Iris/Pixhawk Cold Weather Testing

Last weekend I drove up north a bit for some real cold weather testing of my Iris+ equiped with Pixhawk.  I had to get up early in the morning to catch -30C temperatures which is about as cold as I'm interested in testing.  At -30C, my gloved fingers froze after a few minutes.  Not quite frostbite, but deep into pain territory.

Spurred on by Leonard's taunts, I also did some snow resistance testing.  It passed.  I'd say it can handle just about any amount of snow you could reasonably throw at it. :)   I simply put electrical tape over the shell vents, and that's it. Throughout the weekend, I had absolutely zero problems related to the low temperatures. -30C is a non-issue for the Pixhawk and ESCs. 

I actually haven't had this Iris for long, but so far I'm pretty impressed with it.  The out-of-the-box tune was pretty much spot on.  It flies extremely smoothly.  The only changes I've made were to allow 45° lean angle, and enabling Stab and Acro modes.  The camera I was using for on-board is a Sony AS100V on the semi-fixed front mount included with the Iris.  The results are not great, heavy jello.  I'm not sure if a real GoPro is much better?  You can see the effect of the Sony's electronic image stabilization.  If you peer through the jello, you can see that the video is actually quite smooth and watchable.  I will probably make a damped undermount for the camera.

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  • MR60

    This video makes you wonder why Canadian authorities feel a need to regulate anything in this no man's land :) they'd better regulate their temps...

    A serious question: the ball bearings and their factory grease were certainly not designed for extensive use in such low temps. I wonder how fast motors would get used or damaged at -30 ?

  • Did you notice any reduction in flight time due to colder batteries? I noticed this effect last month using standard 5200mah lipos, I got just 6mins of flight compared to 14 in summer. I also learned about this effect in 2012 in Nepal with my camera batteries in cold + altitude.

  • This is good to see as I've been avoiding testing out my Iris since its been around -34 (-42 with wind factor) here also in northern ontario. With the lakes frozen over it does make winter flying interesting though.

    How were the winds that day? Seems like its been pretty windy all around this area lately...

  • Interesting.  Thanks.  I'm even too much of a wimp to fly in this New York weather!  Keep warm up there, Rob.

  • Eric, I'm not sure.  Longer than I could fly it, let me put it that way. ;)

    I found that after flying, the battery was still room-temp.  I think the fact that it's self-heating, and enclosed, keeps it from cooling down.  I should put it up in Loiter and put my hands in my pockets, see how long it goes. ;)

  • What was the impact on battery life?

  • BRRRR!!!!!, impressive!!! :O , Nothing happens with snow and electronics??, thank's for share.

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