Auto-retracting tether for testing large octocopter

Anyone have experience with a relatively long (~20 ft) restraining tether that will keep light tension on the line to minimize risk of tangling in the props, with enough cord strength to restrain a 44 lb octocopter should it decide to wander during preliminary GPS system testing prior to first flight?

I have been thinking something built for the serious kit flyer might serve.

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  • Hi Chris, can you share with me what cable you used to power your drone over the 50m?

    Chris Anderson said:

    Yes, that worked for me. I had to use a 500 watt power supply @48v to minimize/compensate for power loss in that relatively thin cable, but for ~50m it's fine. 

  • 3D Robotics

    I built a fancy apparatus with a PID-controlled reel to maintain tension, but that may be overkill. A slightly heavy cable, such as a 22-gauge wire carrying power, should do the trick.  

    • Hi Chris. Remember you from Wired.

      Are you suggesting that the weight alone on the 22 gauge power line should be sufficient to keep it clear of props? Makes sense.

      But I would love details on your fancy rig.
      • 3D Robotics

        Yes, that worked for me. I had to use a 500 watt power supply @48v to minimize/compensate for power loss in that relatively thin cable, but for ~50m it's fine. 

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