There’s a lot to be said for not trying to over-reach your talent and ability. Most times, you are just going to walk away with the figurative “egg on your face”, but it is those other times that are going to cost you money.
This is one of the “this will cost you money” events, could almost be an addendum to my last post There are old pilots…
About a month ago, my son went to a birthday party, and came home with the obligatory helium balloon. If you know Ben, you will know that, even at 10 years of age, he LOVES balloons, especially helium balloons. Many a tearful episode has occurred because a helium balloon has made a bid for freedom to the skies because Ben has let it slip out of his fingers.
Now, I need to give some background to this story first – I live in a two-storey house, which has a raked ceiling over a formal lounge area, and the ceiling is about 12 metres at its highest point. There is a little alcove overlooking the formal lounge, protected by a wooden balustrade.
Shortly after Ben gets home from the party, the balloon goes AWOL, and of course makes its way to the highest room in the tallest tower, or more precisely the apex of the ceiling in the formal lounge. Now we could have let the balloon makes its way down over 24 hours as the helium leached out. But no! I’ve got a quad-copter, with rotor guards, that could nudge the balloon to the alcove, and then Ben could retrieve it.
After making sure there ware nothing breakable under the flight-path, I slowly got the Syma Xc5 alongside the balloon, and started nudging the balloon along. All was going great, Dad is going to look like the hero. The balloon is almost at the alcove, the kids are cheering, I’m getting admiring glances from my wife, the heroic soundtrack starts playing on the home stereo, and the brass band starts warming up in the front yard. I was SET!
Now let’s pause here for a moment, and consider the mechanics of quad-copter flight. You have four, in my case, rapidly revolving rotor blades. These blades are shaped to pull air from ABOVE the rotors, and push it down BELOW the copter. It doesn’t HAVE to be air.. it could be dust, powder, balloon..
As part of the manoeuvring the quad-copter down along the raked ceiling and my focus drift to my adulant fans, I’d managed to sink too low and got the XC5 underneath the balloon. The balloon subsequently started to get sucked into the rotor path. I reflexively yanked the XC5 away, and in doing so managed to snag the camera wires on a stray picture hook in the wall nearby. This neatly tore the red wire out of the connector, and I’ve yet to be able to get it securely re-fitted.
I looked around online for spares, and found a replacement X5C camera at BangGood. Even better, however, was the replacement X5S camera (seen here on the right) which is WiFi capable, and gives you a FPV-style view from the XC5 onto your iPhone or Android device, and was $29, as opposed to the $20 for the original camera. (Clicking on the images will take you to the BangGood pages for those items). I ordered the X5S camera, and set to waiting.
< 3 weeks later >
All that was needed was to remove the two screws holding the battery cover on both cameras, and then screw the original XC5’s battery cover onto the X5S camera. No mess, no fuss, didn’t have to do any hardware hackery. Just download the app, connect to the new SSID that the wireless camera provides, start the app, and voila! FPV! And the additional bonus was that the mounting points on the back of the camera fixed the horrible camera angle issue that the standard X5C has.
The thumbs were a little rusty, and I was bumping into everything. But! I was now able to fly where I didn’t have line of sight and I’m LOVING it.