Sunday, November 22, 2015

Rechargeable Sound Reactive Peace Pendant

With all the madness going on in the world right now, a LED sound reactive peace pendant would help radiate some love.

Here is a write-up on how to make one.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Toaster Oven Modification for PCB Reflow

This is a video on a toaster oven modification for PCB reflow purposes. I got a toaster oven at Walmart for $20 and added a reflow controller called the Controleo from For folks who don't know what reflowing is, you can read about it here. I wanted to  make some PCBs at home using SMD components, and decided to give this project a try.

The Controleo setup was pretty painless and inexpensive. If you do decide to do this modification, please do so at your own risk. AC voltages can bite you if handled improperly. Happy reflowing!!

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Dynam Hawk Sky Review

I bought a Dynam Hawk Sky a couple of weeks ago from and here
is a little review.
The package was delivered without any issue. The foam parts were packaged well. Plugged in the LiPo to charge on the provided balance charger. The charger gave a wierd high-pitched sound when charging, I guess that was normal as the 2 LEDs were green. It took about 45 minutes to charge. The instruction manual is poorly written, so I would suggest looking for some help online. If you have previous RC experience, most of the construction is common sense. The horizontal stabilizer and the rudder were attached using 20 minute epoxy ensuring that the parts were square. The rudder and elevator clevises are a couple of brass attachements with a screw to hold the push-rod in place. It was quite flimsy in my opinion, will get to that in a minute. I let the epoxy harden overnight. The aeileron servos/push-rods came installed. The wing installs by sliding each side into the fuselage after connecting the servo leads. There is a plastic tube that goes between the wings to add some strength. The wings are held in place by the tightness between the wing root and fuselage. I found that a little unsettling, hence added a couple of pieces of electrical tape for good measure. I would have hated for the wings to come loose in flight :)

I wasn't too sure about the 2.4GHz radio system that came with the plane, so I replaced the transmitter/receiver with a Tactic system from another plane that I had. The stock servos worked with the Tactic system, so I left them in place.

The motor connections required a bit of maneuvering as the motor wires had to be pulled through the foam area on the mount into a vent hole just under the motor mount (see pic above). This required a bit of patience as the hole was very small.The first flight was uneventful. The brushless motor has plenty of power for a good climb. The plane is very dosile and it is difficult to do rolls with the huge wingtip dihedral.

My first take-off was on asphalt using the landing gear. Later did hand-launches. It glides really well as I was flying at 1/2 power with a flight time of about 20 minutes. The stalls are predictable, with a bit of spiral to the left. Since the plane glides very well without a significant drop in airspeed, the landing descent was started early on idle. I had to use a bit of down elevator to keep the decent as it would have otherwise over-shot my landing mark. The rudder works well at low airspeeds as well. The first landing was a bit hard and the elevator clevise came loose. I ended up twisting the pushrod in the hole of the control horn to keep it in place for the second flight. I would recommend that this be done for all surfaces. I tested a payload capability with a 160g battery pack, and the plane handled it without issue. I will eventually be using the plane for my Ardupilot Mega autopilot. There is a generous amount of room in the fuselage as the elevator and rudder servos are mounted outside.

Ultimately, I think that the Hawk Sky is a great beginner plane and defintitely a good platform for an autopilot system. It looks good too!

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Parrot AR Drone


This was a test of the Parrot AR drone using the ROS teleop package controlled from a PC running Ubuntu. The drone has a forward and downward facing camera. Currently working developing ROS packages to conduct image recognition for applications in SLAM (Simultaneous Localization And Mapping).

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Ardupilot Mega first test

This is the first test of the assembled Ardupilot Mega autopilot board. All the sensors and GPS worked great. It was really cool to see the system tracking on the map in real-time while I drove. I was relieved to see that my soldering was ok, and that I had not fried something while assembling the board :)

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Ardupilot Mega kit

I assembled the Ardupilot Mega kit from in a couple of evenings. The soldering was not difficult, just had to take care in not applying too much heat onto the board. All the sensors seem to be functioning and the GPS got a fix. DIYdrones is a great place to start on learning all about drones, autopilot systems, etc. It does help to have some knowledge about RC planes in order to understand how to integrate an autopilot system into a plane. However, there are tons of resources on how to do that for a newbie. I will be putting this system on a Dynam Hawk Sky from I have read some rave reviews about this plane being used for an autopilot system and is a suitable substitute for the Multiplex Easy Star.