Quadzimodo's Posts (19)

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Trent@MyGeekShow has some news

We haven't heard too much from Trent@MyGeekShow since he restructured his time late last year. He has however just uploaded a video outlining some exciting news.

These new professionally-built 4S packs are based on Panasonic's NCR18650GA Lithium-Ion cells which offer comparable energy density but with upwards of twice the power density as Panasonic's well known NCR18650B.


With the primary factor prohibiting use of Panasonic's NCR18650Bs in a broader range of unmanned aerial craft having been the relatively conservative power density (compatible only with the most efficient craft) as well as the limited availability of suitably sized and terminated packs, this new offering is a fantastic option for many smaller fixed-wing (AXN/Bixler/Wicked Wing XL) and mini-multirotor (<350 ships, not fpv racing) flyers who are chasing a bit of extra endurance.

The only problem I can see at this point is that they appear to be available exclusively via Amazon and shipping is not available to me here in the land down under.  It is a shame too because I would love to grab half a dozen or so for my park flyer!

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Drones used to monitor Koala population

The Queensland University of Technology are employing drones to assist in monitoring Koala population and distribution. This is important work that could help to improve our understanding of this incredibly vulnerable species and improve the resolution of data collected in our annual Koala Count.

Excerpt from abc.net.au news article:

"Queensland researchers are hoping drones will aid in the conservation of threatened species like koalas.

Traditionally, koalas were counted by people on the ground but now they can be tracked by robots from the air.

Researchers fitted drones, or unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), with infrared cameras to better detect the creatures.

QUT drone technician Gavin Broadbent said they were a little bit sceptical it would work, but they were filled with confidence when the images came through.

"We saw the koalas were very distinct compared to the trees and the environment so we thought, yes this is absolutely a proof of concept," he said.

Hovering above the tree tops, the cameras detect the animals' body heat and beam pictures straight back to the team of researchers on the ground.

Computer software helped distinguish koalas from other creatures that might be in the trees.

The first test flight was in bushland surrounding Australia Zoo on Queensland's Sunshine Coast earlier this month."


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Dear Amelia,

I noticed this article on The Epoch Time and was concerned by what I saw. Please note - I am an experienced drone enthusiast and the statements quoted in your article do not reflect the typical user experience as I understand it.

Having built and flown a number of different flying robots I am well aware that machines which are designed, built and operated correctly rarely make mistakes without some human interference. In fact, I would say that 99% of issues are the direct result of poor setup, poor maintenance and/or incorrect or uninformed operation.

Drone groups and organisations are also not normally inclined to publicly discuss or highlight the fallibility of our cherished hobby or blame our tools for potentially dangerous failures experienced in the air, so you can imagine it is highly unusual to be reading direct quotes to that effect from prominent members of our community in your publication.


Investigating further, I discovered that Steve Cohen is not actually the main organiser of the New York Drone User Group. Steve Cohen is listed as the co-organiser with another person named Timothy Reuter. The association between these two people can be seen on the left hand panel towards the top of this page. Timothy Reuter is also the founder of the Drone User Group Network as well as a new startup company known as AirDroids. AirDroid launched a kickstarter campaign early last year with a product called the Pocket Drone.


Here is an excerpt from a presentation given by Timothy Reuter on the Pocket Drone back when launching his crowdfunding campaign early last year - "There wasn't anything (out there) that was fully featured, and yet affordable, and everything required you to take a separate case along with you that was big and bulky. There weren't any drones that were convenient. Now, we've been working on these problems for the last year and we're excited to announce the launch of our first product, the pocket drone. It's powerful enough to carry a go pro into the air, but folds up small enough to take with you just about anywhere you go. It works with everything you needs out of the box like an off the shelf product but has all the advanced featured you'd expect from an advanced open-source kit. and here it is flying, the pocket drone, your personal flying robot. It has all the little features done right, which add up to a significant advance in commercially available drones."


One year on and the Pocket Drone is now currently shipping to enthusiastic backers who have been waiting to receive their reward from AirDroids. Sadly, the Pocket Drone has fallen well short of the claims used to attract backers to the campaign and the majority of users appear to have experienced serious issues trying to operate the product so far. Just read a few of the comments here. Or some of the user uploads like this one or this one. Backer experiences with the Pocket Drone have been so negative that one has publicly admitted to a bout of depression caused by the situation. Another has also openly admitted to weeping over the outcome. Others speak of fraud, credit card charge backs and refunds. But most people are just very unhappy.


It is clear that the Pocket Drone does not deliver on earlier claims and with so many unhappy backers it would seem logical that the AirDroids team may be in damage control - possibly fearful of hundreds of returned items arriving back at their distribution point, a class action being formed by the 1000+ unhappy backers involved, or potentially even being the subject of a legal claim in relation to potential injury or property damage.

Frankly, I would not be surprised if the article on your website was a story given to the media so to negatively redefine the consumer drone experience to better align with the abysmal situation Pocket Drone backers currently find themselves in.


Looking at people's comments it appears to be a long list of serious problems that set the Pocket Drone apart from other consumer drone alternatives - including poor construction, shortcomings in setup and tuning, the absence of safety failsafes, a poorly placed antenna that gets cut off by the tail rotor, landing gear which all but guarantees lost parts and a crash upon landing, as well as no technical flight instruction or guide for new flyers to show them how to use the features used to market the product.


Please consider how the follow quotes from Steve Cohen come across in light of the above outlined issues:

"The technology is difficult to control even for the most experienced flyers."

"Little things frequently go wrong. Even though Cohen is a seasoned drone maker, his antenna came loose while he was flying."

“I've made every mistake two or three times,” Cohen said. “You've got to make the mistakes, that’s key.”

"But that incident wasn't as heartbreaking as when his QAV400 - a more expensive and advanced drone that he spent more time customizing—fell into the Prospect Park lake."

“The thing about having drones is, you have to try not to get too attached.”

“The technology is not reliable yet”

To me, parallels (right down to the specifics of an antenna falling off) between the negative comments made by financial backers of Timothy Reuter's company and the negative comments made by his organisation's members in the media are simply too simular to ignore.

Thank you for your time spent reading my email,

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Night flying small Unmanned Aerial Vehicles are set to deliver a brand new perspective of Sydney's fireworks spectacular later on this evening.

The Australian Broadcasting Association will be using two sRPAS to assist in the live coverage of Sydney's world famous New Years Eve celebration.

Australian Telecommunications company Telstra will also be flying a pair of specially outfitted sRPAS equipped with 6 GoPros (up, down, front, back, right, left) to provide 360-degree views from above as part of a promotional campaign - with footage from the flight available for viewing via a downloadable app following post production.

Excerpt from itnews.com.au

It (the ABC) plans to send two purpose-built quadcopters equipped with HD cameras and broadcast links 1000 ft above Sydney Harbour, which will feed live video to feature in its annual New Years Eve broadcast, alongside footage from nine harbourside cameras and a manned helicopter.

The remote aircraft will be flown by licenced pilots and will hover within the firework exclusion zone, a spokeswoman explained to iTnews.

The broadcaster has obtained approval from the Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA) to fly the drones at 1000 ft during the event.

"We're thrilled to be able to use this exciting new technology during our broadcast, to give audiences a spectacular and unique view of the world-famous Sydney New Year's Eve Fireworks," said the ABC’s special events boss Justin Holdforth.

The Telstra drones will also fly at 1000ft and feature six HD cameras each. Telstra will make its footage available after the event via a custom Sydney NYE app, to viewers in Australia and overseas.

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Plexidrone campaign reaches $1million


The DreamQii team closed out their hugely successful Plexidrone campaign on Indiegogo just a few days ago after passing the big $1million milestone and reaching all it's planned stretch goals - unlocking upgrades including a heavy lift X8 conversion and heavier pro focused gimbal designed for larger mirrorless imaging devices.


It is a clever design which clearly aims to address a number of the issues that detract from the experience of flying a multirotor.  The PlexiPower Battery Pack saves the cumbersome process of fastening a conventional lipo and labouring with stubborn connectors, however does lock users into purchasing DreamQii's proprietory packs. Spin on props ensure secure fitment and allow you to swap out blades with ease. The modular system also allows for compact storage yet fast setup time, while facilitating easy replacement of arm and motor assemblies in the field (should something go wrong) without the need to fidling around with any tools.

The Plexidrone has also undergone somewhat of a transformation in terms of design over the past few months, and now looks far more polished and resolved than the earlier 3D printed prototype which began it's campaign back in early October.

While the initially planned campaign has now ended, the Plexidrone and it's list of ancillaries are still available thanks to a new Indiegogo initiative called 'forever funding'.

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Australia & New Zealand's favourite electronics retailer and specialist supplier to the electronic engineering community, Jaycar Electronics, just uploaded a few videos showing the latest addition to their extensive product range - The Skymaster Professional Quadcopter.

Jaycar Electronics have been slowly growing their RC category over recent years with toy boats, Gas and EP buggies, planes and just about every type of micro copter imaginable.  In the lead up to last Christmas they introduced the Mega Quadcopter and initially couldn't keep them on the shelves.  This year they are offering something much more serious.

Looking at the product shots (which appear to show the gimbal installed backwards), Jaycar's Skymaster bares an uncanny resemblance to Walkera's popular QR X350, putting it on par with the likes of CXHobby's Cheerson CX20 Auto Pathfinder, Hobby King's Quanum Nova and DJI's immensely popular Phantom 2.

Faux telescopic legs and oversized landing pads give the Skymaster a rather toy like retro sci-fi look, while a large LED indicator provides visual confirmation of pre-arm and GPS status. Two colour prop nuts suggest self tightening CW and CCW prop mounts are provided, offering convenience and reliability over lesser alternatives. A standard camera mount is available which is suitable for a range of action cameras and a 2-axis brushless gimbal (which appears to be the Tarot 2D V2) is also offered for Hero 3 users who seek out-of-the-box stabilised aerials.

The product copy reveals little about the flight controller, but it is a pretty sure bet to be something like the APM 2.52 V2.0Devo-M or simular. Firmware is no doubt a custom variation on Arducopter 3.1.5

It doesn't look like a telemetry radio is included, limiting functionality somewhat while making it a simpler, easier and cheaper proposition for new flyers. With a little luck bluetooth or UHF link might well be possible. Jaycar fans will make short work of an easy hack so to unlock all the added convenience and advanced functionality Mission Planner and DroidPlanner can provide. What options exist in regards to firmware compatibility and upgradability remains to be seen, but it would be great if the Skymaster could be tweaked to offer all the polish and power afforded by the recent 3.2 release of Arducopter , a solid UHF radio link and Droidplanner 2 (and, by extension, the added functionality of tools like DroneShare).

Priced at an RRP of $699 for the bare RTF system, the Skywalker is not exactly priced aggressively. Nevertheless, Jaycar will not struggle to find a demand among their legions of tech-hungry gadget-friendly fans. In fact, I reckon the Skymaster is going to absolutely fly off the shelves in the lead up to and beyond the holiday period - introducing thousands of new users to the wonderful world of drones over the weeks and months ahead.

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Plexidrone - Latest Crowdfunded Drone

3689619892?profile=originalThe Plexidrone launched on Indiegogo at the beginning of October and successfully cruised past it's initial funding goal of $100k within the first week of it's campaign. Like all successfully crowdfunded drone campaigners, the DreamQii team have been quite creative marketing the virtues of their creation and proactive in generating press for their campaign.

The primary USP they are using to differentiate the Plexidrone from the competion is the 'swarm' feature. To quote the campaign video "You will definitely find no drones that you can control using a swarm technology. It's completely new, something you wont find anywhere else". ArduPilot does however offer something like that. It's other unique selling points include an integrated speaker aimed at replacing/augmenting the role of the status LEDs, as well as retracting legs, a clip based payload attachment system and navigation lights.  The Plexidrone also features removable arms with some form of quick connection attachment for compact stowage and easy setup, and (perhaps the best USP of all) it also comes with a rather neat looking custom carry pack.

In terms of smarts, it appears that the flight controller they are using has much in common with ArduPilot, however, if it is (which it obviously is), they don't appear keen to make it known when quizzed on the matter.  The Bluetooth telemetry bridge also appears to be very similar to the one developed by Jeff Taylor and launched on Kickstarter last year.  It will be interesting to see how much their app, which will be available free on both iOS and Android, has in common with Arthur Benemann's DroidPlanner, or whether they get their iOS app out before Helico Aerospace Industries do.

The front facing ultrasonic sensor is an interesting addition. Based on the video and the delicate wording used to promote it, it appears that the proximity feature may simply offer an audible warning to the pilot or people in close proximity with the aircraft (of an immanent collision in the forward direction), however the website states that Plexidrone has Obstacle Avoidance effective up to 6.5m (3m on the tech specs), so it seems a little unclear what it will be able to do.

Interestingly, while initial press and some of the product images on the campaign page show what appear to be quality SunnySky motors, proper threaded mounts and snazzy props, the production unit appears to be wearing Turnigy 2830/11 1000kv motors, old-school collet style adapters and cheaper props.

In terms of performance, it is a little on the heavy side for it's size, weighing in at a sturdy 1.3kg with a modest 3S 5Ah battery, yet flight time is claimed to be up to 35-minutes (which seems about twice what one would expect from the selected configuration, even without a payload attached).

Anyway, it will be interesting to see how this project tracks and whether it gets big like Pocket Drone, Hexo+ and AirDog.  Other discussions on the Plexidrone (including comments by one of it's creators) can be found here and here.

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Need to Know - Export Controls


As outlined in this early post by Hai Tran, it has been reported that Australian based UAV manufacturer Cyber Technology found themselves in a spot of bother with the Australian Customs and Border Protection Service when they attempted to export UAVs out of the country on two occasions.

Excerpts from itnews.com.au describe the two incidents:

"The shipment was opened and found to contain two 'CyberQuad' mini Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAV), two low light CCD cameras, two hand held UAV controllers, two pairs of video glasses, one power management system with four batteries, two chargers, one mains power supply, two portable video terminals and one rugged Pelican brand transportable case" a spokesman said.


Just one month later, a Cyber Technology employee was caught trying to travel overseas with the goods in their baggage

It is obviously no surprise to learn that there are export controls for products relevant to defence applications here in Australia, but it seemed unclear to me where the line is drawn.  What is export controlled and what isn't?  Where is the line between RC Model aircraft, Civilian focused Remotely Piloted Aerial System and Military Hardware?  How does a company or individual interested only in recreational and civilian use of UAVs steer clear of such restrictions?  Is it even possible?

Most of us would be aware of complications faced by US based companies, like 3DR and sparkfun, navigating export restrictions. Export restrictions don't appear to be limited to RTF systems either, with basic and seemingly harmless items like stepper motor controllers which are designed for laughably innocuous things like egg painters apparently affected also.  Yet there appears to be no restriction on things like this, which doesn't seem to make sense?  And what about kickstarter campaigns like the Pocket Drone, Hexo+ and AirDog, and their 5,000-odd backers? How export restrictions will impact on the fulfilment of rewards to backers of these campaigns remains to be seen. Each of these campaigns are international, and it appears that no warnings or disclaimers have been publically issued to backers referring to potential export restrictions. It seems reasonable to assume that there would be a quantity of backers based in countries that may not necessarily be on the unrestricted list (which can be found by clicking on the top left of this page).  The Pocket Drone for example remains yet to ship, but is being assembled in the US. It seems logical that AirDroids would have a plan to ensure fulfilment of all relevant rewards, as refunding dozens, possibly hundreds of backers could cost them heavily - especially when you consider the commission taken by Kickstarter (I wonder whether that gets refunded in the case of a refund in the event that a reward is unfulfillable). Perhaps they plan to fill a container, ship it to Hong Kong and distribute to their backers from there. It seems unlikely, but that would certainly be a laugh if they were forced to do so (but an interesting example of the great lengths a company might be forced to go to create jobs in the US)!

When comparing the above examples of export restricted products in the US with the products offered by Cyper Technology, there are obviously some distinct differences.  Cyper Technology offer 4 different complete aerial systems, each of which are uniquely developed for use in specific applications.

The CyperQuad is a quad copter which is optimised for carrying a range of payload options.  It specifically lists a range of Military uses among it's intended applications - which include Urban Surveillance, Over the hill reconnaissance, communications relay node as well as Mine Detection and target detection.  But it's list of intended use applications also includes recreational uses including aerial photography and FPV.

The CyperEyeII is a medium range endurance (long endurance by our standards) unmanned platform that is designed to carry a payload up to 20kg for up to 10 hours. It's capabilities are quite advanced and it lists both military and civilian uses, but no recreational uses.

Then there is the CyBird and CyberWraith, which are both aimed solely at defence specific applications.

Looking at these systems as a group, and Cyper Technology as a company, no one would argue the relevance of export control. The same can be said about many of the big players like Advanced VTOL Technologies, VTOL Aerospace, Codarra Advanced Systems, Unmanned Systems Australia and Aerosonde. But what about other manufacturers which blur the line like the Flamingo from Silvertone, or those focused squarely on the civilian market like the Scarab series from MuiltiWiiCopter, the GoFour from Aerobot or the original Mini H Quad from Blackout?  Where is the line draw? Or is it all export controlled?  Does this affect all manufacturers and resellers?  And how onerous is the current permit process?

The DSGL (Defence and Strategic Goods List) Categories lists UAVs under Part 2 of the categories list. As identified by Robert Palmer, the definition for what is controlled can be found in section 9A012 on page 246 of the Defence and Strategic Goods List Amendment 2011 (No. 1) - F2013C00051.

9A012 "Unmanned aerial vehicles" ("UAVs"), associated systems, equipment and components, as follows:

a. "UAVs" having any of the following:
                1. An autonomous flight control and navigation capability (e.g., an autopilot with an Inertial Navigation System); or
                2. Capability of controlled-flight out of the direct vision range involving a human operator (e.g., televisual remote control);

b. Associated systems, equipment and components, as follows:
                1. Equipment specially designed for remotely controlling the "UAVs" specified in 9A012.a.;
                2. Systems for navigation, attitude, guidance or control, other than those specified in 7A and specially designed to provide autonomous flight control or navigation capability to "UAVs" specified in 9A012.a.;
                3. Equipment and components, specially designed to convert a manned "aircraft" to a "UAV" specified in 9A012.a.;
                4. Air breathing reciprocating or rotary internal combustion type engines, specially designed or modified to propel "UAVs" at altitudes above 50,000 feet (15,240 metres).

The DSGL also specifically identifies a long list of other items relevant to DIYDroners in the Dual Use Goods section including radio equipment, telemetry and telecontrol equipment, magnetometers, accelerometers, inertial navigation systems, flight control systems and robots. Additional notes stipulate that materials, software and technology related to controlled goods are also controlled.

By these definitions it seems that any APM or FPV equipped aerial system would be affected - including a 400g 230mm mini quad.  The same could be said of an unpowered slope soarer with a 5.8Ghz 25mW video transmitter.  Or a Lego NXT kids toy, any comparable item, or just about any part thereof.

So, could some of us in the DIYDrones community find ourselves in trouble with the law as a result of this law?

As the issues experienced by Cyber Technology with their CyberQuad demonstrate, the definition of export certainly includes travelling with the item.  Like Lachy Goshi, I would love to take one of my smaller aerial systems with me on my next holiday to southeast Asia, but the idea that I might run foul of the Australian Customs Act or Criminal Code on the way out, or on the way into a foreign country (say at Phuket International, for example) is a bit of a worry.  Hai Tran rightfully points out just how unsettling it is to think that, even as end users, we could find ourselves in hot water if we are not careful. This is especially concerning when the maximum penalties are so incredibly high. Like Ben Dellar, I am keen to know more.

It seems that no matter whether you are a developer, a manufacturer, a reseller or simply an operator or end user, or where in the world you are based, it might well be worth taking a closer look at how these laws might affect you in your jurisdiction.

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Trent@MyGeekShow is alive!

Trent has just posted an update video explaining his recent absence from the online scene, identifying the fact that his shop is now back online and hinting at things come from MyGeekShow over the coming weeks.

Clearly he has been through the ringer these last few months, but appears to have returned fully charged (pun intended), and raring to get back into it.

Notably, Trent has acknowledged the additional challenges presented to his USA Trip by ongoing developments relating to the use of RC Model Aircraft in the United States.

The idea that the reinterpretation or reformation of long established guidelines and policies might stifle the aspiration of pioneering individuals like Trent is pretty disheartening. There are indeed ways of circumventing the chaos, as we have recently seen with the coming out of Google's Project Wing, but this type of solution is sadly beyond the budget of individuals and backyard innovators like Trent. Hopefully sanity will prevail and that, when the uncertainty in this critical area of policy ends, the defining moment of his (so far) 4 year long project will not be relegated to the shelf of impossible dreams.

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3689603134?profile=originalThe good people at ReadyMadeRC have released their response to the FAA's Notice of Interpretation of the Special Rule for Model Aircraft and urge all US based model aircraft operators to submit their own thoughtful comments.

Excerpt from ReadyMadeRC's Response

In our over 26 years of combined FPV experience, along with over 75 years of combined model aircraft experience here at Ready Made RC, LLC, we have found that operating model aircraft using video glasses or “goggles” is a safe way to enjoy recreational model aircraft.  FPV video glasses offer much more precise control of the model in flight and, when combined with a spotter, offer a much greater situational awareness than simply flying a model from a single operator’s perspective viewing the model aircraft directly from the ground.  A line of sight operator by necessity focuses nearly all of his attention on the model as seen from the ground, as opposed to an FPV operator who is focused on the airspace ahead in the direction of the model’s flight.  For this and other reasons, in our opinion, FPV operations are as safe as, if not safer than, traditional model aircraft operations, which are themselves extraordinarily safe.  The FAA is unfortunately confusing the choice of where someone might fly a model aircraft with the method of control, and in the process is misreading the 2012 statute which concerned only the location of model aircraft operations.  We also cannot believe that the FAA actually has studied the way FPV works or else it would come to the same conclusions as we have about safety.

A pdf copy of this statement can be downloaded here.

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Trent@MyGeekShow USA Trip Conclusion

"Remember, MyGeekShow has always been about failure, learning from it and making progress"

3689603065?profile=originalPeople who have been following Trent's journey will be aware his USA Trip, which received assistance via a successful funded Indiegogo campaign, was ended prematurely due to unforeseen complications.  Sadly, and adding insult the injury of his defeat, he has also had to endure some particularly unpalatable comments from those among his audience.  I expect that the almost unanimous chorus counselling him to sweep the leg and power on come what may, while obviously well intentioned, would also have given him somewhat mixed feelings.

Frankly it is overwhelmingly clear that Trent had little option but to abort his mission, as it was the only responsible course of action he could take in the circumstances.  Personally I think his decision to do so, even in the face of what must have seemed to have been an almost overwhelming pressure to push on, shows him to be exceedingly well qualified for the task he has set himself.

After a week of down time spent, among other things, nursing his pride and gathering his thoughts, Trent has reemerged with a direct and hard hitting response to his critics and an outpouring of appreciation for his supporters along with a detailed and well reasoned explanation of exactly why he chose to end his ambitious project early.  Most importantly, he has also reaffirmed his commitment to his ambitious project, which is fantastic news.

I look forward to continuing to follow Trent's progress as he works through the improvements, advancements and refinement necessary to better prepare him for the next attempt along with the opportunity to again support him in his endeavour.

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The Prodigal Drone Returns


This is an update on my earlier mishap.... (NOTE - For those who do not wish to subject themselves to a double helping of my long winded posts... basically, I built a really nice APM powered quad from a non working IdeaFly IFLY4 back in march, which I then promptly lost control (and possession) of.

Anyway, one Saturday evening, about a month after my drone went missing, I received a house call from the local constabulary.

Knock, knock, knock. "Police!"

"S^&t... Really?" I thought and said out loud.  Half out of surprise and half expecting it to be a mate playing silly buggers.

Upon opening the front door I was greeted by a pair of plain clothed detectives from the Local Area Command of the New South Wales Police Force.  They politely introduced themselves, promptly verified that I was indeed the individual who had reported a lost drone approximately a month earlier, then asked whether they could quiz me on the frequencies employed by my craft - sighting the issue of radio interference in the area.  A little shocked, I complied and happily started rattling on about the FPV, DATA and RC links on my little craft.

I got about as far as explaining the frequencies and power outputs before they stopped me, revealing they had no interest in the frequencies I was using and that they were simply having a lend of me.  "we simply came to return your drone, it is sitting in the boot of our squad car" they said. I followed them out to the street where they popped the boot and presented the prodigal drone.

Much to my delight (and, if I'm honest, surprise), the craft was itself completely unblemished.  No parts were damaged, missing or even out of place - including the rather loosely secured camera.  Not even the antennas were bent, or out of place.  Well, there was one thing that had been fiddled with.  My makeshift camera mount integrated an anti-vibrant solution consisting of a layer of moongel sandwiched between two pieces of black painted balsa wood which is wrapped in cling-wrap.  It appears that the police have inspected this, probably due to it's suspect appearance.


When I asked about how it came to be in their possession they had little to say, other than the fact that it was handed in to police by what is obviously a rather understanding neighbour.  They found me thanks to the fact that I filed an incident report (even though the footage on the camera would have sufficed).

Further discussion revealed the detectives were fans of the technology and keen to know more.  We chatted for a bit and I gave them a bit of a look at some of my others projects before they headed back to work.

After seeing the detectives off I went over my wayward craft with a fine toothed comb.  The only damage (other than a bit of dog slobber on the lens) was to the battery itself (an $8 Turnigy 3S 20/30C 2200mAh) which was no longer functional having been left to fully discharge beyond a serviceable level.

Next, I downloaded the media from the Mobius, which was programmed to take stills a 1/4 second intervals at the time it went missing.  The retrieved imagery clearly records the path taken by the craft between me and where it ended up. It traveled in a southerly direction for about 300m before drifting west about 30m and landing in the middle of a nearby neighbours backyard. Below is a photo taken at the moment I lost control.  Note the red circle in the bottom left hand corner of the image which shows me fruitlessly reaching my transmitter into the air.


Log shows it was in Auto Tune mode, as I had expected, which was the result of a programming failure on my behalf.  Thankfully, this episode was the result of human error and can be easily avoided in future with just a little more care. Loss of control was actually caused by me breaking the failsafe process I had set previously (RTF was on channel 8 high, which was set as failsafe in both APM and RC Receiver) - leading the craft to enter Auto Tuning mode, rather than entering RTL mode when RC link with craft was compromised.  As a result, the craft continued to fly away from it's takeoff point, until which time it hit the perimeter failsafe.

Feeling compelled to do something for the individual(s) responsible for reuniting me with my most treasured of toys, I decided to pay my neighbour the complement of a friendly visit.  To show my deep appreciation, I came armed with a rare drop of a particularly drinkable substance.


Sadly, I didn't get to speak to the bloke that found and returned my drone, I think I spoke to his grown son. While appreciative of the gesture, he made it clear that wine wasn't his poison. Frustrated by the failure of my assumption, I ripped out my wallet which unfortunately only contained a pair of $20s.  He graciously accepted the cash, I shook his hand and thanked him profusely before heading home.

I have put about 30 charges through it since getting it back, but this whole situation has 'gentled me down some'. I am now far less flippant towards flying and setup and I always test my failsafe prior to initial arming for ever flight.  Nor do I fly without droidplanner anymore.


Needless to say, I consider myself to be very lucky.

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3689580042?profile=originalBack in early January I was tasked with the duty of delivering my recently quadrupley bypassed father to my aunty's house down on the south coast of New South Wales for some much needed rest and relaxation.  As it happens, the quiet sleepy town of Moruya, in which my aunty resides, is also home to Hobby King's Australia based warehouse.  Not being one to pass on an opportunity to double task efficiency, I decided after depositing my father into my aunt's capable hands that I might as well make use of the ample cargo space offered by my humble little hatchback. So I dropped in to grace to the good people at HK Aus with some good old first person custom.

To cut a long tangent short, this is what I brought home with me:

3689579989?profile=originalThe 1500x300x400mm shipping box of the UAV-3000 was a tight fit, but no problem for the jack of all trades GTi.

Anyway, while I was there in the showroom, I noticed a few warranty return/clearance items on the bench at heavily discounted rates.  Among these items was a folding multirotor platform.  The IdealFly IFLY-4, with which a former customer had apparently had little success, appeared to be a nice and entirely complete airframe which simply needed a new FC.  Keen for a new build, I swapping it for a single John Flynn, bid the HK team a good day and headed north.

Once at home I did a bit of research on the IFLY-4 and was surprised to find out that, due to the fact the IFLY-4 ESCs communicate via I2C, I would need to replace these as well as the FC.  So, I set about ordering the following items:



* Afro Slim ESCs

* I also ordered a motor to replace one with a bit of play in it.

When these items finally arrived last week I set about assembling my new craft along with a few extra items from the parts bin including camera, RCRX, power meter, BEC, cables, fasteners, and batteries.

Introducing the IdeaFly IFLY-4 Reloaded - APM Edition.


You know how with some builds nothing seems to go right? When holes don't line up, you can't seem to find the right sized fasteners, you are forced to think and rethink, mount and remount, route and reroute and repeatedly forced to retrieve tools that are out of immediate reach?  Well this build was nothing like that.  It just seemed to come together beautifully.

I had originally modified the factory distribution board with the intention to recycle it for it's former purpose however, after damaging some of the PCB traces I realised it really didn't have the current carrying capacity I would like, so I just used it as a mounting platform for the APM, which was attached using soft double sided adhesive foam, choosing instead to deal with power distribution at the Power Module.

3689580177?profile=originalI was really pleased with my work on the Power Module.  It is very very strong (much stronger than I expected, and it has been tested with great force), super compact, neat and convenient for maintenance. A Turnigy 3A BEC powers all 5VDC needs with the exception of the camera, which is left to rely on it's own on board battery (no chance of nasty noise entering camera).

Amazingly, after removing the factory I2C ESCs, I found that the Afros slotted very neatly in to the arms.  Having read about others having issues with Simon K ESCs and AutoTune, I was a little worried about having problems with the Afro Slims, but I simply had to persevere due to their convenient size, affordable price and strong performance credentials. I am not exactly using them in a low kv pancake applcation either, so the "she's be right, mate" attitude prevailed.  Just a dab of hot glue was required to firmly hold them in place.  I was worried about using hot glue on such a heat generating component, but they don't seem to warm up much at all, as the chipset is 30A rated and they are running at less than 50% duty at max.

3689580099?profile=originalThe GPS/Mag was purchased on ebay for about $18.  It is mounted on a re-purposed FPV camera bracket which I flattened and fastened to the front of the frame using hard double sided adhesive foam and two zip ties giving a solid but nicely dampened mount for the GPS/Mag.  Mounting holes were a perfect match, and I had all the right nylon M2.5 fasteners and spacers in the tool box to suit.  TIP - Invest in an assortment of M2.5 and M4 nylon and SS fasteners, as it will save you so much build time.

A 433Mhz Telemetry Radio from RCTimer is mounted on a short 2-inch boom at the back of the centreplate in the same way outlined above, but with two M2.5 bolts added to ensure it remains firm and alignment stays true.

For battery duties I decided to use the 3S 2200mAh Turnigy, of which I have several.  It is about 25mm too short to span the top centreplate and corresponding anchor points, so I fabricated a hold down plate to solve the problem.  Keeping weight to an absolute minimum, the hold down bracket is made from Balsa wood, painted black with a texta and enclosed in clear heatshrink.  The bracket is plenty strong and weight is less than 10 grams.

3689580108?profile=originalAt this point, I had the basic hardware sorted and moved onto setting up the firmware and configuring all relevant settings in Mission Planner.  This is not my first APM setup, so navigation was pretty straight forward. I did use Mission Planner instead of APMPlanner2 due to familiarity though, and I did go through some fiddling getting the right hex and character set for MinimOSD Extra (hence why I didn't tune better position for the telemetry info in the 4:3 frame - I just wanted to move on once it was working effectively).  I was also surprised to learn that the only firmware setting on the Afro Slims able to be set by the user without the USB programming tool is the max and min throttle points.  With the USB programming tool riced at just $6.65 this would seem an easy up sell if only mentioned in the ad.

Ready to fly, I grabbed my Nexus 7 ground station and a battery and headed out to the backyard to burn through a charge on the standard settings.  As usual, the APM's default PIDs worked fine out of the box. Super pleased with myself, I headed back inside and proceeded to invest several hours sanding the props into perfect equilibrium.

Next I wanted to try AutoTune for the first time, having witnessed Ian Lions perform this operation with his TBS disco earlier this year. So I grabbed another battery and headed for the park. Ardupilot performed it's dance with effortless finesse, delivering an exciting but otherwise unremarkable result on the first attempt (only ~800mAh consumed).  The improvement in flight performance was immediately recognisable and I was just overwhelmed by how precisely it could be maneuvered and positioned.  What a fantastic afternoon!

That evening I headed home and began adding the requisite parts to enable FPV and aerial video capture.

For imaging duties, I chose the little Mobius Action Cam.  It is a great little camera, offering 4/5ths of a gopros performance and convenience at just 1/5th of the price.  Plus, it is a significant upgrade on the #26 808 I was using previously. The file format it generates is much easier to work with too, as it imports into iMovie for iPad/iPhone for fast easy editing and convenient upload to youtube.

For mechanical isolation I created two small plates from balsa wood roughly the size of two moon gel rectangles placed side by side. The top plate was cut to tightly tessellate with the exposed bolts on the underside of the GPS mount and the bottom plate was left flat.  The two balsa plates were sanded and coloured with texta, moongel was placed between these two layers and the sandwich loosely wrapped in cling wrap.  This gave a really nice surface to mount against and the whole thing is held in place by a relatively loose fitting velcro strap with an extra piece of moongel added below the camera for good measure. The results offered by this isolation method have proved very pleasing. First Person View of telemetry overlayed video is transmitted back to my DIY Ground Station via a DIY 5.8Ghz VTX.

3689580131?profile=originalThe next day I jumped in the car and headed up to my sister's place in the mountains in order to give the newly updated rig a run.  The whether was overcast, but relatively mild.  I ran down two batteries and got some nice test shots.  Unfortunately, I also lost the canopy during a particularly fast decent.  The great news is that I was traveling backwards at a rate of knots when it fell so I was able to capture the descent of the canopy via the onboard camera.  Using the below images the canopy was found the next day.



3689580304?profile=originalSmitten with my new craft, the next morning I set out at sparrow's fart for more flights. Overly eager, I was up and ready too early and cursing Siri for making me wait.

3689580367?profile=original30 minutes before sun up I was parked down at Old Government House in UNESCO world heritage listed Parramatta Park.  The second I saw the first few photons shoot in my direction I was away.  I was starting to gain real confidence in the reliability of the craft at this point.  All features and functions, like loiter precision, just spot on.

Reviewing the video from these early morning flights exposed the low light and exposure balancing limitations of the little Mobius. But there are only so many photons a tiny lens and sensor can collect in 33.3-millisecond.


I continued with more flights, moving from place to place.  I drove between locations and carted my little integrated ground station so to record both telemetry (via DroidPlanner) and live video stream (via SD DVR installed into DIY ground station).



By mid morning I had been to several locations and had put about half a dozen charges through the craft.




3689580416?profile=originalI went home to download and review the media from the Mobius.  Most flights were conducted twice, once recording 1080HD@30fps and then again recording stills at 250-millisecond intervals.  It seems logical I should have realised this earlier, but the Mobius is not able to deliver live video out while simultaneously capturing and recording 3MP images 4 times a second.  Mobius prioritises live output over still image capture, so I didn't pick up on this issue until getting home. Sadly, all the airtime spent capturing stills gave just gave me hundreds of images like this (the panoramas above were recovered from these corrupt files):

3689580287?profile=originalThen I set out again, revisiting many of the locations I had shot at earlier in the day.  After getting another half a dozen or so more flights under my belt, I returned home at about noon.  I put the Mobius and the installed 2200mAh Lipo on charge and grabbed a quick bite to eat for lunch.  Before downloading the media from my second morning outing, and (for the first time in 2 days) without bothering to link DroidPlanner and operate the flight recorder in my ground station, I set out into the backyard to get a nice panorama of nearby Lake Parramatta and the surrounding woodland.

While performing the same pirouette maneuver (at about ~40-metres AGL), just as I had done so many time before, I noticed the craft drift noticeably beyond previously experienced limits.  I immediately aborted the maneuver, and attempted to recover but failed.

What happened next is not entirely clear.  I think I switched to stabilise mode, but this did not help.  I then went for loiter mode, but the craft continued moving away from me at an accelerated rate. So I think I went for loiter again, but that didn't arrest the craft either.  Next I remembered that RTL was associated with channel 8 so I flicked that, but this didn't help.  I then remembered the the RTL failsafe I had set in the event of loss of RCTX link so I switched the transmitter off in the hope this would return it to me.  Unfortunately the craft was ~300-metres away from me by this time, and it was not coming back.

In a state of fright, I jumped in the car and scanned the streets for about an hour.  Nothing.  It was gone.  What the hell did I just do I wondered?  How could the craft be so predictable and so obedient, just to go and do it's own thing all of a sudden?

Upon reflection I realised that my perception of what happened and what I was doing was probably not as accurate as I would have liked it to be.

First of all, how sure was I that I was pirouetting in loiter?  Could I have been in alt hold instead?  That would have explained why the craft went off alignment.  I am really not sure about this, but my assumption is to blame myself and not the hardware. Also, were the mode commands I sent the craft following loss of control correct?  Probably not, no, not at all actually.  My channel 8 switch which has always previously been used for RTL failsafe was, at the time of the incident, still associated with AutoTune.  So, when I flicked the channel 8 switch (the moment it went out of sight) I had shot myself in the foot.  Next, turning off the controller would have been a good idea, but only if I had returned FTL to channel 8.  In actual fact, by turning off the RCTX I had totally doomed the craft.  Air Craft Investigation seems to reveal that I am completely to blame.

Ashamed, embarrassed and disappointed, not knowing what else to do and having no idea where my craft had ended up, I headed down to my local area command to file an incident report.

What a weekend!

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A World Breakthrough in UAV Propulsion


Energy Density of up to 0.65-0.8Wh per gram.  Very Exciting!

Excerpt from Manufacturer's Website

AEROPAK is an ultra-light power supply enabled by fuel cells, designed to increase flight endurance for small electric Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS). It uses an on-demand hydrogen supply system from a chemical stored in a swappable cartridge.

The special characteristics of AEROPAK-1 allows to reduce weight progressively over the course of a flight, by purging spent fuel during flight. This means the average energy density of the system can increase up to 675Wh/kg for a 2 kg system, weighing 1kg after consuming all of its fuel.


Excerpt from Isreal's Homeland Securty Home

A cooperation between Israel and Singapore has resulted in a breakthrough in powering unmanned air systems. “This will change the world of UAVs and opens many new paths for using them in many applications” an Israeli source said.

3689568587?profile=originalInformation Document


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330-gram Mini Quad Upgrades


I recently rebuilt my mini quad with a new camera, modified ESCs, custom wiring harness and a few other minor tweaks designed to make it neater and less messy. Initially I had just knocked this frame together a selection parts to make it fly.  Even on the stock KK settings (latest update) it flew reasonably well, however there were a few problems and obvious areas where improvements needed to be made. As can be seen below.


Here is an account of those improvements, along with a list of relevant parts, and some images and flight video.


The AQ50D frame was supplied with all metal fasteners and spacers which seemed to be overkill in terms of strength, and an obvious area from which to shed some weight.  18 M3x12mm aluminium frame spacers were replaced with 10mm nylon, 2 M3x15mm aluminium spacers were replaced with 15mm nylon, and the majority of the 32 Stainless Steel fasteners were replaced with nylon.  This exercise, while relatively expensive, reduced the weight of the structure by a significant margin.


The V8R4-II is a tiny little receiver with the very smallest of antennas (it is barely longer than an inch) which obviously limits distance between the element and whatever the receiver is mounted to.  I have had varying success with this receiver depending on the type of airframe I place it on.  For example, it is positioned directly beside the battery (just 12mm away from the battery itself) on my balsawood octocopter and yet the integrity of the link is faultlessly reliable, whereas I have experienced dropouts on this little Carbon Fibre frame (with the flight battery and BEC combination consistent on both airframes) especially then flying in build up (noisy) areas.

Considering the very tiny weight of the receiver module, I decided to address the issue by constructing a custom lead to run between the V8R4-II and the KK board which would also serve as a support to raise it well clear of potential sources of interference and to allow for improved signal propagation.  While it works perfectly, I did perhaps make this link longer than it should be.  I actually have another V8R4-II (which my cat had the audacity to use as a teething aid, but which still functions fine) - so I might stripped it down, remove the pin headers and dump the cardboard case in favour of a heat shrink sleeve in order to create a leaner version.



I had purchased a specific lightweight GPS receiver in preparation to upgrade this frame with an APM however, concerned that it might be a bit too much to try and fit on this tiny little frame, I decided against it.

The top of the KK board was already a cluttered mess, with the previous setup and I wanted to add to the complexity by utilising the onboard voltage monitoring circuit and associated buzzer and also use the KK Board for 5V power distribution.  To solve the problem I used tiny pin connectors, soldering pin sockets onto the bottom to allow stealth connection of battery voltage, buzzer and the 4 signal wires for the ESCs.



When setting the quad up originally, I chose to isolate the BECs from on another.  I did so by eliminating each BECs ability to bridge at the KK board (although I am aware that this is unnecessary).  I then powered the KK board from the output of ESC#1, my 200mW 5.8 VTX from ESC#2 and the 2.4Ghz FrSky receiver from ESC#3 with ESC#4 pin removed and insulated.

The BECs in the little 6A Turnigy ESCs I am using are tiny SOT-223 linear regulators rated at 800mA, however I found that they struggled to deliver anything like that reliably (regardless of whether powered from a 2S or 3S battery).  Without going into too much detail, I had intermittent problems with video link (horrible blizzard), RC link (drop outs) and with the KK board (mostly the screen would drop out or the board would simply not wake up) - all of which caused by voltage sage, with the IC getting extremely hot.

The solution was to add a separate 3A Hobbywing BEC to the mix, which solved all my problems.

With an alternative 5V solution sorted, the 4 linear regulators were essentially worse than dead weight, as they seemed to also be generating much of the waste heat emanating from the ESCs.  I decided to remove them entirely.  While doing this, I also opted to remove the 100uF caps in order to further simplify the form factor of the ESCs, as well as add a set of tiny female pin sockets for faster more convenient installation and servicing (previously, I just soldered everything in - making it hard to repair/swap out motors).  A pair of 470uF 25V electros located at the power distribution point replace the 4 x 100uF caps, simplifying installation and more than doubling capacitance.



I tested a few different batteries with this frame, ranging from a 40-gram 2S 900mAh to a 192-gram 3S 2200mAh.  The small 40g 2S gave great sporty performance, but the COG was better with the 3S 2200mAh (even if it was a tad heavy).  I decided to create a T-shaped unit with two 2S 900mAh packs, which provides double the capacity of the single 2S 900mAh, allows a better COG, but which weighs less than half the 3S 2200mAh.


I started with 4025 props which worked great and were very quiet and smooth, but once equipped with extra FPV gear it was a bit under powered.  It is now wearing 3-blade 5030s, which are just as nice (even without balancing) and offer plenty more lift.  I would have likely to have found a good quality 2-blade 5030 for better efficiency over the 3-bladers, but I failed to do so.


The entire wiring harness was remade from 22AWG Superflex Silicon wire in order to neaten things up and minimise chassis wiring.


I have been using a #26 808 HD keychain camera which I modified with an add-on lens designed for the iphone (providing very wide field of view) for video recording and FPV duties for a while.  This worked well and gives great quality video, however my lens mod is not very durable, and the recording video format of the #26 808 is difficult to work with.

Recently I purchased a Mobius HD cam which generates mov files and can be imported into iMovie for easy editing.

The Mobius Camera is simply attached to the quad by a velcro strap, and is held down against the 3A BEC.  A very tiny about of vibration reduction is (potentially) provided by a thin 1mm piece of double sided tape used to attached the BEC to the frame.




1 x Alien Spider AQ50D PRO 250mm Mini Quadcopter Carbon Fiber - $64.27USD

8 x ACP-AC-0024 M3 Rubber Washer - $1.36AUD

10x Nylon Standoff Spacer M3x6mm Male x M3 Female  - $2.80AUD

10x Nylon Standoff Spacer 20mm M3 Female x M3 Female - $3.58AUD

25 x Black Nylon M3 x 6mm Philips Head Screw - $3.81AUD

10x Nylon Standoff Spacer 10mm M3 Female x M3 Female - $6.05AUD

4 x M3x10mm Nylon Screws - $0.80AUD

18 x M2.5 x 16mm Stainless Button Head Socket Screw G304 Allen - $3.20AUD


2 x 470uF 16V 105C Radial Electrolytic Capacitor 8x11mm  - $0.40AUD

1 x Micro size wire Shrinkage Wrap Φ1.0mm>Φ0.6mm (150mm B/R/W 3pcs)  HC-039 - $0.99USD

22AWG High Quality Silicon Wire (60 Core, O/R/B, 1m)  HC-JR22AWG - $4.99USD

4 x Turnigy Plush 6A/.8bec/6g Speed Controller (HK HK Warehouse) - $30.60USD

4 x Turnigy 1811 brushless Outrunner 2900kv (HK AUS Warehouse) - $43.84USD

5030 (black) Three Blade Propeller (ABS) (3pc) (HK AUS Warehouse) - $2.50USD

5030R (black) Three Blade Propeller (ABS) (3pc) (HK AUS Warehouse) - $2.43USD


New Hobbywing 3A UBEC 5V 6V Max 5A Lowest RF Noise RC BEC - $4.89AUD

Hobbyking KK2.0 Multi-rotor LCD Flight Control Board (HK AUS Warehouse) - $29.99AUD

FrSky V8R4-II 2.4Ghz 4CH Receiver (HK HK Warehouse) - $13.62AUD

2 x E-Flite Blade SR Hook and Loop Battery Strap B400 - $1.50AUD

2 x 7.4V 20C 900mAh LiPo 2S 7.4 Volt RC Akku Battery - $15.98AUD

3 x Dean Connectors (Pair) - $1.50AUD


Mobius ActionCam Full HD Sports Camera 1080P 30FPS 720P 60FPS - $77.26AUD

SanDisk 8GB 8G Class 10 MOBILE ULTRA Micro SD Micro SDHC - $12.70AUD 

TOTAL COST - $351.61AUD ($314.09USD) + some $ for shipping

TOTAL WEIGHT (Including both 900mAh 2S lipos and Mobius Camera) 328-grams

Uploaded test footage can be viewed here (looks terrible), Stabilised version can be seen here (also looks terrible). Or the original mov file can be downloaded here (looks great).


1. Substitute the unnecessarily large and heavy dean connectors for something more suitably sized for the task.

2. Relocate BEC from top of frame to allow integration of Moon Gel for jellow free video.

3. Upgrade to new KK2.1 board.

4. Test 6030 props.

5. Reinstate 200mW 5.8Ghz VTX to allow FPV flight (at back on top of battery, maximising distance from RC receiver)

6. Find better way of attaching motors to frame, ideally one which integrates some form of mechanical noise isolation. I am thinking of sandwiching/compressing a piece of bicycle inner tube between the motor mount and frame.

7. Gain a better understanding of the tuning process, so that I can eliminate the terrible toilet bowling effect which occurs whenever the craft is descending.  I can eliminate it on my other airframes, but not this one.

8. Commence constructing <50g micro Brushless Gimbal and 2-Axis Micro BLGC.  Once completed, tested, tuned and ready for installation, I will rotate the AQ50D frame 180-degrees (effectively running it back to front) in order to accommodate a front mounted gimbal mounting location.

I am really very happy with the baby quad.  It has been a joy to build and I am also really inspired by the performance of the amazing little Mobius Camera - having simply strapping it to the airframe with no effort towards improvement (ie - no prop balancing done, no vibration reduction solution, etc).  Pausing on any frame in the video shows a picture perfect still, and I cant wait to test out the high res still image capture function.

I would invite any feedback on further improvements that could be made.  Also, the front motors are 6mm closer together than the rear.  I assume this is an issue that needs to be addressed and can be tuned out (so to avoid changing the existing dimensions), but I am currently unaware of how to do this.

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First soft landing on the moon in 37 years.  Exciting stuff!

Excerpt from abc.net.au

A space module carrying China's first lunar rover has landed on the moon, marking a major step for the country's ambitious space program.

Scientists burst into applause as a computer-generated image representing the spacecraft was seen landing on the moon's surface via screens at a Beijing control centre, state broadcaster China Central Television (CCTV) showed.

Hours later the rover was deployed, with China's Aerospace Control Centre saying it had "touched the lunar surface".

The rover will spend about three months exploring the moon and looking for natural resources.


abc.net.au Article (initial report of landing)

news.com.au Article (Video animation and further coverage)

abc.net.au Article (Discussion on next planned rover landing - Chang'e-4)

space.com Article (More images and detail)

*Images: FPV view tweeted by CCTV, Artist's impression from wikipedia

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Scale CAD models of APM & FPV related hardware


Hi Guys,

I have created a number of extra scale models to aid me in the design process.  Links to design files (skp) are below for use by all.  From left to right:

1. RFD900 (Sample kindly provided by Seppo for modelling purposes - and delivered overnight.. just fantastic)

2. MinimOSD

3. DIY 5.8Ghz VTX (I can post eagle files if anyone wishes to use this)

4. 3DR Power Module

5. Arduino Pro Mini

6. Turnigy 6A ESC (stripped and with 5V linear regulator removed)

7. APM 2.5 (posted previously, available in wiki)


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APM 2.5 CAD Model for Google Sketchup Users

3689557486?profile=originalG'day All,

I have been working on a new airframe over recent weeks and wanted to replace the rather abstract 66 x 35mm box used to represent the APM 2.5 board with something a little more detailed and accurate.  My search for an existing model found nothing I could use, so a few hours later this is what I came up with.

In line with the spirit of open source, I will be putting this up on the 3D Warehouse when I get a chance.  In the meantime, please feel free to download from the bottom of this post.





APM 2.5 Google Sketchup File

APM 2.5 Google Earth File

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Budget Compact Ground Station


All Items - Packed Up

All Items - Unpacked


FPV DVR Ground Station - Open

FPV DVR Ground Station - Unpacked


All Items - Assembled


FPV DVR Ground Station - Internals


FPV DVR Ground Station - Display


Andriod Nexus 7 running AndroPilot (with Travel Case)
Right Angle OTG Cable
433Mhz USB radio
Suction Mount for Nexus 7

Portable 7-inch DVD Player (with headrest mountable carry case)
DIY 5.8Ghz VRX Module (with IR Remote Control)
Hobby King SD DVR (minus case and expansion board)

Futaba FP-T8UAF
FRSky DFT 2.4Ghz Transciever
Turnigy 2650mAh LiPo

Total Cost: Next to Nothing (<$150)+Tablet($250)

This old Portable DVD Player had given up the ghost. So, after repairing (and then realising that i have zero need for a portable DVD player), i took to tearing in apart again.  Removing the unwanted CD carriage, finding suitable AV inputs and a 5VDC line on the board was relatively straight forward. I had even planned to wire in the ADC_KEY_1 and ADC_KEY_2 inputs up the the existing and very conveniently located micro-switches which are no longer required for the DVD player in order to provide UP, DOWN, LEFT, RIGHT, SELECT, MENU, PLAY, RECORD and STOP buttons for the DVR, however found it unnecessary thanks to the fact that the IR receiver for the DVR gives good reception through the small clear window located in the lid to the CD carriage. NOTE - switch on rear left hand corner of FPV unit is wired into alarm trigger circuit of DVR (however, I am yet to find a mode in which this will activate/deactivate recording)

Nice and Small, Easily Portable, Wonderfully Compact, Cost Effective - Couldn't be happier with my little beginners kit.

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