the back side I mounted all ECS. It's also the same model frome my previous project:

The goal is to get a mini H quad copter with a total flying weight (incl batt and fpv set) of 500 grams.