Thursday, September 29, 2011

nDROiiD Back in the Air

Today I finished the works on the rebuild.

I finally installed the barometric sensor and the magnetometer.

Supersmall baro and mag

Sensors installaed on the back of the flydusense V2 by Paul Bake from

These Units work wonderfully and are so small, I don't have a problem hiding them beneath the flydusense.
It was a bit tricky to reprogram the magnetometer reading since it was upside down.
I found the perfect parameters for the baro by accident - It is hovering in place perfectly.

Nearly perfect parameters for my QuadX
Additionally, I added a GSM GPS tracker - this is quite an interesting gizmo - it can be programmed do sen my it's coordinates regularly per SMS or I can track it via GPRS.

TK02 GSM GPS Tracker

I choose the option to call it with my android phone and a couple of seconds later I get a SMS with GPS Date of it's current location.
With this data and the GPS in my phone I can find the copter easily,  I did some tests today and the result is promising - I need to get used to the unit though. I will do some hide and seek field testing tomorrow.

Next Step: Install a better hood for the copter.


Thursday, September 22, 2011

Rebuilding nearly finished

Hi there,

Paul from was so kind to send me a new Flyduino 2.1 for testing and I just soldered the pins onto the board and transferred the firmware, I only used the needed pins now and left the unused pins empty.
Partly assembled Flyduino

I also had some problems fitting my vibration dampeners to the Flydusense v2 while using the inbuilt dampeners. This nearly loose dampeners were the reason that my boards got separated from the copter after the crash because the threads were to short to get a good grip at the bolts..

I noticed that the bolts Paul sells in his shop fit exactly into the big holes the Flydusense v2 has.
Now the Flydusense is dampened and secured.

Perfect fitting

So be shure to head over to to order the boltes and the Flydusense ;-)

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

and Disaster strikes ... again!

Last weekend I was in Ostfriesland at my father in Law's house, he has a wonderful farm in the middle of nowhere.

After I did somecalibration flights to find better PID parameters I attempted to do a short FPV flight since there was pleeeenty of space around the house. I fired up the gear and climbed upa few meters, because I am not very good doing FPV yet I looked at the copter beneaht the FPV goggles and noticed that it has drifted off quite a bit. I tried to determine in which direction it was heading but it was to late, the wind had taken over command and it was flying further away from me, too late I decided to let it come down, I watched closely at the copter to get a clue where it crashed and ran to my car, unfortuneally the assumed crash site was on the other side of a channel. I raced around the channels but did not find it. Than I headed back to the other side of the channel and searched between the two channels on this small peninsula - nothing.
I crossed the next channel an searched a little swamp and the fields there - still nothing. I thought I hit a channel and this was my second copter gone in two weeks. I sorted out which of my friends gets which of my spare parts and thought about spending more time Windsurfing and with my girlfriend... I gave up again. Because the GoPro was onboard this was a real disaster....)

Then I remembered an important fact: THE FPV GOGGLES!! I watched through the googles: static, DAMN - I raised the antenna from my shoulder and I got a black picture: The TX of the FPV system was still operating!! Yippieh!
So the copter hit ground and not water - but where the frack was it...

I remembered the fact that 5,8 GHz signal is very sensitive on blocking so I put my hand before the antenna and I determined the copter was north of my position. So I went northwest and did a second bearing to determine the crashsite, I searched for 15 minutes. In the meantime my girlfriend and her parents came to help and brought their dog - but this dog was busy hunting rabbits so he was no help.

After 10 minutes I circled around and was nearly at the point where I first looked , north of the first channel and THERE SHE WAS - or there was what was left of her. She was hanging in a sheep fence just 1 meter to the bank of the channel and about 800m where I was standing as I started the flight , If there had not been a fence...

x: I was standing here to fly
1. my first searchnode
2. second attempt to find it.
3. I remembered the FPV system here and got a fix
4. I circled around here and spotted the crashsite
red lines: my driving route

The rear pilons were badly bent, all props were broken, one Motor wos ripped off, the flyduino, and the flydusense were severed from the centerplate and the flyduino was without power (so no buzzer "Find me!" signal), the Lip was lying several feet away from the copter but still connected to the TX of the FPV  (how lucky can a man be??) The GoPro was 3 Meters away the protective housing of the Gopro was shredded but the cam was intact and is working.

I collected all parts and double checked the area (very important: There are cows on the meadows - the can choke on these pieces) I got every single part and was heading home lighthearted. I just saved a lot of money.

Back home I checked the equipment: Despite the motor everything was still working. I was lucky that she crashed rear first otherwise the gopro would be no more.
The Pins of the flyduino were badly bent but no shortcircuit happened. The motors where still running and the sensors were doing their work. I logged in to giantcod and ordered 6 new motors and got me a cold beer.

I was very astonished that the alu was bent like hell, even the holes but the epoxy was completely unharmed.

Lessons learned today:
- leanr your lessons man!!! Still no telephone number on it.
- pull the breaks as soon as possible I should have turned of the engines right in the moment I noticed the drift.
- GPS GPS GPS! I need GPS!!
- I definetely need a tracking device
- I need to make shure that the Lipo stays in place and that it can still power the electronics after a bad crash
- better protection of the flyduino tower it got ripped of like - i dunno what.

After all it was a lucky day - The copter is almost back in the air - I still need a replace motor and cochones to fly again.

ps.: Thank god for the FPV system!!!!

Sunday, September 11, 2011

The sad ending and the new beginning

Some of you might wonder why I bought so much new stuff.
Well this is why:

Last week disaster striked.
I went to the beach to fly my copter an do some nice FPV while filming the giant unifeeder ships, I forgot a screwdriver to mount the FPV equipment.
So I was left with some flights around the picknick blanket.
An hoer later we packed and I wanted to turn one more round, seconds before landing I noticed that the copter went a little bit to far, I was over an open air restaurant so I throttled up, (I did not want to hurt someone).
This was the moment I realized that I had lost orientation. I could not see where the front of the copter was.
I tried some Pitch and roll amneuvers to get it back but it was hopeless.

Then I did some a very stupid thing, I went into dive and ran towards the copter. It crashed somewhere in the woods in an old castle ruin at the shore - we searched for hours but it was hopeless - old ruins, woods, thorns, high grass and old industrial buildings and not a single clue where in this area it could be.

The most stupid thing I did was to mute the buzzer seconds before tekeoff because I reprogrammed the voltage code and made a mistake  so it buzzed all the time during flight.

I wanted to cry because I put so much money and work in it - I just added the baro and the mag.

I thought about giving up this hobby but then I enterd eBay/ Hobbyking and about 6 Days later this is the result:

proudly present NTMC05 "nDROiiD 2"
Since the first copter was so good I did only minor modifications:
- Flydusense V2
- mounting hole for buzzer
- wiring for LEDs now more clean
- lots of improvements regarding wiring and drilling
- coloured 8"/10" props from Flyduino
- no more QuaroPPM because the HK TR6A delivers a Summ PPM signal
The copter is built more accurate because I got more skilled by building the first one I included all the learned lessons from the old nDROiiD.

The most important lessons I learned from the crash:
- always put your Phone number on the copter
- NEVER mute the buzzer
- include a lost model buzzer routine that can be switched on and off
- include GPS tracking
- never fly over terrain that you do not know well
- always keep your eyes on the copter while it crashes
- NEVER GIVE UP (thanks to the guys in the RCGROUPS thread for the support)

The first stunt and FPV flights are already done and I am quite happy with the results. The new coloured props are a great help and the copter feels a little bit better in the air. Still some PID tuning to do but there is hope...

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Tiny new friends

Today two new sensors arrived, I ordered a BMP085 barometric sensors and a HMC5883L magnetometer from eBay.
Their breakout boars are only half the size of the sparkfun versions. The mag is only 6mm by 6mm

baro and mag: tiny tiny

I am looking forward to test them this weekend, the will fit on the Flydusense V2 and everything will look tidy and polished.

Sunday, September 4, 2011

New Flydusense V2

Paul from sent my a new Version of his Flydusense.

This board is round, so it can be mounted in different directions (good for Quad+ pilots) and it has inbuilt vibration dampeners.
A connection for every kind of IMU is onboard plus a voltage divider a LLC and a LED driver.

I started wiring it up and the result can be seen below

Flydusense V2 out of the box

Flydusense V2 with genuine WMP and a Bosch BMA020