Tuesday, July 25, 2017

3 bladed props for the UPair One???

You have probably seen lots of drones flying with 3-bladed props.  There is no reason why, with appropriate design adaptations, that a 3 bladed prop won't serve just as well as a 2 bladed prop.  But they simply don't work on MY UPair One!    At least without some PID modifications.   In fact, I believe that is all that it will take to make my UPair One fly just fine with these props.

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

The UPair One is a great racing 'copter! (Ok, not so much)

There are lot's of great uses for the DJI Phantom 3 Professional, but racing around your yard seeing how fast you can fly is probably not one of them.  My old UPair One allows me to fly with crazy abandon (and still fly safely) around my yard and share it with you.

Here are some videos of my recent figure 8's around the yard.  The UPair is a great training 'copter!

Saturday, July 15, 2017

UPair One vs Phantom 3 Professional

Really?  I've seen videos where this comparison is proposed, but I cannot disagree more! The DJI Phantom 3 Professional is a quality flying machine.  The attention to detail is clear and unmistakable.

Yes, the UPair is a workhorse, but again the quality of the Phantom in comparison is obvious for even the most casual observer. But for all of it's corners cut, the PX4 board on the UPair One appears to be a stable flight controller but none of the serious attention to detail can be seen in the G10 UPair where the DJI product takes quality for granted.

Don't get me wrong, I learned to fly a full featured camera drone using the UPair One.  I still fly mine almost everyday.    Just this evening I was working on tight figure-eights at 28kph in my front yard!  I wouldn't do that with my P3P, but the UPair with her little fixed-pitch racing drone camera beneath, handles it pretty well!

Actually, you can get pretty good video using just an FPV camera with no gimbal at all!  I was having some trouble with my UPair camera/gimbal so I removed the whole assembly and flew LOS with only the quad.  Not being able to determine my position at the limits of LOS, I attached a $20 fpv camera to the camera mount and added back my 600mw VTX.  Below are the images streamed back to my phone, actual camera recording would provide a better image, but you can see that the UPair platform is pretty stable if you keep the control movements gentle.

Gold Plated Male and Female Bullet Banana Connectors Plugs for RC Battery ESC Motor

I've seen a number of YouTube videos where people have replaced their stock UPair One motors and decided against unsoldering the wires from the flight controller board but cut the wires to the motors and spliced them back together.    Some use crimp connectors and one person I remember used crimped on male and female spade terminals insulated with duct tape!  That was the video with the ESC fire on in flight.

I've replaced all of my stock motors with Racerstar 2212's and opted to use these quick-disconnect terminals.  They work very well and with the proper heat-shrink tubing applied, they'll protect against shorting out your ESC's.

These connectors are wonderful for easily swapping out your quad's motors.  Here is a link on Amazon:


Friday, July 7, 2017

UPair One Battery test. Documented 25.4 minutes aloft!

My 2.7 k camera has been causing me some problems.  The connectors are getting worn and causing the FPV video to be intermittent.   So I thought, "I don't need no stinkin' FPV", so I pulled the camera and the monitor off the controller and fired up the drone!

You still have to wait for a GPS lock to be established and you won't know unless you try to take off.  Although the motors will arm, the UPair won't take off.  Be patient, it only takes a minute or so then you're off!

Flying strictly line of sight without the FPV is fun, and the training is helpful in case of a system failure where you would need to navigate back to the home point without any visual aids.  (Yeah, I know.  RTH works but you still might need to fly your quad in manually...)

I even tested flying out 1000 meters and turning off the controller, yep, it fly's right back to home.

I'll post more, but here is a battery test I just completed an hour ago.  25 minutes and 23 seconds aloft with my UPair One!

Update:  Ok, don't interrupt RTH and hover until the battery shuts off!  Unless you are only 6 feet in the air with the camera and gimbal removed.  There was no damage to my naked UPair, it's flying just fine after the crash.

Monday, July 3, 2017

Aerial Inspection using the P3P and Litchi?

The drone industry is at it's beginning and the future looks very promising.  One of the things that drones are being used for is remote inspection.  This video looks at using the Litchi Mission Hub app to pre-program a remote power line inspection mission.  

This video is just a demonstration of what I believe will be routinely performed in the future.  Precise flight plans can be flown using GPS navigation and GIS mapping tools to pre-plan a Drone "Mission" to capture photographic or other 2 or 3D data.  

My first UPAir One flight and my first flight with a capable quad.

The UPair One is a good quad to learn with.  It's relatively inexpensive and a capable flying machine with many of the features that you'll learn to love in a quad.  GPS navigation, aerial photography using a camera on a gimbal and FPV flying.  That said, it's also lacking in all of those areas.

I didn't know it at the time, I was awestruck with the technology and flew my UPair One for about 90 flights before it quit working for me.  I had no crashes, it was easy to fly and the FPV view was amazing as far as I knew.

In the end, it's worked out well and I have about 90 successful flights on my UPair One.   We only know what we've flown so ignorance in this case is bliss.

I presume that the top shelf quads are that much better than what I'm flying now, the DJI Phantom 3 Professional so I'll just appreciate what I have and look forward to upgrading in the future.

Saturday, July 1, 2017

How to paint your Drone?

Why not?  The UPair One is a plain white plastic beast.  It's a DJI Phantom clone and who would paint their Phantom?  I wouldn't.  You spend $1000+ on something you don't paint it on a whim with a can of spray paint.

But after you upgrade to a Phantom, what else are you going to do with your UpAir?  There is only one YouTube channel that I can find where someone has painted their UpAir One and that's Olaf at Drones4Life.  After you upgrade to a DJI phantom, and probably any other DJI product, your not going to have much affection for your first drone.  It's just a fact.

So why not have some fun with your first love?  Since I've removed my camera and gimbal from my UPair, it's rock solid!  I can fly it within line of sight and it will do whatever I ask of it.  I can ask it to do things that I would never feel comfortable doing with my $1000 Phantom.  

Yesterday, I decide to paint my UpAir.  I originally thought that candy apple red with flames would be great, but after getting to Home Depot and finding out that they didn't have candy apple red, I settled on metallic silver with florescent green and red stripes.  Ok, I decided on the the metallic silver with red stripe stickers from my Phantom.  It was easier than masking the 3 different colors, and as it turns out, it doesn't look bad.

So this is the paint that I settled on.  I've read that you shouldn't use metallic paint because of the attenuation to the GPS signal. (Olaf again @ Drones4life) but I'm a bit of a rebel and I need to check out the data myself.  As it turns out, the Rustoleum metallic paint that I used didn't have any noticeable effect on my GPS lock on my UPair.   I ended up putting 3 good coats on the GPS antenna on top too! 

Here's a link:

If you are unsure about this, of course, don't do it.  I'm just reporting that I didn't have any issues.

Next, I also installed 4 new Racerstar 2212 980KV motors.   This is also something that Olaf had done.  I bought these motors last month and I thought that now would be a good time to replace my old motors.  The old motors are still good but the ole UPair really looks cool painted metallic silver with red motors and red Phantom Stripes on the front.

So here it is!  The (almost finished) metallic silver, 2212 red racerstar motors and the pilfered DJI Phantom 3 Standard decals on my naked UPair.  What do you think?  (I want to fill in the sweeping lines inset into the fuselage plastic with red paint and highlight the "UPair" logo as well.)