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Twitchity quad with power board - test build

Twitchity

Senior Member
#81
Looking good jhitesma :) I think I may need to order some more natural colored G10 on my next order for those that want to paint their copters. I used the Rust-Oleum 2x coverage spray paint on my prototype and it covered great and is nice and durable... I just don't think they make that hot pink ;)

I can't wait to hear how the quad performs once you finish flashing the ESCs and take it out for some testing.

cranial, I believe your hex has the same width arms as this quad, but longer. I'm surprised they've held up so well myself. I wasn't sure about the strength of the G10, but I think I need to stop worrying about it so much. This material has been impressing me every day it seems. I only wish it was stiffer, but then again it would probably break a lot easier then.
 

jhitesma

Some guy in the desert
Mentor
#82
For 1806 2300kv (and 2204) ONLY do this setting. Demag off and timing med-high. They are the important ones. Demag on and lower than med-high will result in smoke eventually.

Note: If this is the new revision of BLHeli then after trying the above setting you may be able to drop the timing to "Med" since the latest BLHeli has improved things I'm told but I haven't tried it since I now have the KISS esc's.
Ok, that sounds about like what I've been hearing. It is the new version and some of the options changed a bit in v12 so it's all a bit of a muddle to me. I keep getting mixed up between demag, damped and simonk's pwm_comp. Just can't seem to keep all these terms straight in my head.

Now to cobble up a 1 wire interface and see how that works out...fingers crossed :D I really don't want to spend another hour making teeny tiny connections trying to get the settings right on these!
 

jhitesma

Some guy in the desert
Mentor
#83
Oh - and Yeah I LOVE the natural G10 option. Rustoleum does have a nice pink but it's a more muted pink - I have it on my knuckle right now as I had some left over from painting my daughters step stool I built her.

And rustoleum can get heavy quick. I'd still like to keep weight down as much as possible and the spectra airbrush paints go on really thin and light but still look good due to their high pigment load. The base coat of acrylic white is a bit heavier but was all I had on hand. Those airbrush paints are so much nicer to work with but so much more expensive.

I don't expect any major changes in performance...but I'm hoping at least to get a bit more consistency with the cleaned up wiring and change to blheli. Let's see if I can get it back together today or not now!
 

jhitesma

Some guy in the desert
Mentor
#84
So after 30 minutes of banging my head against the wall trying to get my Arduino to work as a "USBLinker" and then trying to get my FTDI to work as a "1-wire" I gave up. Went back to start soldering the 6 tiny ISP connections again.

But when I got the ESC under the magnifier I noticed a teeny tiny thread of solder bridging the signal pad to a nearby resistor. Hmm...that's not good. Cleaned it up, hooked it back up to the FTDI 1-wire (since it was still setup) and...it works!

It's ugly but it works:
10643117_10152240576796805_1477324834_o.jpg


Hope I did this right, I've got:

Demag Compensation: OFF
PWM Frequency: Damped Light
Damping Force: Highest
Motor Timing: Medium High

(I also turned my beacon down to 5 minutes since I don't want to wait 10 minutes to test it :D And if I've let my copter sit powered up for 5 minutes then it's either lost or I've forgotten it's on.)

I also left Temperature Protection on....though being here in the desert with an expected high today of "Don't even ask" I'm a little worried it may kick in as soon as I step out the door :D

Now to start reassembly - may or may not have enough time to get this all back together before I'm on single dad duty for the afternoon...so if I've messed up those settings and am in for any nasty surprises there should be time to warn me.

I'm also giving in and accepting an extra gram or two of weight to add some 2 pin headers to the ESC's so I can change their settings easier down the road without having to tear it all apart again. So glad I finally got the 1-wire stuff working...need to try USBLinker mode again though since that's even easier for me to setup....
 

jhitesma

Some guy in the desert
Mentor
#85
Interesting...I wonder if the "natural" G10 is a little bit lighter than the black. With no added pigment I can see how it could be.

I'm wondering because I just tossed the original black arms and the new painted arms on a scale expecting the painted arms to be heavier due to the extra weight of the paint. But instead I found they were 2g lighter?!

Wish I had weighed them before painting now.

Twitchity - any chance you could try weighing a few identically sized pieces of natural vs black to see if this is some anomaly or if the natural really is lighter?


My only real concern with the painted arms is well well the paint adhered and whether or not it will last through some crashes :D If the G10 is flexing a bit in crashes I could see it cracking the paint and causing it to come off quicker.
 

Twitchity

Senior Member
#86
I'll see what I can do as far as the weight of the different types of G10 go. I might be able to find some equal sized pieces laying around somewhere.

I think you made a smart choice by leaving the pin adapters on the ESCs for ease of access to program them. I'd much rather have the extra few grams and the ease than the weight savings and the hassle of having to program them the other way.
 

jhitesma

Some guy in the desert
Mentor
#87
I'll see what I can do as far as the weight of the different types of G10 go. I might be able to find some equal sized pieces laying around somewhere.
No rush, just kind of curious :D

I think you made a smart choice by leaving the pin adapters on the ESCs for ease of access to program them. I'd much rather have the extra few grams and the ease than the weight savings and the hassle of having to program them the other way.
Yeah, for the extra 2g it adds a lot of convenience.
10643009_10152240755101805_1763719548_o.jpg

Now to add them on, wire the signal wires back to the FC...and...um...test fly I guess :D
10639225_10152240755616805_1687441116_o.jpg
 

Twitchity

Senior Member
#88
Wait for the onboard Mobius flying until you get the problem sorted out... I see those nylon standoffs popping off instantly when you hit the ground... Yes I said when, not if ;)
 

jhitesma

Some guy in the desert
Mentor
#89
Yeah, not even close to ready for the mobius yet...but wanted to get the standoffs installed while it was apart since otherwise I've have no chance of getting the nuts on the bottom of them :D

It's back together...and I did a test flight....but there are some major issues to work out.

It's less smooth than before. Though I'm pretty sure this is bad bearings in at least one motor based on the sound of it. Unfortunately the bearings I ordered didn't show up today so they won't be here until Monday at the earliest :(


Also, I can't get the ESC's to talk to blheli suite through the new programming headers. I think the problem there is that the afromini is getting power and sending a signal preventing the bootloader from connecting. But I've got no way to power the ESC's without powering the afromini.

This is also causing some issues with calibrating the ESC's...and they need it as one motor spins up way later than the other three now and they don't spin at all when armed - I have to give it some throttle to get them spinning now. But...I have no way to calibrate them without unsoldering the power wire between the one ESC and the afromini. Which I'm not looking forward to doing. Wish baseflight had a calibration routine like MW - would make things a lot easier. Since I can't power the afromini and ESC's separately without unsoldering a power wire there's no way I can think of to calibrate :(

But that same power issue is I suspect why I can't get the programming headers to work. So I'm going to have to devise a way to make it possible for me to connect/disconnect power from the afromini separately from the ESC's...which means some rewiring.


On the upside the new colors look GREAT in the air - much easier to see and stay orientated. And the regen on blheli seems to be working...but as expected it's not as good as the regen on KISS. It's a subtle difference but it's there.

I'm about to go into single dad mode though so more more time to work on it until tonight. I may drop back to a pre v12 version of blheli and turn off regen to see how that goes. But working out the wire wire situation is my big need. I also want to rewire my FTDI->1 wire adapter so it's a bit more robust.

Almost there...was enough for to me power up and confirm motors were going the right way.
10663381_10152240856536805_1454274639_o.jpg

Few details of the foam pad I use under the battery to protect the battery and give it something to grip against. It's just 1/4" foam with some notches cut into it to clear the nuts on the bottom.
10663284_10152240867141805_313993081_o.jpg

Such a colorful view from here now :D
10642570_10152240869701805_1636260993_o.jpg

All set for an ill-advised test flight!
10650544_10152240883121805_1704007664_o.jpg
 

Twitchity

Senior Member
#90
As far as calibrating the ESC's through baseflight, could you go to the Motor Testing tab, check the box, turn the master slider all the way up, plug in battery, let it beep, turn the slider down to calibrate the ESCs? She does look nice and colorful though :) I contemplated using the PDB as my top frame but think I'll stick with it being on the bottom.
 

jhitesma

Some guy in the desert
Mentor
#91
As far as calibrating the ESC's through baseflight, could you go to the Motor Testing tab, check the box, turn the master slider all the way up, plug in battery, let it beep, turn the slider down to calibrate the ESCs? She does look nice and colorful though :) I contemplated using the PDB as my top frame but think I'll stick with it being on the bottom.
That's the problem though, you aren't supposed to power the afromini off the FTDI port and battery at the same time, it can burn it out.

Even ignoring that sage advice I tried it...and as soon as I plug in the battery the afromini reboots - so it looses the settings from the motor tab and looses connection with the configurator :(

To calibrate them before I had to unsolder the power wire then power the afro off the FTDI, run up the motor slider, plug in the battery, then turn down the motor slider.

I think what I'm going to do is put two pins in-line on the positive wire to the afromini so I can install a jumper for flight, and then for ESC programming and calibration I can remove it so I can power the ESC's separately.
 

Twitchity

Senior Member
#92
That Afro mini sounds like a complete pain; its no wonder why everyone wanted the Naze32 over the Afro mini. Without any experience with these sorts of controllers I would have been beyond frustrated long ago and given up and bought something different.
 

jhitesma

Some guy in the desert
Mentor
#94
Yeah the afromini is not for the inexperienced builder! It's a great value and more power than an acro naze...but the gotchas are a bit tricky to deal with.

And I remembered about no mail on Monday as soon as I posted that :( Easy to forget since my wife doesn't have it off :(
 

Tritium

Amateur Extra Class K5TWM
#95
I did make progress on the Twitchity build today. I got my Naze Afro Acro reworked to only 9 pins and only the 3 receiver pins are visible. The esc signal wire/power/gnd pins (6) are beneath the board (Thanks Twitchity, If I had not seen your dead board I would not have known about the pin trick).

I am going to use the DYS 1806-2300KV's from multirotorminis.com and their BLHeli 12A esc's as well. I was going to use 12A red esc's from RTFQ but I changed my mind.

Tomorrow evening I'll mount the motors and wire up the esc's. I hope to finish it up and get it in the air Monday if all goes well.

Thurmond
 

jhitesma

Some guy in the desert
Mentor
#96
Can't wait to see how yours does. I'm really curious to see how those emax blheli ESC's do. I'm suspecting my esc's less and less and my motors more and more as the root of my problems.

Waiting for bedtime right now so I can do some more work on mine. Not sure what setting in bl is causing the motors to need so much more throttle before starting...but hopefully doing a calibration on them will help. It shouldn't be necessary though since they have their min/max set to the same values as in baseflight which is what the whole calibration is supposed to achieve. But theory vs. practice and all....
 

jhitesma

Some guy in the desert
Mentor
#97
Mama's home on lunch...snipped the power wire to the afro and was able to do a calibration. Also determined that the problem I was having with the new programming headers on the ESC's was due to my quick and dirty 1-wire connector. I was accidentally connecting to DTR instead of GND for the ground wire...Doh!

Quad flies MUCH better now. I can definitely feel the regen but again it's limited by the hardware and not nearly as good as on the KISS.

It's still not perfect. There's still some pulsing going on that gets worse at higher RPM's. Pretty sure it's bearings though and replacements are on the way. Still flew half a pack in the front yard and it was feeling better than it has since the first day or two on the wood frame.

No video though, was too dark already - which is also why I only got to fly half a pack. Not enough lights on it to fly any longer and I was loosing orientation pretty quickly. Despite how it looks in the sun the neon pink does not actually generate it's own light :D
 

jhitesma

Some guy in the desert
Mentor
#99
Would you like a few 5mm UV leds to point towards those arms?
I actually have some...but thanks for mentioning it as I didn't stop to check if it was UV reactive...Turns out they are! The props light up fairly nice too:

10663239_10152241489406805_1097178726_o.jpg

10658509_10152241489461805_1660283872_o.jpg

Cheap 14 led UV light I picked up on dx.com a few years ago for a couple of bucks. Not bad for 5' away (to get a big enough circle to cover the whole quad.)

Just not sure how I could mount some led's to get them to shine back well enough to be useful...maybe a few SMT UV LED's on the arms shining up at the props....


Update following shortly with some minor tweaks and improvements I did this evening. But I just finished swapping a motor. I set the quad up and used the highest resolution setting in the baseflight configurator to take a look at vibrations from each motor. 2 are really smooth, on the highest sensitivity the biggest peaks are within the two gradations closest to the center. The other two...one was just past the gradations...and the 4th...it was off the chart.

So I swapped the one that was off the chart for the one I replaced the bearings on that used to be nothing but trouble...and it's now showing the least vibrations.

I'm really looking forward to the replacement bearings I ordered...I think the stock bearings in these just don't take much abuse (hey they're TINY I wouldn't expect them to) and started going south quick. Can't wait to do a test flight in the morning on the swapped motor.
 

jhitesma

Some guy in the desert
Mentor
Did a little rewiring on the 1-wire FTDI adapter. Now that I know it works I wanted to make it a little safer and easier to use than this:

10643117_10152240576796805_1477324834_o.jpg

That worked...but it was a mess to use, was in danger of shorting out or falling apart, and it was hard to remember where to connect up the ESC. So I decided to clean it up:

10658457_10152241424716805_582241248_o.jpg


That's better...but still not quite right. Wire lengths are all over the place. Problem was the schematic they provide is really kind of a mess to follow. It's good if you want to understand what's really going on...but not very helpful if you're looking to physically wire this setup up. With a bit of adjusting I was able to get a much cleaner setup. Not perfect but clean enough for me:
10650462_10152241439831805_125107659_o.jpg

A bit more heat shrink to protect the resistor (1k) and diode:
10647540_10152241440361805_1292190924_o.jpg

And one more layer to keep it all together. It's a bit stiff now, but that will keep me from bending it and damaging the resistor and diode and how they're attached:
10601992_10152241460096805_227764537_o.jpg

Still works, and now it's much easier to use and more reliable!

I still have to come up with a better way to kill power to the afromini. I ended up just snipping the positive wire - then after calibrating the ESC's I tinned the ends and rejoined them with a drop of solder. Not the best solution. I want to add a pin header with a jumper but will have to dig up a jumper and I'm not sure the best way to insulate the connection and keep the jumper from coming off by accident. So for now I have to break out the soldering iron still to disable the afromini. But I'll come up with a better fix soon I'm sure.