Here in Oregon, winter isn’t so much the season of bitter cold as it is the season of perpetual rain. Given our ambition to fly in the service of public safety, it’s obvious that we can’t let a few drops of water keep us on the ground, but exposed circuit boards and electronic speed controllers aren’t known for their tolerance of the wet stuff.
So, we made our own weatherpoof enclosure for RQCX-1 “Little Bird’s” electronic components. And, yes, before the Internet lights up with rumors and innuendo, I’ll go ahead and confirm that we made it from a square, 5.2-cup Rubbermaid “Takealongs” food storage container.
Before you accuse me of looking for a sponsorship from Rubbermaid – although that’s not a bad idea – I’ll point out that these are lightweight, inexpensive, waterproof and, with a touch of spray paint and a few decals, downright stylish.
Techinstein used the tip of his soldering iron to melt holes in the lid, which he passed wires through to hook up the motors, the video transmitter antenna and other external components. With the wires in place, he sealed the holes with silicone caulk. I hope that we don’t ever actually test this, but it should even be tolerant of a water landing.
As a bonus, we discovered that this configuration allows the bird to rest upside down on a flat surface, which makes it easier to change batteries, work with the mounted GoPro, and so forth.
During this upgrade cycle, we also added a couple of new internal components.
One drawback of the MultiWiiCopter flight control system is that every time you change batteries, it loses “level.” Consequently, you have to walk around, stooped over, looking for a perfectly level patch of ground – a process that is both undignified and time consuming.
To overcome this problem, we’ve added a Castle Creations Battery Eliminator Circuit (BEC) and hooked up a small battery – a Gens Ace 1600 mAH 7.4V 20C battery from HobbyPartz.com – that keeps the MultiWiiCopter brain “alive” while we change over flight batteries.
As a result, you only have to find level once. That makes a huge difference when you’re out flying. You land, slap on a fresh battery and take off again – you’re back in the air in less than a minute. I recognized how valuable this could be while flying a demonstration mission for some of my friends in public safety. In the work that they do, every second counts.
On the downside, Techinstein is still trying to explain to me why a “battery eliminator circuit” actually adds a battery to the system, but I’m the first to admit that the tech stuff isn’t my best subject.