Over the hills and far away

I wanted to test the camera gimbal on my quad, and I certainly did that.

After a quick orientation I decided to get a bit of height, see how quickly it can climb, get a bit of speed and generally give it a bit of a shake down. At ground level there was very little wind, so I didn’t anticipate just how much wind there was at height. This was recorded from the ground station, I think the only reason that I got such a good range from it was because of the height that the quad ended up at.

The speed is shown on the left, with the maximum recorded speed shown above the slider, the height shown on the right, again with the maximum recorded height above the slider. Sorry I haven’t removed the sound so please turn the sound off before playing it.

As you can see the maximum recorded speed appears to be 61mph at a height of almost 1000ft.

We did a significant amount of searching both on my own and then with Scott and Tracey by car, with no luck. After returning home and using a better internet connection I used the last frames recorded, converted the coordinates to full decimal format, which google seems to like displaying better, this was a location that we didn’t search. (click the image to open google maps to that location)


So I made my way back and there it was, almost exactly in this location (just over 1.1 miles from the takeoff point):20150125_153608

Needs a little work, but at least everything has been retrieved.

On the bright side the gimbal appears to work perfectly.

11 thoughts on “Over the hills and far away”

    1. That was the one, I kind of thought it was way too far since I had some fpv signal, so didn’t go in too far but that was where it was. 400mw transmitter obviously has some pretty good range!

    1. Thank you Mr Mel, I was a bit miffed, mostly about the brand new camera I had put on it. But if you do stupid things, sometimes they do go quite right.
      I have managed to find an app for my phone which will take the GPS coordinates directly from this OSD and put them on a map correctly. So next time…. 😉

  1. Chris
    Very glad you recovered the quad. Do you know why you lost control ? Would it be possible to set the fail safe of the rx to switch on the “return to home” ?
    Glad it’s you doing all the trailblazing.

    1. The wind blew it away.
      If you watch I gain a bit of height, then it starts moving away, I try to bring it back, but it is getting further away faster. I should have then really killed the power an brought it down somewhere closer, but I flicked on the return to home hoping that would be able to bring it home, you can see it tries to, the quad it pitching forward quite a bit, but it doesn’t make any headway. Pretty much all through the flight it is showing that it had radio signal (top left under the clock) and my radio was set to return to home. I think when it got too far away there is a sanity check which says that can’t be home it’s too far away (so if there is a GPS error it doesn’t set off never to be found). I know there is a maximum distance between waypoints for the mission planner (SAFE_WP_DISTANCE, 500 meters in my config), if you have 2 waypoints too far apart it will abort the mission and just hold at the prior waypoint. Since the home point is effectively a waypoint I think this happened once it got past about 1600ft and when the wind drops it seems to hold at 5813 Ft from home for quite some time (bottom of the screen top number in the middle). I could increase this so it has a better chance in the future. Then eventually of course the battery dies (bottom left top number), the OSD doesn’t have enough power and flickers out then back, and it drops out of the sky (from about 950ft)

    2. Going through the config file last night I did find this setting:

      //If FENCE DISTANCE is larger than 0 then copter will switch to RTH when it farther from home
      //than the defined number in meters
      #define FENCE_DISTANCE 600

      Quite why this didn’t bring it home I don’t know, at around 18,000 ft from home it should have turned round and come back. The OSD is taking the signal from the same GPS receiver, so it is getting the same location data as the flight controller. Maybe the Safe_WP_distance and this come into conflict, and although the fence distance is tripped, the distance to the home waypoint is now greater than 500m so it wont go. I’ve set the WP distance to 1000m, but I’m not sure I want to give it another try…

  2. Chris,
    That’s great news. Without all that hi tech stuff on board you would have had no chance of recovering a fixed wing model at that distance from our field.
    Perhaps not a disaster after all.

    1. It was only from the video and using a better tool to show the exact gps coordinates that I did find it. Without that I would have given up and called it lost.
      Maybe not a complete disaster, but it could have been a better flight.
      If we can just get that shrunk down to fit on a battery we will never loose any of them again 🙂