Night Pyro

By sark on Jan 04, 2017

3 323  4 

Notice: Much of this quad was assembled from parts I had laying around. While there is nothing inherently wrong with any of the selections, If you wish to use this build as a template, I would advise researching your potential options. Particularly, the Paragon UAV motors (no longer available for sale), and the VGood ESCs (just get some BLHeli/BLHeli_S based ones instead).


Build Objectives:

Winter is here, and that means finger numbing cold and short dark days. It also means that after my daily tasks of "responsible adulting", there isn't enough daylight remaining for any real flying. In an attempt to gain as much flight time as possible, this build grabs Old Man Winter by the throat and squeezes...

  1. Night Vision: Well... as much as possible at a reasonable weight and cost. Ideally, illumination from the stars will be sufficient, and additional lighting sources, such as parking lot lights will not be required. While the RunCam Owl and Foxeer Night Wolf are both excellent low light cameras, they are not suitable for this task. Currently the only option potentially capable of meeting this objective is the RunCam Night Eagle.

  2. Durability: Regardless of the effectiveness the camera, flying in total darkness is still going to result in less than ideal visibility. As such, I anticipate increased attacks from ninja branches and various other gremlins. That means crashes... more of them than usual. Elemental RC's Pyro frame was selected for its stiff mono-plate design, high quality unidirectional carbon construction, and.... well... I had one sitting around, so it fits the bill perfectly.

  3. LEDs: More crashes also means more searching for a lost quad. While a buzzer is useful (and included with this build), it would shortsighted to not equip LEDs and turn the entire quad into a glowing search beacon. Also, TRON and acid flashbacks seem cool.

  4. Waterproof: Snow and rain are not known to be kindred playmates of electronics. To reduce the chances of a short, silicone conformal coating (don't bother with liquid electrical tape) was used to protect all electronics. If you choose to go this route be careful to keep it out out of moving parts and connectors like USB ports or channel buttons.

Things of Note:

  • Although I am not sure which version of the RMRC Dodo flight controller I used, it was older than the Rev.b listed above. That being said, I'm not aware of any breaking changes that could cause issues between versions. If you opt to use the Dodo, be sure to buy from a legit vendor as the clones of this board are known to have problems.

  • Unlike the HS1177 series cameras, the RunCam Night Eagle does not have the ability to display a call sign. To accomplish this I instead opted to use a Seriously DOGE OSD running MWOSD (which is either a good thing, or a bad thing, depending on who you ask). While this board makes for a really clean build (connecting directly to the flight controller using pins), it's a difficult product to recommend. In comparison to a standard Micro MinimOSD it's expensive and quite large. Additionally, there are now many other OSD options available that are capable of fulfilling multiple functions within the same footprint of the Seriously DOGE board.

  • The LEDs require a 12v input. I used a Pololu to step down the battery voltage and ran this to a small switch on the PDB. If I need every last drop of the battery for flight performance, or I'm just out day flying, the switch is used to turn the LEDs off.

  • I replaced the standard black wire leads on the motors with colored wires to give this build a unique look and enhance the overall color scheme. Be warned, performing such a mod is not to be attempted by the inexperienced, the meek, or the impatient. You run the possibility of destroying the motor by cutting/desoldering the leads connecting the copper windings.

Photos

Part List

Frame

Pyro Aqua
Hobbycreek.com
$49.99

Flight Controller

1 x Simonk 30Amp 30A Firmware Brushless ESC w/ 3A 5V BEC For DJI F450 Quadcopter (62 builds)
Ebay.com
$4.99

ESCs

4 x V-Good RC - ARM 32 - 30A Lite ESC (4 builds)
Readymaderc.com
$31.96

Motors

2 x 2205 2650kV Motor Pair (CW & CCW)
Web.archive.org
$71.00

Propellers

4 x HQ 5x4 (4 pack)
Rotorgeeks.com
$11.96

FPV Camera

RunCam Night Eagle (Black & White Video Only, No Color)
Shop.runcam.com
$79.99

FPV Transmitter

FPV Ninjas 200mW 40 Channel 5.8GHz FPV VTX with Raceband - The Racer PRO - Pigtail with Right Angle SMA (6 builds)
Fpvninjas.com
$24.99

Antenna

Raptor Antenna 5.8Ghz Omni (5 builds)
Menacerc.co.uk
$12.14

Receiver

FrSky XSR CPPM/S.Bus Receiver (34 builds)
Fpvheadquarters.com
$29.99

Power Distribution

Blue Sky CC3D Sub Panel
Alofthobbies.com
$2.75

Misc Parts

Pololu 12V, 600mA Step-Down Voltage Regulator D24V6F12 (3 builds)
Pololu.com
$5.95

Misc Parts

2 x RGB LED Round Circle Board 5050 X6 / 12V for FPV RC Multicopter Matek
Aliexpress.com
$6.16
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Discussion

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BlackbirdFPV   Apr 12, 2017  

How do you like that OSD from RMRC? I have a DODO FC and looking for a good OSD to add to my build.

sark   Apr 13, 2017 

Well... it runs the same MWOSD firmware that the MinimOSD hardware also runs, and while it is currently on sale for $55.99. This $7.99 option runs the exact same firmware. That being said, it also provides a couple 5v/12v step downs, which are basically the same as this and this. In addition it also provides clean power for your video which is what this LC Filter also does.

As you can see the exact same functionality can be accomplished at a much cheaper cost. What you are really paying for when you buy the Seriously DOGE OSD is a single package for all those functions that directly integrates with the DODO FC with no wiring. Another thing to note is that because this board is directly connected to the top/bottom of the FC it does make the overall stack quite tall.

In short, if you want a single all in one package that cleanly connects to the DODO FC, and cost isn't of concern then it's solid choice. However, if you do not fit this criteria exactly, then its a tough board to recommend.

As you mentioned having a DODO FC, this may be the right option for you. If you were still in search of an FC I would suggest looking for one that supports the Betaflight OSD. I personally prefer it, and feel it's implementation is cleaner and easier to configure. (Although, I have heard a new version of MWOSD is currently in the works, with many improvements) A couple boards I would recommend would be the Betaflight F3 board, or the Omnibus F4. Hope that helps to make your decision. Cheers!

Sean   Jan 07, 2017  

Awesome attention to detail in this build, love the look of it. Great photos and a well written up build too! I have a couple of questions:

  1. How did you get that formatting in your description on here? Did you just insert HTML into the form?
  2. Is liquid electrical tape really not worth bothering with? I know conformal coating is the way to go but I recently bought a tub of liquid electrical tape and neither options are very cheap so I'd rather not let it go to waste. I don't plan on flying in rain or snow, just looking for some protection against wet grass really. Do you think liquid electrical tape is okay for that?
Show previous comments
Whiffles   Jan 08, 2017 

I'm not sure the liquid electrical tape is worth it. You'll just have a messy PDB that'll be hard to work with in the future.

sark   Jan 08, 2017 
1

Ultimately, doing any of this "water-proofing" adds an additional steps to any rework that may later be required. The nice thing about conformal coating is you can basically just use your soldering iron to burn through it. Hot glue and liquid electrical tape both require more work as you have to peel them away. That being said either method provides more protection than nothing, and, if I am working on the pdb it usually means I have had to disassemble the entire quad anyway. It's really up to the you what's worth it and what is not.

dirtdiver   Jan 05, 2017  

Do you have any shots of the LEDs from a distance? Or video perhaps? I bet that looks awesome.

sark   Jan 05, 2017 

I'll have to get a few shots next time I'm out. :)

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