Spreading the charms of Japan to the world from Fukui




Drone flight practice


Production notes

The photo above shows the drone tilting against the wind while hovering.


I practice drone flight every week even if I have no plans to shoot. Although it did not rain today, the wind was constantly blowing around 5 m/s, which was generally considered a bad weather condition for drone flight. But it was even preferable for training. And I operated so that the drone wouldn't be pushed by the wind and did basic exercises to draw precise figures such as a straight line, circle, and figure eight. These exercises lead to safer flights.


Also, aside from its technical aspects, if I leave equipments for long time, something goes wrong just when I try to use it. Then, one day, or several days may be wasted in case of a distant location. So it is necessary to use the drone frequently and to keep it at the ready.

I made AiRScouter, a secret weapon to fly drones safely, available to my Mavic.


Production notes

Using AiRScouter WD-300A


When taking aerial shots or movies with a drone, I sometimes lose track of it while looking at a monitor. I usually fly it by myself and decided to use a head-mounted display for one eye named AiRScouter to solve such an anxiety. By using this, I can check images on the monitor without taking my eyes off of the drone, so the operational safety is greatly improved. Although the display is very small, I can watch not only images but also a telemetry information such as its battery level, distance, and altitude.


But there was a problem. The AiRScouter connects to a transmitter or a monitor connected to the transmitter using an HDMI cable and mirrors the image of the monitor onto the display near my eyes. It can be used with Phantom4 Pro+ because its transmitter has an HDMI port. But it cannot be used with Mavic series. It was a big problem for me, so I tried EZCast 2.4G HDMI dongle receiver that was sold for 2,699 yen on Amazon, and I was able to use it without any problems. An iPad or an iPhone connected to the transmitter and this dongle are connected via Wi-Fi, so around the transmitter became tidy.

Inserting the EZCast directly into the control box of the AiRScouter interferes with the power USB port next to the HDMI port, so I use a 10-centimeter HDMI extension cable (DOSAN brand) . That's a little bulky, but it can't be helped.


The power cable terminals of the AiRScouter and EZCast are both USB Type-A, so I use a mobile battery (MOXNICE brand) that has two Type-A USB ports.


I got a hard case for the Air Scouter and some small items related to it. I also put an adapter for attaching an iPad to the Mavic's transmitter and an HDMI cable for wired use in the case.
TRUSCO Protector Tool Case Olive M TAK13OD-M


Follow-up report on the drone simulator


Production notes

(Video of when I scored a lap time less than 15 seconds on FPV Freerider for the first time)


I started using the racing drone simulator software "FPV Freerider" in September 2018 for practicing drone manupilation.


At that time, I gave up soon because it was too difficult to maneuver, but over a year later, in December 2019, I tried it again. And I have managed to make about 15 seconds per lap recently.


I learnd that if I kept practicing even for 10 minutes each day, I could develop my skill little by little. So I'm looking forward to beating my best time.


In fact, I bought the paid version for $4.55 first, so it's too bad that I have used only the "Desert" course of a free version so far.


Related blog: Drone simulator

Eye-opening experience of soldering


Production notes

I have recently started soldering to remodel toy drones and to make racing drones by myself. It might be the first time that I used a soldering iron since I was in junior high school.


I've been doing it on my own way for a while, but one day I learned that there was the right soldering method from a book. And last week, I participated in a "Soldering workshop" by Masaharu Nose, the author of the book I read. The workshop was held in Shiga Prefecture neighboring Fukui Prefecture, so I could go there easily.


Until then, I thought that soldering was melting solder with a soldering iron and bonding two terminals, or terminals and lead wires with the melted solder. However, I found it was completely different.


The correct method is to use a soldering iron to heat base materials such as terminals and lead wires, and apply solder there to instill. And the appearance of the result is quite different accordingly. It was actually an eye-opening experience for me to know the strong and beautiful soldering method.


Ugly soldering that I did before


First soldering that I did in the right way


By the end of the workshop, I tried delicate soldering to install these small parts.


Five hurdles in the use of DJI Flight Simulator


Production notes


I started using the DJI Flight Simulator, which I have wanted to use for practicing drone operation. As its name suggests, it is software released by DJI, a leading drone manufacturer, which features a function of simulated operation of their various drones.  


It is attractive that you can use industrial drones such as Mavic Enterprise or Matrice 210 if you purchase a licence. You can use it as a free version without the license as well. In this case, you can only use a general aerial camera, and options of its menu are limited to some extent. Even so, it has a good quality that seems to be very useful for practice. However, there were some hurdles to make it available.


[PC specs]
It runs on Windows 10 only. Moreover it doesn't run on ordinary office use computers and requires fairly high performance. I was able to run on a laptop computer "HP Pavilion Gaming 15-dk0000 Performance Model". The specs are CPU CORE i7, memory 16 GB, graphics board GEFORCE GTX 1660 Ti, disk 256GB SSD + 1TB HD.


Even though it is made by DJI, the transmitters of Phantom4 Pro+ and Mavic Pro cannot be used for the software. So I had no choice but to get a used transmitter of Inspire 1 on an online auction. I connect this to the computer by a micro USB cable.


[User manual]
It is available only in English. I can't help but doubt whether they really want to sell it or not.


"Mode 2" is displayed on the screen during actual operation in mode 1. The upside-down transmitter image is also a mystery.


Even if the stick mode was set to 1 on the software, the transmitter operation did not change to mode 1. But when I set the stick mode to 2 on the software, I was able to operate the transmitter in mode 1. However, it was not comfortable because the mode displayed on the screen and the actual operation didn't match. Additonally, the flight mode cannot be set to sport mode. Does it depend on the type of transmitter?


[Internet connection]
Internet connection is always required to use the software. Normally I don't think it's a problem, but this time I had to use it in a place without a network environment, so I rented a mobile router only at the time.


Therefore, there still are some tiny problems, but I'm happy because the software has become available.