Getting Used to Flying the Hexacopter

Written by: Tony Korologos | Date: Tuesday, July 8th, 2014
Categories: Build LogMultirotor Aircraft

Last night I logged the 3rd “real” flight of the megahexacopter.

The 2nd flight was a couple of days ago at the local park.  There was a bit of wind and I was quite nervous.  This bird has quite a bit of mass to it and when it gets going a direction, it takes a bit to change that direction.  So when you are heading for a bad thing like a tree or telephone pole, a little panic starts to happen.  More flying practice will help increase the comfort level.

Last night’s 3rd overall flight was a bit of a twist.  This time I ran two 5000mah batteries to see what my flight time would be.  I’m still unsure of the math involved and what is safe as far as battery voltage goes, so the total running time is still “up in the air” so to speak.  I landed in what I interpreted to be a very conservative and safe battery voltage.  The total flight time with the two batteries was 14 minutes.  If the batteries can run down a little lower than 3.75 volts, the time would be longer.  As expensive as these batteries are, I don’t want to take any chances ruining them.

I was happy to observe that the extra weight of another big battery had no noticeable effect on the performance of the bird.  Takeoff was effortless and the flight of the bird seemed responsive and smooth.  And I still have yet to mess with the gains, a property which controls the responsiveness of the motors.  Gains have a big bearing on the performance and how it handles wind.

Many rigs like mine run two batteries.  After running this rig with two, I’m looking at going with one huge 10,000mah+ battery rather than two 5000’s.  The reason is that I have a voltage monitor on the bird which sends telemetry back to my remote.  That telemetry shows my total battery voltage as well as the volts for each individual cell (total of six).  One must keep an eye on the per-cell voltage to avoid running them too low and ruining the battery.

The reason I will move to one big battery is that voltage monitoring setup.  In order for me to know the voltage of both batteries, I’d have to get a second voltage monitor and have a total of 12 voltages to look at while flying.  I’d much rather have one battery, one voltage monitor, and one set of wires to hook up.  The current setup means a Y wire and more weight etc…

In short, one battery is much easier to deal with and will have slightly less weight and thus more flight time (hopefully).

The current plan is more practice flying and getting the gains setup properly.  This setup does have a manual capability, where a knob on my remote adjusts the gains while the bird is flying.  This is a great feature as one can make the adjustment in the field, rather than having to hook the bird up to a computer and adjust them, then take it flying to see how the adjustments work.

It is also now the fun time to start working on the gimbal and camera setup and start with some basic media capturing.  I hope to have somewhat of a running camera setup in the next 1-2 weeks.  But these things all seem to take longer than expected.

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