2-Axis GoPro Gimbal

This is a 3D printed 2-axis GoPro gimbal. It is made to support the Gopro while mounted inside of the polycarbonate enclosure. The mounts are designed to work with the Xaircraft DIY frames. The gimbal frame can be made from any half inch dowel or 12mm tube. I designed it to be compatible with the following:

 

9g EXI Micro Servos

12mm Carbon Tube

Required Lengths:

[Qty. 1] 126mm Tube

[Qty. 2] 120mm Tube

[Qty. 2] 70mm Tube

[Qty. 3] 40mm Tube

The plastic parts can be purchased from here.

Contact me if you require special mounts or attachments: adam@polakiumengineering.org

 

 

Flashing 30A BlueSeries ESCs

In order to obtain more stable and responsive flight with my flight controller I decided to flash my four 30A BlueSeries speed controllers with SimonK’s custom firmware. The hardware of the ESCs I have received has been updated and no longer has the same component layout as the old 30A BlueSeries. The board now only contains N-Fets instead of a combination of P/N and the arrangement of the programming pads has been changed, therefore, the firmware for these newer 30A BlueSeries is  bs_nfet.hex. For more information about SimonK’s firmware see the RCGroups thread.

First I cut the heat shrink from each speed controller and located the programming pads.

Using breadboard jumper cables I soldered the wires to each of the programming pads and connected them with my programmer.

The procedure for flashing the speed controllers is fairly easy, the process of flashing the speed controllers takes about two seconds. In order to prevent the speed controllers from being damaged in the event that the flashing has failed, power your system from a 9 volt battery. This will prevent excessive current from damaging the speed controllers.

1) Download and launch the ESC Flashtool.

2) From the flashtool select your programmer (If your programmer isn’t listed then specify the avr device command in the custom window, ex. usbtiny).

3) Select the correct esc or firmware file to be flashed from the list (bs_nfet.hex).

4) Connect your speed controller or power distribution board to a 9 volt battery and click flash.

If all goes well you will hear the esc sound a few times and the command console will show that the flashing has succeeded, now you can remove the programmer. If not, you will notice strange noises and possibly clicks coming from your motor when the 9 volt battery is connected. Attempt to flash the speed controller again until it properly functions. If your esc begins to smoke then you are out of luck and need to purchase a new one.

5) Set the throttle ranges for each speed controller by connecting them to the battery and receiver throttle channel while your transmitter is bound at full throttle. After the beep, lower the throttle and you will hear a confirmation sound indicating that the throttle range has been calibrated.

Now your speed controllers should be flashed and functioning properly on SimonK’s firmware.

Flashing Hobbyking 25A Redbrick ESCs

In order to obtain more stable and responsive flight with my hexacopter I decided to flash the six 25A redbrick speed controllers with SimonK’s custom firmware. For more information see the RCGroups thread.

First I cut the heat shrink from each speed controller and removed the top heat sink so that the programming pads were accessible.

Using standard header pins and needle nose pliers I bent the pins to align with the pads of the circuit board.

Then I soldered the pins to wires and connected them to my programmer using a breadboard.

The procedure for flashing the speed controllers is fairly easy, the process of flashing the speed controllers takes about two seconds so you don’t have to worry about holding the contacts still for too long. In order to prevent the speed controllers from being damaged in the event that the flashing has failed, power your system from a 9 volt battery. This will prevent excessive current from damaging the speed controllers.

1) Download and launch the ESC Flashtool.

2) From the flashtool select your programmer (If your programmer isn’t listed then specify the avr device command in the custom window, ex. usbtiny).

3) Select the correct esc to be flashed from the list (RedBrick 25A, tgy.hex)

4) Connect your speed controller or power distribution board to a 9 volt battery and hold the programming pins to the programming pads, then click flash.

If all goes well you will hear the esc sound a few times and the command console will show that the flashing has succeeded, now you can remove the programmer. If not, you will notice strange noises and possibly clicks coming from your motor when the 9 volt battery is connected. Attempt to flash the speed controller again until it properly functions. If your esc begins to smoke then you are out of luck and need to purchase a new one.

5) Set the throttle ranges for each speed controller by connecting them to the battery and receiver channel 3 while your transmitter is bound at full throttle. After the beep, lower the throttle and you will hear a confirmation sound indicating that the throttle range has been calibrated.

Now your speed controllers should be flashed and functioning properly on SimonK’s firmware.

Flashing the Flysky/Turnigy 9X with ER9X

This is a tutorial of how I flashed and setup my transmitter for use with MultiWii and Ardupilot, more information can be found here.

You will need to be sure that you have access to an ISP programmer in order to flash the firmware of the transmitter. I use the Sparkfun Pocket AVR Programmer but there are plenty of alternative programmers to use such as this one.

To start, I removed the rear case of my transmitter and disconnected the primary cable harness. I soldered the leads from the programming cable supplied with my programmer directly to the pads on the pcb. The following diagram shows the correct solder points for the cable harness.

After soldering the cable harness, it is vital to check all connections before connecting the programmer to your computer and attempting to program the transmitter.

Download the latest er9x.hex firmware binaries here.

Download and install eePe from here.

Connect your programmer to the transmitter and computer, launch eePe and follow these steps:

Now your transmitter should be flashed and functioning with ER9X firmware. If you ever have any issues with the firmware try to erase the eeprom or flash it again using eePe. It is much easier to program mixes and setting from eePe by following steps four and five above. For information regarding the specifics of mixing and the user interface get the manual here. Be sure to correctly follow the steps to calibrate your stick positions and variable knob ranges.

For Multiwii I setup throttle hold and configured the three position switch to output high/med/low to channel six. This can be used to change between flight modes.

For Arducopter I have configure my radio with throttle hold and six modes that are all output to channel six. Keep in mind that the value of each mode should have a pulse width that falls somewhere in the following range and the mixing percentages should be adjusted accordingly.

1165 – Mode 1

1295 – Mode 1

1425 – Mode 3

1555 – Mode 4

1685 – Mode 5

1815 – Mode 6

The final results of the mixing are as follows:

 

 

Xaircraft X4 Drone Bill of Materials

This is the bill of materials for my Xaircraft Carbon Fiber X4 drone. I plan to use higher performance components than my previous builds with the addition of a budget autopilot system.

The above model for the Xaircraft X4 frame with Avroto motors can be found here.

[Qty. 1] Xaircraft X4 Carbon Fiber DIY Frame

[Qty. 1] APC220 478MHz Communications Module

[Qty. 1] 100A Power Distribution Board

[Qty. 1] JST Cables

[Qty. 4] Avroto 2814 Short Shaft 350W 770kV Brushless Motor

[Qty. 2] 10×4.5 Pair of Carbon Reinforced Props [For lifting FPV gear I recommend 11" props]

[Qty. 4] 30A Blue Series Brushless ESCs

[Qty. 1] Black Vortex Flight Controller

Download: Complete Bill of Materials

Additional information for this build:

Flashing the Flysky/Turnigy 9X with ER9X

Flashing 30A BlueSeries ESCs

X4 Drone Build Log

Xaircraft Hexacopter Red LED Lighting Effects

I decided to rewire my current lighting setup after switching out the Xaircraft camera skids for the standard claws. I used six segments of Hobbyking Red LEDs with 3 LEDs per segment. Using servo wires I soldered a connection between the bullets connectors of each motor and the LEDs. It does not matter which two motor wires you choose to connect the LEDs. The polarity of the LEDs makes no difference. Each LED is triggered whenever the diode receives an electrical pulse going forward with the polarity of the diode. As the throttle of the aircraft is increased, the motors are driven at a higher frequency and they produce more intense light. It operates by the same principal as a household dimmer switch on a lamp.