Radian FAQ

Discussion in 'Radian' started by Tabb Firchau, Sep 26, 2012.

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  1. Tabb Firchau

    Tabb Firchau Administrator
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    Jun 28, 2012
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    Radian FAQ

    [Edited by Andy Johnson-Laird 2012-10-13: Paragraph numbers added for ease of reference and some additional information added. 2012-10-14: Added initial gain values for pan, roll, tilt and expanded FAQ re: suspending multi-rotor for setting up pan gain.]
    [Edited by Andy 2013-03-01 to update with new item #20 re: testing Radian USB adapter board.]

    1. What is the operating voltage of the Radian?
    The Radian can accept input voltages from 3V to 12V. The Radian will pass it's input voltage on to the servos. Please note that the Freefly Servos are rated for a 6V MAXIMUM input voltage, so if you are using Radian on a CineStar gimbal then 6V is the max input voltage.

    2. How does the AUX output work?
    The AUX output is designed to allow you to drive an auxiliary PWM output from any of the Radian modules when you are using S.Bus, PPM, or Spektrum Satellite for the receiver. One example would be a PWM controlled remote shutter. The tilt module can be configured to drive the camera shutter switch by assigning your preferred transmitter channel to the Aux channel on the tilt module. By doing so, you are able to pass any of the input channels to port 2 on the Tilt module.

    3. My Pan axis is spinning; why won't it stop?
    First step is to make sure your multi rotor is hanging / suspended when you enable the 'stabilized slew' which will activate the pan servo. If the system is not suspended, such that the 3-axis gimbal is off the ground, the multi-rotor will just spin as the pan Radian attempts to move the gimbal and cannot do so as it is on the ground. [Edit by Andy: Make sure that the multi-rotor can spin freely -- don't constrain it otherwise it will not approximate the flight dynamics of real flight.]

    4. My pan / tilt / roll axis is oscillating, what should I do?
    First step is to lower the gain. Cut the gain in half as a first step and then slowly raise it back up to find the point at where the system does not oscillate. Additionally you should confirm that the Gimbal is balanced properly. See this video for balancing:

    5. How do I update the firmware?
    Please see this video:

    6. Where can I find the drivers for the Freefly USB programmer?
    The Virtual COM port drivers should install automatically. If they do not, you can find them here: http://www.ftdichip.com/Drivers/VCP.htm

    7. What kind of cable do I need for the Freefly USB programmer?
    The FFUSB uses a micro USB cable, which is the same cable as most Android phones, etc.

    8. How should I supply power to the Radian?
    We use a good quality 5A BEC to power the Radian and 3-axis gimbal. You can provide power to the receiver you use for the gimbal and then have power lead from the receiver to each Radian. If you use a Spektrum Satellite for your system, you will need to provide power to a Radian module directly. You can provide power to any open port on the Radian.

    9. What should my Gains be set to?
    The default gains are a good starting point. Often times it helps to lower gains down to start with and then build back up to optimal settings. [Edit by Andy: Based on what people have posted on the forum, typical values are: pan 60-80%, roll 130%, and tilt from 150 to 220%. This will vary based on the camera and other physical aspects of your setup, but these are reasonable values to start with.]

    10. How do I limit the angle on tilt, so I do not see the booms?
    2013-01-03 Edit by Andy: As of version 1.03 of the Radian sensor firmware, you can now limit the angle of the tilt sensor using the Radian software.
    For versions prior to 1.03: The Radian comes set with a 10º up angle limit and a -110º down angle limit on tilt axis. Roll axis comes with a +-30º roll axis limit. Please note that these limits are with respect to the Earth, not the multi-rotor airframe. [Edit by Andy: You cannot limit the tilt in software, but, with the system powered off, loosen the camera plate until you can adjust it, then rotate the tilt pulley until the tilt Radian sensor is approximately 10 degrees above horizontal (with respect to the Earth). Then move the camera plate to the maximum angle you want it to go to and tighten it back down.]

    11. Which transmitter does Freefly recommend for use with the Radian?
    The Radian is designed to work well with a variety of systems. For ease of installation, we recommend a system which supports either S.Bus, PPM, or Spektrum Satellite. Using one of these setups will allow the Radian to feed input signals from one Radian to the next and allow for a cleaner and easier installation.

    12. My transmitter does not have a 3 position switch for the mode switch; what should I do?
    You can use a 2 position switch and only utlize the 'off' and 'stabilized slew' settings. [Edit by Andy: Or you can use a "Mix." There is an example of how to do this at here.]

    13. Will the Radian work on gimbals other then the CineStar?
    Yes the Radian will work on any gimbal with PWM driven servos. That said we have done extensive testing and optimization for use with the CineStar gimbal so we cannot guarantee performance on other camera gimbals.

    14. What is current draw on a CineStar 3-axis gimbal with Radians?
    Each servo can draw 1.5amps under load. We recommend power supply that can deliver 5A continuous current. A switching BEC is popular choice driven by a 3S lipo. [Edit by Andy: If you use a camera control, you may need to have a separate Recom/Traco 5v DC/DC converter for it to avoid servo noise causing problems with the MK IR control or the StratoSnapper.]

    15. I would like to use the AUX output on the tilt radian to drive my shutter release, can I do so?
    Absolutely! The AUX output is designed to pass along any of the input channels when you are using S.Bus, PPM, or Spektrum Satellite receiver. You can define in the Radian software which input channel will drive the AUX output. Each Radian has an AUX output so you can drive one accessory per Radian. [Edit by Andy: See FAQ 14 above regarding power supply for the camera control.]

    16. Should I always use a mode control switch?
    If you have a spare transmitter control and channel, definitely. If you do have a crash, you can power off all of the stabilization and save yourself the cost of three new servos that might otherwise stall and burn out.

    17. I cannot get the Radian software to connect to the Radian module, what should I do now?

    [Edit by Andy: First verify that you have installed the FTDI Virtual Com Port drivers. You can download these from here.]
    Without the Radian USB cable connected to your computer, open up the device manager and check if you see an entry for Ports (COM & LPT) (this is Windows 7 only and is absent entirely if there are no other USB connections -- the description is different for WinXP). Plug your Radian USB cable in. Do you hear Windows make a "be-bong" tone? If so, did you see a new entry appear under Ports (COM & LPT) -- click on the arrow head to the left of the Ports (COM & LPT) if the whole section appeared -- look at the COMxx -- the xx is the number of the COM port that Windows is using. If this did not happen, install the FTDI Virtual Com Port driver appropriate to the version of your operating system.

    18. How do I set up Windows so that the FF USB device will always appear as COM 10?
    a. For Windows XP: http://www.reslers.de/IBUS/port.html
    b. For Windows 7: http://plugable.com/2011/07/04/how-to-change-the-com-port-for-a-usb-serial-adapter-on-windows-7/

    19. When I am balancing in the pan axis, what do I move to adjust the pan balance so that I do not upset the tilt and roll balance?
    Move the entire down-post with the tilt and pan assembly closer or further away from the center of the Cinestar pan axis hub. If that does not allow you to achieve a balance, you *may* have to shorten or lengthen the side booms in their rear boom clamps.

    20. How can I test that the PC, Radian software, and Radian USB adapter are working correctly? [Added AJL 2013-03-01]
    Connect up the Radian USB Adapter board via USB Cable to your computer. You don't need to have a Radian sensor connected to the Radian USB Adapter -- this test will work with or without the Radian sensor being connected. You should see green LED on the Radian USB adapter illuminated constantly. Start up the Radian Software and click on Connect. You should see a yellow LED flash briefly each time you click on Connect. If you see this, then the Radian Software, Microsoft Windows, USB drivers, and the Radian USB adapter are all working.

    Big thanks to Andy Johnson-Laird for helping with the FAQ section!
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