Today we’ve got my Dad’s DJI Mavic Pro and My DJI Mavic 2 Zoom getting ready for their flight today. Starting things off by going over our flight plans and safety procedures. In my younger years I’d go flying with my Dad out in Castroville. I never got a chance to fly with him due to my inability even pilot an RC car let alone small aircraft.
Well now we have DJI Drones and don’t need to go to the flying field like we used to be required to do 20+ years ago. The irony in it is now I am teaching him how to fly a drone. Which btw after 35+ years of flying Remote Controlled aircraft he was still flying the Mavic Pro like it was a plane!
RC Planes back then didn’t really have any of the safety devices and or assisted flying modes. If not all of DJI drones have the ability to fly with GPS lock allowing the pilot to focus on getting better video. Or even providing a more stable aircraft for first time pilots to fly.
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This is a short video of my 3DR Solo Flying through the lovely Cibolo Nature Center located in Boerne, Texas and just a short drive from San Antonio. This has got to be one of my most treasured places to visit. I feel like I am in another world, it takes me back to a much simpler time. This place has a couple different “zone” that recreate nature, like the Swap area, or Marsh Zone, even the Prairie Lands.
I took this photo with my GoPro Hero 4 Black attached to my 3DR Solo @ Nani Falcone Park in San Antonio, Texas. We just had a big storm on February 20th, 2017 and I was curious as to what this creek looked like after all that rain and wind! The 3DR Solo has a GPS upgrade by a company named mRo and they sell a few aftermarket parts for the 3DR Solo. There are a lot of other Quadcopters out there hovering around but the 3DR Solo is one of the cheapest with the most range of features that you’ll find on a Hobbyist Drone. Unlike many other Multi rotors on the market this one can be modded quite a bit. You can find all kinds of sensors and cameras to make Land Surveying a breeze.
I like that the 3DR Solo offers a range of what they call “Smart Shots” which allow you to do things like take a Drone Selfie or Orbit your selected target and it does this all automatically. Of course you just have to press one button to return your 3DR Solo back to its default flying mode. Each flight can last up to 20 min which of course is affected by the external conditions such as wind, rain, temperature and how the pilot (YOU) fly your aircraft.
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I just picked up my 3DR Solo this last week and have been flying it whenever I get the time. I also wanted to register with the FAA since it only costs $5 to do so. I am now licensed to fly legally, and will soon be getting my Part 107. You can contact us with questions here.
If you still hurry you might be able to purchase one from Best Buy or another local Computer store, if you already own a GoPro you should definitely pick up while you still can. I will upload some more mods as I do them, so far I plan on upgrading the GPS, HDMI cables, and adding some Moon gel.
You can use your cell phone to view the live video feed that is streamed from the 3DR back to you on the ground, but I decided to upgrade to a tablet instead. I decided I needed one with good battery life and it must have GPS in order for the “Smart Shots” to work. So I went with a Lenovo Tab from Amazon, it works really well and its much easier to plan out missions on. However there are many compatible tablets that can be used such as the ever popular iPad lineup
Time For some upgrades!
I decided to use my #Flashforge 3D Printer to print out some upgrade parts from Thingiverse. I went with a new Gimbal clips that prevents the GoPro from falling out of the Gimbal while your flying. The clip that comes installed from the factory requires that you remove the GoPro in order to remove your Micro Sd Card.
The picture shown on the bottom right shows a simple upgrade that can be 3D Printed if you know or have your own printer, it allows you access to your Micro Sd card without the need to remove your GoPro.
If your running the 3DR Solo with a Gimbal like I am you might also want to consider some leg extensions, that will help your GoPro & Gimbal clear the Grass or any obstacles low to the ground. They are easily installed, all you need to do is remove the old clips and snap these in their place!
So Father’s day was last week and I decided to build my Dad a new 250mm Quadcopter so we can finally race each other. I wanted to make a build video but went with a Time-lapse of the build and its pretty cool IMO. I still need to test fly it and finishing the PID tuning. So far I have some issues when trying to spool up the motors, I am going to troubleshoot it this week. Click HERE to find out more info on your own custom Quadcopter Build.
Using my Flashforge Creator Pro 3D Printer I was able to make some custom parts for this FPV Quadcopter, one of which is a low profile spacer that allows you to put all of the electronics inside the frame including the ESC’s which makes for a super clean build as show below.
The Flight Controller is running Cleanflight but I might switch it over to Betaflight, I still need to look into the recent changes of both Cleanflight and Betaflight.
Skyline32 Flight Controller
FlySky TH-9 Transmitter
2500mah LiPo Battery
Carbon Fiber 250mm Quadcopter Frame (ZMR250)
Power Distribution Board
Soon I will be posting a test flight video of this aircraft.
Most of you know that the FAA has stated that all multirotors that weigh more than 0.55 pounds must be registered in order to prevent fines upwards of $250,000. So there has been an increase in sub 250g Quadcopters and Tricopters. Well today we are gonna talk a little about my FPV Quadcopter and what they look like.
The frame I chose for this build is an: LHI 210mm Carbon Fiber Frame : Overall I am very pleased with the quality of this frame, very sturdy and lightweight coming in at 70g with all the aluminum hardware. In the future I will be using my Flashforge Creator Pro to 3D print some much lighter spacers to replace the metal spacers that come with the LHI frame.
During this build all of the wiring was done in a minimalistic fashion, I would measure the wire bundles allowing just enough wire to go from A to B then add about an inch to allow for some slack.
I am sure most of you have heard about the importance of remaining anonymous and keeping yourself protected while browsing from public Wi-Fi. Then you ask, well how am I supposed to do that?
Well today I want to talk a little bit about a device called “Anonabox” which is a tiny TOR embedded router that can help keep your anonymity safe while browsing the web. Its powered by 5v, supplied by a USB port found on almost every laptop & desktop or by most cell phone chargers via micro usb.
Once powered up you can connect to a wireless access point for internet or if you’d like to “hardwire” in you can do that as well with the supplied LAN/WAN connections. There are 4 models to choose from, the two most popular are The Original & The Pro versions of the Anonabox. Both offering different features for those who just need to use TOR or those who need a more advanced version like the PRO can access features like VPN, or .Onion Web Hosting. In the coming weeks there will be some updates published that allow for more services to be added.
The two most popular Anonabox models, The “Original” is for those who needs are basic, a Plug n Play Design. While the “Pro” offers a more advanced user experience, offering more features like VPN access, Ad Blocking, .Onion Hosting & more!
As of recently I started playing my computer games with an old modded Xbox 360 controller and for the most part I thought the controller I already had was great.. Until I bought the Xbox One Elite Controller. Everything about the Xbox One Elite Controller is well crafted, from the thumbsticks to the adjustable triggers. You can setup custom button mapping for your most played games and you also have a profile switch that allows you to switch back and forth between profiles directly saved on your Xbox One Elite Controller. If your running Windows 10 you can download the Xbox One Accessories app through the Windows App Store, which will allow you to customize the button layout, Xbox Button Brightness, Dead Zones for the triggers and so much more!!
So after spending $24 on a battery and another $20 on the wireless receiver I had a pretty sweet controller for my PC. Most of the games I play are on Steam which allows me to use “Big Picture” which is steams GUI for a PC based console “feel”. It makes navigating the Steam Interface much more intuitive when using a controller.
The first thing I noticed when removing the Xbox One Controller from the protective case is the weight. This controller is heavy! Even though its “heavy” I still have no issues holding this controller for hours at a time.
The rubber texture on the controller feels great and makes those long nights in front of the heavenly glow of your gaming monitor that much more bad ass!
In this video you will see a basic installation of Corsair RAM plus a Samsung 850 mSata SSD
Tools You Will Need
Flat Head Screwdriver
10-15 minutes of time
Impressions on the NUC from Intel
So far I have been really impressed with the performance from my NUC. I setup one as a headless server and I couldn’t be any happier. The whole unit can fit in the palm of your hand and depending on which model you get can pack a serious punch. I opted to go with the Intel Celeron 847 Dual Core, I’ll explain further down why I went with this particular model.
In my experience the NUC runs quite cool, I used a R/C Engine thermometer to test the temperature and it came in at a cool temp of 88°F so I measured my smartphone with the same thermal temperature sensor just to compare and my phone measured 85°F.
I have been looking for a solution to my server needs and this Intel NUC was up to the task. I needed something that was small and compact so at first I tried using a Raspberry Pi which is a great computer but just didn’t have the horsepower I needed and most of all a gigabit NIC. So after quite a few open source computer purchases with the latest being a bananaPi by LeMaker, I just couldn’t find a suitable piece of equipment that would fit my requirements.
The Banana Pi is another fantastic piece of hardware, it even sports a full size SATA port, which is great considering I was using it for a server. However the SATA speeds were not as I had hoped. The average transfer speed over a gigabit network was around 40 MB/s which is about average for most NFS systems. I personally prefer faster speeds, like around 110 MB/s which is exactly what I can expect from the NUC.
Reasons Why I Purchased the NUC
Low Power Consumption (17 Watts) !!
Runs Extremely Cool
Completely Silent Operation
Intel Celeron Dual Core 847
Max 16GB RAM
Dual HDMI Ports
7.1 Surround through HDMI
5 Total USB Connections (3 external & 2 via internal header