Cotswold Jam tutorial kits vs. Dyson

I’ve just quit smoking saving myself £300 a month, and I was going to treat myself to a new vacuum cleaner as a reward – I have an older version of the same and it’s fab but this one is even fabber.

But I’ve also started putting together a new python + electronics tutorial for the next Cotswold Jam at the end of April, both setting up my own prototype, and collecting components for 24 kits to be given away to tutorial participants.  Sadly, this has taken a significant proportion of my Dyson money, but I think the result of my prototype looks pretty cool, literally:

Door alarm system

Door alarm system

Big thanks to Pimoroni for the custom Snowflake white version of their limited edition PiBow B+/B2 Coupe Midnight Black, the discount on the 25 mini-PCBs for the kits – you’re stars!

The give away kits will have smaller breadboards instead of the cakeboard shown above, but they’ll all come with the doors with neodymium magnets as the door knobs, reed switch, buzzer, on-off switch and wires.

Report on the Zoe at the Cotswold Jam

Zoe did her stuff at the Cotswold Jam reasonably well, but she consistently drifted to starboard (right), even when I was safety testing her outside before hand at a much lower temperature.

The previous day, I’d also safety tested her indoors and she drift consistently backwards are about the same speed.

The setup and software for the two days was the same, except I’d removed the props for transit to the jam.

Could the difference in drift direction simply be the props?   Had I rebuilt her at the jam with one diagonal pair of the props swapped compared to previously?  That could account for the 90° change of drift.  Certainly the change in drift does point heavily at the props.  The props are plastic and they bend easily and permanently.  So I now have some sturdy CF props on the way which I hope will limit the drift in time for my work engineering conference at the end of the week.

JIT Jamboree Jubilation

Zoe at 1kHz sampling, 8s flight from Andy Baker on Vimeo.

If you are interested in what triggered the transformation, have a look at these comments.

The net results are I’m getting perfect data reads at 1kHz sampling and alpf set to 2.  And that’s as good as the sensor can possibly provide.

So Zoe is good enough for the Cotswold Jam on Saturday (sold out, sorry), and my employer’s Engineering Conference the following week, and hopefully the Raspberry Pi Birthday Party in early March.

There’s probably some PID tuning to be done that might stop the low-frequency wobbles due to the gyro PID I gain being a bit too enthusiastic.  That would then curtail the drift too.

I’ll post more videos if that turns out to be true.

A spoiled spoiler

So the spoiler in yesterday’s photo was another quadcopter flight controller to the left of the keyboards, pending the release of a fantastic new range of quadcopter frames which is being launched next month.  More on that once I’ve got my grubby mitts on one.

But that A+ controller has now been flushed down the pan with the launch of the Raspberry Pi Zero, smaller than an A+, double the memory and just as powerful in every other way.  I really have know idea how they halved the size of the PCB and yet kept all of the function.  And it’s £4 (yes, that’s not a typo, four quid for a computer that runs Linux happily!), and free if you buy this month’s copy of the MagPi magazine.

So I now need to redo the design for the beret board, to shrink it down to the Pi Zero size!

If you’re in the neighbourhood, pop down to the Cotswold Raspberry Jam in Cheltenham on Saturday and see the Pi Zero for yourself!

Never mind the quality, feel the drift

Yet another confidence building test flight from Andy Baker on Vimeo.

I’ve flying Phoebe virtually every day the weather allows in preparation for the indoor demo flight for the CotswoldJam on 26th September 1pm – 4pm at the University of Gloucestershire in Cheltenham.  I can confidently say she’s safe.

P.S. Sorry about the video quality, the camera really didn’t the shoot in the shade with sunshine back light.


Phoebe’s “Prior Preparation and Planning Prevents P1$$ Poor Performance” as my german teacher used to say 30 years ago.  So I’ve been doing periodic testing in preparation for safety approval on Wednesday to fly at the Cotswold Jam on the 29th.

This morning, I realised there was once further micro tweak I could do which might have a significant effect.  What do you think?

PPPPPPPP from Andy Baker on Vimeo.

This is a 12s flights (3, 6 and 3s at ascent @ 30cm/s, hover and descent @ 30cm/s).  To put this in context, previous good flights I videoed have lasted for less than half this.  The tweak was simply to change the initialisation code measuring the angle of takeoff.  The drift is more than it would be indoors as there was a breeze.

The code ‘s up on GitHub.