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RCHacker blog

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Hi my name is Marc and welcome to my website. It is all about software, hardware and anything related to radio controlled aircraft. I might even throw in anything else I might be interested in at the time. Follow me on Twitter or YouTube. Or get website updates via RSS.


Two RC helicopters lift woman. Is it real? I think so.

posted Mar 8, 2014, 4:53 PM by Marc G   [ updated Mar 8, 2014, 4:57 PM ]

I spotted this video: A great stunt, and also a sign that personal electric helicopters are definitely possible.
Although of course something with a practical endurance would need to be much larger. 

I find it funny that everyone worries about Raphael Pirker ruining the RC hobby with a 500g foam wing. When these helicopters have been known to lacerate people to death.
On that, If you have not heard, Raphael won his case. Well done and a landmark decision for FPV 'drone' operators.

027 Plugging my channel.

posted Feb 20, 2014, 4:53 PM by Marc G   [ updated Feb 20, 2014, 5:01 PM ]

This should explain what the RCHacker channel is about. I know it is impossible to explain to anyone who is not a nerd like me.


026 Facebook, with a broken business model and evidence of fraud is it on the way out?

posted Feb 10, 2014, 6:56 AM by Marc G   [ updated Feb 22, 2014, 12:45 AM ]

I found these two videos very interesting by fellow video blogger Veritasium. Not just opinion he has actually done research on Facebook and how it works in the grander scheme of advertising. Interesting to me because I have wasted time trying to reach followers on Facebook, so please in future interact with me on my Youtube channel.

025 Remote control of multiple GoPro Hero2 cameras. Start and stop both video and photos.

posted Jun 10, 2013, 4:03 PM by Marc G   [ updated Jun 10, 2013, 4:06 PM ]

Nice work Glen, very useful for aerial work. I imagine I will use this one day in a future project.

024 How to build your own Copter Control 3D.

posted May 24, 2013, 10:40 AM by Marc G   [ updated Jun 10, 2013, 2:17 PM ]

From what I have seen the OpenPilot boards seems to be the cutting edge for multi-rotor (or anything else) control.
32bit, highly configurable and fast. The project is a labour of love and is under a Creative Commons non-commercial license. This is great but it makes the boards somewhat hard to get hold of. From the openpilot store you can commit kickstarter style to go really bleeding edge with the new Revolution (read up on it first) or wait for a batch of the proven CC3D.  The other option is to build one yourself which I think I will attempt once I get to the limits of the KK2 capabilities. Mochaboy built his own and made this really great video:

To see how they perform in the hands of a top pilot check out Juz's channel. This is my favourite:


023 Studying hard and waiting for the mail.

posted Mar 20, 2013, 6:49 PM by Marc G

I have been very busy lately reviving my Engineering skills. My background is Aerospace and more so Software Engineering and during my studies we covered every branch of engineering including hardware design. It has been a few years since I worked as a software engineer, and even more since I did any hardware at university. After a number of years travelling and doing completely unrelated jobs.  I am amazed how technology has progressed, including the software tools to make things happen. It seems we are in a brave new word where it is affordable to design and get made your own PCBs. Microcontrollers are amazingly cheap and powerful and with an Arduino and a bit of hacking it is possible to do re-flow soldering in a hacked toaster oven. Finally the internet: 95% full of crap but if you search for it you can learn anything.

While some of the RC technology out there is brilliant. FrSky, KK2, OpenPilot are a couple that come to mind. So much of it is just utter crap, cheaply made and full of bugs. There are many products where a bit of good engineering can make a huge difference. FPV gear is one.

So I want to work my ass off and get some products of my own out there. I have many ideas but I'm not going to promise them all at once.

My design philosophy will be: Not what I think you want or even what you think you want, but what I want. If you like it, great. If not tough. 

If I go broke trying at least I will have some nice gear. :)

Very early days yet, but I will continue to share my progress on YouTube

My first set of PCBs (the Switch) is apparently on its way. Unfortunately postage is far too slow and sometimes unreliable to Ecuador... :(

022 FPV to the edge of space.

posted Mar 7, 2013, 7:32 PM by Marc G   [ updated Jun 10, 2013, 2:18 PM ]

All I can say is: Simply brilliant David.

Link to David's project page here

021 Introducing the Switch

posted Feb 18, 2013, 9:07 PM by Marc G   [ updated Mar 3, 2013, 9:03 AM ]

So it turns out that an initial purchase of parts for a prototype run of my diversity board would be in the $500 range. For me is a bit much when I have not even tested the postal system from the states. So I decided to start with a simpler project that has lower initial costs.

Introducing the Switch:

What does it do? It is a multipurpose digital switch. Six high voltage, high current MOSFETs controlled by a microcontroller. There is the provision to accept control signals via PWM, PPM, SPI, serial, I2C or USB. The board has been laid out so it is easy to attach a FrSky D4R-II receiver, OpenLRS or the DIYDrones IMU. Each MOSFET can be controlled via hardware PWM and by combining this with voltage and current sensing a constant voltage or current could be provided to each output. Finally it will be Arduino Leonardo compatible in order to make programming as accessible as possible. Like the  Freetronics Leostick (which it is based on) it will be an open hardware design.

I plan to write software so it will be easy for non programmers to quickly configure their RC gear to trigger each switch.

Possible uses:
High power intelligent LED control.
Brushed motor control.
Pyrotechnics ignition.

I have a bit more work to do optimising the layout to make it easy for hand soldering before I will get a prototype PCB batch done. The circuitry for the current sensing is so far untested but the board design allows for a bit of experimentation here.

020 Reaktor 3D in the mail.

posted Jan 30, 2013, 8:08 PM by Marc G   [ updated Jun 11, 2013, 8:51 AM ]

With all these multirotors I am spending more time fixing them than flying, so I have decided to lash out and get myself into 3D.

Now that HK have fixed their postal issues I have an EPP Reaktor 3D in the mail. It seems pretty popular and looks to be a nice design, it even has a real airfoil. Something that I can fly in and out of the trees in the small yard and it will not break in a crash.

Don't tell the misses, I'm going to tell her I made it out of scrap foam :).

If you want to support my work here are my affiliate links for the other warehouses. USAAUSNL, DE and UK.
It costs you nothing and I get 5% from the sale to spend on rc stuff.

From the reviews and comments here is what I chose for the hardware:

UPDATE: This motor is a piece of shit, recommendations on HK are also crud. The base of the motor is very thin and failed due to vibration.
I have a much bigger motor from my FPV Raptor on board now that is super powerful but I get short flight times.
A Turnigy Park300 1600kV is in the mail.

The HXT500s are fine but they break really easily in a crash. I am going to go with these in the future which have been recommended.

I was not sure which prop so I got a few. I bought the airframe separate to the hardware and all up cost me about 2 pineapples ($100). Bargain.

Note: Coming from HK it is of course a clone. It is also known as the TechOne Mini Tempo 3D . 

My video of first flights.

HobbyKings video with a decent pilot flying it.

019 Diversity progress.

posted Jan 28, 2013, 10:14 PM by Marc G   [ updated Feb 8, 2013, 5:25 AM ]

It is like a puzzle in a way. My first prototype works well. Components are chosen and I am now designing the PCB. Back to being a real engineer rather than just a hack, love it.

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