2014 is going to be an incredibly exciting year for Red20RC. There’s just so much going on in the workshop (and the office) that I thought it might be a good idea to try to pull all the news together in one post…
If my twitter feed is anything to go by then 2014 is going to be the year of the drone. The technology used to control these awesome machines is becoming more and more accessible to the average hobbyist.
I’ve become more and more fascinated by UAVs and Multirotors and will spending a lot of time and effort investigating this further through my new venture – Remote Pilot, which will soon go live on http://remotepilot.com.au.
FPV Wing Project
After my slight setback last year with the original wing I have pushed on with version 2. This model features a slightly more compact size and other improvements learned from the first model.
Unfortunately the maiden flight of this new design did not go so well as I tried to hand-launch it myself in blustery conditions. Hand-launching a pusher prop wing is difficult at the best of time and I made a right mess of it and planted it into the ground.
Fortunately the damage was minimal and has already been repaired. I have removed the FPV gear and replaced with weighted stand-in items until I can be sure the airframe performs as required.
The UAV project has been plodding along nicely. I’ve been taking my time whilst waiting for gear to arrive but now we are getting to the pointy end.
Conversations on the Flite Test forum enlightened me to the fact that the original fuselage with the anhedral tail was just not practical so a second v-tail fuselage has now been constructed and is in the process of having gear fitted. Hopefully we can do a maiden flight of the airframe in the next couple of weeks.
A very exciting (and so far unseen) project has been my foray into Arduino technology and the APM2.5 autopilot. I picked up one of the HobbyKing clone boards recently and have been taking my time making sure it is properly assembled and housed. I’ve also installed the awesome open-source Mission Planner software to drive the software side of things.
It has been a really steep learning curve but I now have the board fully functional with GPS and hooked up to my PC so I can run simulated missions on x-Plane before committing it to the air.
I made up a little board for the whole thing to sit on (from foam board of course). This means I can keep the whole thing safe whilst it is living on my desk. This thing is REALLY exciting…
I couldn’t wait any longer and just had to get into the multirotor scene. I really love the nimble grace of tricopters so I ordered a Turnigy Talon from HobbyKing along with the gear to run it. I’ve got one of the new KK2.1 boards to drive it but I need to wait for a USBasp to arrive so I can flash the memory with the latest firmware before I can fly it.
We are now at the stage where all motors and electronics are installed. I just need to update the KK2.1 and do some tidying and we’ll be good to go.
This one is getting to use the FPV gear and GoPro whilst the UAV and FPV wing are still in development.
FT Simple Soarer
This awesome little glider performed well on the bungee although the weather was awful. Sadly we’ve had a lot of wind this year and it really needs to be a lot calmer for this model to reach its potential.
FT Old Speedster
The Old Speedster has now been retrofitted with an electronic buddy box system and twin receivers (Futaba and OrangeRX). This works perfectly and will allow me to take my daughter out flying on calm days and relax knowing that I can take control at the flick of a switch.
Flite Test Articles
I have been trying to publish shorter versions of some Red20RC articles on the Flite Test website so that I can extend my audience. Sadly there is a very long lead time between articles being written and them seeing the light of day (some have sat pending for over a month now). I guess the advice here then is don’t wait for Red20RC stuff on Flite Test – come here to read it! Still, there have been some very good articles on there of late so definitely worth a look!
With one of my flying friends in the USA at the moment and my lack of time preventing me flying with the other I am yet to get more collaborators involved in Red20RC.
It has been great though to see a number of new users registering on the site. We now have systems in place to prevent spam users from signing up so I can be sure that our new members are real!
Welcome to everyone who has signed up. Hope to see some contributed articles soon!
The Red20RC Mission
I am continuing to stick to my original mission with Red20Rc in finding the best result for the smallest price.
This has been more evident lately with the FPV, UAV, APM and Tricopter projects. Yes, I could have gone out and bought myself a Pixhawk Autopilot from 3DRobotics, a DJI Phantom or Skywalker for FPV, a Naza V2 instead of a KK2.1 for the Tricopter. The problem is that if I did I wouldn’t be able to afford as much gear and Red20RC would be full of “This is what I filmed with my DJI today” posts.
With both Red20RC and Remote Pilot I will always put the effort in to source the best value equipment and achieve the best performance I can with it – IT’S MORE FUN THAT WAY!
Until next time…