Ken/Cluso99/ W9GFO/JasonD's QuadCopter Build Log (updated info ELEV-8 + availability)

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Comments

  • edited January 2012 Posts: 5,649Vote Up0Vote Down
    Tiger wrote: »
    You might crack the acrylic where you wouldn't the delrin, but I'm not worried about a few cents worth of acrylic in a really freak crash.

    I'll be making a red acrylic cap for my ELEV-8 HEX this week. I like the look and would feel perfectly comfortable with an acrylic lid on my PRO board. Kevin has taken a few hits upside down, so I understand his hesitancy!

    Ken Gracey
    <br>
  • edited January 2012 Posts: 0Vote Up0Vote Down
    it seems solid. should fly... and since i can make my own crash kit we are all good.
  • edited January 2012 Posts: 0Vote Up0Vote Down
    Ken Gracey wrote: »
    . Kevin has taken a few hits upside down, so I understand his hesitancy!

    Ken Gracey
    how fast was your learning curve. Are you crashing anymore?
  • edited January 2012 Posts: 0Vote Up0Vote Down
    Brian... nice job too. Thanks for sharing.
    My Prop boards: CpuBlade, TriBlade, RamBlade, www.clusos.com
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  • edited January 2012 Posts: 0Vote Up0Vote Down
    Brian,
    That wood variant looks nice. I bet erco is beaming (if he is aware of it).
  • edited January 2012 Posts: 5,649Vote Up0Vote Down
    how fast was your learning curve. Are you crashing anymore?

    I had a few crashes in the beginning but none in the last 30-40 flights. The crashes I had in the beginning were due to loss of orientation and loose parts (take our suggestion about Loctite very seriously).

    Ken Gracey
    <br>
  • edited January 2012 Posts: 0Vote Up0Vote Down
    A thought for Ken and anyone thinking of doing he acrylic top plate. I know many of you would think of this, but perhaps not everyone. It's important to allow some clearance on the screw holes. This is especially true because of the nylon standoffs. If you do take a top hit and there is lateral movement of the plate, tight holes significantly increase the chances of breaking the corners off the plate. We're not talking about a lot of clearance, but I noticed most of the laser cut holes on mine were really tight and that would be a problem in this case.

    ...Tiger
  • edited January 2012 Posts: 0Vote Up0Vote Down
    Brian - Really nice looking wooden parts! Wood is amazing stuff. Really hard to beat in a lot of applications. Looks like your CNC is doing a great job. I'm wondering what kind it is. If it's something you built up, I'd love to see a picture. Nice work!

    ...Tiger
  • edited January 2012 Posts: 0Vote Up0Vote Down
    I just made a bunch of wood parts for a camera gimbal with my CNC using a 1/32" downcut bit, and they came out perfect - they're so clean they look like they were laser cut! I'll take some pics once I get it mounted.

    Brian - I really like the look of those parts. Now I'm thinking I may have to try making a whole body from light ply - it's strong and light, easily sourced, and priced similar to the delrin and HDPE I've used for parts so far.
  • edited January 2012 Posts: 0Vote Up0Vote Down
    Ok... so a week or more ago now i was talking to Ken on his commute home and told him that i wanted to build a frame that could be broken down for travel easily.
    Here is my idea. I have it posted at Youtube.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=frDC9pcDjSA&context=C3566d27ADOEgsToPDskL9Q47WmyHbzk0VTQAKhINK
    Its late so im going to bed, but i m looking forward to your feedback
  • edited January 2012 Posts: 0Vote Up0Vote Down
    Brian,
    That is pretty awesome. The only issue I can think of is space for the wiring and ESC between the two big plates in the center. You obviously can't use all 4 quadrants like I (and everyone else I've seen) have done. You'll either have everything squeezed tightly in just the two quadrants available or put some of it above or below the main plates. Perhaps if your center plates are larger than the ELEV-8 ones it won't matter as much?

    Roy
  • edited January 2012 Posts: 0Vote Up0Vote Down
    That's a nice design Brian. It looks like using the ply is actually stiffer than the Delrin. I bought several sheets of 1/8" 5 ply a few months ago - strong stuff. Are you using the 3 or 5 ply?
  • edited January 2012 Posts: 0Vote Up0Vote Down
    Hey Brian,

    That's a great fold out design! I really like the idea of making it more portable. I can't wait to see the final product!
  • edited January 2012 Posts: 0Vote Up0Vote Down
    Going back quite a ways to where Roy pointed me at the Turnigy ESC programming hack, I tried to implement this tonight on the Prop. I think it would actually work if it weren't for one thing: The logic levels output by the ESC seem to be 5.17v for "One" and 2.66v for "Zero". That would be below the pin threshold voltage for a 5v chip, but not for the 3.3v Propeller.

    Anyone have any suggestions? I was hoping to be able to do this without extra hardware, but I think that may be out of the question now.

    Jason
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  • edited January 2012 Posts: 5,649Vote Up0Vote Down
    Not answering Jason's question here, but it's great to see these parallel efforts underway.

    Nick and Kevin at Parallax have been spending some time on first-person view (FPV) flights at the nearby park. Yesterday was the first attempt and it went pretty well - we sat in the back of Kevin's little "toaster" car and flew around over a video link. We found it important to have a spotter on the ELEV-8 to provide an additional level of security about orientation. It really helps to know the layout of the land where you fly, too - all landmarks, homes, baseball diamonds, lighting stands and paths should be known ahead of time by a look at Google Earth or by other known familiarity. We also found it a bit easier to fly with Nick's setup which included a PRO board and an accelerometer, but it may have been that the gain or stick throws on Kevin's test platform weren't quite right, causing a fairly skittish response level.

    Today they returned with a table, some boxes for shade, and chairs for comfort. This setup will remove the minor amount of thrashing they experienced yesterday.

    Ken Gracey

    FPVatPark.jpg
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    <br>
  • edited January 2012 Posts: 0Vote Up0Vote Down
    Now we really need some videos!
    Infernal Machine
  • edited January 2012 Posts: 0Vote Up0Vote Down
    Looking forward to the videos!
    I'm really anxious to see what they are using for equipment - especially with the PRO board. Eagerly awaiting my ELEV-8 so I can follow in their footsteps!
  • edited January 2012 Posts: 0Vote Up0Vote Down
    JasonDorie,
    Are you using the HoverFly board or your own? I would have expected the Hoverfly board to have proper level shifters instead of just resistors.

    Chris Savage has an article covering tons of ways to interface 5v to 3.3v here: http://www.savagecircuits.com/forums/showthread.php?585-Mixed-Voltage-Systems-Interfacing-5V-and-3-3V-Devices One of them is a MOSFET Interface that is bidirectional (what you need for this case). You can also use the sparkfun level converter (which is the same circuit basically), it will give you two of them, just use the TX lines (they are bidirectional) and leave the RX lines out.

    Roy
  • edited January 2012 Posts: 0Vote Up0Vote Down
    Roy - I was trying to do this on the HoverFly board, so it's possible that something they're doing is screwing this up. I was hoping to have it work with the HoverFly board since I can't modify their hardware.

    I'll have to get some spare Turnigy ESCs and see if hooking them up to my own board shows the same results. I contacted the author of the original Turnigy programming hack and he said he used a Salae Logic analyzer to decode the packets. That wouldn't have worked with the logic levels I'm seeing, so there's something funky going on here. They may be using something like a uni-directional level shifter, which I assume would interfere with reading the signals from the same lines, but I thought I remembered you saying they were actually testing for the presence of the ESCs by checking for the ESC startup packet. I'm confused. :)
  • edited January 2012 Posts: 0Vote Up0Vote Down
    To be clear, I have no idea how the HoverFly code tests for the presence of the ESC. I was just guessing they might use the startup packets.
    It could be that whatever they have on there that lets them "test for the presence of an ESC" is also causing your odd voltage readings.
  • edited January 2012 Posts: 0Vote Up0Vote Down
    After doing a bit of digging, it looks like the ESCs I have on my own quad are Turnigy. They're not the Plush kind, but are still programmable with the card, so I should be able to debug with mine and see what's going on. My kingdom for more weekends. :)

    Edit: So they lied - The Turnigy AE25A is not card programmable, even though it says it is.
  • edited January 2012 Posts: 0Vote Up0Vote Down
    so i know i need to post some pictures but things are progressing. I redesigned the top and bottom plate just to make it easier for mounting ESC 's Also, i am working on the FPV camera mount since you guys are there now. I am not currently using an spacers between the booms and chassis plates and seems to fit the ESC's However, i have not flown yet.
    What battery are you guys using and about how long are you getting on a battery?
  • edited January 2012 Posts: 0Vote Up0Vote Down
    I'm using a 3s 4500 mAh LiPo. In a steady hover I use 287 mAh/minute.
  • edited January 2012 Posts: 0Vote Up0Vote Down
    I have my self-leveling code back up & running on the new frame, and added a couple things.

    I now have a 7 channel remote input (I'm only using 5 at the moment). I'm using the 5th channel to switch between different levels of gyro filtering to see in real time how it affects responsiveness and stability. With the self-leveling code, low-pass filtering the accelerometer output made a *huge* difference.

    I also have an extra 4 ESC outputs, running at 50Hz instead of 250Hz, so they won't burn out standard servos. The self-leveling code sets the values of the first two extra servo channels according the frame angle A camera gimbal with tilt and roll servos connected to these outputs will counter the motion of the quad, keeping the camera level, but pointed in the direction of the quad. I have to finish my gimbal and make taller landing gear to give it clearance, but bench tests so far have been great.

    While flight testing the filters, I had one switch position that was *supposed* to mean "filter off", but instead it meant "flip wildly and careen into the pavement". (silly coder) The quad landed inverted on pavement from about 7 feet up, snapped one of the motor shafts, and that was it - no frame damage, no board damage, nothing. Both pics below are from after the crash.

    I'm going to try to port my latest changes over to the Elev-8 / HoverFly this weekend and hopefully post something others can play with shortly thereafter.
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  • edited January 2012 Posts: 0Vote Up0Vote Down
    Hello Jason - I have been using the "Just ESC" portion of the RC4_ESC4_Demo.spin that you and "Cluso99" posted earlier in this thread. I have 4 BP- 18A esc's attached to 4 BP-2208-14 motors The motors run great using this code and I haven't programmed the esc's at all.I have cut the hot wire on each esc and they automatically go into the default mode; ie no-brake and lipo selected. The esc's are attached through the 4.7k resistors as suggested. I'm not an EE, just a hobbyist. My setup is on a USB protoboard with the HM55B compass, H48C tri-axis accelerometer also attached. I also am running your DCM code in the same program. With this setup I have one cog still free. The esc's seem to be happy with no programming other than changing the values in the rc.out code to fit my motors. I hope this will lead you an answer as to your quest to find a programming hack. My bad luck is that the USB chip finally fell off my protoboard after too many years of use, so I need to buy another board and start over. Thanks for all your coding genious as I have been enjoying this hobby for many years because of the good people here in these forums. :)
  • edited January 2012 Posts: 5,649Vote Up0Vote Down
    Rob_W wrote: »
    Thanks for all your coding genious as I have been enjoying this hobby for many years because of the good people here in these forums. :)

    @Rob_W - I'd like to echo the importance of your statement. I agree that we have some fantastic people in these forums. For whatever reason they participate I am not always sure, and for their contributions (like Jason's) Parallax and the community are very thankful.

    Also, you're a fairly newcomer to the forums. I'd like to welcome you to the group and help you feel at home! It's also fantastic to have another person join the ELEV-8 thread!

    Ken Gracey
    <br>
  • edited January 2012 Posts: 0Vote Up0Vote Down
    When will Parallax have more ELEVs available for sale?

    Please forgive me if this question is obvious - I've scanned the thread for the answer but didn't find it.

    Thanks!
  • edited January 2012 Posts: 0Vote Up0Vote Down
    Ken Gracey wrote: »
    For whatever reason they participate I am not always sure...

    I like to think it's passion, but some of my friends call it mental illness. It's probably somewhere in between. :)

    The word "Skynet" is used near my name alarmingly often. Maybe it's time to stop calling it my "flying robot army".
  • edited January 2012 Posts: 5,649Vote Up0Vote Down
    T-Bone wrote: »
    When will Parallax have more ELEVs available for sale?

    Please forgive me if this question is obvious - I've scanned the thread for the answer but didn't find it.

    Thanks!

    T-Bone: another new user! The Welcome Committee wishes to make you feel at home! Great to see another person join our forums and have interest in the ELEV-8. I'll give you the details on the ELEV-8 availability since I was just chatting with the Production Manager. Basically, we're waiting for a few minor bits of hardware to arrive today or tomorrow and we shall kit a set of 50 next week. Although the formal delivery date is early February, they've got a habit of under-promise and over-deliver. If I had to bet I'd probably put several lunches on the fact that we'll have them available at the end of next week, by Friday.

    However, it's possible to wait around forever with our new products. If you place a backorder now you'll be in the queue. If you don't, then they arrive in stock and sell out quickly, and the product appears to be always out of stock even though we're selling them regularly.

    Look forward to hearing your stories about the ELEV-8. And welcome to the forums, once again!

    Ken Gracey
    <br>
  • edited January 2012 Posts: 0Vote Up0Vote Down
    Ken, thanks for the welcome and the quick answer. I'm a prop hobbyist (currently building an automated tennis ball shooter for the dog) and don't know if I'm really ready for the ELEV-8.

    The Sacramento-area agency that I work for is about to kick off a creek restoration project. I would like to use something like the ELEV-8 to photo-document our progress from the air. It will be very cool as we rip out an old concrete channel carve a new, meandering creek with native flora and fauna.

    Would you be interested in loaning your ELEV-8 periodically to help us capture this transformation on (digital) film?
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