Thursday, September 5, 2013

Tri-Copter Wildfire Monitoring Project

So the Hobby King MultiWii 328P wont fit in the Atom

Also I've found a fixed wing platform has longer flight times is not practical for quick launch - incident surveillance and video play back as a multi-rotor aircraft. So inspired by some amazing You Tube video and news articles, I've started building my first multi-rotor.
I chose at tri-copter for two reasons:
1)  Price. One less motor and ESC (Electronic speed controller) makes a surprising reduction to the build cost, even with the addition of a required tail rotor steering servo.
2) Unobstructed camera view. The "Y" configuration has the front rotors angled out 60 degrees either side of the forward facing camera.

I have used the proven design of  David Windest√•l AKA: RCExplorer of  FPV to Space and back fame.
So far I have almost completed an adaption of his Version 2.5 to use to learn the tricks and skills required. Then later I plan to use it as a platform to test telemetry, GPS interfacing, camera stabilization and RF video linking.

The central frame

Parts arrived from Hong Kong

Step 1 of the steerable tail rotor assembly

Step 2 of the steerable tail rotor assembly

The finished product.

Close-up of the electronics mock-up

Close-up of the electronics mock-up
Since these photo were taken the rest of the ESC have been installed, props have been balanced (inc. spares) and the camera pod has been removed. (It has to fly before I think about cameras)

I still have to order the batteries which a refrained from doing until all the assembly is completed.
Thus removing the temptation to try and fly before all pre-flight work and checks are done (I know myself to well) Plus the addition foam landing skids and a some kind of cover for the vital electronics.

Watch this space for the completed vehicle, static flight testing and the maiden flight videos.

In the mean time..  between work, household chores and Rural Fire brigade activities. I have started planning and gathering parts for the MKII version. This is will use the "Coffin" style center frame

 to accommodate an APM 2.5 + to have the power to utilize the Mission Planner software for fully autonomous flight. (Way-points, follow-me, auto-land and all the cool things the done with two more zeros on their price tags do).  Carbon fibre spars and possibly a Go-Pro Hero (If Henry is confident in my piloting skills or I can afford one by the time its finished)

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