New guide; Upgrading SAW filter

I just finished up a guide to exchanging the SAW filter in a 0.9/1.3GHz receiver. So far the results are quite staggering for such a cheap modification! Other people have reported a +3dBi sensitivity gain after the modification. That’s the same as doubling your transmitter power!

Read the guide!

A big thanks to Michael for sending me the SAW filters! He is a good friend and very skilled fellow hobbyist, check out his homepage;


LED Photo/build lights

In my quest to get better lighting for building and for photoing, I found these incredible cheap LED strips from HobbyKing. They are 1 meter long and have 60 LED’s, but the best part is that they can be cut every 3 LED’s. So instead of ordering a bunch of LED’s and make my own PCB’s, I decided to buy a couple of these instead.

The strips are very bright and have a nice wide beam-width. They are powered by 12V and give a slighty bluish light. But that’s no problem, I’ll just use a custom white balance when photographing.

I used two 1 meter strips that I cut into 12 LED’s segments. The strips comes with 3M tape on the back so all I did was peel of the covering on the back and attach the 10 strips to a piece of masonite.

I wanted to be able to dim the LED’s to have better control over the lighting when photographing so I made a simple LED dimmer. It’s based on a 555 chip and is very simple to build.

(If you want a copy of my design, just give me a shout and I’ll send you the layout)

Picture borrowed from

Here is a schematics of the circuit. I did some modifications to it, like removing the C3 capacitor that’s there for inductive loads. I also used a 20k pot with on/off feature and a bat54SW diode instead of the 1N5148.

I glued on my LED masonite boards to a couple of desktop lamps. This gives me full control over angle, distant and position of the light.

The wide beam-width contributes to a nice even soft lighting with minimum amount of shadow.

I mounted my LED dimmers in the top of the desktop lamps. Now I need to get some knobs.

Here is a sample picture with the new lights. I found that a custom white balance of about 7700 Kelvin gives me the colors I want. The two lights I made were plenty bright enough to take good pictures of small to medium sized items but I need to make a third for photographing airplane builds and such.

New Guide; LED Photo lights

After rearranging the furniture in my RC room to make better use of the space, I needed some new photo/build lights (or at least now I had an excuse to). I knew that I wanted to build my own lights to get it just the way I like it. I also knew that I wanted to use SMD LED’s with wide beam-width. But rather than buying a bunch of LED’s and making my own PCB I found a perfect alternative on HobbyKing.

Click here to read the guide


The FPV FunJet V2

Since my last FPV FunJet died a horrible death, I needed another airplane to take its place. Since I loved my old FunJet so much I decided to get another one. Here is a link to the old deceased FunJet build

Ahh I love the smell and feel of fresh Elapor.

quarter wave antenna mounted vertically. I will be placing the video transmitter inside of the wing instead of having it up front with the camera like on the old setup.

The antenna mod makes the transmitter a lot lighter and more compact.

I used a knife and soldering iron to make a well for the video transmitter.

Nice and snug fit.

I used the pre-made trench (made for installing a 35MHz antenna) to install the video TX wires.

Nice and clean.

I added a small weight to the other wing tip to make the it balance properly.

Simple OSD current sensor added in line with the ESC.

Futaba FASST receiver in place.

The wife helped me with the covering layout.

Pretty much done.


Motor: Warp 4 3-turn 2580kV
ESC: Mystery 40A
Battery: 3s Turnigy 25-35C 2200mAh LiPo
Servos: 2 x Hitec HS-65HB
Prop: 6*4
Power: [email protected] – 22000RPm (6*4 prop) – 1000 grams thrust

FPV setup:
Power: Through main battery
Transmitter: 300mW 1.3GHz
Camera: Aiptek Z500 HD camera modified
Lens: f3.6 mm “Stock”
Pan/Tilt: Only pan – 1 multiplex nano-s modified for 180°

The FunJet GoPro Edition
Since the Aiptek Z500+ camera died during a crash, I decided to see if the FunJet could carry the GoPro Hero HD camera.

To get a clean picture and get the CG back, I cut of the nose of the FunJet.

I then removed some material to fit the GoPro inside of the fuselage and be able to pan it 180°.

Looking straight ahead.

To the right.

And to the left.

Lens in the center.

I reenforced the canopy with 1.5mm plywood. I also added magnets to keep the canopy in place during flight.

Two old 3s500 packs had to substitute for the camera during the first test flight.

The FunJet GoPro edition weighs in at 720 grams, which is quite porky. And on top of that, it’s not very aerodynamic any more. But the first flight went good. It needs more speed to stay in the air and it’s not as nice to fly compared to the old FunJet. But it’s good enough to get some high speed shots with.

Now it’s time to test it out in FPV!

You can read about the first, and last FPV flight here

Progress on the HD camera

Sorry for the lack of updates lately, I’ve been really busy. But in the time I managed to squeeze in for RC I have managed to build a simple lens mount for the Aiptek Z500+.

It works great, and it’s light weight. It’s nothing more than two PG-7 plastic nuts that I glued in place. The treads on the nuts were way to steep but after screwing the lens in and out a couple of time they succumbed and the lens is perfectly straight and secured.

The total weight of the camera at this moment is 35 grams! And it works!

I also added some glue to the ribbon cable connectors to make sure that they aren’t stressed when panning.
More pics on the project page