Time for a new project, last year it was the X8, now I wanted a quad that allows a wide FOV for the GoPro without the props getting in the frame. So an asynchronous frame, call it spider, alien, whatever.. Took a couple of glasfiber plates, a piece of paper and draw the frame. Cut out the pieces with a dremel powertool and build it using t-motor 2216's, ESC32-v2 (CAN), AQ7, HoTT receiver obviously, StoRM32 gimbal controller and a $15 gimbal from goodluckbuy. After a couple of days work the build and the Quatos calculations where done and the maiden was a go.. Will not bore you with that, but made a compilation of the quad... Simply said, it is since then my favorite multirotor, stable as a house, can fly very fast (>70kmh), long flighttimes (~20min @5000mAh with gopro charging) yet very compact. The shape is perfect even on higher altitudes, you immediately see the front...
Now the next project: Mav2GoPro.... Ok, DJI has camera control, the 3DR solo (seems to have) GoPro control, I want that too! But.. getting the gopro connector and I2C emulation is not that easy. There might be another way using the WiFi acces mode of the GoPro. I recently came across one very nice module, the ESP8266 serie. That is basically a wifi client with AT commando's. Targeted to make microcontrollers wifi enabled. So an arduino, stm32 or so using the UART to enable wifi. The best news is that these are incredible cheap: $3, yes $3...
Very nice, and some guys discovered that the SOC on the esp is actually a very capably 32 bits risc mcu with external flash memory on the SPI channel. Only a couple of weeks ago, it was made possible to use the arduino IDE with some specific libs and flash the complete arduino code on that ESP8266 while keeping the WiFi capability.. Oh... I can use that . Took a couple of days to test and code, a pcb for the powersupply, some leds, some components and the first Mav2GoPro is born..
What is it: it is a GoPro controller listening (and sending) to mavlink messages. All gopro commands and all the possible status information is available in the messages. It is integrated in the AutoQuad HoTT source, the HoTT is displaying the basic gopro information and in this v01 release the gimbal trigger switch is used to start/stop video recording or photo shutter.
In the next version full menu control for the gopro settings will be done so you can change modes, video frame sizes, fps, fov whatever in flight.
It is mavlink, so not only HoTT, one mavlink commando is used for total control. It is very possible to map for example switching modes to a unused rc channel, or use it in waypoints... but thats for another time..
So... now the test regarding wifi transmitting while using the 2.4Ghz rc controller. Numerous reports of crashes, although mainly based on DJI phantom 1/2 but better be safe than sorry. I already frequently fly with wifi enabled gopro to my phone and never had a glitch but today I did some range tests including a reduced (to 1% output) output rc mode.. After that I had over 3 hours of flight between 30 - 300m away without any glitches... The concept seems to work... not sure if it will work for other configurations,I'm waiting for another batch of pcb's (made a simple design error and will use another esp8266 version with more memory) and will have some more tests...
For now very pleased, can start/stop, take pictures in flight without first starting the recording a record minutes of looking at grass . I was thinking of also making 'macros' so you can for example take 30 sec video, switch to medium FOV, another 30 sec, switch narrow etc.. That is normally not possible, very intensive menu work on the gopro, but with Mav2GoPro it is simply a couple of commands in a sequence..
Great stuff, especially the esp8266. I've been playing with them a while and I now mount one on 250 quads in server mode. I can use my phone wifi analyzer to find the module using the signal strength. Only takes a second to give it a name and put it in the correct mode. Haven't had any interference problems but it's of course not very active as a server. Not bad for a $3 dollar module.
For indoor playing with the M4 it would be neat to have one as the receiver for the M4 using the phone wifi as the control link with Jussi's android control software.
I'm becoming very fond of non symetrical frames like your spider, they seem to have less vibration. Your's looks very nice.
Hi Steve, Yeah, used the esp for a little while and already totally addicted to them. Am already designing a small pcb for home light control Then standard AT fw is great for simple mcu attachment, but the full power becomes when you use nodemcu or arduino code.. Peter told me that mesh is now also possible, swarm of m4's control
I tested it with spektrum too, also interference but Peter also told me that frsky is a no-go, frsky makes a lot of noise on the wifi assigned channels..
I'm looking forward to the next version of the esp8266, it is rumored that it contains an even more powerful soc, wifi part with adjustable output (great) and Bluetooth 4. That would be awesome for AQ
There is already a project that creates a transparent uart bridge, so direct connection to a GCS should be possible. And with an external antenna 400+ meters LOS should be possible.
Frame, I know, these frame types seem to have a lot of advantages and indeed vibration is significantly less. The raw gopro material is almost without micro vibrations even in fast forward flight.
Anyone wishing to play with these the ESP201 board is handy to try different code out on. It has relays, leds, power supply and usb connection. Has a on/off switch and a button to trigger into flashing mode.