RC Blimps February 16, 2007
The radio range of your indoor RC blimp can be effected for a number of reasons. If you are suffering from poor or even no radio range we have some common solutions:
Your Batteries Are Low
The rc blimp requires one 3V lithium blimp battery and the transmitter requires one 9V battery. If the battery voltage in your transmitter or rc blimp is low it will have short range. Ensure that the batteries are new or fully charged. We carry replacement rc blimp batteries on our Web site or you can also purchase them at most convenience & camera stores.
Check the Gondola Antenna
Ensure that the antenna wire on the rc blimp’s gondola / fan unit is fully unwrapped, untied and fully extended. When your rc blimp is new out of the box this antenna wire is neatly wrapped for packing purposes only. When flying your rc blimp be sure to unwrap the antenna wire or you will suffer poor range and low reception.
Ensure that the antenna wire on the gondola / fan unit is not exposed through the insulation, or cut at the end. If the antenna is damaged or has bare wire it will have to be replaced. For a replacement please call us 1-800-979-9794 / 306-955-9907 or email email@example.com
Check the Transmitter Antenna
The hand held transmitter antenna is telescopic. Fully extend the transmitter antenna when flying your RC blimp. The transmitter antenna can be removed from the transmitter by unscrewing it. Make sure that when flying your rc blimp the transmitter antenna is tightly screwed into the transmitter.
RC Blimps February 15, 2007
If your indoor RC blimp has little buoyancy or will not float it is typically due to Helium gas issues. Here are two possible solutions to get your rc blimp flying around your living room in no time.
Check the Helium Gas You Purchased
Many shops sell weak or diluted helium gas. Weak/diluted Helium is commonly mixed with Nitrogen and will provide less lift, and in some cases, prevent the rc blimp from flying/floating. It is common that Nitrogen is mixed with Helium when filled into canisters. The less Helium, the less lift your rc blimp will have. To get the most pure Helium to fill your rc blimp we recommend contacting a welding supply store as they will typically have the best quality Helium.
What Altitude Do You Live At
If you are flying the blimp at a location where the altitude above sea level is greater than 4,000 feet (1,219 m), you may require a high lift blimp envelope. The higher above sea level you are the less lift the Helium will provide. Above 4,000 feet we recommend using the larger high lift blimp envelope that hold about 2 cubic feet more than the standard size blimp.
Micro Mosquito & FireFly February 10, 2007
If the Micro Mosquito or Firefly will not fly there may be a problem with the rotor blades. Use the simple steps below to troubleshoot possible causes. We hope you can find the solution. If your rotor blades are broken we sell replacement Micro Mosquito & Firefly rotor blades. Order online or by phone: 1-800-979-9794 / 306-955-9907.
- Ensure that when the rotor blades spin they are rotating in opposite directions. If they both rotate in the same direction, it won’t fly. If this is the case, make sure that the upper large gear only meshes with the upper small motor gear, and that the lower large gear only meshes lower small motor gear.
- Check that the lower rotor is the one with the two notches in the bottom of its stem, and that those two notches interlock fully with the notches on the top of the large gear.
- Ensure that the blades are on the right way, and that the trailing edge of the blades curve down. If the trailing edge of the blades curve up remove the rotor, flip it over, and re-install.
- Check for excessive free play in the main shaft by gently tugging up and down on the top of the shaft while holding the body of the mosquito. If it moves up and down more than 1/32″ (0.8mm) then press the large lower gear down on the shaft while pushing up on the cap on the bottom of the shaft until this free play is reduced, but do not eliminate it entirely. If there is no free play at all, or the shaft does not spin freely, increase the free play by pulling up on the large lower gear.
- Check for free play in the spacer between the two blades by gently sliding it up and down while holding the shaft. If there is more than 1/32″ (0.8mm) of free play, press the transparent retainer at the top of the shaft down until this free play is reduced, but do not eliminate it entirely. If there is no free play at all, or the spacer can not be rotated with out resistance while the shaft is held stationary, increase the free play by pulling up on the transparent retainer at the top of the shaft.
- The trailing edge of the blades normally curve down. If they have flattened out over time, they may need to be gently re-curved by hand, in order for them to provide enough lift.
- Over time, friction may cause the build up of powdered plastic where the main shaft goes through the large upper gear, the lower rotor, and the spacer. Removing these parts and cleaning them by passing a small pipe cleaner or a very small rolled up strip of paper towel can improve flight performance.
- If the helicopter will fly but is not stable, ensure that the four metal pins that make up the pivot points of the universal joint at the center hub of each of the two rotors are all present. If any of the pins are missing, replace the rotor.
Using an electric RC helicopter called a Draganflyer (manufactured by Draganfly Innovations Inc) MIT is developing a system to allow multiple flying craft to work together under computer control, performing surveillance and monitoring tasks. MIT calls this their UAV (Unmanned Aerial Vehicle) Swarm Health Management Project.
Saskatoon, Saskatchewan February 09, 2007 — MIT (Massachusetts Institute of Technology) is using the Draganflyer RC helicopter in their UAV (Unmanned Aerial Vehicle) Swarm Health Management Project, which is focused on surveillance and monitoring of ground based objects or vehicles. The goal is continuous monitoring using multiple autonomous vehicles in swarms, with distributed intelligent computer control and minimal human supervision. The multi-vehicle testbed developed by MIT uses several Draganflyer four rotor electric RC helicopters and a computer tracking and positioning system to monitor and control multiple unmanned aerial vehicles. The components of the system communicate with each other through Ethernet connections.
Even though the vehicles used are unmanned, each one would normally require its own ground based pilot, operating it by remote control. What MIT’s system does is place multiple UAVs under computer control. This removes the need for constant human attention and piloting. Not just one, but multiple UAVs, can be directed with MIT’s system via a remote connection. A swarm of unmanned aerial vehicles could be used to monitor a convoy or keep watch over a border. This could be especially useful to the military. The use of multiple UAVs would allow constant aerial surveillance, with new vehicles launched to take the place of ones in need of recharging or those that have been damaged.
The aerial vehicles used are quad-rotor miniature electric radio control helicopters called Draganflyers, measuring about two feet across, manufactured by Draganfly Innovations Inc. These electric RC helicopters are unlike standard model helicopters, because they use 4 rotor blades (one on each corner) to generate directional thrust which is used to maneuver. The use of four rotor blades makes the Draganflyer RC helicopter simpler and more reliable than a standard helicopter, eliminating the need for all of the mechanical linkages required for maneuvering using a conventional single main rotor. The Draganflyers used in MIT’s project are the same radio controlled helicopters used by many hobbyists, and are available from Draganfly Innovations on-line store. The specific models used by MIT are the Draganflyer V Ti RC Helicopter, and Draganflyer V Ti Pro Video RC Helicopter. “We are extremely pleased that MIT has chosen our Draganflyer RC helicopters for use with this ground breaking project” says Zenon Dragan, president of Draganfly Innovations Inc.
MIT’s system makes it possible to have a number of aerial vehicles flying completely under computer control, able to do tasks like surveillance or tracking, all while keeping each individual vehicle from colliding with any of the others. Watch this video: MIT UAV Search and Track Video. The vehicles can all be coordinated on the same task, or be used in groups or individually. The computer control allows for a swarm of UAVs to be flown at once. This removes the necessity for teaching pilots how to manually fly each aircraft, allowing the entire swarm to be directed remotely by a single person. The swarm of Draganflyer RC helicopters are able to launch, land, and recharge, all under computer control. MIT has even demonstrated the ability to land a Draganflyer on a moving object while completely under computer control.
MIT’s UAV SWARM Health Management Project is being developed by Professor Jonathan How, with graduate students Mario Valenti, Brett Bethke, Daniel Dale, Xiaojie Hu, and administrative assistant Kathryn Fischer. They are working with Boeing’s Phantom Works research unit. There is a large amount of interest in this project, and in UAVs in general. The worldwide UAV market is currently worth billions of dollars, and is expected to expand by a factor of three in the next decade.
- MIT’s UAV Swarm Health Management Project Web site
- Watch MIT’s Swarm Project Videos
- MIT Uses Draganflyer Electric RC Helicopters In Intelligent UAV Swarm
About Draganfly Innovations:
Draganfly Innovations has been manufacturing radio controlled helicopters, airplanes, and airships for eight years. From toys to industrial radio control products for police and military, prices range from $29 to $20,000. Draganfly’s innovative products have been featured on CNN Headline News, MSNBC, Discovery Channel, and in magazines and newspapers such as Popular Science, Popular Mechanics, GQ, Stuff, Maxim, The New York Times, and The London Times. Draganflyer helicopters, including the newest Draganflyer SAVS Stabilized Aerial Video RC Helicopter professional aerial video model, are exclusively available from Draganfly Innovations Inc.
Devin Ternan, Engineer
Draganfly Innovations Inc.
2108 St. George Ave. Saskatoon, SK. CANADA S7M 0K7
Micro Mosquito & FireFly February 3, 2007
After many hours of flying your Micro Mosquito / Firefly main drive motors may begin to fade and wear out. Don’t worry, we have new replacement parts. All you’ll need is a soldering iron, solder, some tape, a Phillips screwdriver and a flathead screwdriver. Follow the simple steps below and you’ll be flying around the house in no time.
- Remove the “C” clip that holds on the rotor shaft. It is located on the underside of the unit near the middle. It will pull out towards the back. The rotor shaft, gears, and rotors should then be able to pull upwards out of the main body. Please be careful not to break any of the gear teeth when taking them out of the motor pinions.
- The motor pinions should slide off just by pulling on them. If more force is needed, use a small flathead driver to pry the pinions off. Place them in a bowl or jar for safekeeping. Many of the parts on this unit are very small, and are easily misplaced. Make a note of which pinion goes on which side.
- Remove all of the small screws from the bottom of the body. There will be 3 on either side and one in the middle for a total of 7. There will be two more on either motor you will have to remove.
- Remove the caps on the bottom of the motors. They are just held on by friction and a bit of glue. They will just pull off.
- Open up the body between the front LEDs. A small flathead screw driver will suffice. There will be a single screw holding in the circuit board down. Remove it.
- Release the motors by pushing them up through the bottom, and out through the middle of the body. You should have access to the wiring then. If there are some problems getting the motors out of their mounts (pull halfway out, then stop) you may have a later version of the Micro Mosquito / FireFly that has an extra ground point on the motors. This can be snipped off and resoldered on later.
- The next step will be to remove the motors. Snip one wire at a time, trying to keep the length of the wires leads close to what the new motors have. There isn’t a ton of space underneath and more wiring can cause putting the body together tricky.
- Basic soldering of the wires together will follow. Strip the ends of the wire and pre-tin the exposed areas. Use heat shrink or tape to seal the connections.
- Place the new motors back into the body, making sure if you have the ground points on the motor, to resolder them. Attach everything back together, making sure that none of the wires are being pinched by the two body halves.
- Place back in all of the screws and you’ll be back up in the air!