I completely forgot I had a blog

I had to put flying on the back burner for a bit. It was winter and all that inflation crap has made it a good bit more painful to replace parts. I do hope to get some stick time soon. I’ve temporarily relocated and there is spot upon spot here.

The new place is considerably flatter than my old one and I’ve been very bored and restless so I got a skateboard. It’s been pretty nice learning to do. I haven’t had a hobby in a while where you don’t really need anything. SLS competitions make great background content for the terminally distracted, also.

I’ve joined Mastodon. I figure with Twitter suddenly falling to pieces, now is the time. Also, nobody’s on it and I think I like it that way. Being on the internet used to be pretty solitary. I’m pretty sure that was the initial draw for a lot of us.

I kind of fixed it

I mean, I completely fixed it, but the thing is cursed. I’ve completely fixed it around eleven thousand times because I can fly about 80% of one pack before breaking it again.

This last time, I think I’ve finally nailed down that it…the curse, at this point, is that it is so damn fun. It flies better than I can handle, pretty much.

When it was going together, I didn’t put any thought at all into weight, but at some point I picked up some new batteries which were just too heavy. This got me to put stuff on the scale and I was shocked to discover that with my normal batteries I was approaching 700 grams.

bpex drone weighing 614 grams
The bpex at 614 AUW

I revisited that aspect of my build and ended up knocking it down to 615 or so. It was surprisingly easy. Basically, I just re-selected the screws, went to low weight straps and a velcro lipo pad, and I ditched the TPU HD mount for a wedge. Oh, and I finally stopped screwing around with the AKK FX3 Ultimate DVR and am now running AKK X2 Ultimate, which is smaller, doesn’t have an entire DVR that I never use on it, and doesn’t take screws, so I was able to replace all of that mounting hardware with tape or zip ties.

I’m also running a proper antenna mount for the time being…I ordered them as 3d prints and I selected a dumb material, so they break pretty easily. I think I am going to have a post on that soon because I’ve ordered a few things from this company now and I like them.

Here the thing is at the tree spot.

This is getting frustrating

I did something to my VTX and it has turned the BPEX into a motor destroying machine. I am really not sure what I have done but it feels as though the VTX won’t go above 200 mW, despite reporting otherwise. You can’t really tell this until its too late. It works fine up to a sudden point, where it then works a lot less fine when you turn around, presenting obvious challenges. Basically once you get beyond a distance that you could reasonably define as your yard, that’s the distance. For better or worse, this has been manifesting itself on my Y axis.

I don’t usually worry much about EMI because I don’t currently have any real issues with my video, in general. I’m not doing long range, and I don’t have any spots that are super challenging for RF so if I crank up a freestyle-oriented VTX, even on an OEM Fat Shark diversity module, it’s pretty fine. JZBL’s video is pretty phenomenal in my book and the BPEX has the same VTX installed in the same way. In trying to solve this, I’ve ended up with what should be a super clean build. I’ve even moved my cap up to the nose, which I’ll probably be doing from here on out. All my leads are twisted. Everything is that right distance between too short and too long. It just doesn’t work, though.

At this point, I think it is physically damaged. It came out of another quad and I was pretty damn sure that it was fine, but something isn’t right and now that I’ve lost my third motor in a row to this stupid issue, hopefully replacing it will finally solve it. Perhaps it has a fleck of solder stuck in it somewhere.

That said, holy crap what an annoyance this has been. When the BPEX first went together, it was like…magical. All of the electronics Just Worked straight away, no issues. It went through some arms on the first frame I chose, survived all of that. Got frame swapped, was fine, but had an issue where the stack was too tall. I took it apart to address this and since then it has never been the same and in fact has been such a horrible little turd that it’s almost an entirely new, pretty damn nice 5″ now, and in no way a beater. And it still doesn’t work!

New motors should be here soon. The mf of all of this is that I have another VTX sitting right here already. I really hope this is the last time I have to do this for a while. I was really excited about this current build…I finally made the move to 6S and was trying out 2207s for the first time. The thing flew fucking amazing for 3 minutes until I dropped it 50 ft into asphalt. I’m really ready to give BetaFlight 4.3 a proper go.

Hot damn

I blew up an ESC the last time I took the BPEX out and decided that it was time to go ahead and give it a proper stack. BPEX was built out of parts I’ve taken off other builds and which weren’t likely to see use again if I didn’t create a beater build. Thus, the BPEX was born. It was conceived of as a quad that I wouldn’t mind flying directly into a volcano.

It was fun as hell in that capacity! I gave it sort of an I-think-this-ought-to-work style tune while it was still on the bench. I essentially just gave it Rosser’s base tune for clean builds and pushed my sliders around until the PIDs were pretty close to how I’d probably have set them manually, which wasn’t really very far off from the defaults, and had a really good result with that. Can we say “BI-DI-REC-TION-AL D-SHOT”? Because that was that star of that show.

I’d simultaneously been working pretty hard at matching up Velocidrone and JZBL’s feel, which meant that I had some rates I was pretty happy with to throw on there, and all in all, from the first time it was armed it has been ready to go. It’s been such a fun quad.

I assumed that I would end up replacing the FC in the BPEX well before I did in JZBL and that turned out to be true. The plan has been, since it’s ok if the BPEX goes in the volcano, while it exists it’ll be my test platform, and then what works from it can move over to JZBL, which is my tested platform. In turn, this meant that I’d be testing BetaFlight 4.3 there before flashing it to JZBL.

When the ESC blew up and I was shopping for a new one, I figured it’d be good to go ahead and get a whole stack because the Apex frame is pretty slammed and the 30×30-20×20 adapter I was using for the FC, which had come out of a micro Apex, just barely fit. Lo and behold, Diatone’s out here with a dual gyro H7 FC with a 24-128K ByRPM BL32 ESC for like seven dollars. Ok. Test platform? Let’s mf test.

I’m having some issues with the VTX and the weather, so I’ve only been able to put about 3 packs through it so far but holy crap. I really mean it when I say BetaFlight 4.3 is a whole new thing. That quad went from “better than it should be” to “jfc dude” in a snap. I gave it essentially the exact same tune – Rosser’s recommended defaults, sprinkled with Bardwell and slightly tweaked to my preference.

I can’t wait to have some video to share from it but for now, I’ll have to leave you with this slowed roll from Jez:

The time has changed

The time has finally changed. I have really missed the outdoors and it will be so nice to have more time to spend in it. I was reading about the history of DST today and it was essentially implemented to more efficiently fight WWI. I guess it had been talked about and dabbled with before that but Germany really took the plunge. I wonder if there’s a world where we could all agree to just adjust to a :30 mins offset, which is kept in perpetuity.

We are going out of town this weekend, so I am trying to get my drones in shape for an outing. We’re only going to be gone overnight so I really don’t have to get super-prepared. I’d just like to get a couple of packs worth of footage, if possible. I’m not sure if it will be, but we will see. It is my wife’s birthday, so it definitely has a lower priority than normal.

I am quite excited for the trip. We have not been anywhere in what feels like an absolute eternity and additionally I am very happy to be able to take her here. I have a good feeling about it.

I cut together a fairly amusing video from the footage kiddo and I shot together last weekend. I had so much fun filming it. It was too short of a moment.

Sort of a wash

Today was sort of a wash. I spent almost all of it configuring a server which was already pretty much configured. Despite spending a full human day on it I’m not sure I could tell you what’s different now. It was all just optimization, mainly.

I also spent a lot of time trying to figure out how the hell I was going to map my network and eventually redo it. It’s gotten a lot more complex and is getting out of hand. Plus, I got a label maker, so I guess I feel empowered. I did make some good progress there, I think. Similar to the fileserver, it’s something I’ve wanted to tackle for a long time. I don’t know why I’m doing it now, but I will be glad when I have done it.


I keep telling myself that I’m going to do this, but then not. Tonight, I finally did.

This weekend I set up a fileserver with my current fleet of externals and pretty much every single SATA drive I had laying around. Most have some just random data that needs cleaned off and organized. I ended up with about 17 TB of storage on the server. A good bit will be disconnected once I’ve done some proper archiving. It feels pretty nice to finally be getting that in order.

Both JZBL and BPEX are down for the count as of today. JZBL has a broken top plate and BPEX has unspecified electrical problems. The good news is that I have two new frames and should be able to just rebuild them both and be back up and running.