I did quite a bit more flying this summer than I did rc car racing. As the weather turns cold flying will be limited to golf dome outings with the local electric club and indoor FPV. In Minnesota the on-road guys drive on carpet indoors, so it’ll soon be time to race. One thing I’ve […]
I did quite a bit more flying this summer than I did rc car racing. As the weather turns cold flying will be limited to golf dome outings with the local electric club and indoor FPV. In Minnesota the on-road guys drive on carpet indoors, so it’ll soon be time to race. One thing I’ve grown to like that is commonplace on quads and planes is the XT-60 connector. So I decided to upgrade all of my cars and even my rocket launcher to it.
Technically, an XT-60 pair is 2g heavier than a pair of Deans connectors, but with all of the other advantages, I’m still switching.
Easier to work with
They’re easier to solder, given the half-cup ends. You’ll get better contact than a flat pad and it will better accommodate larger, lower-gauge wires.
I read a review in RC Car Action of the Carisma M10DB – a brand that isn’t (yet) popular in the US. Strangely they cited it’s included XT-60 connector as a minus – albeit for its current uncommon use in R/C car batteries. Let’s change that!
This is the best part. Almost all of my batteries now use either an XT-60 connector or a JST RCY connector (for smaller batteries). I may even switch those JSTs to XT-30 some day. But the lion’s share is XT-60. With less connector types, I get a simpler charging setup, and greater interchangeability between models.
The RMRC 10A power supply falls a little short when charging my 5200mAh 6S lawn mower batteries, so I can only charge them at 3.5 Amps (because of the high 6S voltage). But it can charge all of my other batteries at their stated full charge rate.
Car guys, if you haven’t heard of XT60 connectors and iSDT chargers you’re missing out.
It saddens and enrages me to read a story like this. This is a moment for our local government to act, and for our judicial system to stand-up.
Streets for People
61st St. NE in Fridley has 12-foot lanes. This is the national standard for lane width on the interstate highway (55+mph). We put that road between two schools, between the park and the community center. This is proof-positive that we care more about the vehicles going through this area more than our own children.
I’ve spoken to city staff about reducing the lane widths and adding bike lanes here and it may happen. This is really the only way to slow things down. The road needs to be narrower, or at least seem narrower (with paint). Then we need to “put stuff in the way.” Bump-outs, bollards, parked cars, and bike lanes are other great techniques for making the road busier. The more the driver must concentrate on, the slower he’ll go. It seems counter-intuitive, but the wide lanes, barren clear-zones, and open sight-lines have only made us all feel safer in our cars, which leads to driving faster.
We need to stop the victim blaming. Whether or not the student was in the crosswalk is irrelevant. It was at 3:15pm after school got out and other students were present. I went to the site of the crash less than a week later.
It was 4:15pm and still light out even an hour after the crash.
So what is the response? Notice the plastic green fence above by the school sign. The schools put up this temporary fence following the crash to prevent students from crossing outside of the crosswalk areas. They went so far as to block their own walkways:
The fence is just another ugly fence that is added to the huge inventory of ugly chain-link fence here in Fridley.
This sends the message that “Streets are for cars, kids!” Especially the way we build them. Adding a fence is just putting lipstick on this pig and going in the wrong direction. We need to slow the cars, not impede the people. Drivers go way too fast here and simple police enforcement isn’t enough when lives are at stake…
I refuse to call this incident an accident because this was no accident. It was a crash. People will only change their behavior when there are real consequences – ones beyond the traffic stop. The perfect crime right now is to kill someone with your car. In New York, only 5% of drivers involved in fatal crashes are arrested. The Dutch wrestled with this in the 1970s with a campaign called Stop de Kindermoord (Stop the child murder). The uprising transformed the nation into a bicycle and pedestrian friendly mecca. In the Netherlands the drivers are responsible for their actions; manslaughter is murder – plain and simple. Here in the USA lawyers have invented terms like involuntary manslaughter and vehicular manslaughter that are labeled negligent acts. The driver was more than negligent and should be punished the fullest extent.
Right now you can do two things to help facilitate change:
Email Mayor Scott Lund – 61st is a city street, not a county road, so there’s no red-tape. It should be put at the top of the city’s restriping list.
Let me start by saying that the Eachine EV100 DVR (made for the EV100 FPV goggles) is cheaper and almost certainly works with other goggles. It can be powered directly by a 2S battery, which is commonplace for FPV goggles: It is the add-on DVR I would buy today for only $15 if I hadn’t […]
Let me start by saying that the Eachine EV100 DVR (made for the EV100 FPV goggles) is cheaper and almost certainly works with other goggles. It can be powered directly by a 2S battery, which is commonplace for FPV goggles:
It is the add-on DVR I would buy today for only $15 if I hadn’t already purchased the Eachine ProDVR:
The ProDVR was at one point the cheapest FPV DVR, and possibly because it has some limitations. It requires 5V input, but my box goggle screen and video receiver both require at least 2S (7.4v) power. This necessitates a BEC, or some sort of other voltage regulator to get the ProDVR to power up without letting out the magic smoke.
To get it to fit, I used a dremel 196 and 194 cutting bits to cut out a section of the non-buttoned half. I used the bigger 196 bit to cut out the majority of the rectangle and remove a section of the side, and the 194 bit to do the corners and additional fitting. Cuts are highlighted in red:
You can test fit with the Pololu regulator’s included right angled pin header. Once it all fits good, solder the pin header to the regulator, and then use some CA glue to help hold the pin header to the case.
I did one wrap around of kapton tape to protect the Pololu regulator from the outside of the case and any shortages from touching the DVR board on the inside of the case. It’s orange in color so it blends in well:
Don’t forget to label the pins on the regulator. The one next to VOUT is for 5 volts out (duh). The middle is a common ground, and the other side is voltage in.
Once the glue is dried, put it all back together. IMO, this regulator should have been included on the DVR board, but you get what you pay for.
I used an extra servo end to do the wiring. I connected the DVR power to one side; connected the DVR ground and battery ground to the middle; the battery power to the opposite side. Here’s what my ProDVR harness wired with my goggle harness looks like:
Make sure to observe the battery & DVR wires and which way the servo connector needs to go when hooking it up.
That’s all, a pretty clean install without the need of an external BEC!
Hands down this is the best radio you can get for around $100. The hobby is moving so fast, it’s incredible what this thing can do! When it first came out, I was skeptical as the go-to radio for most people flying multi-rotors was the Taranis X9D. The X7 has a form-factor very similar to […]
Hands down this is the best radio you can get for around $100. The hobby is moving so fast, it’s incredible what this thing can do! When it first came out, I was skeptical as the go-to radio for most people flying multi-rotors was the Taranis X9D. The X7 has a form-factor very similar to the first Horus which was not initially well-received. But what FrSky had done with the X7 was take everything that was awesome about the X9D (OpenTX, haptic and audio feedback, telemetry, serial module communication) and put it in a Horus-shaped budget package.
I’m not going to go through everything about this radio, there are plenty of other reviews out there – several linked to from here. I just want to suggest an awesome setup that will not only do telemetry with FrSky receivers, but also Spektrum, FlySky, and any other multiprotocol module protocols that support telemetry.
This is a great complete transmitter/receiver setup that will cost you less than $200 and will control just about everything:
The X7 comes in several colors, so if you feel the need to express yourself in something other than black or white, go ahead! I opted for Blue. Also, you can get a silicone cover which are sold in all colors as well. You can mix and match them to get even more creative. I bought a green one, but the shade is a little too much like The Mask for my taste.
Yowza! Some people think the colorful versions of this radio are ugly. I’ve never seen a green X7 in person, but from pictures I thought the silicone case would be more like the brilliant green it seems to be. The silicone case has a milky sort of color. Since it doesn’t suit my taste, I’ll be giving it away. Read on for details!
I also bought a black one which suits my taste a little better. The black makes it look less like a toy, but I can still have some accent colors to match my style.
Stu did the same thing with his purple X7:
Multiprotocol Module Serial Mode – the ultimate Taranis Add-On
The best part about the X7 is it’s the least expensive radio I’ve found that will not only do FrSky telemetry, but also serial communications to the add-on modules, which means faster communication, in-radio binding, automatic protocol selection, and telemetry for those other protocols.
The latest go-to pre-built multiprotocol module is this one branded IRangeX.
It is essentially the same as the DIY Multiprotocol transmitter that I already have, but with an STM32 chip. The chip upgrade has enough memory to hold all of the current protocols that are part of Multiprotocol TX. It comes with a case and antenna, so no 3D printing is required. Serial mode is enabled by default so also no soldering is required (unless you want to update the firmware to add even more protocols/options).
The only downside I’ve heard of so far is some compatibility issues with the TBS crossfire. But someone has already figured out how to get it to work with the X7:
Maybe green is your style! Since I don’t like the green silicone transmitter cover, I figured I’ll give it away. Here’s what you have to do. Post a comment with a link to a photo or video of your X7. In the comment also write about something you love or hate about the X7. The winner will be announced on November 1st, 2017. Thanks for stopping by!
If you have one of the ubiquitous “4 button chargers” you can likely upgrade the firmware to Cheali Charger. You’ll have to do some hacking to get there, but if you want to add features like LiHV and NiZN charging, and have 30 battery memories, it’s the way to go. Example chargers that are eligible: […]
If you have one of the ubiquitous “4 button chargers” you can likely upgrade the firmware to Cheali Charger. You’ll have to do some hacking to get there, but if you want to add features like LiHV and NiZN charging, and have 30 battery memories, it’s the way to go.
On my HobbyKing ECO 6-10, disassembly (and assembly) is tricky – mostly because of the fan. Once the sides are removed, remove the fan while holding the charger upside-down. This is because the nuts securing the fan will otherwise fall out. They still might fall out if you accidentally press them fully out using the screw that holds them in. It’s a stupid design.
Once the sides are off and the fan is disconnected from the front plate, the front plate can be slid to either side and the ribbon cable for the 4 buttons disconnected from the main board. Then the fan can be unplugged as well.
For assembly (come back here when you’re done flashing). Plug in the fan first, partially slide on the front plate, attach the 4-button ribbon cable, fully slide on the front plate, then re-secure the fan to the front plate – all while holding the darn thing upside down
Add a 6-pin header
You’ll have to do some soldering. First I added a 6-pin header to my charger board:
I used a voltmeter to verify where the VCC and GND pins were. When you’ve got the right ones it will read 5v on the nose. For mine it was similar to this configuration:
The IDC cable red wire is pin 1 (MISO), then it goes up sequentially from there.
Connect the wires
It’s time to set everything up and flash it. The USBtinyISP has a PWR (power) jumper on it which tells it whether or not to send 5v usb power to the device you’re trying to flash – in this case the charger. You can leave the power jumper on and not plug your charger into 12v power, but it will beep at you and read “input voltage error.” I chose to remove the jumper and power the charger normally. Don’t try to power the charger from 12v while the USBtinyISP power jumper is installed or you may let out the magic smoke.
One everything is hooked up, first make a backup. Reading from the EEPROM is the most sane way to make sure you wired everything up right – before (over)writing your charger firmware
These commands can be run in the terminal. I’m using Linux, so it will look slightly different if you’re using Windows (use the commands from here).
Once you’ve made a successful backup, you can download the cheali firmwares and write the appropriate one to your charger.
git clone https://github.com/stawel/cheali-charger.git
sudo avrdude -patmega32 -cusbtiny -Uflash:w:cheali-charger-Turnigy-A-6-10-200W_2.00-e10.3.12-20160613_atmega32.hex:a
The exact hex file you flash to your charger with will depend on what type of charger you have. Make sure to read the flashing reference table to be sure you are using the right firmware for your charger.
I had a weird issue where my charger was initially working fine after upgrading to cheali, but then would have a “freak-out” after it seemed to warm-up:
Charging itself seems to take a little longer with the cheali firmware. The charging strategies used are linked to in their documentation and seem to be a bit more advanced. For instance, cell balancing seems to be a more thorough process that can take place independently or in conjunction with charge, discharge, and storage. Whether or not it has an effect on the lifetime of a given battery is unknown to me.
Mostly, I’m using cheali-charger to charge my LiHV Power Whoop batteries to 4.35v which I was unable to do before.
There was a period in my life where I didn’t want to go to the state fair. The great Minnesota get together had worn me down. It was around the age of 18-23, when all I could wonder is why would I want to pay for parking, or find parking a mile away, walk forever, and pay a bunch of money to hang out in a crowded place to eat a corn dog?
When my wife and I moved back to Minnesota in 2008, now in our 30s, we visited the fair and I was pleasantly reacquainted. Jessi is pretty adept at couponing, so we sought out to maximize our dollars. Here’s how we do it.
I don’t count this towards the per-person total because I consider it a sunken cost. Get your tickets before opening day at Cub for $11. If you’ve got a kid that is between 5-12 get them a ticket at Cub too. Unless you’re going on “kids day,” you’ll still pay $12 to get them in.
Get the coupon book for $5. Even if you only use it for drinks (which you should), it will pay for itself.
We have one rule about the fair: you always share. It starts with getting there. Always go to the park and ride and take the bus. Never try to drive and find parking. You’ll spend more time and money driving and parking.
Share the food. Sometimes it is hard to share when one person wants something the other doesn’t, but this is rarely the case. There’s so much wonderful stuff to try and you don’t want to overdo it right out the gate. Approach the fair like a tasting.
Here’s an example of what you can do using the coupon book. After doing this for over 5 years, these are all great options on a budget. With two people this is $40 total:
Mini Cinnamon Rolls – $4
Cinnamon Roasted Almonds – $2.75
Rice Kristie Bar – $4
If possible, we like to take a day off of work, start early and eat breakfast at the fair. The crowds don’t seem so bad if you let it grow throughout the day, rather than showing up when it’s already pandemonium.
Don’t live and die by the coupon book
Obviously, many staples were left off of my example list:
Pronto Pup / Corn Dog (why not both?)
Corn on the cob
Sweet Martha’s Cookies + all you can drink milk
Beer / wine
There are coupons for some of these things, but not all. Plus there are always new foods that you may want to try. Plan accordingly on what you want to get. You can’t eat it all – even though you might like to try. Even at $25-30 per person, you can have some classics and try some new things. We treat the coupon book as a baseline and go from there. There are some things we always get from the book, and some things we only do occasionally.
Free things to do
With 2 kids we have to set boundaries to not break the bank. Every kid gets exactly one (1) ride on the giant slide – both at once if possible 🙂 Thankfully there are several great free things to do.
BMX & Skateboard Show – hands-down my favorite show. I love to see what these guys and girls can pull off. It’s astounding what a 12 year old can do on a skateboard.
Animal Shows – dog agility, sheep shearing, equestrian contests, live animal births.
Home Depot build-it workshop (great for kids)
Little Hands Farm (great for kids)
Art Galleries – Creative Activities, Fine Art Gallery, Student Art, 4H, Seed Art.
Eco Experience activities
Climb the Fire Tower
Other strange tests
One year Jessi and I did virtual welding. Jessi did a much better job than me. Another year, I took an ADD/ADHD test – do I have it? I’m definitely on the spectrum. Want to ride bikes? I’m thirsty. Do you like marshmallows? I can’t wait for the fair next year!
I’ve tried adding an upgraded battery to my son’s Scout CX in the past, but it’s designed to only accept the tiny 70mAh batteries it comes with. After upgrading my Inductrix to a larger power connecter, I had two donor batteries to experiment with… So I took my old Inductrix battery lead and made a lead […]
I’ve tried adding an upgraded battery to my son’s Scout CX in the past, but it’s designed to only accept the tiny 70mAh batteries it comes with. After upgrading my Inductrix to a larger power connecter, I had two donor batteries to experiment with… So I took my old Inductrix battery lead and made a lead extension.
To connect it to the Scout, I popped the female micro-JST connector out of the landing gear, so the battery could be inserted as far as possible.
I connected the extension to the dangling JST connector, inserted the stock Inductrix 150mAh battery into the landing gear backwards, then connected the other end of the extension to the battery.
One end of the harness was part of a Y-harness originally purchased for my Tiny Whoop. The Tiny Whoop drew too much power from the extremely thin wires, but it didn’t have problems with power delivery to the Scout. This may be attributed to the Scout only having to power 2 motors versus the Inductrix’s 4.
The added weight was a different matter… Despite the bigger battery and connector adding less than 3 grams of weight, it completely changed the flight characteristics of this little bird. Hovering was now at about 85% throttle. Most maneuvers required 100% throttle in order to avoid hitting the ground.
Flight time was increased (maybe doubled), but completely at the expense of the experience. It was a lumbering bird, no longer a graceful one. Ham fisted controls were required to keep it in the air. It was a fun experiment, but we’ll be going back to the stock setup for shorter but better flights. We’ll just keep a couple of extra 70mAh packs on hand so we can keep flying.
I had been eyeing the Inductrix when it was released in 2015. The “ducted fan” design interested me because it was quiet(er), and because I could bump into things indoors with a better survival rate. The Tiny Whoop came about from adding an FPV camera, faster motors, and a bigger battery to the Inductrix. The […]
The Tiny Whoop came about from adding an FPV camera, faster motors, and a bigger battery to the Inductrix. The craze is now in full swing. Even the local RC car guys are getting into it. Our local on-road track is also host to the Minnesota Tiny Whoop Racing League. They set up gates on the carpet track on Tuesdays and occasional Saturday to race.
My first attempt at a no-solder Tiny Whoop revealed some of the issues inherent to this little guy. At first I left the motors stock, added the camera mount and camera, and used a Y-harness to for a plug-and-play flight.
After getting everything set up, I found out the tiny Y-harness didn’t have thick enough wires to provide the amperage, even to the stock motors. The Inductrix’s low voltage protection would kick in on throttle up, before it left the ground.
So I cut part of the Y-harness and soldered a lead for the camera to the top of the board where the power leads come in. Finally I was able to fly!
It was fun, but the Inductrix seemed a little finicky in the air. Sometimes it would fly good, sometimes it would have a “freak out” and fall out of the sky. Sometimes it would flash from the low voltage trigger much earlier than expected. All of it seemed to happen randomly.
I upgraded the motors thinking maybe they would be more efficient and could provide the extra lift for the camera without drawing more power. It only made the situation worse. Then at Flite Fest, I spoke some Tiny Whoop enthusiasts that told me the weak link is in the micro-JST battery connector.
The only difference between a Tiny Whoop and a Power Whoop is the Power Whoop uses a different battery connector. The micro-JST is upgraded to a connector labeled as JST-2.0, PH2, JST-PH 2.0, etc. The kicker is you have to get new batteries that have this connector. For me, it wasn’t a big deal because I only had the original Inductrix battery and one upgraded battery – neither of which could sustain a full flight. Some stores (like ReadyMadeRC) don’t even sell micro-JST batteries for the Inductrix, likely because they know they’re problematic.