1. RTRyder

    RTRyder Merlin of Multirotors

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    Today I swapped the WKM on my small APV quad for a Naza controller, toughest part of the swap was unsoldering the power module leads from the WKM and then soldering in the module for the Naza, I think it took longer for the iron to heat up than it did for the rest of the swap!

    Before I removed the WKM I opened the Assistant software and saved the config file as well as writing down some fo the settings, the goal being to see how close the WKM config would be to the ideal Naza setup. Once the Naza was in place I connected it to the Assistant (different app for the Naza vs the WKM) and did the basic setup and entering the same gain settings where they applied along with setting up the 2 axid GoPro camera mount.

    Between rain showers I got a chance for a quick test flight out back. From what I saw on that flight it only needs some minor tweaks to the gain settings and the same for the camer gimbal. For the most part it flew pretty much the same as it did with the WKM, no GPS of course, and the camera gimbal appeared to be working the same. The GoPro video from he flight is uploading to Youtube right now, I'll post the link as soon as it's done.

    Initial impression is that the only real difference between the WKM and Naza is the GPS and related functionality, everything else seems to be the same so far. Because it is an APV quad I'm going to up the gain settings to make it a bit more stable and the camera mount needs a bit of fine tuning as well as to be hooked back up to the CC BEC to power the servos. Right now I have it powered from the Naza controller and it's working OK but I can tell the servos are reacting a bit slower than they did with a 6 volt feed. All minor details, the impressive thing was being able to swap one controller for the other and without really changing anything it flew pretty much tthe same way that it did prior to the swap!

    Ken
     
  2. RancherPete

    RancherPete New Member

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    Hi Ken: I'm so glad that you created this thread. You had recommended this Naza to me just yesterday and I have been impressed with everything I have seen so far. I would like to find out more about what would be a suitable gimble for this. I would also be interested to know what we may be able to count on for a useable load (after attaching lipo) and if any variation in prop size might help to increase the useable load. I am looking forward to your finding with what appears to be a great little quad.
     
  3. RTRyder

    RTRyder Merlin of Multirotors

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    I don't know that it would be practical to hang a gimbal under the F450 kit frame. I'm sure there's a way to do it but it would also require adding some taller landing gear and I think by the time it was done the load may well be more than the basic F 450 kit pieces would be happy dealing with. The quad I put it on is based on a MikroKopter quad frame and was built to be a small APV multi from the start, it just seemed to be overkill to have a WKM controller on it, I think it will be just as useful and just as much fun to fly with the Naza as it was with the WKM.

    That said, for a basic quad kit the F 450 is pretty good with a well balanced set of props, flying it smoothly with a hard mounted GoPro can produce results almost as good as a bigger quad with a small 2 axis mount. The Naza flight videos I've post so far have been exactly that setup, hard mounted GoPro on the F 450, the only difference is I wasn't making any attempt to fly smooth or level on any of those flights :)

    Ken

    Here's the video from the first flight, it was a bit windy and the wobble and bounce is mostly from wind and not optimal gain settings...

     
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 22, 2014 at 3:24 AM
  4. RancherPete

    RancherPete New Member

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    This looks pretty darn good, Ken! With the Naza being so modestly priced and showing such good signs of being a stable FC platform I wonder if I should consider a more rugged frame (like yours) and perhaps building a quad that might be a little better suited to a slightly heavier load. Even though my initial idea of buying the 450/Naza Kit was simply to use as a trainer until my skill level raises it would still be nice to get some work out of a quad in the form of a little video and some stills. If I could build something that would have the guts to lift a Sony NEX-5, Lumex, or similar, that would solve a lot of problems and I might even be able to hold off on building my hexa for a little longer. Do you think that makes any sense?
     
  5. RTRyder

    RTRyder Merlin of Multirotors

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    It depends on how comfortable you are flying a multirotor craft and how willing are you to risk damaging the camera? If you don't have much flight experience the basic F 450 is probably a good start. Personally I think until you're confortable with flying in all orientations including nose in, it's best to stick with something that can take some abuse without breaking anything more than a prop or two. Crash a quad with a camera mount and $500 worth of camera attached and the repair bill can add up quickly. Even after you have an APV capable craft it's still nice to have the little beater that you can take out and practice on, I have several small aerobatic quads that I fly (and crash) on a regular basis, makes me that much more comfortable when I'm flying the big expensive multis.

    Ken

    Another video with the gains dialed up a bit, it's getting there, just a bit more tweaking and some better weather needed...

     
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 22, 2014 at 3:24 AM
  6. RancherPete

    RancherPete New Member

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    I guess that means I won't be flying my German Shepard around the neighborhood anytime soon. This is good advice so I will take it and will go ahead and order the DJI 450/Nava kit. Do you think that there might be a way to get a little more usable load out of it in the future or is it pretty much locked in the way it is? I still have to learn about how prop size vs. gain settings, etc. works. Never having done any of this I still need to understand the principles of such things but we all have to start somewhere. BTW: This latest video is a real treat to watch. I am amazed by the stability and how much better this video is compared to the first couple of ones you presented. If only I could achieve similar results with a slightly bigger camera I would be in great shape. The only issue I have with the GoPro1 (or 2) for my use is the "fish-eye" effect of their lens. This is why I mentioned the Sony or Panasonic because I would have greater control over that factor with an optical zoom. I actually tried to order this kit and a bunch of other stuff from three different outfits today and none of them answered their phone or bothered to call me back after having left a message with them all. Maybe the economy is better than we think :)
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 22, 2014 at 3:24 AM
  7. GGoodrum

    GGoodrum New Member

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    Ken, which gimbal is this one again? This is a great setup. It looks like it is dialed in pretty well. :)

    Peter, in all likelihood, you will end up with multiple platforms, like the rest of us, and I too think this F450/Naza combo is a great place to start. Xaircraft has a similar quad frame that they call an X450Pro, and just recently they've come out with a hexa
    frame set that uses the same arms as those used on the X450. I'm guessing that DJI is going to be doing the same thing, as I've already seen some pictures/CAD renderings somewhere. Anyway, a "mid-size" hexa like this would certainly have enough power to carry a mid-range 2-axis gimbal and a NEX-5N. I've got one of the XA hexas, with Hyperion Zs-2213-22 motors and Maytech 30A ESCs, running on 4s with 10x4.5" props and it has no problems with an AUW of 5-1/2 pounds. The motors don't even get warm. :)

    I'm just finishing up my own F450/Naza build today. I'm using the motors and 12A ESCs that came with the XA hexa kit I got from CNCHelicopter.com. I didn't use these because I already had some Hyperion motors and Maytech 30A ESCs that came off an X8 frame I retired, and they were already setup with my WK-M system. Anyway, I'm going to run this F450 setup on 4s and use some Graupner 11x5" props, mainly because I already have lots of 4s packs, and the props came off the X8 as well. This will mean this will have plenty of power to lift just about anything, but I'll probably just hard-mount a Sony Bloggie that I have leftover from an earlier quad I did that was based on a Gaui 330XS set of motors/ESCs.

    -- Gary
     
  8. RancherPete

    RancherPete New Member

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    Gary; Thanks for sharing all of this information with me. I will be eager to learn how your F450 comes together and how you feel the usable load is... and stability of course. Most of us who fly fixed wing aircraft learned in a Cessna. We learned that the Cessna was 'inherently stable' due to its high wing configuration which provides the dihedral effect (pendulum). I was under the assumption that this applied to the multirotors to some extent as well. I figured that if a camera and gimbal were hanging off the bottom of the craft this would be a good thing (as long as its not TOO heavy). But then I spoke with a gentleman on the telephone last night who told me that this is not the case. He said that anything that hangs from the bottom of the craft is creating leverage against the craft's ability to pitch or yaw and that this causes instability. He said that this is why we often see cameras sitting on TOP of the craft (where we must shoot through the spinning propellers) because the craft is more stable in this configuration. At this point I realized that I know even less than I though I did... or maybe I am now looking for a second opinion :)

    With all of this said I will still be eager to learn more about this with the hopes that I may in fact be able to add some sort of small, light gimbal a camera just a little bigger than a GoPro on the bottom of the F450, that is after I learn to fly it sufficiently. I figured that with those big props, ESCs and motors that come with the F450/Naza kit this little sucker ought to have some pretty good lift, or so it would seem.

    Again, thanks for sharing this with me (us) and please keep us posted on how this F450 comes together.
     
  9. RTRyder

    RTRyder Merlin of Multirotors

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    I would disagree with the concept that hanging the camera under a multi is a bad idea, when you're doing APV, video especially, you want stability so some damping of the reactions is a good thing, that's why a lot of folks that produce good video use a lot of expo on the controls. The proper way to build is what you see in designs like the CineStar frame where the weight is balanced between top and bottom by mounting the camera gear down low where the flying bits are out of its view, and the other heavy bits, i.e. the batteries are mounted at the very top to counter the weight of camera and mount below. I have to say it works quite well that way, it is by far one of the most stable video platforms I've flown so far.

    Bottom line is there are as many ideas and theories about design as there are choices in flight controllers, motors, and ESC's. A lot of people have spent a huge amount of $ finding out what works and what doesn't by trial and error, been there, done that. I think one of the best ways to do it in a less expensive way is to watch a lot of videos that get posted and see which ones have the clarity, smoothness, and consistancy that you would like to achieve and then see what those people are using for equipment. You may find some commonality in the gear being used, and for good reason, it works, period.

    Anyone with a multirotor and a video camera can take aerial video. With the right pieces of software you can take even the most unsteady video and render it into something looks impressive, not really hard to do. The real proof is to see video in raw unaltered format and have it be smooth and steady, that a very few people can do and do it well.

    As for the idea of putting big props on to generate lift, you have to consider what the motors you're using are capable of, go too big on the props and you'll be loading the motors beyond their ability to run efficiently resulting in a lot of heat buildup and lower flight times. The components need to be matched for the intended use, there are calculators out there that can help but none of what I have seen so far is 100% accurate so to some degree it's a learning experience to find out what works best and what to stay away from.

    My $.02...
    Ken
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 22, 2011
  10. RancherPete

    RancherPete New Member

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    Thanks Ken. Your idea of keeping things balanced certainly seems to makes sense. I do look at a lot of videos and it was your Cinestar-6/WK-M build (and its associated videos) that drew me to all of this to begin with. While I will try to achieve the smoothest video possible it is nice to know that I do have the software to make corrections if need be until my skills and equipment improve. My goal will of course be to achieve these results without this processing for obvious reasons. I was testing some of this the other day with my Adobe After Effects in CS5 and I was very impressed by what it was able to do to improve some jittery, hand-held video footage. I am going to move forward and try to buy the F450 today. The other consideration I have is in which TX to buy. I see that a great many people use the DX-8 but as I have comparing some alternatives I have read a great many favorable reviews for the Hitec Aurora-9 and so I am leaning towards that. Although I heard that the documentation (user manual) leaves a lot to be desired. Swell. There may be more favorable ones out there but budget is still a consideration. Then again, buying a crappy controller to ultimately control a very expensive hexa in the future is probably not a good idea either. If you won't mind my asking: What controller would you buy if you were in my position (inexperienced) with a F450/Naza on the way and then a Cinestar-6 with WK-M and AV-130 (or similar) in the near future? If I can get this figured out I will be scaring the sparrows in no time.

    BTW: I came across this Aurora-9 at a great price which includes the 9 channel RX: http://www.troybuiltmodels.com/items/HSAURORA9-9.html I could buy this with a 6 or 7 channel RX ($50+) to use with the Naza/F450 and then hang onto to the included 9 channel RX for use with the hexa at a later date. This would give me two complete setups.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 22, 2011
  11. RTRyder

    RTRyder Merlin of Multirotors

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    If there's one area where I will not cut corners, the radio gear is it. Too much on the line in all respects to not have 100% KNOWN RELIABLE gear, don't want it flying away, crashing, or worst of all falling out of the sky and causing personal injury and/or property damage. That said, in reading the forums I've seen the most problems being asked about on the Aurora radios and far too many issues that have come up with the DX8 for my liking. I'm a dedicated Spektrum user having one each of the original DX6 and DX7 TX's but when it came time for more channels I opted for a JR 11X and have not regretted the decision for a split second.

    Cost of JR 11x - expen$ive, piece of mind - priceless!

    I think if I were in your position I'd go for perhaps a DX7 which can be had for not a lot of $ now, it will do everything you need it to while learning and then some. By the time you get to the point when you need more than 7 channels you'll be able to justify the expense of top tier radio equipment.

    Ken
     
  12. RancherPete

    RancherPete New Member

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    That sounds like more good advice, Ken, and it will save me a few bucks too. Now I just have to find someone who (preferably) has both the Naza/F450 kit and the Spectrum DX-7 in stock. I will also need to get myself setup with batteries and a charger. By the way: does the receiver (in this case the one for the DX7) get its power directly from the main battery on board the craft or does it require its own battery? I read some things on this but they seemed a bit confusing where this is concerned because of the possible addition of servos changing this scenerio(?). If I can find a place to buy this stuff where someone there is geared toward good customer service I might be able to ask some of these questions of them. Right now I am still at a loss as to where to turn.

    Ken, is there someone that you would like to see me support where these purchases are concerned and that you might recommend?
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 22, 2011
  13. Gunter

    Gunter Draganflyer X4

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    Ken, I have just spotted the "snowflake" button on your video...very good!

    Gunter.
     
  14. FOX222

    FOX222 New Member

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    Hey Ken,
    How's it going? It's been awhile since we have talked.
    It looks and sounds to me like you are pretty happy with the Naza. Would you say this is the best you have tried in the price range and having the ability to self level and altitude hold? I am looking to build a FPV ship with these tribute's. I know you have methodically tested most of them on the market and would love to hear your input.

    john
     
  15. DennyR

    DennyR New Member

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    I think Ken has summed it up pretty well. Model stability comes first and then the camera mount has less work to do. As far as props. go, the less pitch and weight the better. Large dia. may give better overall lift but at the expense of stability. Low aspect ratio blades are more efficient. They make much less noise which is a good sign of efficiency. Very easy to see in the descent stability where the angle of attack on the blades can reach a partial stall. In the descent, motor rpm drops more with larger dia. props. which makes stabilization corrections too slow. The larger the distance between the motors the more airframe inertia (heavy motors are bad) and the further the stabilization algorithm parameters have to stray from the ideal. At least, that has been my findings to date.

    In an effort to keep rpm's in the right ball park I trim the dia. to suit the weight. More weight means more dia. No point in having more than you need. It is surprising how small you can go with a light model. I see it as a means of buffering the effect of turbulence.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 31, 2011
  16. RTRyder

    RTRyder Merlin of Multirotors

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    Within the price range I have to say I have not flown anything else that works better than the Naza controller. For a version 1 product it works amazingly well, autolevel and altitude hold are very similar to the WKM controller and far better than a lot of more expensive controllers on the market that call themselves "Pro" versions. I had planned to use the F 450 I have as an FPV ship until I mounted the cheapo video TX I have on it and found out I can't get it far enough away from the rest of the electronic bits to not get a lot of RFI noise in the video. No fault of the Naza, it's the product of buying a sub $50 video TX setup. I wound up putting the video TX on my MK hexa V1 and it still picks up intererence but being a larger frame I can get the TX far enough out that it's usable. If I were going to use the Naza for FPV I'd either iuse a better video TX that could be mounted on the F 450 frame, or use a different frame so I could mount the video TX I have in a spot where it would work well enough to use.

    What really is impressive is being able to remove the WKM from the small quad with 2 axis GoPro mount that I have, replacing it with a Naza, and making no other changes see virtually no difference in the flight characteristics or the video results.

    I think for the $ spent it's hard to find a more capable flight controller where all the features actually work as you expect them to, the Naza is the new gold standard for low price controllers with autolevel and altitude hold.

    Ken
     
  17. FOX222

    FOX222 New Member

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    Thanks Ken,

    Your input is appreciated. All of the so called pro boards out there seem to have issues or require a lot of tuning. I have had a lot of people in my club looking for a entry level FC for FPV or AP use. The Naza sounds great. Judging by your experience it should work great with out spending $1000 just to get a stable platform.

    I don't know which video tx you are having trouble with but I have seen others having trouble as you described. The fix for them was to use shielded cable for the video feed from the camera to the video tx. I was kind of surprised to see most of the video tx on the market use unshielded wire. Composite video is < 1 volt peak to peak making it susceptible to outside influences such as rf and rfi. So if you are not using shielded wire give it a try. One other thing you probably already know is to use a separate battery for the video. In other words don't share power from the flight battery. Also twist your power leads.

    I hope this helps you.

    john
     
  18. GGoodrum

    GGoodrum New Member

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    I too have my "initial" F450/Naza combo setup for FPV. I'm using a 200mW 900mHz video Tx, and found the only way to get usable video is to have a small separate battery, just for the Tx.

    -- Gary
     

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  19. RTRyder

    RTRyder Merlin of Multirotors

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    I do have separate battery to power the video TX, what I don't have is good shielding on the cables. Other thing I noticed is both the power and video cables attach to the TX with molex type connectors, maybe eliminating the connectors and soldering the inputs directly to the board would help eliminate some of interence that I'm seeing.

    Of course the other answer is to not be such a cheap S o B and get a better video downlink system! If I recall correctly I paid a whopping $69.95 for both TX and RX as a combo deal, you get what you pay for...

    Ken
     
  20. RancherPete

    RancherPete New Member

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    Additional battery for TX?

    Gary: I am curious as to why you feel you need the dedicated battery for the TX in order to have a usable signal. Is it because the onboard lipo adds some sort of interference ton the TX, and the seperate battery makes for a cleaner signal since it 'out of the loop'? I am getting ready to setup a Naza/F450 with a 1.3 gh, 300mW LawMate TX and RX so all of this is good info for me. Thanks for sharing.
     

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