Saturday, February 18, 2012

KK Quadcopter build

KK multiboard build

Shopping List 

4x Tunigy Plush 30A ESC's

4x Tunigy low kv motors

1x Hobbyking KK board or the new version

1x Quadcopter frame

a handful of connectors 5sets should do

2 pairs of props

your own TX/ RX, Battery etc.

1 set of leads

some wire

lots of patience


1x programming lead

lots of props (believe me youll need them)


1/ Start off by building your quadcoper frame, once assembled mount a motor on each arm.

2/ solder the motor wires on to the ESC wires and cable tie the wires to the arm

3/ Add an XT60 connector to the end of the esc and remove the red conductor from the 3 pin connector and isolate.

4/ now you need to make a harness to go from 1 female XT60 connector (that plugs into your battery) out to 4  male XT60 connectors (for the speed controllers)

5/ plug this into your speed controllers and thread the female XT60 through the frame of the quad to the bottom where the battery will mount.

6/ fit your KK board and plug the motors in as shown below

7/ Now connect your RX to the inputs of the quadcopter

8/ If you got your board from Hobbyking then it is flashed to fly + config, you can re flash using the optional programmer to fly x config but be warned there is a bug with the v4.7 firmware that causes motor 4 to have a big deadband in the throttle response so you might want to flash with v2.5 as I did, you can download the firmware from

I would recommend Lazyzero's flash tool available free (you can donate) form

9/ Set your esc throttle range up 

you may have difficulties programming all at once but the procedure should be

9/ a/ Remove props

    b/ Turn on TX and set throttle to max

    c/ Turn YAW adjust to min

    d/ Connect battery to KK board and esc's 

    e/ ESC's will beep the double beep (beep-beep) once they double beep smoothly bring throttle to zero                              and the esc's will beep once.

    f/ Disconnect battery.

    g/ Set YAW pot back to 50%

you should now be ready to fly :-) 

If you haven flown any models before I recommend you get a simulator as they are not expensive and much cheaper than repairing the quad :-)

10/ You will need to adjust the pots to get the sensitivity correct, turn the pots up until the quad oscillates then turn it down a little. This will give most stable flight.

11/ Each time you fly you will probably need to adjust the trim.

Happy flying :-)


Thursday, October 6, 2011

RC supplier review - Hobbyking

I am kind of new to the RC plane hobby, I have had RC cars when I was a kid and then more recently I had a brief and very expensive foray into RC helicopters.
A couple of months ago I decided to try RC planes, I got a simulator from eBay and after about 10 hours sim time I went out with my first plane, any I'm digressing now this is a supplier review.

After looking around and various suppliers and having a disastrous transaction with wheelspin models I found Hobbyking, I was very happy with their prices and they had a European warehouse based in Germany.

I was getting excited about the German warehouse, so I clicked on the "DE Warehouse" icon then searched for the plane I was after the "Bixler" (otherwise known as the skysurfer) and found it, I was surprised to see EMS shipping form Germany but never the less placed my order, only to be advised that my item was a JIT item, I was a bit confused so I searched some forums, JIT items are items located in a warehouse in the middle of nowhere in China, they are then shipped to another warehouse in China then shipped out to the customer!

It takes between 3-5 days to get from the JIT warehouse to the front end warehouse then about 5 days to put the order in another box to ship, after that it usually takes 3 days to arrive in the UK.

So after 11 days my express order that I thought was coming from Germany finally turned up :-)

I was very happy with the plane! It really fly's nicely and is a great first plane, see my review on youtube.

I went on to order a few more items including a G-OSD(review) and a Video TX kit(review), this is where things start to get a lot worse, I had the same problem again with the appalling  delay in shipping an order on their premium shipping level, but once the items arrived I found more problems, the G-OSD only works for 3-5 mins before crashing and although an excellent item the Video TX is 3 times heavier than listed.

I contacted Hobbyking's customer service about the faulty G-OSD unit, they advised me I would have to send the item back via recorded delivery at my cost and I would only receive the item cost back if they found a fault. The return cost would be about what I would get back if the item was refunded so it wasn't worth the hassle.

Hobbyking is a good site, however when buying bear in mind that ANY problems and you will have to send the item back at YOUR cost! and nothing will arrive quickly, even if you use express shipping!

I managed to send an email prior to writing this blog post to the Managing director of Hobbyking, Anthony Hand, this got passed on to the Product manager Ben Everton and the Customer Services Manager Leason.

Ben was really quick to get back to me to get details on the problems I mentioned, the G-OSD and the Video TX kit. the Video TX kit has been rectified already which is fantastic and he has contacted the manufacturer to get to the bottom of the problems.

Shortly after I received a mail from Leason the CS manager asking for details about the problems I have had with my previous orders, I have advised Leason and I am awaiting a reply,

24 hours still no reply from the CS manager, though from the tone of their message I don't think they were really that bothered, well time will tell.

Typical about 10 mins after my update the CS manager emailed me back, however nothing worth discussing really just a lot of excuses. See below the email below :-

"Hi Steve,
I have look into your order and I am happy to clarify with you the order process of your purchases. I am quite sure that after this clarification, you will have a much better understand on the order process. We understand that when a customer purchase an item from us, they would want to get their hands on them ASAP. So we strive to target our warehouse staffs to have the orders dispatch from our warehouse within 48 hours. Please understand that sometimes warehouse do suffer from backlogs due to high volume of orders/holidays, we cannot always achieve this target.
However, during peak time, we do have staffs working around the clock to process the thousands of orders we may have. To avoid confusion, we clearly state this on our FAQ page:
Orders are packed and posted from 9am-5pm, Monday to Saturday. The time in Hong Kong right now is: 4:59:36 PM
Provided your products are in stock & we are not experiencing unusually high order volumes, the package will be sent within 48hrs except for weekends.
It happens so that your order 32xxxxx was placed on the China National Day. Where the China warehouse had a 5 days holiday. This along with an additional day off due to a Typhoon 8 was the major reason of why the order was not process in the normal transit time as we target. At the moment your order is being pick. The JIT item has left the China warehouse which should arrive to HK in 1-2 days. As we have a backlog of orders from the holiday break, your patience and understanding of this delay will be much appreciated. We do and we will work hard to have your order ship out ASAP. I will have a customer service to help follow up on your order. and get you an updated status. Our system will send you a dispatch email once the order has been posted."

More details to follow as I have them

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Apple iPhone 4S not iPhone 5!

With the recent departure of the face of Apple, Steve Jobs, and the appointment of Tim Cook I was expecting a lot of effort to have gone in to the iPhone and ios 5.0 to try to disprove the claims that jobs leaving will end Apple's dominance.

Myself along with many of those attending the "lets talk about iPhone" conference were astounded that the new iPhone 4S was not much of an improvement over the iPhone 4, it reminds me of the launch of the iPad 2, a lot of hype for what essentially didn't amount to much.

Although I don't really consider myself an Apple fanboy, I am definitely an advocate for iProducts! however I wont be rushing out to get the new iPhone, after chatting with my colleagues I haven't heard one good thing said about the 4S, the word I hear most often is "Disappointed" I will be surprised if the pre order "sells-out" like the iPhone 4 did.

Differences between iPhone 4 and iPhone 4S

                                                                                iPhone 4                              iPhone 4S
Processor                                                                      A4                                 Dual core A5
Siri (voice recognition)                                                   No                                        Yes
Camera                                                                        5Mp                                      8Mp
Video                                                                      720p 30fps                           1080p 30fps
Video stabilisation                                                          No                                        Yes
Talktime                                                                    7 hours                                    8 hours
Standby time                                                            300 hours                               200 hours

I don't think you will notice the dual core A5 chips benefits unless you use your iPhone for gaming, its disappointing to see Siri not supported on the iPhone 4 once its upgraded to ios 5.0 but its not a huge deal.

Anyone that's really into cameras will tell you it's not all about Megapixels! however the 1080p capabilities are nice but I doubt the video stabilisation will be the envy of iPhone 4 users.

One thing that surprised me was the standby time, it looks like the iPhone 4S has taken a backwards step, only offering 2/3 of the iPhone 4!

All in all a real let down and not a very good start for Tim's first solo launch.

Friday, September 30, 2011

Ritewing Zephyr style Flying wing design

After seeing the videos posted by Team Blacksheep and loving them I had a look at their website, they actually sell the Zephyr fully populated with all of their FPV gear and a custom designed PSU, I cant afford the $2000 for the fully populated kit so I ordered the FPV items and contacted Chris from ritewing about buying a bare zephyr, I was surprised to find out that the blank foam and fibreglass rods would cost $180 then I would have to add shipping from the US to UK  and all the RC gear, thats getting quite pricey, I also looked at the Teksumo by turnigy but I think the 900mm wingspan would be a little feeble.

There is only one thing to do, Make my own!

I sketched the rough idea, tweaked the design then scaled it up to a 1.5-1.6m plane.

After looking round for a foam supplier I found the best bet was to buy the foam from Wickes so I shoved a load in my boot (after paying :-) ), after cutting the rough wing type I cut a pair of templates out of wood for the aerofoil and using a hot wire cutter I cut the wing profile.

After cutting the wings I came to installing the Carbon fibre spars, this is where I hit my first problem, luckily before fitting I stumbled across a forum post about Carbon fibre and RF, when you think about it it makes sense, Carbon fibre is conductive, and hence could cause problems with the RF signals, it's a really remote chance but as I have time to change it why not! so I ordered some fibre glass and waited.

Once the fibre glass rod had arrived I managed to get the plane together and strapped the wingsd together using reinforced tape (or as I have seen it called "EXTREME PACKING TAPE"). now I have to lay out all my FPV and RC kit on the wing and decide how to mount it, I tried to keep it fairly evenly balanced and marked out where it all went.

If you are following this and planning to make your own wing this is the part that you need to do outside unless your not married or still living with your parents, cutting the wing to fit the equipment inside is VERY messy, and the damn foam beads are statically attracted to you, so you come away looking like a deranged snowman trying to fight the beads off.

After cutting the holes and the cable runs between each hole I had to fit covers for some of the equipment, I did this with corrugated plastic as its strong light and flexible, I glued the cover at the leading edge and I am using neodymium magnets on the trailing edge to hold the cover in place.

Next I made the Elevons, for this I got some sheets of Balsa and glued two sheets together using Gorilla Glue and trimmed them to size.

The next step is to cover the wing but I am waiting for the covering material to arrive from china :-(

Photos and more info to follow.