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Planning F550 "Heavy Lifter"

Discussion in 'Other DJI Multi-Rotors' started by amorrison, Oct 11, 2014.

  1. amorrison

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    Well heavy for a F550 anyway. I have a Phantom2V+ now which I love but need something to lift a heavier camera - one that does nice stills. I like the F550 frame a lot and now that DJI has the E600 motors I am thinking that might make a great mid-size platform. I will need extension arms of course ( looking at these http://www.aeroxcraft.com/aluminium-arms-f450-f550-c-35/x55-extended-aluminium-arm-black-p-67.html ).

    Can't decide between NazaV2 or A2 for controller (GPS on both). I'm liking the Futaba 14SGH transmitter which will work with the A2 built-in receiver. It's probably overkill for this project, but I wanted something I could use with possible future builds too. I don't know about the 18 MHz telemetry though. Will it pull anything from the Naza or A2 or will I need separate sensors for position data? I'm not planning to go FPV at first so it would be really nice to have altitude and distance, along with voltage displayed on the transmitter. The A2 is a lot heavier though, maybe its not worth the extra weight. Does anyone have experience with the Futaba telemetry?

    I'm also trying to decide on whether to go with a 4S or 6S system.

    I haven't got the camera yet, but I would love to be able to lift a Sony A7 and lens (maybe 600 grams with small lens). It should be fairly easy to rig up infrared triggers from RC channels so I can fire it from the transmitter. Since I want to do HDR sunsets I wanted to find a camera that would do auto-exposure bracketing well. My Canon 1DX is just too heavy to even consider using (3.4 lbs with battery no lens)

    If you have any suggestions or input, please let me know. Thanks so much for your help in advance!!

    - Art
     
  2. OI Photography

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    It sounds like you're an ideal candidate for DJI's Wookong (aka "WKM") flight controller. It's in another league with stability compared to the NAZA v2, and unless you need a full two-operator setup (one pilot, one cameraman) the A2 is likely overkill for the 550, even when you max the platform's lifting capability. I've had the WKM on my 550 with extended arms for 10 months now and I love it.

    As for a controller, the Futuaba gear is definitely nice, but you don't have to pay that much to get all the features you need, especially if you don't need to bind it with the A2 controller/receiver. Take a look at the FrSky Taranis controller...all the features (or more) and range of the Futabas at a much lower price. FrSky's telemetry system is also one of the most mature available, and adding various sensors is simply a matter of connecting them to the receiver...all telemetry data is piggybacked on the control channel for display on the Taranis, and can even be logged on the internal memory card. And, it has voice capability to read out any of the data you want :) I use a Taranis with my Phantom and 550, it's hard to beat the value it offers.

    To decide on 4S or 6S, or even what motors etc to get, you'll want to start with figuring out exactly what camera you want and the gimbal you'll need with it, and engineer the rest of the component list based on that. For the A7 there are a couple of gimbals you can use with it, but I'm not sure if any will work on a 550. Odds are that you'll need 6S and 12" blades for anything that heavy, and camera/gimbal combos of that size will also need some pretty big landing gear on a 550 frame to allow them room to hang underneath.
     
  3. amorrison

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    Thanks so much for the response!! I was looking at the Taranis and it looks really nice. I am so used to NAZA V2 from my P2V+ I am leaning towards that but no decisions yet. I worked out some figures on weights just to get a ballpark feel for capabilities.

    Thrust in g for E600 from DJI specs -
    Recommended 3600
    Max 9600

    Estimated Weight F650 (g)

    Motors and ESCs 600
    Arms 372
    Naza V2 95
    Battery (TDM 6S 12000) 1929.5
    Reciever 40
    BasePlate 30

    total (AUW) 3066.5
    Recommended Payload 533.5
    Max Payload 6533.5

    By recommended payload I mean the payload that would put the recommended load on the motors. That is a pretty big battery and I am not sure how much flight time to expect. Any guesses?
     
  4. amorrison

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    Just an update - I ordered the frame and Aeroxcraft x55 extension arms. The E600 system is next. I found some posts by DJI in the RCGroups forum about expected motor current and flight times which I backed into my very simple spreadsheet model. Using a MaxAmps 11000 mah battery and a payload of 1100 grams I should get a flight time around 26 minutes, which I would be very happy with.

    In my phase 1 build I want a simple setup, no FPV, just something to lift a Sony A7 without a gimbal to do stills. Still looking at the Taranis, Spektrum and Futaba systems. So many options!!

    I will need some navigation/orientation lighting too. Have no idea yet where to start on this. Still researching.
     
  5. OI Photography

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    Predicting flight times on RC aircraft (and multirotors in particular) is a bit over my head even, and the tool commonly used for that is fairly complex: http://www.ecalc.ch/xcoptercalc.php?ecalc&lang=en

    That's the free version, which limits you to a random selection from a fixed set of known components, the full version lets you access all the known numbers....but I think the free version will let you manually input any of them that you know via external sources.
     
  6. amorrison

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    Wow - that is a detailed, complex calculator!! Ok mine is more of a guess then. In this post from RC Groups:
    http://www.rcgroups.com/forums/showthread.php?t=2046097&page=14 Dr. Turbo (from DJI) says:

    "3.6kg TOW and 8000mAH battery means 22 minutes hovering endurance, if you drain your battery to 5%. So in everyday usage, 18~20 minutes endurance for this setup" when talking about an F550 with extended arms and E600 motors. I just extrapolated from that figure for a bigger battery. The 3.6 kg is from the recommended thrust of an E600 in grams x6 for a hex.

    Thanks for that eCalc link - that is awesome!!
     
  7. amorrison

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    Well, the Aeroxcraft X55 arms are here as is the E600 propulsion system. The Futaba 14SG is on the way. Picture below shows the frame/motors/props. I was thinking, has anyone thought of using a "distributed battery pack" and by that I mean arranging the 6 cells in a 6S pack separately on the frame? There are 6 arms, and 6 cells... hmmm. Tenergy makes a 3.2 V 10C 10Ah LiFePO4 cell that weighs 300 gr. I am sure there is a great reason not to do this, I just don't know what it is... Seems like better heat dissipation, ability to charge each cell separately, replace/test individual cells would be nice. Any thoughts?
     

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  8. amorrison

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    I had a successful test flight, I think. I flew about 8 minutes to make sure I had enough of the battery drained to measure the current draw on charge. It was really stable flying and I was happy in general with its performance. I had two problems (which may be related). On takoff, it just leaped off the ground. I don't remember even giving it any throttle. I pulled back on the throttle and it stabilized about 10 feet off the ground. No problems flying in GPS or ATTI modes, but when I put it in manual to test the vertical gain setting it just shot straight up. Had to cut back to ATTI quickly or it would have disappeared into the clouds... I had the vertical gain tied to the RD control knob which I cranked all the way down with little effect. It still shot up every time I put it in manual. I have the centered spring loaded left throttle on my Futaba 14SG and was hoping to adjust it to maintain altitude at the center position but no way this time. Any thoughts on what might have caused this?

    Video is here: http://youtu.be/dXGOu7q29X4

    Based on the 8 min flight, I should get about 44 minutes using 100% battery and about 35 minutes leaving 20% reserve.