Abigail and Kate

Abigail is the first major storm to be named by the Met Office, while Kate is the tail end of a hurricane. Needless to say it’s too windy to fly. In short it’s a building day.


A smaller spider in the process of construction

A smaller spider in the process of construction

It’s probably a good thing, though, because it looks like we’re flying in the University Agility competition at the UK Drone Show in December, so I need to get a 250 size quad flying fairly soon. Bearing in mind that I’ve been building radio controlled aircraft from scratch for several decades, I can’t believe how much trouble I’ve had getting this thing to work. I just assumed that all the equipment would work, but I tend to buy the very best quality equipment on the basis that I’ll get a lifetime of use out of it. A lot of the quadcopter parts are fairly low quality. The EMAX MT1806 motors look good, but I’ve had no end of trouble getting them to work reliably. Connected directly to an ESC and FrSky D4R-II receiver, I’ve found one to have failed before getting past the testing phase. Of the four currently on the quad, two are marginal on startup, seeming to skip like the timing is wrong. Now, before blaming the motors, this could be the wiring, or the ESC programming. I’ve got the dead motor on the bench at the moment waiting for some free time to investigate what the problem is. When I say “dead”, there are no beeps coming from it at all when the ESC starts, so I’m expecting it to be a wiring problem. Then, after getting all the motors running, I couldn’t get the radio to work with the flight controller. I actually had two channels locked together for some bizarre reason.

On the subject of swapping motors around in quadcopters, I had 4 of the plus thread motors and 2 of the CCW ones. Obviously, the failed one was a CCW thread so I didn’t have a replacement to hand. Now, the only difference between the plus and CCW motors is the left hand or right hand thread on the case, so I wondered whether this could be changed over. It turns out that it’s really easy to do, requiring just the removal of a single circlip on the back of the motor to allow the case to be pulled off. The new motor with the old case attached is working fine, so I know it’s not a problem with the magnets. I’ll do another blog post on this showing the steps required once I get some spare time, as it’s a useful trick to know.

Finally, I’ve been buying lots of tools and stuff which I need for the quad. In the picture above you can see my new Turnigy Hex Drivers. I bought these on Amazon (the link is to the HobbyKing site), but I can’t help wondering whether they are the real deal or fake? They cost £6.99, but were delivered in a cheap looking vac-form plastic pack with a cardboard sleeve behind. The plastic and cardboard pack has been but off at the top with scissors and contains no branding except for “BIN B. [11458] S638” and a CE mark and bar code on a sticker on the back. It looks fairly good quality, but not exactly the same design as the one on the Hobby King site. Also, the plastic holder for the bits inside has a lot of the plastic left behind and has been badly cut in one place. The spring clip that holds the bits in is also a little loose.

Normally I wouldn’t buy anything from Amazon Market Place for that reason, but we needed something quickly to do the filming. On the plus side, though, at the same time I bought myself a crimping tool for DuPont (Futaba/JR) connectors. This is something I’ve needed for a long time as I have to admit that crimping with pliers really doesn’t work. These are made by Jago and are definitely good quality, being professionally packaged, along with a guarantee. The jaws are switchable for different types of crimping, so I’m looking forward to having a play with these to make some of the connectors I need for the quad.

So, the target for this evening is to have the quad hovering. Unfortunately, this means that the Autogyro project is on hold for a bit.


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