Multiplex Easy Star UAS Configuration

Introduction
I am acquiring a Multiplex Easy Star to learn to fly, and to work on a UAV build. This blog post highlights my proposed configuration, which is to be incrementally upgradeable

I plan to split up my project into five parts:
  1. Learn to fly,
  2. Fly with a camera payload (just for fun),
  3. Fly manually with sensors, a data logger, and maybe a camera,
  4. Use logged data to set up an autopilot, and try turning control over to the autopilot.
  5. Repair plane and return to step 3.
I plan to order parts to minimally accomplish the first two goals, and to hopefully have enough room to add sensors.
  • I have a budget of $500 to start with. This has to include AMA/club membership, airplane, electronics, IMU, autopilot, et cetera.
  • I would like the plane to carry a payload that includes an IMU, an Ardupilot Mega, a Remzibi OSD or GPS, and a camera.

Other Easy Star Configurations (prior art):
http://www.diydrones.com/profiles/blogs/my-ardupilot-projects-status

Lots of Miscellaneous Questions -- here's one to start with:
Q: The ESC has a motor ESC output and a 5V output for my servos/receiver. What do I do if I want a second battery for the servos and receiver?

Stage 1 Parts List:
  • Easy Star ARF ($122):

  • Radio -- Futaba 6-channel (eBay)

  • Undecided Battery -- Upgrade-compliant LiPo?

  • Undecided Battery -- Heavy, non-upgradeable NiMH?
  • Already have NTSC camera, Airwave A/V Tx/Rx modules (634 and 630)
Stage 2 Part List
  • Ardupilot Mega
  • IMU System (Razor? DIY Drones Mega Shield?)
  • GPS -- mini GPS or Remzibi OSD
  • Brushless Motor and ESC Upgrade

Summary
There's my proposed configuration (including the undecided bits) -- I plan to meet my local club (SGVRL) to learn about flying on the local field, and later I can get a little better informed about my choices of battery before I jump in. Once I can fly, and fly with a payload, I'll pick out an IMU to play with.

Views: 699


Developer
Comment by Jason Short on June 25, 2010 at 5:11pm
You have to get a Lipo and brushless. no question.
You don't want a second battery for the receiver. Mo batteries = mo problems.

Don't buy the ARF, buy it in 3 pieces - wings, body and tail section. Enlarge the rudder by 40%

Hobby king has some great lipo prices.

I have a Duratrax ICE and an equinox balancer. Work great for me and I like the Ice's Big display. I use an old 12v monitor power supply with it using soldered on bullet connectors.

I have a 3 blade 6x4 prop - I like the smooth sound better than a two blade.

I have a 7C 2.4 Ghz - simpler and easier than FM.

And the most important item - Fiber reenforced tape.
Comment by Adam Conway on June 25, 2010 at 7:19pm
This is more a response to Jason's comment than to the blog, but hopefully is useful to everybody making the remote decision. I have received advice to get the Futaba 7C, Is there a cheaper alternative. I know that the Futaba EX6 is also spread spectrum, does that offer the same capabilities?
Comment by John_NY on June 27, 2010 at 4:04pm
@jasonshort: Thank you for the advice! It definitely helps in my purchasing decisions. When I priced the ARF versus the pieces, it saves a few dollars to buy the tail, body, wings, and servos, but I suspect the value lies in being able to modify the tail more easily (since the plane has not been partially assembled).
Since I have an Amateur Radio license, the 72MHz radios do not require the extra step of getting a HAM license. Still, folks who have used 72MHz radios make the switch, and presumably not only because the new models are shiny, so perhaps 2.4GHz really is better. I expect it is not a critical decision for a beginner -- I can accomplish step 1 (learning to fly) on a borrowed transmitter.
After meeting with my local radio control aircraft club, it looks like I may want to learn to fly with a "buddy box". Immediately, I see some advantages.
First, I will be able to get help from any of the three trainers in the club.
Second, I can use a FPV camera on my plane without breaking the AMA/FAA rules. The plane will be controlled by a primary pilot, who maintains eye contact with the aircraft, while I operate the plane with FPV and "buddy box". If anything goes wrong, the primary pilot can switch over the controls at any time. Once I learn to fly, I could be the "primary" and let others use the FPV controls. Of course the FPV could be disorienting for all I know, but the setup allows for experimentation.

Thank you for your help, and for the Ardupilot.
Comment by John_NY on August 13, 2010 at 12:14pm
Skate pic:
Buying this piecemeal was a bit frustrating -- my tail was delayed 2 months! So I purchased another tail set, which came without the rudder/elevator horns. With some Polymorph/ShapeLock experience already under my belt, I decided to make my own. Shapelock turns to putty at 50°C, and has the properties of nylon when it hardens. I'll take some pictures of the rudder/elevator horns when I have them connected to the control rods.
These horns have a good chance of holding, and I plan to inspect them as I fly.
As I mentioned, I have some prior ShapeLock experience -- I used it to replace a rivet on my skates, and it has held for over 8 months. In the picture above, the skate rivet on the left is an original aluminum one, the rivet at right is Shapelock.

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