This Old House

Claudine was doing some digging (No I don’t know why) and found some good information on our house at the Ohio Historical Society.


The Document: Ohio Historical Society Inventory Record

It lists the build date as first Quarter of the 18th Century.  We always knew it was old, and knew the very first record of property tax collection was in the 1840’s, but this puts it as being built prior to 1825.

“Despite unsympathetic exterior and interior alterations, the house remains significant for it’s rare plan type.”

I guess that’s the polite way to say.  Someone screwed up this house along the way, putting siding on it, and taking down walls and sealing up the original fireplaces.”  Yeah, we wish that stuff hadn’t happened too.

Despite the never ending issues that come with having an old home, we do like this place.

But it’s easy to understand why folks don’t tend to invest in restoring them once you do the math.   You’d never recoup the costs involved with doing so.   We’d love to remove the siding, the the cost of doing that, with the expected costs of fixing what we’d find underneath, and coming up with a solution to preserve the old Brick just simply wouldn’t be worth it.  We’d never get our money back.  Ever.  Our house simply sits “On the wrong side of the tracks” in Trenton.

I believe the county/Friends of Chrisholm has spent millions restoring the Historic Farmstead.   Funny thing is, some of those folks are buried in our back yard.   It’s a really cool place though and I encourage you to visit it if you’re into local history.

Here’s a little Quad-copter fly-by of the property, including some of the highlights:

More Gimbal Footage

A simple flight


I was super-windy…  15-20mph winds and this quad with gimbal is a tad underpowered.

Was still a good flight (read: No Crashes) and no APM Pixhawk issues.  At least not this time.  That was the reason I had set it aside for a while.   APM still has some issues.

DeadCat Quad Gimbal Video

So in preparation for FPV, I started building a ‘Dead-Cat’ style quad.

So out of the box, I’ve hot this HK frame, and crappy arms which I replaced with DJI arms.  It flies well with Stock DJI (red) 2212 920KV motors with stock DJI 30A opto ESC’s and 10 Inch props. 

But when I weight it down with the Gimbal it’s a tad overloaded.

DeadCat Quad Flights.

For the most part I’m happy with the video quality, there’s still some Jell-O in the footage though.   It’s pretty clear in it’s current state I can’t add the weight of FPV gear.   So if this becomes an FPV rig, the Gimbal in it’s current form, has to go.

Perhaps a move to 4S batteries is required.   I’ll have to do some more research.   It’s not a steady as J’s Team BlackSheep Discovery Pro, which is heavier.   But is also using 900kv motors and 10” props which I’ve also only flown with 3S batteries.

I still enjoy and prefer the PixHawk Flight controller to the DJI Naza V2 that’s on the TBS.   Even with it’s pre-arm button ridiculousness.

Saving a Lotus T580+P (Part 3)

So following up on:

Saving a Lotus Part 1 and Saving a lotus Part 2

And that didn’t take long.   Sadly no video.  No kids were willing to come out and do the camera work.

Bottom line, it flew and flew pretty well.   Big and slow.  14” props, yeah, not my kind of machine.   I flew it for a good 10 minutes, then decided to try a couple different modes on the Naze32 flight controller, tipped it over a foot of the ground and broke a prop.   So it’s done.

It would be fine if I could source the props, but I didn’t like this enough to a new matching set since I can’t find the originals plus spares to keep this thing in the air.   So I’ll re-use the parts, probably chop up the CF frame and use it for other things.

So there you have it.   Multi-Rotors, the hobby.   About 6 hours give or take, of hard work mixed with fun, for about 10 minutes of flight time.   Certainly if I had more spare parts, I’d get a better return on investment than that.   But c’est la vie.

Still it’s better than spending 6 hours at a steel match where I actually only get to shoot for about 64 seconds Winking smile


Saving a Lotus T580+P (Part 2)

In Part 1 I talked about what a big turd this thing is but I failed to mention that anyone selling it as a legit copter should be prosecuted for fraud.   Including one ebay seller who’s in Hawaii, you know who you are.

Turns out the frame is OK, maybe the motors are OK, and the props, well the props are pretty cheap.   But we’re giving it a go at making this as legit as I can.

In Part 1, I cleared out the suboptimal flight controller and ESC’s that come with it.   Cheap, cheap crap.   And installed the 4:1 ESC.   At the time I didn’t have a spare flight controller laying around and was trying to decide what to put on it.

I had ordered a Naze flight controller.  Actually a full Naze32 as well as an afro acro Naze32.   (Which I think is a play on Naza, cause the guy that makes them absolutely loathes DJI, but I’m very curious as to where the afro part comes in).

But I digress.

Basically the difference between the two:

Acro, is just that.  Simple flight stabilization, gyro and accelerometer, but no barometer or magnetometer.

The full Naze has all four components and can handle GPS as well, but no GPS is provided, you have to add your own.  The additional components get you some compass smarts, as well as altitude hold.   Which I have yet to experience with a naze32.  Which reminds me, I need to pop the top and cover the barometer with some closed cell foam.


In fact you get to solder your own headers on too.  It’s very DIY, but it’s a slick board.   The same flight controller that powers my Armattan 355.   I ordered them directly from Japan, and delivery was actually pretty good, about a week, maybe 10 days.  There is at least one US Supplier but he was out of stock when I ordered.

The documentation sucks, but there’s some good info on the web, specifically a youtube video going through the options.   It’s a port of the multiWii software I think.  Called Baseflight and you configure it using Baseflight plugin in Google Chrome which works quite well.   Given it’s performance, this is the best bang for the buck out there that I’ve found and I’m cheap so you can take that to the bank.

So after receiving them in the mail even though one was slated to go on a quad build for Matthew that mamma poo-poo’d on, I thought I’d borrow it and install it on the Lotus.   I figure if this things gonna fly, the naze will do well by it.  As good or better than a $200 PixHawk though admittedly without any of the autonomous features.  So here we go.

I soldered the headers, and mounted it on top of the ESC.


Oh, I’m putting the full naze32 on here.  I want altitude hold on this.

3M Dual Lock is your best friend for stuff like this.  The one with the big hooks.  Great adhesive, sticks to just about anything, and holds really well.  It’s removable and you can easily pop stuff off or reposition it.

I have no vibration damping in this other than the dual lock that holds the ESC, and the dual lock holding the Naze to the ESC, or rather the board that the naze is mounted too to the ESC.

I’m also using a $15 Lemon/Spektrum Compatible receiver.  Again because I’m cheap and a real Spectrum AR8000 clocks in at about $129.00   But I do realize you get what you pay for.  Instructions are nil, but the board is well marked.  I originally mounted one to my Armattan, but had an ESC/Motor issue and removed that to make sure it wasn’t this el’Cheapo Rxr.   And it wasn’t so it’s on this now.

After binding my transmitter and setting up the Flight Controller.ItsAlive

It’s alive.   ESC got sync’d, and it should be ready to fly.  Of course it was 1am when finished so no test flights yet.

Once convinced all motors were good to go, I balanced the props.  I don’t seem to have any of the motor stall/sync issues with this 4:1 ESC, unlike the POS factory one.  At least none on the bench so far.

It fits nicely, though it is big.  And the leads from the motors fight right into the lugs so that was easy which reminds me I need to make sure all of those are tight before flight.

Here she is in all her beauty:

photo 1

Props freshly balance and it should fly nice.   I expect this to be nice and docile. With the big 14” props.

Here’s a shot with the 355cm Armattan under it for a reference.

photo 2

Yeah, it’s kind of big.

That dome cover on the top is a pain.  A pain to screw on and a bigger pain to line up the screws.   It’s probably not going to last long.   I certainly hope I get more than a few flights out of this.  I have exactly 0 spare props so it’s likely out once it hits the turf for the first time.   Though a motor mount will probably break first and since they seem like really weak points I’m not going to source props for now.

If it flies as well as I think it probably will with new brains and components, I will probably venture into GPS enabling a Naze and see how that goes.   If that works, it will get a PixHawk, but that’s looking forward two whole cycles and if you’re not familiar with this hobby.  Well, that’s highly unlikely.  If it crashes and burns, we’ll chalk all of this up to a learning experience and re-use the Flight Controller/Receiver/ESC’s maybe even the motors on something else.  Maybe a Tarot frame from RCManChild.   Or finally something for Matthew.   Though he’s not getting anything with 14” props.   I’m not completely crazy. Smile

Video will be posted if it works out.

Total build time in this is about 4 hours give or take, including dicking around with the flight controller, ESC and Receiver.

Happy multi-rotoring.