Who? Me and Ben.
When? 17th April 2016.
Why? Race course practice.
Sorry for the potato quality picture, my friend got this from a still on his GoPro, I had no pictures of it :) I built the course originally to run counter clockwise as some good and difficult corners looked like they will be great practice for some events coming up in the future. However, it was just too tight and didn't flow nicely at all, so we decided to try flying backwards (clockwise), and it completely changed the momentum of the course. This was much more fun with some tricky turns, but also meant a lot of the gates could now become corner gates to practice power turning through them.
My prop of choice for the day were HQProp 5x4x4 - these provide tons of power (very similar to 5045x3BN, except they are a good amount more efficient. This is perfect for my practice as I get some good flight times without disturbing any flight characteristics :)
I did go through a fair few propellers pushing my luck, but that's what it's all about! I managed to turn a quad prop into a 2-blade - something I have not done before :)
As you will see in the video, there is some netting up for badminton - this made an interesting obstacle for when we decided to not race - it was completely invisible when flying towards it from one direction. I had a few attempts at power looping it which worked well, and one of the attempts ended up like this, no props broken just my pride :)
I brought many quads and hardware with me, it has an awesome barn that we used for the pits area meaning I didn't have to worry about bringing limited equipment. I also had the 6-blade quad for testing if you have seen that on some of my other Facebook or Instagram posts. Sadly, I'm also testing a prototype flight controller and receiver, both of which seem to have a couple of bugs right now which meant my maiden didn't go as long as I'd planned, no FPV flights at all! I'm hoping these are fixed soon and I can get a video out.
So if you have been following my Instagram or Facebook, you'll know I've recently aquired an Oracle Video Diversity Controller. For the uneducated, it's essentially an analog video diversity switcher. It takes in video (and audio), via RCA, and will analyze the picture and switch accordingly to give you the best picture. Unlike the FR632 Diversity Receivers, it does not rely on RSSI, but the actual picture. I had heard good things about the box so when I decided to upgrade my current FR632 (it's currently only 32ch, the new one is 40ch), it made sense to grab one as a friend was selling one at a good price.
Antenna setup was an easy choice, cover the whole track with my 3 directional antennas, and then supply the fourth diversity receiver with a circular polarized antenna to cover all bases just in case I fly outside of the directional antennas.
Well what can I say, video was absolutely perfect throughout the day. Not a single glitch on the course whatsoever, crystal clear without fail. I did get some breakup flying above us, but then the building has a tin roof so that was to be expected. I'm super pleased with how it runs so far, there is no perceivable lag when using the box which was one of my concerns, so it must not alter the output to my goggles, just switch it when required.
It's not the best test as the environment I was flying in was very much RF noise-free, but I hope that when we are flying in more challenging areas such as the UK Drone Show that it will excel compared to just a single FR632. I modified my original FR632 mount to allow a normal battery strap to fit within the case, so that I can just strap them to the Oracle box. I've also adapted my Tripod connector to have a base that fits with the Oracle. This works very well.
You can find these items on Thingiverse here.
Without further ado here is the video from the date. I had great fun, probably burnt through around 20 lipos (we had onsite charging too), so it was great fun, and got some much needed practice in :)
I hope you enjoyed it, more coming soon..!
There's a few things currently in the works so expect a few more blog posts over the next few weeks.