New !! Leviathan Mega quadcopter !!

So it has been quite some time since I had anything exciting to post on my blog as you all have noticed and most times its because I have been working away in the workshop planning and designing some ( not always useful ) stuff.   My latest fun build I had done as of the past summer,  was a large folding quad copter that I found to be a lot of fun when taking those small road trips and doing some camping.  My intent for this particular build was to have something affordable ,  somewhat compact,  yet large and stable enough to handle some of those annoying windy conditions.  SO ,  I came up with a frame I call “Leviathan”.  Now I won’t give much of any of the design away as it is still a work in process and I am fortunate enough to have a couple good friends help me get it to a stage of where I would like it to be.  It will run 6 S batteries and is designed to accommodate the “Power Hungry ” distribution board from ” UAV Rotorking ”  with easy wiring access.  The obvious plans are to incorporate FPV as well as a front mount camera gimbal,  while attempting to offer a long flight time of hopefully in the area of 30-40 minutes.  I am pretty happy with this build thus far and I hope to release photos of the prototype with in the next couple of months so stay tuned ! And don’t forget to subscribe to the blog for any future updates on this beast !    Here is a short video of this quad in flight from the summer so I hope you enjoy it ,   and please excuse the noise from the battery alarm as it was not really necessary to have it on board for such a short flight .

Enjoy !


How to program a camera gimbal using the CC3D Copter Control board

So,   in the past couple weeks as I found time I had been working away in the garage on one of my first quad copters and decided to add some raised landing gear as well as a servo driven gimbal using the CC3D Copter Control board just to see how well it performs.   It did take a bit of work to put it all together but that didn’t seem to bad,  the challenge I had was to actually program the CC3D to operate the gimbal so I had looked online and found a list of instructions that worked  immediately.  Mind you I did need to re calibrate the quad copter again but I managed to get things working fine.  The list of instructions is a “step by step” process and includes about 75 steps if you could believe that but it wasn’t as bad as it seemed,  you’ll just have to be patient and give yourself a bit of time to read through it just so you are aware of where to find everything in your GCS.  Here is the link that provides the steps you need to get your camera gimbal working with the CC3D and those steps were provided by SeismicCWave  on the Open pilot forums.  I do have to add that he did mention the steps could be changed or reposted in order to help others get the camera gimbals working .

Here is that list of steps should you need them now :

1) Go to your GCS.
2) Plug in your CC board.
3) Go to the input page.
4) Make sure you have Accessory 0 selected as the channel after channel 5 “Flight Mode”. In another word accessory 0 is input channel 6.
5) Make sure you have a way to control channel 6 from your transmitter. Preferably a slider and lever because that will be your tilt control.
6) Turn on your transmitter
7) Plug in your battery pack to the quad.
8) Go to your GCS.
9) Click on input page.
10) Make sure it says RC Receiver connected.
11) Click on calibrate. (This process will be slightly different if you use a later firmware where there is a calibration wizard. This only pertains to firmware 0819)
12) Move all your sticks around.
13) Click your flight mode/gear switch back and forth.
14) Move your slider/lever for channel 6 back and forth. Center this lever or slider after you move it back and forth.
15) Unclick calibrate.
16) Click save.
17) Go to output page.
18) Check what it says on channel 5 and 6 output rate. In the case of a Y6 you will check what it says on channel 7 and 8.
19) If you are using analog servos on roll and tilt leave the rate at 50 Hz. If you are using digital servos you may up the rate to 333 Hz.
20) Click save.
21) Go to the camera stabilization screen.
22) Click on the camera stabilization enable button on the top left of your window.
23) Click save.
24) Unplug the power from your quad.
25) Go to the bottom left of your GCS and click on disconnect.
26) Unplug USB cord. LEDs on CC board should be off.
27) Wait 30 seconds.
28) Plug USB cord back on.
29) The hardware page of the GCS will come back on after the computer thinks for a bit.
30) Click on the camera stabilization page on the left hand side of the GCS.
31) Now the Camera stabilization box should be checked on the top left of the window.
32) Now type in the rate for roll and pitch.
33) Go down and pick the channels for roll and pitch.
34) Pick channel 5 for pitch and channel 6 for roll. (in the case of a Y6 pick channel 7 for pitch and channel 8 for roll)
35) Hit save.
36) The roll and pitch channel should still say channel 6 and 5. (Channel 7 and 8 for a Y6 with PPM SUM)
37) If one of them defaults back to none, STOP, we need to do something else.
38) This is if your roll and pitch channels say “none”.

39) Go to the top right hand window. One says “settings” and the other says “Data Objects”.
40) Click on the plus sign in front of Settings. A list of directory will open up.
41) Go down and find MixerSettings.
42) Click on the plus sign in front of that.
43) Scroll down until you find Mixer 5Type and Mixer6Type. (Change 5 and 6 to 7 and 8 for a Y6)
44) Mixer5Type should say Camera pitch and Mixer6Type should say Camera roll. Otherwise click on the type name and two scroll arrow will appear on the right of the window.
45) Scroll down and find Camera pitch for Mixer 5 and roll for Mixer 6.
46) Click save on top of the UAV Browser window.
47) Scroll back up to find CameraStabSettings.
48) Click on the down arrow/plus sign in the front of CameraStabSettings.
49) Click on the plus sign/down arrow in front of Input.
50) Click on the word “None” after the line [Pitch]. A window with two scroll arrows will open up.
51) Scroll up to find Accesory0. That will let you control pitch form your transmitter slider or where ever your channel 6 is on your transmitter.
52) Go down to input range and select 90 degrees for pitch.
53) Go down to output range and it should be the same number as you entered on the left side window within camera stabilization page.
54) Go to the top of the window that says UAV Browser and click save.
55) Now you may plug in your gimbal servos. Roll to the 6th output slots on the CC board and Tilt to the 5th output slots on the CC board. (Channels 8 and 7 for a Y6)
56) Turn on power on transmitter if you have it off.
57) Plug in battery to your quad.
58) Go back to the output page on your GCS.
59) Now your servos should buzz and make noise but stay neutral. Otherwise something is wrong.
60) If you move your quad the servos will move the gimbal.
61) If you move the lever on the transmitter you should be able to move the tilt servo.
62) Check the direction of travel on your servos. Are they compensating the gimbal properly?
63) If not you have to go to the output page of your GCS to reverse the channel 5 or 6 servos by clicking on the box on the right hand side of the slider. (Channels 7 and 8 for a Y6)
64) Please make sure you have propeller off the motors right now.
65) Click on test out put and move the slider back and forth on channel 5 and 6. The gimbal should move. If you missed and hit one of the other channels your motor will spin so be careful. (Channels 7 and 8 for a Y6)
66) Now set the neutral point for your roll and tilt servo.
67) Unclick the test output box.
68) Click save. The gimbal may move a little now. You may have to do the neutral set and click save a few times to get the gimbal to the position you like.
69) Go back to the input page.
70) Click on the arming option and hit save.
71) Click on the right bottom to disconnect the Copter Control board.
72) Now unplug the battery pack from your quad.
73) Turn off your transmitter.
74) Unplug the USB cord.
75) You have a working camera stabilization.


[OUTPUT TAB]         channel 5   — (pitch)    —— 625   ——-  1175———2500

channel 6 —–(roll)———-1230——–1545———-1870

Camera Stabilization

  • Basic     ————— –roll ——————– pitch ———————yaw
  • Output channel—–channel 6————–channel 5 ——————none
  • Output Range ———-39 ———————-74————————–20
  • Input channel——accessory 1————-accessory 0—————–none
  • stab mode ———–attitude —————–attitude——————attitude
  • Input Range ———– 12 ———————–70————————-20
  • Input Rate————–22———————–45————————–50
  • Response time———65———————-1000———————–150
  • Max Axis Lock Rate —1.0

So I cannot guarantee your results for your setup but I do have to say I am pretty happy with how things are operating.  It will be a couple more weeks of very cold weather from where I am ( -33 celcius)  so I don’t anticipate I will be flying this quad or anything just yet.  I hope these settings are of some help to you and I want to thank SeismicC Wave of the open pilot forums for this info as it made things way easier for me in the end.  Here is a video of my quad and camera gimbal in action ( not flying) with these settings.

Thanks for visiting the blog,  Enjoy.

P.S. – Don’t forget to check out my Facebook Fanpage and click “LIKE”

Thanks for your support

Failsafe setup for NAZA lite and original DX7 radio

So this is the simplest way I found to setup my failsafe for my DX7 radio with my NAZA lite flight controller,  it was the most effective and helpful way of doing it with my DX7 and NAZA lite flight controller.  The only change I will make to this is setting up the failsafe on the original DX7,   I will capitalize all the words in the section that explains how to set failsafe when your transmitter is turned off after point number 4 and hopefully this mini tutorial will help you out.  I take no credit for the info what so ever but thought I’d just copy and paste it to the blog here and hopefully it benefits you.
1. The actual failsafe functionality resides in the receiver.
It has the ability to fall back on a specific channel setting when TX signal is lost.
2. You cannot setup a TX signal loss failsafe without having a receiver that supports failsafe.
3. Because the failsafe on the Naza works on the same channel as the control mode switch.
We cannot set the failsafe to activate with a standard defined switch position.
It needs to be set on the same channel as the control mode switch but in between one of the modes. (GPS-ATTI-MAN)
The problem is the TX only had a 3 position switch. So how do you set it in between?Step by step guide

SET FAILSAFE FOR ATTI MODE (this is just a test of the failsafe to make sure it works, we will change a few things after we happy that it actually works)
2. Turn on the DX7s and make sure you have the correct model selected. And remember what switch positions define each mode. Eg. DOWN=GPS MID=ATTI UP=MAN
3. Turn off the DX7s
4. Insert the bind plug into the correct port on the receiver (make 100% sure it says BIND on the port)

5. Plug in the copter/receiver. The receiver LED will start flashing. This indicates its looking for something to bind to.
6. Make sure your transmitter is OFF.
7. Set your control mode switch on your transmitter to ATTI mode [middle sw pos] (the transmitter must be off! This is the most important step!!!
8. Now hold down the trainer button while powering on the transmitter. Hold the button until it says its binding and displays DSMX.
Then release the trainer/bind button.
9. Once binding is complete the transmitter will reboot and go into normal flight mode. The LED on the receiver will now be solid.

10. Preset Failsafe binding is now complete.


1. Turn the transmitter on (if its off)
2. Plug in the copter and wait for it to initialize
3. Plug the copter into the PC and start the assistant.
4. Make sure the copter has successfully connected to the PC.
5. Go to TX Cali tab and make sure when you flick the control mode switch, it moves from GPS to ATTI to MAN.
6. Select GPS mode (GPS block is BLUE)

7. Now switch off your transmitter.
8. If you’ve done everything correctly it should change from GPS to ATTI mode.
9. If it doesnt, you’ve done something wrong or missed something. Start from the beginning
10. If it does, continue with below instructions.

1. Turn everything on and get everything connected to the PC.
2. Make sure the control mode switch is working.
3. On the transmitter, go into the fuction list (click the wheel down)

                             1.  GO TO THE FUNCTION LIST
                             2.  GO TO FLAP SYS.
                             5.   *NOTE* –  MY SWITCH IS AUX 1 –  I WON’T SEE GEAR, PITCH, AUX 2, OR AUX3 FOR A SELECTION ( SEE STEP 5 BELOW)
5. Flick your control mode switch and check to see which channel its on. GER, PIT, AX2 or AX3.
6. While watching the control mode switch postition on the naza assistant,
Remember the two percentages of travel for the CMS channel (we will be changing it back to this when we are done)
Now change the travel on the control mode channel servo travel until the tab moves away from either GPS or MAN. Move it to failsafe.
7. Once failsafe lights up blue, exit the assistant, unplug the copter from the pc, turn the copter off and then the transmitter.
9. Make sure everything is turned off.
10. Insert the bind plug into the bind port on the receiver
11. Plug in the copter/receiver. The receiver LED will start flashing. This indicates its looking for something to bind to.12. NOW REMOVE THE BIND PLUG BEFORE TURNING ON THE TRANSMITTER! LED will continue to flash.
13. Make sure your transmitter is OFF.
14. Now hold down the trainer button while powering on the transmitter. Hold the button until it says its binding and displays DSMX.
Then release the trainer/bind button.
15. Once binding is complete the transmitter will reboot and go into normal flight mode. The LED on the receiver will now be solid.
16. Preset Failsafe binding is now complete.FIX THE SERVO TRAVEL & TEST THE FAILSAFE
1. On the transmitter, go to Function List, then Servo setup then change the channel travel percentages back to what they were before.
2. Plug everything into the PC and check to see if the channel performs correctly. Must be able to select GPS, ATTI and MAN.
3. While wathcing the channel position, turn off your transmitter. It should light up the failsafe on the Naza assistant bar.
4. If it doesnt, start with step 1 of SET FAILSAFE FOR TX SIGNAL LOSS

 I take no credit for the following information but thought I would share the exact steps with you and hopefully you can get your failsafe to work with the following steps.  I would like to thank GRIMX from rcgroups for posting this info as I found it extremely helpful and following the exact steps posted helped me immediately the first time. I hope this helps.
P.S. –  here is the link to that exact list of instructions if you are looking for it …….
GRIMX is online now Find More Posts by GRIMX

Amazon Prime Air Deliveries — Concerns ?

By now there is a pretty good chance you’ve heard about Amazons announcement a couple weeks ago in regards to their drone package delivery experiment.  I have no doubts that within time it would actually be a really good program for them when it comes to delivering small packages and hopefully they will be able to support all the issues involved in this type of thing.   Those of us who have already been in the hobby for sometime are well aware of the potential risks involved with rc helicopters,  multi rotors and rc airplanes etc and how badly things can go if your not well prepared to deal with them.    There are all sorts of things that can happen with quad copters such as a lipo catching fire,  or having the quad fall from the sky which could do quite a bit of damage even if it only weighed something under 8 lbs , or whether it fell on someone or crashed through the window of a house or dropped on vehicles on a road way causing an accident.    There are quite a few hobbyists and aerial video professionals who are also well aware of controller boards that have been known to cause the multi rotor to “fly away”  and not knowing where in the area it could have possibly ended up which is obviously  a pretty expensive loss for some.   I recently came  across an article that discussed this interesting delivery idea of Amazons where it was mentioned that the drones ,  a.k.a. the quad copter,  could potentially be moved with the delivery vehicle to the particular area of the city where packages would be delivered.

This did begin  to make  a little more sense to me in that you would have an actual human being in the area with drones to manage their where abouts in the area and to service any potential problems the drones may have.  The one thing to think about is,  should the quad have a problem ,  I would assume the machine would just be taken back to the vehicle only to be repaired later.   The other question I have to ask is,  will this actually help ? or would it reduce the efficiency of the human being by them having to “babysit” the drones before they could move onto to the next delivery?   No doubt that there is a team of professionals addressing all types of these concerns who could make the system work.   Many countries have in fact banned the use of drones which does cause a problem for Amazon Prime Air.   Interestingly Amazon is not the only one delving into this idea of drone deliveries but there are other companies looking into it as well such as DHL.

Probably the only thing that could cause a real problem for these companies is the public in general.   There is a video on You Tube that shows a multi rotor that had actually been shot with a gun and has a bullet hole in the frame ,  in which case the owner of the machine brought their concerns to the local authorities about it but nothing is being done.  It is understandable that some people have privacy concerns about drones with cameras on them but you have to admit it is pretty disturbing when someone has the mentality that they need to shoot something that does not belong to them.  All in all this is a particular topic that will have a tendency to “drone on”  for some time but in a few years time it may become just as acceptable or useful to people as the automobile has become , as well as the cell phone.

Here are a few  videos that show examples of drone deliveries :

I hope you have found this article a least a little bit interesting and don’t forget to leave a comment with your thought’s  on this.

How to calibrate your ESC’s for Open Pilot CC3D

If your one of the lucky one’s to own an Open Pilot CC3D but your having a little trouble calibrating your ESC’s then don’t worry as I’ve found a bit of info for you.  I myself have picked up one of these boards as well recently and I have been going through the motions of setting up my own board.  The thing I highly recommend is going through the tutorials on the Open Pilot website thoroughly and signing up for the Open Pilot forums.   The only difference between setting up this board is whether your using a windows computer or a mac computer and what the heck the control is on the mac for the “home” key.   I will keep this post very brief for you here and just to let you know that if your looking for the steps to calibrate your ESC’s you can find it at this LINK HERE.   The confusing part of ESC setup process is that your going to hear two things,  either remove the red wire for your ESCs which is suggested on the Open Pilot website,  or like a friend of mine mentioned ” he hadn’t removed any red wires and his board works fine.   I personally followed the instructions and have removed the red wire on 3 of my ESCs out of 4 for my quad copter.  If your looking for a video on ” How to remove the red wire” for your ESCs then you can find that video HERE.    If you really want to see a straight forward and quick video on how to calibrate the ESCs using the GCS then you can watch this excellent video below from wrcfan21 on You Tube and maybe give him a thumbs up and hit subscribe.

The final thing I just wanted to mention for you mac users like my self is about that “HOME KEY” ,  if you have a look on your keyboard for a button that looks like  ( fn ) for function and the backwards arrow ( < )  ,  then those two buttons combined when pressed simultaneously are your “HOME KEY”  during the ESC calibration on the GCS.  I hope this post was helpful and not too confusing for you and that you have luck setting up your board.   Thanks for taking the time to read the post and if your interested , then I welcome you to stop by RCHelimenace on Facebook and maybe even hit the the “Like” button.


Copter Control CC3D – How to set up

For as long as I can remember when I became interested in multi rotors and finally built my first quad copter I knew I wanted to get my hands on an Open Pilot control board.   I did start out with the FY-90Q  board which seemed alright,  it was plug and play and simple to setup however I never really got it to the point of the way I thought it should perform. I wasn’t looking for a snappy super fast reacting board but I did want crisp response and this one seemed a bit sluggish in my opinion.   Recently this June my birthday had came and I was in the market again to look for a Copter Control board and interestingly enough it seemed a few companies were given the rights to produce some of these boards which had made it even more accessible to the public.   The one company (store) I had come across was on Twitter and they go by the name were actually selling the Copter Control boards and it was the CC3D model.  So without any hesitation of course ,  I went online and made the purchase and sure enough it had arrived within a couple weeks.  The board looked really nicely made with good solder joints and the mini usb plugin on the board did not seem to give any indication it would break off ( like the megapirate) that seem to have quite a few complaints about it.

Now if your interested in this board I do have to warn you that you need to be aware that you will have to connect this board to a computer,   you will have to download the appropriate GCS  (Ground Control Station)  for this board and the appropriate boot loader for the board.   Do be aware that the version 13 does seem to have a bit of trouble at the moment therefore you do need to just upload version 12 ( Mayan Apocalypse ) with the version 3 boot loader.  If you want to know why you can only use version 12  you can find out in the link here.   The other thing I also recommend is joining the Open Pilot Forums,  this way should you have any trouble with your board in the manner of downloads or settings in the GCS this community is sure to help any newbie ( even me ) when it comes to this board.   I have to be honest and let you know that I am not an authority on this Copter Control board what so ever but I thought I would just share a bit of info to help you get going.  The one thing I can say is that even if you just download the GCS and review it before your board arrives to your door then you are going to be a little bit more comfortable when it comes to using it.

When setting up the board you do need to install it on the multi rotor of choice,  I’m currently setting it up on a quad.   Make sure the board is facing the right direction on the quad ( the forward direction ) and that you have the quad copter sitting on a nice level surface since the board mainly controls the attitude of the frame.  The next thing you do is hook up a micro USB plug to the board and at the other end of the wire plug the regular sized USB to your computer and then start up the GCS program.   The program automatically detects the board and connects it to the program and from there you just go step by step to what the program is telling you to do,  it really is a no-brainer.   If you are wondering what the flashing LED lights on the board mean you can find it in this link here in the bootloader update page ( if you need a visual idea ) as well if you need to update your board with the latest stuff you can do it there as well if you needed to and it will explain how to do it.

Finally ,  getting to the point of setting up your board will take a bit of time so just give yourself a chance and go through everything carefully and thoroughly before you start loading things on the board.  You do have to make sure the stuff is compatible and if you do have any questions I do encourage you to sign up on the forums because there is a good chance you will get your questions answered faster than I could ever do for you.   If you are looking for the download page for the GCS setup wizard then you are going to find it on this link here .  Further more,  if you just want to see what to expect from the GCS and only read the content without downloading the program yet then you can find all that info here.  The other great thing about this program is that you can program the board to understand the inputs from your own radio.  I do have to admit this sequence threw me off a bit.  You can find everything you need to know about how to setup your radio here as well without downloading the program just yet-  here in this link.   In the part of the radio setup page,  if you go straight to the part where it says calibration , you do have the option of either using the program to do it automatically or your can input your settings manually.  I chose to use to use the program to do it personally so I could get used to everything before I got too carried away.

This is the part that confused me a little ,

I understood what it was asking and so I did it,  what confused me was why my stick inputs were opposite from what I was seeing on the screen,  however don’t worry about that because when you get to the next step here,

all I needed to do was move my cursor to the little check marks in the box and click it to remove the check mark only and then I moved my sticks on my radio and  screen corresponded with what my radio was doing then everything functioned like it was supposed to.  The last thing I do want to mention is that I did run my CC3D board at least 3 times trying to figure out why I couldn’t get it to “Arm” but all it was was that I never got things calibrated right until I slowed down and was a lot more thorough in my understanding of the GCS.   I hope this brief blog post gave you a bit of help and insight as well as some sort of direction in sorting out any issues you may have with it.  Keep in mind I’ve only been playing with this board for 3 days and a few things finally clicked,  I have not had a flight yet with it but as soon as I do I will post a video on the progress.   Lastly I just wanted to show you a quick video of how I would like to see my progress turn out , here is that video and wish me luck !

Neither this video or the pictures posted in this blog are mine ,  nor do I profit or benefit in any way but I thought I would share it in order to help you out.   If this post did indeed help you out don’t be afraid to leave a comment here on the blog and you can also head over to Facebook and “LIKE  RCHelimenace “.  Thanks for stopping by !

M.A.R.S. Parachutes for Multi Rotors !

With the multi rotor sector of the hobby moving at an exponential rate we are seeing more and more Aerial / Video Platforms with very high end components becoming more capable of any thing we’ve seen in the past couple years.  With such components on a professional multi rotor you can bet that the cost of these machines can be quite high.  A professional carbon fiber frame for example like a  hex or octo can fetch as high as  $4,000 and  $10,000  or better for a RTF model.  As for camera’s in the professional sphere your looking at around $1,000 in the low end,  and if your even considering using something like a RED EPIC camera unit,  the base price is around $10,000 and as much as $58,000 for something like the EPIC-M  RED Dragon Pro collection.  Now having all this professional gear seems like a fantastic idea for those who can afford to shoot with this kind of stuff but what happens when you decide you want to take a $1,000 camera or a $10,000 camera in the air?

Some things have already been considered  by most multi rotor pilots such as using an octo frame or using an X-8. Others would choose putting batteries in parallel etc. but what happens when all systems fail?  An octo or an X-8 are great but are only good should you loose one or two motors and I’m not saying that any multi rotor has a tendency to fail all that often but the fact of the matter is ” What could you do to protect your investment ? “.   Now you may or may not know it but there is finally a solution for such a thing and you wouldn’t have to be too worried about your whole rig pile driving itself into the ground .   As well for the BIG boys with the much heavier rigs up to 25 lbs ,  there is even a M.A.R.S. parachute recovery system for you too !  The M.A.R.S. parachute recovery systems come in three sizes ,  “the mini” for a “four pound” craft,  “the 58” for crafts up to 10 pounds and the very impressive “M.A.R.S. 120”  which can accommodate up to 25 pounds.  The 120 simply means the parachute is 120 inches across or 10 feet .  Fortunately for airplane guys  they have the option of cutting the engine and gliding,  or the helicopter guys who have the option of auto rotating their machine to the ground,  NOT the case for multi rotors.   If your looking to invest in one of these units for your Aerial Video / Photography company or are a multi rotor hobbyist with a craft with a hefty price tag then you would be able to find M.A.R.S. Parachutes  here at these sites UAV Rotorking or at M.A.R.S. Parachutes.

Here is just a Demo video showing these parachutes in action.

Hope this helps and by the way don’t forget to “LIKE”  RCHelimenace on Facebook.