July 10, 2015

SBUS & Naze32 Setup

If you have a Naze32 and an S/BUS receiver and would like to use the 2 together, we now a solution to convert the signal so that the Naze32 can read S/BUS. The tutorial focuses on the use of the FrSKY X4R-SB, however will work on X8R, X6R and Futaba SBUS receivers

Tutorial can be found here

Signal Inverter can be found here

June 18, 2015

Ready, Set, RACE!

All New from ImmersionRC & FatShark, to compliment the release of the new Vortex mini racing quad is the new Race Band Ready range of 5.8ghz receivers, including the Dominator Goggle Module, UNO & DUO flavours (DUO yet to be released)


The Race Band Ready Dominator module allows up to 32 channels, with the DUO boosting up to 40 channels (adds boscam b bands), it is possible to have up to 8 pilots racing at one time with minimal interference, further assisted with the use of alternating RHCP & LHCP antennas. Successfully debuted at the FPV28 Races in Chartres France, the settled upon standard for the upcoming Drone Nationals in California next month, ImmersionRC & FatShark showcase their well earned dominance in the FPV arena.

We would also like to wish the very best of luck to everyone attending the Drone Nationals next month!

June 17, 2015

Boost your signal!

Boost your 5.8ghz video signal with these great products from ImmersionRC  

Most video transmitters and receivers come with stock dipole antennas (aka the rubber ducky). Using a dipole antenna with 5.8ghz video is fairly limiting in terms of range and link quality. Increasing power of the transmitter doesn't always make for a better link and can also swamp other radio devices on your vehicle - even if they are in a different spectrum I.E. 433mhz & 5.8ghz, resulting in a poor quality link. A good analogy would be to put 2 people side by side with a different pitch of voice, say Mariah carey next to Barry White - if they both shout at you at the top of their lungs even with the big difference in pitch understanding either of them clearly is going to be difficult. Two of the most common complaints from fellow FPV'ers are poor RC range and poor video range, though with a few simple adjustments and the use of the correct antenna combinations a good quality link is very achievable.

There are a number of points to take in consideration when building/kitting your FPV craft.

1. Placement of components
Separation is one of the most important considerations when planning your build. Many devices emit RF, even if they're not designed to, for example components such as flight controllers, cameras, OSD's, many switching power supplies (BEC’s) and especially cheap video transmitters are common culprits for 433 RC interference which can significantly reduce your EZUHF control range and should be kept as far away from the receiver as possible. Granted this is can be a difficult task on a 250 size quad, though it can be done successfully. 

2. Placement of aerials
Antennas such as ImmersionRC's Circular Polarised SpiroNet Skew Planar Wheel (SPW) antennas radiate signal in a donut pattern. While we won't go into the super technical side of how this works, placing circular polarised antennas vertically and such that they can almost always ‘see’ a clear line of sight view back to your receiver will yield the best results for reception. However be mindful that if you rotate your vehicle such that it bocks line of sight to the receiver then your range and link quality will be affected. Note that CP antennas can be positioned upside-down if required without affecting performance.

3. Aerial choice
In our experience of trialling and testing many different styles and brands of antenna, ImmersionRC's Circular Polarised (CP) antennas have been a clear winner. With their hard shell casing and superior performance, they are a solid investment to improve link reliability and performance.

ImmersionRC LHCP 5.8GHz Circular
Polarized SpiroNet Antenna V2 (SMA)

Left hand polarized for use with SMA equipped (commonly ImmersionRC/Fatshark branded TX/RX)

ImmersionRC RHCP 5.8GHz Circular
Polarized SpiroNet Antenna V2 (RP-SMA)

Right hand polarized for use with RP-SMA equipped (commonly "Chinese" branded TX/RX) 


ImmersionRC RHCP 5.8GHz Circular
Polarized SpiroNet Antenna V2 (SMA)

Right hand polarized for use with SMA equipped (commonly ImmersionRC/Fatshark branded TX/RX)




On the receiver side, CP antennas from ImmersionRC are fantastic for short to medium range flying and have a 360 degree beam width which allows your vehicle to be flown around the receiver without drop outs. Increasing the range on the receive end is easily done with a patch style antenna. The down side to a patch antenna is the beam width is much narrower, so the patch must be pointed towards your vehicle while trying to achieve long distance flying. Generally the narrower the beam width the further the distance can be achieved. ImmersionRC now have 2 patch antennas in their stable for 5.8Ghz, the 13dbi patch with +- 35 degree beam width for super long distance and the all new 8dbi mini patch with +- 45 degree beam width. While the mini patch has less gain (range) the wider beam width allows for easier "tracking"for optimal signal strength. Note that patch antennas are not for use on the vehicle/transmitter side

Size comparison of both ImmersionRC patch antennas attached to Fatshark Dominators

ImmersionRC 13dbi Patch



ImmersionRC 8dbi Mini Patch


4. RHCP vs LHCP
Right Hand Circular Polarised or Left Hand Circular Polarised? While there is no performance advantage to choosing one over the other, in a crowded environment having the opposite polarisation to others on a nearby frequency will assist with reducing interference from other transmitters. Important to note that both transmit & receive need to have matching polarisation. While mixing RHCP on TX and LHCP on RX and vice versa will work, performance will be decreased






5.SMA vs RP-SMA

To SMA or not to RP-SMA? One of the frustrating things for new and old in the FPV world is getting caught out with the wrong connector when hooking up your FPV, Radio or Telemetry. 

As a general rule of thumb for video transmitters and receivers from ImmersionRC & Fatshark are all SMA connectors, with most Chinese branded transmitters including Boscam are RP-SMA.

If in doubt this image will help with identification of your connector.
 

6. Matching transmit and receive devices
While your transmitter and receiver may use the same frequency, it is important to note that due to a difference in modulation produced by NexwaveRF modules (used predominantly by ImmersionRC and Fatshark) that performance is noticeably improved when using NexwaveRF equipped modules on your Tx/Rx

Key features of NexwaveRF equipped modules;

• Significant range increase over previous modules, approaching a factor of 2 in most practical situations
• A more gradual loss of signal when approaching the limits of range
• Extensive filtering of UHF, and 2.4GHz emissions in close proximity to the receiver (important for goggle use)
• Greatly reduced tendency to 'tear' at the top of the image
• Compatible with existing FatShark/ImmersionRC 5.8GHz equipment

May 06, 2015

Programming the Taranis for a better Motor_stop

After posting my last Blog about motor_stop or not, I posted the blog to the QLD FPV gurus on facebook to get their take on the plus and minuses of setting motor_stop.

As initially though this topic has a lot of controversy - with people on both camps. What I did like though was something that came a bit from left field.

Most people around the mini quad circuit have heard of the infamous and famous FinalGlideAus whose amazing antics can be found on his youtube channel https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCuibbKUX0wT5yie0_EM0Smw The interesting setup that he uses is along the lines of a two switch setup, that allows the quad to be armed when they are in a certain positions and disarms when either of them is switched back (this means the motors stop immediately when disarmed - no delay after stick hold necessary) which was my main concern of not setting motor_stop on cleanflight. He also discussed ramping up the throttle on arm to have it spin slowly allowing the gyros to always be active even on a zero stick throttle spin.

So with all credit to him, I decided to do something along this concept using the Taranis.

I will start by saying there might be a more efficient method of doing this, as I just threw the logic together and if you have a better way to achieve the same goal please post it below.

I will use the simulator to show you the setup as this is the easiest way to show this on the blog

So lets start by showing what switches will control arming. So looking at the below we will use the two way switch SF on the left back of the TX and the momentary trainer switch SH on the back right.

My ideas is the SF switch is like the ignition switch. It must first be switched on (forward) before the starter switch SH is held forward for 1 second to arm the quad. On arming the motors will spin up and moving either switch will disarm the quad.

As an additional safety feature the throttle stick must be at the bottom to arm.

 

So the process is

To ARM

1. Move throttle stick all way down

2. Switch SF forward = ignition on

3. Hold switch SH forward for 1 sec - quad is armed - motors will spin

To DISARM

1. Move either Switch SF or SH

As a safety precaution the SF switch (ignition) must be moved backward to reset before arming again.

 

So how does this magic work I hear you ask. Well here is my logical switch setup. You can either do this in OpenTX and transfer it across to the TX or the TX directly

So lets break this down. I am using logical switches to do the logic...makes sense hey.

Might be best to work backward - L6 is used to trigger the arming via Special function 1 (on channel 8 on my quad - aux4). So if switch L5 is set it will arm and if switch L7 is set it will disarm

So lets look at what L5 is looking for - it wants switches L4 and L2 to be set before it becomes active. So L4 will be on if L3 is active and off if the SF switch is moved back. This is the reset of the ignition switch for safety. L2 does a similar thing and check if L8 is on (the throttle position safety and starter L1 check) and the ignition SF is forward)

So if L6 (arm) is on push channel 8 up to 100%  (otherwise -100%). Just need to set up the arm function on Cleanflight to aux 4 and make the it arm when it is high.

I also added a couple of things to the mixes function on CH3 (throttle).

For safety if the quad isnt armed the throttle will always send zero throttle to the quad regardless of stick position. This can be seen on the IfKilled setting.

I have set the arming to increase the throttle by a weight of 20 to spin the motors slightly (Boost). You need the delay in here so it can arm before it does this. This parameter could be left out if you still want to use the traditional motor spin on arm.

So i have tested this in the simulator and with my quad without props on and all looks ok. So it should be fine but need some test flights to make sure.

Let me know your feedback.

May 01, 2015

ImmersionRC Vortex Recommended Kit

A quick guide to the bits and pieces to get your new Vortex up and racing and some hop ups (upgrades) to pimp it out!

Accesories and spares can be found in the Vortex section

Vortex Frame

ImmersionRC Vortex Mini Race Quad ARF (Race Motors)

Spares

At least 1 of each of the following items (yes you will crash, many, many times :)

ImmersionRC Vortex Crash Kit 1, Plastic Parts

ImmersionRC Vortex Crash Kit 2, Carbon Fiber Parts

HQProp 5X3 Composite Propellers

OR hop up to;

HQProp 5X4 Composite Propellers

DAL super durable props

As many props as the budget can afford, don't forget both directions CW & CCW (clockwise and counter clockwise) are required

 

FPV Goggles

FatShark Dominator V2 Headset System Goggles Video Glasses 600 X 480 VGA

OR hop up to;

FatShark Dominator HD Headset System Goggles Video Glasses 800 X 600 SVGA

 

Goggle Accessories

Note: both the HD & the V2 require a 5.8ghz module

FatShark Dominator V1/V2 5.8ghz (RACE bands) 32Ch Goggle Module

ImmersionRC / FatShark 5.8GHz Circular Polarized SpiroNet Antenna V2 (SMA)

Spare battery for goggles (always worth having one charged and ready to swap out)

FatShark FPV - Headset/Goggle Battery 7.4V 1000mah w/Banana Charge Lead

 

Batteries

Tattu 1300mAh 4s 45-90c Lipo Battery Pack

OR hop up to;

Tattu 1800mAh 4s 45-90c Lipo Battery Pack

We recommend 4-6 Battery packs, though in a pinch 2 packs will suffice if you are field charging.

 

Charger

Turnigy Accucell-6 50W 6A Balancer/Charger LiHV Capable

OR hop up to;

iCharger 206B 300W 1s-6s Battery Balance/Charger

Note: An appropriate 12v power supply or large 12v battery is required (vehicle battery) or purchase a mains powered charger from your local hobbyshop

 

Camera

The Vortex comes standard with a 600TVL cmos camera that can be upgraded to

Surveilzone HS1177 Sony 600TVL CCD 5-17v Mini FPV cased camera

OR hop up to;

FatShark 700TVL High Resolution FPV Tuned CCD Camera (PAL)

OR hop up to;

FatShark 900TVL Super High Resolution FPV Tuned CCD Camera (PAL)

 

Radio Transmitter

FrSKY Taranis X9D Plus 2.4Ghz Digital Telemetry Radio System W/C'tick

 

Radio Receiver

FrSKY D4R-II 2.4 Ghz 4 Channel Receiver (w/telemetry) (FrSky Users)

(please select 27m/s upgrade for best compatibility) 

Lemon Rx DSMX Compatible PPM 8-Channel Receiver (Spektrum Users)

Note: does not provide RSSI (signal strength) in Vortex OSD

Or hop up to;

ImmersionRC EzUHF 433MHz Direct Fit JR MODULE for the 9X / 9XR / Taranis

ImmersionRC EzUHF 4 -12 Channel Cased Receiver 

April 29, 2015

Motor-stop or not

What is Motor-stop on Cleanflight and should I use it?

This is initially a very subjective question but I will try to make it more objective.

So what is Motor-stop? 

Motor-stop is a very simple function that is found on the Configuration page of Cleanflight (going to stick with Cleanflight as its actively developed)

 

as described here - it is -  "Don't spin the motors when armed."

So why do you want this option on?

This is where its going to become controversial. When you don't have this option selected, every time you arm your multirotor the propellers spin slowly so you know when its armed and when its not. Sounds like a good option yes?

Here is some ideas I have. 

When ever you connect a battery to a multirotor, consider it armed - just like a gun. If you want to check if a gun is armed or not you carefully point it some where safe and pull the trigger. Use this same method on the multirotor. Consider its always armed - make sure no fingers are near and the copter is in a safe position and and blip the throttle. If the props spin - its armed and disarm if necessary then unplug the battery to remove risk.

The other problem is that because its not a standard, people assume that if the props aren't spinning its not armed. As above the only way to be sure is test via a safe blip of throttle or disconnect battery.

The other issue I see is motors spinning after a flip or crash for seconds before its disarmed. I know many copters that have crashed out of site only to be burning esc and motors due to spinning in the dirt and grass.

Moving a copter that doesn't have motor_stop is also more dangerous.It will spin and can cut you if you bump the rudder stick to the right. If motor_stop is on you not only have to bump the throttle stick but also throttle up (this used in conjunction with my tutorial below will warn as well before this happens)

How else can I be reminded if I have armed or not?

Well luckily for you I am going to share with you in this blog my audio alert for arming and disarming on a Taranis. Using this method you can use your audio memory to remind you if it is armed or disarmed by a voice saying so at each arming sequence.

You can do this directly on the radio or use a copy of OpenTx from http://www.open-tx.org/downloads.html

Download the OpenTX speaker from http://www.open-tx.org/2014/03/15/opentx-speaker/

Using OpenTX Speaker create a sound file for the words arming and disarming (or whatever sound you would like to associate with these functions)

Either go to the Taranis model menu or configure open TX with the following switches

What we are setting up here is logical switches that will turn on if the throttle is down and the rudder is either fully to left or the right. This will allow us to determine if you are arming or disarming.

When we have sticks in the arming position we call special function 1 to play the word or sound we created previously every 1s. This one will play out arming..arming..arming while you hold the sticks. I usually find once it says it three times I am ready to fly.

The same thing happens when we disarm with the disarming sound playing. 

You can change the timing parameter to play less often or just once if your prefer but I like this setting as I know for the counts of playback the arm or disarm has happened.

So to sum it all up - I prefer to treat a battery connected copter as a loaded and armed weapon rather than firing rubber bullets to remind you its armed. I have a audio reminder to remind me what its last state it was in and a short blip will confirm if I'm not sure.

 In the end the choice is yours :)

 

 

 

 

March 25, 2015

SMA & RP-SMA Connections Explained

To SMA or not to RP-SMA? One of the frustrating things for new and old in the FPV world is getting caught out with the wrong connector when hooking up your FPV, Radio or Telemetry. 

As a general rule of thumb for video transmitters and receivers from ImmersionRC & Fatshark are all SMA connectors, with most chinese branded transmitters including Boscam are RP-SMA.

NextFPV stock the full range of ImmersionRC/Fatshark antenna's with SMA and RP-SMA connectors in the ImmersionRC section of our website. Always worth keeping handy in the toolbox is a set of right angle adaptors which enable you to convert your connectors and allow for better positioning of antenna

If in doubt this image will help with identification of your connector.

March 22, 2015

N250 Tree Runs

I came across a new park yesterday that is open but has lots of trees with not many low branches.

These sort of parks are great for fast tree runs and this one had lots of paths that help you navigate.

So my plan is simple - do a quick reconnoiter around and see what its like then go fast into the trees without any particular path and if one gets in my way - turn.

The plan came off with success mostly and my vocal exclamations as I flew around the park likely startled some wildlife, but I will definitely be going back here and putting even more speed into it. 

March 05, 2015

Dirt Track Highway

So what do you do with a fast Mini copter like the N250?

You find a nice quiet place and challenge people to race around a set track!

This spot was awesome. It has lots of 4WD tracks that are easy to see with options of tighter tree turns that you can mix in to increase the challenge.

Today we decided on a really tight figure 8 to see if we could do some Power drifting and ad some spice. The outcome...? Fun city on a hot Queensland afternoon..

And some video of me from The Chef

 

March 01, 2015

Airgate Virgin

We flew the NextFPV inaugural Airgate session today.

So what's an Airgate I hear you ask... Think of RedBull plane racing and you think of those tricky cones they fly through to test skill while going as fast as you possible can through a course - now think of some carefully crafted pool noodles placed on bamboo rods so they form an arch about 2m wide and 1m high. Then fly your quads through these gates as fast as you dare while trying to keep a course.

Fun...yes insanely fun - but bring plenty of Props with you because those Pool noodles try to grab you - well they did to me.

Have a look at how I went for my first time... ( I think Brad was the winner of the day...very consistent well done)