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  1. #1
    Moderator Greg Covey's Avatar
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    Skywalker FPV

    Hi all,

    Here is my Skywalker FPV system. I plan to report the details and my experiences over the next few months and welcome everyone to post their own Skywalker setups, videos, and questions.

    Although I am an experienced Electrical Engineer, RF Engineer, and electric R/C enthusaist, I am relatively new to FPV. When I started to investigate this aspect of R/C, I got the FPV bug. There are new products emerging almost weekly so if you are as excited about FPV as I am, please join the discussion!

    Equipment Shown:
    Xen Skywalker EPO version 3
    Hobby King 900MHZ 800mW Tx/Rx & 1/3-inch CCD Camera PAL
    Hobby King FPV Fiberglass Pan-Tilt Camera Mount
    Hobby Lobby FlyCamOneHD 720p Video Camera
    AXI Gold 2814/12 Outrunner Motor
    Jeti ADVANCE Pro 40 Amp Brushless Controller
    FMA Co-Pilot II System Combo
    BEV 0.9GHz Patch antenna
    SMA FEMALE TO F MALE ADAPTER
    Futaba 9C PCM Radio System
    HEC 15.6" LCD TV
    3s 5000mAh packs for TV and Skywalker motor
    3s 1300mAh packs for Video Transmitter
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  2. #2
    Moderator Greg Covey's Avatar
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    RE: Skywalker FPV

    Visit my Web Hangar at www.gregcovey.com/rc.htm

  3. #3
    Moderator Greg Covey's Avatar
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    RE: Skywalker FPV

    Some of the equipment I tested while I was building my Skywalker included the 800mW 900MHz video system and a few different cameras.

    The 15" HEC TV makes a nice transportable display that will run on a 3s 5AH pack for about an hour. My Skywalker FPV plane also uses a 3s 5AH pack for the motor and R/C system. The video camera and transmitter run on their own 3s 1300mAh pack.

    I bought the Fiberglass Pan-Tilt Camera Mount from Hobby King for only $4 to support the camera that came with the video system. You add your own micro servos and it assembles very quickly with medium CA. By adding a head tracker device to your hat or goggles, the camera will tilt and pan to match your head movements as if you were in the cockpit. One of the reasons I decided to use my older Futaba 9C radio system for FPV was that the head tracker products can plug right into the trainer jack on the transmitter. Another reason was that the lower 72MHz frequency provides longer control range when flying beyond line-of-sight.

    The camera that is included with the HK video systems is a Sony CCD 510x492 color pixel camera. It offers an affordable and acceptable start to your FPV adventures.

    As an upgrade, I bought the FlyCamOne HD camera which has a 1240x720 color pixel display. It can also record video on-board while streaming video back to your FPV base. Now I have the added flexibility to always record my flights even when I am not flying FPV.
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  4. #4
    Moderator Greg Covey's Avatar
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    RE: Skywalker FPV

    When building the Skywalker, there are as many ways to arrange the inside components as there are to equip it for flight and video. I choose to run my servo leads inside the carbon tube and then run my 72MHz receiver antenna along the channel meant for the servo wires.

    One side of the main section was reinforced with light foam board and then covered with Vecro to act as a wall to hold my electronics. Items can easily be repositioned as needed.

    I cut out the hatch on the other side of the fuselage and made a removable access from nylon thumbscrews and spare servo arms. The thumbscrews were later marked on the top to follow the servo arm.
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  5. #5

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    RE: Skywalker FPV

    hi

    the Skywalker is a good plane if you want to start the FPV journey

    I had ~20 flights with it and it is quite easy to fly it and there are lot of space inside the plane.
    Under windy conditions (I means windspeed bigger than 14km/h) it it not so fun to drive it: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v8gdYgHd7yw

    If you want to take aerial pictures or fly long distances this is a good plane. I flew 10km with it: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0Y4C8sgNuTA

    After the first 20 flights i can say that this is a realy good plane butnowiwant funand i will build anFPV falcon or a Zephyr.

    l1p1

  6. #6
    Moderator Greg Covey's Avatar
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    RE: Skywalker FPV

    Thanks for sharing your experience with the Skywalker! I tried watching the videos but YouTube was not working well at the time.

    To power my Skywalker, I used an AXI 2814/12 motor and a Jeti 40-amp Advance Plus ESC. The APC 9x6 electric prop is powered by a 3s 5AH LiPo pack. I used the stock motor mount and placed the ESC in the wing bay. After drilling a large hole into the ESC chamber, an air intake scoop was added to cool the ESC where the pan servo is normally mounted.

    The T-tail was built using the stock parts and hardware. You can see the tip of the 72MHz antenna wire before I mounted the plastic tube for support.

    The only control surface that I fully cut away was the elevator. It was then re-attached using Blenderm medical tape and strengthened along the trailing edge with a carbon rod. The other control surfaces were simply freed from their ends and exercised until they had a reasonable throw. I then covered the flat surface side with a strip of Blenderm tape for support if the foam hinge were to crack.
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  7. #7
    Moderator Greg Covey's Avatar
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    RE: Skywalker FPV

    When I test flew the Skywalker, I replaced the video transmitter and camera with some lead weights to keep the components safe until I was ready for them. This allowed me to keep the plane fully loaded and balanced around 30mm behind the servo leads.

    Although the plane flew great, my Jeti 40-amp ESC would shut down from over temperature. Even though I had made some air flow through the wing bay, it wasn't enough to keep the ESC cool. I will likely re-mount the ESC outside the plane in the direct air flow.

    The Skywalker glides nicely without any power...

    It's been a while since I flew with my Futaba 9C so I got a real kick out of using the frequency pin board again at the flying field.

    photos by "Papa Jeff" Ring
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  8. #8
    Moderator Greg Covey's Avatar
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    RE: Skywalker FPV

    After mounting my ESC on the outside, as shown below, I no longer had any thermal shutdowns. I also strengthened the tail by wrapping areas that were either weak or would twist with some Nylon reinforced strapping tape. The simple modification made a significant improvement to the tail wobble.

    I have had 4 or 5 successful flights after the mods, with a CG of 30mm behind the aileron servo leads, so I am now ready to replace the lead weights with some electronics.
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  9. #9
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    RE: Skywalker FPV

    When are you going to be able to post some videos Greg? What version SW do you have (1,2,3)?
    Maybe I should just take rubbing alcohol with me to the field and rub the props down before starting any of my planes!

  10. #10
    Moderator Greg Covey's Avatar
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    RE: Skywalker FPV

    Scoot,

    I'm using the Version 3 Skywalker which has the extra carbon rods embedded in the wing halves. I hope to post some video soon near Honeoye Lake in the Finger Lakes of upstate NY. I expect taking these videos and flying for good video is a learned process so we might be disappointed in my initial attempts.

    Regards.
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  11. #11

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    RE: Skywalker FPV

    Skywalker FPV build log

    Step-by-step build info with lots of pics thrown in. I hope this helps any folks looking to get into FPV with the Skywalker.

  12. #12
    Moderator Greg Covey's Avatar
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    RE: Skywalker FPV

    My first video flying near Honeoye Lake came out quite poor so I won't be posting it. I've decided that there was just too much wind that day and I need to try again on a calmer day. It is definitely an acquired skill! I also see the need to have a flight stabilization system on board as you can suddenly get "input overload" when multitasking between flying and watching the video.

    I hooked up my FMA Co-Pilot II system from my FunJet Review back in 2009. The Co-Pilot II uses on-board infrared sensors capable of measuring the difference in temperature between the earth and sky. If the model is in any orientation other than level, all the pilot has to do is return the right control stick to neutral on the transmitter and the aircraft will go to level flight in less than one second!

    The Co-Pilot II package included the IRNet programmer and router which are required for setting up the Remote ON/OFF function using an auxiliary switch or knob on your transmitter. The IRNet wireless programmer has a Quick Setup menu to easily program the full functionality of the CPII flight stabilization system simply by placing it near the IR router and answering a few questions.

    A new Co-Pilot II system should be released soon that contains a Hard Deck safety function that measures the aircraft's altitude. If the model goes below the programmable Hard Deck altitude, the Co-Pilot II takes over. A second GPS option will also be available and I requested they add a Return-To-Home (RTH) function. We'll see what shows up from FMA this year.
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  13. #13
    Moderator Greg Covey's Avatar
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    RE: Skywalker FPV

    I finally mounted my 900MHz 8dbi patch antenna from BEV onto my camera tripod. To mount it, I simply added a 1/4-20 T-nut into a block of wood which mounts to the tripod. The other side uses the mating plate to the antenna. An SMA Female TO F Male Adapter was needed to connect the antenna to the 900MHz. receiver.
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  14. #14
    Moderator Greg Covey's Avatar
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    RE: Skywalker FPV

    Has anyone had any experience with the EzOSD from Immersion RC? It looks to be an easy setup and has good features for the price.

    Ideally, I would like the RTH feature to take control of the plane when the RF signal is lost. Since these OSD designs seem to cost the most, I am willing to start with something lower cost like the EzOSD above which has most of the other GPS features.
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  15. #15

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    RE: Skywalker FPV

    Do you plan to set an landing gear on Your airplane?

  16. #16
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    RE: Skywalker FPV

    No, I fly off grass fields and parks so I do not need landing gear. The bottom of the Sky Walker is lined with the 3M Clear Shield that is used on cars and trucks.

    I ordered the EzOSD from ReadyMadeRC. The easy setup and quality documentation from ImmersionRC made it a good choice for me.
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  17. #17
    Moderator Greg Covey's Avatar
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    RE: Skywalker FPV

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  18. #18
    Moderator Greg Covey's Avatar
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    RE: Skywalker FPV

    My ImmersionRC EzOSD mounted nicely in the very front of the Skywalker up by the nose. By cutting a small slot into one side of the existing air opening, I could turn the EzOSD sideways and lock it into place. This also allowed me easy access to the 3 setup buttons.

    For now, my FlyCamOne HD 720p camera will be in a fixed position for my first flights. In the future, I plan to add panning motion using the SkyWalker FPV Pan/Tilt Pod Kit from ReadyMadeRC. I'll add the FlyCamOne HD Pendelum mount on top of the pod kit.

    I took some actual photos of my LCD screen display. Although the photos didn't come out great, you can see the various capabilities in the screens.

    The FlyCamOne HD displays information on the camera resolution setting, on-board battery charge, and remaining memory in the plug-in SD card. This can be seen in the first screen image. While this information cannot be turned off, it shows up outside the camera display and does not get added to the on-board recorded video.

    The second screen image shows the EzOSD information along with the momentary acquiring GPS status. Since it snowed here last night, the snow on the roof made for a longer than usual GPS tracking time. A few days ago, without snow, I was tracking from inside the house after only a few minutes.

    After initially testing the EzOSD features, I cut into the current sensor unit and adding wires for the RSSI and Display On/Off features. I haven't wired the RSSI line to my Futaba receiver yet but the Display On/Off feature worked nicely on Ch. 5 normally used for gear.

    The third screen image shows that my turning my EzOSD display off via the transmitter and changing the aspect on the LCD TV from my IR remote control, I can completely remove all information during a flight, if desired. Note the snow out the back windows.

    The last screen image shows that I was tracking 3 satellites after about 5 minutes. This information disappears once the GPS starts tracking 6 satellites, then you are ready to fly. Before starting the flight, you should select the "Set Home" calibration from the menus. Hence the need for access to the buttons. The middle button displays the menu items and the outer buttons are for Up and Down. The EzOSD is very well designed.
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  19. #19
    Moderator Greg Covey's Avatar
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    RE: Skywalker FPV

    I discovered that Sears sells a range of sizes in empty plastic Craftsman cases from $7 to $25. I bought three different sizes and the one shown houses most of my FPV ground equipment including the 15.6" LCD TV with a few modifications. I used a couple Velcro One-Wrap straps to hold the LCD TV into the case. I'll likely add an external shade that wraps around it to block the sun, if needed.

    My plan is to initially have a friend watch the flight on the LCD TV while I fly the SkyWalker and visa-verse. Once I get comfortable with the range and operation, I will likely buy a headset. I already had the LCD TV, which works great on a 3-cell 5AH LiPo pack.
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  20. #20
    Moderator Greg Covey's Avatar
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    RE: Skywalker FPV

    While I wait for my FlyCamOne HD Pendelum mount to arrive from Germany, I assembled the SkyWalker FPV Pan/Tilt Pod Kit from ReadyMadeRC. The laser-cut pod is very well made and just presses together. I used medium CA to glue it together. It fit in my Skywalker perfectly!

    The FlyCamOne HD Pendelum mount provides a pan movement only.
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  21. #21
    Moderator Greg Covey's Avatar
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    RE: Skywalker FPV

    My pan mount arrived so I modified the Skywalker pod to accept it. The laser-cut pod makes it easier to modify and mount things than the original foam pod. By adding a few braces to the pod, I could mount the sub-micro servo so that the arm was level with the pan mount eyelets. I'll use a pull-pull setup with either cables or Firewire fishing line. The resultant pan will be +- 45 degrees from center. Along with my new 133 degree lens, it should provide good pan coverage during flight.
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  22. #22

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    RE: Skywalker FPV

    Greg. How do you find flying off of a 15.6 lcd tv? I have one I'm planning to use also and I'm not sure if it will be bright enought. I'm thinking of making a pole stand and mounting it at eye level maybe with a half enclosure over my head and sides to keep the sun out. RX will be mounted 3 meters on top of the pole.

  23. #23
    Moderator Greg Covey's Avatar
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    RE: Skywalker FPV

    Well, I can't say because I haven't used it yet for flying. My plan, when spring arrives, is to fly the plane using normal visual and let my buddy view the LCD TV and OSD. We can swap positions until we are comfortable enough to fly looking at the LCD screen. I figure that taking small steps at a time will help to make a successful FPV experience.

    I also plan to make some sort of hood for the LCD screen in case the sun is bright and I can't find any shade. It's best to be prepared.
    Visit my Web Hangar at www.gregcovey.com/rc.htm

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    RE: Skywalker FPV

    Hmmmm... perhaps I should try that myself.

  25. #25
    Moderator Greg Covey's Avatar
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    RE: Skywalker FPV

    I ended up using metal pull-pull control rods for a rigid control on the pan movement without any slop. The rods are locked to the servo arm using Du-bro (#849) Micro E/Z Links.
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