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Messages - Deerslayer

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Buy, Sell, Trade or Give Away / Re: Wanted - Joystick
« on: October 19, 2018, 05:41:14 PM »
Thanks, I will take you up on the offer of the joystick.
My next flying day is Sunday, if the weather settles down a bit, may see you out at the Toyground then.

Plans, Projects, Building and Flying Tips / Tech Tips Site
« on: October 15, 2018, 08:15:20 AM »
Here is an superb site. I just found out about it and immediately discovered answers to a couple of questions I have had over the (6?) years of owning the DX9.

Although it is oriented toward Spektrum  DX9, much of what is there also pertains to the other later model Spektrum systems, which all run the common Airware firmware. As well, there is information in here which pertains to other parts of your RC gear. e/g/. ESCs, servos ....

As for the Spektrum-specific items, note where much of the information originates. Andy leads their Development Team; he is the sponsor and major contributor to the RCGROUPS forum devoted to their (originally DX9) systems. Sherman is a well-known expert on the use of this equipment, with particular emphasis on sailplanes - he even sells a book on this whole topic. "Freechip" is one of several Users who have delved deeply into the workings of the Spekrum gear and become a foremost expert in understanding and using it in very advanced ways. Just to name a few of the contributors!

The user manual does cover the basics required to get your radio into use but it can only scratch the surface of what is available and how to accomplish many things with it.

One thing you should do is to ensure that you have registered your radio (SPEKTRUMRC.COM) and installed the latest Airware updates. These happen about once a year or so. Although it is extremely rare that an anomoly is found within this mature product, each major update will have one of more features have likely been requested by Users, encorporated to keep up with some sort of receiver or aircraft system developments or just to make life a bit easier for someone. Even if you just bought your radio yesterday, it may not necessarily have the latest firmware installed, so register it immediately and check for any newer version of the firmware. The upgrade is simple, quick and safe.

Buy, Sell, Trade or Give Away / Wanted - Joystick
« on: October 07, 2018, 06:30:07 AM »
Anyone got an old joystick to donate to a worthy cause? It does not need to be working,  I am primarily interested in the handle itself, and perhaps the base.

What is this worthy cause? I am making a hand controller to fly a model aircraft. Flypaper made something but my approach is different, as it will use a gyro/accelerometer "head tracker" to sense the controller's orientation in space and feed the transmitter via its Trainer port.

VIDEOS and PICTURES from KRCM Events and Activities / K-Town 3D Throwdown
« on: October 06, 2018, 09:38:47 AM »
Adam Boffa made this great video, flying his race quadcopter during one of Nick's many 3D flights. The camera used was the Polaroid Cube, an inexpensive yet high quality HD unit.

I used to use the Adams foamboard, as stocked by $Tree, for my flying contraptions. The paper is easily stripped off, you can then either leave the foam sheet alone or paint it.

As more folks started building foam planes, often the FliteTest Spitfires, etc., I saw that they left the paper on. Part of the reason seemed to be the difficulty in removing the paper covering. I wondered why, since it always came off easily for me. Then one day, to my great horror, $Tree was out of foamboard just when I needed more. So, I tried Dollarama. I found the foamboard and later discovered that the paper was extremely difficult, sometimes impossible, to remove cleanly. The reason? Their foamboard was made by Elmers, not Adams! Now, I understood what Flypaper and others had been talking about.

I have built a number of planes, usually flying wings, using the Dollarama/Elmers foamboard. Apart from the first time I bought some white, they have only stocked black. I did develop a technique for carefully removing strips or sections of the paper, if desired. Otherwise, I left it alone and usually painted it over with thinned Polycrylic to waterproof it, possibly even tarting it up with some colored craft water-based acrylic.

The black Elmers foamboard is interesting, in that the foam itself is black, yielding a somewhat higher visibility surface, almost sparkling in direct sunlight.

If you need to laminate a couple of sheets together, say, for a stiffer fuselage or to layer up a KFm style wing, you have a choice with the Elmers, but not with the Adams. You can strip the paper off or leave it on, then use sprayed or brushed water-based contact cement. Note: Don't leave the paper on the Adams foamboard, at least where you need to glue it, as your structure will pull apart easily.

So, to cut to the chase:

I want to use the Adams foamboard, but I want to remove the paper. How to do it? Very simply - use drug store alcohol! I use the Life brand 99% USP isopropol, although the more diluted alcohol will probably work. I spray or dribble a generous amount onto the surface, it should be in a thin puddle, and leave it for a few seconds. Then, I start lifting the paper. I may keep dribbling, spraying or brushing more alcohol into the interface of paper and foam as I pull it apart, using a very shallow angle. If there is a spot where the paper seems to be coming apart, stop pulling, load it with alcohol, or begin paper removal from another side or edge. After all the paper is removed, if there are any spots of paper fibres, soak them and rub or carefully scratch them off with something like a credit card.

While you think about this, here is a great way to create a hinge with the Adams foamboard, if you decide to leave the paper in place:

Take a balsa stripper, or make up a tool with a fresh #11 glued to a block of wood, such that the blade will protrude just a hair less than the thickness of the foamboard with its paper attached. Run it along your hinge line, the idea being to cut ALMOST to the paper on the other side. Then, crack your hinge open. Now, you can carefully cut a bevel into the one part of the structure, say, on the Rudder, and leave the other part alone.

You will be able to move the surface freely; if there is interference, or to just clean things up a bit, you can carefully sand the exposed foam surfaces. The paper is very strong, you will not damage it, as long as you are careful. Even if you do nick it, there should still be more strength that you will ever need to use.

If you wish, you can always wipe a thin layer of hot glue across the exposed foam in your hinge. It is very unlikely that, even if you do nothing, the paper will ever separate from the Elmers brand foamboard - unless they change their formula or technique for manufacturing.

You can, of course, do the same hinging technique  with the Adams stuff but you WILL have to use hot glue or something along the hinge line to ensure that the paper will not separate from the foam.

Try it. Good luck!

General Discussion / LiPo Factory
« on: September 17, 2018, 08:41:39 AM »
I bet that most of us are unaware of how KiPos are manufactured. I found this tour of a LiPo factory to be very informative. (It takes awhile to get to the actual manufacturing process.)

And, if you liked that one, here is one showing how propellers are made - by the millions! This reminds me of my 4th Year Engineering project (1969/70), which involved resurrecting a dormant injection moulding machine and trying to get a computer model of the process working. At that time, prior to the common use of CNC machines, the intense design, development and manual creation of the dies meant that injection moulding was usually only economically practical for production of 150,000 or more units. Tool and Die Makers were at the top of the pyramid in plastics manufacturing operations.

FPV at KRCM / FPV Video - 9 SEP 2018
« on: September 11, 2018, 09:47:11 AM »
This short video shows flying FPV with the assistance of the Eagle Tree Vector flight controller/stablizer.


There are a great many parameters, modes and display options available with the Vector. I have this particular aircraft set up to use five Vector Modes. plus OFF. Depending upon which DX9 Flight Mode is enabled, the desired Vector Mode is then selected via one of two switches on the transmitter. In Flight Mode 1, Switch E selects OFF, GYRO or LOITER; in Flight Mode 2, Switch F selects OFF, RTH TEST or WAYPOINT. Of course, Bitchin' Betty announces switch positions, in addition to the OSD presenting the actual Vector Mode.

 Return To Home (RTH) will automatically be triggered if the Lemon receiver goes into Failsafe due to a loss of signal. I have tested this on several occasions by turning off the DX9; the aircraft climbs or descends to the pre-programmed altitude and returns to Home, then proceeds to climb or descend to a pre-selected altitude and circles about Home until .. forever, or it regains signal or the battery runs down!

RTH is interesting. The Vector only sees Receiver PCM outputs, it is unaware of the 2.4 GHz reception. How does it figure out that we have lost control contact? The receiver has been set such that, upon loss of signal, it drives the Throttle channel down to -130% or such. This low value cannot occur in normal flight, since the Throttle Travel is +100%,-100% and Trim is disabled (=0), as with all my electric aircraft. So the Vector goes into RTH. Much fun the first time, as you switch off the transmitter and watch as the aircraft changes direction and heads back Home, circles around like a pet dawg and waits for you to turn the box back on! It works!

In Loiter Mode, the aircraft immediately enters a pre-set circle of approximately 60 foot radius and maintains altitude, until it is released from Loiter, or ... well, you know ...

The OSD (On Screen Display) has many options, involving which items can be displayed and where on the screen each will appear. You can even set it up to present alternate displays during flight. I am still playing around with different combinations and appearances.

There are 2D and 3D Modes, with or without Heading Hold. I have used them but neither are currently set up for this plane. I use OFF, GYRO, LOITER, RTH Test and WAYPOINT, with the latter being to perform the stored Mission.

Apart from the 2 DX9 Flight Modes, each of which enables a specif switch to associated control Vector Modes and perhaps some other Mixes, I have the TOGA (Take Off / Go Around) Mode.

In TOGA, the Vector can be either OFF or in GYRO Mode, while the Throttle Stick is now used to manipulate Flaperons/Spoilerons (and a highly exponential Throttle Curve in its lower travel. Sort of a "partial Crow", as the plane has no flaps. Being a floater, this enables steep climbouts and high angle approaches for excellent short field performance, especially in rough conditions.

At any time, I can Tilt the camera via a transmitter Knob (not particularly useful) or detach the Rudder control and use the Rudder Stick movement to Pan the camera.

This aircraft uses 10 Mixes and 3 Flight Modes on the DX9, plus 5 Vector Modes. Lots of neat stuff!

The camera is a Foxeer Monster, with something like a 135 degree field of view. As a result, there is a major fisheye effect. Also, everything looks more distant and smaller than normal. This is typical of FPV cameras. You just have to get used to it.

The camera feed is merged with the Vector display and the combined video is transmitted at 5.8 GHz. The range is much less than the 2.4 GHz used by our radio control systems, and has no error correction. this video was recorded by the ground station - an Eachine 7 inch screen receiver with internal DVR. As such, the quality is fairly low, starting at 750p and degrading during transmission. It gets particularly poor if the aircraft is directly above the receiver or if it approaches cloud or the increasingly humid air that exists well below cloudbase.

The various aspects of the Vector can be set up via USB connection to a PC, using ET-supplied software. One can also download and display flight logs, even combining the GPS traces into Google earth. As well, you can plan an install a GPS-based mission with various Waypoints, cruising altitudes, specific actions to be taken at various Waypoints, and RTH. I have done this, and it is an amazing capability. Given a suitable camera, such as Mobius, that can record internally at high definition, pointed at a suitable angle, this can be an excellent mapper or searcher. Fly a grid, analyze the video in real time or later. My next FPV-specific plane will be set up with the FPV camera for piloting plus the Mobius for high quality recording. I may do that with the Penguin, as soon as I  "get around to it"!

Some production notes:

I am a fan of cheap and free stuff!

After much experimenting, I have discovered an excellent Open Source video editor called OpenShot.

I use VLC, a free video viewer that has some additional capabilities. One is the ability to repair and/or convert some video raw feeds. The Eachine DVP, like many cameras and other video devices, can create a .AVI file. Frequently, VLC sees a problem with a source file and unlike MovieMaker or many other programs, it doesn't just give up; rather, it fixes up the file, if possible and you can subsequently view it and Export as .MP4 file which OpenShot likes.

The audio was created by Audacity, a superb Open Source audio capturing/editing system. I record, edit and then Export the audio as a .WAV file which OpenShot can integrate with the video track.

General Discussion / Debbie Gary - an Airshow Super Star
« on: September 08, 2018, 07:09:03 PM »
I came across a reference to Debbie Gary recently. I have a very minor connection to her and thought I might mention a bit about her.

Who is she? A great lady, a top notch airshow performer and, for a brief time, one of my gliding instructors!

Back in 1972, as I was learning to fly gliders, a friend and I read an article in Flying magazine about Sugarbush Soaring over in Vermont and its two female instructers - Debbie Gary and Holly McAllister. Well, this was too interesting to pass up, so we took a week of vacation, hopped in my Datsun 240Z and set out. I was not yet at solo stage, Ray had been flying solo for about a year.  We had a great time, lots of flying,
 I soloed on flight #23 (my 6th one down there). I even managed to get a flight in the mountain wave later in the week. I can remember the entire week like it was yesterday.

I had a couple of flights with Debbie Gary. We watched her giving aerobatic instruction in a Citabria on several occasions, as well as flying a Pitts Special. An amazing talent!

Fast forward to the big airshow in Kingston in 1990. One of the performances was by the Ray-Bans sponsored team of Pitts Specials. Surprise! One of the pilots was Debbie Gary. I talked to her briefly, confirmed that she was who I thought she was and she recalled her early days of instructing at John Macone's Sugarbush Soaring.

Debbie has won many awards for her flying and other achievements in aviation. As well, she has instructed some of the best aerobatic pilots in the world - Sean Tucker being one of them!

This is a great video that you may enjoy. Listen for some of the names that show up!

Float Flying at Deseronto / Fees for DRFC
« on: September 04, 2018, 06:44:13 AM »
The DRFC "Founding Fathers" made an on-the-spot executive decision regarding fees on Sunday.

1. Junior Member - $20
2. Senior Member - $40

This is for a calendar year.

Anyone joining now will be covered for the balance of 2018 and all of 2019.

Of course, you must also hold MAAC Membership - and keep it on hand, along with your DRFC Membership card.

Members get access to the flying site at any time, during the approved hours. You get access to the retrieve boat and associated  safety equipment.

Pretty fair deal!

Float Flying at Deseronto / Re: Introduction to DRFC
« on: August 31, 2018, 05:46:29 PM »
Try to get to the float fly this Sunday, L. No charge, of course. We will get answers to your questions.

Some of us have joined this new club, not because we expect to fly there very often but, rather, to support them in their efforts. These "official" float flys  and swap meets are very enjoyable  - as are the comaraderie and burgers!

It is a great thing to see a new club, of any description being formed. Many clubs have struggled to keep going at all. The guys at Deseronto have got a great deal for float flying, we want them to succeed!

« on: August 28, 2018, 06:56:08 AM »
Thanks, Adam.
I never considered the separation issue until you showed me the other night.

The article is really good, and worth saving.

We do have a chart, as you know, in the clubhouse on which you and I and a couple of others have marked in spots that we have been using. However, there are likely to be others who show up. Perhaps we should each look at this and confirm that we have good separation, even marking out acceptable bands for use at our field.

Attached is the very informative chart from the article.

General Discussion / Re: Field Charging Station
« on: August 18, 2018, 05:07:27 AM »
I get what you are saying.

The 12 volt idea is simple and efficient (if the main goal is to provide power suitable for LiPo charging), as there is no up and down conversion to/from different voltages and ac/dc involved. Right now, folks are either carrying lead acid batteries around, charging under the hood (remember why it is called a "firewall"?), inside the car (remember Dave's van fire?) or lugging generators to the field. We could still have basically the current setup whereby the weather station is powered by the big battery, topped up by the solar cell and by generator whenever one is
available, with some simple changes:
1. Add additional solar cells to boost up capacity, as you suggest
2. Add the simple "plug board" to access 12 vdc for chargers. We could even set up a small panel with, say, Power Pole connectors and/or other commonly used ones.

This would be simple, cheap, easy and quick to do, wouldn't it?

General Discussion / Field Charging Station
« on: August 13, 2018, 12:40:57 PM »
Wouldn't it be nice to have charging station at our field?

Well, here is a nifty setup that the Cornwall club has. It was created by a former member (recently deceased). Pictures are attached.

The solar panel is mounted on the roof of the clubhouse. The charging station holds one or more large lead acid batteries. Like some other organizations or individuals have done, they acquired these from Bell as that company replaced them with Li-Ion technology. So, they are really heavy duty batteries. The appropriate electronics then feed 12 volts to a rather innovative arrangement up top. Two bare wires run behind the vertical backboard, one is positive, the other is ground. The drilled holes allow you to simply clip onto the pair at any available opening. Note the ceramic floor tiles in place as a fire protection.

This is a very nice setup. They operate year round and have not had any need to supply generator power to supplant the solar plus battery combination.

Something for us to consider?

General Discussion / Remote Weather and Video Stations
« on: August 13, 2018, 07:17:08 AM »
We are fortunate to have a Member, Dave Fasken, a Ham operator and electronics hobbyist in our club, who took it upon himself to fabricate our weather station at the field. This is based upon an amateur radio link to a server system on the Internet; an licensed amateur radio operator is required to be its owner/sponsor. Dave, Wilf, Herman and perhaps some other Members are such.

Over several years, some of us have wished for, and discussed, the possibility of obtaining something similar for still or video coverage of part of our field. Apart from the anticipated expense, there is the issue of how it could be done.

Here is a bit of information which I picked up at the Cornwall Fun Fly this past weekend.

A fellow flyer brought out one of his weather stations to demonstrate. There are a couple of clubs in the Ottawa area that have installed them. The system consists of the measuring instruments, a small solar panel, a small lead acid battery and the associated Arduino-based electronics. This was mounted on a piece of conduit - very compact!

The communications method is via the cellular network. You dial up the number and you get a test message with weather details. Pretty slick! He monitors his remote stations over the cellular network. The cost of this setup is $520 per year, which is affordable to some RC clubs, especially where their membership may have long driving distances. He retains ownership, looks after replacing the battery, if needed, and handles any technical issues. The predominant cost is for the cellular account.
So, "What about video?". The answer is forthcoming, but first you may find his information to be of interest:


He has done that as an experiment. The issue is cost of the "smartphone" connection, as opposed to the bare-bones texting capability of his weather station. Even if you only do still shots, perhaps updated once or twice per minute, you still need this level of service. He priced out his complete package at approximately $1700 per year - well above what would be practical for an organization such as KRCM.

Now, there may be other approaches, such as through the amateur radio community. Or, if a site put in an Internet link, along with associated support equipment (battery, inverted, solar panel, etc.), something could be set up. It could still be something worth investigating, of someone has the inclination.

A few years ago, Mike Lucas of Zycom Technology here in Kingston offered to look into this, but it was never followed up on. Mike's son was a KRCM Member and I have known and dealt with Mike professionally beginning some 20+ years ago. He is the co-founder of that company.

General Discussion / Tariffs
« on: August 07, 2018, 05:08:39 PM »
The Trump tariffs on Chinese imported products are showing up in a lot of products we buy from the US. RMRC is a well known supplier of r/c gear. As a customer of theirs, I received the following notification. Others may be hearing from companies with whom they deal. Please post any notifications you may receive.


RMRC Statement Regarding Chinese Tariff Surcharge
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Beginning on July 6, 2018, the US Government started imposing a 25% duty on a small subset of items and components that we import from China. These duties replace the existing duties on products, which previously already ranged between 0% and in excess of 12% depending on the item being imported.

Rather than imposing a fee on all FPV and RC products we sell, we are taking a more accurate and responsible approach. We feel charging a blanket fee is unfair to the customers who may be purchasing items made in other countries including the USA, purchasing the many items that are not covered by the 25% duty, or purchasing items that were imported and on the store shelves before the additional tariffs were added. We, therefore, are taking measures to make sure the prices of items are only increased if absolutely necessary.

Instead of charging our customers an additional fee on all items, we are taking the following measures:    Closely inspecting and researching every single incoming shipment to verify that the Harmonized Tariff Schedule (HTS) codes used by the brokers are 100% accurate. Often, if it isn’t clearly stated on the shipping invoice, brokers will pick HTS codes with mildly similar descriptions just because it is easier, but that often isn’t accurate. Examples of common errors for products that should not receive the additional 25% tariffs are lithium batteries, some sizes of brushless motors, cameras, antennas for video systems, video goggles, props, hand tools, and more. Some items that do receive the additional tariffs are ESC’s, RC transmitters and receivers, antennas for RC use, and more. Many of these items already had tariffs up to around 10%. Although some of our suppliers and manufacturers import items into the US themselves and then ship to us, we are verifying every single shipment that we ourselves are importing is filed with the correct HTS codes and the correct full values of the items.    
   We will only raise prices on the items that received the additional 25% duty, and even then only when absolutely necessary and as little as possible. As previously stated, we believe it is unethical and against the intent of the duties to charge a fee on all products, which may include products manufactured in the USA and other countries. Also, we will make every effort to absorb as much of these hopefully temporary fees as possible rather than pass them on to customers, even if it means that our profits will be temporarily reduced on some small number of products. It is inevitable that we will have to increase the prices on some items, but we will make every effort to avoid that rather than increasing the price.
It has always been our goal to have the best products at the fairest prices for our customers, and we are always looking for opportunities to keep our retail prices as low as possible so more people can enjoy this wonderful hobby we all love. Going forward we will continue to do all we can during this hopefully temporary time of increased duties to maintain our low prices.

Tim Stanfield
Ready Made RC, LLC, The Best in FPV Since 2009


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