AirBlade UAV Transformer Mini - 4" Digital Long Range

By Jayembee67 on Nov 02, 2020

15  733  7

And so the Next Big Thing is Little Long Range Things...? Well, OK, why not. Things come and go in this hobby all the time, it's one of the reasons it has held my attention for so long. Very good, I'll build a tiny long range machine then, just like The Man says.

I did mix it up just a little. I turned the FC 180 so that the pigtail was at the front, which I think was tidier, and gave more room for the Caddx Vista. And I don't really like the vertical Immortal T, it's a bit inconvenient for throwing into a backpack. Similarly I went with an SMA connector rather than the shipped Caddx antenna, again for ease of transportation, and because I want to get a much longer antenna on there.

Because the stack is so short, well it's just one board, there is plenty of room above it, so I printed a little platform that I could then double-sided-tape the Crossfire Nano and battery-beeper to. That way I have nothing touching the top of the FC, not even any wires running across it, which pleases me - no noise getting in that way, at least.

The AIO Whoop FC was both great and a bit of a pain. The layout is very neat and logical, I was impressed, which made for some tidy wiring. But those pads are small, and it's getting more difficult to solder them up. (Don't Get Old, Kids! It's Rubbish). I have no idea how robust this board will be, but this will at best be a cruiser, so I doubt I will put it under too much strain.

Unfortunately the GPS is currently not working, I think the module itself is damaged. It powers up, shows up in BF, but never achieves a lock, and the lock light on the module itself stays sullenly dark. So I think it's busted. Which is a shame as I do want to play with the GPS, especially Return to Home. Needless to say, another module is on order. Ugh, this hobby...

The machine is 4S capable, but I have decided to start with 3S as I am looking for longevity not velocity (although some velocity is welcome, and expected), and am running 1000mAh packs. The dry weight is 171g, and with the battery 235g. So take that, FAA!

I managed to get out this morning to do a couple of initial test flights, and early returns are encouraging:

This is entirely un-tuned, stock BF 4.2.4, and it's really pretty good. A bit bumpy in the corners, but it locks into the straights with impressive tenacity - you can take your fingers off the sticks for extended periods, and it trundles along quite happily. It's obviously not a speed machine, but I was pleased with its general quickness, it scuds about quite nicely. And of course the smoothness of the video footage is rather the point, so that's working out. And then nearly 6 minutes of flight time really isn't bad. Oh, and it's quiet too, as far as these things go. Overall lots of plusses, I'd say.

But in truth, gliding this thing around in the morning light made for a very pleasant break from the dash and the clatter of the freestyle racing drones. It was restful, meditative even. I liked it. I'm pleased I built this machine.

Kudos to @Whiffles for his excellent build and guide!



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Eman356   Nov 03, 2020  

awesome build are the 3D prints available?

Jayembee67   Nov 03, 2020 

Thank you, although really I was just doing what I was told. ;-) And yes, they are as of right now, you can get them here:

virtual_stephen   Nov 03, 2020  

How did you add the youtube embed?

Jayembee67   Nov 03, 2020 

Oh, this site is a good site and does it for you! Just get a short share link from YT, and then paste it into either the main body of a post, or a comment, and it will be expanded automatically.

virtual_stephen   Nov 03, 2020 

Thanks. I kept trying to preview things but it wasn't showing. Now I simply added the link and saved and it worked!

Whiffles   Nov 02, 2020  

Nice job! I like your idea to rotate the FC for better battery lead placement. How long did you let the GPS sit? Sometimes it can take 10-20 minutes to get it's first 3D lock.

Jayembee67   Nov 02, 2020 

Thank you!

And so, I attached the GPS module to an old AIO FC, and left it outside for 25mins, and when I got back, it had indeed managed to lock onto a bunch of satellites. Woo hoo! And I put it back into the quad, and could see GPS data. Even better! And then I turned it back on 20 minutes later, and it had forgotten everything it had learnt, at it took another 15mins to get initial lock. Than it was all good, until it forgot how to lock again... I haven't had this much trouble with a GPS module in the past, so I do think that there is something awry here. But even still, I was just too impatient to begin with! :-)

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