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Programmable high-power LED flash system for $12

Programmable high-power LED flash system for $12

November 17, 2013 14:20 | By | Add a Comment

If you like super-bright high power LEDs and are looking for an easy way to add scale-looking anti-collision strobes to your model, we have a nice DYI solution that costs about $12 and consists of very few parts. Powered by a nano-sized Arduino (included in the $12!) you can program any strobe sequence you like!

Build your own programmable High Power 3W LED Flasher for your FPV model

Build your own programmable High Power 3W LED Flasher for your FPV model

November 17, 2013 3:02 | By | 5 Comments

Want high power 3 Watt LEDs as a highly visible anti-collision flash, but don’t want to spend $50 on a RC-ready product? Make your own programmable device for $12.-! Read on for complete build instructions.

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Syrian rebels claim to have downed Syrian Army Drone

Syrian rebels claim to have downed Syrian Army Drone

November 15, 2013 14:57 | By | Add a Comment

The “Free Syrian Army” has apparently downed a drone operated by the Syrian Army. And while you might scoff at this drone being just a DJI Phantom, at the very least it’s indisputably a much more cost effective system than what some other governments spend fortunes on.

Allegedly, the drone was brought down by signal interference. Considering the sometimes spotty RF link performance of the DJI Phantom, that’s not too hard to believe. Still, it makes a lot of sense to use such COTS RTF Drones instead, especially when on a budget.

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More pictures after the break, showing the massive amount of damage to the city of Homs. And regardless of what side one considers themselves on, this is a very interesting, and horrifying birds-eye look at what war looks like these days.

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OpenROV does FPV diving on the cheap

OpenROV does FPV diving on the cheap

November 15, 2013 14:41 | By | Add a Comment

Remember the OpenROV Kickstarter? If you didn’t, it’s an open source underwater rover, or mini submarine with a camera built in. They’re using off the shelf components like a beaglebone, arduino and a PC webcam to get you what researchers and the military have to pay millions of dollars for.

It may not dive hundreds of feet down, but it’s still a nifty way to get into the whole underwater RC thing. They have an online store where you can get your hands on one of these for USD 850.-

There are actually few alternatives in this price segment, but for completeness sake: RC Sub Workshop offers kits on ebay for about 300 bucks, which even include gas diving systems instead of just static diving. However, these kits are more geared towards the modeling aspect, and less about FPV and exploring.

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French Railroad Company SNCF tests Quadcopters for inspection work

French Railroad Company SNCF tests Quadcopters for inspection work

November 14, 2013 14:17 | By | Add a Comment

In a completely unexpected turn of events, SNCF joins the many businesses discovering mini UAVs for inspection work. In this case, SNCF commissioned the french inspection company Diades to use a custom built quadcopter for inspecting TGV railway bridges – without interrupting the train schedule.

More interestingly, the quadcopter in use is a custom construction using a geared brushless motor system and a heavy 4kg rigid frame, offering 20 minutes of flight time and a maximum range of just 200 meters, apparently. It does have a decidedly french look to it, at least.

Cost: 500 Euros. Just kidding, that’s the “running cost per hour”. Allegedly this thing costs over EUR 100.000.-

Considering that you can get a GPS-ready drone with similar flight times and complete autonomous functionality for a bit over USD 200 .- the SNCF drone is unlikely to take the world by storm.

Video and photos after the break.

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Hubsan H109 with FPV and GPS

Hubsan H109 with FPV and GPS

November 13, 2013 13:34 | By | Add a Comment

Hubsan is out to give the popular DJI Phantom a run for its money. Or less money, actually. The new 200-size H109 quadcopter features four 2000KV brushless motors, an optional FPV camera system, and GPS hold/return home functionality for a targeted price point of EUR 150.- , a set including the transmitter will cost EUR 200.-

A 2200mAh 2S LiPo is said to deliver a flight time of up to 25 minutes.

After a mediocre start with the original SpyHawk, Hubsan did deliver an interesting low-price entry level mini FPV package with the H107D, which costs about 200 bucks with transmitter right now.  Nice little detail solutions like the transmitter being able to control the copter even if the batteries were too low to drive the color LCD screen make us hope that the H109 starts up a new class of mid-sized quadcopters with nifty and useful features. One thing is certain though: Walkera has some work ahead of them, for the H109 is a very interesting entry due to the smaller 200 size as well as the low price point. The Walkera QR x350 costs more than twice as much, though it can carry a GoPro. It will be interesting to see what kind of video quality the optional camera system will offer.

Official specs and images after the break.

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Two cheap turnkey Multicopters with camera-gimbal

Two cheap turnkey Multicopters with camera-gimbal

October 13, 2013 11:17 | By | 1 Comment

Goodluckbuy has a lot of cool stuff, and a lot of crappy stuff. This is definitely in the cool category:

An ARTF package for a F550 based Hexacopter, or a F450 based Quadcopter, both including aluminium brushless gimbal for a GoPro, complete with motors, ESCs and flight controller. The real kicker is the price: Just $210 for the quadcopter, or $270 for the hexacopter. GPS is a $24 addon. As far as one can see there’s only two downsides here: The frame comes with the MultiWii-based flight controller… because it’s integrated. So if you break the frame’s PCB you will have to get a new flight controller. The second downside is that it’s unclear whether the more capable MegaPirate or other firmwares will run on this flight controller. Our guess is, it won’t.

But other than that… frankly this is an amazing deal even if you just ditch the integrated flight controller, buy some F550/F450 baseplates without the integrated flight controller and stick a Crius AIO onto it. This is as cheap as it gets. Compare this with the less-capable DJI Phantom where the base model costs more than twice as much and doesn’t even include a gimbal, much less a high quality one as this.  In fact, depending on where you buy, the DJI gimbal costs more than this entire set.

 

GoPro Hero 3+: better lens, more battery, same price

GoPro Hero 3+: better lens, more battery, same price

October 1, 2013 13:15 | By | Add a Comment

GoPro recently announced the GoPro 3+ line, including the GoPro 3+ Black and Silver edition. There’s a nice list of improvements which are by itself not earth-shattering, but combined they do elevate the 3+ well above the competition in some respects:

  • New 2.8 lens for better image quality
  • 30% more battery life
  • 20% smaller case with tighter fit
  • faster WiFi chip
  • improved audio processing
  • new auto Low Light mode
  • new 1080p SuperView mode records in full resultion 4:3 and then sizes down to 16:9 for better quality at the cost of slight image squashing
  • Silver Edition now supports [email protected] and [email protected]

Prices are now $399 for the Black edition, $299 for the Silver edition, and the previous non-plus GoPro 3 can now be bought for a discounted $329, respectively $249 for the old Silver edition.

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High-Performance Quadcopter for $120 – Part 3: Flashing and Setup

High-Performance Quadcopter for $120 – Part 3: Flashing and Setup

September 17, 2013 11:24 | By | 28 Comments

In our previous installments we took a look at the shopping list for a $120 high-performance quadcopter, then we built it. Now, we flash the ESCs with a improved firmware for added agility, and finally set up the KK 2.0 flight controller.

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SkyRC T6200 Touch Charger Review

SkyRC T6200 Touch Charger Review

July 6, 2013 1:55 | By | Add a Comment

Let’s get real for a moment here: The fact of the matter is that a simple four-button charger gets the job done, and there’s models ranging from a few bucks for 50W to the ThunderPower 1000W 14 charger. 4-button chargers are mostly very user friendly and easy to use, and there’s no real reason to go for anything else for simple LiPo field charging. So should you jump for this touchscreen-operated spaceship of a charger? Find out after the break.

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Walkera Goggle Glasses suspiciously look like Hubsan

Walkera Goggle Glasses suspiciously look like Hubsan

June 24, 2013 21:29 | By | 1 Comment

Remember the Hubsan H510 FPV Goggles? The ones sold for around 100 bucks? Well now you can buy the same goggles, just Walkera-branded, for… $140 at ehirobo.com

Unless they seriously improved the resolution (which they haven’t) or improved the design (nope), not exactly a great deal. If you must absolutely have them, buy the cheaper Hubsan original.. Or better yet, save up for better FPV goggles.

MultiWii 2.2 vs. MegaPirate 2.9 Beta

MultiWii 2.2 vs. MegaPirate 2.9 Beta

June 22, 2013 11:47 | By | 6 Comments

When you buy a new open source flight controller with decent power you usually get the choice between “MWC” and “MP” for your software. MWC in this case stands for MultiWii (why they put the extra C for Controller at the end is a mystery), and MP stands for MegaPirate. Both are flight controller software capable of controlling your multicopter, though they are radically different under the hood. But which one should you flash onto your controller? Find out more after the break.

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$120 Quadcopter doing flips

$120 Quadcopter doing flips

June 16, 2013 21:49 | By | Add a Comment

Have you been following our $120 Quadcopter Series? We recently posted Part 2 of that series. And if you are curious how this quadcopter flies, here’s a little video of the finished copter doing flips:

 

High-Performance Quadcopter for $120 – Part 2: The Build

High-Performance Quadcopter for $120 – Part 2: The Build

June 16, 2013 15:57 | By | 19 Comments

If you’ve been following Step 1 of our series, you now have a series of silvery plastic bags, and a cardboard box with some frame parts. Now what?
Thankfully, the build is very easy and not difficult at all.

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Thermal RC photos

Thermal RC photos

April 28, 2013 12:49 | By | Add a Comment

Have you always wanted to see what a multicopter looks like with a thermal camera? We had the chance to play around with one for a bit, check out the photos below!

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