SSB and Digital with… a QCX?

LED Magnifier Upgrade Time!

Cheap Drone becomes Roadkill

Last month, I posted about the cheap drone I have and showed off some of the photos I’ve taken with it- clearly, I shouldn’t be able to get such good photos with such a cheap drone, but I have!

I’ve also crashed the thing more times than I can count, and it’s come away mostly unscathed- until now.

Note the lower left propeller and arm. Smashed. Bad.

What Happened!?

The drone flight began as usual, and I flew the drone up to altitude to take some photos. There was plenty of wind, but that’s fairly normal around here. But then, the LED’s which indicate “Low Battery” started flashing. I thought I’d just charged the batteries.

I landed the little quadcopter and swapped in the second battery. Same problem. But before I could get it back down, the wind started blowing it away. The drone didn’t have the power to fight the wind, and went out of range! I’d forgotten to charge the batteries. Oh, no!

The wayward drone went behind a building, and I went running after it. Not something I do easily! I rounded the building, and looked around. Nothing. I kept walking, and then I saw it, several hundred feet from the takeoff point.

X marks the spot.

It was in the middle of the the busiest road in our little town: Main Street! It was upside down almost in the middle of the lane. It’s a 25mph zone, and cars had time to go around it. All but one, apparently. Because when I got to it and picked it up, I found what you see above. The question was:

Can It Be Fixed?

Of course I had to at least try. Aside from the obvious damage, one of the wires to the camera had broken off right at the little bitty connector.

The pictures below tell the story, but I’ll summarize: I tore it down, unbent all the bent bits, tried really hard to get it to not be wobbly (the driven gear/prop mount shaft were bent/broken) and everything was just smushed. It took several hours, super glue, hot glue, smallest soldering tip I have, an illuminated magnifier, a mini torch, and some bravery with heating up plastics before I even tried getting it in the air. Here’s the pictures, and further down are the results:

Did it work?

I’m happy to report that after some further tweaking to get the propeller shaft parallel with the other 3, that yes, it works. This photo was taken on the first test flight:

It was after this picture that I had to heat up the arm to bend it into the right shape to compensate for all the bent stuff, but it works!

The drone flies normally now. BUT… I’m on the prowl for a new one. One of the features I now demand? GPS! I want my drone to Return To Home if the battery is low. I need a drone that’ll save me from myself. I think I have found what I want, but I’m still looking around. Keep an eye out, I’ll post about it when I do!

1 comment

    • Chuck on June 16, 2020 at 5:58 AM

    Ryan, you’re a Master of Disaster Recovery!!!

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