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Old 02-05-2008, 08:16 PM   #1
477grp10
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info Need help choosing parts for a UAV camera platform

Hello, my team and I at Purdue University are planning to build a UAV that will be able to guide itself with GPS and a digital compass to way points. None of us have experience with R/C planes. Initially we were planning to use an Easy Star because it seems very crash safe. However, I recently learned about the Super Cub. The extra space inside is a great improvement over the Easy Star, but the front mounted prop is disconcerting. We will probably be using an HP R707 digital camera with its cover removed for photography, it weighs 4.7oz. I suspect that the additional electronics will weigh about 4oz. Conservatively, estimate 10oz of extra stuff beyond flight essentials. Which of these plane would you recommend? Perhaps there is another option worth looking into?

We are also thinking that a LiPo + brushless upgrade would be needed to handle the additional weight as we would like to see 30min or more of flight time. What suggestions do you have in this area?

Lastly, is it even feasible for a microcontroller to autonomously fly a Super Cub? It will know position and bearing, but not pitch and roll. How tight of a turn can a Super Cub pull safely?

Thank you for all of your help.

David
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Old 02-05-2008, 08:34 PM   #2
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Wow, aggressive project with zero RC experience.

What is your budget like?

Do you plan on enlisting the help of an experienced pilot in this project with you? I know there must be some flying fields in your local.

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Old 02-05-2008, 08:43 PM   #3
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Our budget is however much we want to personally spend. <$500 would be preferable, but keep in mind that the onboard electronics are somewhat pricey.

We don't know any experience pilots locally, but I have a friend out of state that flies a lot.
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Old 02-05-2008, 08:54 PM   #4
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What's your zip code? We know people who know people.

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Old 02-05-2008, 08:56 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by 477grp10 View Post
Hello, my team and I at Purdue University are planning to build a UAV that will be able to guide itself with GPS and a digital compass to way points. None of us have experience with R/C planes. Initially we were planning to use an Easy Star because it seems very crash safe. However, I recently learned about the Super Cub. The extra space inside is a great improvement over the Easy Star, but the front mounted prop is disconcerting. We will probably be using an HP R707 digital camera with its cover removed for photography, it weighs 4.7oz. I suspect that the additional electronics will weigh about 4oz. Conservatively, estimate 10oz of extra stuff beyond flight essentials. Which of these plane would you recommend? Perhaps there is another option worth looking into?

We are also thinking that a LiPo + brushless upgrade would be needed to handle the additional weight as we would like to see 30min or more of flight time. What suggestions do you have in this area?

Lastly, is it even feasible for a microcontroller to autonomously fly a Super Cub? It will know position and bearing, but not pitch and roll. How tight of a turn can a Super Cub pull safely?

Thank you for all of your help.

David
I think you should just talk to this guy and see if he'll send you his blueprints. Can't get much cooler than that. =) (And yes, I know that you're looking for an automated UAV flight solution; but I've been waiting for a chance to link that video. )

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Old 02-05-2008, 08:56 PM   #6
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We live in West Lafayette, IN 47906.

Thanks for the networking help.

David
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Old 02-05-2008, 09:03 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by 477grp10 View Post
We live in West Lafayette, IN 47906.

Thanks for the networking help.

David
Looks like there is two clubs in your area. Plug this zip code in here.

http://www.modelaircraft.org/clubsearch.aspx

I'm sure there will be someone there that would love to help with flying your plane.

I'm thinking a Telemaster would be a good airframe to use.

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Old 02-05-2008, 09:13 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by 477grp10 View Post
Lastly, is it even feasible for a microcontroller to autonomously fly a Super Cub? It will know position and bearing, but not pitch and roll. How tight of a turn can a Super Cub pull safely?
In all seriousness, I think it looks like a cool system and very doable, assuming that it's done right.

As for whether or not you need to know pitch and roll, I would think that if you went with a Super Cub that you could just make do with the built-in ACT (Anti-Crash Technology) system of that plane, at least once you get some altitude. It's not fool proof, but if all you're going to be doing is very gentle turns and nothing drastic while maintaining a fairly high (300 ft. or higher) altitude, and you set your microcontroller is such a way that it would never overcompensate the controls, then that might be a cheap solution. It would be the take-off that would be tricky to automate with pitch and roll detection. ACT needs some altitude to work with, and you won't have that until at least 15 - 30 seconds after launch, even with a brushless setup.

Also, if you're needing a good product for gathering GPS, speed, and altitude data and either sending it back to your control station or simply feeding it into the onboard automated flight controller, you might check out these guys. They're pricey, but they have some uber cool tech solutions specifically for RC flight, in that they are lightweight and low power usage.

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