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DIY Telemtry for R/C aircraft

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Hi. I'm new in this forum and I need feedback refering telemetry. I fly a gas r/c helicopter and I've looking to add live telemetry to it. Are there any DIY kind of projects that I can get my hands to? I know there a few companies offering telemetry systems but, they are kind of expensive.

The basic features I'm looking for are RPM, engine temperature, altitude, speed. Aditional features that will be nice to have will be GPS capabilities. If all this data can be transmitted to a PDA will be great.


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MCPL, that is actually a pretty easy setup to make. I personally would use the following components: a garmin OEM 15L for GPS, very very small gps equipped with WAAS for accuracy especially in altitude. A BOB3 overlay board, used to overlay data onto a video transmitter, and probably a Basic Stamp microcontroller or if you can do work with PIC microcontrollers head towards a 16F877.

That particular microcontroller has some analog to digital converters built in which are nice especially for reading a thermistor for temperature. As far as RPM goes, you just need to have a magnet on the flywheel. It would use the exact same setup as a governor would use for rotor speed, you could actually piggy back the signal off of a governer if you are using one.

I have built my own overlay board for use in my airplane using the garmin 15L, a bob3 overlay board, and PIC 16F877. I can toggle between data screens using an extra channel on the transmitter. Kinda nice to be able to turn it all off so I can just have a clear picture.

The BOB3 overlay board kinda sets the size for everything, it comes mounted on a old 30 pin memory chip like you would see on an older computer. It is not the smallest thing. It isn't huge but it is kinda long, not super long, but a good 3.5-4 inches or so. Weight isn't much, battery consumption is almost nill but it requires at least 12 volts for the overlay board so 3-4 small lithiums are suggested unless you are running a 12volt video system.

A lot can be done using this setup, now if you use an etrex or another small GPS that has waypoint capabilities then we can have some real fun. If you set a waypoint back at the field you can have the overlay telling you how far away you are and which direction to turn and how much to turn. The possibilities at that point are darn near endless.


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