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Darkback2 Learns Acro Feestyle with the Alien 5 Inch

#1
OK, so if you have been following my Middle Road thread, I think it has pretty much run its course. I ended up crashing the middle road quad badly enough to crack the frame in several places and tear the PDB. While it was still very flyable, I didn't want a catastrophic failure to cost me something expensive. Yesterday I swapped it out for an Alien 5 inch frame that I picked up a few weeks ago.
Alien5inch.jpg

I am running:
Lumenier 2206 - 13 - 2000kv motors (probably should have gone with the 2300kv option)
Gemfan 5045 Bullnose Props (planning on trying 5045 tri-blades in the near future.)
DYS BL20amp ESCs
Graupner GR-18/MZ-12 combo flight controller
HS1177 FPV Camera
TS 5828 600mW FPV VTX

I swap back and forth between 3s and 4s

Initial Feelings:
I had the original Martian frame, so the body of the Alien was surprisingly small in comparison. With the exception of the camera pod the Alien frame just sort of fell together. Probably in part due to the fact that I have watched about 10 videos of people putting the Alien together. All the holes lined up perfectly and the carbon fiber seems to be of good quality.

I did run into a little bit of trouble with my camera. I have the runcam swift HS 1177 which has its connectors on the bottom. The first problem I ran into is that the connectors are on the bottom, and there are two of them side by side. The first one is for video and power, and the second one is for the remote. The carbon fiber plate you are supposed to mount on the back of the camera won't fit flush because the cutout for the plugs wasn't big enough. I solved this by using 2 2mm nuts on the 2mm screws as spacers,

Second, the 2mm holes in the back of the carbon fiber plate did not line up with the holes in the back of my camera. The holes in the camera were just a little bit farther apart. I was able to fix that with a bit of filing with the included round file.

I sort of think Impulse RC should either include the HS-1177 camera with the frame (Obviously at a higher cost), or come up with a more flexible mounting solution. I wouldn't mind paying extra and getting a camera that I know will work. I know there is also the price point they are trying to hit, Perhaps including a second optional flat carbon plate that mounts to the camera lens shaft included with the kit for people who are running either a different camera or something they think will work that is slightly off...

The third problem I ran into was that the 2mm screws that are included seem a bit big for screwing the back plate onto the camera. It was hard getting the threads started and the plastic shafts I screwed them into frosted. I can see having a problem down the road if I ever have to make any adjustments to the camera.

Finally because the carbon fiber back plate sits back about 1/2 mm the camera's side mounting holes don't fit through the carbon fiber side plates very well. I had to work the holes with a file for a bit before I could get them to fit.

In this case I am sure it was just me and my odd camera. Perhaps others won't run into the same problems.

The body is much smaller than the martian. It is thinner and shorter. The PDB doesn't include a voltage regulator and the one that I have on hand is rather bulky. I was a bit concerned about not being able to get it to fit.

Honestly though I am happy as peaches with this quad. I will try different props in the near future but given that the motors were $25 a piece I think I'll stick with the ones that I have on there for now. I figured with the heavy 360 camera I am sometimes using to record my flights having the extra torque was a must. For normal flight they are pretty good though I am not sure I am good enough to know the difference as of yet.


Man I can't stop smiling. Have fun!

DB
 

Snarls

Gravity Tester
Mentor
#3
Second, the 2mm holes in the back of the carbon fiber plate did not line up with the holes in the back of my camera. The holes in the camera were just a little bit farther apart. I was able to fix that with a bit of filing with the included round file.

...

Finally because the carbon fiber back plate sits back about 1/2 mm the camera's side mounting holes don't fit through the carbon fiber side plates very well. I had to work the holes with a file for a bit before I could get them to fit.
Looking good Darkback. It's really a lot of fun flying these things and flipping around.

I had the same camera issues with my martian II. I am running a Runcam Swift which is probably the same size as the HS1177. I ended up not screwing the camera to the plate and instead using a piece of foam felt to space the camera and plate while the camera mounting holes fit in the side plates. Feels rock solid and I'm thinking the foam felt may help with vibrations in the video if there are any.
 
#4
Very nice. I'm not an expert on mini quads, but looks from some of those flips like the D setting might be too low
I agree, infact P I and D all seem to be too low.

I would also consider getting as pitchy props as possible to really make the quad faster and more responsive, I am using the DAL T5045 V2 and that's not even pushing my Emax 2205 2300kV to the limit. So I'm sure you could get away with the gemfan 5050 triblades or even the DAL Q5040 Quadblades.
 
#5
I thought D was supposed to be as low as possible. ..I'll bump it up a bit. I get horrible vibrations if I increase P or I at all...a little wobble might be worth it though if I have an increase in control.

I will definitely try pitchier props in the future. I thought I was happy with the 5045 bull nose props I am currently running...but who doesn't love more power.

DB
 
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#7
On second thought I might hold off on that. The max draw of those motors is 32 amps <10 seconds. I honestly can't afford new ESCs right now. Maybe 5050s are a bit much. 5045s?

DB
 
#8
So now I'm curious and want to do some testing. Anyone have a thrust tester who is willing to do some tests for me? I'll send you the props, motor and esc for testing, I just don't have a setup here.

DB
 
#10
I thought D was supposed to be as low as possible. ..I'll bump it up a bit. I get horrible vibrations if I increase P or I at all...a little wobble might be worth it though if I have an increase in control.

I will definitely try pitchier props in the future. I thought I was happy with the 5045 bull nose props I am currently running...but who doesn't love more power.

DB
Yes, it is supposed to be as low as possible. But you want there to be no "kickback" after you complete a flip. In your flight videos, you can see that your quad bounces quite a lot after a flip. You want it so the flip stops precisely when you want it to and doesn't 'overshoot'

Here are so post ive found helpful to tuning the D gain.

http://forum.flitetest.com/showthre...PID-controller&p=193329&viewfull=1#post193329

http://forum.flitetest.com/showthre...PID-controller&p=193341&viewfull=1#post193341

http://forum.flitetest.com/showthre...PID-controller&p=193365&viewfull=1#post193365
 
#11
So the plan for tomorrow is to try to put in about 1 hour before it starts raining. Worst case scenario I have to wait until the rain stops which is supposed to happen at around 3 before heading out. The cool part about being off of work is I can really shoot for both. On the slate for tomorrow is to practice power loops and dives. I'll spend the first pack doing flips to get the D locked in, first and then go from there. I also want to work on my rates and expo settings. Expo wields me out but I think that it is the key to me making things smoother and getting the quad to do what I want.

I went ahead and ordered 10 sets of 5045 tri blade props. Hopefully I don't have to order new escs shortly after they arrive. I also ordered 3040 tri blades for the blade 150.

One thing I am realizing is... the way I am ripping around at the farm won't work in my yard. It is hard to comprehend the distances that I am covering, coupled with how fast I am covering them until you try to fly that way in a closed space. I'm going to need a lot of practice if I ever want to be able to fly in my yard again.

Db
 
#12

I can tell from the first roll that I need more D. You can see it throughout the video and I am a bit frustrated with myself for not adding more in between flights. I think I need to just come to grips with the fact that just because a number is bigger than I expect it to be doesn't make it a bad number to go with.

Today involved a lot of crashing. I'm not in control, or at least I am not in as much control as I think I am or would like to be. As I was flying around today I kept finding myself not on the line that I wanted to be on, and not knowing how to get myself there through corrections. All of this is hard because my goal is to get good at this, and I'm worried that I am learning bad habits and bad muscle memory that will take longer to break than not learning anything at all. Really I need to focus on getting the simulator software working properly. (another draw back of not doing what everyone else does.)

In any case, it is supposed to rain on and off tomorrow. Hopefully I'll be able to get out for a few packs during a break in the rain.

DB
 
#13

I can tell from the first roll that I need more D. You can see it throughout the video and I am a bit frustrated with myself for not adding more in between flights. I think I need to just come to grips with the fact that just because a number is bigger than I expect it to be doesn't make it a bad number to go with.

Today involved a lot of crashing. I'm not in control, or at least I am not in as much control as I think I am or would like to be. As I was flying around today I kept finding myself not on the line that I wanted to be on, and not knowing how to get myself there through corrections. All of this is hard because my goal is to get good at this, and I'm worried that I am learning bad habits and bad muscle memory that will take longer to break than not learning anything at all. Really I need to focus on getting the simulator software working properly. (another draw back of not doing what everyone else does.)

In any case, it is supposed to rain on and off tomorrow. Hopefully I'll be able to get out for a few packs during a break in the rain.

DB
I think it's much better to slowly raise the gains then trying to rush them up. D is the one gain that can destroy your components if its too high.
 
#14
I think it's much better to slowly raise the gains then trying to rush them up. D is the one gain that can destroy your components if its too high.
Thanks, and I'll keep that in mind. Part of this is seeing how much I have changed just by figuring out 1 or 2 things, and feeling like I'm getting closer to where I want to be so quickly, but not feeling like it is quickly enough.

Honest truth is, I should be really freaking happy with whatever progress I have made. A few weeks ago I learned how to do flips.

DB
 
#15
So I had a bad couple of days...well...one really bad day that sort of soured me on the rest of the week. (Not really.)

I went out to the usual farm and flew a few packs. I was having fun. All was well. I filmed one or two of the flights with my go pro before deciding on changing things up a bit. So I went to a kid's playground where I like to fly my 150, but because I don't have a way to record footage from it I was going to fly my Alien. Needless to say the playground had actual kids in it. So I decided...Why not fly here on the beach. The tide is out, so even if I crash I'll just have to brush off some sand. :-(

So I set up on a picnic Table, figured out where I wanted to fly, goggled up and took off. All was well until I decided to fly up the bluff and do a flip over the trees at the top.

I flipped the trees and video cut out.

So I switched into self leveling mode and gunned the throttle pulling up my goggles to see if I could see the quad come up over the trees. I couldn't even hear it.

Got my goggles back down and through a whole lot of snow I see that the quad has drifted about a half mile in towards town. which is when my radio signal started cutting in and out.

In my mind I'm seeing my quad failsafing right down into the middle of the main road through town only to get run over by a truck, so I head it back towards the beach.

Video which was already terrible cuts out again, and then my radio starts beeping to tell me that it has lost the signal also.

Goggles off now I am running up the road that goes up and around the bluff. I had my radio in hand, and as I headed in one direction the signal came back. It was super weak, but it came back. I keep going in that direction and for a while it is getting stronger and then it starts getting weak again.

Is my quad up a tree that I am walking under?

At this point still no video.

I wander around before I realize the bluff is blocking the signal.

On the other side of the bluff the signal comes in much stronger...Getting closer I begin to run...

My quad is out in the wet sand, inverted, half way into a tide pool. :-(

So...the damages...1 ESC, 1 Motor (different arms), and my go pro.

I decided to replace the camera with a Xiaomi Yi. I figure for $60 I can afford to drop it in the bay.

Lesson learned? I'm not sure. I won't fly that beach again, but I can't say I won't fly around water again. More spare parts? Yeah...probably...

Course, today I spent most of the day 3d printing a mount for my 360 degree camera. I had to sent that one in to get it refurbished after crashing it in my drive way. :-(

DB
 

PsyBorg

Wake up! Time to fly!
Mentor
#17
I think you should take your own advise and dial back the rc rates you are using until your hand eye coordination catches up. Maybe adding some more expo would help as well to smooth the flow of your direction changes a bit.

I crank up the rates in FPV freerider after warming up a bit just to push my reaction times as much as I can. That alone has helped massively in my flying. Spending 10 dollars on a sim like that and another 7-10 on an audio cable and stereo to mono adapter was well worth the investment vs what a serious crash costs to repair specially once you add in crazy shipping prices. Besides that I can fly when ever I want in it, hot days, cold days, rainy days, the middle of the night when I cant sleep. I'm surprised the neighbors have not called maintenance asking them to see if there are bees in the walls with all the buzzing from the sim.

The main thing I got from all the serious pilots is fast is not better. Slow and as smooth as possible is what makes you good. I have been burning batteries lately working on making my coordinated turns more smooth as I seem to have gotten lazy and balloon or fade a lot in turns. I also spent time working on adjusting roll, pitch, and yaw rate so they are more close to the same speed so the sticks are more even when I do coordinated turns and leave the rc rate for how fast the quad flips.
 
#18
Kudos on keeping it out of traffic and away from the kids and town. At the end of the day, that's all that really mattered.
Absolutely...Any day I can fly and crash and not make a bad name for quadcopter pilots I am a happy man. I don't ever want to end up in the news for this, because if I did I know it wouldn't be for anything good.

I think you should take your own advise and dial back the rc rates you are using until your hand eye coordination catches up. Maybe adding some more expo would help as well to smooth the flow of your direction changes a bit.
I hear you there...Actually I am realizing a few things. After studying up a bit, my ESCs probably aren't fast enough and don't have strong enough breaking for one. While I have been increasing D, I am probably way way off on that one, and given a couple of other factors ( my 2000 kv motors) without much more aggressive props I probably don't have a chance at a decent tune.

For smoothing things out, I definitely need more expo and to lower my rates. I set my rates to 70 percent on a switch and doubled my expo and things where a lot smoother, and I could still do flips. So yeah...that needs work too.

My goal for today is to go out and fly all 6 of my packs. Unfortunately 2 of them are 4s which I am not tuned for, and don't want to until I have 3s really dialed in, but if I get started early enough I can come home, charge up, and head back out again. In the next few weeks I'll reach out to Team Ecko (a local team) and see if they are still meeting up on Sundays.

I've been flying an extended figure 8 pattern around these small bushes at the farm. I've gotten pretty fast at it and can mostly maintain my altitude when the grass doesn't reach up and grab me. I do float up a bit when I bang the throttle at the end of the turn, but the camera tilt has helped me keep things low and lined up.

Have fun everyone.

DB
 
#19
Today felt like a new day. I felt like I was flying a completely new quad, and while I know my tune is far from perfect, I feel like I am getting closer by the minute. I ended up increasing D a whole lot after seeing someone else's numbers using the Graupner GR-18. I also increased I a bit too much, but I can fix that tomorrow. The rates are now set to 70% and expo is at 70% in Rate mode and 20% in self level. I will probably reduce self level to 0 though that matters less and less by the day.

Here is today's edit. You can hear the warble around center stick from "I" being too high

Here is the raw video from the third pack... You can see multiple bounces during hard moves...I'll have to flesh out that tune tomorrow.

DB
 

PsyBorg

Wake up! Time to fly!
Mentor
#20
I would suggest at least one maybe two flight sessions before making changes. That way you can confirm something is off and not be adjusting for a random wind gust that was higher then you could feel on your body coming over the trees. I am retuning for 4s myself and am finding the tighter I get my 3s tune the better 4s seems to work as both are getting more where I want it. I know several people who say they use same pids on 4s as they do 3s and adjust rc rate and tpa to compensate for the different battery sizes.

Its a bit too breezy to grab video of mine on 3s and 4s with same pids now that I have tightened them up more and adjusted the rc rates for the 4s. I did do an initial comparison after I first tried 4s on mine. This is my first tune for 3s using a 4s battery. My new setup is much better for both and I will do another video on a better flying day.

I messed up and filmed the 4s a tad to close so it goes outta frame a few times but you can see well enough the differences.