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Multicopter with Thermal Camera

Testing Flir Tau2 thermal camera with Y6 Multicopter (DJI WooKong-M). Below you can watch 4 flights.

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What bearings for my multi-rotor copter motor?

What bearings in copter motors?  The type of bearing is a “deep groove” ball bearing.  


The axial load (applied force is parallel to motor shaft) placed on the motor is no different than the axial load placed on the motor when it is used in an airplane. The only difference is orientation; i.e., airplane motor operating vertically. Most, if not all, out-runner electric motors use deep groove ball bearings.  This type of bearing is capable of carrying both radial (applied force is perpendicular to motor shaft) and axial loads.  The bearing functions as both as radial bearing and as an axial (thrust) bearing; required since the propeller creates both an axial and radial force.  The radial force is primarily from the centrifugal force generated by spinning the prop. The axial force primarily from propeller thrust. 


Angular contact ball bearings can take a radial load (force perpendicular to motor shaft), but the axial load (force parallel to motor shaft) from only one direction.

Thrust bearings only support an axial load.  

The deep groove type of ball bearing can support both a radial and an axial load.  A typical miniature deep groove ball bearing has an axial load rating of about 25% of the radial load. 

The SKF company states “If deep groove ball bearings are subjected to purely axial load, this axial load should generally not exceed the value of 0.5 C0 (static load). Small bearings (bore diameter up to approx. 12 mm) and light series bearings (Diameter Series 8, 9, 0, and 1) should not be subjected to an axial load greater than 0.25 C0. Excessive axial loads can lead to a considerable reduction in bearing service life.”.

 As an example, in a motor with two 4x9x4 bearings with a radial load limit of 40lbs for each bearing would have a total static (continuous) axial load limit of 20lbs(in the case of, a KDE 2814 it would be 36lbs[with three bearings]). Now consider the motor has a 12x4 prop generating a maximum of 2000g of intermittent maximum thrust (4.4lbs) on a 4s battery. The motor bearings are well within the design limits...

Deep groove ball bearings; the motor manufacturers are using the correct bearings in their electric out-runner motors. They don't need to use thrust bearings.

Here's a link to how deep groove bearings are assembled by hand.

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Aeromapper 300 mapping drone –1.5 hr endurance with multisensor capabilities

The Aeromapper 300 is the latest UAV offer from Aeromao Inc. Canada.

The Aeromapper 300 is one of the most complete UAV for general mappping applications, at the most competitve price on the market. Powerful yet very easy & friendly to use, with 1.5 hour endurance, currently more than two dozen different sensors or combination of sensors supported via swappable mounts, safe parachute landing capability, hand or catapult launch supported, long range data link and control and of course, fully automatic flight.

Despite its size it also has a small turning radius (about 30 m turning radius), making it also ideal for those low altitude–high ground resolution flights in which the flight lines are pretty close to each other.

The standard package of the Aeromapper 300 includes the Sony Nex 7 (24 MP) with a survey grade wide angle rectilinear lens. The UAV is also conceived to carry the mighty Sony Alpha a7r with 36 MP.

Customers can also choose from a large variety of payloads and sensors with swappable mounts, even combination of them (like Sony Nex 5 + tetracam ADC Micro, with simultaneous trigger). Information on the list of sensors and payloads for the Aeromapper family of UAVs is found here: http://www.aeromao.com/uav_payloads

The Aeromapper 300 also comes with a detailed User Manual well supported for first time users with no previous experience using drones, and trainings are also available in Ontario, Canada. Included in the package are all the accessories required as well as quality carrying cases.

Similarly to its smaller brother Aeromapper EV2, the Aeromapper 300 uses the concept of a highly engineered payload bay module attached to a high performance carbon fiber glider aircraft. Using this approach the company is able to offer high end UAVs at the fraction of the cost of other similar drones.

Most UAV manufacturers design and fabricate the fuselage and wings of their drones from scratch, leading to high pre and post production costs. The pod concept used by Aeromao reduces production costs immensely and provides additional advantages:

1. Modularity: since most of the electronics, payload and parachute system are contained in the payload module the fuselage can be easily exchanged for a new one, if required. This process usually takes two hours or less and can be done by the user. In other UAVs if the fuselage is not usable all the electronics and key components need to be migrated to a new fuselage, basically reassembling a new UAV (which leads to high costs and longer lead times)

2.  Cost Savings:  leveraging on an existing glider airframe produces immense savings, which are passed on to UAV customers. The Aeromapper 300 can match the specifications of other drones that cost $50,000 - $70,000 dollars.

3.  Customization: pods can be easily customized for special applications, again, thanks to not having to modify an entire airframe. Customizations are usually affordable and fast.

4.  Speed of adaptation: probably one of the most important advantages in the UAV market is the speed at which UAVs can adapt to new applications. If required, only the pod needs to be modified, not the entire fuselage.

For more information please visit http://www.aeromao.com/aeromapper_300

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Phoenard: World’s first all-in-one prototyping gadget as your Drone Controller?

Phoenard; The project currently running on Kickstarter.

It has lot of peripherals built in which is more than capable to be your next Drone controller.

10-degrees of freedom sensor, Accelerometer, gyro, magnetometer and barometer are included and powered by ATMEGA2560, identical to the one use on APM. Plenty of PWM GPIO pins are also available. The GPS, GSM and GPRS module are embedded by default as well on board. 

The full color LCD might be handy as well for changing some settings on board rather than from pc. Moreover it is battery powered and portable, very comfortable to bring along. 

Lastly, its operating environment allows you to store thousands of arduino sketches/program on board. Similar to developing apps on smartphone. So switching between controlling different drones is very easy.

Although the super early for 99 Euro has been sold-out, the early bird is still available for only 111 Euro!



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Wide angle laser beams for anti-collision

Wide angle laser beams can detect and measure the range to people, trees and other safety critical objects from moving aerial or ground based platforms.

We've been experimenting with a new version of our SF10 laser altimeter to see what happens when we change the normally narrow, parallel laser beam into a wider, fan shape and align it horizontally or with a downwards tilt. There is a practical limit to the wide direction (major axis) of about 30 degrees but any angle from zero to thirty degrees is attainable. The best combination of range and sensitivity is found using a 10 x 3 degree beam pattern that can detect a person more than 10m away.

The two pictures below show the SF10 laser unit and an example of the modified laser beam pattern. The intensity, and therefore the detection sensitivity, is pretty uniform across the beam so even obstacles right at the edges give a good return signal. We're using time-of-flight technology to work out the distance and the unit has I2C, serial and analog interfaces.

The real purpose of this blog post is to ask the knowledgeable members of this forum for feedback about possible applications for wide laser beams, used either stand alone or in multiples. I admit that this is not going to be the ideal solution to every problem. Instead, I hope to use your feedback as a sanity check to see if we're going in the right direction with this technology.

Thanks, LD

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