Multi-Rotor Madness

Saturday March 15th was awesome.   The weather was perfect and nobody was home but me.  The perfect opportunity to get outside and do some flying.    A buddy was supposed to come up and partake but he had “issues”, so it was a solo day.

First we spent some quality time with the Armattan, my current sport quad.

Some sporty flying…

After burning up a few batteries with that, I moved on to my newer “Dead Cat” Quad.  Built from a cheap frame upgraded with legit DJI arms, and utilizing PixHawk for the flight controller.

It flies awesome.   It’s not a hot rod by any stretch, but it will flip and roll too.   I had some issues testing the acro mode in Arducopter 3.1.2-r2 so I’m waiting for 3.2 before I try it again.   I don’t have a good camera mount for it yet, no gimbal, nor FPV gear so I ‘temporarily’ attached the ContourHD camera to the front.   All and all for as ghetto as the mount was it did pretty good.

Dead Cat with ContourHD

I ran it through a bunch of different flight modes.   Even executed a pretty significant autonomous flight.   Had some fun with guided mode from the tablet too.   Thought I almost lost it too.


In guided mode I flew it out over the pond at the gravel pit, then over to the east, then asked it to come back, and well, it was trying but while it technically wasn’t beyond visual flight distance, I couldn’t see it from where I was standing.

It was apparently on the fringe of my telemetry radio’s range.  At least that’s my story and I’m sticking to it.   I did eventually flip “Return to Launch” and it came back.  So all is well.

I also got out the Hex, which has the gimbal installed.   I still need to fix the Jell-O-cam issue which seems very EFI’ish to me.  But still, this hex is a stable flier.  

Hex Gimbal Footage


So this was an all around very awesome multi-rotor day.    I can’t wait to get the FPV gear and get going.   I really can’t wait to get my hands on a TBS Discovery Pro frame. 

First F550 Gimbal enabled flights

Today I had an opportunity to pop outside, fly and document the snow.   This was the first opportunity I had to fly with the Gimbal that was mounted for the Go Pro in the previous blog post.   The Beholder-Lite gimbal.

It seems I never have a completely uneventful flight though.  While this one doesn’t contain any crashes, the gyro calibration was off and it wouldn’t position hold at all.   Loiter was completely broken, so the majority of the video was flow in stability mode.  With the ~12-14 mile per hour winds and the fact that it didn’t really know what level was, it got real interesting when I lost orientation.   Thankfully, no broken parts.

I’m mostly happy with the video, it was super bright, sun was out and obviously the snow just amplifies that which alone can cause some Jell-O effect.  But the gimbal isn’t tuned 100% right either.  I’ll work on that in the future.    Also need to balance my blades.

But all in all a very successful day.

DJI F550 Hex, Beholder-Lite Gimbal, v2.

The video is a bit long as it’s really two flights.  It’s HD so pop it out to full screen for the best effect.  I haven’t found a way to kill the high pitched sound from the motors/electronics in the video so I just kill the sound.  Just hum your favorite tune while you watch this.  Smile



Multirotors and Trees Oh My.

Having already smashed my Blade QX350 you’d a thought I’d be a little more careful.  But no.  On Matthew’s 6th birthday I thought I’d take the Hex out for a spin and document the White Death that had come down upon us the previous day.   If it’s going to be cold, might as well have snow.

So I strapped the legacy Contour HD camera to the Hex and took it out for a spin.

photo 1

Changes since the most recent flight included, the landing gear, and the weight of the camera.   Should have probably re-tuned it but I didn’t.

The plan was simple.   Start it up in the driveway, and execute an Auto-Flight that would circle the property filming the spectacular views.   Best laid plans.

Continue reading “Multirotors and Trees Oh My.”