RC AIRCRAFT BUILDS Electric Powered Firstar EX “Raptor” refit

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    • #8254

      It’s another rainy week so no flying and a perfect opportunity to upgrade one of my FPV planes.

      The “Raptor” was first built in 2015 and for a long time was my main FPV platform. It started out with a small pan/tilt camera (no onboard record) feeding a 400mw VTX via a FY-41AP Lite autopilot. Onboard record was via the wing mounted Mobius camera.


      For its day the image quality was pretty good and the FPV signal back to the Ground Station was quite acceptable as well.

      A bit later a GoPro Hero2 camera (in a huge Pan/Tilt mount was fitted. Recorded image & FPV feed was great but the “Raptor” needed to be treated with Kid Gloves due to all the weight on the nose.


      circa 2016: Alan (AJ), Ross & Moose enjoying the sun @ Calverts Lagoon where we flew for a few years. (Note the BIG camera setup on the nose of the “Raptor” & the FPV Ground Station). All very complicated in those days.


      Eventually, as Action Cameras improved in performance & got smaller & lighter I fitted a RunCam 2 with a 3D printed Pan/Tilt mount.  This flew many hours of FPV and shot some incredible video with the camera able to pan from wing tip to wing tip & from straight ahead to straight down.

      This time round, after a few pro tips from Uncle G & a lot of fiddling with the new BumbleBee setup I am finally getting my head around the new iNav (FC F411-WSE Fixed Wing) flight controllers and that is what will be installed in the “Raptor”.

      The original setup required two receivers to give me enough channels for the Flight Controller, Flaps, Pan/Tilt as well as the normal flying channels, a lot of wiring & a lot of weight.

      This time it will be one receiver connected via a single SBUS cable to the FC and a SmartPort connection for the telemetry etc.

      The Old FY-41AP Lite – FC


      The New iNav – FC

    • #8281

      Very interesting Mike……looking forward to seeing it all action!

      • #8282

        Thanks Ian, it’s a nice project for a rainy day.

        I’ve got most of the programming done and had the video feed & OSD up and running on the bench so now its all slowly being fitted into the “Raptor”

        The F411-WSE flight controller is installed along with all its wiring & GPS unit. Just 3D printing an antenna mount for the receiver and once that is done I can finish all the internal wiring in the plane & start fine tuning the FC settings.

        I do like the fact that the OSD (sent back to the Ground Station or Flight Goggles) is fully programmable in that you can choose how much or how little info is displayed AND where on the screen it is displayed, all very nice & convenient.

        Also I believe multiple OSD screens can be set up with different info and these can be selected in flight via the radio.

        I’ll have more of a fiddle with that once all the gear is running in the plane. So far all is working out well and I now have all 16 radio channels available via the SBUS link so won’t need to use two receivers any more to allow for the Flaps & FC control channels. The FC also has a switchable output to allow for two cameras to be connected & switchable in flight. Probably won’t worry about that at this stage but would be a bonus on long flights if one camera should fail.

        As I was warned by Uncle G, there is way more programming & stuffing around with the iNav controllers compared to the ones we used to use, they were almost just Plug’n’Play especially when compared to this new stuff but hopefully the advantages will outweigh the disadvantages.

        We never had a fail of any of the FY-41AP’s except one (that someone whom shall remain a nameless frog) that got rewired incorrectly and had a hole blown in it. I guess only time will tell.


        Oh well, back to work.

    • #8290

      Just been sitting here and reminiscing, checking out some of the old Raptor FPV footage from way back in 2015 down at Calverts Lagoon


      and 2017 & Tony’s farm



    • #8313

      All the iNav gear is installed & set up in the Raptor. I’ve programmed the Flight Modes to the 6 buttons on the front of the Jumper T16 and all seems to be working OK. Also used the switchable OSD function on one of the radio’s 3 position switches. Think I’ve now used up around 12 of the 16 radio channels available on the SBus connection.

      There are a couple of dozen items that can be displayed on the OSD but it will take a few flights to see what is actually needed.

      Here is a test video, it’s a bit dark as it was filmed inside and it’s rather wet and miserable again today so not a lot of light.

      The OSD, in conjunction with the Mobius Mini works fine when the signal is received on the HawkEye FPV headset but the bottom of the pic gets cut off when recording on the Ground Station.

      The RunCam 2 camera is even worse, doesn’t like the OSD overlay much at all.

      If I use the SurveilZone FPV camera this does not happen but then I lose the onboard record facility

      I may end up running 2 onboard cameras (as I have on the ASW28), one for FPV and the other just for in air record.

      For the time being the Mini Mobius will do just fine.

      Just designing & printing a new low profile Pan/Tilt gimbal to hopefully fit much lower onto the plane nose but still be able to tilt over the side and look straight down as well as forward etc.

      Something else to keep me occupied till all this crap weather blows over!!

    • #8314

      Changing the cam from PAL to NTSC may fix the OSD issue. Monday or Tuesday look ok for a fly. Any preference?

      • #8315

        Tried that, NTSC, PAL & Auto.

        Anyway its not a problem, the GroundStation DVR screens were always a bit flakey with 16:9 feeds, I think they were designed in the 4:3 days.

        The new recorders that BA & I got for the headsets handle 4:3 & 16:9 without any problems.

        I’m clear Monday & Tuesday at this stage if weather is OK but I’m NOT available on Wednesday.

    • #8320

      I’ve spent the last day or so completely redesigning the 3D printed Pan/Tilt gimbal to significantly reduce its size. The original was over 75mm high from the fuselage of the plane to the top of the camera, my new design is closer to 45mm so a significant reduction.

      Still uses 2 x 9gm Turnigy servos (TGY-50090M for tilt and a TGY-RS180MG for Pan) and still gives a bit over 180 deg pan cover and 90 deg tilt so the camera can still look straight ahead or straight down over the side of the fuselage.

      This was the original design, works fine but wobbles at speed and strips servos on heavy landings


      This is the new design which should be a lot more stable




    • #8322

      Seeing as we are now not flying today it will give me time to double check all the alterations to the Raptor before her refit maiden flight.

    • #8323

      New Slimline Gimbal installed & tested, hopefully all ready to fly.


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