I know these servos are cheap but have some pretty good reviews, I hope they can handle well. The reason I chose to use 8 mini servos as apposed to the recommended 4 mini and 2 standard is to try to make space. How you wonder? Well being able to eliminate the linkage cables in the plane I plan to build an access panel under the plane so I cam mount electronics near the CG, I also hope to make access there to make some kind of removable wing brackets for easier transport. One major complaint of the MQ-9 is lack of space, however I plan to make scale missiles to house batteries under the wings and open up the fuse lodge, by doing all this I will probably not know what to do with all the extra space! The super brain esc should be great for data logging.
I purchased my PROJET MQ-9 Reaper from NitroPlanes.com for around $166 shipped. Very Nice looking Plane. Recieved on 4/18/11 in great shape, well packaged.
For the TX/RX I plan to use a Turnigy 9x from hobby king. (Ordered 4/18/11, cost $53.79, it was perfect timing to get it while it was in stock, only lasted a few hours online.)
I plan to install a programmer to add new firm wire updates.
I will get a Pocket AVR Programmer. You can find out some good info here on Hacking the Turnigy 9x by Chris Anderson.
Those interested SmartieParts offers a Turnigy programmer that is solderless and includes a backlight screen. They even offer various colors.
I Plan to use er9x as my firm wire since it has ArduPilot Binaries all ready to download and install and tweek. They even have a tutorial download on VTail mixing.
Naturally I plan to order the Ardupilot Mega kit from the store, and in another build phase in the future the APM Telemetry kit.
For the motor: (Ordered 4/18/11 from Hobbyking.com, cost $23.53)
Specs - from HobbyKing.com
Input Voltage : 8~22V (3~5S Li-po)
Kv : 890 rpm/V within 10%
Dimentions : 50mm X 45mm
Shaft diameter : 8mm
Weight : 260g
Recommended model weight : 900~1500g
Power equivalent : .36,2stroke
Stator Dimentions: 40x10mm
Speed Controller Required: 60A+
Estimated Power: 700W +
One customer commented that they got 12x6 APC E 54.90A 15.12v 830W 10290rpm 2989g ef 77 % on a 4S lipo. I plan to use 3S for mine but at least I know that if I need more power I can change to a 4S. My total estimated weight on my entire build is somewhere between 7.5-8.5lbs. Most people seem to recommend 100w per lb. but since this is a gentle flyer running it less than that should be fine but I estimate I need to keep around at least 76-85w per lb.
Many customers gave this motor good praises which is why I decided to try it out.
For the power cells I plan to use (4x) Turnigy 2200mAh 3S 20C Lipo Pack I plan to use all 4 for motor for 8800mAh or use one for other electronics. I plan to use various model rocket parts to build 4 scale Hellfire missiles which I plan to house the 4 batteries. This will free up a lot of space in the fuse lodge for the electronics. Plus make it a little easier to balance the plane, I will also make pods to hold two per side and do my best to make it look like the real deal.
Spec. from HobbyKing.com, ordered 4/18/09 on sale for $8.49 each!
Minimum Capacity: 2200mAh (True 100% Capacity)
Configuration: 3S1P / 11.1v / 3Cell
Constant Discharge: 20C
Peak Discharge (10sec): 30C
Pack Weight: 185g
Pack Size: 103 x 33 x 24mm
Charge Plug: JST-XH
Discharge Plug: XT60
If this proves to be too much weight I will drop down to two batteries. 4 will add 740g not counting with what I come up with for the missiles.
Also ordered on 4/19/11 from hobbyking is a T3 Blade EP Propeller 12x8 / 305x204mm for $3.33 and Aluminum Prop Spinner 58mm / 2.25inch diameter for $6.24.
Still not sure what to do for the servo's. Have some ideas but still researching.
Still a long way down the road but my beginning plans for a ground station will include an old Dual Core PC board I have with a 10-15" LCD built into a suitcase ran off lipo batteries. Still researching this but a ground station is probably close to a year away at this point.
Other plans are to come up with a pan/tilt setup for the camera ball, I plan to make my own probably using a dome from a mini security camera dome. I hope to use a Zoom camera for this but due to budget limitations I will probably just use a 600tvl Sony HAD CCD. I have a StealthCam Epic HD 720p video camera with a wide angle lense I plan to hack and use for FPV video out the front of the fuse lodge. It has a SD card built in and also will output live video. I plan to use a video switcher which I will change between cameras in Autopilot. Hobbyking has some decent looking packages for CCD cameras with transmitter that I will probably go with they also have a cheap Pan/Tilt rig that just needs servos.
I am also researching the idea to use a Pan/Tilt/Zoom network camera with Ethernet ran to external transmitter, it may also be possible to hook it up to the ArduPilot with an adapter and use this for telemetry. Still have a lot of research here, but so far this idea is rather expensive and I am having a hard time finding a setup that will transmit enough data at a decent distance that is light weight.
Now before anyone posts, I will admit that through my research most say that this is not the best platform for a lot of weight or electronics. I plan on looking into adding some extra strength to the wings and as long as I keep the airspeed up this plane should handle well. With wide gentle turns it should be fine, I have no delusions of pulling high G turns barrel rolls or other acrobatic maneuvers. From my limited research on the real MQ-9 it is not a particularly slow flying aircraft. It was designed more for range and endurance. Im sure that if the engine cut out on it, it will still fall at steep rate. However I can confirm my theory.
Some great info for those of you working on this plane or thinking about it:
These videos are done by NightFlyyer, they were also used by NitroPlanes on the site, they are great videos. This guy has definitly forgotten more abour RC than I will ever learn. He has a lot of knowledge and a lot of great videos on youtube something like 470!!! Worth checking a lot of them out.
Here is a nice flight video on nitroplane's site:
Great build video's on Youtube:
Glazier808 did a great job, his MQ-9 looks amazing and I will definitly use some of his ideas/techniques. Especially the lights.
Some other videos found on you tube for Nitroplane's Projet MQ-9
The following are by MrReaperKeeper - sadly his plan crashed.
Here are some forum postings online on builds of the MQ-9
Here is a build going on here at DIYDrones
There is some more info out there if you have something I dont let me know and I will add it, if I find more I will add it.
I hope to start my build very soon just need a few more small things, I plan to post video's and photos of the progress so stay tuned. This is a long term project for me, 6-12 months before it gets in the air. It will take that much time for me to get all the parts and money ect, and build, research, program, play math wizard, ect. and if you just read this whole post and havent bought a MQ-9 you should, you clearly want one, lmao....