The QAV540G quad airframe with integrated brushless gimbal is now available for pre-order and has an expected ship date of the “2nd half of June”. Also available for pre-order is the new brushless gimbal upgrade for the QAV500 quad airframe. The QAV500 quad airframe has become the airframe of choice for top quality FPV pilots and even many commercial aerial videographers due to its compact size and vibration free video performance. The QAV540G and the gimbal upgrade for the QAV500 push the QAV500 into the brushless gimbal revolution by integrating a brushless gimbal directly into the airframe.
The newly available brushless gimbal control boards are quickly bringing commercial grade aerial videography to the masses in an affordable way. Gimbal motors are now becoming available and the first commercial gimbals are already available as well.
I want to show you the current status of fpvmanual’s new frame prototype — the QAV540G. The QAV540G combines the stability of the QAV quad series with a fully integrated brushless gimbal for a GoPro 3. The frame will not show props in view even in extreme flight angles (disclaimer: more testing needed to confirm this statement to be true under all conditions). The below video shows some of our early test footage. There are still things to iron out and the frame will likely still change in a few spots — but overall, I think we’re close enough to get your feedback.
Many videos that demonstrate camera gimbals and their efficacy fly the airframe in a super agressive way. In this video, I chose to fly the quad how I would always fly it to produce clean video — smoothly. This enables the gimbal to have to do the most minimal amount of work to smooth out the remaining wobbles that a non-gimbal airframe will show in the footage.
We will provide more details as we get closer to release date (such as pictures of the frame). I wanted to make this announcement now to let everyone know that we are hard at work to provide one of the first airframes that will come with an integrated brushless gimbal.
The video shows all raw footage. No slow motion effect or post processing / stabilization was applied. One clip was reversed as it was flowing better with the edits.
Here is a new video with additional flight footage and some test footage.
Congratulations to the team that won the Category D (Semi-Autonomous) of the Singapore Amazing Flying Machine Competition. The young team was using a modified QAV500 airframe and a lot of custom hard and software to put this together.
The CC3D has become one of the most sought after flight controllers due to its crisp response and smooth flight characteristics. The OpenPilot (“OP”) community of developers has done an unbelievable job with the CC3D. Many videos posted by pilots on the OpenPilot forum demonstrate what incredible performance is possible with a well dialed in CC3D board (see below for some examples).
I am now happy to announce that OP and fpvmanuals have collaborated closely to release the CC3D ‘fpvmanuals edition’, now on sale in the US at getfpv.com retailing for $98.94. The board was produced under guidance from OP using high quality components and a professional assembly facility. The board should perform identically to boards produced by OP. Each board is tested by fpvmanuals prior to shipping.
I would like to thank David Ankers for his support and guidance during the production of this CC3D.
- Fully assembled and tested CC3D board pre-loaded with the latest firmware
- Retail price of $98.94 with free 2-day shipping in the USA for a limited time
- The board is branded with the fpvmanuals logo to make it easily identifiable
- The board is produced in white, the new board color for OpenPilot
- Each board ships in professional packaging and comes with a receiver cable and OP serial cable
To get started with your CC3D board, visit the OpenPilot Wiki.
Smooth lines without a gimbal
Our wonderful, innovative, and extraordinary FPV hobby is being threatened by legislators who are crafting overly broad and uninformed laws that will effectively make it illegal to fly FPV and in many cases RC models altogether.
One of the most severe and overly broad laws is being crafted in the state of Oregon with the proposed Senate Bill 71. Help stop this particular bill by signing this petition at Change.org. This petition needs another 400 signatures and I am sure that we can help them get there.
Also, join the discussion about the threat of “drone legislation” at FPVLab
What it is we are looking to protect:
Watch this informative video put together by RCModelReviews out of Australia.
Jere Dotten has done a fantastic job writing the build manual for the QAV400. It is now live here. He documents the build with great pictures and very methodical step by step instructions.
Check your package contents to make sure you have all the parts. Your parts may show some scuff marks or minor scratches. That is expected and nothing to worry about.
Some tools that will help your build run a little smoother. A 7/32 socket, the included 2mm allen wrench, needle nose pliers, and importantly, blue thread locker. Only use blue (non permanent) thread locker. Try to let the thread locker harden over night. You will also need all of the tools associated with soldering, and anything else needed for your electronics.
Take the power distribution board (“PDB”) and solder the ESCs to the connections marked by “ESC1″ through “ESC4″. Please note that this is how the QAV400 numbers its ESC. This numbering will not match up with how a flight controller numbers the motors. Make sure you solder all the red wires to the “+” pads and all the black wires to the “-” pads. You want the power cables to be fairly short. Take a look at the picture below. The best way to assemble the motor/esc is by soldering the motor cables directly onto the ESCs. This will save you a lot of build time if your motors and ESCs don’t already come with bullet connectors. It also will remove one of the key failure points on any multi-rotor. Bullet connectors can loose connectivity mid flight or one of the many solder connections that bullet connectors introduce can get weak and fail. If you do solder the motor wires straight onto your ESCs, make sure you shorten/lengthen your motor cables to an appropriate length and that you test each ESC/motor to ensure the motor spins in the right direction for where it will be located on the frame.
Solder a lipo pig-tail to one of the pads with the “Bat1″ or “Bat2″ labels. Turn the PDB so that the pig-tail comes out on the side that will work best with your lipos. If your lipos have the power leads on the right side, make sure the pig-tail comes out on the right side as well. You can attach the pig tail with a zip tie to the PDB. This ensures that in the event of a crash the pig tail will not be ripped off the pads and damage the PDB.
The PDB of the QAV400 provides you many additional power pads. Use these to attach power leads for your FPV equipment, lipo meters, sensors, cameras, LEDs, etc.
The lipo is secured to the frame with the use of the included ‘fpvmanuals’ lipo strap. The included lipo strap is a special rubberized strap that does not require you to use use any velcro stuck to the frame or your lipo. You want to avoid using velcro as it would require you to rip your lipo off your frame when you want to swap lipos. This forceful removal of your lipo when using velcro can damage the vibration bobbins. The use of this high-end strap makes lipo changes quick and easy and also protects your frame and vibration bobbins.The lipo is placed on the back of the frame either into the cavity between the long “clean” base and the flight controller cover, or on the top of the flight controller cover. The Lipo is used to adjust your center of gravity most importantly. By picking up your QAV400 by the top cover, in the center of your FC you can check the balance. If the 400 tips to the back then slide the Lipo forward till it is corrected. If it still will not center then place the Lipo on the top plate and move the strap there to secure it. Now adjust again to balance.
If you purchased the optional Carbon Fiber Landing Gear, please see the below picture on how to assemble it and attach it to the arms. It’s important that you apply even force on each of the two set screws. Also, take care not to over-tighten the set screws with the included allen key. The clamps holding the carbon fiber tubes are made of aluminum which is a soft material that can easily strip.
After we released the first LayerLens for the GoPro 3 I noticed a number of issues that slipped by me during testing. I recalled the product and offered everyone their money back. It was a major set-back. We started the re-design process from scratch to address all the minor and major issues we encountered. During this process we changed almost everything:
The new ‘rev 2′ of LayerLens for the GoPro 3 is now finally done and I am excited to be able to offer it. I know many of you have been waiting for this. I heard from some that they were not using their GoPro 3 out of fear of scratching it up while flying without a LayerLens. Many resorted to flying their GoPro 3 with the stock case to protect their lens in the meantime.
The new LayerLens comes with a lens that I spent a long time tweaking and perfecting. After many iterations of testing and re-testing, we choose a lens that has a hard coating layer and an AR (anti-reflective) coating on both sides of the lens. This ensures that almost 100% of the light that hits the lens passes through and reaches the GoPro’s processor — after it passes through the AR coated lens of the GoPro 3. The included lens also has an ‘anti-smudge’ coating on the ‘viewing’ side — the outside facing surface of the lens — to minimize finger printing.
We hope that you will be able to make good use of this new version.
To care for your lens, make sure you clean it with a suitable lens cleaning solution and soft microfiber cloth — the same type of solution and cloth you would use to clean eye glasses. Never use ammonia based cleaners such as Windex as that will ruin the AR coating on the lens.
The new fpvmanuals QAV400 FPV quad frame starts shipping as of today, February 8th, 2013 world-wide. We look forward to seeing amazing videos from our global pilot base. Enjoy!
Available at http://www.getfpv.com/qav400-frame.html
Justin Welander, aka “Juz”, is one of the most admired and well respected FPV multi-rotor pilots. He lives in the state of Victoria, Australia and is famous for his smooth fpv multi-rotor flights cruising through vast nature preserves. He’s also an incredible 3D multi-rotor pilot doing crisp flips and a multi-rotor 4-point roll. Here is our interview with Justin.
FPVM: First, what do you do when you’re not flying FPV?
JUZ: When not flying, or working as a ranger (which I love), I am usually hanging out with my amazing son Ash, my gorgeous daughter Kitty and beautiful wife, Sarah. I love them to bits and value my time with them more than anything. We enjoy cycling, bush walking, canoeing or just hanging out with our dog in our native garden.
FPVM: Where do you live and is that where you grew up?
JUZ: I live and work in Warrandyte, Victoria, Australia. A very friendly town with a great community spirit. A place where many people visit to swim, canoe, fish, walk and picnic. My wife grew up in Warrandyte, but I was raised approximately 18km away in a suburb called Macleod.
FPVM: When did you get into FPV?
JUZ: I got into FPV late 2010. I was intimidated by the technology, yet extemely excited by it. I spent a lot of time searching the internet, reading and researching. Finally biting the bullet and purchasing some goggles, camera, Vtx and Vrx.
FPVM: Were you always only interested in multis or did you start someplace else?
JUZ: I started my RC experience flying helicopters. A blade 400 was my first real machine. I learnt to fly by following the lessons descibed on the web site called “Radd’s school of rotary flight” . Best thing I ever did. I learned to hover, then fly, without crashing once, well, until I started to try nose in. I moved on to a Trex 500, then Trex 700 nitro. Got my first quadcopter late 2010, it was a gaui 330x-s. I found quads to be so much more relaxing to fly and perfectly suited to FPV.
FPVM: What do you love about FPV?
JUZ: Flying. I have always been intriuged about all types of flight and I love the environment. FPV gives me the ability to enjoy and explore my surrounds in a unique way. I can interact with and explore the environment, zoom through trees, get close to the ‘roos, fly with the birds. It’s dynamic, exciting and just love the video and images that one can capture with FPV. The technology is cool and its fun to build stuff, fly it and then share my experience with the world. FPV has given me some awesome opportunities and experiences and has introduced me to many new friends the world over.
FPVM: Which other pilots do you admire and why?
JUZ: I have met many wonderful people because of my involvement in FPV and mulitrotors. I admire anyone who is looking to have fun and share their knowledge and experiences with others. I often hang out (and race) the Team Drop Bear pilots. They are a great bunch of generous, like minded guys who know how to laugh and have a great time. Also, Alex, Pete and Dave from Team White Llama, because they fly like me. They like to have fun and are always looking to push the envelope. They are also very nice guys who are extremely knowledgable and helpful to me and many others. One day I hope to fly with them. Luke Phillips (LSPPhoto) is another great pilot and very cool bloke. He knows how to make a cool FPV video too. Last but not least my mate in Arnhemland, Ant, who, like many people that I have met at OpenPilot, is very generous, genuine and gracious.
FPVM: As everyone wants to know, what FPV video TX/RX gear do you use?
JUZ: I use 1280mhz 300- 600mW Vtx with cloverleaf antennas on my machines. My ground station has two Lawmate Vrxs on eagletree diversity running a homemade crosshair and a skew planar antenna
FPVM: Which RC control system do you use?
JUZ: I flew on spektrum 2.4ghz for a long time. And never really had any issues with it. I don’t go on long range flights, so didn’t really need a LRS. However, a mate of mine in the States (Pete from TWL) entered me in a competition and I was lucky enough to win a Dragon Link UHF system. So, I use that now.
FPVM: Did you ever loose a multi?
JUZ: Never. I have had one experience where it took me one hour to find a downed machine. I always plan my flights and know my area. I don’t fly very far and try to always record the flight from my GS. I know my limits and operate within them.
FPVM: You’ve done some increadible flights. What’s on your “to do list” in terms of locations?
JUZ: Anywhere in Vietnam and/or Thailand. Uluru (Ayers Rock), Northern Territory, Australia. I am going to visit Arnhemland, Northern Territory, Australia later this year which will be an epic FPV trip for sure.
FPVM: Which 3 FPV videos (of yours) are your all time favorites?
JUZ: Its all about the emotions that flood back when watching my videos later on. Sometimes I have bad flights, sometimes good flights and every so often I have an amazing flight. I like to watch the flights that I enjoyed the most, the ones where everything just worked out right. I also like to capture and share the beauty of a place in my videos.
Number 1. Golden. Because of how I felt while flying. It was an amazing morning and a very fun flight. I like the music and the way the video came together.
2. Bali Happiness. Again, that morning was amazing the weather was brilliant, I was on holiday with my family which adds to how I feel when I watch the video. Its like looking at some holiday snaps
3. Dream. I love Wilsons Promintory and that beach is just incredible. Being there with just one other human was brilliant. Flying there was the best fun.
FPVM: Which 3 FPV videos (not yours) are your favorites?
JUZ: Thats a tough one…I don’t actually spend that much time watching FPV videos, I would rather be out doing it myself. Having said that, the video that got me into FPV and quadcopters was “Quadrocopter Extreme Jungle” by Chris Vogelzang. Brilliantly simple video and I was excited by the flying in a beautiful and remote location. Once I saw that video, I was like, I got to try that, it just looked like so much fun.
Another video that I was impressed by was “Hexacopter in Cameroon/Africa” by William Thielicke. Very well edited, some amazing locations and is easily one of my all time favourite FPV videos.
Lastly, I have to mention “Amazing Bells Beach Surfing Aerial Photography” by Extreme Aerials. The video is totally cool and features the beach which instantly insired me to fly down the coast. These guys have done some nice videos, and their music choice usually rocks.
FPVM: In your video “fpv, maybe” you forgot your aerial antenna. How difficult was it to get it from the car?
JUZ: Not very difficult at all. I had permission to drive almost to the top of the mountain. It was a steep walk from the car, but only about 500 metres (1km return). I had just run up there and didn’t really want to go back. Made for a good story though. LOL.
FPVM: What technical advancements in FPV are you looking forward to?
JUZ: Not much really, I am having so much fun with what I have now, I can’t imagine things getting much better. However, a cheap and reliable OSD and autopilot would be cool. The OpenPilot community is working hard to produce the worlds best autopilot (revolution) and maybe even an OSD (OP OSD) amounst other things. HD downlink? Now that would be cool. Better, more efficient batteries will be nice too. The future is bright and very exciting.
FPVM: Which multi rotor are you flying currently?
JUZ: Right now, I am flying two FPV quadcopters. The QAV500 powered by the OpenPilot revolution, MT4006 motors, xoar 10×6 props and plush 25A ESCs. And the QAV400 with OpenPilot CC3D, MT2212-13 motors, F30A simon k ESCs and 8×5 graupner props. I am very lucky to have the support of Tim at FPVmanuals, who has been very generous by supplying me with frames, motors and other gear. I am also a flight tester for the OpenPilot project which has allowed me to flight test their latest hardware, which is mega fun. The QAV500 is very fast and provides awesome, smooth HD video. The QAV500 has started a trend in FPV quadcopter frame design that has seen many variants appear since its release and with good reason. Its a fantastic FPV platform. The QAV400 is now my favorite all time FPV frame. Coupled with my current setup it is an absolute rocket that is capable of amazing aerobatics. Jello free 1080HD video, during high G, high speed manouevres is super cool.
FPVM: You are active on the multi-rotor forums. What do you wish people would do/say differently out there?
JUZ: I mostly hang out at OpenPilot forums. The OpenPilot community is full of wonderful, helpful people and there is not much I would change. I do wish for people to respect one another and have fun. It should always be about having fun.
FPVM: Do you have any closing remarks?
JUZ: Big props go to the wonderful people at OpenPilot (especially David Ankers) for all the fun and cool stuff I get to enjoy. Thanks to everybody who creates and develops new technologies and frames that allow us to push FPV multirotor flight further. Thank-you to Tim (fpvmanuals) for his continued support, for his dedication to his customers and for producing great quality products. Spread the love, help one another, stay safe and have fun.
Present day photos taken by Scott James (Team Drop Bear)
EDITOR’S NOTE: Juz has recorded some incredible footage with his quads, here are my personal 3 favorites.
1. FPV Super Cool (QAV500)
2. FPV Bali Garden (HT-FPV)
3. FPV Summer Session (QAV400)
Juz’s Website: http://juzfpv.com
OpenPilot Forum: http://forums.openpilot.org