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Upgrades

Discussion in 'X8+ Discussion' started by Jeff Norman, Aug 5, 2015.

  1. Jeff Norman

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    Just got my X8+ and have to say I love most things about it (including the price!). Very nicely designed and I love the open Arduino controller system, with all of its options and easy configuration, versus the closed system that my other (DJI) coptors use.

    A few things I am not loving, and was planning to upgrade are:

    (a) propellers (seems like slower spinning and slightly larger props would work better; carbon fiber might give a small weigh loss advantage). Anyone do a prop upgrade yet and if so, what props did you use? DId you have to reconfigure the controller?

    (b) GPS seems very finnicky - I had to increase HDOP to 375 to even get past the preflight safeties. Would a better GPS antenna fix this? location of antenna? Or does it need a better GPS subsystem? Ideas?

    (c) transmitter range seems pretty limited, even with safeties disabled it returns to home way too soon compared with DJI systems. What is the issue? Antenna seems most likely culprit, I am going to try a helical. Other ideas?

    (d) FPV options. 3dr's FPV option is getting pretty negative reviews, and besides that I would prefer to use a dedicated CCD rather than GoPro (lighter weight, lower power, higher refresh rates possible, and less expensive; plus customized CCDs for thermal and night flights). FPV options that integrate nicely with the X8+ that anyone has tried?
     
  2. Drone-Survey-Photography

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    For (c) the fence is set at 325 M, you can delete this and see how far you can go.

    Taking away the fence also seems to fix the HDOP issue, Mine will find satellites much faster and is flying at 1- 2.5 HDOP. The fence being on the copter wanted to be sure to have a good signal prior to flight.

    3DR does sell a non-GoPro FPV option $189.00 w/o screen. I have not upgraded yet but have not heard any bad stuff.
     
  3. Peter Stempel

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    I'm using an X8+ for 3d capture and ortho mapping. The issue that concerns me about adding the stand alone FPV kit is the additional weight--The additional battery, board and camera add another 130 grams plus to the set up. and I'm already slightly over the payload specification of 800g with the camera setup and leg extensions.

    For the moment I'm living without FPV. I bought the transmitter so I can do the gopro thing instead of the mapping camera--but not both at once.

    I'd be curious to hear whether other people are combining fpv with their mapping or not.
     
  4. Drone-Survey-Photography

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    I am not sure you will need the additional battery, I am flying a 4s 10,000 mh and get up to 20 minutes (not real fast flying) but have alway got 15+. Seems I could tap some of this power w/o loosing much time.

    I am setting up the Canon S100 for mapping, so far so good, working on the pixhawk trigger. Had a motor go bad so I cannot fly until they send a replacement, hopefully this weekend.
     
  5. Peter Stempel

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    I am using S100--it's a great set up. I'm going to give FPV via additional ccd a go this weekend--I have the parts. As I think more about it any marginal loss of flight time is probably offset by piece of mind from FPV.
     
  6. Drone-Survey-Photography

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    Did you set up your s100 with CHDK and a trigger usb cable? If so can you show the cable connections.

    On another note..has anyone found a wiring diagram for the X8, there are a number of un-connected wires that I would like to find out about, I am sure some are for power for accessories but some are not easily identified.

    T
     
  7. Peter Stempel

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    Cables on X8+ based on my trace (somebody correct me if I'm wrong--I have not used them all. . . . yet):

    Top front is all for FPV setup either with GoPro or CCD
    Top-drone port side-6 pin female: to connect OSD (on screen display board) to Telem1 so that Pixhawk can feed flight data.
    Top-middle-JST connector: power
    Top-drone starboard side-servo connector;video signal from Go-Pro setup to transmitter (for go pro) not used for CCD (CCD connects directly to OSD board). If you want video transmission with telemetry you need both the transmitter board and the OSD Board.

    Bottom front is for gimbal set up.
    Bottom-drone port side-go pro style plug: feed from GoPro
    Bottom-middle-JST connector: power
    Bottom-drone starboard side-sevo connector: RC/Pixhawk input to Tarot gimbal.

    Did I miss any?

    Regarding camera trigger: I haveTuffwing cable (did not want to bother making cable): Per Tuffwing instructions cable goes to port 5 on back of Pixhawk--pixhawk just sends a pulse to trigger script. From what I have read bus is already live on X8+ so that should work. I have not tested or configured that yet--just using an intervalometer on Canon now (not integrated). I'll let you know how it goes when I try it. The Tuffwing cable interferes with my mount currently.

    P
     
    #7 Peter Stempel, Aug 6, 2015
    Last edited: Aug 7, 2015
    Regie Alam likes this.
  8. Drone-Survey-Photography

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    Thanks good info, I just ordered the tuffwing and the BEC, I was not sure about the 5V. Could be already set up for 5V since this is the same unit as the X8 M. There has been some discussion that there is 5v but the current is too low to trigger the camera. please report you findings. New motor shipped today will probably not fly again until next week and should have the cable and camera set up. Have you seen the script for CHDK setup.
     
  9. Peter Stempel

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    I have the entire drone apart today--3DR --as much as I love them--fail on the "makers bill of rights"--I will make a separate post in a new thread with more complete info about all when I get it back together. The video feed cable on the top deck (for instance) is fed straight from the go-pro plug. Also confirmed that the gimbal is going to port 1&2 and that the go pro plug goes to port 3 on back of pixhawk. Figured someone had to do a real trace. Probably will have it together tomorrow. Also of important note--telem 2 splits to both the telem feed and the fr sky feed (makes sense). Will detail all.

    P
     
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  10. Drone-Survey-Photography

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  11. Peter Stempel

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    Sorry, just saw your post.....I'm at work, I'll look when I get home and post later or tomorrow--I still need to post the other trace but have been slammed at work and busy tuning the gimbal.

    It's going to be really hard to get to without disassembly.

    P
     
  12. Peter Stempel

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    When I took apart the X8+ I did not unwire the arms, rather I left them together, so I did not trace where the wires went after they entered the arms. The ESCs are logically arrayed in terms of right and left, front and back, and held in by zip ties each set is faced so that the motor leads depart close to the arm they serve. Two of the fronts are very accessable, two completely burried. The rears are all pretty easily accessed, noting that the ones on the flanks are leaning on the power supply.

    If I were in your position, I would begin by removing the leg, using the thumb screw, and then by removing the inner screw. The inner screw is tricky, because there is a double nut stack under the Pixhawk platform. You can undo the four nuts holding this platform, and shift it to the side. There is enough slack in the wires that you can reveal the power supply this way.

    BTW: All the smarts are on the Pixhawk platform, the lower platform is just power supply, ESCs, and BEC (center front). There is power feed to Port 8 on back of Pixhawk from the BEC so you can pull your power from the middle row of pins--forgot to mention that when we were talking trigger.

    With that platform shifted aside you can remove the double nut stack on the subject leg. I'd then loosen the motors, and give a tug to the impacted wire to see which ESC it is attached to. If your lucky, it's one that's more accessible. The hardest part would be restoring the zip ties you needed to cut to replace it.

    If you do need to pull your X8+ appart:

    I found that the 4 leg screws that also hold the upper platform are the king pins. The other screws and spacers can be easily restored by working your way around everything. To disassemble you can set the Pixhawk platform aside, leaving it wired on. Snip the front ESC zip ties that hold the body together, and remove the screws around the edge. Remove the double stack nuts, and the thumbscrews, and the whole thing will come appart. Before it does, note how the power supply is settled into the nest, so you can re-pack it. The reassembly process is to get the ESCs and power supply properly settled, and then get the king pins in, then the outer pins, and finally strap on the last two ESCs. I labled all my parts with a sharpie in terms of orientation, etc., though it's pretty obvious how it goes together.

    I'm sorry I can't tell you which is upper and lower--I though I may have made some note that would tell me, but I did not. I'll try to keep an eye on the forum in case there is something I can help with. The good news about the lower body assembly is that it's pretty straight forward, just a lot of screws.

    One other note, if you remove the fly bridge over PixHawk, take care with the plastic screws. I ended up buying extra screws of every type--it's easy to loose these. Those upper screws are plastic so as not to interfere with the sensitive stuff.....and should be replaced with the same.
     
  13. Peter Stempel

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    Also, don't forget the Loctite when you re-assemble. You don't want things working loose.
     
  14. Peter Stempel

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  15. sgjgb

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    Wow, I thought I was alone here for so long until I just checked in. Nice to see some additional input from active participants. I too have the X8+ set up for mapping with a Canon x260. Made my own cable and set to port #3 on pixhawk. Works with the CHDK and I process in Pix4d. I also fly DJI copters and have my 333 exemption.
    I look forward to participating here and working together for mutual success.
    J
     
  16. Drone-Survey-Photography

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    I just cut the wires and soldered, works fine. No back to programming the camera, got my tuffwing cable this week, already have CHDK on the camera. Hope to get all set up for a survey next week (too hot this week).

    Am I correct in assuming that you dont next the aux 5v, the pixhawk is configured to trigger the camera directly. I have the 5v cable if needed but would rather skip the extra install if possible. I plan to add a second camera so may want to add the extra power anyway just to be sure there is enough to trigger both cameras.

    They are up to May 20 in granting FAA 333 exemptions, I filed mine May 31, getting close, I am excited by not sure why.

    Thanks Peter for the detail, going into the notebook
     
  17. Peter Stempel

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    I'm running both an FPV camera and the other accessories, no power problem. I'm not sure I understand the question, but, essentially if you plug the tuffwing cable into port 5, and use the stock config it will work with not additonal power--I've flight tested the configuration.
     
  18. Drone-Survey-Photography

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    Thanks that answers my question, some of the Pixhawks only have a 3.3 volt output (vs. 5V) and will not trigger the camera w/o another power source. Looks like the X8+ is equipped with 5v output.
     
  19. Drone-Survey-Photography

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    I want to add a FPV, 3DRs system looks overly complicated and heavy, especially the ground station. What FPV are you running, are you getting streaming data as well?
     
  20. Peter Stempel

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    I'm using 3dr components, though many items are available elsewherer: there are two boards on the drone, one a transmitter, the other overlays the flight data. Flight data comes from the wide plug on the top front deck. Camera feeds into the board that overlays the flight data. That board then feeds the transmitter, which gets the power from the appropriate connector on the other side of the deck. I used a non 3dr camera. I looked at other options, but decided feeding from canon was not practical.

    I'll post my ground station in a moment.

    P
     

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