Budget FPV Ground Station < $100

Now that I got my ham license and some FPV equipment, I needed a way to set it up so that it’s usable at the flying field. Also, don’t let the title fool you – most of the money ($75) was spent on the FPV system itself, (including camera!). Other parts I was able to […]

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Now that I got my ham license and some FPV equipment, I needed a way to set it up so that it’s usable at the flying field. Also, don’t let the title fool you – most of the money ($75) was spent on the FPV system itself, (including camera!). Other parts I was able to borrow or steal…

I started with the two-monitor portable DVD system that my kids use to watch movies on road trips. The 1st monitor is the “brain” that has the DVD player. The 2nd monitor simply accepts power and an A/V signal from the 1st. I stole this monitor for use with my ground station. I tested it by powering it on through the cigarette lighter jack and then hooking it up to the FPV receiver. With the FPV transmitter off I saw static instead of the dreaded “blue screen” – which is good!

fpv-screen-static
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Ham Radio for FPV

I finally jumped into FPV by purchasing my first kit, a Quanum Tx/Rx/Camera package I got for around $60 from HobbyKing while it was on sale. With it’s 600mW transmit power, it should be more than enough for some field flying, even with trees in the way. But before I fire it up, I needed […]

The post Ham Radio for FPV appeared first on Meatball Racing.

I finally jumped into FPV by purchasing my first kit, a Quanum Tx/Rx/Camera package I got for around $60 from HobbyKing while it was on sale.

With it’s 600mW transmit power, it should be more than enough for some field flying, even with trees in the way. But before I fire it up, I needed to get legal. The FCC has a rule called Part 15 about “unlicensed equipment” which states what sort of emissions a device can have to be operated without a radio license. It’s rather complex and the only FCC Part 15 certified FPV systems I’ve seen are 20-25mW. So it was time for me to ante up and get my amateur radio license so I can be a legal, card-carrying operator.

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DIY lithium powered lawn mower

While this isn’t about anything R/C, it’s somewhat related… I recently converted a lead-acid battery powered mower to lithium-ion batteries. Anyone that is in R/C and has a lawn to mow should follow this course. For the record, I hate mowing the lawn. It’s a useless pursuit. We’ve all got better things to do with […]

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While this isn’t about anything R/C, it’s somewhat related… I recently converted a lead-acid battery powered mower to lithium-ion batteries. Anyone that is in R/C and has a lawn to mow should follow this course.

For the record, I hate mowing the lawn. It’s a useless pursuit. We’ve all got better things to do with both our time and our resources like water and land. This Washington Post article “Lawns are a soul-crushing timesuck and most of us would be better off without them” pretty much sums up my opinion.

Instagram Photo

The purpose of upgrading to an electric mower is to get the job done faster, and without smelling like a snowblower repairman when I’m done.

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HiSky HT8 Module for Turnigy 9x

My Assault 100 helicopter came with a transmitter module that allows you to use it with any transmitter. This module is also used with HobbyKing’s Q-BOT Micro quad and FBL100 helicopter. It’s actually just a rebranded HiSky HT8 module which is used for many HiSky helicopters. Rather than have to charge this module separately and hang it […]

The post HiSky HT8 Module for Turnigy 9x appeared first on Meatball Racing.

My Assault 100 helicopter came with a transmitter module that allows you to use it with any transmitter. This module is also used with HobbyKing’s Q-BOT Micro quad and FBL100 helicopter. It’s actually just a rebranded HiSky HT8 module which is used for many HiSky helicopters. Rather than have to charge this module separately and hang it off of my Turnigy 9x, I decided to build a module specifically for my 9x which would power it up and keep it safely in place.

IMG_2490

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Assault 100 / HiSky HCP100S settings for OpenTX 2.1 / Turnigy 9x

I’m new to helicopters, so the setup was a little daunting – especially given the fact that my transmitter has an alternate firmware (OpenTX) installed, and the Assault 100 printed manual settings for the Turnigy 9x assume you have stock firmware. One other important detail I didn’t understand is that flybarless helicopters don’t use the […]

The post Assault 100 / HiSky HCP100S settings for OpenTX 2.1 / Turnigy 9x appeared first on Meatball Racing.

I’m new to helicopters, so the setup was a little daunting – especially given the fact that my transmitter has an alternate firmware (OpenTX) installed, and the Assault 100 printed manual settings for the Turnigy 9x assume you have stock firmware.

One other important detail I didn’t understand is that flybarless helicopters don’t use the helicopter functions built into the transmitter. Instead they have something similar to a quadcopter flight controller with gyro sensors to perform the stabilization function of the flybar. Rather than setting up the swash type and assigning the cyclic channels on the radio, the cyclic inputs can be sent as normal aileron and elevator controls – similar to a multi-rotor.

What still needs to be set up on the transmitter is the channel assignment, throttle and pitch curves, and reversing. That last part is extremely important and is how I broke my helicopter before it ever left the ground 🙁

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Assault 100 / HiSky HCP100S Beginner Review

I’m a sucker for deals at HobbyKing, and I’d been looking at small collective pitch helicopters for a while. When the Assault 100 went on sale for less than $50, I jumped on it. Before I purchased, I did some research and found that it’s really just a rebranded HiSky HCP100S. I found some generally positive […]

The post Assault 100 / HiSky HCP100S Beginner Review appeared first on Meatball Racing.

I’m a sucker for deals at HobbyKing, and I’d been looking at small collective pitch helicopters for a while. When the Assault 100 went on sale for less than $50, I jumped on it. Before I purchased, I did some research and found that it’s really just a rebranded HiSky HCP100S. I found some generally positive information online, but maybe I should have read this entire 300+ page thread about the HCP100S before I pulled the trigger. Let’s find out…

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Helicopter Landing Pad

I like being a helicopter parent – no not being overprotective and smothering – I just like flying helicopters with my son. For Christmas I got Jules a Blade Scout CX coaxial helicopter. It’s a great helicopter for anyone to start on, including a pre-schooler. It has a gyro and stabilizer bar to keep it […]

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I like being a helicopter parent – no not being overprotective and smothering – I just like flying helicopters with my son. For Christmas I got Jules a Blade Scout CX coaxial helicopter. It’s a great helicopter for anyone to start on, including a pre-schooler. It has a gyro and stabilizer bar to keep it level, and the 3-channel remote is easy to use for a beginner. Even when he’s not flying, Jules likes to “scoot” the heli around on the kitchen linoleum by giving it just enough power to get the helicopter light on the skids – then sliding it around on the floor without leaving the ground.

In the winter Jules and I went to a few dome flys with a local R/C club called MARCEE. In the wide-open space at the dome, it’s good to have a something to aim for. I had a couple of large-ish pieces of foam that were used shipping my R/C car set-up board. To give them a little more realism as helicopter landing pads, I added a circle “H” to each.

helicopters-and-pads
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Carrying stuff by bike: Panniers

A year and a half after I purchased these bags, it’s time for a review. You can’t buy them anymore, but this is more of a review of panniers in general. I used to ride with a backpack. It works (and is good for laptop shock absorption), but be prepared to have an instantly sweaty back. I can’t walk up a flight of stairs with a backpack on and not start to feel damp 🙂  Getting the bag off of my back and on to the rack on my bike is a huge win for comfort and convenience.

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