Akom's Tech Ruminations

Various tech outbursts - code and solutions to practical problems
Hardware Hacks Toys

Not all that is hackable should be...

Posted by Akom • Tuesday, December 2. 2008 • Category: Hardware Hacks, Toys

Last week I hacked up my RC transmitter and added a Dual Rate switch

Dual Rate switch

See here: (How I hacked it up).

I thought I was so cool for adding two wires, one toggle switch and two drops of solder to an RTF transmitter (oh and a nice hole too). Well, everything worked great on the ground, but once I actually flew the plane, not all was well - the control range dropped to about 60 feet!. I didn't connect the dots at first and thought it was a broken antenna wire or something, or a new flying site (coincidence). Nope.

Apparently, adding two thick wires radomly into a complex circuit and placing them along the perimeter of the case can have some unexpected results. I took the wiring and the switch out, and all is well again, control range is longer than sanity permits me to test (plane is a dot in the distant sky, but still seems to be controllable).

When I say that I didn't connect the dots at first, I mean in the first 3 crashes :-)

After the first jittery flight and the inevitable crash, my aileron servo gave out, so I thought it was that. Changed the servo (paid retail too as I was away from home), went for a second flight - same thing!. (You might think that I'd think about this critically by now). Got another prop, glued the plane back together, went for another flight.... same thing. I actually flew it at very close range for a long time before ramming full force into a tree branch, and miraculously getting the plane back when it chose to fall down, rather than positioning itself permanently, 60 feet above the ground, to serve as a daily reminder to RC owners who disregard logic and common sense.

Naturally the plane was battered and needed quite a bit of Gorilla Glue, but it was definitely restorable. It is basically 15% glue now, and 100% covered with packing tape. On the upside it is much stronger than it used to be. On the downside, it is 50 grams heavier than it used to be.

And in the spirit of ranting... I can't believe that I broke 3 props in 3 crashes, even though they were mounted on a prop saver!!! (Admittedly, two of the crashes were lawn-dart landings, requiring mud and clay to be blown out of the motor. Yay for Scorpion motors)

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