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Bixler v1.1 FPV

Here's a parts list and build information for my 55" Bixler v1.1 FPV plane.  This setup has a lot of capability -- long range video and control, flight stabilization, and GPS nagivation -- with a relatively inexpensive cost.

See here for a gallery of pics.
See below for a parts list and videos.

The basics:  For elevator/rudder I'm using Corona 939MG servos.  They are mounted inside the fuselage so I wanted to use strong servos that I wouldn't have to worry about them stripping and needing to be replaced.  For ailerons, HXT900 servos.  The motor is a
1050kv Turnigy TR2217/16, with an APC 10x4.7 Slo-Flyer Prop.  I installed a Motor Mount Upgrade to provide clearance for the larger prop.

I installed the Landing Gear Set -- I needed to reinforce the plastic front-mounting piece (see pic), similar to what another person did in this pic.  Be aware that this installation makes the back half of the fuselage interior more difficult to reach, and may create a weak point in the fuselage.  (Reinforcing with packing or strapping tape can help.)  I like how the gear is removable so the plane can still be "belly" landed.  I swapped out the front tires for larger ones, which work better on grass runways.

For control I'm using a 433MHz OpenLRS system:  HawkEye DTF UHF 6-channel receiver and Flytron M3 1W Tx module for Futaba.  (All of the HawkEye DTF UHF products are very good / recommended.)  The receiver and transmitter are loaded with OpenLRSng firmware.  I'm using dipole antennas that I made:  On the transmitter side, made with Copper-Coated Mig Welding Wire.  On the receiver side, made with plain wire (~20AWG) with the top (active) wire taped to the plane's vertical stabilizer and the bottom (ground) wire dangling (see pic).  For 433MHz, I made the length of each element 164mm (
1/4-wave).  This cable can be used to make SMA-connector pigtails.  Similar antennas may be purchased here.

The flight controller is an ArduPilot APM 2.5 -- this plane is using the RCTimer ArduFlyer V2.5.2 clone board; I've also used the  ReadytoFlyer 2.5.2 clone board. 
The open-source ArduPlane firmware (developed by DIY Drones) is loaded onto the flight controller and operates the plane.  There are many flight parameters that may be configured; here is a parameter set that I have flown with:  Bixler_ParamList_20140512.param.

The Power Module is nice to use because it provides the 5-volt power for the flight controller and receiver, as well as providing the input signals for battery voltage and current monitoring.  The speed controller I used does not have a BEC, so I used a UBEC to provide power for the servos.  (A speed controller's BEC could also have been used.)  It's good to keep the flight-controller power separate so the servos cannot cause "brown outs."

For GPS I'm using a ublox NEO-6M module, which works well.  I've programmed the custom configuration "3DR-Ublox.txt" into the unit, as per the instructions here (for the reasons why see here).  I built an FTDI adapter cable (like this one) to connect the GPS to the computer; here is the pinout:
    NEO-6M   FTDI
 GND  --  GND
 VCC  --  VCC
  RX  --  TXD
  TX  --  RXD
The NEO-6M module connector is a Molex 1.25mm; compatible cables may be found here and here.  See here and here for a cheap FTDI adapters.  See here for a discussion of ublox LEA-6H vs NEO-6M.  See here for a picture of the NEO-6M showing the pin labels.  The battery on the unit is a Seiko MS621FE.

I fly the Bixler with a Futaba 9C transmitter, on which I have switches setup to select between up to six different flight modes.  See here for more info on that setup.  Here are the switch settings for the modes I use:
SW-C SW-D   #    Mode
DN UP 2 Loiter
MID DN 3 Cruise
MID UP 4 Stabilize
UP DN 5 Acro (or Auto)
UP UP 6 Manual

FM1 C-up: Manual
FM3 C-mi: Stabilize
FM6 C-dn: Loiter
FM2 C-up: Acro (or Auto)
FM5 C-mi: Cruise
FM4 C-dn: RTL
FPV video transmitter:  I've been flying the Bixler with a video transmitter I got from a US-based seller on eBay.  It works well, but it does not have an "inner case" that can be removed to save weight, like the transmitter from this set.  A lighter 50x25x10mm heatsink can be attached to the transmitter.  These sets come with transmitter and receiver.  As separate units, a transmitter can be found here, and some higher-quality receivers here and here.

For the video-transmitter antenna (on the plane), I made a cloverleaf antenna using
Copper-Coated Mig Welding WireThis cable can be used to make SMA-connector pigtails.  For the video-receiver antenna, I've gotten good results with a Skew-Planar antenna (omnidirectional) and with a crosshair antenna (directional).

The power for the FPV transmitter and camera is run through an L-C filter (
1000uH coil, 470uF and 100pF capacitors) wired up like in this diagram (with the two capacitors both on the "camera" side).

Other miscellaneous notes:

DIY Headtracker (Easy build, No drift, OpenSource)

Nano 328 AVR board Arduino compatible ATmega328 micro controller

GY-85 Sensor Modules 6DOF 9DOF IMU SENSOR $13.32
  ITG3205 + ADXL345 + HMC5883L

trainer port pinouts

UHF RF Beacon


Parts List:

HobbyKing Bixler v1.1 EPO 1400mm (KIT) HK-SS-KIT  $34.44

Hobbyking Bixler and Bixler 2 Landing Gear Set w/Tailwheel 310000114 $3.99

Hobbyking Bixler and Bixler 2 Motor Mount Upgrade 310000115 $2.99

Hobbyking SS Series 40-50A ESC (USA Warehouse) HK-SS50A $10.95

TURNIGY 3A UBEC w/ Noise Reduction (USA Warehouse) TR-UBEC $4.69

Turnigy 2217 16turn 1050kv 23A Outrunner (US Warehouse) TR2217/16 $14.60

APC 10x4.7 Slo-Flyer Propeller LP10047SF $2.29

Corona 939MG Digital Metal Gear Servo (USA warehouse) DS939MG $7.15 [elevator/rudder]

HXT900 9g / 1.6kg / .12sec Micro Servo (US Warehouse) $3.19 [ailerons]

Turnigy 2200mAh 3S 30C Lipo Pack (USA Warehouse) T2200.3S.30  $14.75

Turnigy nano-tech 2650mah 3S 25~50C Lipo Pack (USA Warehouse) N2650.3S.25  $15.93

Hobby King Battery Monitor 3S (USA warehouse) HKing-3S $4.16

Peel-n-stick foam double sided tape 10x5inch 4mm thick (US Warehouse) ST-FOAM-DB $1.49

Polyester Velcro Peel-n-stick adhesive side (1mtr) (USA Warehouse) HLFT-01 $2.53

Hinge Tape, 1 Roll (Blenderm 1"x 5 yards) 40-002 $2.99

RCTimer ArduFlyer V2.5.2 Kit Flight Controller $39.99

NEO-6M GPS Module (US Warehouse) 387000004  $20.45

RTFlyer Power Module w/UBEC and XT60 connectors  $12.00

HawkEye DTF UHF 6-channel long range receiver OpenLRSng  $40.00

Flytron OpenLRS M3 1W Tx module for Futaba  $109.90

2.8mm 120deg 4-24v Wide Voltage micro cctv camera 520tvl HD 0.008 Low Lux  $25.33

FPV Fiberglass Pan-Tilt Camera Mount (USA Warehouse) Q004  $4.16

HXT500 5g / .8kg / .10sec Micro Servo (USA Warehouse)  $3.45

Wireless A/V CCTV Home Receiver Transmitter 15CH 700MW  $62.98

On-Screen Display OSD Board MinimOSD APM Telemetry to APM 1 and APM 2  $9.26

Alternate parts:

ReadytoFlyer 2.5.2   $39.00

House uBlox 6M GPS Module - No mounting backplane $18.00

MinimOSD $10.00

1.2G/1.3G 8CH AV 800mW Digital Wireless Transmitter FPV WS1144 $39.99

FPV 1.2G 8CH 800mw Wireless AV Transmitter And Receiver $55.99

RMRC - 900MHz-1.3Ghz Receiver w/1258 with RMRC Comtech Tuner  $54.99

Custom 900MHz-1.3Ghz Receiver - Comtech Tuner & SAW Filter  $74.95

Plastic Case Sony Super HAD CCD 600TVL Board Camera CC1333 HS1163  $27.00

Bixler FPV 808 #16 2014-05-24:

Bixler FPV Belleville 808 #16 2014-06-19:

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