Tag Archive: radio-controlled


Hello!

I had quite some pause in my RC activity. My daughter had priority over RC stuff, so please excuse my lack of posts.

Now the indoor season is going, so we can join in a school sports hall on Friday evenings for one and a half hours.

Outdoors flying is probably getting very problematic in the future, our club is being kicked out from our flying field by the municipality. Unfortunately there is quite some politics and corruption involved, so we don’t really have much of a chance in this game.

My 10th flight was rather boring probably. I haven’t been flying for quite some time, so I tried to freshen up my reflexes.

My latest indoor flight was the 11th flight with my Extra300. I used a new camera for recording, purchased recently an SJCAM SJ4000 action camera. It is basically a copy of GoPro3, with some attractive pricing.

The camera is rather okay for my application. I knew that it has some limitations, so I was not expecting it to beat the latest GoPro4 series. For instance it has some issues with white balance and it would not work so fine for FPV either. It cannot do 60 fps, only 30 fps. But it is fully compatible with GoPro accessories and has a rather okay picture for the price. I made some very simple reviews of it, you can find some videos below.

I look forward to fly a bit more during the winter season.

With best regards,

Sir Crash a Lot

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Hello,

It was quite some time since I reflected on my Extra300 EPP indoor plane. The build was rather long and I had many questionmarks. I think this happened partly due to my inexperience in building and due to the manual being written by a very experienced senior pilot who mentioned only the most important aspects of the build. I am not even novice in building, so I would have needed a lot more detail in building instructions.

Anyhow, the plane is ready and it flies well. I tried to take a stepwise approach with flying. I knew that indoor flying would demand constant usage of rudder. While flying my Easystar I started to turn with rudder and aileron together. So I made some rudder practice to prepare myself for indoor challenges. However I knew that playing with rudder while having “the whole sky” to my disposal is rather easy. I was prepared for some crashes as I knew that indoor will be a lot more difficult.

To not ruin the plane within 10 seconds of flight I tried to practice on the ground first. That said applying a fraction of throttle and “driving around” in circles rather than lifting off. This was more difficult than I have thought it would be, since nothing was trimmed and I had a new radio system even. As result I had some occasional unintended takeoffs. These were aborted mostly, that said I crashed the plane nose-in to the floor. Like a warbird tip. I consumed propellers at some rate 🙂

Maiden flight:

2nd flight:

3rd flight, I started to enjoy high angle-of-attack slow passes. Not easy, but fun. Tried to mix directions, figure 8 and slalom flight. Very exciting to do, maybe not so exciting to watch, though.

4th flight, I tried to transition to hover.

5th flight, with hovering practice.

6th flight, more hovering and fun flight.

7th flight. I started to grow devil horns, had some “moments” of daredevil actions. Landed on the wall for instance.

8th flight, my first roll indoors. Scary but fun.

I skipped last weeks flights as I was fortunate enough to have my daughter born. She was born at 1:30 on the 20th of January 2014. A real miracle, 49 cm and 3230 grams of new life. Funny enough it is my birthday, I received the best possible present ever! I stayed home to help my wife and the baby, no flying right now. I will regain action soon, just need to sort out the first few weeks with helping around.

I am not sure what will happen to our outdoors flying. The flight club is going through a very difficult time period. The council announced that they will remove us from our flying field. As from 1st of February 2014 we are no longer allowed to use the field, we have to clear the area and cannot return. We haven’t received yet any other area to use, so the very existence of the club is in danger.
Our flight club and cross motorcycle (dirt bike if you like) club is removed from the area. The cause for this unfortunate decision is that an investment group tied to some politician tries to build a set of luxury golf flats in the area. It is rather interesting, since the golf club itself went bankrupt several times during the last few years. Besides that there are many issues around the build plans, as it seems politics and corruption got mixed up things quite a bit.

The club tried to apply for a negotiation, but the council does not really listen. So as for new it looks like that 1st of February is the end of our current flight activity.

I don’t know yet how we will do. There are some locations where I can fly, but the club itself will not be able to survive without a flying field. We will see.

An article from local newspaper.

With best regards,

Sir Crash a Lot

Hello,

I need to start with an apology, my blog activity was plumeting to new depth since my last post. As you can see the title I try to summarize what happened since February.

Last time I talked about the Ladybird quadcopter. I did a maiden and several fun flights with it since. It is a bliss to fly when weather is not allowing outdoor flights. You can fly it in the flat easily. I checked whether the propellers can be any harm. They aren’t, I tested them on my own palm, it doesn’t hurt the skin. My cats are very keen on catching the copter, but I keep it a bit off of their proximity. As I know that the prop cannot hurt them it is more like a precaution for the sake of the small copter. No animals were hurt during the making of this clip:

The 16th flight of my Easystar. Some Ringebu RC style landing even:

17th Easystar flight:

18th Easystar flight:

19th Easystar flight:

20th Easystar flight:

21th Easystar flight:

I am getting more and more used to the Easystar and fly it faster and lower. So far I had some hairy moments in combination with wind gusts, but did not crash it yet. I think that I am getting more and more interested in extending my flights to other models as well. Easystar is a great plane to begin with, it can show you many different flight types. It can glide, it can do loops. It can fly rather fast. It is easy to land and it has a forgiving character. Maybe this latter is its biggest weakness after all, as it lacks “the thrill” when you are getting used to it.

I will keep my Easystar, since I really like it. A great allrounder plane with high fun factor. But I will purchase some other models soon. Which ones? I will tell in my coming post.

With best regards,

Sir Crash a Lot

Hello,

I wasn’t flying too much during this year, had some issues of private matter that took my energy from flying.

Now I am back, trying to catch up. It seems that part of my club is already flying multicopters at an advanced level. And there are also some news about our flying field. Unfortunately bad news, the local council is taking it away from us, we are no longer welcome there from 1st of January 2013. So rather interesting flow of events.

The multicopter issue is worth covering in more detail. I am learning the important notions about multicopter flight, will try to get more advanced in this matter during the Spring. I plan to build one beginner model actually, that will teach me the basics.

The flying field issue is more complicated. There is a motocross track in the vicinity, it is quite loud and dirty. But hey, dirt biking is so. Anyhow the council wants to move them and also us. First they did not give anything in return, then the club protested. Now they consider to offer another field somewhere close to the city. It is not so easy to just pick an empty land. We have to process the land, make it smooth, plant quality grass, cultivate it to be smooth and also transport our tools and containers there. And build up the fences, the benches and the basic club facilities. So a huge piece of work that the council does not want to help with. Very awkward way of handling this issue.

Update. End of 2012 we received some great news, we can stay on our flying field for some time. The council changed its mind.

My 12th flight from week 17 you can look at here:

My 13th flight is also recorded:

I just had my 14th flight with the Easystar, please find the video here:

During my summer holiday we were taking care of the house of our friends. They live in the countryside, close to a lake in the forest. Very nice location, calm and peaceful. I could not resist to explore their garden with my Lama v3 helicopter. So I did. I came up with some challenges that I pursued. Some hovering, then some flying around the garden. Also some precision landing on our car.

Then my fantasy got cranked up and I came up with even more exciting plans. Why not try to fly through the car? I mean, how hard can it be? 🙂

And while I am at it. While not fly into the baggage compartment, land there? Then take off from the baggage compartment and land outside the car? It is really that hard? 🙂

During the winter I had very few flights. Two of them were recorded, these were indoor flights in Mölndal school sports hall.

I am getting more flights now. This Spring I am stepping up from the Lama v3 and will start with multicopter action. On last flight 13w07 I crashed the Lama and I do not intend to repair it any more. I had a lot of practice on it, it helped with orientation skills. Hovering nose-in and orienting at low speeds. However I am getting tired of the stupid limitations of Lama v3. It cannot fly beyond a lean angle, otherwise its control system just locks up and the heli gets in an unstoppable dive. It is very sensitive to wind and at the same time does not have the power to cope with it. Even its own turbulence disturbs the flight, so I am happy to consider it part of my past.

I am looking at a tiny multicopter called Ladybird. It is from Walkera. Helipal.com has a nice description to it, you can read it on their page.

There is a v1 version of the Ladybird. That has a much bigger radio controller with some programming possibility. And it has a 6-axis gyro system (gyro and accelerometer) instead of a 3-axis system (only gyro) of the v2. As I understand the v1 is slightly more stable, but the v2 is still very stable so if you are not looking for the nicer radio you might just as well like the v2.
Hobbyking has a detailed review of the v2 Ladybird, where they tell about the differences.

I have another project, will tell about it later.

Thank you,

Sir Crash a Lot

Hello,

I would like to write a post about how to assemble Hobbyking Magnetic Prop Balancer device. It might look easy on the picture, but when you get to it you might find this helpful. Since no instruction manual is shipped, like in case of an IKEA furniture you need good assembly skills.

You will need to align the two sheets that have trapezoid shape and connect them with the U-shaped ones. Something like this.

For assembly you will need to slide the metal inserts and bolt them on with the small diameter screws. Please observe that only one side of the inserts is threaded, so you need to insert the screw from the mating side. This way you will have clamping force.

Then you will need to do so on the other side as well. You might need to peel off the protective paper layer. Depends on how tight the metal inserts are.

After this you can insert the big metal cup on one side. Secure it with the larger diameter screws.

One side is open, the other side is like a sunken cup. Into the open one you can insert the matching big cup. It is threaded, allows adjustment.

With the threaded cup:

Then comes assembly of panels.

Now comes the difficult part. You have to tear apart the 2 magnets. They are really strong. Do it carefully. When they are apart you can insert them into the cup features on both sides.

Between the two magnets should the axle float. The axle is pointy at the ends, so friction will be minimal.

Onto the axle you can slide the 2 conical rubber features. This will support the prop.

If I am right the rubber O-ring can sit on the adjustable side of the balancer.

When ready it looks like this.

A short video of how it does work.

Best regards,

Sir Crash a Lot

Hello!

The curse is lifted as it seems, spring came to Sweden at last. Now we had 20 degrees centigrade and no rain, a fine weekend for RC flight.

I am joining a model club, the process is ongoing. So I could participate at their field in a semi-approved way, very kind of the club that they allowed. The club is Mölndals Modellflyg, where one of my colleagues is flying.

I took my cameras, all my 3 batteries and went for my second flight ever with Easystar.

Weather was kind to us, gentle wind of 3-4 m/s and no rain whatsoever. Wind was mostly still, some gusts occasionally.

In the beginning there was not a lot of people, so I could fly without spectators. That helps, since when people watch I get nervous. So my first round I could take in a calm way. The second round was a bit more exciting, people arrived and started to watch how I fly. Without intention I managed to provide some piece of flying that raised their interest without doubt. I almost ditched my plane in the grass actually.

What I did wrong was that I flew over my head, too close to judge the vector of my plane. You should not fly directly above head as then you have difficulties judging what vector you fly. I drifted too close and lost orientation briefly. Wanted to turn away and lower a bit but got into a steep dive instead. Almost like a Stuka bomber, well slightly only. Anyhow I got awfully close to the ground, maybe 0,5 meters left. I managed to pull up, but it was close.

I got so embarassed that I lost the language even, wanted to comment my manoeuvre and tell that some wind gust pushed me into the depo but told “I made a joke” instead. Well, it was certainly adequate, since some amusement I caused in the depo anyhow 🙂

What lesson I learned? Do not fly overhead. Fly a bit away so that you can orientate yourself.

I could fly out the juice from all of my 3 batteries, it was great fun. Air traffic increased with time, after a while a lot of planes were in the air. I am not so good at keeping track of them yet, I tried to not fly too close to any of them. I spent almost 3 hours at the field in total, flying time was something 15-20 minutes maybe. At half throttle my plane can fly quite long, my last stretch was a bit over 7 minutes on a battery.

I will need to purchase some battery metering device, so that I can see what voltage I am at. Also I need to purchase a proper charger, charging my batteries takes 6.5 hours with my small charger that came along with my Lama3 helicopter. It can handle 0,8 A current and does not give any feedback on the process. Just an LED flashing.

I hope you like the video, I tried to film some other aircrafts, not only me doing boring ovals.

I think more simulator practice cannot hurt, I need to get more secure in my piloting skills.

Best regards,

Sir Crash a Lot

An RC bus

Hello!

I am attracted to heavy vehicles in general, worked with them also along my so-called career. I change company and my colleagues were kind enough to give me a radio controlled present that has close reference to buses. It is a bus actually. A radio controlled bus. Can you have anything better than that? 🙂

The bus is powered by an AAA-size battery. You can use rechargeable ones if you have such. The transmitter is powered by 2 pieces of such batteries. Signal is transferred by IR (infra) light. Since you will not use this model from great distances it is no problem.

There is a highlight that I need to talk about: you can switch on headlights. What a detail!

Please see a quick recording of the device:

I am not fully experienced with the controls but will practice more.

Update 2011-05-14, a bit more control. And offline FPV with on-board recording from the bus!

Thank you for the nice time, I wish you all the best!

Best regards,

Sir Crash a Lot

Hello!

How did I start radio-controlled modelling?

I happened very long time ago, I was a child when we received a remote-controlled car from relatives. It was a very nice BMW car modell, a silver colour CSL 3.0 racecar. Something like this, but silver.

It was actually radio-controlled, on some FM frequency. Analogue, of course, so occasionally we could experience radio glitch even. We were kids, no idea about radio control. We were so worried of it that we only drove it indoors with my brother. Then we became older and for long time toy cars were not active part of our lifes.

Summer 2009 I read an article about remote-controlled cars and the sleeping thoughts of controlling something from a remote location woke up in my mind. Actually this happened in a surprisingly strong way, I tried to argue with myself for some time that I cannot really play now and that I don’t really have time for this now. Then I bravely declared defeat and admitted to myself that I am back into business. So it happened 🙂

As I am a very complicated person it was impossible to just walk in a store and buy some car model. No, I have procedures. I like procedures. I even follow procedures.

First I had to decide what vehicle shall I aim at. This is more important than you might think. I am renting a flat with my lady, we live on the 3rd floor in the city of Gothenburg and we don’t own a car yet. 3rd floor means that I need to think vertical sometimes, Gothenburg means that I am rather challenged from the weather point-of-view. Sweden has funny weather, there is summer here of course, but it can be rather short in some cases. No car means public transport, in my case Västtrafik. So I had to pick a vehicle that is suitable considering my boundary conditions.

I hope that you are not bored yet, I will come to the main topic shortly.

As I am not an easy person I had to add one more factor to the equation. That is challenge. What drives me more, what will provide more excitement, what will be a greater achievement in the end?

The car is great fun, I know that. But it is comprimised in some ways. You drive it along the surface of the Earth in most cases. That means that you have 2 dimensions to take care of. Or if you allow me to say so: 2 axles. I don’t mean the axles of the car as a truck might have 3 or even more axles. I mean the controller axles.

On a car you can give throttle and break/reverse on one axle and can steer on the second axle. This can be challenge if you drive against yourself for example. The steering is “reversed” in this case. If you turn right it will mean that the car will turn right according to its own coordinate system. You will percieve that it turned left, according to your own coordinate system.

The car has some other issue as well. Transporting the car to some location that supports playing with it needs a real car, I don’t have that yet. So I dropped the car idea.

The airplane came next. It is more exciting, a lot more.

My grandfather was a pilot for instance (flew 29 type of airplane in total), he told me a lot of stories from WW II, I am really fond of flying and airplanes. However the same issue with transport is valid here, it is seldom that you can transport a model airplane in an IKEA plastic bag, commuting with it on public transport can be difficult. So I dropped airplane thread so far.

What is even more difficult to fly? The helicopter! Now we are talking!

The helicopter is amazingly difficult to fly, it provides me the necessary amount of challenge and it can be transported without any major investment. It can take off and land vertically, this means that I don’t need any special location to fly it.

I started to read a lot about helicopters and gathered in all the information that I could find about them. What I tried to understand was the following:

– which model to start with?

– what do I need for it?

– how can I learn to fly?

I understood that there is 3 major type of model helicopters, if I am allowed to simplify a lot of factors.

1. Coaxial helicopters. These are easy to fly, can be a good trainer. They are mostly for indoor use, cannot handle wind outdoors. They are good for beginning but get boring as you get intermediate level.

2. Fixed-pitch helicopters with tail rotor. These are great trainers, fly almost like the big ones. Can be flown outdoors, are easy to repair and maintain. They cannot fly inverted as the big ones, but almost no difference otherwise.

3. Collective-pitch helicopters. These are the big ones, the ultimate helicopter category. They can fly even inverted, can do everything that you can see in the movie Blue Thunder for instance. Well, the silent mode might not be true 🙂

If you look at a typical helicopter radio controller unit you can see that we are talking real business here. You can operate a lot of things.

I actually knew that I am destined to fly these, I had the guiding light, I found the Holy Grail. I thought at least. More of that later.

So I picked the category, I shall fly helicopters. I understood that it is not a good idea to start with the most difficult, so I went for a coaxial heli in first place.

I picked a Lama, not any lama but a replica of the famous Aerospatiale SA 315B Lama helicopter.

Mine looks more simple, is made of plastic and is lot smaller. I went for the E-Sky Lama v3 to be accurate, a 2.4 GHz range RC heli. It has rotor diameter of 340 mm and is a tough little bird. Exactly what I needed to begin with.

This happened in September 2009, that was the rebirth of my radio-controlled adventure. In short this is how I began. If all goes well you can read about the details in my coming posts.

As to give you some teaser I offer some amazing clips of modelling. They give me the goose pimples 🙂

Best regards,

Sir Crash a Lot