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Control layout Recomend me a style to learn as a new flier.

#1
Someday, i want to get a Gremlin, or similar style quad. Right now, other hobbies are forcing me to back burner that plan. In the mean time, i did go out and grab the cheapest quad i could find at the local superstore. I know a $25 toy isnt really comparable to what the home built stuff is performance wise, but while im learning flight basics, its nice to have something that isnt a big investment to slam into a wall because of a mistake i made. Also has tought me a few things im happier to have not learned with a more expensive one like pull the props off after every flight and remove the hair, keep fingers away from props, stuff like that.

On to my question.
The one i have has

Throttle(up/down) and Rudder(turn left/right on the left stick
Elevator(forward/back) and Aileron (strafe left/right) on right stick.

There is not an option to change it, but i own a soldering iron and a screwdriver. I already had to take the controller apart once to fix one of the sticks getting stuck. given the simplistic board, i think it would be possible to cut traces and re-route the appropriate controls.

Because the model i got has self leveling, it seems that swapping Rudder and Aileron would be more intuitive, but i could see why the current layout might be better to learn if i eventually want to learn to fly something that has more advanced controls, and might not have/need that.

I think i also might just be biased against the current setup because its difficult to turn without accidentally adjusting throttle most of the time launching myself into the ceiling.
 

FDS

Well-known member
#2
You can’t change the modes easily on toy quads. There are several different mode options if you get better equipment later. Here are the common modes-
77F53C9E-5004-4B6E-96C3-3239140F551F.jpeg
Cheap controllers are always horrible like that, it’s one of the reasons people invest in better ones fairly early on.
I have improved toy quad controllers by extending the throttle stick by the simple and cheap method of drilling a small hole in the centre and screwing in a 20-25mm long self tapping screw. This gives more throw and better throttle control.
You can control toy quads with hobby level controllers, they fly so much better with those, you can also get a few different control boards for some of the cheap brushed motor quads that allow programming and other options. The Jumper transmitters come with a multi protocol module that can fly many toy quads and are a fully featured hobby TX.
You actually turn the quad with co ordinated use of the pitch, throttle and yaw. Practice will make that easier. There’s a good Flite Test video on learning to fly quads Line of Sight (LOS) that will help you.
 
#3
Mode 2 is what i have.
Mode 4 looks like what i kind of want.

I think im going to just learn mode 2 for now.

Changing the length of the sticks is an interesting idea. There are Giant button things screwed on top of the sticks. Im going to try removing them and see if it makes it eaiser, or making them longer if its harder. I think whats kicking my ass is the vertical on the left stick has almmost no resistance or feedback, where the horizontal is a stronger spring.

Question on the quad itself, the top is flat and it has an auto level feature. These mix to make it stick to walls very strongly if i get too close to them. If it put something very light along the top so it cant sit flat, do you think that will help with collisions with walls?

Any idea to find out what kind of transmitter can fly with a given toy drone?
 

FDS

Well-known member
#4
You never have any resistance on the throttle, at least for quads. Look at some stick video, Mr Steele is a great example, most people work the throttle far too fast to want any spring return.
You may find that the “pinching” grip is better for you. Two screws in the sticks let’s you try that too.
C79AC8FF-DA02-4DC6-9BE3-C4EB503D411E.jpeg Pinching grip.
On hobby TX’s you can tune the stick feel anyway. Wether your quad will bind with a hobby TX depends on what make and model the quad is. Not all have compatible crystals in. The Jumper T8, T12 and T16 transmitters all come equipped from the factory with a multi protocol module that binds with some cheap toy receivers.
Modules are available for other radios that plug in the back. Many FRsky ones have a module bay.
The best way to avoid sticking to walls is to not fly into them! If you put anything over the ducts you will hurt performance. A simple ultra light plastic “roll bar” over the top of your quad might help. Try one with a strip of plastic, a straw or some styrene rod, held onto the body screws or taped on. Don’t make it too thick or tall, excess weight or drag is a problem in such a tiny craft.
 
#5
resistance is maybe not the correct word. I have a transmitter that i use for 1lb combat robots. because of weight premiums, they share a lot of parts with Quads and small model aircraft. It's throttle stick has notches. They offer almost no resistance, but give a bit of tactile feedback when moving up/down. The "speed" button i suspect just limits the max pitch of the quad. I dont know if that is being applied via commands from the controller, or by sending an instruction to the quad itself. If its the latter, i would need something that could also emulate that button, as my few tests outside say it can barely fight the wind when on the Fast setting, and is helpless on the default slow.

Flying has been an odd experience for me. While driving i have never struggled with the idea the Left is the robots left, no matter which way the robot is currently pointing. For some reason, Maintaining the throttle while trying to do that has completely thrown my sense of that off. From that video, i was already working on hovering and keeping the drone matched with me as i walk around. I didnt think about Doing the Figure 8 to avoid always turning in one direction though, and that will probably help quite a bit later.

For reference, this is what i got
https://www.hobbytron.com/manuals/ZX-33054.pdf

Not great but for $25 its survived crashing down a staircase a few times with only a little need for bending parts back into place. And when i inevitably destroy it, i will have 4 small brushed motors to make a drive system on a new bot.
 

FDS

Well-known member
#6
It helps if you don’t think about what your hands are doing, only the direction of travel. In some ways learning to fly FPV is actually easier since you can immediately “feel” direction.
I have no idea what protocol that drone uses, Bayang is a common toy one but it’s hard to tell. If you want something similar that you could bind to a hobby level transmitter the Hubsan X4 is cheap.
 
#7
and ive killed it.

Ironically, it wasnt a crash, i think it was finally stopping crashing. The Rear right motor warms up after about two minutes of continues flight and slows down. 2 more charges of flight after that and it wasnt even really spinning up properly in the first place. Im going to be stripping out the three remaining motors for other projects when i get home tonight. It was a cheap thing, but it accomplished it purpose of mostly teachimg me to hover with hitting mine or anyone elses face.

The motors are 7.5x20 or 8x20 though, which there are lots of available for cheap, and learning to repair and replace thins was the whole point of me starting down this road.
 
#8
I've decided to rebuild it, and i have some questions.

1. after taking it apart the motors are 7x20. they have no useful marking on them though. In theory any 7x20 brushed motors should be able to replace them though, correct? I have picked up that i need to be sure about getting the CW and CCW correct, but beyond that i dont see huge differences, so im thinking a cheap pack of well reviewed motors that people are using to powerup their tiny whoops would be ideal.

2. Lights. The front has a bright headlight, with 4 red LEDS. The rear had 4 green LEDs, now reduced to two due to technical issues. I am thinking about moving the red lights to the rear and dropping the green lights or moving them to the outer edges of the front. Is there an aviation related reason why this might be a problem? its probably small enough that it wouldn't matter anyway, but if there regulations for larger craft to follow related to lighting (like car break lights have to be red) i would rather follow them.

3. How much can i safely play with the distances between the rotors, and is it better to move them towards or away from the COM? I have a 3d printer now, and was considering redoing the body. This is probably not a right away thing, but i may try it just to see if i can make it work.

4. FPV. Looking for a super light cheap AIO camera recommendation. This things specs are similar to an inductrix, so im hoping tiny whoop style cameras made for that can be made to work with this as well. If it ends up not working out, i also need a small camera for tormenting my supervisor with an RC dumpster fire, so it will be used one way or another. Ideally i want a receiver that has HDMI out rather than goggles or its own built in screen. We have a nice 104" project setup at work, so flying/driving FPV with that should be a bit of fun. for the camera+receiver combo I'm willing to spend up to about $100 total since they should be usable on other projects, though less is better. I also prefer amazon when possible due to prime shipping costs and easy returning of things when there is a problem.
 

FDS

Well-known member
#9
I would buy FPV gear from an FPV supplier like Race Day Quads instead of Amazon. All those parts on there are simply 3rd party vendors anyway. RDQ selection of AOI cameras.
That drone is a toy, there’s no regulation to consider, you can run whatever colour LEDs you want, in any position you like. If you are flying it FPV then orientation isn’t a problem, most LOS quads have lights on to help with that vs just looking good visually.
Motors wise you want the right KV, so not just any motor the right size. Anything from 19-26,000kv gets used on Whoop style quads, also check the shaft diameter with callipers so you get the right size for the props. Too much power on the motors can cook the ESC’s so avoid super high KV or bigger props.
If you move the motors away from the body then you will get less prop wash. Avoid adding too much weight, you are putting a camera on already and small brushed motors don’t make big power to begin with.
 
#10
IT LIVES!!!

i put in some 15000 kv motors, they seemed on the low end of performance replacements, were the correct size, and cheap.
While i had the soldering iron out, i moved the Red lights to the back, and the surviving green lights to the front. I also hotglued the lights in place, and made sure to secure the motor wires where they wouldn't prevent the plastic from screwing back together properly, unlike how i got it out of the box. this made it surprisingly more solid when i put it back together.

Flight
Liftoff almost ended instantly as it made a run for the roof faster than it has ever moved before. Once i got the hang of the new throttle though the whole thing was much smoother than it had been before. The best way i can describe the improvement is to say, If it had flown like that out of the box, i could have understood the $60 pricetag it normally had. It also didnt immediately crash to the ground as soon as the low battery flashing started. I was unsure about a camera before, but the extra overall power makes me think its much more likely to be able to support one now.

Im a bit concerned, as the lipo was a little warm when i pulled it out, but thinking about it, it was a little warm before, and none of my previous flights lasted as long as this one did, despite not even starting at a full charge this time.

I know it probably seems like a lot of time invested in a toy, but its not about the toy for me, its about the experience of taking something that was broken and not just fixing it, but making it better.
 

FDS

Well-known member
#11
Lipo gets warm when it discharges. If you can work out a flight time that stops before the FC cuts the throttle, then run a count down timer so you stop when it goes off. Check the cell voltage at the end of the flight, with whoop packs 3.4-3.5v is ok. On multi cell packs you want to stop at 3.5-3.6v minimum.
Good to hear it got better with new motors.
 
#12
Before this, i had been running a wedge bot, on a 2s battery, which is just two small efficient brushed motors to drive. They never put a big load on it so i never really pushed them hard enough to warm up.

I suspect that the load from drone flying will be more comparable to running a spinner, which is the next "big" project i want to make. Once i have that and a new version of my antweight, i think im going to start working on a slightly bigger custom built quad.
 

FDS

Well-known member
#13
I am flying a ton of Toothpick size stuff at the moment, I had a Sailfly X first, then ordered a Lava X, the Sailfly is awesome on 2 whoop type packs, you do need PH2.0 40C ones, the little brushed whoop packs are a bit gutless. The Lava has more tuning potential but both are stupidly easy to get into.
The only things not you would need to do on the Sailfly is drop the camera angle down, 30 deg can feel a bit aggressive to learn on.
The Tyro 69 is a build it yourself Toothpick.
 
#14
What about receiver with a video output. HDMI is preferred, but i can convert it if it will save me a few $$. I have a 103 inch screen at work that i want to put the feed on while i use it to torment my supervisor. (his supervisor will be in the room with me laughing) and yeah, im sure its going to look like ass blown up that much, but its just for fun.
 

FDS

Well-known member
#15
Ground stations are the only common things with HDMI out, they are expensive.
I just fly with $40 Eachine Ev800 box goggles or my second hand Fatsharks, so have never bothered with screens. The Eachines have a video out to go to a DVR, you could probably rig that to your screen.
Someone here might have a cleverer solution to that.