GoPro HERO4 Session: най-малката и лека GoPro камера до сега

Нетипично за GoPro, които представят своите нови модели в последното тримесечие на годината, представиха новата си камера HERO4 Session.

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Камерата е с по-различен дизайн от досегашните модели, а именно във формата на куб. Тя е с два пъти по-малка и с 40% по-лека от останалите Hero4 камери.

Както всички камери на GoPro и този нов модел е водоустойчив (до 10 метра) и може да бъде ползван с всички досегашни аксесоари за закрепяне.

Качеството на видеото и снимките е нещо средно между моделите GoPro Hero и GoPro Hero4 Silver. Видео с резолюция 4К и 2.7К не се поддържат. Затова пък може да заснема видео с резолюция 1440p с до 30fps (кадъра в секунда), както и 1080p до 60fps. За повечето потребители това трябва да е напълно достатъчно. Камерата може да прави и 8 мегапикселови снимки.

Батерията за разлика от предишните модели на GoPro е вградена и не може да се сменя от потребителя. Зареждането се осъществява през USB-порта.

Камерата има само един бутон с който се управлява. С него стартирате и спирате запис. Отделните настройки се правят през приложението за мобилни телефони или дистанционното. Връзката се осъществява през WiFi или Bluetooth.

Цената, която е обявена е 429.99€, също колкото и на Hero4 Silver. Трябва да бъде налична от средата на юли. Последната има малко по-добри технически параметри, отколкото новата Hero4 Session, но не е толкова компактна и лека. За тези които това е от първостепенно значение, трябва да са доволни от новия модел.

Лично аз ще продължа да ползвам за сега моята GoPro Hero3, която е минимално по-голяма и тежка от Hero4 серията. Въпреки че новата Hero4 Session би била добре дошла за моя FPV квадрокоптер заради малкия си размер и тегло, тя няма A/V изход, който е нужен за предаването на сигнала към FPV очилата ми.

За завършек и новото promo видео снимано с Hero4 Session:

SimonK vs. BLHeli firmware vs. T-Motor 10A Air ESC

Both SimonK and BLHeli firmwares are getting updates, new features and I was wondering which of these is better for my quadcopter. Since I started with the multirotors I was using the SimonK firmware and I am still happy with it. I also will test one T-Motor 10A Air ESC, which has its own firmware.

On four different ESCs I flashed the following versions and functions of the firmwares:

  • SimonK 2014-09-30
  • SimonK 2014-09-30 comp_pwm enabled (here is an article on how-to enabled it)
  • SimonK 2015-04-19 comp_pwm enabled (support “OneShot125”)
  • BLHeli 13.2 damped light enabled (support “OneShot125”)

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comp_pwm disabled vs. comp_pwm enabled vs. damped light comparison:

There is a significant difference between the SimonK firmware with enabled and disabled comp_pwm feature. The motor on the ESC without the comp_pwm stops probably a second later. On the other side the ESC with the BLHeli 13.2 and damped light stops even faster than the one with SimonK and comp_pwm. So 1-0 for BLHeli over SimonK. I was corrected on the RCGroups forum, that I didn’t enable the “MOTOR_BRAKE” feature on SimonK, so the comparison is not exactly right. I will test that too and update this article.

Then I decided to compare the BLHeli 13.2 and the SimonK 2015-04-19, as both support the “OneShot125”. Well here I found the SimonK better and smoother than the BLHeli ESC. The motor on the SimonK ESC was much quieter. 1-1 SimonK vs. BLHeli. Note: I used the standard settings on BLHeli, so there could be an option to change, that will make it perform better.

The T-Motor 12A Air ESC with its stock firmware does not have a feature like comp_pwm and damped light, so it behaved like the normal SimonK firmware. The motor was very responsive and its sound was also very quite. It is a bit subjective, but I think it performs like the SimonK with the “OneShot125” or even better. It is also a bit lighter (7.3g) and smaller than the HK BlueSeries 12A ESC.

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Please note that I only tested one type of ESC (HK BlueSeries 12A) and one type of motor (T-Motor MN2206 2000kv) on a 3S battery. The results can be different on other configurations.

Conclusion: The damped light on the BLHeli is a bit better (*to be updated) than the comp_pwm on SimonK, but the last one performs in my opinion much better in “OneShot125” mode.

Flashing SimonK with Arduino through the signal wire (1-wire)

In this article I will show you how to flash the SimonK firmware with your Arduino through the ESC´s signal wire without removing the shrink tube and using an ISP Programmer.

Important: to flash the firmware through the signal wire, the bootloader of the ESC must be enabled. This is the case if you have bought a SimonK preflashed ESC (like the Afro Series ESC) or you have already flashed the ESC with an ISP Programmer and have enabled the bootloader by yourself.

Needed parts:

  • Arduino board
  • ESC with enabled bootloader

Making ArduinoUSBLinker:

First we need to flash the ArduinoUSBLinker code on the Arduino. If you want to upload it through the Arduino Software, download the source code from github. Open the ArduinoUSBLinker.ino file in the Arduino Software, select the right COM port and upload it to the Arduino board.

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You can also use the KKmulticopter Flash Tool for making the ArduinoUSBLinker. Go to the “Tools”-menu and click on “Upload Arduino USB Linker” and select your Arduino board. Wait for the message, that you should connect the Arduino to the PC. Then plug it in and click “Ok”. The Arduino should be detected by the system. If the flashing is successful, the Arduino board is ready.

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How-To connect:

Connect the orange wire (signal wire) from the ESC to Digital Pin2 on the Arduino and the brown wire (ground) to the GND Pin on the Arduino. Connect the ESC to an external power.

Flashing the firmware:

Flashing the SimonK firmware through the signal wire is almost like flashing the firmware with an ISP Programmer. The only difference is, you choose as an Programmer the ArduinoUSBLinker. Choose the right controller (without bootloader, as it is already enabled), the right firmware and firmware version and click on the green button on the right to flash it.

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If you wish to enable the comp_pwm (aka damped light) function, check how to do it in the article mentioned above.

You can also flash the SimonK firmware using the RapidFlash App for Google Chrome. It looks very similar to the Baseflight/Cleanflight Configurator for the Naze32/CC3D boards. Select the Programmer, COM Port, Firmware and the Firmware version and click flash. On the ”Advanced”-Tab you can enable the comp_pwm function much easier than with KKmulticopter Flash Tool.

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If you have any problems, feel free to comment.

How to flash SimonK and enable comp_pwm

Many of the ESCs on the market have their own firmware and are not optimized for using in multicopters. The solution to this problem is to flash a special firmware on these. Note: Not all of the ESCs can be flashed with these firmwares. Check this list to see which ESCs are supported.

Two of the most used firmwares are the SimonK and BLHeli. Which one is better is hardly to say, especially when using different type of motors. Here I will show you, how to flash the SimonK firmware on an HK BlueSeries 12a ESC and more importantly how to enable the comp_pwm function on it.

But what is comp_pwm? It is not exact the same thing as damped light on BLHeli, but it performs a bit like an ESC with damped light function enabled. On the KISS ESCs it is called active freewheeling. It switches the passive MOSFET on your ESC “ON” during the freewheeling phases and by this reducing the power loss. If you want to learn more about PWM and active freewheeling, watch this video here.

Back to damped light or regenerative braking: what does it do? When you reduce the throttle the motor does not stop immediately. When comp_pwm is enabled, it also helps the ESC to stop the motor faster. This allows faster response of your copter. This video shows it very clear. Note: I am not sure if the guy in the video has enabled the comp_pwm feature on the ESC with the SimonK 2014-09-30 firmware. On SimonK firmware the alternative of damped light is called “MOTOR_BRAKE” and can also be enabled.

You will need the following tools to flash the SimonK or BLHeli firmware on your ESC:

  • An ISP Programmer – USBasp AVR Programming Device for ATMEL; you can also use an Arduino as ISP device, but it is easier with the USBasp. If you still want to use the Arduino check how to do it on this page. You will need to install the drivers for it too.
  • Atmel Atmega Socket Firmware Flashing Tool. On some ESCs, that have pads on the PCB board you can even do it without this tool. I have done it once on my HK BlueSeries 30A, but it is much much easier with that tool. It is worth every penny and saved me so much time.

There are several software applications you use to flash the firmware. I have always used the KKmulticopter Flash Tool. If you want to enable the comp_pwm function you will need the latest version 0.80 beta 6.

I will show you how to do the flashing with the KKmulticopter Flash Tool. Plug the USBasp into your PCs USB-port. If you are using the Atmega Socket Firmware Flashing Tool connect it to the USBasp device.

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If you have decided to do it without the tool, connect the pins of your USBasp device with cables to the pads of your ESC (you need to identify the MISO, MOSI, GND, VCC, SCK and RESET pads on your ESC).

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Once everything is connected you need to supply power to the ESC. It is not recommended to use a LiPo battery as a external power supply, so do it on your own risk.

Start the KKmulticopter Flash Tool. Choose the USBasp as a programmer. Then choose your ESC type. As said I will be flashing my HK BlueSeries 12a, which has an atmega8 (note: most of the ESCs on the market has this one or a Silabs-chip). Be sure to choose the one “+ enable Bootloader”, so you can later flash new firmware easily trough the servo-cable of the ESC.

It is very important to flash the right firmware on the ESC or you can damage it. The list with the supported ESCs on top of this page tells you, which one is the right for you. Last but not least you can define the firmware version. The latest one SimonK from 2015-04-19 support another useful function called “OneShot125”. It is a modification on how the flight controller and the ESC communicate between each other. It should give us a more responsive system, but there could be issues with some ESCs and motors.

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If you don’t want to enable comp_pwm, you need only to click on the green button and the firmware will be flashed to the ESC. You should get the “Flashing of firmware was successful” message.

If you want to get use of the feature click on the “SimonK Firmware Compiler”-Tab. Select the version, click Download on the right and choose again the right one for your ESC. Then on the tgy.asm-Tab scroll down to the line where COMP_PWM is defined. To use enable it replace the “0” with “1”, click “Save” and then “Compile”. The newly created file is ready to flash and you can click on the green button to flash it on the ESC. That’s it 🙂

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How to build a foldable motor thrust stand

I wanted to test my motors with different propellers and battery combinations, to achieve better flight time with my multicopters. So I decided to build a so called motor thrust stand. I wanted it to be portable and compact, so a foldable one should be a good solution.

Needed parts:

  • 2 pieces of wood for the arms: 400mm x 46mm x 19mm
  • 2 pieces of wood for the base: 100mm x 46mm x 19mm
  • The carbon parts on the picture for mounting the motor and to put the arms together. File is free to use, so you can build your own.
  • 4 x M4 screws and nuts
  • Shaft (To-do: Find a metal shaft)
  • Watt-Meter and RPM/KV-Meter
  • Scale

Drilled all the needed holes in the wood. The carbon parts were already drilled from my local manufacture.

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Then assembled the parts with the needed screws. Well that’s it for now. I need to find a metal shaft (not like on the last picture) so the thrust stand is strong enough and not shaky. Connecting the motor, ESC, watt-meter and battery is easy, so need to show that.

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FPV, Acro, Flips… and crash

Yesterday I received two new battery packs, so it was time for flying again. Charged the batteries, packed all the stuff and on the go 🙂

I got over 10min with the first 1300mAh Zippy 40C battery flying FPV. The last two batteries were for Acro training, as I am not so good, yet 🙂 Making flips and so on, I crashed with the last battery pack. The crash was with full speed and the one rear arm got broken. Sure the hole for the cables is a weak point, but this is also the first arm broken for an year. But I will think about using 4mm carbon instead of the 3mm. Anyway, wanted to share this experience and two pictures too: before and after the crash.

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Short FPV flight and a broken FPV antenna

The weather was perfect today, so I decided to go for an FPV flight in the morning. Packed my FPV Quad, FatShark goggles, Transmitter and two battery packs and went to the field.

Sadly, after the first one minute flying I didn’t manage well the speed of descending and got a small crash. The propeller hit the FPV antenna of the ImmersionRC Transmitter and broke it. That was all with the FPV flying today. Then I flew just for fun making flips and so on 🙂

Quick info about the flight: 10:30min with one Zippy 1300mAh 25C battery (AUW including GoPro Hero3 is 485g). At home I charged again 1211mA. Here is the short video of the flight:


…and a picture of the broken 5.8Ghz FPV antenna 🙂

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