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Messages - Deerslayer

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General Discussion / Re: Swap meet update
« on: April 18, 2018, 10:09:17 AM »
Sorry to hear that, Wilf.  Thanks for trying.

I have owned the DX9 for about a hundred years (as my late friend Flypaper would say!) and am still discovering what certain things do and can be used for. Here is one situation that presented and which a simple combination of Flight Modes and Digital Switch Setup functions provided the solution. This is applicable to any of the DX-series, later generations of transmitters, which run the common Airware operating system.

The problem was, the Vector flight controller/stabilizer in my plane has a large selection of Modes. You can select up to 5 Vector modes (not to be confused with Flight Modes, which pertains only to the transmitter setup.). These can be assigned to one or more switches, commanding a specific channel which is connected from the receiver to the Vector.
Setting up 3 conditions on a 3-position switch is easy, but I wanted to use 6 position across two of my switches. As well, I wanted settings of these two switches to be mutually exclusive.

First, you need to understand the Vector's Mode protocol. They look at the Mode channel and enable 1 of the 5 possible Modes depending upon what is the pulse length. Don't worry about how you figure out how to convert Pulse width to the % values the transmitter shows, I will explain it later on.
Here is the table showing which Mode the Vector is in, as determined by the Pulse width
1 < 1250 microseconds
2 1250 - 1400
3 1400 - 1600
4 1600 - 1750
5 > 1750

Now, a word about Flight Modes. I have a very simple set of Flight Modes for this aircraft - only 3, so it only requires one 3-position switch. they are 1,2 an 3, which I call Normal, Cruise and TO/GA (takeoff/go around). Certain control mixes may, or may not, be enabled when each Flight Mode is selected. When I establish the Mixes for my two 3-position Vector Mode switches, I select which Flight Mode(s) will enable that switch and, therefore, the 3 Vector Mode settings allowable within that Flight Mode.

I use the GEAR channel for my Vector Mode. As with all my aircraft, a Channel Assign moved control of that channel away from the default A switch, as that is my Throttle Cut; I assigned the Gear channel to the F switch.

Now, I have already created the 3 Flight Modes, so it is time to set up the Mixes. 
1 = Normal   No Controls mixing
2 = Cruise    No Controls mixing
3 = TO/GA   Lots of Controls Mixing (for Crow, etc.)

Next, comes the Digital Switch Setup. Digital 2-position and 3-position Switches by default have  +100, 0, -100% as their command outputs, Digital Switch Setup allows you to change each of these individual positions to anything from 0 to 150%. I want my switches to operate in the Normal and Cruise Flight Modes, as follows:

Switch E -
Pos 0  = Vector Mode 1 = Loiter
Pos 2  = Vector Mode 2 = 3D Heading Hold
Pos 3  = Vector Mode 3 = OFF
Switch F -
Pos 5  = Vector Mode 5 = RTH TEST
Pos 4  = Vector Mode 4 = 2D Heading Hold
Pos 3  = Vector Mode 3= OFF

So, within the Digital Switch Setup, I have set Switch E to have 0, -45 , -100 as its three positions and Switch F as 0, 45,100 as its states. (I have already translated the requires Pulse widths to determine the +-45% settings.

Then, we set up two simple Mixes:

Switch E is mixed to GEAR  with its default 100,100 values,  active in Flight Modes 1 (Normal) and 2 (Cruise), disabled in 3 (TO/GA).

Switch F is also mixed to GEAR exactly as with Switch E.

Now, in either the Normal or Cruise Flight Modes with both Vector Mode (E & F) Switches in the Down position, the Gear channel is outputting  the "0" or Centered command, so the Vector is in its OFF Mode. In TO/GA Flight Mode, these two Switched are inoperative and the Vector is in OFF. This means that, at any time, pulling both E and F back will turn the Vector OFF, regardless of Flight Mode.

This is simpler than it may sound. This particular need and the specific settings of Switches is just one example of what can be done with two very powerful functions on Spektrum and other systems, once you get the basic idea. I have done a lot of Mixing, etc. across many aircraft of different types and with varying setups, yet I am still learning new stuff all the time.

If this gives anyone some ideas or questions, please let me know. I may be able to help you, or at least point you in the direction of someone who knows a lot more about it and is very patient and willing to assist.


Addendum - Translating % to Pulse Width

Spektrum defaults to Pulse Width range of 900 to 1900 as -100% and +100%, respectively.  You can set Servo Travel to as high and low as -150% and 150%, respectively. Pulse Width = 1500 is 0%, or Center, regardless of the range setting. For my Vector control example, I Ieft them at the defaults.

My test setup consists of a receiver, digital servo tester and servo attached to a degree wheel. The latter is just for interest, only the receiver and digital readout on the servo tester is required. For this test, and in the eventual aircraft setup, make sure that there is no unwanted Mix or Trim settings lurking in the background to interfere with your required operation. (Experience speaking here!)

Pulse Width = 1500 is 0%, or Center, regardless of the range setting.

I set up my test channel such that it was on the Throttle, as that enables more precise adjustments which stay in place while taking various readings. In the Trims menu, I had set Throttle Trim to "0", to ensure that I got clean readings, with only the stick movement. From there on, it is simple:

1. Go to the Monitor screen on the transmitter.

2. Set the throttle stick in various positions, taking readings of both the % on the transmitter and the Pulse Width microseconds on the servo tester. If you are really interested, as I was, plot them and convince yourself that they are linear, and/or  have your servo degree wheel hooked up and watch it wiggle around. Do not worry if the digital readout is slightly different from expected; mine read 17 microseconds high at the Center and the endpoints, I do not know why, but it is a trivial error.

3. My Vector modes required it seeing the following Pulse Widths:
1 < 1250 microseconds
2 1250 - 1400
3 1400 - 1600
4 1600 - 1750
5 > 1750
So, via Digital Switch Setup, I set Switches E and F to have "0" at their same position, pulled fully back. That gives Mode 3 on both.
Then, I set Switches E an F to be at -100 and +100, respectively, in their furthest forward positions. Modes 1 and 5 are now taken care of.
Mode 2 and 4 are the ones where you need to know the correspondence between % and Pulse Width, as these activate within narrow ranges of values. I found that +-45% values were fairly centered within these required values, so those will be the Switch midle positions.

Therefore, my Digital Switches are set up as E = 0, -50, -100 and F = 0, 50, 100.

The servo tester with a digital readout is my most valuable gadget in the shop or at the field. This is one example where it was essential. I use it to check out every new servo immediately after purchase and every servo prior to, and immediately after, installation in an aircraft, or when a malfunction occurs or is suspected. Get one for yourself!

FPV at KRCM / Some FPV Ramblings
« on: April 14, 2018, 11:36:18 AM »
Attached is a summary of some FPV-related stuff I have been doing. I hope it give someone some ideas, or can start a discussion.

It surprises me that Flypaper never showed up with one of these ... or did he?

VIDEOS and PICTURES from KRCM Events and Activities / Levin's Hotts
« on: April 12, 2018, 08:38:46 AM »
Harold and Levin have been at it again! They dug out what is claimed to be a Hotts sport airplane from way back in time, cleaned it up and fitted a new ASP .46 engine.

Back some 30 years ago, the Hotts was  at the top of the heap of fun flyers. Dan Santich designed the original one, followed by the Hotts II (two) and Midwest kitted it as one of their superb Success Series offerings. I had one of those and it was the most enjoyable kit I ever built, before or afterward. It was a terrific flyer and I would love to find on of those original kits to build again.

There were many variations of the Hotts that were created over the years, several of which even showed up in our Club. Giant scale, intermediate, biplane, SPAD, foamy, too many to recall.

This particular plane most be scratch built, as i has foam sheeted wings, no plywood sides or turtle deck and its fuselage shape differs from the angular slab facets of the original Hotts. The wing tips do not have the end plates which were very critical to taming the behaviour of the original Hotts II. But, who cares, let's call it a Hotts and see how it flies!

I was pleased to take it for the test flight. Wow! this thing really rocks and brings back some memories! After a quick try, I cranked in about 50% expo on the Ailerons and Elevator, eventually bumping it up to 60% on both after we did the second flight. We called it quits, as the wind was howling. I left Levin with a couple of suggestions, such as relocating the battery to move the C of G further back.

As this was the first flight for this plane and engine, in our hands, and it was a very windy and gusty day, I did the takeoff and the eventual landing. Levin took over in the air, once we got a bit familiar with it. He will have to be very careful, as it is a step change from the average airplane that scoots around these days but he is very capable of handing it. 

Some of you may know Levin, a.k.a. Flight Kid.

Apart from hanging out with us and flying, he leads a very challenging academic life. Recently, he participated in the regional Science Fair at Duncan Macarthur Hall.

Harold and I were privileged to obtain a sit-down VIP visit with Levin at his display. We were unable to stump him with our questions; he really does know what he is talking about!

Levin's project was the laser CNC system which he designed, built, programmed and documented. His dad helped with the cutting of the wooden components and perhaps in the de-bugging associated electronics, but L learned/utilized the GRBL programming language and all of the other associated technological aspects. The device works, although he was not allowed to activate the laser at the Fair, due to safety requirements, quite understandable, even though he currently has only a 5mw or such laser from a CD drive. He plans to purchase a higher powered laser and be able to cut foam for ... guess what ... flying machines!

I suggested that he bring his travelling road show out the to field sometime this summer (perhaps at the FDFF) and display it.

Harold and I were really impressed with the tremendous efforts and variety of projects at the Science Fair. We walked away feeling really positive about those who will be the future Engineers and Scientists and leaders. Great work and Good Luck to all of them!

Perhaps our guy will choose to comment in here, with more explanation, if he ever gets some time!

Meanwhile, here are a few pictures taken at the event.

Well, guess what I found out at the Toyground! (Pictures attached.)
Grasscutter was rootin' around with a digger that he "borrowed" from ... don't ask! So, what is he up to? Well, he started out strip-mining an area just east of the building (there is only one building now). He seems to have hit bedrock before encountering any gold or human remains.

You never saw a guy so happy as this fellow playing around in the dirt. By the way, who would have guessed that there is actually some high quality soil between the grass roots and the rock around here? Look at the giant pile!

His next step was to call in a load of crushed stone and start filling the hole up again.

So, what is he really up to?

This is the first step of expanding the dining/observing area. A concrete pad will be poured and, if the money doesn't run out, the clubhouse overhang will be extended over it.

This will provide a very nice shelter for the Peanut Gallery, as well as a place to set up or work on planes, as well as to prepare food and eat it.

KRCM owes Marvin a hearty thanks for scrounging up the excavation equipment and knowing how to use it.

As I was leaving, Mike was on his way out with a surveyor's level so that Marvin could begin the levelling and tamping of the stone. (It looked to me that a couple more loads would be needed to establish the base for the 5 inches of concrete to cap it off, so he may be at this for awhile yet.)

Marvin - how about an update?

When do Training Nights start this year?

General Discussion / Classic Canadian Test Pilot Documentary
« on: April 05, 2018, 07:15:26 AM »
This is a superb film, produced by the National Film Board with Fred Davis as the reporter. Some may recall Fred from his days as host of Front Page Challenge. DeHaviland's chief test pilot is featured. It is hard to realize that some of the air work overlooks the farmland area way out at Downsview (it was sort of Canada's Area 51)! In the segment on the water, you can pick out the old Five Roses (I think it was) grain elevator and the Toronto Island ferry scooting across the harbour. Some of us can, at least dimly, remember seeing some of these state of the art aircraft at places like the old Trenton Air Show. Fine viewing, hope you enjoy it!

I use hot glue, it works well, especially on the balance charge leads.
As for connectors, I bought those little plastic servo lead locks from HK, they cost a few pennies and are great!

New subject: have you been able to find PolyCrylic in small cans? They want $23 for a quart here. Do you wipe both sides of a sheet at the same time? (remember my warping problem)

I used to use hot glue years ago but found that I was fooling myself. It did not really adhere well to the connectors (at least with the standard connectors and in a glow fuel environment where it is possible to get contamination from pulling the connectors apart and reinstalling them. Any of the 3 components in glow fuel will release the weak mechanical bond of glue to the connector and/or wiring. Also, the hot glue is rather inflexible to use as a strain relief, whereas RTV has flexibility. That is why it is often used in industrial settings. Before applying, I may wipe the connector and wiring with a paper towel that had been dampened with acetone, as that gets rid of any oils that may be present from manufacturing or previous handling. I sometimes do like to stick parallel servo wires together with the occasional tiny dab of hot glue, striving for neatness, or just to tack wiring to foam. 

Hot glue is wonderful, but not for everything, IMHO! (Flypaper might have given me a good swat for such a statement, eh!)

 I have a little collection of those servo locks but never seem to get around to using them. For something hidden, such as a servo extension connection inside of a wing, I tie some thread or dental floss across the connectors, between two of the wires of each part, sort of like wrapping a present. That way, the assembly will still thread easily through ribs, etc., without pulling apart.

For tiny assemblies, such as those little connectors and micro wire on a camera. you want something that really helps hold the connector and pins and wire together if there is stress applied. Hot glue doesn't do much for that. I like RTV, instead of messing around with shrink wrap on many connector/wire arrangements, even on the big LiPo and ESC stuff. It is an insulator, flexible strain relief and can prevent the pins themselves from disengaging on some types of connectors.

And, as you may have already suspected, Yes, I do own a major interest in the RTV company!

As for the polycrylic, I still have a smidgen left from the one and only 1 litre can I bought many years ago. It goes a looooong way when you dilute it at least 1:1 with water for my kind of work. Back then, it was not available at the Home Despot in any other sizes and other places I had checked did not carry it at all.  Not a huge investment, compared to most of the stuff we pour into this hobby, plus you can paint a table or something with it and impress your (much) better half - not that I would know from experience.

I have had bad experience over many years with various connectors and their installed wiring. The pins may pull fullu or partially out or the wire may break at the pin, usually after significant use but sometimes right from the manufacturer.
This is a real problem with some FPV camera cabling, where they use extremely small connectors and wire and the assembly may well be subjected to constant buffeting by an airflow.

What I have been doing for some time, is to use some of the red RTV and force it into the end where the wires exit and out a little way onto and through the wire bundle. If you have trouble getting a neat looking job, just lick your finger tip and lightly smear the RTV, as it is a silicone and will smooth out without sticking to your finger.

After overnight drying, this makes an excellent strain relief. I also use further support for cabling, especially these really stiff yet delicate ones which may be exposed to handling and air turbulence.

I often use pipe short pieces of pipe cleaners, one end or the center of a short piece hot glued to a structure and the open end wrapped a turn or two around the cable(s). Easy to set up, looks neat, easy to undo and redo, if required. At $Tree, they have packages containing a lifetime supply (unless you are a pipe smoker, I suppose, but then you may have a shorter life anyway?). They are packaged in several colors, so you can even code certain wires or bundles if you wish. Also, these can be handy to code LiPos (Red = needs charging, 2 Reds = suspected bad cell, etc., Yellow = in storage, Green = good to go).

FPV at KRCM / Re: Good quality FPV video recording
« on: March 28, 2018, 04:24:55 PM »
Good work, W.

This clearly demonstrates that, although one may record at the receiving end, there is a substantial loss of quality by doing so. Recording at source gets the best results.

The Mobius is an incredibly high quality HD camera, so there is some bias in comparing results with the onboard Foxeer camera. However, the loss during transmission is still the major factor, as we have seen when using the Mobius with video transmission and viewing on the ground.

What cannot be shown via your 2 videos is that there is some latency with the Mobius. You have  demonstrated that on another occasion.

As we know, it is common use a Mobius, GoPro or such for video recording and the other camera for flight control purpose.


The following is from the RCGROUPS thread. John is one of the primary testers of Lemon products - he lives in Australia. The other key person lives near Ottawa. The designer (owner?) of Lemon lives in Vancouver. These are truly global products!

Here is John's note:

I just got an email from Lemon stating they are likely to soon have a telemetry capable StabilizerPLUS, and that it will most likely be 10 channels. There will be 5 header pins on both ends of the telemetry capable stabilizer PLUS to make it narrow. It may possibly be even narrower than the current stabilizer. For the new 10 channel telemetry capable StabilizerPLUS, they are are planning to add RPM sensing to the unit. At the same time they are also likely to have an RPM sensor for combustion engines as an optional accessory. Multiple satellites will be possible with dual satellite port on-board.

As always this is tentative and WWSIWWSI (We will see it when we see it).

It does sound like a product a lot of us have asked for though.


PS: Absolutely no idea of when or how much so don't bother asking me.

Very nice!  :D  :D

Unsolicited advice:

Make nice with Brad, there is a lot to be gained there. Wifey bought him a spiffy new trailer, and he has it all gussied up to carry big toys. His day job will be getting in the way of Fun Time as soon as the weather improves. So, get yourself a trailer hitch and grovel - he may take pity on you  ;D

As long as there is a tad of wind, my recently developed Armchair Takeoffs of certain airplanes. like the MicorWing and the Black Widow. work out quite well. Perhaps 95% success rate with no damage and only embarrassment involved in the remaining 5

This is a great way for those of us who are aged, or lazy or both - or just like having fun! Sort of in the Flypaper tradition of flying toys?

The landing so far has been the usual grounder. But, this means you have to walk over, bend down and pick the thing up - very tiring! Or, you could fly it into yourself to catch it (best done with flying wings having rear props, for obvious reasons).

The next step, which I have been mulling over for awhile now, is to complete the project by perfecting Armchair Landing.  This involves either having two armchairs, one for takeoff and one for landing, or possibly having someone re-orient the launching chair subsequent to the launch so that its back is now to the wind. Oh, what the heck, I may be able to do that by myself.

This should be a simple technique (he says), so why hasn't anyone done it before? Rhetorical question, I know of at least one answer, which involved the mental state of the pile-it involved.

Some 30 years ago, I used to slope fly rc gliders off the southwest side of Fort Henry hill. Stand at the top, give it a push into the wind and begin to slope soar, often way out over and above RMC. The most interesting part of the flight was the landing. I would come around in a pattern which brought the plane back into wind behind my launch station and heading toward me, at perhaps 4 feet above ground and minimum control speed. As it reaches you, pull up slightly to reduce speed and climb slightly above your head, then just reach up and catch it. If you misjudge, push the nose down, keep flying ahead and catch the ridge lift again. Easy peasy! You get to do as many practice catches as you wish.

I think that Armchair Landings will bring me back full circle to something that I had enjoyed in a long past but never forgotten part of my RC life. (A time in which I knew a LOT less about it all than I do now - and that isn't saying very much!).

Next good flying day, with video to share, I hope.

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