Tag Archive: camera


Spring is here, the long winter sleep is over. I haven’t been flying for real for the entire winter, only did some simulator practice. So when time was ready to actually fly I was rather nervous.

To cure the lack of fingertip feel I launched the simulator to get some reflexes. Please find some hovering exercise with an Ultimate biplane.

I observed great interest in this plane, ArcticRC and his mate fly this model in the North of Norway. Great plane, great recording.

Nevertheless, I am still flying my modified Multiplex Easystar. I plan to learn flying more before I build a new model. Need to get more confidence in hand starting (although that it might not be needed with planned models), also handling wind gusts and of course flying more stable. I think the more practice I gather with current plane the more I can avoid some stupid mistake with future planes. Although that pilot error is never excluded, how much I might practice.

We had some promising weather during the week, so on Thuesday after working hours we drove to the field and started flying. Clouds around us were rather threatening, wind gusts came from nowhere, but overall conditions were okay.

I had some problem with one of my mini cameras, so I just have the hat cam and the Hobbyking Wing Camera recording. Anyhow it is more than enough material.

I managed to start and land without incidents, however once I did a full roll without willing to do it. I was subject to a stronger wind gust, the plane was tilted almost 90 degrees along longitudinal axis. I wanted to correct, but did not react fast enough and this let the plane do a full roll without me doing really much about it. I think I started to correct but was more amazed by the fact that my Easystar can fly “so advanced” than I was ready to act. Fortunately I was at altitude, so the plane did not lose height that it became dangerous. After this happening I was more alert and could correct wind gusts.

I did some low passes, also some gliding.

My conclusion is that this 3-blade propeller is not really god. It makes transportation much more difficult. The wings cannot be stucked close to the fuselage as you have a blade every 120 degree. With a conventional 2-blade this is no issue. The efficiency is lower, this results is loss of power. And for some reason even though that I have reasonable pitch on it the motor revs crazy high. So I did not dare to use it on full throttle for long.

I ordered APC 6x4E pusher props, will mount one when I get them. That configuration worked much better, but I cracked that prop earlier. Hence the try with 3-blade.

Here is my 11th flight, please check it out.

With best regards,

Sir Crash a Lot



I purchased a shiny new Hobbyking HD Wing Camera recently. Did test it but haven’t wrote a post yet. Now it is high time then.

This camera is slightly bigger than the simple keyfob camera. To summarize the parameters I can write a small comparison for you. HD camera first, SD keyfob second.

Resolution: 5 megapixel vs 0.3

Video resolution: 1280×720 vs 640×480

Memory card needed: Class 10 MicroSDHC (on both)

Price: 35 USD vs 15

Weight: 30 gram vs 15

Wide-angle lens: YES vs NO

Battery life: 2 hours vs 3/4

If you compare the two it is a no-brainer actually. To have decent wide-angle you have to get a converter for the keyfob camera. That jacks up the price to same level as the HD Wing Camera. And then image quality just decides on favor of the HD camera.

Using this camera is very easy. You can find the manual on Hobbycity homepage or just Google on RD32 camera. It is some sort of action camera, that is waterproof and you can mount it on your bike or cross buggy. Or whatever extreme sport you might do.

Appearently this is the same board, but no waterproof shell. Only the circuit board and some shrink wrap around. Hence the price. It is no GoPro, but does not cost 220 USD either.

I made some very simple comparison test. Had the old SD camera and the new HD camera in my hand and tried to pan them around.

I will need to try it out in flight as well. With some tweaks it can be used as FPV camera. Can record and broadcast same time. So quite a versatile unit.

Best regards,

Sir Crash a Lot



I have two keyfob cameras from Hobbycity, the old SD resolution ones. Their code is #7, the worst of the lot actually. #3 was far better.

These cameras have a built-in battery, that is a 1-cell Li-Po with 140 mAh capacity. You charge it from USB-port. As far as I know traditional USB ports supply maximum 500 mA current. So this would charge up in roughly 17 minutes. I am very unsure how good the battery charging circuitry is in the unit. I would assume not so good. The premature death of my battery underlined this thought.

I was reluctant to just dispose the unit. It costs 15 USD, so quite cheap. But why dispose something if there is a chance of mending it. So I tried.

The idea was to buy a small Li-Po battery (done), and some JST connectors. So that I could remove the small battery, solder on the JST female connector and then use the external battery with some adhesive velcro tape. Brilliant 🙂

I tried to solder the contacts onto the wires. These wires are very thin, so use a fine grade soldering iron. Mine is very coarse, had to be very cautious.

When you have soldered the wire onto the metal pin you have to push together the last portion that forms an open U-shape. Otherwise it will not enter the plastic connector housing.

Then I had to remove some material from the other half of the housing. To have a good support for the connector I removed a rectangular area.

The connector fits nicely.

I double checked the polarity to be sure. Then I could assemble it and glue in the connector. It will be subject to some force when connecting and removing the outside battery. I used CA glue.

Just a size comparison, the new battery next to the camera unit. I will use adhesive velcro to fix it on top.

Maybe I will have the battery on the plane and the camera will sit on the battery. This way I will get better (less) drag coefficient. Important in flight.

I will need to do this on my other camera, that has reduced battery life. Probably will throw in the towel soon. Since this new battery is 240 mAh (vs 140 for the original) I will get significantly better battery life. And I can monitor the cell voltage with my Cell Voltage Monitor device. Important factor in keeping batteries healthy.

Best regards,

Sir Crash a Lot

My 7th flight has happened. As one of my favourite bands say: “7th son of a 7th son”. Look it up, great song.
This time the flight took place at our club field. Weather was not really promising, we were anxious about rain. Not without reason as it turned out. The whole week was more or less rainy and weather prognose did not really calm us. However it looked like that between 18:00 and 20:00 it should not rain. And finally after long weeks of misfortune the prognose was aligned with reality. I think the guys at Weather Institution were doing their best 🙂
I made a sketch of my flight profile for better illustration. I call it a Hi-Lo/Hi-Lo profile, I lended this expression from military terms. There you can have different techniques for ingressing and exgressing from the hot zone, depending on the altitude profile these are called similarly. Anyhow this is a peacful mission, so no weapons are on board of my humble Easystar.
What I do you can see on the graph. Horizontal axis is time, vertical is height. I take off, do maybe a quick round and then climb against the wind as steep as possible. This phase is on full power, the plane climbs at maybe 60 degrees against the wind. I gain height and climb as far as I can see the plane against the sky or clouds. This is approximately 250-300 meters. I estimate it based on the sound delay when I chop throttle at the end of the climb. Sound travels at 340 m/s roughly, so 1 second delay would be approximately 340 meter distance. As I can only estimate the angle I am above horizon (the azimuth) height would also be a guess only. But something like 250-300 meters. Quite high actually, you can see very far away on a clear day from that height.
When I am up there I close the throttle and start gliding. I do some circles as well to record as much of the sight as possible. Then I glide along the field with the wind, do a turn and glide against the wind. And repeat this as long as I have altitude left. To lose altitude quicker I can do some loops or half rolls. Quite fun. Since I have stiffened up the wings doing a loop will not bend them so much as without stiffening.
When I am close to the ground I do a school turn (an oval above the field) and then turn into the wind and climb again on full throttle. This enables me another climb to altitude. Then I glide down and land. These 2 climbs and glide sessions fit into the 7 minute window that is advised, I drain the battery to something like 3.8-3.9V per cell. This is a comfortable storage voltage. Then I can change battery and take off for a new round.
I managed to fly 5 batteries then it started to rain. The last flight was almost in the rain, I bled altitude with multiple loops to not get the plane soaked. Could record some other flights meanwhile, a Sukhoi-29 and a QuadCopter among others. The Sukhoi was a big aeroplane, built from balsa with film cover and a massive 6-cell setup. The battery is like a half brick, the electric motor is of size of a tomato. Impressive. Even more impressive is the noise of air whistling around the plane as it travels. Very nice exprerience.
I had one small incident, managed to do a faulty start in the beginning. I did not have the hand on the yoke, just launched the plane and then it fell on the grass. Stupid mistake. It did not crack, but anyhow rather embarrassing. The next start I had the hand on the yoke, so I could recover from the dive and do a proper takeoff.
Thank you,
Best regards,
Sir Crash a Lot


My 6th flight was a special one. My wife joined me this time. She is not really interested in RC, but wanted to give me company so she did. While being there she recorded some of my flying even. This gave me some funny footage of me launching the model and landing.

On the other hand she became very bored after a while so this flight was shorter than I anticipated. I could only fly 4 batteries instead of 6. Anyhow it was a good flight, I could do what I wanted during this shorter session.

What I aimed for:

– to fly higher and further away than before,

– to do some basic acrobatic flight

– to not crash on a treetop 🙂

I am proud to tell that I managed all these above-mentioned aims. Despite the strong wind gusts I could fly really high this time. I had difficulties to see the model, I was so far up. Could record some remarkable footage from the area of Arendal. This is the industrial port of Göteborg (Gothenburg) city. On the footage you can see Volvo Bus Corporation head office building, Volvo Museum, and numerous industry buildings along with the container buffer outside of the port. Very exciting location with all the wind mills.

I am getting very good results with my 180-degree fisheye converter. The field of view is good, it really opens up the horizon. When soaring with the plane there are no vibrations that mess up the image. I am getting more and more into gliding actually. The sensation of using the wind and gliding without vibrations from the motor is attracting. I will need to experiment more with gliding.

Best regards,

Sir Crash a Lot


I purchased some items of true magnificence lately. On DealExtreme you can find all sort of items, but I happened to find something that enhances my recordings at an amazing extent. A wide-angle converter it is, that can be applied onto my keychain (keyfob) cameras.

It is called:

“Universal 13mm Wide-Angle/0.67X Macro Lens Attachment for Digital Cameras and Cell Phones”

and costs 10.37 USD at this time when I write this post. Why is it so expensive compared to some similar converters?

– It has a metal body

– It has a magnetic/adhesive ring (with extra ring if you might need it)

– It has a lens cover even

So I was keen on checking out the quality. Let’s state that the keyfob cameras are not so good quality, I happen to have the worst variant of them.

But I was curious how much worse it can be with an adapter. Well, surprisingly little decrease of quality, it is perfectly okay for my amateur use. A thousand words tell less than an image, so they say, so please find some images here.

And please find here a video of how it does perform. In the video you can see a comparison of both still images and video clips.

I have a clip the magnetic effect even.

I will need to test it further in the air. Next time I will have both my cameras fitted with these converters.

Update of 2011-07-07:

I purchased a 180 degrees fisheye converter even. Same good quality, same magnetic effect. But heavier and bigger. And a lot wider in its view angle. Please check out my comparison video.

Best regards,

Sir Crash a Lot



We are in April 2010 at this point. I see more and more interest in recording my flights, I try to document them. I discover growing attraction in recording the flight and also from the aircraft if possible.

That is actually how I got my attention locked to FPV, gradually tried to enhance my recordings.

At this point I only had my wifes camera, a point and shoot digicam. I tried to record from the ground in last post. Then from a chair. These were fun, but I experimented further.

This time I wanted to record hovering from close. As the rotor blades are spinning it is difficult to record close hovering from a chair or tripod. So what if I have the camera close to the ground but it would point upwards? I tried this.

I had some luck with weather and part of this recording is happening outdoors. It was very tricky to fly outdoors. The location is close to the sea, there is a lot of wind there. I am standing between workshop building and a truck parking lot. Wind can pick up speed there, plus there is a lot of turbulence in form of wind gusts. They are invisible on the recording but can actually slam the heli into the ground. Very scary for a newbie pilot as me. In same time great training.

I really liked those shots when you see clouds and the heli hovering close. The camera has 28 mm wide lens (equivalent 35 mm film format), so it can record nicely.

I managed to land onto the camera, knocked it over some times. Later I moved indoors and tried some other landings and hoverings. Looks nice to me. 🙂

From this point I had a mission: record as nice videos as I can (plus fly my heli).

Best regards,

Sir Crash a Lot