Modified Volantex Ranger 600 Controller

Modified Volantex Ranger 600 Controller

The stock Volantex Ranger 600 TX is as basic as any TX can get. The undocumented throw reversals prompted a closer look at the controller. The terms controller and TX apply to the hand held radio controller used to operate the remote controlled plane, TX will be used going forward. One item that was replaced with a yellow LED was the beep indicator. Since a lot of bench testing was going to take place, the blinking LED would be less…

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ESP-32 Flight Datalogger – Thrown off

ESP-32 Flight Datalogger – Thrown off

With a couple of flights done successfully, it was time to go back to the location where the earlier plane Bryce was lost. The area seemed to have something that may have influenced the loss, in addition to other factors. The park is rather small, so anyone walking on the field was a no go. With the occasional walker, the park was clear. The ESP32-Cam system was activated to get a GPS lock, while the routine of preflight was done….

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ESP-32 Flight Datalogger – Rise Above It

ESP-32 Flight Datalogger – Rise Above It

The data gathered from the flights revealed some interesting things. The first was that the amount of detected networks increased with elevation. The two flight locations weren’t close to any dense residential areas. At ground level, those networks were limited to the immediate area. However, once in the air, that number increased because they were now line of sight. The data logger also captured the three strongest networks detected, along with their RSSI values. Although the network numbers increased, the…

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ESP-32 Flight Datalogger – Flight of Leia

ESP-32 Flight Datalogger – Flight of Leia

Many will think of the hair when they hear this name, unless born before 1960 or after 2010, then those numbers might be fewer. This became the name of the remote control plane due to the large pylons on each side of the fuselage. The plane center of gravity was almost a perfect match to the original. The weight was evenly placed but it was noticeably more than the stock 55 grams. It was flight day after a couple of…

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ESP-32 Flight Datalogger – 3D Printing Parts

ESP-32 Flight Datalogger – 3D Printing Parts

Creating a nose cone for a pylon seems trivial. There are numerous tutorials and instructional videos on crafting. In fact, there is so much material available, a large amount of time could be used just reviewing a portion of what’s available. Time is not trivial though, so finding proven method is what motivated the use of 3D printing. 3D printing became the basis for creating the hardware that was hard to find. There is an open community of designers that…

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ESP-32 Flight Datalogger – Hardware Build

ESP-32 Flight Datalogger – Hardware Build

Since the ESP32-Cam project was going to be installed on a remote controlled plane, keeping things as light as possible was the primary concern. This required a tally of what each item weighed and how best to build around that. All aircraft have a center of gravity that is used as a reference point. That point is where the aircraft balances front to back or side to side. Any change in that point can influence how the aircraft will fly….

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ESP-32 Flight Datalogger – Supply Chain Break

ESP-32 Flight Datalogger – Supply Chain Break

Hardware build can begin once the design, development, and testing phases are complete. The ESP32-Cam project development hardware could have been reused. The problem with reuse is that the hardware is no longer available in a development capacity and the project is locked. If any damage or modification occurs during the hardware build, this can cause delays. For that reason, additional parts were sourced and purchased with the intent of using them for the build. There were plenty of ESP32-Cam…

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ESP-32 Flight Datalogger – Field Validation

ESP-32 Flight Datalogger – Field Validation

With all of the final code validated on the workbench, it was time to test it in the field. The project deadline was 3 weeks away and the field testing was a formality to ensure nothing was missing before assembly. With all of the bench testing done, it seemed that this would take a single day to complete and the next phase would begin. Field testing involves taking the hardware outside and testing it in a state that closely matches…

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ESP-32 Flight Datalogger – Underground GPS

ESP-32 Flight Datalogger – Underground GPS

When the GPS module used for the ESP32-Cam project failed to get a reliable lock while bench testing, it became clear that a mockup was the best option. Development has its challenges, but not having reliable sensor data needn’t be one. Some digital and analog sensor data can be generated either by counters, timers, or a combination of the two. Other sensor data might follow a protocol like SPI, I2C, or UART data streams. For all of these sensor types,…

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ESP-32 Flight Datalogger – Adding Sensors

ESP-32 Flight Datalogger – Adding Sensors

Having code that is organized as blocks or objects opens the door for other possibilities. As the ESP32-Cam project progressed, the use of the I2C protocol from the current sensor led to the widening of the project scope. Among the current sensor were several shelved I2C protocol sensors. The hardware was already available, all that need to be done was merge its code base into the firmware development. Only a barometer sensor was added, which included a thermometer. The sensors…

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