Sunday, August 12, 2012

Quadcopter - DJC1000-X4 beta build 2

It seems like every time I finally get on here to write a blog post I forget what I have already said and repeat some things and forget some things. Sorry for that.

I finished the DJC1000-X4 beta build with plexiglass (known from now onward as "DJC1000-X4 beta build 1").

Through that build I found a few minor issues with the frame design from the plexiglass build.

This video is of the DJC1000-X4 beta build 1 trying to fly. After the video we took it back in the garage and found that one motor mount was still loose. After straitening that up and tightening the screw, we found a lot of vibration. The vibration was due to a motor mount (one of the 'cross mount' type) was broken. This is from me trying to bend it strait in the vice after a small crash on the X450 carbon fiber frame. Sorry for the poor lighting, but we just wanted to get it flying (my friends wanted to see it fly).

I have fixed them fairly well.. at least as good as I can with the space that I have on the frame.

Next I created a 1/8th inch plywood version of the frame. Here is the design used for that:

Here are some pictures of the process of building the plywood frame:

The weight savings on the plywood frame versus the plexiglass is actually quite significant.

While working on the wooden frame I also modded my Turnigy 9X radio to run the open source ER9X firmware. The main reason I did this was to be able to correctly use the 3 position switch. The ER9X software is very easy to use compared to the stock software. Here are some picture of my hardware mode to install the programming cable:

Pictures of the wooden frame installed:

Here is the first real flight of the DJC1000-X4 beta build 2. In this one I used ArduCopter v2.6 firmware. There was one before this but I just went up quick and found an issue, fixed it and then recorded this:
Sorry for the poor camera work. The next video is better, I swear.

Here is flight 2 of the DJC1000-X4 beta build 2. In this one I used ArduCopter v2.7.1. This fixed my previous Yaw issues.

Next I wanted to get the camera gimbal to work. I beleive there was a bug in either ArduCopter v2.7.1 of the Mission Planner that caused the camera to tilt the wrong direction on me. I had just use a pot on the transmitter to control the camera on this flight. I has an issue with the front left motor that I still need to figure out (likely need to redo ESC calibration after resetting the ArduCopter settings).

I have been working with someone who is going to help me cut the frame parts out of carbon fiber. As a result of talking to him, I am going to need to make additional changes to make it easier to cut on a CNC machine.

I also had my uncle (a former Aerospace Engineer) take a look at the frame with me and he had a couple suggestions. I will be making those changes to the design soon as well. I may need to cut out another plywood version of the frame to test the changes for strength before doing the final carbon fiber version.

In the next Blog post I will outline the quadcopter build that I helped my friend, Matt, with. It was a very well planned one night build to flight. Sometime I even impress myself :)

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Quadcopter - X450 Carbon Fiber frame

I got an X450 Carbon Fiber frame and installed all of my parts on to it to test with. It flew fairly well. I have made a video of the flight and it can be found here: Quadrocopter - X450 CF XQuad - Outdoor - First flights

I have also assembled the plexiglass DJC1000-X4 'beta' frame and I flew it late tonight with some friends. I have a very poor quality video of the first lift off. After replacing a broken 'cross' motor mount adapter and tightening down a motor mount with no screw we got it to take off. It would start with tilting to the front right corner, but I got it off the ground. I have also discovered that I have absolutely no Yaw control at all. Full Yaw stick does nothing. I hear the motors speed up but they don't seem to do a thing.

I know that the frame is so bit that it will require PID tuning... and a lot of it. I have enabled more logging so that I can tune it correctly.

Several of the main frame parts on the plexiglass DJC1000-X4 'beta' frame we blocked by the wires from the HobbyKing Power Distribution Board. As a result some of the screws could no go in and the battery plate broke after several short attempts to fly getting no higher than about 5 feet off the ground. Having done no PID tuning and just throwing the frame together tonight I am very happy with the results.

Here are a few pictures from tonight for your enjoyment.

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Quadcopter - DJC1000-X4 beta build

I have almost competed the build of my DJC1000-X4 in fiberglass. This is what I am calling the DJC1000-X4 beta build because it allows me to test fit everything before I get the carbon fiber cut to match my design. I am doing this so that I can catch all of the issue before shelling out the money for the cutting.

This has helped me to find a few minor issues and let me plan the new camera mount when it came in. The lower outer battery plate mount holes is partly blocked by the legs. I thought that this could happen when designing the frame, but I wanted to try it. I wanted to give it a try because the legs will be better the further out they are. The same goes for the lower outer battery plate mount. I'll work on that more and try to figure it out.

For now, here are pictures of what I have done with the 'beta build'.

More to come as this story develops :P

Friday, June 22, 2012

Quadcopter - Second Thrust Test

This is going to be a quick one just to get the info out there. I did some thrust testing with my test rig and my new equipment. The equipment used is:
- Turnigy 4000mAh 3S 30C Lipo
- Hobbyking SS Series 25-30A ESC (card programmable)
- Turnigy D2836/9 950KV Brushless Outrunner Motor

GWS 10"x6"x3 (1060 three blade)
918 grams
19 Amp
232.9 Watt

GWS 9"x5"x3 (9050 three blade)
701 grams
14.89 Amps
183.9 Watts

GWS 8"x4"x3 (8040 three blade)
456 grams
8.75 Amp
108.5 Watt

8:x4.5"x2 (8045 two blade)
520 grams
10.72 Amps
133.2 Watt

10"x4.5"x2 (1045 two blade)
609 grams
12.91 Amp
156.1 Watt

Here are the statistics from Hobby King's site:
Battery: 2~4 Cell /7.4~14.8V
RPM: 950kv
Max current: 23.2A
No load current: 1A
Max power: 243W
Internal resistance: 0.070 ohm
Weight: 70g (including connectors)
Diameter of shaft: 4mm
Dimensions: 28x36m
Prop size: 7.4V/12x6 14.8V/9x6
Max thrust: 850g

I hope this information helps someone with planning their quadcopter or air plane build.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Quadcopter - DJC1000-X4

If you have read my older blog posts then you know that I am working on a bigger, awesomer, carbon fiber quadcopter. I have been busy working on it, planning, designing the frame, ordering parts and researching. I thought that it would be a good time to brain dump some of the information for others to read. Enjoy!

Parts list: to date:

Hobbyking 2-8S Cell Checker with Low Voltage Alarm- Same as my old alarm, but in a case now
Turnigy D2836/9 950KV Brushless Outrunner Motor - My motors of choice this time
1/3-inch SONY CCD Video Camera (NTSC) - For future FPV plans
2.8mm F:2.0 Turnigy Micro FPV Camera Lense - Wide angle lens for the FPV camera
Hobby King Quadcopter Power Distribution Board - Easier than making my own, and good price
Turnigy 4000mAh 3S 30C Lipo Pack - Still have from the last build. Good size
PolyMax 3.5mm Gold Connectors 10 PAIRS (20PC) - To connect ESCs to Motors
Aluminium CNC Metal Motor Mount 4-Pack - Cheap, simple. May be replaced later
XAircraft CM130-TS Tilt Camera Mount with Shutter - Cheap from GLB (GoodLuckBuy) for Carbon Fiber
12MM X 10MM X 500MM 100% Carbon fiber Wing tube / Tail tube *4 - Arms - (From ebay seller "happychoice2009")
Carbon fiber landing gear / Undercarriage *2 - Start of landing gear - (From ebay seller "happychoice2009")
Carbon fiber sheet - To cut the main frame out of - (From ebay seller "happychoice2009")
4 pairs 12mm Fiber Glass Carbon Tube Fixture Part - To attach arms to main frame - (From ebay seller "vocanlo")
XAircraft X650 V4 L3002C Carbon Fiber Load Pipe Mount w/ Stopper - To mount xAircraft camera mount
XAircraft X650 Value 4 L3003 Loading Pipe Mount 2pcs - To mount xAircraft camera mount
XAircraft X650 Value 4 L3004 Loading Pipe Fixer 2pcs - To mount xAircraft camera mount
Turnigy Battery Strap 330mm - Duh, battery strap
Hobbyking SS Series 25-30A ESC (card programmable) - Speed Controllers
ArduPilot Mega 2.0 - With External GPS - Flight Controller!
Propeller set 10X45 EPP Style (Black) - First pros to try. May need to go larger or different pitch
Green LED strip (short, 3 LED strip) - To mark the arms of the quad. Green for right side, like FAA standard
Blue LED strip (short, 3 LED strip) - To mark the arms of the quad. Blue for left side, modified from FAA
White LED strip (short, 3 LED strip) - To mark the arms of the quad. White for front.
Turnigy Accucel-6 50W 6A Balancer/Charger w/ accessories - Battery charger, no power supply
TURNIGY BESC Programming Card - To setup the ESC if I have issues
Turnigy 9X 9Ch Transmitter w/ Module & 8ch Receiver (Mode 2) (v2 Firmware) - Transmitter (Tx) and Receiver (Rx)
Turnigy 2650mAh 3S 1C LLF Tx Pack (Futaba/JR) - Battery for Tx
Turnigy 9X LCD Backlight Kit - White (DIY) - Backlight for Tx screen

Here is a forum thread on my frame design. I have made many many improvements and changes over the last month+. I have come up with a name for the quad (with the help of a friend) and the name is DJC1000-X4. "DJC" for my online name 'djchew'. "1000" for the 1000mm wheelbase of the quad. Lastly, "X4" becuase it is an x4 quad.
Here is a picture of the latest revision of the main frame design:

I also just got a great deal on an X450 Carbon Fiber frame on ebay last night, so that will will be the test bed where I build this quad while I work on my custom designed frame. After that, I will sell the X450 frame. I think that it is a great frame for the cost, it is just not big enough and does not have all of the features that I want for the long term.

Several things are in the mail and I am waiting on them in order to do more testing or fly (like the Tx).

YouTube - Good video to explain the differences between gyroscopes and accelerometers
DIY Drones - Good article to  explain the differences between gyroscopes and accelerometers
YouTube - Interesting DIY Vibartion Dampners
YouTube - Interesting homemade vibration dampers using rubber
YouTube - Video on prop balancing, including balancing the hub
flitetest - Opinions from a talented cinematographer/film maker (Shadow74/Shadow Studios) on multirotors, cameras, ect: flitetest - Shadow74 - Multi rotors - Aerial Filming
flitetest - Shadow74 - Pilot flying a camera or Professional aerial film maker

New people to check out videos of on YouTube:
Youtube - vegetoast1 - videos
Youtube - shadowstudiosllc - videos
Youtube - Hoverbot1TV - videos
Youtube - gundamnitpete - videos
Youtube - stockfoodpics - videos
Youtube - eyeinsky1 - videos
Youtube - RonALampman - videos
Youtube - Extremeaerials - videos
Youtube - foxtechonline - videos

That's all that I have for now. I hope to have more soon. Perhaps the next thing I will do is balance a bunch of props, my new motors and do some more thrust testing!

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Quadrocopter Build - A new hope

I have sold the X525 Quadcopter that I built. Now it is time to work on my new, larger, more powerful, carbon fiber quadcopter.

I have ordered lots of parts for it already over the last 3 days. Here is a list of what I already have:
4x 12mmx10mmx500mm carbon fiber tubes
19 3/4" x 15 3/4" x 1.5mm sheet of carbon fiber
4x Aluminium CNC Metal Motor Mount
4x 12mm Fiber Glass/Carbon Tube Fixture Part

Here is a list of what I have ordered for the project:
ArduPilot Mega 2.0 with External GPS
4x Turnigy D2836/9 950KV Brushless Outrunner motors
4x Hobbyking SS Series 25-30A Electronic Speed Controllers (card programmable)
TURNIGY BESC Programming Card
1/3-inch SONY CCD Video Camera (NTSC)
2.8mm F:2.0 Turnigy Micro FPV Camera Lense (Viewing Angle: 115 degree)
Hobbyking 2-8S Cell Checker with Low Voltage Alarm
Turnigy 9X 9Ch Transmitter w/ Module & 8ch Receiver (Mode 2) (v2 Firmware)
Turnigy 2650mAh 3S 1C LLF Tx Pack (Futaba/JR) (to go in Turnigy 9x)
Turnigy 9X LCD Backlight Kit - White (DIY)
Turnigy Receiver Controlled Switch
Rubber Grommet for servos (10pcs/set) (could make good vibration dampers/isolators)
Heli Canopy Rubber Grommet Medium (6pcs/bag) (could make good vibration dampers/isolators)
Turnigy Accucel-6 50W 6A Balancer/Charger w/ accessories
HobbyKing UBEC 3A / 2-6s LiPO (mostly for testing)
Turnigy Battery Strap 330mm

I am currently working on redesigning the main frame for the new carbon fiber quadcopter. I have got feedback fro ma few people and I found a few problems myself. I am working to get all of the issues discovered worked out then I will post again to get more feedback and hopefully work out any new issues.

More to come as soon as I finish the next version of this frame design!

Friday, May 25, 2012

Quadrocopter Build - Part 12 - Thrust testing

I have built a bit of a collection of propellers and I have wanted to build a thrust test rig for a while. This video helped guide me in the right direction:
Flite Test : Measuring Thrust - FLITE TIP

There are many threads on and many other RC sites on how to test props. Some I liked, some I did not. I took the parts I had available to me and built this thing.

I built a thrust tester and tested the props I have with one of my XXD A2208 1200KV motors. I used a Hobbywing Skywalker 20A and a Turnigy 2200mAh 3S 40C LiPo. The results were:
8x4.5x2 - 1 lb 7.6 oz (669 grams) of thrust
8x4x3 - 1 lb 3.8 oz (561 grams) of thrust
9x5x3 - 1 lb 11.8 oz (788 grams) of thrust
10x6x3 - 2 lb 3.7 oz (1012 grams) of thrust

Here are more pictures of the rig. I also have videos is anyone is interested.

I am interested to see what would happen if I put the 10x6x3 props on the quadcopter. I had thought that the motors would be too fast for these props to catch the correct amount of air for the about of tilt and surface area of the props. However this test seems to imply that they would actually do fairly well. Could be a good test if I get the time.

Also, my X525 quadcopter is for sale to free up cash for the new carbon fiber quad that I have started.

Kijiji post: