Today Carefree mode bit me in the ass

Discussion in 'Electronics' started by Steve Maller, Dec 6, 2012.

  1. Steve Maller

    Steve Maller UAV Grief Counselor

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    I should have more carefully heeded Comrade Johnson-Laird's admonitions. When I configured my mx-20, I assigned Carefree mode to a switch on the transmitter.

    I haven't used it yet, as I'm actually quite a bit better at controlling my Cinestar 8 than I thought I would be. I guess all that time with my Xpro Heli XP2 quad paid off!

    Today I put together my FPV rig and took it out to do some testing. I left an LCD monitor in the back of my car with a GoPro pointing at it, ostensibly to "watch" the display for any dropouts, etc. I just wanted to get a sense of the range, etc. I was flying around my regular park, where I have about 400 meters of open space, bounded by large (100+ foot) Eucalyptus trees. The FPV tests appeared to be going well, based on a few peeks I made back at the display whilst flying about, and when I turned on GPS position/altitude hold.
    But on about my 5th or 6th sortie, something went horribly wrong. I started out flying normally, but then I seemed to lose control of the bird in a very trivial situation...just hovering 30-40 feet above where I was standing. The sticks seemed to be all confused. And before I knew it, I was flying backwards at a high rate of speed into a stand of the aforementioned Eucalyptus trees. Suffice it to say I had to drive back to my studio and fetch my 40' extension ladder to fetch the bird out of the tree. I tied it to a rope and lowered it down to the ground.

    Remarkably, its only damage was a broken propellor. And the little LiPo that was powering the FPV rig was completely dead by the time I got up there. The mains LiPo was fine. And the landing gears were tweaked, but I keep them loose, so they just rotated back into position.

    I was reviewing the flights over and over in my mind as I was shooting a gig tonight, and it finally dawned on me: I must have accidentally engaged Carefree mode.

    When I got home I looked over the telemetry, and that's exactly what happened. I must have bumped the switch and even though I was using voice telemetry, when I have "REPEAT" turned on, it misses some of the messages. Sigh.

    Guess what I'm doing tomorrow morning after I replace the broken prop? And my underwear? :D

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  2. SteveWilson

    SteveWilson Member

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    Welcome to the club Steve! Glad you got away with relatively minor damage. All part of the learning process.

    Don't get too down on Carefree, it's a great feature that has saved us a few times in very specific situations when the machine is too far to see orientation. You gotta mind your switches though - that's the lesson I'd take away. With winter gloves it gets even tougher.

    Before you fly again, I'd spin up each of those motors in motortest and check for vibrations - especially #8 with the lost prop.
     
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  3. Andy Johnson-Laird

    Andy Johnson-Laird Administrator
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    Hi Steve:
    Welcome to the Cinestar Arboreal Club (CAC). Now you know why my signature line is what it is. Your count is a more modest Trees = 1, Props = 1, however. But don't worry, you'll soon catch up!

    I'm impressed that you own a 40' ladder. Note to self: May need to get one of those.

    I'm sorry that my advice seemed prescient....I confess to having disabled Carefree mode on my transmitter.

    Also, I've found that the Smart OSD board has a "Radar" view which shows the boom #1 orientation based on the gyrocompass. You can make the copter icon large. I make a note when I start a flight of what the boom #1 compass heading is, and then flip to that display when the bird is too far away to see the orientation visually. Then it's a simple matter of yawing it to the same compass heading and bringing it home.

    Hope this helps.
    Andy.
     
  4. Andy Johnson-Laird

    Andy Johnson-Laird Administrator
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    Afterthoughts: The other things I really need to make instinctive are:

    1. Verify that Coming Home is working at the start of the first flight of the day.
    2. Not take off without a good GPS fix.
    3. When things go badly during a flight, don't fight it, just quickly throw on Position Hold and Altitude Hold to park the bird in the sky and give myself time to sort out what is going wrong.

    Andy.
     
  5. Steve Maller

    Steve Maller UAV Grief Counselor

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    Going to try and get my SmartOSD working today. I think that's a really important piece of kit, and I am looking forward to using it.

    Question for you: are you using goggles or an LCD display? I notice Jeff from QC and many others (Team Blacksheep, etc...) are flying using goggles, but it seems the 16:9 to 4:3 conversion for the goggles results in a badly distorted image in the goggles, whereas the LCDs can be twiddled with to minimize (or eliminate) that effect.

    I have Fatsharks and like using them with my other copter. But I put a tiny CCD camera on it for that purpose.

    Don't forget the vehicle big enough to strap a 20' ladder to. It's actually 16' and 30' fully extended. I exaggerated. ;)
     
  6. Andy Johnson-Laird

    Andy Johnson-Laird Administrator
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    Yeah....it really makes a huge difference to be able to see at a glance all the data you need. Take the time to set up all four screens.
    I have them set up like this:
    1. Full instrumentation with artificial horizon in the center.
    2. Most instrumentation around the outside of the frame, but clear in the center so I can eyeball the scene better.
    3. Radar image with minimal grid and large copter icon so I can see orientation.
    4. Only battery voltage and current -- no other icons, so I can really see what's going on.

    I'm using a SmallHD DP6 display on a tripod. I've got a DP7 high brightness on order so that I don't have to peer into the sunshade cavity.

    I'd love to try goggles, but I wear corrective glasses and I've not found a pair of goggles that:
    1. Allow for the spectacles or provide both dioptric and astigmatic correction.
    2. Are not "isolating" -- I don't like the idea of coming into land and having to take the goggles off but then not having my glasses on to do the landing....

    Also, to be covered by the AMA insurance, I would need a buddy box so that the buddy can take over and fly the bird.

    Do you wear corrective lenses? I tried the Vuzix 900 and 1200, but I couldn't get the correct interocular distance to be able to see the left and right edges of the screen. I'm not sure (in hindsight) whether I'd be able to read the Smart OSD data, either.

    Yeah. I'm serious thinking of a Sprinter "high ceiling" van and tricking it out as a mobile copter shop. Either that or knowing where to rent a cherry picker.;)

    Andy.
     
  7. Steve Maller

    Steve Maller UAV Grief Counselor

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    Wait, I thought you had a second Cinestar. If so, then you don't need a ladder...just some cable and a long fiberglass pole...
     
  8. Andy Johnson-Laird

    Andy Johnson-Laird Administrator
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    That just means I'll two C8 stuck in two trees! :)

    Andy.
     
  9. Steve Maller

    Steve Maller UAV Grief Counselor

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    For anybody who cares, here's the film of my crash. You should watch. If innocent children can be saved (or Cinestar drivers), I will not have had these brain cells perish in vain. :eek:

     
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  10. Andy Johnson-Laird

    Andy Johnson-Laird Administrator
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    Given you're going to crash into a tree, Steve, this is the way to do it! Thanks for posting the video.

    However, I can anticipated you will receive a letter from the Northern California Eucalyptus Protection Society!

    By the way, could you post an image showing how you have your GoPro mounted. It's a good vantage point.

    Andy.
     
  11. Tim Joy

    Tim Joy Active Member

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    Andy, the AMA have removed the buddy box requirements for fpv now. They released new rules a few weeks ago.

    I use what I like to call, "fpv assist". I fly mostly LOS but have a monitor with OSD and fixed fpv cam for longer flights and "orientation verification". Since I always fly tail-in it's easy to switch between the two after training the mind a little. It really helps with the whole depth perception problem and knowing when I am over the target or close to it...etc
     
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  12. Andy Johnson-Laird

    Andy Johnson-Laird Administrator
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    That's right! I'd forgotten that they tweaked the buddy box rule.
    You still need a second person standing next to you though.

    The specifics are: AMA Document #105 para. 9(b) says that FPV flight has to be conducted in accordance with the procedures outlined in AMA Document #550, but Document #550 has disappeared from the list. However using their on-site Google search you can still find it here. Paragraph 3. b) states "All FPV flights require an AMA FPV pilot to have an AMA FPV spotter to him/her maintaining VLOS with the FPV aircraft throughout the flight."

    It states:
    3. OPERATIONS – REQUIREMENTS - LIMITATIONS:
    a) AMA FPV novice pilots must use a buddy-box system with an FPV spotter while
    learning to fly FPV.
    b) All FPV flights require an AMA FPV pilot to have an AMA FPV spotter next to
    him/her maintaining VLOS with the FPV aircraft throughout its flight. c) The FPV pilot must brief the FPV spotter on the FPV spotter’s duties,
    communications and hand-over control procedures before FPV flight.
    d) The AMA FPV spotter must communicate with the FPV pilot to ensure the FPV
    aircraft remains within VLOS, warning the FPV pilot of approaching aircraft, and when avoidance techniques are necessary.
    e) The FPV spotter may at any time during an FPV flight acquire the transmitter from
    the FPV pilot and assume VLOS control of the aircraft.
    f) If the FPV pilot experiences a problem due to a loss of video link, orientation, or is
    unable to safely fly, he/she must abandon FPV mode and fly VLOS or pass the RC transmitter to the FPV spotter to assume VLOS control of the aircraft.
    g) Before initial FPV flight and after any flight system changes or repairs, FPV model
    aircraft must be test flown by conventional VLOS to determine that flight systems are working properly.
    h) FPV model aircraft must use frequencies approved by the FCC for both the RC


    Yeah, that's what I do. But in my case, what inevitably happens, especially with single person operation is that I need to yaw the bird to pan the camera. Also, if you use Come Home, it brings the bird in whatever nose/tail orientation it was in -- so you still need to sort things out for landing.

    Andy.
     
  13. Bo Tornvig

    Bo Tornvig Member

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    Hi Steve,
    Did you solve the 16:9 - 4:3 issue?
    I got a new HD 16:9 FPV camera today - thinking that I could get 16:9 out from my Smart OSD...
    Apparently it only output 4:3 ratio...?
    Cheers
    Bo
     
  14. Steve Maller

    Steve Maller UAV Grief Counselor

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    As far as I know, the SmartOSD only supports 4:3. Same with the video TX, too.
     
  15. Bo Tornvig

    Bo Tornvig Member

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    My problem is that I have this badly distorted image in my goggles. Like a 4:3 image flatten out to a 16:9 format.
    Do you have the same issue?
     
  16. Steve Maller

    Steve Maller UAV Grief Counselor

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