Spreading the charms of Japan to the world from Fukui




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.

I looked for a carrying case for large Li-Po batteries


Production notes


I was looking for a suitable case for storing and transporting large Li-Po batteries for drones for spraying agricultural chemicals. Considering the risk of ignition of the batteries, plastic is not completely safe. On the other hand, aluminum is not strong enough. So finally, I found an iron ammunition case that originally had made for a military purpose.


When I put eight batteries, each battery is about 1.6kg and the case itself is 3.2kg, so the total weighs 16kg. But there is no distortion around the handle unlike an aluminum case I tried before, so it is quite sturdy. I need a bit strength to open and close it, but it can also be expected to be airtight to block water and air. Since there was a convex part at the bottom, I put a cushioning material to make it even.


Armylike appearance


Eight batteries just fit into the case.


Made a carrying case for a mini drone


Production notes


I made a carrying case for storage and carrying of the mini drone bodies, parts and a transmitter that I usually use for practice. Actually I only put the cushioning material called block cushion in the commercially available aluminum case for tools, but even so, the size of the cushion was just right and easy to process, and I was satisfied with the finished result.


The block cushion has 15 mm square cuts on the entire surface of a large sponge. In other words, it is a block of the 15x15x60 mm sponge pillars. The pillars are connected to each other in some points, and it is easy to make a hole without using a special tool because you can cut the connected points by hand or a ruler. Furthermore, I cut the sponge taken out of the holes into a suitable thickness with a cutter. Then I returned it into the original holes, and made the bottom parts according to the height of the things to be put there. 


But this is not good enough yet, because the upper half is left empty, and the contents will fall apart when you lift it, so I packed some cushioning material on the back of the lid as well. I removed the panel for tools and writing instruments originally attached there.


Space for the replacement parts has two stories.


Block cushion placed in the aluminum case (before being processed)