Archive for December, 2012

Setting up JLog2 Telemetry to the Jeti DS-16

Telemetry is very cool and all the building blocks are there to do a lot of interesting things with it. Notice I said “building blocks”. There are a number of steps involved in making this work, and what I am detailing below is specific for the equipment I’m using.

I’ll be using the following:

Kontronik Jive ESC –> JLog2  –> JETI EX receiver –> DS-16 Transmitter

  • The Kontronik Jive has a number of internal sensors that can be read through the jumper port.  I can only assume this interface was initially created for diagnostic purposes. 
  • Jive – JLog2 connector wire included with JLog.
  • The JLog2 is a postage stamp sized device that reads the Jive’s internal measured values using this interface and stores them on  a 2Gb micro SD card. These values can then be plotted and examined using LogView or other software. The JLog2 also has the ability to pass these values to a number of devices.  We are going to send this information in Jeti hidden message V2 which is now supported by the JLog2.
  • JLog2 – JETI EX connector will need to be built. Covered later.
  • The JETI  EX receiver has a port that it can use to receive telemetry data in a number of formats. We are going to use hidden message v2 format for the JETI EX.  It then transmits these values back to the JETI transmitter.
  • The JETI DS-16 transmitter can handle up to 40 telemetry points. The hidden message V2 format will send back both a text description for each data point and the value. We will be sending back 15 telemetry points which will be updated on the transmitter every ~ 0.75 seconds and then can be used for voice telemetry and alarms.

Let’s look at this in Logical Sections so that we can configure and test pieces of this along the way.

1.  Kontronik Jive to JLog interface

What do you need?

  • Kontronik Jive ESC
  • JLog2 to log data.
  • Check for the Latest JLog2 firmware for the Jeti EX receiver support here
  • JLog Configurator or JLC from this page.
  • Version 4.4.2.6  Sept 25 2012

The JLog2 comes with the cable needed to connect to a Jive that plugs in where the jumper is used to program the Jive and it comes with a 2Gb micro SD card and micro SD to SD adapter as well as a micro SD to USB adapter.

The cable that came with my JLog2 was 12” long which will make it easy to move the JLog2 closer to the Jeti Transceiver. The JLog to Jive cable  uses standard servo wiring, so it will be easy to replace or crimp to a custom length with a servo crimping tool.

image

Configuring the JLog2

1. Plug the micro SD card into your computer.

2. Install and run the JLC program.

       This is configured for my Test Heli a TREX550e.

        Jive, 6 pole motor, 16T Pinion, 170T main,  Telemetry/LiveStream = JETI

Click on this the image below to make it larger.

JCL4

Save to the SD card.

You might want to browse to this using Chrome as your browser so it can translate the German for you. Info on setting up Jeti Telemetry

You will need to modify the CONFIG.txt file in a text editor like NotePad and change the value one from the end to an 8.  For JETI EX telemetry Configuration 1.

9600,0,128,6,0,10,62,16,170,0,1,0,0,0,0,0,0,0,0,0,0,0,0,0,0,0,1,0,0,
6,16,16,16,16,16,16,16,16,16,16,16,16,16,16,16,16,8,0

Configuration 1 will send the following telemetry values to the TX:

1 Flight battery voltage V
2  motor current A
3 head speed rpm
4 Flight Battery used capacity mAh
5 BEC output V
6 BEC output A
7 Throttle 0 to 100% 
8 "PWM" (version control point 0 to 100%)
9 Temperature of the power FET (final stage) degrees C
10 motor speed rpm
11 flight pack battery voltage minimum V
12 BEC minimum  V
13 (maximum motor current) A
14 BEC maximum  A
15 maximum output Watts

These data points are color coded based on how I intend to use them in the transmitter.

  • red specified for alarming
  • green and red specified for voice telemetry.

Note:  Battery mah will be more accurate than Flight Battery Voltage for alarming however it will be dependent on a fully charged battery of a predetermined mah rating for each model, so I will probably set up a backup voltage alarm.

Saving Configuration and Specific Firmware to the JLOG2

Copy the following files to the JLog2’s microSD card.

Firmware:   JLog2  4.0.0J_E-61.17.bin
Configuration:  CONFIG.txt

It should look like this once it is copied over

image

Note: The .bin files are very specific. This is for 4.0.0J for the Jive and JETI telemetry. There are other .bin files for other combinations of devices.

When you power up the ESC, the JLog2 will load the .bin file firmware.  Lots of lights on the JLog2 will flash.  When it is stable, you can spin up your heli. Once that has loaded you can remove the .bin file from the SD card. 

When it runs it will create a new folder containing sequentially numbered Log files in it for each time you give power to the ESC.  A couple other files will also be written in the root folder.

image

In the d000-510 folder you will find your log files like the following:

log00004.txt

When you look in your log files you will see many lines of data like the following:

At the beginning not much is happening:
$1;1;18.30;0;0;0;0;0;0;0;0;0;0;0;0;0;0;4;0;0;0;0;0;0;0;0;0;0;0;0;0;0;0;0;0

After it is spun up more data will show up:
$1;1;43.15;57;4;222;66;66;65;85;213;2263;18;23;23;147;147;73;79;0;0;0;0;0;0;0;0;0;0;0;0;0;0;0;0

 

2. Testing Logging and verifying configuration.

You will want a copy of LogView to view the information that the JLog is recording to make sure it is what you are expecting for telemetry purposes.

You will need to configure an LogView ini file so that it knows what parameters it is getting. I used this JLog2_Lov_file which converts the Temperatures into degrees F.

First you use  File Open and select the Lov file above. It tells LogView how to read your data. Then you import a device file and point to your logfile like  log00004.txt and when it opens that it will show you a graph like below. I had to uncheck a lot of parameters so the graph would be easier to read.

image

 

 

3. JLog2 to Jeti receiver wire

What do you need?

  • JLog2
  • A “Micro Mini JST Connector 1.25mm 4-pin w/ Wire” I found 10 packs of these connectors pre-crimped with 28AWG wire for under $5 on E-Bay.
  • An RC Connector Kit would be helpful unless you want to solder the wires together. I like things neat and already have this Servo crimping tool and plenty of servo ends.
  • Jeti Transceiver

The wire below has to be created to connect to the Jeti Transceiver.

JetiMicroJSTwiring

1/13/2013 I just got my Micro Mini JST wires.

microJSTwires2

Make sure that you verify the order of the wires and IGNORE the color of the wires. The wire looks like this when completed. I’ll apply a couple rings of shrink wrap later.

microJSTtoServo2

 

4. Configuring the Jeti EX Transceiver

There is not a lot involved with this. I only need two plugs going into my Jeti EX R7 transceivers. Please notice how clean this is compared to the sensor implementations of other systems. The only thing cleaner would be a single connection straight from a Jeti Mezon ESC.

  1. Port 1 which sends PPM to my FBL controller
  2. Ext. is connected to the JLog2

Note: you do have to bind the receiver first and the bind plug uses Ext. port for this initial step.  You also need to configure the receiver in your DS-16 to use PPM and establish communication with your FBL controller.

image

5. Configuring the Jeti DS-16 Telemetry Display

This is actually pretty simple. After the ESC, JLog2 and receiver are turned on and connected the DS-16 will then show all the new parameters in the Displayed Telemetry setup when you add a new parameter to display.

Menu –> Timers / Sensors –> Displayed Telemetry

I’ve already added some in the display below. Double (Yes/No) allows you to set a particular parameter to take up more room on the screen. The up/down arrows let you arrange the order that the fields are displayed. When you have too many parameters to fit on a screen it goes to a second screen.

image

The Options marked “Telem” are coming from the Jlog2.   Receiver Voltage comes for free, but the JLog also has BEC Voltage and current.

To add a new Telemetry parameter do the following.

F3 ( Add )   Select Option

image

In  this case I currently have two pages.

Page 1 looks like this.

image

 Page 2 looks like this.

image

6. Configuring the Jeti DS-16 Telemetry Alarms

Menu –> Timers / Sensors –> Alarms

image

So based on batteries with 4400mah  storage

4400 x .75 = 3300  25% battery.  

Below shows an alarm set to repeat “Land Now” at 25% battery.

image

Hint: When scrolling up the number of mAh press the menu button to change the digit that you are scrolling.  i.e.  1’s, 10’s, 100’s, 1000’s.

I’m still playing with this, but right now I have the following voice alarms

  • Battery 40 percent   ( plays once )
  • Battery 30 percent   ( plays once )
  • Land Now    ( repeats at battery = 25% )

Plotting Telemetry Data with the DS-16

As soon as I have time…  Plotting Telemetry data directly on the Transmitter from the log files it creates and then using their PC software to look at these same log file.

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Current Transmitters vs. The Jeti DS-16

DS16Updated

Most of our current transmitters are from the dark ages. They appear to be puffed plastic with very little innovation in them.  It seems that the transmitter manufacturers meter out advances very incrementally and very expensively.

For an RC Helicopter guy what matters are the ergonomics, gimbals, switch gear,  configurability, reliability, ease of use, alarming, range, battery capacity and  most recently telemetry.

Futaba is a good company with good products, but I have to admit that I was a bit appalled when they introduced a $3,000 TX with very little to back up that price. They put a color touch screen on it and a small camera to take a picture of your model.  Woo Hoo! (Note the sarcasm )  In order to get their top gimbals you have to anti way up.  They have recently introduced the $600 14FG with Fasstest/S.Bus2 telemetry support like the 18MZ.  So??? $2400 for better gimbals some weight and a color screen and camera?  I can understand some upcharge, but that seems off the map to me.

I’m not trying to pick on Futaba, at least their stuff tends to be pretty bulletproof out of the box unlike Spektrum which has a history of issues especially with the DX8, my first TX which I replaced with a JR 11X that works very well.  Still to get JR’s top gimbals you need to anti up about $1200 for a JR 12X which has no SD card, no telemetry, and is not very cutting edge. Frankly it is a dinosaur.

It’s not that I have anything against these companies or that their products are bad. I just think they have gotten lazy and need a good kick in the pants to innovate a bit.

Along comes Jeti from the Czech Republic and they are offering a Transmitter the likes of which we have never seen in the US.

I was so blown away by this that I pre-ordered one.

What has Jeti done to up the anti ?

1. Ergonomics: They put the display at the top where it is easier to read. The antenna is not something fragile that can snap off. The case is substantial and routed out of Billet Aluminum. It weighs 3.2lbs. The switches are physically movable.

2. Gimbals:  They have Hall Effect, 9 bearing gimbals which means there are no sensors to wear out. They should have a much longer life span than any other gimbals out there and also be the smoothest available.  They can be rotated to line up with your wrists, and of course the sticks adjust in height.

3. Switch Gear: They have high quality switches, Momentary, 2-way, 3-way AND they can all physically be moved all over the transmitter where ever you want them.  Of course you can assign them to do anything you want, but you can actually physically choose to have a specific type of switch in a particular place. You can even add switches to the tops of the gimbals if you are not a thumbs fliers.

4. Ease of Use: They have very intuitive menus, a 4Gb SD card, and a USB port so that you can easily save your models to your computer, and upload wav files, and update firmware.  There is no silly restriction to the number of models that you can configure. If it fits in the memory, you can configure it.

5. Alarming: They not only have very configurable alarming, but you can trigger it to play any .wav file that you upload to it.  The alarm can be continuous, repeat every X period of time, or fire once.

6. Battery Capacity: It comes with a 3200mah LiPO that should run the transmitter for up to 11 hours.

7. Telemetry:  Here they completely run away from the pack:

  • Voice Readout Telemetry values
    • This can be triggered based on a timer, or a momentary switch
    • I think this is really cool. I don’t want to have to look down to see the values. I can just flip a momentary switch and have it read back my current telemetry values, like the mah used in my batteries.
  • The Telemetry values are all logged in the TX and can be downloaded to your computer using the USB port.
  • Configurable alarming based on the telemetry values ( others do this)
  • Tightly integrated with their Jeti Mezon ESC’s that send back telemetry data. This greatly simplifies setup.
  • Very complete list of telemetry sensors available now. This is because Jeti has been doing telemetry for a long time and isn’t new to this game.

8. Other features: It has something like model match but better. It can tell when you have powered up a model that you have not selected and it will let you know about it and even allow you to assign that Transceiver to the currently selected model. Talk about an easy way to bind your heli!  There are accelerometers in the TX that can be used to control things as well. Maybe it could be used to aim a camera for FPV? I really haven’t figured out a use for that one yet, but it is interesting and I think innovative.

Addendum 12/12/12 : They just put out a video showing a really good use for the built in accelerometers as triggers to have it read out a piece of telemetry data. The example they use is basically giving it a small shake that triggers a voice readout of the timer value, but you could have it read off anything else. So maybe a shake of the top of the TX could give me the current head speed, flight mode and mah used…   That has got to be the easiest way to find out how much time you have left to fly ever.

Helifreak Jeti forum: http://www.helifreak.com/forumdisplay.php?f=322

I am very excited about trying this transmitter out!!!  It actually has really cool features that I can use, and I’m sure that I will find a lot more features once I dig into it.

I’ll be getting 15 points of telemetry data from my Jive via a JLog2 that talks to a Jeti Transceiver.  I’ll cover how that is configured later after I get my DS-16.

I’m planning to start with the following telemetry values.

1 (battery voltage)
2 (motor current)
3 (head speed)
4 (Flight Battery used capacity) mAh
5 (BEC output voltage)
6 (BEC output current)
7 (Throttle 0 to 100% )
8 "PWM" (version control point 0 to 100%)
9 (temperature of the power FET (final stage)
10 (motor speed) rpm
11 (flight pack battery voltage minimum) V
12 (BEC minimum voltage) V
13 (maximum motor current) A
14 (BEC maximum current) A
15 (maximum output) Watts

Blade 130X Friend or Foe…

my130X

I believe that this  is currently the smallest heli that you can buy with the  flight characteristics of a larger more stable heli. For me this makes it the perfect back yard heli.  Perfect in that it is small enough not to worry the neighbors or damage my home and large enough to be visible and capable of 3D right out out of the box. ( for the first few flights anyway… )

The 130X is very clearly aimed at a specific price tag and corners were cut to make the  kit fit that price point. Horizon Hobby isn’t stupid. They know they just need to hook you in the first few flights to keep you coming back for more.  Depending on your patience there may be enough heli here for you to spend the time and extra money to get the heli flying right in a little more durable fashion.

Is it as crash worthy as an mCPX ? No.  There are a lot more parts to break and gears to strip so it will cost more to repair. This is especially true of the plastic stock parts. However if you are prudent with your throttle hold, the 130X can survive some crashes reasonably well after a few weaker components are upgraded.  Typically the tail boom slides out in a crash and needs to be repositioned.

If you visit the 130X forums it is obvious that there are some quality control issues.  In fact I would seriously suggest that you visit the 130X forums and look at their sticky links at the top the cover what you should do to get your 130X flying properly.  A lot of complaints center around the tail and how much slop there is as well as how quickly a number of parts wear out. Many other complaints center around poor assembly.  You should expect to tear this heli down and rebuild it before you fly it.

Visibility: The stock blades are hard to see, so the first thing I did was purchase the bright yellow main and tail blades. They are much easier to see. ( Recommended, but not necessary )  The white landing gear helps as well.

There are some QA issues with the plastic A gear. Out of the box many of them will actually touch the circuit board and require sanding. However this part tends to get striped so replace it early with the metal A gear and then don’t worry about it.

The Tail

It doesn’t matter whether you get a Rakon or Micro Heli steel or titanium pitch slider, single to dual bearings, the stock pitch slider has a LOT of play in it that gets worse very quickly after a little flying.  You will want this upgrade to improve your tail performance so it doesn’t wag and even so it will just work reliably. The plastic C and D gears can wear out quickly. Most people put a dab of CA on the end of the TT and the C gear to hold the TT in place so it doesn’t slide out in flight.

The Gear Mesh

I’ve been told that this is the holy grail of getting this heli to fly well. Some people have needed to put slots in the motor mount to adjust the pinion to main gear mesh. Some people have needed spacers to adjust the A gear to B gear mesh.

Batteries

If you happen to have a bunch of 2S batteries hanging around the battery connector that comes with this heli just won’t cut it. I soldered a female JST connector to the battery wires. This way I can use the 2S batteries that I already have and that I can charge very quickly 4 at a time on my large battery charger.  I ordered a pair of female JST connectors from HH with my 130X order. They were $2.99.

What you will need

I  would plan on budgeting about $400 for this heli to get it right and have a few spare parts. If you can get over the fact that this heli requires tweaking out of the box and a few upgrades to make it perform better and more crash worthy it is a good little beater.

2S batteries: ( required )

  • I use 6x  65C 325mah Thunder Power batteries. I can charge them 4 at a time with my charger in a very short period of time.  $16.99 each. ( This is the same price that HH charges for their 300mah 35C battery) These are weighted very well for the 130X and are supposed to be good for 500-600 cycles and can be charged at up to 12C or 3.9A each.
  • However if you want cheaper batteries,  Sky is selling some for $2 each as I post this.

Maintenance Items:

  • The Rear Tail Gears  will wear out and your tail control will suffer. The kit comes  with a spare set.  One person told me goes through a set about every 20 flights. He is doing piro flips and pushing it hard, but be forewarned these are a normal wear item.  $3.99 for 2 sets or about 10 cents a flight if you fly hard.

Metal Bevel Gear: (highly recommended)  $14.99   BLH3735

Tail sliders: ( highly recommended )

More Visible blades: ( recommended )

There are many other upgrades available. Some are purely for aesthetics and will just make your heli heavier. Depending on how you fly some upgrades may reduce your typical crash costs, but that will vary.  Some people have had their tail servos wear out quickly and have installed DS35 tail servos instead. I had a cyclic servo die after about 120 flights.

I’ve also added a motor heat sink as my motor appears to run hot. Some people say that is an issue and other say it isn’t.

Crash Parts

The cost of the crash parts seems a bit excessive. For many much larger helis you can get 2 feathering shafts for the price of one for this little heli. However unlike most larger helis an inverted crash typically will not damage the blades or the feathering shaft.  So if you  do the math it is still more cost effective to crash the 130X over a more reliable larger heli.

Parts to stock up on:  C/D gears, main grips, tail grips, feathering shaft, Boom, TT’s, bearings, tail fin.

Occassional parts:  Servos, landing gear, canopy, head, tail spindle

Is this heli right for you?

If you are learning collective pitch and orientation nose in, and inverted hovering, an mCPX is a much better choice. It will crash a lot better and requires a LOT less maintenance.

If you are  a more advanced flier and want something small  to tool around with but more acrobatically capable than the mCPX, and you don’t mind tinkering around with it and upgrading it VERY soon after flying it, the 130X might be a good fit.

This has been a love/hate heli for me.   At the moment I have mine running smoothly and I flew 12 packs through it the other day working on inverted flight. I crashed hard a couple times and lightly a couple more. I broke one $2.99 tail fin for all of that crashing and had to reposition the tail after the two rougher crashes.

So for me it is a good tool to learn with after I figure something out on the simulator, but before I fly one of my larger helis.