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Messages - Deerslayer

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General Discussion / Spektrum SD Cards, Backup
« on: July 18, 2018, 07:51:22 AM »
I am surprised at how many DX-series transmitters there are which have an empty SD slot, or which have an SD card in there that never gets used. For folks like me, who spent their working lives working with and protecting digital information, this capability is fundamental.

If you ever get one of your models messed up, due to some suspected corruption or perhaps due to tinkering with some of the settings, the SD card is invaluable - if you used it during a less stressful time.

 I have perhaps 20 or 30 models available, some of which are simple and have remained unchanged over many years. Others are current "works in progress", with the side effect that I may have to retrace my steps to a previous stable configuration. Then, there is always the possibility that the radio could break and have to be sent away for repair, only to come back with its model memories erased. I remember when that happened to a flying buddy, he had to recreate some 30 models, some of major complexity, as he had never bothered to keep copies of the SPMs (An SPM is the file containing all of the parameters for a specific model.).

Without getting into details, as the Airware software that runs the transmitter is quite intuitive to use, here are a couple of things that I somewhat routinely do:

 If I make changes to a specific model, certainly if they are significant, I copy that particular model within the transmitter. If I have my brain in gear, I will perform that copy prior to making such changes.  Although Airware does not date stamped or version numbered for a saved file, they are stored in order of their creation. You can have a whole slew of them out there!

Another handy thing to do is to used the Model Name to help sort things out. For instance, prior to saving my Vertigo's file and subsequently messing around with it, I may alter its Name to "Vertigo 1JAN2018", then copy it to SD. Perhaps I will then rename the active model back to just "Vertigo" if/when I am satisfied with the results. This all takes a couple of seconds - time well spent!

Every few weeks, I do a Export All Models to the SD card in my transmitter.

Note that when you look at the list of models in your transmitter, they will probably be prefixed by numbers. These are not important and you can, as I always do, remove them - it gives more room for your desired name, e.g. "Vertigo & Lemon S+". Changing the name, or any other model parameter, DOES NOT require re-binding. Many people do not understand that. The only time you should ever have to re-bind a model is if you have Imported it from your SD, or if your receiver supports Failsafe and you wish to change that state. Everything else can be altered, from reassigning Ports or Channels to changing Model Type, without re-binding. I have planes that are many years old, they were initially bound to this transmitter and will remain so indefinately.

Back to the SD and its use:

 Airware supports Folders, which allows for neat and easy access to many things. To create a Folder, you mount the SD on your PC, then Create whatever Folders you want, copy files to it, return it to the transmitter and you are done. When you later try to Import a model, you will see any Folders out there and can select a model from them. The SD can have Folders that are unrelated to your models.

Some examples of how I use Folders on my system:

1. On my PC, I have a Folder somewhere called DX9. Every few months, I create a new Folder with that particular date under that one and copy whatever is on my SD card. This is my ultimate backup for everything, the SPMs, Voice files, various pieces of documentation, perhaps even some pictures.

2. When I upgrade Airware, I have it download the new file(s) onto the top directory of the SD - not into any Folder. When the SD is back in the transmitter, all you do it turn it on and the upgrade proceeds. Easy peasy! Now, there is no need to save that SPM (it gets renamed slightly by the upgrade process itself to prevent detection and re-use by the system), so I will eventually delete it anyway.

3. Today is 18 July 2018, so after Exporting all of my models, I pop the card into the PC, create a new Folder under the DX9 one called SPMs - 18JUL2018 and copy all of the SPMs from the card to that location.

I am unfamiliar with other current radio systems but they probably have similar capabilities - or should have!

Anyway, something for you to think about!

FPV at KRCM / Re: A loss, with a dramatic ending!
« on: July 12, 2018, 12:37:24 PM »
I have had a couple of Eagle Tree Guardians for many years. My Vector is just a couple of months old, although the product has been out for many years. ET has a great reputation, overall.

So, when I encountered this problem of the Vector "losing" its Home position, I finally got around to inserting a ticket into their support system. Within an hour or so, I got a response. I think this may clear up the mystery. The next time I get out flying, I will do some testing to find out.

The particular error I experienced is actually a "feature", I suppose! When you power up the system, it locates a suitable number of GPS satellites and records the location, Home. Now, if you simply move the plane more than 300 feet (according to the Error Message explanation) before applying power to the motor, it will decide not to use the Home position just established.
I assume this is some sort of safety feature.

This could explain why my system has had this loss occasionally, but not always, as sometimes I have been where it was suitable to power up the system and then only move the plane a few feet before taxiing. A couple of simple tests will show.

Assuming this is the answer, it looks like ET could/should change their manual to reflect a much shorter than 300 feet distance.

There is still a lot to learn!

(Latest struggle: Set up DX9 Sequencers so that one push of a momentary switch, such as I, CLEAR or BACK will toggle a channel - for Vector's Mode - 10 times within 2 seconds. There actually is a solid reason for wanting to do this!)

FPV at KRCM / Re: A loss, with a dramatic ending!
« on: July 12, 2018, 05:56:24 AM »
Well, Mark handed my wayward birdie over to me yesterday. Thank you, Sir!

I am trying to locate the fellow who found and returned it, to thank him and to see where the plane landed. He is a farmer, perhaps 30 to 40, first name is Kyle and may live near Yarker. Any ideas who this may be?

Apart from a couple of very minor bruises, easily steamed out, it is in perfect condition. Even the paralleled LiPos were still good, at about 3.7 volts per cell. Obviously, the failsafe shut down the motor and/or the low voltage setting in the Vector cut power to the servos. Since the plane was returned within a couple of hours of its loss and Mark immediately unplugged the batteries, all is good.

Had I been desperate (and foolish) enough, we could have popped in a fresh battery and done a flight right then.

Now, I will do a thorough inspection and testing of everything, on the bench. Plus, review the above root cause analysis and  come up with a better plan for future use.

As one of my favorite TV people, Jim Jeffries, says,
"We can all do better".

FPV at KRCM / A loss, with a dramatic ending!
« on: July 10, 2018, 11:41:13 AM »
"My purpose in Life is to serve as a warning to others".

Well, here is a little story which may actually have some benefit to someone else that is mucking around with FPV and perhaps other forms of RC flying.

This past Saturday, I lost my Penguin FPV plane.  :o  :'(  :'(  :'( Very disappointing, to say the least, as we watched (or more correctly, DIDN'T watch) about $800 disappear. As well as that loss, a sense of fear sets in - what if it comes down and hurts someone or causes some kind of accident due to some driver(s) becoming distracted?

In the aftermath of this loss, I did a lot of thinking and wrote down my analysis. I have now decided to share it with whoever may care to read.

Oh, by the way, a strange thing happened later that same day! ;D  ;D  ;D  ;D

 After I had left the field, a farmer named Kyle (did not leave his full name, unfortunately) showed up with my FPV plane in his possession. One of the fellows now has it and we will be reunited. I wish I knew how to locate the finder as I would like to offer some sort of reward. As well, I am curious as to just where the plane went down. All we know is that he was out working in a field and saw it land. Apparently, it was in a location where it would probably never have been observed, had he not happened to be nearby! It's a Festivus Miracle (a few months early, but I'll take it anyway).

My analysis has caused me to rethink a lot of things that I have done, or failed to do, and will now apply to this and other FPV (and soaring) flights from now on.

I made a  number of mistakes. The bottom line was - Complacency! Things had been going too smoothly for us and I lost my "edge". Perhaps that edge is a bit duller that I would like to think?

1. My Vector controller has been flaky w.r.t. retaining its GPS-based Home position. I could not figure out why. Again yesterday, after I powered up, it found the satellites and set its Home. Great. Then, just before launch, it reported that it had lost that lock. I should have stopped right then and got it reset - open up the plane, recycle power, etc., bit of a pain. Instead, I flew, knowing that RTH was not likely to work. Besides, I was only going to be flying close to home and with an experienced spotter. What could go wrong?

2. I have not been testing RTH recently, even if the Home fix was believed to be OK, as I had been keeping fairly close to the field. For FPV, this should really be tested EVERY flight. Similarly for the Loiter mode on the Vector. This would also make it more likely that, in a panic situation, I would think to use one or both of these modes. That is why you practice emergency actions in fullsize aircraft, even as simply touching any control or item which may suddenly become very important to activate.  I did eventually try Loiter, after the plane had disappeared but far too late. I never even considered RTH, even though it MIGHT have worked - I will never know.

3. The Vector is quite complex and I have been learning/trying various features over time - a rather slow learner here! I never did set up Failsafe such that it invokes RTH. There are different approaches to setting this up, and I could not decide upon the best strategy. In fact, I just figured out how to do it. I even had my little procedure in my book of field notes and was thinking of testing it yesterday . But, I got enthusiastic and Dumb! The downside of having such a capable and complex system is that you can easily lose track of the fundamentals.

4. I lost Situational Awareness during a great flight. I realized too late that I was flying too high to expect you to keep the plane in constant sight. A couple of times, my spotter mentioned having difficulty in locating it, mostly due to sun glare, but I got preoccupied with the video getting fuzzy and I locked into that problem. Note: the 5.8 GHz video link has MUCH shorter range than our 2.4 GHz control link. I lost track of where I was, becoming further distracted by the video issue while circling to try to locate familiar landmarks. We got concerned about being too far out, downwind and possibly too low. I was trying to fly back home, as I knew the general sector in which I was flying. I did not realize that I was probably in a strong thermal. the Vector was reporting about 1000 feet AGL, which would still have been well below cloudbase but near the limit of visual location. Cloudbase was likely at 3000 feet AGL or higher, but condensation can begin to form much lower, further obscuring things, especially as we get drifted downwind.

5. I completely lost video and my spotter lost direct visual contact at about the same time. I delayed much too long in giving up on the video, hoping it would return and perhaps I could figure out where I was. When I finally gave up, it was obvious that neither of us would be able to acquire the plane again. Game over!

6. As expected, yesterday was good and improving throughout the day. I had earlier done some RC soaring with my Heron sailplane. The ground wind switched to SW, which fooled me, as in my full scale days at Gan airport this has always meant the thermals get killed due to the lake effect wind. This does not really occur, or not as much, out at our field. I never really considered the possibility of encountering strong thermals at the start of my flight, as the wind had switched from NW to S quite awhile ealier.

7. When I finally dumped the goggles, I assumed that the plane might still be receiving commands, despite possibly having gotten near or into cloud. Note: Our 2.4 GHz stregth is greatly attenuated by moisture. I did briefly set the Vector into Loiter mode, hoping that we might get some glimpse. I never even considered trying RTH. Why? Lapse of thinking, perhaps, or figuring that it wouldn't work properly anyway. Worry about the plane coming down and possibly hitting someone or something weighed heavily on my mind. I had much earlier commanded the motor to disarm. I had gone through the motions of forcing it to spin. (I have done that in a full scale sailplane after having entered cloud in extremely strong lift. Initiate a spin, wait until you fall out of the cloud and then do the recovery.)

8. Identification. I never did get around to putting my name and telephone # somewhere on the plane. Inside is probably not the best place, at least for this plane, as someone might not think to look for it.

Well, that is about all I can think of now!!!!

General Discussion / Re: New World Speed Record!
« on: June 18, 2018, 09:48:41 AM »
If you have 55 minutes to spare, watch his presentation on the whole topic, at post #13. It includes the background of DS and the evolution of the aircraft involved.

The whole area of transonic flight is one which we would never think about with non-military model aircraft - and certainly not gliders! Good Q & A at the end of his seminar.

General Discussion / New World Speed Record!
« on: June 17, 2018, 08:20:13 PM »
Great achievement, excellent video of something that is almost impossible to track. The discussions in the forum are also interesting and informative.

Thanks for the addition, GG. I did not know of others, outside of the aviation community, that use CorrosionX.

HEY, Brad - do you use it in your marine servicing business?

General Discussion / Re: Need some OD Green solartex
« on: June 14, 2018, 09:03:33 AM »
Solartex used to be my, and many others, favorite covering material many years ago. Nice to see that it is still available.
One of its finest attributes is that it forms a very nice carrying sack to transport the pieces if you have a severe encounter with a tree or the ground ... or so I have been told :)

Another possibility is to use Fibafilm (used to be called Micafilm). I once got some through Leading Edge. It is the highest strength/weight stuff you can get, being a slightly shrinkable Mylar based film with impregnated fibres, smooth on one side, slightly textured on the other. It has no stick-um, so you used something like Balsarite (hard to get now, possibly no longer available), Mod Podge (get at Michaels) or similar adhesive, apply just where needed and use heat iron to activate. If you apply the materia with rough side out, spray or brushed paint will adhere nicely and your plane will look more "fabricy", like the original full scale. If you are interested, I can see if I still have some hidden away in my Cave.

Plans, Projects, Building and Flying Tips / Waterproofing electricals
« on: June 14, 2018, 08:46:40 AM »
Float flying, along with winter flying, is a popular part of our RC flying, especially with electric airplanes. Things can sometimes get a tad damp or messy. There are some simple things that we can do to protect our equipment. Here are a couple of them:

First of all, check out this product, Corrosion-X. On their site is a description, along with a couple of videos. Of particular interest to us would be the one where the whole mess - motor, ESC, battery, receiver, little chopper - are thrown into a fish tank and operated. The FliteTest guys strike again!

This convinced me to try to get some and use it. I have not found a local supplier but managed to get a can from an AME who services all kinds of aircraft and buys the stuff by the case.
Check it out, and let please others know if you find a local or nearby source:

I squirt the stuff liberally into both ends of an ESC and let it drip back out. Do the same to the receiver, if it may be exposed to severe dunking. It wouldn't hurt to do the same with your power connectors, but make sure that they are clean first. Use some spray contact cleaner; I found some at my favorite Home Hardware store in beautiful downtown Odesa!).

What about motors and servos?

Well, you can spray the motor if you like, but there is dubious benefit for brushless motors, as there is nothing to be affected by water - unless you are flying on and around seawater. But, go ahead, if it makes you feel good.

Servos could be sprayed, but again, they are pretty well sealed, with some grease inside and spraying the exterior may not accomplish much. But, it can't hurt, I suppose. I am one of those rare people who often repairs servos which have stripped gears. When reassembling them, I apply some DuPont Teflon-based spray-on lube prior to reassembly (Lowes sells it, but make sure it is the version with Teflon, not the similarly packaged Lithium-based one.) I would do that anyway, regardless of whether the servo might be at risk of taking a bath someday.

So, what happens if you drown your plane and rescue it, only to find that nothing seems to work. Narf! You never did anything special to try to make it water resistant. Well, here is what you do:  Give the ESC to me and the go out and buy a new one! (Or, continue to read this and you may find a cheap solution to your problem.)

At a recent float fly event, one of our guys submerged the business end of his Fun Cub and it no longer wanted to run. Drat! Double drat!

There is no logical reason why anything should have "burned out", but some electronics probably got a bit upset by seeing a low resistance between some foil etchings or component contacts. So, I got a can of WD40 and sprayed the #1 suspect - the ESC. Despite what many folks think, WD40 is NOT a lubricant! Per its name, it is a Water Displacer. I sprayed from both ends of the ESC, top and bottom and water poured out. Gave it a shake and then let it sit for a couple of minutes. We then powered up the system and all was well again! No big surprise here. He got to return to the fray, hopefully got to spray his reborn ESC with some Corrosion-X or other suitable protectant.

Nice. Hey what's that yellow thing tail up in the water?  :P :laugh: ;D

Some guy who thought he was doing a remake of "We all live in a yellow submarine" and got a bit carried away. Stay tuned ... perhaps he will do a re-take at the next float fly.

General Discussion / Re: Need some OD Green solartex
« on: June 11, 2018, 11:24:00 AM »
I you are desperate and in a hurry, what about using some plain covering material, and spray painting it. My Fun Cub has Rustoleum Hunt Club Green, which may pass for Olive Drab, I suppose.

Talk to Martin for better ideas (at least better than any of mine!).

FPV at KRCM / Re: FPV Startup Information and Ideas
« on: June 06, 2018, 08:46:21 AM »
I posted this over in the Optera forum on RCGROUPS, as there is discussion about getting started with an Optera.

Here is another approach to FPV which could be helpful for someone who is starting out, is unable to have a spotter that can actually fly the aircraft if suddenly needed or who may wear glasses (particularly bifocals) and have difficulty in managing the transition back and forth between direct viewing and FPV.

I have a DX9 transmitter. There is a 3D-printed device, very high quality, which clamps onto that specific transmitter and which has an adjustable mount to which you attach a viewing device. Mine is a 7" flat LCD plus 5.8GHz receiver, complete with foldout sun shade. Refer below for more product information.

This allows me to transition between LOS or FPV without having to fiddle with glasses plus goggles and some lighting situations. For instance, I often have a spotter who may not be capable of taking over control, but whose job is to keep the aircraft in sight at all times, watch for competing air or ground traffic during takeoff or landing. The biggest problem I have is that my glasses darken and screen visibility suffers as a result. However, this does work and I use it sometimes, particularly for an airplane where I have a low comfort level going full FPV - such as the Optera, at least so far. As this setup results in the transmitter being extremely unbalanced, I have used a tray and some weight at the bottom end to better balance things. Because I am sitting while flying FPV, this is not a real show-stopper. The balance is a LiPo Velcroed to the Tx which provides additional capacity to the LDX/Rx internal battery, so it is not parasitic weight.

To further deal with reflections onto the screen and the dark glasses problem, I could risk looking really weird and throw a towel over my head and the Tx, like the photographers back in my grandparents' day!

Here are the items mentioned:

Deluxe Spektrum DX9 LCD Monitor Mount from - $45 USD

Eachine LCD5802D 5802 5.8G 40CH 7 Inch FPV Monitor with DVR Build-in Battery from - $125 USD

General Discussion / Spektrum history
« on: May 01, 2018, 05:57:33 AM »
Many of us know of, and have received help directly from, Andy Kunz. He is the team leader for Spektrum's Development Team, that fellow who seems never to sleep!

On several occasions, like other customers, I have placed a query regarding a function or problem and received an almost immediate response -  typically within an hour! Where else can you get that kind of help?

Some of us find the product line and naming of Spektrum radios to be rather strange and confusing, especially the reuse of portions of the model names. For example, which DX7 are we talking about? What is the difference between the "Stealth" or "Black" version and the original DX9?

Well, here is Andy's summary of where we are and how we got here:

General Discussion / Re: Blue Origin
« on: April 30, 2018, 04:46:05 PM »
Meanwhile, here is a great video which shows the simplified version of the dynamics involved in launching/retrieving such vehicles as Blue Origin and the SpaceX boosters.
This fellow has a number of great ideas and models. What he has done with this "rocket" and its stability systems is pretty remarkable.
He knows how to explain things well. Enjoy!

General Discussion / Re: Blue Origin
« on: April 30, 2018, 06:03:29 AM »
Here is the mission:

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