System ‘integration’ 2

This is my current ground station set up.

It’s a complete replacement after my 1st one was jumped on by an over-enthusiastic young dog. The blameless animal rushed me as I was hauling line, I had put the controller on the ground in front of me to free my hands: he slammed his front paws straight on top of the unit in a classic dog greeting ‘play with me’ stance and, with a sickening crunch,  snapped the antenna mountning clean off the casing. So farewell my trusty controller!

Now I discover 35mHz equipment has a premium price becuase of its growing scarcity in the 2.4 gig age..sigh! I had to take what there was and I am now the proud owner of one of the last 35meg ‘state of the art’ helicopter cotrollers.

I have rid the setup of sticky tape and rubber bands:

and fixed a Velcro patch to the back of the thing to take the video receiver. The 10vDC supply is from a ‘Y’ cable threaded out from under the Tx battery. The Velcro works well but the battery cover can easily detach and separate leaving the video receiver hanging by its power cord so I have kept the snap together strap for the screen as additional security.

The strap has been prepped with a slot to take the lanyard clip. The whole unit is on the heavy side and I don’t really trust the neckstrap as a safe means of carrying it as it swings about with a bruising momentum but all the bits stay together and can be stripped quickly for transport.

The big test of it came when I found myself threading through a field of waist-high oilseed towing a kite hitched to a harness, carrying both rig and the controller to a safe launch site: the only thing claimed by the tangle of vegetation was an antenna tube off the rig (and they are easy to replace with the guts of ‘pistol grip’ household cleaner bottles!).

I think it’s fair to say kite flying puts unusual stresses on kit: at worst you have to be prepared to drop everything and run to save a falling kite- very little RC equipment is designed to bounce!

About billboyheritagesurvey

Heritage worker
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10 Responses to System ‘integration’ 2

  1. Ramon says:

    A very neat looking kit, Bill. I think I need to (re)build my stuff with your design in mind.

    • Its a case of making the best of the bad weather: it’s shocking out there today! The big discovery was that Velcro would work so well: if I could find a better place other than the battery cover to stick the video reciever to it would stay on the controller by Velcro alone.

  2. Ramon says:

    I still need to take action. Nothing done yet. Indeed, Velcro is perfect for all kinds of applications. I love it. Wish I invented it…

    • One thing I’d add add to this is the need to keep a careful eye on the power drain on the Tx battery: the video receiver draws a fair current and shortens the Tx battery runtime down to about an hour. I have tried using LiFe 9,9v 1600mAh over NiMh 9.6v 2700mAh in the hope that he higher voltage would help: it doesn’t really although the reduced weight is nice. I’m after a LiPo 11.1v but its tricky to find one that will fit the case…in the mean time I’m carrying spares.

  3. Ramon says:

    My experience is the higher the voltage the higher the current drain, so with an 11.1V LiPo the current drain will even be higher. I would stick to the 9.6V NiMh (cheaper), but if you’re able to find an 11.1V LiPo that fits and that’s able to deliver it might be interesting.

    • It’s quite interesting: I now have a 11.1v LiPo 1400mAh on the TX and on test its held up the vid receiver and the RC Tx for over 2 hours without voltage drop- the receiver I have is very sensitive to voltage and starts to fail at anything less then 9v. Further testing is needed but the 11,1v supply looks good so far.

  4. Ramon says:

    Well, there you are, Bill. Probably the 11.1 V LiPo breaks with the tradition. Where did you find it and what kind of charger do you use? The reason why I ask is simple – sometimes I need/want to monitor the camera when airborn and I need a lightweight but good power source… The LiPo seems to be a good candidate.

  5. Just back from a wonderful flight over Felixstowe Ferry we had the set up airborn and powered for 4 and a half hours: it was bliss!
    Clive and I took bets on the voltage at lunchtime ( 2 hours in) I lost : it was 11.3v!
    The battery I used to power both the Tx and Vid RTx is a Turnigy 3s 11.1v 1450 mAh LiPo Transmitter Pack. I charge it with a ‘GT Power 606-D’ charger in blanace mode:

  6. Ramon says:

    Seen your Ferry shots. There’s some good stuff!

    Thanks for the info, Bill. Will have a thorough look at it shortly. Need to go to sleep now. Too much overtime in the office today. And tomorrow will probably be the same…

  7. Tom Benedict says:

    Hey, thanks for posting this! I’ve been puzzling over how to power the various video downlink bits I’ve got (900MHz). The splitter cable on your transmitter’s battery is a brilliant piece of work. So is the big patch of Velcro on the back. For some reason Velcro never occurred to me as a way to mount the video receiver, despite using Velcro all over my rig. Go figure.

    Beautiful piece of work!

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