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2015/10/29 Controlling 5 and 12V swtiching with SmartFPV RCCCv2 Video Switching Board
π 2015-10-29 00:00 in Electronics, Rc
The RCCCv2 board is an awesome little board, but unfortunately its switched output are not very usable as general purpose power swtiching. One is strobes, so it goes on and off no matter one, and the other one could switch any load, except that the GND line is switched, not the 5V line. As a result, if I plug my cameras into 5V, thir ground goes to the OSD board, the OSD board is connect to the autopilot and the serial communication grounds the circuit via the autopilot, which means my cameras would turn on regardless of whether their GND connection to the RCCC board is floating, or switched.
It's really too bad that the RCCCv2 will not switch the 5V line instead of the GND line.

My other issue was that I wanted to switch both 5V for the cameras and 12V for the VTX, so the best plan was to switch 2 volt lines with a dual relay. Doing this with the RCCC board was again a bit tricky because it would only switch a ground line that would go floating otherwise, so I had to use a pullup to 5V.

If I had to do this again, while I was not able to find any small RC controlled dual throw relays (the only one I found was huge and 3 times the size and weight), the Pololu 2803 RC Switch with Medium Low-Side MOSFET works for small loads, but if you need relays (and in my case I do because I needed a high side switch, and the mosfet was low side), the next best option is a Pololu 2804 RC Switch with relay. Sadly, the relay on it is big, but I can unsolder it and put a smaller one. I recommend the Pololu switches just because they're very configurable (you can change the setpoint, as well as change the direction they'll turn on/off for).
That said, for more than twice the money, a smaller and less configurable one is the PicoSwitch Radio Controlled Relay.

But anyway, I did have this small dual throw relay already, so I made it work with the RCCCv2 board to switch 5 and 12V.

Relay board testing:

Flipping the lights with my RC contoller

Breadboard testing:


Now trying the whole things with my plane electronics, and checking current draw:

My little dual latching relay board is quite small, it replaces 2 bigger relays:


Initial design:


Better design where the relay is not energized when 5 and 12V power are switched on:




And here is the end result board, showing how it's wired with the RCCCv2 board:

2015/10/29 Googleween 2015
π 2015-10-29 00:00 in Google
A few pictures...








See more images for Googleween 2015
2015/10/18 Hiking Around San Jacinto State Park
π 2015-10-18 00:00 in Hiking
: -

I had been to the Palm Spring cable car in 2012, but didn't get to see much of anything when I was at the top, so I had made a note to come back with Jennifer and do the hike to the top, Mt Jacinto. So, we made a point to hit that as part of the last day of our 2015 Palm Springs Trip.

Sadly, with the weather, it was cloudy most days, and very cloudy on the LA Basin side, which is the view we were supposed to get at the top.

We showed up at 09:00 on a sunday morning and took the cable car up:




After a quick look at the displays, we went to get a permit to hike to Mt San Jacinto Peak







Sadly, the weather wasn't great, so there was no view when we were on the ridge:


made it to the peak, it wasn't hard
made it to the peak, it wasn't hard


we had lunch although it was cold with the wind
we had lunch although it was cold with the wind

those guys did the crazy cactus to clouds hike, from Palm Springs to the 10kft peak
those guys did the crazy cactus to clouds hike, from Palm Springs to the 10kft peak

sadly, that's the best view of the LA basin we got
sadly, that's the best view of the LA basin we got

the palm springs side was visible
the palm springs side was visible

KPSP
KPSP

We then got back to the tram to get back down and for me to do a quick RC flight before getting back to the airport to fly home:



The flight back was interesting due to weather, but we got home ok :)

2015/10/16 RC Flying over Palm Springs
π 2015-10-16 00:00 in Rc
While in Palm Springs for the aviation expo, since I flew myself there, I took my RC plane and did a few nice flights above Palm Springs. I was hoping to get enough thermals to fly without power, but sadly they were insufficient for my glider's weight: I was able to sustain altitude at times, but not to regain it (then again, Palm Springs is also on the leeward side of a tall mountain, so that probably creates some downdrafts).

Here is a portion of one of my flights:

:
-

And some screenshots from this beautiful scenery to fly over. I did a quick flight across the convention center to get the planes parked i the street, and then mostly stuck by the hills:


City shots:


wind turbines in the background
wind turbines in the background



sadly, the Marilyn Monroe statue had been removed and lots of new construction
sadly, the Marilyn Monroe statue had been removed and lots of new construction

Nice mountain shots:







Plenty of places were being terraformed for new houses:



houses being built
houses being built

another block ready to be built
another block ready to be built

I was hoping to get to that platform, but access to it was closed, it almost looks like a place to put an expensive home, and you can see parts of the Cactus to Clouds trail, sea level to Mt San Jacinto peak at 10,833ft.





Cactus to Clouds trail
Cactus to Clouds trail

more trails on the opposite side of town
more trails on the opposite side of town

On our last day, we took the tram up the mountain, and I picked a place on that access road with ground that was flat enough for a landing (I had looked for it via google earth beforehand), and did another flight from there. Sadly, the sun was getting low, and the wind was super strong, so I spent a fair amount of time fighting the wind. I suppose there is a reason why all those wind turbine are there :)




another block, ready to be built
another block, ready to be built


See more images for RC Flying over Palm Springs
2015/10/15 Aviation Expo in Palm Springs
π 2015-10-15 00:00 in Flying
: -

It had been 3 years since I flew to Palm Springs for AOPA Aviation Expo. Back then, the flight had turned ugly half way and I ended up IMC half way during the flight.
This time, I only had a crappy C172SP with no in flight weather, so it was a bit more challenging. Sure enough the weather was interesting too, and while we made it there VFR, I had to take a very non direct route to avoid weather, and the flight took 3.5H in the end, but we made it.

The non aviation parts of Palm Springs are here.

cute :)
cute :)


the plowing started ok, and then the guy started drinking
the plowing started ok, and then the guy started drinking

another interesting one
another interesting one




nice racetrack
nice racetrack


weather got a bit more interesting as I got closer to Palm Springs
weather got a bit more interesting as I got closer to Palm Springs




The aviation expo was a bit small and no frills (nothing to rival what AOPA used to do), but still nice to attend. I went to a bunch of talks on various aviation topics and got to see a few planes up for show:













The flight back on sunday late afternoon was interesting too as we had to escape before thunderstorms started getting in, and dodge weather visually while sun was setting. Thankfully I made it across the Sierras before it got 100% dark, and while I had to get below clouds to land at Palo Alto which turned IMC just after I landed.








See more images for Aviation Expo in Palm Springs
2015/10/15 Visiting Palm Springs Again
π 2015-10-15 00:00 in Trips
: -

I had been to Palm Springs in 2012 for AOPA Expo, but at the time Jennifer wasn't able to join, so it was nice to be able to take her along his time while I went to this year's Aviation Expo.




Sadly, downtown Palm Springs was being rebuilt, and they took away the Marylin Monroe statue they had. Here's a picture from 3 years prior:


On saturday afternoon, we went to Joshua Tree National Park. It was quite nice actually:





nice lichen
nice lichen






found this small little guy hoping around
found this small little guy hoping around






We finished the day and daylight at Cholla Cactus Garden:







On Sunday, we took the tram to San Jacinto State Park and I did my last RC Plane Flight over Palm Springs.

See more images for Visiting Palm Springs Again
2015/10/13 Another TTS Track Day at Thunderhill
π 2015-10-13 00:00 in Cars
Barely a week after my previous TH day where I went off-roading and damaged the underside of the car, as well as all 4 shocks by landing when the shocks were in track mode, with virtually no travel, Mclaren SF was able to get my car fixed in record time (modulo a $10k bill or so), and I was back for more.

Clearly, since I overdrove my tires last time, I tried to be more mindful of their temperatures, and I just didn't drive them as hard. As a result, I barely managed a best time (for the 4.3 mile track) of 3:14 instead of 3:13 my last time there. Also I was just tired and not doing that well that day, so I guess there was no reason to push it unnecessarily.

Early sunrise flight to Willows
Early sunrise flight to Willows


interesting way to water fields
interesting way to water fields

Cool cars as usual:

back for more, full of bugs :)
back for more, full of bugs :)


competition was fierce :)
competition was fierce :)






:
-

Although I was super tired, I did a 30mn RC flight around lunchtime to get some nice shots of thunderhill from low altitude. You should go to my RC flying Thunderhill 6 years later page, for more pictures and video.


On the flight back to PAO, I got extended very deep into Moffett. I could easily have landed there :)




2015/10/13 RC Flying over Thunderhill, 6 years later
π 2015-10-13 00:00 in Cars, Rc
It had been ages since I took some RC shots from Thunderhill in 2009. This was flown line of sight from the ground back then, so it was impossible to fly the whole track.
I now have better gear that I can fly several miles out, so it was easy to do a much better flight with front and rear video cameras in HD

my bigger power glider barely fits in my car :)
my bigger power glider barely fits in my car :)

it's a bit snug though :)
it's a bit snug though :)

2.6 meter wingspan
2.6 meter wingspan

Around lunchtime, I went for a 30mn flight around the track (easy to stay up with minimal power use due to the gliding capabilities). You can see videos (front and rear) and some screenshots below (synchronized version courtesy of viewsync)

-






someone had fun doing donuts :)
someone had fun doing donuts :)


Here is a virtual lap of thunderhill (although my RC plane took more than 3:14 to do the lap I did in my car :) ):


turn 2
turn 2

turn 3
turn 3


turn 5 and bypass
turn 5 and bypass



turn 6
turn 6

I was impressed in the length of the protective tire wall  before 8
I was impressed in the length of the protective tire wall before 8

8 looks benign from here
8 looks benign from here

turn 9E doesn't look uphill from here, but we were taking the fork to TH West
turn 9E doesn't look uphill from here, but we were taking the fork to TH West

Turn 9C  is an interesting roller coaster, but you can't see it from here
Turn 9C is an interesting roller coaster, but you can't see it from here

what's interesting is how I've never even seen the 2W connector when driving by off camber and trying to get back to the right of the track
what's interesting is how I've never even seen the 2W connector when driving by off camber and trying to get back to the right of the track

a rear view showing 2W
a rear view showing 2W

3W is an interesting turn where I'm braking hard and steering at the same time so that I can make 4W
3W is an interesting turn where I'm braking hard and steering at the same time so that I can make 4W

I also never noticed that tire wall to protect people driving on the highway from being hit by an out of control car
I also never noticed that tire wall to protect people driving on the highway from being hit by an out of control car

5W is usually not a big deal
5W is usually not a big deal

here it's easy to see the shortcut at 7W we were taking
here it's easy to see the shortcut at 7W we were taking

the normal 7W hairpin is tough, but we were taking the straight instead
the normal 7W hairpin is tough, but we were taking the straight instead

the new 7W shortcut is very inviting from this angle :) You also catch a bit of air at the 10W connector
the new 7W shortcut is very inviting from this angle :) You also catch a bit of air at the 10W connector

10W connector from another angle
10W connector from another angle

again, seen from the rear camera
again, seen from the rear camera

rear straight with 1W
rear straight with 1W

1W isn't too bad
1W isn't too bad

funny how I've never seen 2W because I was so focussed on not messing up 10C
funny how I've never seen 2W because I was so focussed on not messing up 10C


the conection back to the east track is very downhill and off camber, always scares me a bit :)
the conection back to the east track is very downhill and off camber, always scares me a bit :)

I didn't even know this access road to the west track was here
I didn't even know this access road to the west track was here


11 and 12
11 and 12

12
12


I like driving over this bit :)
I like driving over this bit :)


14
14

15
15


It was fun to get a few shots of the cars that were doing drag racing:



I never noticed those numbers to setup cars on the front straight
I never noticed those numbers to setup cars on the front straight




I had never seen the cell phone tower at the top of turn 1 until now:



Some shots of the paddocks, many solar panels:

that was just after takeoff
that was just after takeoff







I was piloting from the shade under the pro shop
I was piloting from the shade under the pro shop

skid pad
skid pad




just before landing, crow flaps deployed
just before landing, crow flaps deployed

2015/10/05 John's private TH track day: My first 1:56 on the original track (with bypass) on street tires, and out in 8
π 2015-10-05 00:00 in Cars
I had just come back from TH a couple of weeks prior and got invited to another day (thanks Arnaud).

I was looking forward to this since I was pretty sure I had gotten faster in my last day, but had no point of refrence on that new track, and wanted to see how I'd do on the original track.
In the morning we were running the bypass and I got down to a 1:56 on one lap (and several laps at 1:57). That's beating my best time ever by a whole 2 seconds on half worn (good) street tires, yeah! The best view is this viewsync video showing front and rear at the same time (i.e. follow the link), or you can have just front and rear non synchronized (in 4K goodness should that be needed :) ):

Sadly, it seems that I was indeed pushing the car and those tires a bit beyond what they could do. The tires got too hot according to my tire pressure sensor, and as those things always go, I got serious understeer in turn 8 and was not able to complete the turn.
I went straight out to avoid problems, but sadly once out I chose to turn right a bit instead of turning left which had me go over some nasty bumps. I may have done this out of memory of the bad ditches that used to be just next to the track (and where people used to flip), but aren't there anymore.
The underside of the car suffered from jumping and landing over those bumps, although nothing major, but the shocks got a bit unhappy from landing while being on their harshes (least travel) setting, and all 4 accumulators need to be replaced (basically they got fluid pressure from the landing that wasn't dampened by the shocks since they were in race mode). The repair bill won't be too major though and thankfully no damage to the bodywork or front of the car.

Of course, I wanted to know how I managed to do this, and thanks to the video and the GPS track, I was able to determine that:

turnin point is almost the same with almost the same speed, and initial turn angle is the same
turnin point is almost the same with almost the same speed, and initial turn angle is the same


  • my entry speed was virtually the same as the previous lap
  • my braking point was almost the same.
  • my steering angle was about the same (I did have a slight twitch right, maybe due to a bump)
  • the GPS track overlay shows that I'm driving in the dirt, but the overlay is just wrong. I checked the rear video just in case and it shows no dirt being kicked.
  • my brakes were working fine, I was doing just 66 before going out instead of 90 on the previous lap.
  • the car is capable of modulating brakes if I overbrake to prevent understeer and allow turning where the wheel is pointing. Clearly that didn't happen there.
  • the tire doesn't look horrible, but I guess it was probably low(er?) on grip
    the tire doesn't look horrible, but I guess it was probably low(er?) on grip

    I also reviewed the tire temperatures, and that's probably a good clue of something wrong
    I also reviewed the tire temperatures, and that's probably a good clue of something wrong

    The video does show that I start turning left and just flinch the wheel to the right a tiny bit as a response to a bump probably, and then continue my left turn. However, by then even though I am slowing down still, I'm just getting understeer. I checked afterwards and my front outside tire was pretty worn (not bare, but worn) and apparently was low on grip.
    Nico told me that 233F is way too hot for a tire, especially a street tire, so that could explain how I ended up in an understeer situation that was non recoverable.

    The best view is this viewsync video showing front and rear at the same time (i.e. follow the link), or you can have just front and rear non synchronized (in 4K goodness should that be needed :) ):

    There is some damage to the underside of the car, but it may not be worse than what you'd get from hitting rocks and/or bottoming out on a bumpy road (which incidently happened to me just 10 days prior). I'll know for sure when I get the car back from service.

    Anyway, this is a bit vexing of course, but looking at it another way it's my first real out at thunderhill in 12 years or so, so it's not too bad looking at it that way.

    During lunch I swapped the front rear tire after removing the weeds and pebbles that were inside my car :) and when the track re-opened I got to do a few laps on the track with the cyclone, the real 3 mile track. Just before getting an error about shock failure, I got a 1:59 which definitely has sentimental value to me since I had never ever broken 2:00 on the original 3 mile track.
    So all in all, despite the off, it wasn't a bad day.

    I guess it could have been a lot worse
    I guess it could have been a lot worse

    After a few laps in the afternoon, I had to come out because a shock accumulator that popped and caused this fluid leak
    After a few laps in the afternoon, I had to come out because a shock accumulator that popped and caused this fluid leak

    A few pictures from others:

    Arnaud and his new car
    Arnaud and his new car


    plenty of colorful porches
    plenty of colorful porches






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