Monday, February 23, 2015

Quadcopter Drone - New Landing Struts

With the new gimbal installed, I thought I was good to go with for aerial videos. Turns out I was wrong.  Although I had about 2cm of clearance between the gimbal and the ground while using the carbon fiber landing struts, I quickly found out that 2cm of clearance on a flat workbench surface does not equal 2cm clearance out in the field. Grass and uneven surfaces would still touch the gimbal, and cause stabilization issues.  So I set out to find longer landing struts to fix the issue.

I eventually want to get a retractabal landing gear system, but not going to worry about it until I change to a larger Hexacopter frame in the near future. As a shorter term fix, I went with the landing struts made by DJI for the F450 Quadcopter frame.

Here is what is included within the packaging, x4 landing struts, a few screws, and an instruction sheet.  Seems pretty easy, but I did have to mod the front struts a bit to accommodate my gimbal.

Here is a look at the modification.  Just used a rotary (Dremel) tool to eliminate part of the plastic that was conflicting with the gimbal.  Doesn't  seem to affect the stability or strength of the strut at all, so should work out well.

Close up of the modification and install onto the frame.  Gimbal compression grommets now sit neatly above, but done touch the struts. 

Underside shot of the frame.  Pretty simple install.

New clearance is around 4cm.  Still not a lot of clearance, but that's about as high as I can get for now.  Should be enough to do what I want outside. 

Final picture of the new install. I removed the carbon fiber ones since they are no longer needed.  I do think they look better, but can't use them anymore.  Now its time to get outside and get some video... after this March snowstorm passes.

Thanks for looking.  More videos of the new gimbal in action coming soon.

Sunday, February 15, 2015

Quadcopter Drone - Tarot Gimbal Setup, Install, Studder Fix

I have done a few upgrades in the last few months, but haven't had much of a chance to post anything. First off, I wanted to post some pics and video of the Tarot 2D Gimbal I recently install.  It greatly improves the quality of my video while flying around, as it is smooth and no longer "jiggles" during flight.

I had to made a few modifications to the drone to accommodate this gimbal, but overall I am very pleased with the result. I did have a issue initially where the gimball would shutter when it would first power on. But after some forum searching I was able to find some recommended settings that ended up fixing the shutter.  Here is a video of the setup, along with the settings I used to fix the issue.

Taking a step back, here is what comes in the box, ready for assembly.  I took about 20min for me to put everything together and get it mounted on my drone.

One thing that I don't like about the way the gimbal holds the GoPro Hero 3+, is that once it is secured, there really isn't a good way to protect the lens.  So I found a 3D printer design for a modified GoPro mount that allows you to mount the camera and still use a protective lens cover.  The picture below shows the original GoPro mount, and the 3D printed version below it.

Another shot of the two different mounts side by side.  Original on the right, 3D printed version on the left. 

Here we have the new mount installed along with the protective lense cover.  It fits perfectly, and the screws that come with the gimbal thread it perfectly.

Side view of the Gimbal with the new camera mount. 

With the new gimbal installed, I have roughly 2cm clearance with the landing struts that I currently have installed.

At first I thought this would be enough clearance, but I quickly learned that was not the case. A future post will explain why and show what I did to fix the problem.