I think its time for a new DIY Drones contest which I would like to propose.
The T3 is fun, but it doesn't have any real point other than the winner gets some bragging rights.
At the end of the day, speed is not the goal for most of us so a competition that measuers speed yields no useful information that helps us move forward as a group.
The contest I would like to proprose is an ongoing endurance contest, instead of running over a timeframe, it is continuous and reviewed weekly so that the leaderboard shows who currently has the greatest endurance on each given platform. (Lets stick to commercially available models not custom built ones).
As part of the contest you would submit information such as prop size, battery capacity, cell count, model, weight and payload details etc.
The benefit of this is that we would be able to tabulate the results and publish a document showing the endurance relationship to weight and battery capacity for every type of model that is commonly flown.
That would save us all a LOT of messing around and would be a golden resource for newcomers, even the FPV community could benefit from the data we can extract from an Autopilot.
For each model eg Skywalker, Bixler, Skyfun etc we would be able to publish recommended motors, prop and battery for maximum endurance.
This would also be an excellent resource for people who are trying to choose the right platform.
For example, if you know you need to lift 500 grams of payload then you can find out which model is going to be able to do that with the longest endurance. It would even give you the battery, motor and prop choice in order to achieve your goal.
This information is basic stuff that almost all of us struggle with and can end up costing a lot of money through trial and error trying to figure out. My thinking is that the hardware and software are open source, yet our own individual knowlege is not collated very well, you have to read through thousands of conflicting forum posts to try and put it together yourself. If we all worked together and shared the information we learn daily, then it will make it easier for all of us and we would have some scientific measures behind a lot of the 'opinions' that go into current recommendations. Just as important as the sucessful combinations are the failed ones as these can act as "don't do this" examples for newcomers. These aren't captured anywhere at the moment.
You can also use the data to benchmark changes you make to your own platform, if we have a standardised way of measuring endurance, then instead of just saying "I got 35 minutes" in a post, you can actually measure your real relative performance to other setups, then measure the increase or decrease in performance when a change is made to one of the variables.
The other benefit of this is that it will also push manufacturers to consider efficiency more as they try and get their products into the leaderboard, especially on the airframe front.
I am happy to co-ordinate it and get it off the ground if there is support from the leaders here at DIY Drones.
I can build something to collate and deseminate the data and perhaps later on down the track we could webify it so it is fairly automated.
The key thing where I might need some help is measuring the endurance from a log file in a way that is fair and ideally automated.
I forsee the goal would be something like...
- Fly at the slowest speed possible without stalling in Auto mode
- Loiter over a target with 100m radius until your battery cuts out
Details to be accurately recorded in order to have a valid entry:
|Model Type:||eg Skywalker, Skyfun, Bixler etc|
|Model Modifications:||eg removed landing gear|
|All Up Weight:||preferably metric|
|Cell Count:||2S, 3S, 2P4S etc|
|Battery Capacity:||in mAh|
|Battery Manufacturer / Model:|
|Payload Description:||GoPro etc|
|Approx average speed during flight:|
|Attach log file:|
So what do you all think?