Alas another Phoebe rebuild – fairly significant changes this time, but not really driven by damage, more by hardware improvements.
Phoebe’s new outfit
She had a couple of test flights the other day – the first was perfect: take-off from a non-horizontal surface (the lawn), hover and land back at the same point. The weather was cold and damp, but no breeze.
I upped the flight time to get a video; except this time, she started to drift (still no wind, so no good reason for the drift). A quick check of flight stats suggested her sensors thought she was tilting at about 4 degrees when she wasn’t, and they were adjusting for that leading to the drift.
A quick investigation showed the breadboard on which the sensors sit had started to come unstuck peeling up at one corner – hence the false angle and drift. I suspect the cold & damp caused the breadboard to flex and it’s adhesive to come unstuck – that’s certainly how it looked.
In addition, her legs had also started to loosen up again – even though she’d only had good landings – the trouble I suspect is the legs are rigid, so even soft landings have a hard impact on the legs.
And that finally pushed me to knick some of the bits from Phoenix and instead use them on Phoebe as well as getting some new bits:
- a new case cut by Phenoptix with a platform for new breadboards supported by noise dampening standoffs
- new legs – flexible ones from DJI specifically for the F450 which are clearly designed for absorbing impacts
- new antenna, since the old antenna platform went with the old legs
- a protective dome over the Raspberry Pi and breadboard – hopefully just for the rain, rather than any head-banging!
As a result of these last tests, my confidence in the software is increasing with each flight; on the downside, the hardware is bothering me more. Fingers crossed, this iteration will solve the worst problems.
On one final sad note: Phoebe is once more good to fly, but in getting there, she stole a lot of Phoenix’ outfit, leaving Phoenix short of the glamour required for her to walk to red carpet any time soon.