Power Meter V2

Immersion RC’s Power Meter V2

The time arrived for a new article. The ImmersionRC’s Power Meter V2 has been on people’s radar for a while now, announced around December 2017 and shipped in March 2018. We have them now in stock at NGhobbies, and you can order them by clicking on the image below. Powermeter V2

Looking back at the first version of the power meter, which was a bit bulky and required an external power source, the second version is definitely slimmer and smaller, includes a battery as well which makes it very nice portable design. Almost to the point where you would be afraid that if you put it down you’ll not find it again on the mess on your workbench 🙂

All that said, if is definitely a huge improvement to the previous design not only for the looks but for the functionality as well. In today’s most organized races the race director usually checks every racing quad before it allows them on the flight line to make sure they all comply with the power requirements of the race. If it is a 25mW race, then all quads should read under 25-30mW power output, or if it is a 200mW race, then all participants racing machines should provide a power output less than 200, but also more than 150mW.  This tool helps pilots and race directors to achieve equal terms when racing, no one would have the advantage of higher power output compared to others – also assuring that no higher output can wide out the video signal for any of the other racers.

In lack of the manual – which at the time of this writing has not yet been released by Immersion, we will try to quickly present you the 3 operating modes of the Power Meter V2:

  • Measuring mode: In this mode – once it is calibrated to a reference signal – you can precisely measure the power output of a transmitter in “dbm” or “mW”. If no output is detected, the display shows uW values which translate to “”micro Watts”. As you can see the frequency is shown in the bottom left corner, the frequency can be changed from the menu by pushing the 4 way button in. Available frequencies are: 35, 72, 433, 868, 900, 1200, 2400, 5600, 5650, 5700, 5750, 5800, 5850, 5900, 5950, 6000Mhz. You will jsut need to select the frequency you are transmitting closest to, no need for exact frequency selection.  The top left displays the battery charge level, the top right indicates id the power meter is in “peak” or “average” measuring mode – also adjustable from the built in menu. The bar graph on the bottom indicates the signal level as well expressed in percentage.
  • Packet Analyzer Mode: In this mode your power meter looks packets of data, PWM signal or similar on the selected frequencies. If you move this close to a remote control transmitter or a WiFi router, then you can see the packet data flowing on the screen. Pushing the 4 way button up/down will change the span value, meaning it will take more or less readings per second.
  • Scully Mode: This is the race director mode which will allow a race director to do a “Pass”/”Fail” test of the racing quads. This mode will show if any of the quads are above or below the desired signal level. In this mode when the Power Meter is calibrated to a specific signal level, it will compare the incoming signal to that stored level. With that, if your transmitter is under the middle bar, then you are not overpowered and you can fly – just like in the picture below, if it is above the line you are above the power level allowed for that specific race.

In either mode this device will need a little work to be able to measure precisely. We prepared a video for you to watch on how to do that, see it below:

Joe Scully spent some time preparing a video on how to use the same RF Power Meter in Race Director mode, please watch it below:

I hope you will find these instructions useful when using the RF Power Meter V2 from Immersion RC.

Fat Shark 101 – Drone Training System

On December 21st, 2017 Fat Shark announced that their new Drone Training system is now available for pre-order and will start shipping them in January. This is a revolutionary news, because with this move Fat Shark reached out to all masses who want to get into flying little racing drones they can do it now without a huge start-up expense.

Fat Shark 101 Kit The Fat Shark 101 – Drone Training System – as they call it comes with everything in the package what is required to start flying drones FPV.  Starting with the custom engineered 107mm (diagonal motor to motor distance) Sharky done, a custom design FlySky compatible 6 channel remote controller, a brand new design, very comfortable Recon goggle set, batteries, USB charger, USB cables, additional propellers, a low powered 5.8Ghz video transmitter and a 600 line CMOS camera and Fat Shark even includes 2 lightweight racing gates which can be popped open in a flash and hanged on anywhere to start racing.

Sharky QuadThe surprising fact is that this time we really got a flying shark. The “Sharky” quad is supplied with 4 x 8520 brushed motors with 9000KV, assuring to provide enough power for even 3D stunts if one desires it. The “Sharky’s” all in one vertical controller is a patented design, based on an F3 flight controller, configurable through Betaflight Configurator. The fins of the shark contain the antennas, the top fin provides the antenna for the 5.8Ghz video transmitter (FCC certified) and the back tail has the antenna integrated on for the FlySky compatible onboard receiver.

The 600 line CMOS camera provides a crisp and clear image, and if the firmware was not modified from the original factory one, it will turn into black and white image when the battery is low, so the customer knows that it is time to land.

Fat Shark Recon Goggles

With the release of the Fat Shark 101, Fat Shark introduces their newly developed single panel goggles the Recon. The recon will not be the choice of the high caliber racers, but for the cost of it you get a goggles which feel very natural and fall very nicely on your face. I had several people try on these goggles at our shop and the response was surprising. People who otherwise cannot wear normal goggles because of their prescription lenses replied with a “Wow” – all of a sudden they found a goggle which works for their eyes without the need of additional lenses. I personally felt the image a bit too close to my eyes at first, but after a few moments of use, it felt really natural and comfortable to use. The Recon goggles feature a frequency scanner (just a short press on the 4 way joystick) – that way it will scan for the highest RSSI signal on the selected band. Change the channels with short presses on the up/down button, if you press and hold the up/down buttons then you can change the band. Pressing and holding the 4 way joystick button will enter the OSD menu on the goggles. Here you can change some OSD setting – like how long will the OSD display show up on your image – or you can turn it off completely if you wish. The System menu will display the system information like FW version, sound on/off and a restore to factory default.

Fat Shark Recon Goggle Back

The faceplate of the goggles is covered with a very comfortable vinyl foam, which locks the external light out, but on the side of the goggles there are enough openings to allow airflow to avoid the goggles to fog up. The power to the goggles is provided by a single cell 18650 battery which will run your goggles for a good 2-3 hours or more depending on your 18650 mAh size. The USB port on the side of the goggles is used to charge the battery from a USB phone charger, for better performance we recommend a 2A power supply for this. The charging rate is about 500mAh per hour, so depending on how big your 18650 is it can take 4-6 hours to fully charge the battery

The goggles are supplied with a rubber-ducky 2db 5.8Ghz antenna to match the linear polarization of the antenna in the Sharky quad. There is a built in no signal warning, if you forgot your goggles on and there is no incoming video, your goggles will discretely stat beeping about one every 5 seconds. There is also a low battery alarm – a different beeping signal when your battery is getting low – up to the point when it gets too low and there will be an OSD warning on your display that it is now really time to turn it off and start recharging the battery.

Fat Shark RemoteFat Shark provides a 6 channel custom designed remote control with their 101 drone training system. As you can see on the image above, there are no extras, controls right to the subject. One switch for flight mode, another for arming, the gimbals have a really nice feel. Overall the remote fits very nicely in your hand, and it does not feel cheap at all as the remote from most of the Chinese kits. Size of the remote is small enough that a 6-9 years old kid can use it comfortably. Binding is easy as a breeze, you can use this remote with any other quad you own, just install a FlySky receiver in them and bind it to it.

Fatshark Kit OverheadFatshark even includes 2 spare motors with their kit. The Sharky quad has propeller guards providing protection again hitting the wall, as well as against unwanted fingers inside the spinning propeller area. Even with that we recommend keeping it away from small children and pets, because the high spinning propellers (around 19000kv) still could cause small cuts and bruises if not handled properly.

With the two gates included this kit is to provide hours of fun during the winter, I am sure lots of people will wonder and fly to every possible – inaccessible spaces in their living rooms. Fat Shark promised that they will sell gates separately as well, so one can set up a real racing course in the living room, to attract the love of their spouses.

Canadian customer can pre-order these kits from New Generation Hobbies clicking on the following link or the image below: www.nghobbies.com/cart/index.php?main_page=product_info&cPath=_207_234_229&products_id=2142

Fat Shark Quad

After you purchased your 101 Drone Training System, you will be able to register your product and with that get with free access to the Drone Racing League simulator (a $20 value) and three months of Academy of Model Aeronautics (AMA) membership and insurance (if you are residing in the USA, unfortunately Canadian customers do not get a 3 month free MAAC membership). In addition, online training videos and a detailed guide are included to help train new pilots. The Fat Shark 101 system promises a lot of extras as we go along, this is not a one time buy drone, but if you get this, and as you evolve in your piloting skills, Fat Shark will reveal in the future additional benefits which users of this system will benefit of.

lapRF 8-Way Event Race Timing System

FPV and quad racing just entered into a new era. For those who participated in earlier races, it was always a hassle to mount some kind of transponder right before the race on their quads. Now during the races many of these got damaged and often many of them got lost as they have fallen off from the racers. The IR based sensor often did not pick up the passing quads because these were either too fast to detect – or just the sun simply changed positon and blinded the sensors.

lapRF 8-Way Event Race Timing System

The introduction of the RSSI based race timing systems managed to eliminate the above problems. No more transponders, no more problem with the sun shining in the IR sensor. The RSSI based timing systems lock on the video frequency of your FPV racer and detect the maximum signal strength as it passes through the gate under which the race timer is placed. While the personal race timers like the LapRF have only one receiver built in and was designed to pick up the signal from one quad – or time sharing with 2-3 racers, the 8-way event timer system has 8 individual 5.8Ghz receivers where every single one will be dedicated to measuring one individual racer. This increases the accuracy of the measurement dramatically above other systems.

Spectrum of the LapRF 8 WayInstead of using a standard receiver module in their 8-way timing system, ImmersionRC’s hardware engineering team designed a custom module, which can be calibrated on-the-fly to adapt to the different power levels found in races. Sensitive enough to detect passing quads, but selective enough to ignore adjacent channel interference. Heavily filtered to ignore off-band interference common at race events.
They also designed custom antennas with gate-shaped beams which let the race director precisely define the detection area of the timing system. These antennas are designed for RHCP/LHCP, and Linear polarization, covering everything that will be seen at a race event. To adds to the above benefits, the LapRF is just as comfortable in the digital world as analog. Many successful mixed Analog and Digital races have been run by race director Joe Scully with a great deal of success. The Connex Prosight transmitter signal is just as precisely detected as the analog TrampHV video signal. The Prosight TX units must be in fixed-frequency mode in order to properly work with the 8-way LapRF.

LiveTime FPV Scoring Engine

At the time of this writing, the software a race director should run to properly benefit from the advantages of the 8-way LapRF race timing system is the LiveFPV scoring engine from LiveTime. ImmersionRC worked  with the folks from LiveTime to improve the integration and support for the 8-way LapRF with their scoring engine. Joe Scully has run numerous races using these two systems and we could all benefit from the precise lap timing and race management of these two systems.

We also equipped the Fatshark RCC (Race Command Center) with an 8-way LapRF, and this way the FatShark Race Command Center can just show up anywhere, it takes about 30 minutes to deploy and connect the receivers and external equipment, then it is ready to race, This is the race flight line on wheels, it can be ready to race within 30 minutes of arrival. Please take a peak of the special 4 way Scorpion diversity receivers lined up on the side:

Fatshark RCC
Fatshark RCC ready to accept pilots
Receivers on the side of the RCC
Fatshark RCC pilots line

The 8-way LapRF is now available from New Generation Hobbies, please click on the ling below to purchase it:

lapRF 8-Way Event Race Timing System

Here is an update to this page after we received the first shipment. I prepared an unboxing video which was streamed live to Facebook and YouTube as well. Please check out the unboxing video below:

Back to School Fun Fly and Drone Race

Originally we were asked to host a drone racing event on August 26th at the Toronto RC airfield in Markham, Ontario. Unfortunately last minute the club decided to dramatically reduce the drone racing time and sessions throughout the event which would have caused quite a bit of downtime for people who dedicated their time to come and help us out with this demonstration.

Humber Valley RC Flyers however decided the grant us the use of their RC field for this event and loved the idea or us doing a drone racing presentation and race on Saturday, August 26th, 2017:

Back to Shool Fun Fly and Drone RaceMy discussion with the executives brought us to the point where the whole club’s approach is very positive towards drone racing and if this event goes well, the club may decide and work out the details for next year to create a drone racing area as well as a new membership category for drone racing. For this reason people and pilots who will come out to this event and will fly with us should consider joining the club for the next years flying season.

The agenda of Saturdays event is as follows:

8:00AM – 9:00AM – Race course and RV setup
9:00AM – 9:30AM – Continue setup and finalizing race course
– Registration and check in (MAAC membership card has to be shown)
– Joe Scully will register each pilot in his software as well as we need you to sign in on a sign in sheet as well for the club.
– Coffee and Timbits will be available on site provided by NGHobbies
9:30AM – 9:45AM – Pilots briefing, overview of safety rules and do’s and don’ts. During this time fixed wing flying will be possible.
9:45AM – 10:45AM – Practice rounds
10:45AM – 11:15AM – Fixed wing flying – time could be less if nobody wants to fly.
11:15AM – 12:45PM – Race heats
12:45PM – 1:45PM – Break, fixed wing flying and lunch – pizza, water and POP will be served by NGHobbies
1:45PM – 3:45PM – Race heats
3:45PM – 4:00PM – Announcements, close-up notes
4:00PM – 4:30PM – Tear down, pack and go home

To approach the field come to the intersection of Kipling and Steels and turn north on Kipling. From there follow the chart below made by Jorge Razon:

To the HVRCF fieldJust as a follow up, we had a great time on this race. There were a total of 14-15 pilots who came to race with us and about 10-15 spectators and club members. The day went by pretty fast, all pilots raced one battery after the other. Joe Scully started to pass on the family business to Marshall, and teaching him how to comment on pilots actions, etc.

The HVRCF club executive was quite pleased with how nicely this event was organized and how complex this operation really is. Since Humber Valley will be discussing during he winter the possibility of opening a permanent drone race track at our park, this event really brought us close to that by showing how coordinated the event is and how disciplined the pilots are. MAAC and Club safety rules were applied and enforced, and through this we won the possibility to go back there again.

Lastly enjoy some pictures from this event below. You can click on each picture to enlarge them.

Event Sponsors
Race directors
China FPV
Fatshark RCC
PIlot Stations
Buffy the Saint
Race directors
Pilots preparing for race
In a race heat

Back to School Fun Fly and Race

 

LapRF Personal Race Timing System

Just like the title says, the LapRF is a personal race timing system recently released from Immerison RC. We had the pleasure to test-drive this product for a while and provide feedback on it’s operation and software development portion as well.

LapRF with External Antenna

Expect little and be surprised

Since this is a “Personal Race Timing System” it was designed to measure the precise timing of the laps of a single racing quad. In that this device excels and it provides much more. When we received this “puck” as everybody call it, the software was still in development stage, however on the first try we managed to hook it up and connect it to our iPhone or iPad, pick up the Bluetooth connection and read/save settings to it. In a matter of seconds it was operational.

How it works:

The LapRF has a single 5.8Ghz receiver inside armed with a clever firmware to measure the RSSI (receiver signal strength indicator) value when a transmitter is near by. You can see a visual presentation of this if you switch to the “Diagnostics” page and if you bring your racing quad closer to the LapRF the line measuring your signal strength should increase and as you move it further away should decrease in length. If you plan to measure more than one racers with the LapRF, then the single receiver will be listening half time to one pilot, the other half to the other pilots frequency. Since it has to switch between frequencies to listen to both, this decreases the reception speed, and accuracy. The more pilots you add, the less your gate speed should be to get accurate readings.

Testing and racing:

The first test of tossing a racing quad or a small transmitter above it registered the time right away as it was enable for racing or practice. Then a more thorough test followed where we put the LapRF puck inside of a racing gate and started measuring laps as we passed through the gate. This was all indoors, and the distance from the puck to the phone was only a few feet. To our surprise, 2 and later even 3 quads were timed perfectly, of course within the limitations of the speeds advertised on the setup page. The Babyhawks we were flying had to make a 180 degree turn before passing through the gate on the below video which slowed down the gate speed considerably:

Armed with the successful results from the above test, we took the LapRF puck outside for some further testing. In order to increase the range of the Bluetooth and stay at a safe range from the racing gate and track, it is better to have sufficient range to keep the phone/tablet around the flying stations, while the timing gate is 30-50ft away from you.

Upgrading the Bluetooth antenna:

To upgrade the Bluetooth range we used items similar the following kit:

LapRF Bluetooth upgrade kitand here is the video of the procedure:

After he antenna was upgraded we headed outside to test the range on the newly upgraded LapRF Bluetooth antenna.

Range testing:

I personally do not really trust the Bluetooth standard. I have tried many Bluetooth headsets for different phones and my general opinion is that if it has to pass through your body, the signal degrades with 50% and the other party can’t hear you good any more. However I was pleasantly surprised on the range results of the upgraded LapRF. I have to specify here that in my tests I used a 7dbi 2.4Ghz antenna specifically designed for WiFi routers. Using a lower gain antenna will somewhat diminish your results, but even with a 2.15dbi antenna like in the upgrade kit above should be able to give you a good 50-100ft range. So here, watch the video I posted about my range tests:

As you can see, I had perfect Bluetooth communication from 147ft away, about 55 meters, which I think it is pretty awesome, compared to my very expensive Bluetooth headset which often does not pass through my body.

With all this I am very pleased with the LapRF, and while I am not a racer, now every time I can I get my buddies to come over with their Babyhawks so we can race together and have lots of fun.

You can purchase the LapRF and upgrade kit from out website, by clicking on the following link: http://www.nghobbies.com/cart/index.php?main_page=index&cPath=207_340

FPV Racing Frequency Table

I have been to many ad-hoc races organized around our city and one thing was common – in almost every case there was a cardboard with a grid drawn up with permanent markers, names and frequencies on it, often not clearly visible and nobody really new if they were interfering or not with other people. For this reason I took some time to design this frequency table which is color coded, contains all the frequencies one could use for FPV racing. I did not include low bands, because those in many counties are outside of the legal frequency bands.

The frequency chart is color coded, easily visible, and groups are easily identifiable. You can run several heats as long as you keep fliers of other heats offline while one is flying.

FPV Racing Frequency Table

A low resolution version can be downloaded by right clicking on the image above, but in case you would like to purchase this printed on a 12″ x 18″ corplast board, please click the image above.

Some frequencies are close by, these can be used in the same heat – one or another. This is marked with the “OR” signal in the middle. The frequencies which should not be used in North America, this includes USA and Canada are crossed out with red.

How to Install Previous Versions of Cleanflight

We have been asked by our customers on several occasions on how to install ur find previous versions of cleanflight now that version 2.*.* is out and it will not connect to their boards with versions under 2.0.

Searching YouTube we have come across a very nice and detailed video which explains it all and gives you a step by step guide on how to do this. We have embedded this video on this page for your convenience. Painless 360 gives us an excellent explanation and guide on how to do this, so there is no reason to reinvent the wheel, just use this guide to install it yourself:

If you finished watching please make sure to send Painless 360 a “like” for his excellent work.