F I N K B U I L T

Scale model cockpit FPV

fpv
cool scale cockpit video

Funny Zoo Snap

man enjoys elephant My wife noticed this in the family archives.

RC Nitro motorcycle racing

rc motorcycle Motorcycle racing in Lilliput.

Manned RC Multicopter

manned multicopter
Here’s an RC multicopter big enough to ride on!

Make: Talk 004

make: Talk 004
I had a fun time talking to Mark Frauenfelder in episode 4 of his new podcast, Make: Talk!

One Man Basement Band

one man band
I feel like I could be getting more mileage out of my right foot.

Liberty

liberty vintage motorcycles An Etsy portrait. Thanks, Danny.

Tequila Sleeve

tequila the champs
Champs sleeve

Wolf-Stelzer Book Lamp

Book Lamp
My friend Tess just made the cover of ReadyMade with her cool lamp design.

Tree Stump Bug

null
Can this be for real? The design is so awesomely Thunderbirds. Via

The Nothing Box

nothing box

Thunderbirds

Thunderbirds are go
Are Go!

Command Center

command center
Sweet assemblage spaceship’s bridge.

Four Drano’s

drano
Watch the sink slowly, all but disappear from the design .

Toothpaste Aerosol

toothpaste aerosol
Aerosol toothpaste




FPV Quadcopter Part 1

fpv quadcopter
Like everyone else, I wanted a VTOL (vertical take-off and landing) UAV for aerial photography and all-around fun that I could fly FPV (first person view) via onboard camera and wireless video downlink to a head-mounted display at my ground station.

Well, watching the great videos by Youtuber Juz70 pushed me over the edge, and I ordered a mess of parts to build my own FPV quadcopter and now, the boxes have begun to arrive from China. Whoa! another box just showed up.

fpv quadcopter

5.8 ghz video transmitter / receiver

I did quite a bit of reading through the big multicopter thread on the RCGroups forum, and got some helpful advice from Adam Polak before arriving at the following bill of materials for my quadcopter build:

BOM:

This is an unproven bill of materials. My quad has yet to fly :)

XAircraft DIY X4/X8 frame
Free Flight FF Controller
Scorpion 2 Axis Y650 roll/tilt gimbal
{2) 9G Mini Servos for gimbal
10×4.5 Counter Rotating Propeller For MultiCoptor 2 Pairs
(4)Turnigy Park480 Brushless 1320kv (may not be the right motor to use)
(4) Hobby King 30A ESC
HXT 4mm Gold Connector(too heavy! Get bullet connectors)
Nylon XT60 Connectors
Red Heat Shrink
Black Heat Shrink

FPV

5.8G Video AV Audio Video Transmitter and Receiver
5.8Ghz 11dBi Patch Antenna
420TVL 1/3″ Sony Super HAD CCD Color Board Camera
Super Simple Mini OSD
Still to source: Affordable 640×480 video Glasses

Radio / Batt

Turnigy 9X 9Ch Radio paid but still backordered, and holding me up.
Turnigy Smart6 80w 7A Balance Charger
(2) Sky Lipo 4000mAh 3s 30C Batteries (pretty heavy! get something lighter)
LiPo Alarm

The xAircraft frame is pretty expensive as quad frames go, but it is quite nice. it’s made of a really stiff and tough fibrous plastic, and is quite light. I like that it comes with the tall landing gear, which provides a lot of room to mount the camera stabilization gimbal below. The stabilization is for the Arial video capture camera, while the FPV camera will be mounted rigidly to the frame so that I stay in touch with what the airframe is doing.

Also included are a set of “claw” arm tip landing gear if you don’t like the tall gear. The Free Flight controller board needs to be mounted diagonally to fly in X configuration, so I made an adapter plate from 1/8th in aircraft plywood.

I still need to make some motor mount adapters of some kind, since the mounting plates that came with the frame do not match up with the turnigy motors.

fpv quadcopter

xAircraft X4 frame with tall gear installed

fpv quadcopter

Free Flight controller installed

I probably should have made and installed the main power wiring harness before I assembled the top and bottom frame plates. I guess that I will be taking apart again. Hopefully blue locktite really is temporary.

I couldn’t find any reliable documentation about the configuration options/order for the programmable speed controllers that I bought, so I am going to flash them with an open source firmware that is optimized for multicopters, and said to be a vast improvement over the standard speed controller code.

The Turnigy 9x radio that I bought is said to be a nice set of sticks, but with weak software. Fortunately, there is also open source firmware called ER9x is that improves things. I’ll probably end up flashing the radio as well.

Stay tuned!

8 Responses to “FPV Quadcopter Part 1”


  1. Jeff Says:

    Very interested in the outcome of your project. I have been wanting to do this for a long time with RC planes, however after seeing those vids by juz70, quadcopter is the way to go. I cant wait to see the final product and look forward to following to build out my own!!!

  2. Steve Says:

    Jeff,

    Yeah, I have been fascinated with the FPV idea for years myself, but the airplane view is always a little bit shaky and hard to see. Plus, I cant really fly airplanes very well. The maneuverability and perspective that you get with a multirotor copter is so much nicer. I can’t wait to get this thing in the air.

  3. Jeff Says:

    Steve,

    Do you happen to know if there is any benefits in using the Free Flight Controller over the OpenPilot controller?

  4. steve Says:

    @ jeff

    I originally wanted to use the OpenPilot board, but I was not able to find one, so I bought the Free Flight.

    I guess one advantage is that it is slightly cheaper. And it is supposed to be pretty plug- n-play. But I hear good things about the OpenPilot software.

    I haven’t had a chance to try either boards yet (still waiting for my backordered radio.

  5. Jeff Says:

    Wow, I didn’t realize the OpenPilot CopterControl board was so difficult to get. $200 on ebay? FreeFlight it will be then for me as well. Thanks.

  6. Steve Says:

    Yeah, next step up for me would probably have to be APM2, but it’ll probably be a while before I need or really want an autopilot with full GPS waypoint mission planning.

    Barometer and GPS would be great for doing things like “loiter”, return home, altitude hold etc.

  7. ilovefpv Says:

    Looks good – I’d really like to head how the Free Flight controller works out for you…

    -Steve
    FOUNDER, http://www.ilovefpv.com

  8. Jeff Says:

    Steve, Thought you might find this link handy as it appears the video system is a bit tricky to setup, this vid goes thru the whole process:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Pn-gmvhx8Fw

    Some of the comments on the video also suggest using a PVC pipe to get the antenna 2-3 meters off the ground and using a clover-leaf antenna for much further range.

    I just placed my order for most of the parts :)