Freestyle Season – Ep 3, DVR

So all of my gopro rigs are busted for one reason or another…so here’s some DVR footage! The weightlessness without a GoPro is awesome, I wish I could freestyle and get HD footage without the mass.

I haven’t been freestyling as planned…turns out I simply can’t freestyle more than a few packs and really be into it. Racing is more compelling to me and gets me engaged with my friends. Freestyle was nice today after a long week and was a great way to de-stress, but I don’t always crave it.

I have been putting a lot of hours into the DRL Simulator. Damn you NytFury for ruining the leaderboard. Not cool man! I think the simulator is really helping me with stick control and picking better racing lines. I can feel more confidence and control whenever I get real flights in =)

Anyway, please enjoy this flight. It’s a ShenDrones prototype frame with the new Lumenier Axii antenna. Solid performance, even 100m away through some trees.

http://www.getfpv.com/lumenier-axii-5-8ghz-antenna-rhcp.html

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Freestyle Season Episode 2 – A Quickie

Work’s been pretty demanding over the past couple of months and it’s taken a toll on my mood lately…wah wah wah. My outlet after work used to be flying at the park until sunset. Unfortunately Mr. Sun has been lazy recently and isn’t working long hours anymore. COME ON MAN!

Lacking Helios’s cooperation, I finally tore myself away from the office at lunch today and flew a few packs at lunch. I’m being a good little drone pilot and am focusing on freestyle. Some buddies at Baylands setup an awesome track, but I only had time for a few freestyle runs and had to get back to the office.

The Kiss FC is super smooth and snappy, but maybe it’s the HQ 5040×3 props? I can’t even remember the last time I used these props on a Betaflight rig. I may try them out on a BF rig to see if I get similar results. I’m still messing with rates and find I don’t really like the “super expo” settings on any FC. I had it at 0.1 in this video with expo at 0.7. I cranked it up to 0.2 and didn’t really like how unpredictable the rates were above mid stick. I think I’ll lower back to 0.1 and try higher expo or lower deg/sec to get softer feel aroun center stick.

Watching this video, I think fast freestyle far away from the trees is kinda boring to watch. Next time I’ll try to slow things down, be more technical, and keep it tight to the trees. Sounds like I’ll probably break some props! And probably more rate tuning =)

Drone Racer vs. Freestyle Artist? Be both.

It is not enough to be a “pure racer” to win. Race directors are adding more complicated freestyle maneuvers to tracks and I need to develop my freestyle abilities in parallel to racing to succeed. As a new sport, it’s premature to say “this is racing” or “that isn’t racing.” Drone racing is still evolving in the early stages of infancy as a professional sport. I believe freestyle elements will become typical and a standard in drone racing.

As I realize this, I am dedicating more time to freestyle. I’ve even built an all Kiss mini-quad specifically for freestyle. I have to say, the kiss FC is the pickiest controller I’ve ever setup, but it performs well. The FC is sensitive to vibrations and I had to use HQ 5040×3 props to remove “gyro” jitters. No other prop worked and would shake the frame violently at min throttle and before takeoff. Even RaceKraft props in the same 5040×3 geometry shook violently. I will admit the unibody 3mm frame from the Mako isn’t the best structure to protect the FC from vibration. A 4mm frame or a non-unibody construction would be better. However, NONE of my other FCs have issues on this frame with any motor/prop combination. Something to consider if you are interested in a Kiss build, or are currently struggling with gyro jitters on yours. HQ prop explosions, here I come!

This is Episode 1 of my freestyle journey. I’m going to dedicate time to freestyle just like I have for racing practice. Where will I find time for both? I don’t know. I may have to pause racing practice so I can work on freestyle and then return to racing drills in the future.

What’s this 4k/4k Mode And MultiShot?

If you haven’t tried 4k/4k with multishot yet, or something even faster, DUDE you are missing out big time. Go upgrade your favorite rig right now! I’ll get into details, but generally speaking the improvement in responsiveness is similar to the improvement pilots feel when upgrading from PPM to SBus. Yes, it’s that good! After upgrading, I immediately felt my comfort zone had expanded and that I was willing to go faster and execute exit/save maneuvers much later. Other friends who have recently tried these upgrades have expressed similar opinions. So please, don’t be afraid to upgrade with these new software settings, you will fly better with less latency.

What are these strange new things?

Multishot – a new ESC protocol that is an order of magnitude faster than the original OneShot.

You can download Multishot here, thank you RS2k! https://github.com/rs2k/raceflight/wiki. Once you have dowloaded the .hex files, flash your ESCs through BL Heli Suite and select “custom” or “other” for the firmware file. I’ve flashed this firmware on LittleBee20s, LittlBee30s, and UBad30s.

4k / 4k Mode – The first number describes your flight controller’s looptime. The second number describes refresh rate of the signal that is being sent from the flight controller to your motor speed controllers. It is possible to run both of these values faster than 4k/4k mode, if you’re running a Dodo or similar F3 processor 4k is the limit. If you’re running an F3 flight controller that uses the SPI bus like the Lumenier Lux, then you can run up to 8k. The motor refresh rate is limited by the processor that is on the ESCs. As I write this, the F390 what everyone is moving toward to get the best performance. DYS XM20, XM30, LittleBee30, and UBad30 ESCs all use this chip. The F390 are fast and can support 4k or faster.

LB20s and other ESCs unfortunately use the slower, previous generation F330 processor. I have it’s recommended to run 4k/2k mode on the older F330 ESCs. However, I’m mean to my electronics and tested 4k/4k mode today with a Dodo and LittleBee20s. I flew five or six packs and had no issues. My opinion is, go for it!

To setup 4k/4k mode you simply need to make the following changes:
1. Upgrade to Betaflight 2.6 or later. Get it here (thank you Boris!): https://github.com/borisbstyle/betaflight/releases/
2. Change looptime to 250 in the Cleanflight settings menu
3. Enter CLI, “set use_multishot=on” or “set use_multishot=yes”
4. In CLI type, “set pid_process_denom = 1”

PID Process Denom is a variable that sets your motor refresh rate. The equation that is used is, motor rate = looptime_rate / pid_process_denom. Since you set your looptime to 250 micro seconds (4000 hz), motor rate is also 4k when PID process denom=1.

I hope this article helps you try out the latest stuff!! Here’s my video from a fun session today where I tried out some other new moves with my Speed Addict 210. Please enjoy =)