Posts Tagged ‘flight controller

26
Mar
18

repair of the UDI drone/ state of the drone/ updated

What happens when you try to connect a 2S battery to a 1S powered drone. A faster more responsive vehicle ? No,  a smoked transistor! What does happen to these small components is that it isn’t exactly smoked, it popped right off the circuit board, nowhere to be found.

So I would take a chance, to practice my soldering skills and replace the transistor.  I went online and found the transistors, 20 of them for 95 cents USD . A small quantity seeing that most quantities start off at 100 pieces. They arrived and they are miniscule, here compared to the old school through hole transistors days past.

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The 2300 FET on top of a through hole can type semiconductor.

here’s the packaging..

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Now the repair.. the 2nd from the left of the row of transistors, also had to fashion a wire to replace a section of the copper trace that was burnt off the board. Not to mention I used a 600 power  microscope  to see and clean up the board before soldering. Not real expensive microscope for it’s functions and potential, but working with  boards that will require soldering headers or wires and repairs it makes it easier to see than balancing a Ipad and using that as a magnifier.

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Now for the test ??????????… ……………………………………….. flight again !

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The old UDI unplugged version, is a favorite flyer and even though just a toy, a good test to repair and modify props and get some basic flying skills in, other power modifications  such as using a bigger power source such as a 2S power LIPO through a 5 volt BEC (voltage regulator)  which did not work. This is the goto drone for flying and testing as I have numerous 1S batteries for use.

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The ALPHA1 250 Class Drone

 IMG_4611

First 250 class drone build

 (carbon Fibre version)
Description:
1.5mm thick carbon fiber fuselage frame components.
Machined carbon fibre propulsion support arms  3.0mm thickness
 Jin Zhuzai alumium standoffs ,lightweight stanchions
Specifications:
– Main material: Full carbon fiber
– With rubber dampers to decrease vibration during flight (not in use)
-Jin Zhuzai alumium alloy spacers, light weight, reliable
– Wheelbase: 250mm class ALPHA1
– Hull Plating : None
– Photonic emitters : None
– Landing gear : Jin Zhuzai alumium standoffs, bottom of chassis
Propulsion System:
SI-Monk 12A ESC Speed Controller  X4

Specifications:
Continuous Current: 12A
Burst current (10S): 15A
Li-xx Battery (cell): 1-3
Dimension (L*W*H): 25mm x 17mm x 7mm
Weight wires Included: 8g
BEC Mode: Linear
BEC Output: 1A/5V
Programmable: Yes Rotation direction of the motor is programmable: normal, reverse or bidirectional
All parameters can be programmed via using a program card or a transmitter, including default settings
Multiple protection features including low voltage cut-off protection/over-heat protection/throttlesignal loss protection
Alarm to help you find the devices: keep the throttle on FULL ON position for a while, the ESC will help
Throttle range can be configured and is fully compatible with all receivers, providing smooth, linear and precise throttle response.

2300KV 2204 Brushless Motor X4

Parameters:

KV: 2300
MAX Thrust: 440 G
Battery Cell:2~3S
Framework: 12N14P
Propeller: 5″~6″
Length: 32.2 MM
Diameter: 27.9 MM
Shaft : 3 MM

Air suction system design, rapid cooling, higher efficiency and longer life
U clip prevents bearing from loosening
High precision CNC machining exquisite design, stern quality control revealing the user taste and position
The rotation direction of motor was marked on the front bell, making it easier to determine rotation direction for CW and CCW motors
Low CG design, decreasing vibration whe motor runs Light weight built
Designed for mini multicopters, better flight performance
CW and CCW propeller adapters included, holding the propellers tight.
Hex wrenches and propeller wrench included with mounting hardware.

Flight Controller; Programming and Calbration

CC3D EVO Flight Controller Board 32 Bits Processor Openpilot Side Pin For QAV250 Quadcopter

Buying this flight controller some time ago, the progress in flight controller development  is swift. One could devote all their time to just the software and programming of these microprocessors rather than flying drones. Support for some of these boards can drift in and out of favor.  When working with an open source project it also may lose support , that being the software required to calibrate, program and adjust the flight controller. You can go the YouTube , Google it route, for advisement but the reality that I have found is that you  eventually get the system to connect and function without getting into specifics like boot loaders and compatibility ,Yes you can get on the internet merry-go-round to get solutions from videos and forums, but some are cryptic without results or merit. I found that DRonin flight control ground station, a GUI based program, is compatible with the CC3D board. Even using different platforms , a Macbook versus Windows machine didn’t produce the same results, windows would work but the Mac version of DRonin didn’t.  The big boys heave the obsolete hardware and move on but me being the stubborn variety , (HACK IT)  will get it to work even though to some it’s a miniscule amount of money involved. (generally I buy and build by the piece by piece method and tackle it when the mood strikes), I’m often late the party. That’s why I have probably 10 different GCS packages on different computers.

Building Alpha1 first as a test bed, the frame is basic and the wiring is complete enough for testing. A 2S battery provides power for testing and short power ups. A 4 channel Sunfounder receiver and TU transmitter is used to test the input to the flight controller. Once it is tuned, I’ll clean up the wiring and build up chassis  and add enhancements. 6 channel reciever, transmitter, video, transmitter etc.

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UPDATE:

One more try with the Libre Pilot Ground Control Software . After reading a few more notes from online sources, with no power, shorted the boot pins, and connected the USB cable to the flight controller. Boot loader did it’s thing and reflashed firmware. Rebooted and was able to use the Librepilot system. Next with a circular bubble level on the chassis, made sure it was properly level. As you may take this for granted that your bench or desktop is level. (similar to a basic configuration of any machine surface, you want to calibrate that the bed is level, thus accurate readings of the sensors on the flight controller).

Now the battery that was used for the test flight and bench top configuration was woefully under powered as the drone did not react properly only lifting off several inches. Soldering up some connectors for a larger battery capacity type and fastening it on the underbelly provided the final piece to the puzzle. Hover time and maneuvering test completed. One prop blade snapped.

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29
May
17

UDI RC repair

Since my previous post https://pmetro.wordpress.com/2017/02/05/the-flying-computer what direction would be next? Since there are a overabundance of drones on the market,  many do not get that great of reviews, or over simplify the ease of flying and have a short flight time due to the size of the battery especially at the lower end price points. Some reviewers simply state that there is a lot of junk out there. If you are not experienced and want to join the ranks of drone operators, note recommendations and reviews of current high end drone operators with experience as to what drone they flew as a starter either as a racer or photographer, in other words what is cost effective for multiple  crashes.

Technology has progressed the drone into basically two types, at the higher end of the consumer market, racing or photography. As with other types of electronics smaller lighter and faster can be the general rule to racing drones and photography, (could also be branched out to heavy lifting) stability, reliability and stunning high definition cameras on remote control gimbals  have captured the market. The new announcements releases from leading drone manufacturers to drone operators is the same furor as  the latest smartphone presentation. Prices are reasonable as with every advance there is more technology for the price. This is a growth area with the application of different technology ever expanding.

Drones have given the radio controlled hobby market a kick in the pants. Certainly a few manufacturers have taken the lead and it reminds me of other breakout tech companies when a market first explodes, such as personal computers and cell phones. Some will be shaken out and others will consolidate. The amount of technology applications involved run from remote telemetry, autonomous control, GPS, vision and remote recognition as just a few before even getting into the array of sensors utilized to give the drones stable flight. Racers have not been left out , first person view, cameras and FPV vision goggles make these people look like Borg wanna be’s. Lipo battery technology give racers crazy amounts of power and brushless motor technology constantly boost the top speeds of these racing demons.

So instead of another complete kit, as of yet, after perusing the many hobby sites and quad copter forums, a new drone was out of the question, and trying to keep the cost low would limit me to an unreliable toy for learning flight. Now many of the online hobby shops  carry repair parts with some low cost consumer drone hobby models having practically all of the parts available to build one from the ground up, this is true with racing drones as they can be built in stages but would add up to a high cost , there would be an alternative to  gaining flight practice and  knowledge.     I decided a repair/modification of a drone would be the best route to become familiar with the types of technology being utilized. So off to the junkyard so to speak in search of a decent learner drone needing to be rescued. (Many first time drone buyers simply trying out the hobby crash and burn so to speak, so postings from Ebay on drones for parts etc. gave some promising results)

 

Note: If you want to repair drones look up replacement parts beforehand,  many models are supported either through the original manufacturer or third party sources, ALi Express, Banggood, Ebay, drone forums Etc. Much information can be obtained from hobby sites , you tube videos, online user manuals.

Lets get to it so we can fly….

 

From the drone bone yard, a UDI RC salvage from E-bay. Model 818A.

Basically bought from E-bay used, listed as one rotor not turning. After arrival and check,  one of the propellers is binding . After further checking the motor is the cause.

Ordered replacement motor and also a remote transmitter control  along with spare propellers as the control transmitter  was not included in the purchase this is another factor since many low priced drones have of their own proprietary remote transmitter. (more on this later)

Previously I had removed the canopy cover and propeller guard, a one piece snap off unit and unplugged the connections to the flight controller. Take pictures of the connections or draw up in a note pad a schematic before disassembly or research pin outs for the motor connections and LEDs of the flight controller board. (google etc.)

To disassemble the faulty propulsion unit , remove screw and disconnect strut from the main chassis. On the strut, carefully pry back the motor cover, slide it back and expose the motor. Remove necessary screws and draw enough wire from the strut to access the soldered connection to the motor. The other pair of wires is for the LED on that pod.

Compare the replacement component with the original, the gear is slightly different from the original. Note: The motors ( these are brushed motors) are highly magnetic keep them a distance from any magnetic sensitive material, keep work area clean from metal particles that would stick to the motor. (especially if you work on brushless out runner motors in the future) Also if you work with circuit boards, most all videos and instructions disregard the use of anti static precautions such as wrist grounding ground straps. Electronic Static Discharge can happen and disrupt sensitive electronics and cause a myriad of undetectable problems from total failure to loss or scrambling of data. If you have problems with circuit boards arriving DOA don’t discard that ESD may be the cause of failure. If you work with large amount of electronics or expensive components ESD precautions is cheap insurance. Once you open up the cover (like a cell phone) you have penetrated any shielding to sensitive devices and components.

Utilizing the insulation tubing from original, cut the conductors and solder in the replacement motor, of course following the original wired colored connections. Slip the insulation tubing over one of the soldered connections.

 

Carefully route the wires by gently pulling the through the strut from the opposite end, toward the flight controller. Double check the connection of the fragile wiring before securing motor cover.

secure cover of assembled unit. (bearing below propeller should be flush to top of strut, in this case the propeller shaft is a press fit to lower gear, align as necessary)

 

Make the PROPER  motor and LED and camera if equipped, connection the the main board of previously disconnected. Improper motor connection order will result in a flipping over or uncontrollable drone taking flight. (How do I know this?) Also if the flight controller board was removed from the chassis insure that the proper orientation of the board is followed, most aftermarket boards are marked with an arrow to indicate front (facing) of drone. Not this one. Accelerometers and gyroscopes have to know which way the are headed ! (in relation to the propulsion units). Troubleshooting skills here learned  for flight problems!

One note here: be extremely careful when pulling delicate connections from sockets, some manufacturers use a sealing or locktite type glue. Small connectors such as 2 conductors plugs, grasp the connector , not the wires to disengage. Some sockets  are surface mount soldered and could be pulled directly from the circuit board necessitating a re soldering of socket to the main board.  If plug does not disconnect readily, be aware and proceed cautiously.

At this point (with propellers removed) you could attach battery, pair up the transmitter  and test the motors.

 REMOVE PROPELLERS BEFORE TESTING

 REMOVE PROPELLERS BEFORE TESTING

Rotors should be removed when you power up drone after modification, some unexpected reactions at times will cause the flight controller to start all propellers when battery is connected, due to an improper wiring or damaged flight controller. Assume that motors may start at any time. Again remove propellers.

Checking connection and LEDS, so far the drone is looking good, battery connection resulted in proper lighting and (not shown) blinking led on flight controller)

Secure cowling by snapping on cover/propeller guard. Mount LED headlight (white single LED). Power down and follow manufacturers direction for pairing transmitter, calibration and flight.

Most all drones have a user manual that can be found online. Some might have different conventions on flight controller and transmitter synchronizing  (pairing).

Progressing up the ladder on Radio Control it’s advantageous to get a transmitter that will support multiple Quadcopters, but this comes at a cost and matching transmitter and receivers  to flight controllers is a later lesson. Most of the low cost hobby drones require each their own radio control transmitter  system. When buying drones less a transmitter (control) research if you can buy a reasonable required replacement transmitter as they more than not will  not work with any other type for drone. Or you could swap out the flight controller with one that you already have a properly matched receiver (and/or flight controller) and transmitter using the frame and motors of the drone you are repairing.

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Will it fly ?  Yes ,I was lucky as the motor was the only problem with the drone.

The firmware of the flight controller was undamaged, there is no USB or software available to re-flash the flight controller as in the case of the MultiWii.

The UDI RC with the propeller shroud can take many crashes and collisions without damage. It’s a good learner drone. I have yet to test the camera out.

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The UDI drone has flown many times and is a learning challenge to pilot just around the house. The propellers are protected by the cover/shroud so they only get slightly chipped in my flights. It’s not ultra stable per say, but after some trimming of the controller pitch, roll, and yaw, easy to get to flight with the limited room indoors available to fly. Probably replacement of all 4 motors and prop balancing would improve stability. A good flyer none the less and time to move on to other repairs and construction. Several high capacity 1s batteries were purchased for increased flight time.

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So could I have bought a complete  used drone instead of a damaged one? Probably so, but missing a education experience and satisfaction of repair, disassembly, motor wiring and how the drone is constructed. Modifiable? Snap off the cover and ditch the camera for weight savings, disconnect the LEDS for power savings, go with slightly larger or smaller props  and  beef up the battery with a higher capacity replacement. Add an FPV camera ? Maybe a trick out paint job or more LEDS?

Drone :  $9.99 Ebay

Controller : $16.65 Ali Express

Motor: $5.31 Ali Express

optional replacement propellers: $2.88 Ali Express

shipping for the drone was about $10.00

shipping for the propellers $2.04

other items shipped free

NEXT : Can a Propel Spyder XL (chromed) be returned to flight status ?




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