Monday, 13 October 2014

FPV Video

A short while ago I taught myself how to fly an RC airplane and rigged it up with an FPV (First Person View) video setup, so I can watch from the plane's point of view while I fly.

Here is a youtube video (with the really boring bits edited out) of my first flight using a recorder for the video feed.  The whole flight was on one battery.



Check out my Guide on How To Build and Fly an FPV RC Airplane!

Wednesday, 1 October 2014

An FPV RC Setup, or The Guide I Wished I Had



I decided to get into RC aircraft with FPV (first person view) and did it the hard way by learning it all myself.  This is the guide I wished I had when I had started.

I was never interested in RC flying because as far as I was concerned, the plane is the one having all the fun.  FPV changes that by putting a little camera on the plane and letting you fly from the plane's point of view.  Now I can be the one having the fun, and so can you!




Friday, 12 September 2014

Hacking a Mini Quadcopter Controller to Add Yaw Control Shoulder Buttons

Some time ago I purchased a well-reviewed and recommended to me micro quadcopter, the Cheerson CX-10 (I bought mine from banggood.com)

It works well but I modified it to be even better.


It taught me that if I had started with a full-sized quadcopter, I would have certainly wrecked it!  Flying one is a lot harder than I expected, but happily this little thing is very sturdy and is radio controlled, not IR controlled, so it can be flown outdoors.  It has been very useful in teaching me the basics.

However, one complaint I have is that the Yaw control (rotating left/right to change where "front" is facing) is done by turning the throttle joystick left or right.  There's no real problem with this, but on such a small remote and small joystick it's nearly impossible to tilt the joystick left or right without also moving it up or down and changing the throttle.

I solved this with a minor hack to add two "shoulder buttons" that will rotate the model left or right at a moderate rate when pressed.  I can still use the joystick, but I prefer to use the joystick only for throttle and use the new shoulder buttons to control Yaw.  Much better!


Thursday, 21 August 2014

Upgrade to Low Water Sensor for Rancilio Silvia

A long time ago I made a simple low water-level sensor for my Rancilio Silvia espresso machine.  It worked great for a long time but it wasn't really made to last.  I recently upgraded it.  It's much more robust and reliable, and here's how it looks now.



Thursday, 31 July 2014

Mooltipass Beta Testing - Hardware Received!

I just received my Mooltipass beta hardware.  It's a sleek, shallow black box with a slot in one end (for the smart card) and a micro USB connector in the other.


The unit has a sleek and seamless appearance.  A layer of protective film covers the top surface.

Right now the unit is only running some test code that makes sure the raw hardware (OLED display, touchpad, etc) are working.  I love how the display and LED lighting are smoothly integrated with and into the front panel.



Everything checks out so far, I'm awaiting firmware updates so that the unit is made functional.  Then I can begin actually using it.  But so far, so good!


Wednesday, 9 July 2014

Getting to Know FirePick Delta - the $300 Pick-and-Place/3D Printer

The "$300 Pick and Place / 3D printer" project featured on Hackaday Projects (and a quarterfinalist for the Hackaday Prize) is a machine called the FirePick Delta.

It is currently under rapid development, and while there is a web site as well as the Hackaday project page and various github repositories and wikis, it's hard to grasp it all if you're not elbows-deep in the development yourself.  (Update 2014-07-19: new website for the FirePick Delta!)

This page is intended to help people more easily understand the following:

What exactly is the FirePick Delta, and what (does and doesn't) it consist of?

Tuesday, 8 July 2014

Laser Cut Your Own Solder Stencils, and Matching PCB Jigs Too

Laser cutting solder stencils from Mylar sheets is effective and economical - especially if you have access to a laser cutter.  But just the stencil is only part of the solution.  If you have more than one or two boards to do,  you'll find that as soon as you do one PCB you'll find it hard to line up the next one because you can no longer see through the stencil.  Also, it's harder to get an even paste layer because you need to press the stencil down evenly on the board while squeegeeing - which gets harder to do with your fingers the more the stencil gets pasted up.