Euan Ramsay's Blog (42)

Super cheap autonomous cargo "drone".

We've all been there - a rainy afternoon, bored, and need something to do. This is my effort. Trawled the parts bin and drawers for old and discarded parts to build this - my smallest and cheapest cargo delivery drone.

I normally build 2-8kg units for customers; our latest EPM-based unit is rated for 30kg. But's somewhat less than this. And somewhat…


Added by Euan Ramsay on March 12, 2016 at 10:00am — 2 Comments

Autonomous payload drops using APM and 3.2 (and EPM)

Ok, so here at last, is the autonomous payload delivery video.

Configured to use Camera trigger on RC10, and the DIGICAM actions in mission planning. Works perfectly well, but the DIGICAM command is not "rate determining"; ie the APM can…


Added by Euan Ramsay on April 12, 2015 at 1:42pm — 6 Comments

APM X8 redundancy is brilliant

Just a post as a compliment to the Devs. Today, I was able to test a full flight with my X8 with a payload and a motor out. Only a 3kg load instead of the maximum 4.5kg, but that's a design fault of my own in the target bracket, not of the magnets or of the X8.

It flew as if nothing was wrong. Start to finish, I had full control, and it behaved almost as…


Added by Euan Ramsay on November 2, 2014 at 10:19am — 7 Comments

Payloader max has its first public demo

Good news!

Got the "Payloader Max" out for a public demo at the weekend, and it worked well! This is it dropping a 2.5kg load in a Swisspost box. Unfortunately, the full ramp up to a 5kg load run was halted when...

Bad news!

The damned PM module blew! This was a supposedly a 10S unit from Hobbyking, but it blew as soon the load went…


Added by Euan Ramsay on September 15, 2014 at 10:30am — 32 Comments

Mini hex + autotune = success.

Slapped together a factory-fresh mini hex with HK APM mini + 3DR ublox, balanced the props, fired it up in the air and ran autotune, in a breezy day. Over tuned with the factory settings, but flying ok now - just needs a tweak here and there.

This is the result. Needs  bit of D I think, to stablise it a bit. Maybe more aggressive control in pitch to…


Added by Euan Ramsay on September 8, 2014 at 5:21am — 25 Comments

Payloader max prototype complete

So, the first payloader max is built - time for testing!

Just got the APM to put back onto the lifter, and away we go.

Payloader max: 5kg capacity via parrallel EPM's, no moving parts to fail, full autonomous integration with arducopter 3.2.

The foldable lifter (around 11-12kg lift, depending on how you mark the efficiency loss of…


Added by Euan Ramsay on August 27, 2014 at 2:22pm — 17 Comments

Some really simple but effective mods to 2014 quad

Not a huge post today, but thought I'd show off the new build. Still got to tune it a bit, but runs pretty tight already. But here are a few simple mods you can make to improve your 2014 quad, that are really easy to do, yet will significantly improve performance. And if you're into aesthetics, it still looks completely standard. Unfortunately, it won't decrease…


Added by Euan Ramsay on May 23, 2014 at 9:38am — 11 Comments

APM into 230 size quad

Given the popularity of the 230/250 quads at the moment (blackout etc), I thought - wouldn't it be cool to have a rig that can do the ground skimming proximity stuff, but also with the normal "mod cons" of the APM?

Traditionally though, an APM would never fit. Until HK released the I built one.

I started with the Haldey-Bocks 230…


Added by Euan Ramsay on May 7, 2014 at 1:49pm — 92 Comments

Building a prototype - part 1. The airframe.

Hi all. Been a while since I posted, but thought I'd give a bit of an insight into what I'm doing with "Terence" - my medium lift/endurance quad. And today is as good a day as any, as I got the latest CF samples in. And it's partly it's the start of the build instructions for when it goes live So lets build...

Part one is the main…


Added by Euan Ramsay on May 5, 2014 at 10:00pm — 9 Comments

Maidened Y6 - what I looked for

Just a bit of a monologue about what I did on my maiden, and I what I looked for before I started flying it properly. Some people just go full sticks right after arming, but I prefer a more cautious approach.

Step 1: All the calibrations done - radio, compass, compassmot, flight modes etc. Importantly, only 3 flight modes configured - stabilise, alt hold and Loiter.…


Added by Euan Ramsay on April 10, 2014 at 12:30pm — 9 Comments

Payloader gets its first field test

At last, I was able to get the payloader into the field today! A good day for it too - moderate breeze, so a good test of 3.1.2 loiter as well. It flew great - the hex barely even noticed the weight, and Nicadrones magnet worked perfectly with a sub kilo load - was able to sling it about no problem.

So spent a couple of packs doing practise runs…


Added by Euan Ramsay on March 16, 2014 at 1:41pm — 17 Comments

APM stabilised spotlight (SAR application)

My second flight with the hex, after a maiden inc autotune*. It's my workhorse, and it's back to work! No real issues, apparent from a faulty AR8000 rx which seems to generating some CH3 "blips" if CH8 is connected. Weird...


This is a very dark night (no moon, full cloud coverage), so I figured a perfect time to see how my stabilised spotlight performs. And it…


Added by Euan Ramsay on March 2, 2014 at 11:00pm — 30 Comments

Autotune:0...Ground:0...Winner? It's tuning!

First - apologies for the poor video. I'm running a $30 gimbal on a standard Martinez without tuning, and a TBS with a mysterious vibe problem. I've left prop sound in, so you can hear the motors misbehaving.

Ok, my previous forays into autotuning have not had great results; today was better.

I ran autotune on my testbed, and it was…


Added by Euan Ramsay on February 24, 2014 at 1:55am — 16 Comments

Payloader prototype 2

Hot behind CT's announcement of the Electro/magnet v2, my payloader is almost ready for it.

But as usual, there are problems. Some mine...some with the CF supplier.

1. The search light boom is too weak. My fault. It's only 2mm CF, and the light weights 100g. It bounces, way too much, even on the the bench. I dread what it'll be like in the air. And as a…


Added by Euan Ramsay on February 14, 2014 at 1:31pm — 20 Comments

At last! Found the right legs!

Just a short post/update today on Terence - I've eventually found some legs I'm happy with! Yay, at last! Not the most elegant, and looks positively sinister from some angles (see above), but there we go. 

Got these from quadframe, and the only fault I can find is that each clamp only clamps the leg once, and the leg angle is adjustable. I'd have…


Added by Euan Ramsay on February 3, 2014 at 2:33pm — 14 Comments

Pancake motors - spotted a small flaw

An interesting day at the field today...

Took off after preflgiht checks, and eveything was looking ok. Hovering at around 40%, looked slightly twitchy - probably because the PID's were at default, and I was about to Autotune them into oblivion, so no biggie. Gave it a bit of gas to test motor aligment, and woooahhh - massive lurch to motor 2.…


Added by Euan Ramsay on January 27, 2014 at 2:05pm — 7 Comments

Building an ardu-rat-quad. :-)

Basically, I thought I'd blog my latest build, to see if it offers the community any helpful ideas.

I approached this build with a couple of objectives - to build a test bed for arducopter features and new releases, to clear down some of the parts bin and older parts.

Now a parts bin special is nothing fancy, but there are a few important…


Added by Euan Ramsay on January 16, 2014 at 3:30pm — 4 Comments


My first official foray into 3.1 has not gone well, and so far, Gravity - and his mistress, the hard frozen ground - are winning 2:Nil.

Both bird were flying fine on 3.0.1. There have been no physical changes. The Disco even flew ok on 3.1, pre-autotune, although I still can't seem to find the source of the vibes.

The Disco started autotune no…


Added by Euan Ramsay on January 12, 2014 at 6:45am — 52 Comments

"Terrence"*gets his gimbal running at last

Ok, I've finally found some legs that I'm reasonably happy with, which means "Terrence" (formally known as Platypus) now has his gimbal in situ, and running!

The legs are Tarot's off the shelf, but seem to perform ok. The shape of the frame means they are toe-out, but this aids video clearance anyway, so may leave them as is.

Got the rest of the…


Added by Euan Ramsay on November 27, 2013 at 3:13pm — 14 Comments

Github hacked



Hi guys,

Just a heads up: Github was attacked last night, and a number of account details lifted. If you have an account there, check your security history for failed logons. I'd recommend reset your password to something strong as a precaution anyway.



Added by Euan Ramsay on November 20, 2013 at 2:15am — 12 Comments

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