Jonathan Hair's Posts (5)

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DIY RC Gimbal Part 2


Hi all,

A few months back I posted about making my own RC controller:

I finally got around to making it work. I am very happy with the results! I ended up using code posted on RCgroups to format the PPM signal:

Making your own transmitter is pretty easy. I can now program everything exactly as i need. For example, the shutter control for my NEX5 requires a momentary button that is not held down... I can now format the command from the transmitter to switch for the correct amount of time.

Hope you enjoy,


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Ferndale Michigan Drone Ban Defeated!


I am happy to report that a proposed 'drone' ban was unanimously defeated after a strong showing by my local FPV racing club, Detroit Drones. A lot of people came to the city council meeting. ALL speakers were against the ban. The council was overwhelmed with responses and enthusiastically rejected the proposal, including the council member that put forth the ban!

I fear if it would have passed, this would have spread like wildfire around southeast Michigan and elsewhere. If something like this occurs in your community, you need to ban together! It works!

For once the media was on our side, they made this proposal well known on the news over the weekend. If we had not known about it and shown up, it would have never been discussed at the meeting and likely passed.

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DIY RC Controller


Hi all,


This past winter I built a new machine for doing more professional aerial photography. I got a 3 axis gimbal for my Sony NEX 5. I decided that to take full advantage of the gimbal, a second operator would be beneficial. My main RC transmitter, a DX7S, lacks the channels, and programmability to control all of the gimbal functions the way I wanted.


Instead of buying another cheap transmitter for gimbal duty, I decided to make one. This would give me the ultimate in flexability.


Reasoning behind the project:

1. My DX7 is out of channels to support flying, gimbal and camera shutter duty.

2. I want a second person to have their own transmitter. I want to fly, and I want them to operate the gimbal and camera. I have the NEX5 HDMI to analog converter, so I can switch between sony view and a frame mounted camera for FPV. I plan on adding a second FPV system so we can both watch our feeds seperately.

3. The IR shutter control I am using for the sony requires that video stop / start be tied to a momentary switch. Building my own controller and doing the code myself, I can make sure this is implimented properly and fires the shutter properly.

4. I want to be able to hand my gimbal controller to anyone and explain how it works in 30 seconds. To the complete noob, handing them a fancy RC transmitter with switches and knobs all over it can be intimidating. I can make my own stream lined controller that is very simple.

5. I want an all in 1 solution. I planned to include 915 mhz telemetry with bluetooth bridge to my smart phone in the case. I also wanted to have my phone mount to it. I hate carrying around all these seperate little gadgets.


Here is my first pass at it. I still have work to do on the code to get it working. An arduino Uno formats the PPM signals to the Spektrum module. All is powered from a 2S lipo.



Not the prettiest inside, but it works. I used a multirotor power distribution board incase I add functions later and need to supply them power. It also had 12V and 5V regulators built in, which come in handy.



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My 2 cents to the FAA


Not sure if anyone will ever read it, or anyone cares, but I commented here. If you haven't done so yet I encourage you to do so too:!documentDetail;D=FAA-2014-0396-0001

To whom it may concern,

I am writing in response to the FAA's Interpretive rule for model aircraft. The proposed regulations are concerning to me as a hobbyist, photographer, and engineer interested in developing new technology. The specifics of the rule portray the FAA to be  ignorant of the hobby and acting out of retribution for the Piker V Huerta ruling. The proposal does little to improve the safety of air travel. Instead, it threatens to destroy a past time, stifle innovation, and squash entrepreneurship.

I have been involved in model aviation for nearly 20 years, and an AMA member for most of them. I grew up following the technological advances in this hobby and attribute much of my professional success as an engineer to skills and interests cultivated in this hobby. I worked summers in high school teaching kids model aviation and rocketry. I believe this hobby gave me a lot and can do the same for others, which is why I feel strongly about protecting it.

To many, including myself, the technology side of hobby is more exciting than actually flying. The advancements in electronic flight controllers, first person video, and new battery technology has given birth to a new era of innovators and hobbyists. The FAA's ban on video goggles is silly and misinformed. FPV flying has the potential to be a more accurate and safe way to fly model air craft than the conventional 'line of sight' method. Safe flight has nothing to do with FPV and everything to do with pilots acting responsibly and with care.

I also take objection to the FAA's strict ban on commercial flights under the guise of public safety. If a model aircraft pilot is paid to take aerial photographs of a location, how does that make it less safe than if if he or she were not paid? Why can professionally sponsored pilots not be paid, as they have been for years, for demonstrating their skills at controlled events? Do hobby and toy companies need a COA to test their products?

There needs to be a distinction between small hobby grade UAV for commercial use and large UAV used by our government. The two are not the same and should not be treated as such. A size or weight class exemption would be appropriate for small UAV commercial use.  UAVs have the potential to do great good and improve the safety of our airspace by doing things that would normally put a human operator in danger. The United States should strive to be a leader in this technology.

I suggest that the FAA work with hobbyists and entrepreneurs to develop common sense guidelines that preserves our country's safe airspace while protecting the rights of the model aviation community and encouraging growth of commercial UAV. I believe that the previous FAA advisory to model aircraft is appropriate:

1) Stay below 400 feet
2) Do not fly beyond line of slight range with the ground pilot
3) Stay away from developed areas

I would further suggest that size or weight classes be setup so there can be a distinction between small UAV and larger aircraft. Hobby grade UAV, be it used for commercial or recreational use, do not pose the same risk as aircraft that are orders of magnitude bigger. The FAA should recognize this and know which is appropriate to regulate.

By working with the community, the FAA can ensure that our country remains a leader in both air safety and emerging technology. I hope the FAA will revise their rule making based on feedback from the public.

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Hobbyking releases HKPilot 2.7

Looks like no one posted this yet. Good to see some innovation and improvements from HK



1) 100uf cap in Vcc and 10uf tantalum capacitor added to stop 3.3v bad gyro health issues

2) Replacement of the (not used/redundant) 1.0mm 6p GPS port with df13-4P I2C external compass port, putting the GPS and external compass ports next to each other, making for easier connections.

3) Multifunction MUX port added in the old I2C port location, this lets users select an output from the bonding pad (Uart0, Uart2, I2C, OSD “default is OSD”. This new layout makes data transmission more stable with an isolation resistance.

4) 3.3V and 5V Dataflash/Flashrom swapped trace problem corrected to the AT45DB161.

5) External Compass enable/disable jumper added, verses having to cut a trace wire.

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