As a follow up to building Dave_C's #NanoLongRange, I took my freshly made drone to the field for a flight test. Seeing "long range" is part of #NanoLongRange name, let's test test exactly how far we can fly this cool little flying contraption. I am still amazed by a few facts about this project.
- The frame can be downloaded and 3D printed
- It is powered by a single cell 18650 battery
- This technology is available to the general public, without costing and arm and a leg.
We live in truly amazing times. Only a few years ago, building something like this would not have been possible for a hobbyist. Let's never forget that.
Weather and Location
Ideally, it would have been best to do a distance test on a windless day. However, I was impatient and decided to do my flight test on a relatively windy day. The location is just outside of the town I live in on a mountain which overlooks the city.
For those of you interested in history, on this very mountain, and in the fields shown in my flight video, the Battle of Jena Auerstedt was fought during the Napoleonic wars. This battle was descisive in Napoleon's victory over the Prussians in 1806. The image above depicts a monument to the battle called the Napoleonstein and can be found on the top on the plateu.
Transmitter, Receiver and VTX
My radio system is setup for "long range" and includes the following:
For more information, read my build article
For the entirety of the flight I was fighting the wind. This is evident when you observe the angle when flying straight. However, this flying battery strapped to a chunk of plastic, was able to reach a distance of 1 kilometer! Ironically, I could have flown farther. This VTX signal was strong, and the battery was holding up. However I had a misconfiguration with my Crossfire module. Throughout the flight, the polite English-accented female voice of my transmitter repeated the following over and over "Telemetry Lost, Telemetry Recovered, Telemetry Lost, Telemetry Recovered..." ad nauseam. At one point of the flight, my Crossfire connection also dropped out, while only at a distance of ca. 500m. For approximately 1.5 seconds, the drone was in a free fall before the signal was recovered (see video). In spite of this, the 400mW signal of my Eachine Nano VTX was still strong in my goggles. If any of you have experience with this particular problem, please leave a comment below.
Towards the end of the flight, and as the voltage of my brave litte 18650 battery dropped below 3.6V, the wind finally won and a gust pushed her somewhat gently to the ground. Luckily, this little bird suffered no damage and will live to fly another mission.
I am glad I didn't lose my drone in the failsafe. I am also surprised how well this little drone flew in with such high winds. My Crossfire equipment had some obvious problems, which means I will need to correct that before flying my #NanoLongRange in the future.
For my next test with this drone, I would like to strap an Insta360 Go (V1), to the frame and record some HD video. Granted, she can take off with the extra weight. I will be designing a camera mount for the Insta360 Go in the near future, which you will be able to download and print from my Thingiverse Page.
You can view the complete test flight along with an audio commentry in the following video:
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