Reto's Blog (17)

Recent drone documentary on Swiss TV

Hi all,

Maybe of interest for some of you, the Swiss national TV channel 1 (TSR1) broadcast a short doc on military drones, in french.

Happy watching and cheers

Added by Reto on March 11, 2010 at 3:05pm — No Comments

High tech bird watching: small is beautiful

Hey, for those interested in miniaturization, tech and flying things, here's the smallest complete long term GPS logger I've found around and developed for tracking peregrinations of living birds:

1.5 grams and 30x13.5x5mm in dimension, including: GPS, antenna, 512KByte Memory for 25,000 x 20 bytes locations, no microprocessor, battery + solar cell. No photo is yet available.

It can be implemented on a living bird as light as 30 grams (the logger shouldn't exceed 5% body… Continue

Added by Reto on November 25, 2009 at 2:38pm — 10 Comments

A new ready made UAV platform made in Germany

Following ready made EPP foam platform made by Borjet Aeromodels could be of interest for some of us. It's called Maja and seems to cost around EUR 200.--, EUR 600 RTF, and EUR 1000 RTF set including Tx and lipos.

See demo video here

If anybody has experienced that airframe,… Continue

Added by Reto on September 13, 2009 at 4:52am — 21 Comments

Adding RSSI signal monitoring for Xbees

In my SIG Kadet Senior "near future" UAV, I've a nice feature in my video OSD: there's a RSSI connector to which one can apply a 0-5V tension and the OSD then displays a graph bar with RSSI signal strength.

On Xbee side, I knew I had a RSSI output in form of a PWM signal on pin #6. I configured the Xbee RSSI/PWM0 timer to 99 (which translates in the Xbee to retain the last valid Signal Strength measure for 99 x 100ms, ie approximately 10 seconds. I also activated the PWM0/RSSI pin with the… Continue

Added by Reto on July 5, 2009 at 3:18am — 3 Comments

SIG Kadet Senior BIY as ArduPilot airframe

I shall use this post to add some descriptions about my ArduPilot airframe, the SIG Kadet Senior BIY kit converted electric. I'll add tids and bits of this work in progress started last autumn once in a while, when timetable permits.

As a starter, I think it's interesting to say that this airframe now flies! I… Continue

Added by Reto on June 22, 2009 at 1:00pm — 7 Comments

NewSoftSerial: sharing GPS and adding serial port for OSD

In this other post, I wrote I intended to use the interrupt based NewSoftSerial llibrary for Arduino. Many of us know that the standard SoftSerial library comming with Arduino is not usable as is. Some tried out interrupt based serial to gain an additional serial IO on ArduPilot, but there are negative… Continue

Added by Reto on April 17, 2009 at 11:00am — 9 Comments

Good Luck to the ArduPilot teams at the Sparkfun competition !!!

Hey guys, get the trophy back to DIYdrones for those who can't be there with you.

Live feeds:

Live Video streaming by… Continue

Added by Reto on April 14, 2009 at 11:00am — 16 Comments

LocoSys LS20031 GPS upgrade to 10Hz

I had some regular e-mail contact with LocoSys since I bought my 5Hz LS20031 GPS board from Sparkfun.

LocoSys informed me that in June or July, they are going to propose an upgrade applicable to the LS20031. The GPS will then be able to have a 10Hz update rate.

I'll post more information when available. in the meantime, here's the latest LocoSys product table for those interested:… Continue

Added by Reto on April 10, 2009 at 2:18am — 3 Comments

Xbee socket board

While testing my setup, it often disturbed me that the Xbee Pro doesn't have a led somewhere to show it's powered up.

Since I mount it onto a ply through an Xbee breakout board like the one on the picture, I just soldered a small red led between the VCC and GND. Now I know when it's powered ok without having to setup all Xbee transmission line.

Of course, the led doesn't tell me if the Xbee is… Continue

Added by Reto on April 10, 2009 at 1:00am — 16 Comments

To relax from programing, assembling, building, soldering, and tweaking (and maybe repairing): nice aerial videos

Not to make publicity here, but a young guy I came to correspond with is running an FPV stuff online shop (RC-Tech in Switzerland). He practices himself, of course, is very much involved in the FPV community, and, over that, has some real good sense for bringing up nice aerial video footage mostly based on the RF video material he's selling.

On the web site, he's got some very enjoyable footage (in my opinion). It's a nice place to… Continue

Added by Reto on April 9, 2009 at 2:25pm — 2 Comments

Small tech university spin-off company producing a small foamy RTF MUAV

A small spin-out company of the Swiss Polytechnicum in Lausanne, called senseFly, is currently created and presents a RTF product which somehow probably has similarities with what we are doing. Look at their autopilot board in the… Continue

Added by Reto on April 9, 2009 at 7:00am — 19 Comments

GPS & CoPilot sensor snap on turret

This is the way I mount my GPS and CoPilot sensor units onto my high wing Kadet Senior.

It is a simple turret made of balsa scraps in which the GPS (Locosys LS20031) lies on top and the CoPilot lies below.

The GPS board is plugged into the turret with a 4 pin header since it needs independent Vcc (3.3volt unit).

A four wire cable… Continue

Added by Reto on April 4, 2009 at 8:30am — 11 Comments

Pan and tilt camera with basic headtracking and camera shutter based on Nunchuck, Arduino, and Xbee Pro 868

This is finally the post for my headtracking system. I still have some tweaking ahead, but here is the present situation.

It is based on following components:

- Arduino compatible board (I use a spare ArduPilot board) in the airframe

- Arduino compatible board on the ground (I use a Arduino Pro Mini from Sparkfun)…


Added by Reto on March 29, 2009 at 2:00pm — 6 Comments

Main DIYdrones page "Latest Activity" without user avatars?

I noticed yesterday, that the user avatar pics in the "Latest Activity" row, were not shown anymore... at least in my browser). I have some icon instead (one of the following icon from xg_icon-333333.png):

Was there some change or update to the blog engine?
I think Chris can easily fix this aesthetic technical detail. Thanks in advance, Chris.

Added by Reto on February 13, 2009 at 5:29am — 2 Comments

Newbie AVR programming... the hard way!

Hi all

I like exploring things. When a problem occurs, I like finding out what went wrong... and I like correcting mistakes I made!

When ArduPilot came in, step 1 was to check if the CKDIV8 fuse setting was correct... It wasn't. CTRL not working.

Step 2: set the fuse correctly. For that, I needed an AVR programmer... no programmer in the house (I'm a newbie).

Step 3: get an AVR programmer:

- option A: buy what was recommanded on this site (easy way)

- option B: do… Continue

Added by Reto on February 13, 2009 at 1:46am — 30 Comments

Questions about ArduPilot code: checksum calculations/comparisons in the GPS Nav code

While transcribing parts of ArduPilot code in Python for testing and NMEA sentence parsing/emulation, I noticed that the checksum calculations/comparisons are made twice, once for the RMC and later for the GGA sentences.

Could it be worth a few bytes or simply better to do it another way to limit the number of checksum to process (for now, all received sentences are cross-checksummed)

Could we

1) test the sentence header (RMC or GGA)

2) if header found, do the… Continue

Added by Reto on February 3, 2009 at 4:29pm — 4 Comments


Season Two of the Trust Time Trial (T3) Contest 
A list of all T3 contests is here. The current round, the Vertical Horizontal one, is here

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