Saturday, March 10, 2012

Y6: MultiWiiCopter: Part VII - Test Flight

This is my journal of the Y6 MultiWiiCopter build process. I do not claim to be a technical writer, nor an expert of advanced model engineering, and my goal for this blog post is to post images of my copter through construction and attach some notes of my successes and failures along the way, in hopes of helping others as they put together their copters. Please use my techniques and decisions at your own risk.
The instructions say that the first thing you should do before anything else is configure your transmitter for use with the PARIS boards using the MultiWiiConf software. Setting the sub-trim levels on the Aurora 9 transmitter and verifying that you have the right cables plugged into the PARIS in the right spots is essential.

The MultiWiiCopter site has the recommendations for these settings posted on their wiki. I really had to tweak my YAW settings, as I was not able to get the copter to ARM and DISARM gracefully. I tested each setting in the sub-trim menu for RUDD: and set to -13, which was the best I could find. Disarming is not always immediate.

65 degrees (F) in Wisconsin in March is rare, so I couldn't resist taking my new copter out for it's first test flight. It was much windier that I had hoped for, but couldn't wait any longer. All my Lipo's were charged, and I ventured out to find a spot where I would kill anyone if something went wrong. I also decided that putting the GoPro HD Hero 2 on the front would be a risk I was willing to take, whereas originally I was going to fly without the camera. I thought I would keep the copter low enough initially to keep the equipment safe.

It did take a bit to get the copter to fly without spinning in one direction of the other, but otherwise it seemed to fly well. Since I don't have a ton of experience with these things, I can only go off my gut feelings. I thought that the controllers were very touchy on the Aurora 9, and that one step in the throttle controls up or down made a big difference. I would have thought that I could have the copter hover, and I seemed to always be going up or down. The drift caused by the wind didn't help either, and really need to test this on a calm day. The good news is that I didn't have any major crashes, but did snap a few props with some hard landings.

The good news is that the Y6 flies. I was concerned over the build process that I would have issues, but seemed to have nailed it. I think now, I just need to work on balancing the props better, and getting more flying time. I'm not sure I was so nervous, outside of catastrophic failure worries, as my time flying the mini-quad definitely helped. I would recommend that anyone get flight time on a smaller copter before trying a Y6 like I did. The video below is towards the end of my test flights, and is recorded on a GoPro HD Hero 2 at 60fps. It was slowed down to 29.97fps in Adobe Premiere. Otherwise, there is no other video enhancement, or de-shaking. I can definitely see the vibrations in the footage, but am overall satisfied with the results. Not a big fan of the fisheye lens on the GoPro, so will need to add another servo for the panning to keep the horizon level, or just use my other camera.

Click on image below to view video:

Here is the same footage after running it through VirtualDub with DeShaker. I left the black edges on the footage so you can see how the software moves the video around to make a more stable video.

I will be honing my copter flying skills in the next few months as much as possible, as well as trying to find American suppliers of replacement propellers!

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