Saturday, July 22, 2017

DJI Mavic Pro: The Missing Handbook: Waypoints

Continuing my series on Mavic Pro operations, this week involves a deep dive into the Waypoints feature of the DJI Go 4 app.  It's quite powerful, but it also has some significant things it can't do.  Once you understand the capabilities and limitations, though, the built in Waypoints feature is a wonderful tool for capturing some very interesting shots in the sky, because it allows you to focus on capturing the scene and not flying the drone.

So, join me for a pre-plotted trip through Waypoints!

Saturday, July 15, 2017

DJI Mavic Pro: The Missing Handbook: Intelligent Flight Modes

Continuing my Missing Handbook series for the DJI Mavic Pro, this week I dig into a number of the "Intelligent Flight Modes" - Tripod, Cinematic, Sport, Terrain Follow, Home Lock, and Course Lock.

If you missed last week's post, I covered preflight checks and basic operation.  It would be a good idea to read that if you haven't, because I build on that this week.

All the modes I'm covering this week are still "manual flying" modes - the drone won't move unless you command it to, though some of the modes radically change how control stick motions translate into movement through the sky!

So, join me as I dive into some of the various Mavic Pro operating modes!

Saturday, July 8, 2017

DJI Mavic Pro: The Missing Handbook: Basic Operations

So, you bought a Mavic Pro?  What a coincidence!  So did I!

And if you've done much reading on it, you've probably determined two things: The manual covers the bare minimum, and there's a serious lack of non-video information on how to use these - or, even with the videos, details of operating modes and limitations.  This series of posts (probably 4, possibly a few more) is my attempt to resolve this problem - to write a useful operating manual for the Mavic Pro (and other DJI products with similar operating modes, though this is purely focused on the Mavic Pro).

If you have one, or even if you're just curious about drone operation, read on!

Saturday, July 1, 2017

Transient Tester Software: Button Based Menus

Last week, I posted about a little transient tester I built for analyzing USB power supplies and battery packs.  I wrote what I consider to be a reasonably interesting little button based menu for setting values and running tests.  It supports setting current and time for two stages of operation (high and low current) with a set of 4 buttons, running tests and reporting data, and does this with quite a small memory footprint.  It also supports setting the current by the 0.05A steps that the hardware supports.

It also shows off some techniques that I feel are quite appropriate for any sort of embedded programming - bit packed structs, hard coding some of the screen attributes (only two rows), etc.

So, come on along for the journey!

Saturday, June 24, 2017

Building a 5V Transient Tester for USB Power Analysis

One part I find myself using somewhat regularly in projects is a lithium battery bank charger/USB power supply - it's the guts of a battery bank phone charger, except always turned on.  This provides a reliable 5V output for projects, charges from micro-USB if needed by the project, and offers some basic battery protection behaviors (on paper, they should turn off below a certain input voltage and stop charging over another voltage).

However, while fighting with the SparkFun ESP8266 WiFi Shield, I discovered that these units do not handle transients very well - if the load changes quickly, the voltage wanders around for a while before recovering.  Different units behave differently, and I wanted to find out how different testers behave under this type of load - so I built myself a USB 5V Transient Tester!

Why?  Because!  I wanted something that did this, couldn't find one easily available, and set out to build one.  This is the sort of one-off bit of lab equipment that Arduinos are perfect for.

Interested?  Read on!

Saturday, June 17, 2017

Building Ural-compatible PVC Target Stands for about $25/ea

You know what you need?  Cheap target stands for range days!  You can build a pair of these stands for just over $50 in parts from your local Home Depot or Lowes.

I built this pair in just over an hour.  Most importantly, they fit on my Ural!

If you find yourself needing some cheap target stands on short notice, read on!

Saturday, June 10, 2017

Solar Shed Part 16: Interior & Exterior Improvements

My solar powered office has been up and online for a while, but one of the joys of a space like mine is that it's always a project - and I can do whatever I want with it, constrained only by what is possible affordable and what I can figure out how to do!  For instance, I'm almost, but not entirely, out of space for more monitors.

This space is totally awesome for what I do with my time - it's working absolutely as well as hoped, and I have no significant complaints.  But, I have been making improvements as I go to make the space better for my needs.  Read on for some of the changes I've made since the original post last July!