Rain, Sleet, Snow

We’ve had all three forms of precipitation in the last few days. There’s been heavy rain since 6 o’clock this morning and we might get sleet and snow later, so it’s fairly obvious that there’s not going to be any flying done this week. I haven’t flown the RS352 since the week before Christmas now. My BMFA renewal arrived earlier this week, so I’m good to fly for the whole of the rest of the year. It’s always like this every January.

The little blue acrylic quadcopter is flying around indoors nicely though. You can see that I have added some basic prop guards since last week. I’m actually a bit disappointed with the weight as it’s come out at 48g flying weight, while I was hoping for a bit lower. I’ve still got to add the 4g FPV camera, but the test flight this morning was around 5 minutes. That suggests that it’s round about the same as the HubSan X4C, although the flight controller is in a different league. The separate flight controller and FrSky receiver that you can see in the picture above must be heavier than one of the integrated units, so I must be giving away a few grammes there. I’m flying it with my Futaba Field Force 8 which has a FrSky ACCST module in the back. This is what makes me really mad about FrSky, because I can’t use the Taranis radio with this receiver. Our Taranis for work was flashed with the European firmware and that won’t talk to an 8 channel receiver, so I’m sticking with the Futaba. Either that or we’ll have to switch everything back to the US firmware.

Anyway, it was refreshing to fly a quadcopter that I’ve actually designed and built myself. It’s just a bit too much of a conventional design, though, so I might have a go at some more radical alterations next. As for this morning’s first full test flight, I took some video using my RunCam, but it’s not that good, so I’ll have to try another flight later today. Also, I don’t think it’s calibrated properly as it was trying to yaw left all the time. This might be to do with the fact that I hold the flight controller on with double sided tape and the flight controller has a habit of peeling itself off where the components on the back don’t make a flat surface. It needs a better solution really, but it’s so easy and light to hold the flight controller and battery on with tape.

As for the balancing of the autogyro blades last week, that turned out to be harder than I thought. There is only a few grammes difference between the heaviest blade and the lightest, but glue doesn’t add that much weight, so it’s hard to get them to balance. I’m not sure how close they need to be, so I ended up trying to take some wood off of the heavier one, but they’re still coming out as 19.2g, 19.4g and 19.9g. That’s within 0.7g, so it’s probably close enough. When I finally cover them with film it’s going to cause the same balance problems all over again.

That’s it for this week, except to say that I now know how to make the Taranis work as a joystick with our flight simulator. You can reprogram the ranges to match the ranges that Unity expects, so it is perfectly possible to use it as a joystick in other software that was written in Unity too. FPV Freerider is one which immediately springs to mind. So that’s my afternoon planned out: film acrylic blue flying, add the FPV camera, play with Taranis and flight simulator.

Let’s hope it’s not raining next week.

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