I took the quad for a spin yesterday and figured out 4 things:

  1. It flew, quite good. Very stable, video quality was good and the signal was very strong even 4-500 meters away
  2. I crashed a few times. See video here:
  3. Flight time was around 20-25 min with a 3000mAh Multistar LiHV battery. Average amps for hover was around 6-7 which is great. AUW around 630g
  4. Eventually it flew away in a near-by forest and I couldn’t find it. The reason was a sudden loss of signal which triggered the fail safe routine. The quad started climbing to 50m, went home and then dropped to 5m. Problem was that ‘home’ was a few hundred meters into the near-by forest due GPS interference from the camera….

So it’s gone, have to build another one.

The lesson here is that I have some software issues to iron out and that I really need another signal path for the control. I plan to use a rfm22b for this.

The material loss is not that huge – a raspberry pi, 4 rctimer 1806 motors, a brand new battery and a Navio board. A total of 250 euros plus about 2 weeks of work to print all the pieces, etc.


So the next one will need to fix these issues:

  1. Rock solid RC link for control
  2. Solid software without glitches. My GS crashed once in mid-flight (see video) due to the h264 decoder
  3. More portable GS. A laptop with 2 wifi cards, a ps4 controller and many wires is not a fun way to go to the field and fly
  4. The raspicam interferes with the GPSsomething fierce. Even after copper shielding the H Acc went from 2m to 50m after starting the camera…



9 thoughts on “Crash

    1. Wow that was spectacular. Fortunately you managed to put it out quickly. Now I’m definitely getting a fire extinguisher in my lab 🙂
      What was the cause btw? Faulty ESC? Shortcircuit?

      1. I _think_ (but it was all a bit of a blur) that I grabbed it in flight blocking a props meaning all the power into the ESC was dissipated by the ESC (i.e DC current through one phase rather than AC current) – not sure though – it’s pretty clear I wasn’t holding it when it ‘lit’ up. Whatever, I’m buying bigger ESCs for next time – these were 10A for 6″ plastic props and I was running 8″ CF props, so already working them hard, though never more than warm when I’d run them before!

  1. Hi! I don’t remember what your using for remote control, but if you want the rock solid signal I suggest you look at the sub-GHz frequencies, you’ll get a much better range than 2.4GHz and +.
    I’m sorry for your loss though… 🙂

      1. Hi, Cyprien! Yep, rfm22b is has a very sensitive receiver and at 433Mhz should penetrate through foliage and buildings. I already use the module in a network of sensors and they work great with both arduino and a Pi.
        The issue I don’t know how to solve is the GPS interference though….. maybe if the foundation will release a new camera that is quieter.

        1. They will be forced to release a new camera sometime, as the camera chip is not being manufactured any more; they bought the whole of the remaining stock to buy some time, but I bet they’ll be designing the next version already – just when is the question. Fingers crossed the new one won’t be as noisy!

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