This week just got worse

This week just keeps on getting worse. After repairing the TriCopter, I went out this morning to the local park with the intention of making a FPV Tricopter video. Since I’ve got some vibration issues from the two previous crashes, I decided to use a “normal” CCD camera instead of the CMOS HD camera. CMOS cameras are sensitive to vibrations due to their “rolling shutters” which creates what is know as the “jello effect” (here is a video showing the difference between a CCD and a CMOS sensor). An other reason was that I expected to crash, and didn’t want any more corrupted videos due to the camera losing power or the memory card popping out.

Well at the park I set everything up and took the TriCopter for a visual test flight before taking on the goggles. It flew great so I set switched to FPV. I used my trusty V-Mate to record the flight. To make absolute sure that it was recording properly I toggled input on my goggles to see that it was recording. On my V-Mate I don’t get any picture out during recording, just a black screen with a red box in the top left corner with REC printed in white letters. Good to go!

First flight I took it pretty easy while getting used to the machine and developing a feeling for it. I flew around some trees and followed some walking paths. I landed and switched battery. This flight I got much more daring, flying between gaps in the trees, under branches, blowing leaves, until BANG! I hit a branch.
The tricopter crashed down into the ground. I walked over and picking it up it seemed as if nothing was broken. So flew again and barely 30 seconds later I crashed again. This time it was straight into a tree and this time some things were broken. The battery strap had snapped and an arm had cracked at the base.

I didn’t want to go home just yet so I took what was left of the strap and fastened the battery best I could. The arm seemed to stay in place so I gave it another go. It flew just fine!

12 times I crashed and it still flew. A couple of magnets in all three of the motors had started coming loose, the cracked arm flew off a couple of times, the right side of the landing gear disappeared, but it still flew just fine. I went home very satisfied thinking that these recordings were going to be awesome.

When I came home, I started charging a couple of batteries and then sat down at the computer. I plugged in the memory card while firing up Final Cut. I browsed to the videos and opened up the first video clip…

“Strange”, I thought. There was something wrong with the picture. Maybe the reception was bad when I started the recording? So I jumped ahead to the middle of the video. Same thing. A black and white picture that was distorted and it looked as if it had been pushed down, with the bottom of the video on the top half of the screen.

Panic! I checked the next one. Same thing. The next one! Same thing… They were all broken. Desperate I picked up the V-Mate to see if something was wrong with it and there I found the culprit. The video format switch was on NTCS instead of PAL (which is the standard for cameras here in Sweden). It’s a tiny switch that I have never touched since I got the V-Mate. A battery must have hit it at some point during transport…

Yet again, sorry guys, no video…

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