Why I want an autopilot in my racing drone

About a year ago Hobbyking was having one of their “Flash Sale” events. During a few days, they dropped prices on a few hundred items. An online shopaholic in me couldn’t miss it. I meticulously studied the offerings until I found something worthy of my attention and money. That was a Jumper 218 Pro racing quadcopter, almost ready to run. A bargain at a just a bit over $100! I just needed to add an RC receiver.

Jumper 218 Pro Quadcopter

Jumper 218 Pro Quadcopter | Source: hobbyking.com

I received it a few days later and, as it often happens, put it on a shelf for a few months. From time to time I would take it off the shelf, hold it in my hands, make a few plans for it, and then put it back. At the time I was still concentrating on building my Alien 560 quadcopter, and the smaller drone was a distraction. The “project Alien” appeared to be never-ending. Every time I flew it, I saw a way to improve it. I would disassemble the copter and work on it for a week or two. Then put it back together, fly it, and then dismantle again. Only when I crashed the Alien, I decided to take a break from it and turned my attention to the Jumper.

Read more →

My midlife crisis

My new Evolve skateboard and I

They say every man goes through a midlife crisis. They used to be associated with flashy purchases like fast cars or motorbikes. But recently a new trend started to emerge. Generation X men coming into a mid-age increasingly choose carbon fibre bicycles over Porsches. This is in part because of the financial pressure - there has been no real wage growth over the last few decades, and at the same time, a larger proportion of the income needs to be allocated towards mortgage payments and other living expenses. Besides, men are chasing their youth, which is the essence of a midlife crisis, while Porsches are frowned upon as a sign of old age since only older men can afford them.

But every man is different. I honestly thought that my midlife crisis was behind me without any flashy manifestations. Well, I bought a red car ten years ago but it doesn’t count (sort of, right?). As for a bicycle, I have never been a bike person. I had a decent bicycle, but I barely rode it, and most of the time it was just idly sitting in my garage. Moreover, a geek should have a special kind of geeky midlife crisis, or otherwise, what’s the fun in it?

Read more →

Ghostbusters: Legacy

Sometimes I see dreams which are like movies: they are vivid, bright and clear. It doesn’t happen often, but whenever it does, I rush to write them down first thing in the morning before I forget them. Here is another one. I am not a writer. If anyone wants to take this and turn it into a work of art, be my guest. Just let me know. Here we go… Read more →

Alien 560 Quadcopter Build - Part 3 - Transmitter setup

I wish I could tell you that setting up the transmitter was straightforward, but unfortunately, it wasn’t. I’ll do my best to describe what I did, although I’m not sure my process is 100% repeatable. I have a Turnigy 9XR Pro transmitter with a FrSky JR module. It is a digital radio with lots of features: updateable firmware, model memory, custom sound files and so on. The first thing I did was upgrading the firmware. Read more →