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Nighthawk Pro Ready to Fly

themajik1

Monkey/Bear Poker
Mentor
#1
So, this just happened...

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Got it from Gearbest. Not sure if it would be all that great, but after attaching the video tx antenna and AA batteries in the remote, and attaching a Tattu 1300mAh 75C battery to the quad... I took it out for a couple of quick test flights. I think it looks to be a good flyer for sure.


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n_3kaIz9aKc
 

jhitesma

Some guy in the desert
Mentor
#2
You and FlyingMonkey picked them up. That does it, I have to make up a video on flashing dRonin and running autotune on these so you guys can give it a try ;)

I love what it's done for mine. Just feels so much better than I ever got it manually tuning.
 

themajik1

Monkey/Bear Poker
Mentor
#3
You and FlyingMonkey picked them up. That does it, I have to make up a video on flashing dRonin and running autotune on these so you guys can give it a try ;)

I love what it's done for mine. Just feels so much better than I ever got it manually tuning.
Let me know when you do and I will give it a go!

Yaw is sluggish and I have not done any tuning yet... Should I wait?
 

jhitesma

Some guy in the desert
Mentor
#7
Let me know when you do and I will give it a go!

Yaw is sluggish and I have not done any tuning yet... Should I wait?
You can always bump the yaw rate to get more responsiveness out of it. I'm not sure if the RTF is any different than the ARF but the ARF came with bone stock baseflight settings programmed. Which flew better than I expected....but there was definitely untapped potential. But I spent quite a few packs trying to tune BaseFlight better and could never quite tune out a few things.

So I swapped over to CleanFlight and then BetaFlight. The big limit is that with the stock ESC firmware you won't be able to use oneshot and I'm not convinced that the braking setting EMAX claims enables damped light really does and isn't just a normal ESC brake. So I did go ahead and reflash my ESC's with the latest blheli - not necessary unless you want to push every bit of performance you can out of it (and might be easier to do with pushpins against the programming pads instead of soldering headers to them like I did.)

Both Clean and Beta flight blew much better on their defaults and with a bit of tuning I was even happier...but there were still little things I couldn't tune out.

With dRonin I've just been happy and the autotune gave me a tune with no bad tendencies.

It's really not that hard to flash. Basically you use the Base/Cleanflight configurator just as if you were flashing a custom build of Base/Clean/Betaflight only instead you select the ef_naze32.hex file from the dRonin distribution. The other big catch is the motor numbering on dRonin is a bit different so there's some stuff you have to configure there.

I actually did a first take of the video about two weeks ago...but left out the motor stuff and had a few small issues that could be improved. So I want to redo it. Wife is getting ready to go to sleep so maybe it will be quiet enough back here I can give it another shot before bed :D

I'm curious what the default settings are on the RTF version. Can you post a screen shot of the PID's and Rates? Did they have the radio setup already or did you have to do that yourself? Just curious if they shipped the RTF's as stock as the ARF's
 

jhitesma

Some guy in the desert
Mentor
#8
Ok, I need to do a little more cleanup and make some support material but here's how to flash to dRonin and back.


I actually left out the easy way to flash back to *flight which is in the dRonin GCS on the Firmware tab. In there you can click on "Halt" to but the board into bootloader mode. Then disconnect in the dRonin GCS and use cleanflight with no reboot sequence enabled. That should usually work without having to short the boot pads. Sometimes halt doesn't work reliably on some boards so I forget about that method, I'm just used to using boot pads.

Here's going through the basic setup of a Nighthawk 280:


Warning - I haven't had a chance to actually fully test and flight test that setup I recorded last night and it's kind of crazy windy out today so not sure if I'll get to test it today. But it looks like what I usually use so it should be good. I'm just not making the videos public on my youtube channel until I've confirmed them a bit better.

I also want to record doing a full autotune with screen capture of the computer side, but here's an older mobius only account of autotune on the 280 with an early build of dRonin (so things in the GCS have changed a bit since then but not much yet.)


The dRonin project website is http://dronin.org/ we do have facebook and twitter pages...but you'll just get me answering if you ask there :) We don't have a forum yet but do have a google group a few of the devs watch (but it's a google group so no one but devs wants to go there.) For now the best way to get help is to use the link on the project site to bring up an IRC session. The devs are really busy but will take time to help. So it's preferred that you just ask a question rather than ask if you can ask one when stopping in.

I'll try and get this one tested and video recorded of the autotune...and try to refine the first two videos a bit more. But that's the basics of flashing over and setting up dRonin.
 

jhitesma

Some guy in the desert
Mentor
#9
Just test flew and confirmed the setup was correct. Unfortunately too windy to do a good autotune. I ran two and got questionable results both times. Since I was getting blown all over by the wind I'm not surprised. Autotune does best when you can just let it sit and wiggle, moving it around a lot while tuning can negatively affect the results.
 

themajik1

Monkey/Bear Poker
Mentor
#10
Just test flew and confirmed the setup was correct. Unfortunately too windy to do a good autotune. I ran two and got questionable results both times. Since I was getting blown all over by the wind I'm not surprised. Autotune does best when you can just let it sit and wiggle, moving it around a lot while tuning can negatively affect the results.
Thanks jhitesma! I will have to play with this once I decide to reflash.
I am going to play with this a little, then more than likely wil give this a go. Your help is appreciated!!!
 

French

Construire Voler S'écraser Répéter
#11
I just purchased one of these. I've been reading and watching videos most of the day (oops) trying to lay out my plan of attack when it arrives. You certainly seem to have a lot of this quad figured out, jhitesma

For very tame, beginner flying should I stick with cleanflight for a while? Should I go straight to another firmware? I don't need anything super acro, but would like to master flips.

Any suggestions for replacement props?
Any suggestions for stable PID settings? I'll likely be running 1300mah 3S to start out since I have some laying around. I'd also like to mount a GoPro (may be asking a lot).
I'm not likely going to be running FPV for a while, can I just flip off the VTX switch and leave off the antenna? Should I physically unplug the VTX to keep it from frying?
I saw where someone else on YouTube cut and mounted a thin 1mm thick CF plate under the board. Would that make sense to reduce the likelihood of smashing it to bits in a gnarly crash?
 

jhitesma

Some guy in the desert
Mentor
#12
I just purchased one of these. I've been reading and watching videos most of the day (oops) trying to lay out my plan of attack when it arrives. You certainly seem to have a lot of this quad figured out, jhitesma

For very tame, beginner flying should I stick with cleanflight for a while? Should I go straight to another firmware? I don't need anything super acro, but would like to master flips.
Did you get the ARF or the RTF? The ARF comes with bone stock baseflight while the RTF apparently comes with at least a bit of a basic tune on it's otherwise stock baseflight setup.

Though even on the bone stock just flashed baseflight setup it's entirely flyable it really comes alive with a better tune. When just starting I'd say there's no need to monkey with things - but if you can get someone with an RTF to share the stock tune from that it may give slightly better results than the baseflight defaults.

I really wouldn't worry about flashing over to cleanflight right away and honestly I'm not a huge fan of cleanflight, or baseflight or raceflight.

I've been quite happy with mine since I flashed dRonin and the autotune got it flying better than hours of manual tuning with *flight ever did.

Any suggestions for replacement props?
I've used the following on mine, all 2 blade - I've yet to play with tri blades as I haven't had much time to fly since they became popular:

FC 6x4.5" - Cheap, reasonably durable and reasonable performance. IMHO best bang for the buck. But...the only place I know to get them is himodel and shipping is crazy unless you order a LOT.

HQ 6x4.5" - Expensive, high performance but fragile. If you're looking to get the most performance HQ rocks...but you better have deep pockets or not crash.

DAL 6045 - Tough, lower performance than FC or HQ, but cheap and hold up to a lot of abuse. Good for when you're learning and can perform decently...but due to balance issues not the best if you're looking to record video.

KingKong 6045 - Tougher than the DAL's but lowest performance. Dirt cheap. Ok when you're first starting out I guess but the performance is abysmal. Might be too tough in that you may end up breaking other things like motor shafts.

I tried some 5" props as well, but on 3s didn't find them worth bothering with, on 4s you'd need to go 5" but if you're just starting out there's no need to mess with 4s.

I also tried some 6040's from HQ and DAL and they're not bad...a little lower performance but can give slightly longer flight times in exchange.

Any suggestions for stable PID settings? I'll likely be running 1300mah 3S to start out since I have some laying around.
Nope, I ditched *flight before I got a tune I was happy with and really PID's are something that it doesn't make a lot of sense to share as so much can affect them. 1300's will work as long as they're a high enough C rating (you'll want around a 40c or so with 1300) but you'll only get 4-5 minutes of flight. 1500's are a better bet since you can get by with a lower C and get a bit more flight time. 2200's will work...but at that point you don't really gain much because of the extra weight...it feels a lot heavier in the air with a 2200.

I'd also like to mount a GoPro (may be asking a lot).
Can probably handle it...but GoPro's are too rich for my blood so I've only flown my mobius and can't give any advice on mounting a GoPro or how it handles with one.

I'm not likely going to be running FPV for a while, can I just flip off the VTX switch and leave off the antenna? Should I physically unplug the VTX to keep it from frying?
Just turning the switch off should be ok, but unplugging it wouldn't be a bad idea. Actually removing it would be best since then you won't risk damaging it in a crash and will shed a few OZ's to help make up for it being a kind of heavy setup.

I saw where someone else on YouTube cut and mounted a thin 1mm thick CF plate under the board. Would that make sense to reduce the likelihood of smashing it to bits in a gnarly crash?
Honestly I don't think it helps much and this is already a heavy quad for it's size. I know some people got replacement all in one boards that didn't have the protective coating on them and then yeah it would make sense. But I've flown mine through sprinklers and landed in wet grass as well as crashed into pavement and rocks all with no damage to the main board even though I've sheared off a couple of arm mounting screws from impacts.

That said...when you're first starting you tend to find all kinds of new and creative ways to crash things and break them...so a little extra weight for extra protection may not be a horrible thing.
 

French

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#13
Thanks for all your guidance. I picked up the ARF as I already have a 6 channel TX and RX. Great idea on trying to find someone with the settings for a RTF model. I just pulled up the Painless360 video of the RTF version and took a quick screen grab of his PID settings in baseflight:
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http://youtu.be/hxEgYC8StQw

Here are some from 2dogrc in cleanflight:
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Interesting...

Is there a good resource to determine all the differences between the *flights? I assumed from reading that cleanflight was better than baseflight.

I have a 25-50C Nanotech and 45-90C Nanotech. I was kinda hoping for more than 4-5 min flight times. Should I be looking at 1500 mahs or 1800 mahs? Where do you think the extra weight hurts more than the extra capacity? 2200 mah?
 
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French

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#14
Can you help point me in the right direction of where to find the FC or HQ props? Thanks

Also, should I stay away from enabling one shot on this quad? I'm reading mixed answers.
 

jhitesma

Some guy in the desert
Mentor
#15
Is there a good resource to determine all the differences between the *flights? I assumed from reading that cleanflight was better than baseflight.
Baseflight is a 32bit port of multiwii to the STM32 chip used on the Naze32 flight controller. It's basically Multiwii with a few changes that make it easier to configure and setup and even fewer changes to the flight code.

Cleanflight is a fork of Baseflight that adds a lot of extra options and doodads. It has a few changes to the flight code like some alternative PID controllers but whether the changes are a good thing or a bad thing is rather hotly debated. If you like lots of settings to play with and fiddle with...it's a great option.

BetaFlight is a fork of Cleanflight where big changes are implemented quickly so it changes from week to week sometimes for the better...sometimes not. Good changes theoretically find their way back to Cleanflight but this hasn't always been the case for a number of reasons.

Raceflight is a fork of Cleanflight aimed at F4 chips ideally with more of a focus on racing performance than extra features.

I have a 25-50C Nanotech and 45-90C Nanotech. I was kinda hoping for more than 4-5 min flight times. Should I be looking at 1500 mahs or 1800 mahs? Where do you think the extra weight hurts more than the extra capacity? 2200 mah?
How you fly will affect flight time almost as much as battery. If you just fly light and easy you may get more like 7-8 minutes out of those 1300's. But if you fly aggressively you'll be down to 4-5 minutes. Most aggressive setups don't tend to go over 5 minutes anway...and really after 5 minutes of hard fast FPV...that feels like a good thing :D

I'd say 1800 is about the point where any bigger of a pack will start to negatively affect the handling enough to not really be worth it. But it's really a personal preference thing. To me with a 2200 it's a dog and not much fun to fly. But there are others who love it with a 2200.
 

jhitesma

Some guy in the desert
Mentor
#16
Can you help point me in the right direction of where to find the FC or HQ props? Thanks
The only places I know of to get the FC's are himodel.com and it looks like myrcmart.com has them but I've never ordered them from there so I don't know for sure that they're the same props.

HQ's you can find all over the place. Most of the usual mini quad shops carry them. I personally like hothelirc.com because they're in the same state as me so even cheap 1st class postal gets them to me in 1-2 days...and he tosses in a jolly rancher with each order which my sweet tooth appreciates ;)

Also, should I stay away from enabling one shot on this quad? I'm reading mixed answers.
With the stock firmware on the ESC's oneshot won't work. You'll have to reflash them with "real" blheli not the funky modified version emax ships with to run oneshot. Once you do that they run oneshot and damped light quite well - but flashing them isn't for the faint of heart due to it being an all in one board - so any mistake ruins the whole $70 board instead of just a $10 ESC.
 

French

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#17
I saw your setup for flashing your escs last night. Color me impressed. Nice job.

Thanks for all the insight on this quad. I think I'm going to go with cleanflight and 2dog's numbers initially. I'll assume I'll be hanging out in angle/horizon mode for a while. I do know I want to do the vbat mod and add a buzzer.
 

jhitesma

Some guy in the desert
Mentor
#18
Just keep in mind most of this is personal opinion. Ask 5 different people you'll get 5 different answers all of which are "right" ;)

I would suggest completely ignoring angle mode and trying to resist using Horizon - it will just make it harder to learn acro and when you get into FPV acro is really the only way to go. Even LOS acro is a LOT better for a number of reasons. Yeah, the learning curve is steeper but starting in a leveling mode and then trying to learn acro makes it even steeper still.

If you really want to use Horizon I'd suggest putting it on a momentary switch like the trainer switch so you only use it as an intermittent "rescue" button and not something to fly with full time. Starting with lower rates and acro is a much better path to proficiency than higher rates in horizon. Yeah high rates and horizon will get you flipping ASAP...but you won't be nearly as good of a pilot overall. And really if you can't control the craft without assistance then doing flips and rolls isn't a great idea.