Open RSSI Antenna Tracker

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Rob Thomson
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Re: Open RSSI Antenna Tracker

Post by Rob Thomson » Wed Nov 06, 2013 7:36 pm

Nope.

You can get continuous rotation servos that do not have an 'end'.

You also get slip rings to stop you having cable twisting issues :-)
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Re: Open RSSI Antenna Tracker

Post by kaos » Wed Nov 06, 2013 10:48 pm

OK, that is something I did not figure out.

Here is another reason to have a tracker. Mount a video recorder with remote control telephoto zoom lens, you can take perfect fly video from the ground besides your onborad FPV video. ;)

edit: hmm, may be even super impose this ground view video with OSD while flying. :)

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Re: Open RSSI Antenna Tracker

Post by kaos » Wed Nov 06, 2013 11:48 pm

wow! Just took a closer look at the ATpro-1000. kit without servo is 89.98, with 2 Hitec servos is 189.98. 50.00 per servo. :o
I think I like to go the stepper motor route, if Rob can work out the programing. ;)

Looking at the size the servo used on the ATpro-1000, I guess it takes a lot of torque.
I found a stronger stepper motor: http://www.ebay.com/itm/CNC-Nema17-Step ... 1469888%26

You think this will have enough torque?

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Re: Open RSSI Antenna Tracker

Post by Rob Thomson » Thu Nov 07, 2013 12:55 am

Yup. Not cheap.

Fortunately the exchange rate is in my favour at the moment!

There are some other options.

E.g.

http://www.readymaderc.com/store/index. ... ucts_id=96

HobbyKing also sell some sale winch servos that would do the job for around $15 each.

So if happy to build a frame yourself... Not too bad.

In reality, it really comes down to how much of an antenna you plan to move, and how you want to configure the tracker physically.

One option I have been considering could achieve tracking with just 2 antennas.

1 antenna as the tracker.
1 antenna as the video feed.

Then idea here being to place one antenna on a head cam pan tilt system, and use it to sweep the sky looking for the strongest signal, then move the other antenna to the point in space... Repeat.

Only reason I have chosen the expensive route is I am aiming for a robust and professional finish - that lasts!
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Re: Open RSSI Antenna Tracker

Post by kaos » Thu Nov 07, 2013 3:46 am

I think the ATpro-2200 has the right idea of putting that pan servo on top of the pan plate, so no wire tangle issue for pan servo. But they missed out the wire problem on the tilt arm. If you put a large bearing and tube axis on the arm opposite to the tilt servo, and run all the wires through the inside of the tube axle then back down to the top of the pan plate to connect to all the electronics. Any wire (loosely fit in the large tube axle) can stand 180 to 270 degree tilting/turn easy. This way you can eliminate any wire tangle issue.
the difficult part is to make that large tube axle lining up with the other side servo axle.
Hmm, that gives me some idea to make something like that.


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Re: Open RSSI Antenna Tracker

Post by Rob Thomson » Thu Nov 07, 2013 5:09 am

The at pro 1000 is now the same design.

That cable for the top is not really too much issue. The tilt does not really move more than 120 degrees.

But would be cool ;)
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Re: Open RSSI Antenna Tracker

Post by kaos » Thu Nov 07, 2013 6:31 am

Rob Thomson wrote:The at pro 1000 is now the same design.
I missed that. yep, the 1000 is better/cheaper. ;) I really don't want to deal with giant Yagi antenna. 5-9 turn helical will be good enough for me. ;)
do you think a small lazy Susan mounted vertically for that tilt axle and drill out the center plate portion for wire to run through can work? still think those wires rubbing around while tilting is funny.
< 120 degree? I want to fly from the top of a mountain and fly up and down and around the mountain 360 degree, that needs 270 degree tilt. :mrgreen:

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Re: Open RSSI Antenna Tracker

Post by Rob Thomson » Thu Nov 07, 2013 6:38 am

You won't need the lazy Susan.

Then bearing does not work so well sideways! Not designed for that.

Who not just a slip ring as the bearing?
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Re: Open RSSI Antenna Tracker

Post by kaos » Thu Nov 07, 2013 7:08 am

Rob Thomson wrote: Then bearing does not work so well sideways! Not designed for that.
that's what I am afraid. :(
slip ring would be ideal, but COST? Once you figure out the whole set up and we can figure out what slip ring and how much that costs. ;)
let's see, two vRx, Audio+ Video+ GnD+ power @, one radio Tx antennna - that, slip ring won't work??
Just some thought. I don't even know how this thing is coming out yet. ;)

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Re: Open RSSI Antenna Tracker

Post by Rob Thomson » Thu Nov 07, 2013 7:20 am

Check ebay for slip rings.

They cost about $15.

When I last did some costing for all of this, a typical pan tilt tracker would cost around $250 to $300 to build well.

You can do it on then cheap if you make more parts from scratch. That would save maybe $150 off the price.

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Re: Open RSSI Antenna Tracker

Post by kaos » Thu Nov 07, 2013 7:46 am

wow, did not know it is that 'cheap', thought it is much higher than that like 10X.;)
http://www.ebay.com/itm/12-Wires-2-amps ... 43aee39fa0

How do you deal with the radio Tx antenna on the tracker? or are you going to put radio Tx antenna(helical or patch) on it at all? May be just run ppm wire to tilt pan and set the radio module on the tilt pan. need a slip ring able to handle that kind of amperage to power the radio Tx module and video Rxs.
Rob Thomson wrote: When I last did some costing for all of this, a typical pan tilt tracker would cost around $250 to $300 to build well.
that is why I want to make sure this thing will handle my wildest imagination before I start. ;)

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Re: Open RSSI Antenna Tracker

Post by Rob Thomson » Thu Nov 07, 2013 8:22 am

I don't bother with the radio to on the tracker.

If I did, I would wire a receiver into a djt and relay the signal.

I don't fly that far away to require the to to be relayed. My reason for a tracker is simply to garuantee good video :)
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Re: Open RSSI Antenna Tracker

Post by kaos » Thu Nov 07, 2013 6:31 pm

your helical with clover leaf can get you 15Km for video (according to IBcrazy), FPV can go out of normal Tx range easy. ;) I think I will do the relay for radio tx, since the tracker is there already, just another antenna to put on.
I remember even on my little V959, I got out of my radio range before the video range (which has only a 15 mW video transmitter) fast and I have to stepped into the swamp to retrieve my v959 which is sitting on a pile of tall weeds. ;)
My goal is to make sure I have longer radio range than video range. For model I will fly to a moderate distance, i need to be able to turn on the RTH if video goes out.

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Re: Open RSSI Antenna Tracker

Post by mpjf01 » Fri Nov 08, 2013 1:01 pm


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Re: Open RSSI Antenna Tracker

Post by Rob Thomson » Fri Nov 08, 2013 2:58 pm

Yup.. seen these.

I have a potential change of plan again!

Rather annoyingly, I have had ZERO response or contact from fpvpilot.com regarding my order. I have tried calling - the number does not work either :(

Needless to say I have raised a paypal dispute for the transaction.

In the mean time, I have found these as a suitable option.

http://www.readymaderc.com/store/index. ... ucts_id=96

To do these as a 360 option requires use of different servos, and the use of a wireless relay on the tracker. All very easy.

So.. I have ordered one for good measure!

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Re: Open RSSI Antenna Tracker

Post by kaos » Sat Nov 09, 2013 3:40 am

Rob: that one is made of wood. You'd better water proof it with some sealant 1st. ;)

mpjf01: that is a nifty thing, never thought about mod that as tracker before, it may be a good starting/learning project for me. I wonder what tilt mechanism they use. If it is a servo, may be a simple mod to 180 degree tilt. Then it wold be handy for shorter range fun FPV. ;)

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Re: Open RSSI Antenna Tracker

Post by Rob Thomson » Sat Nov 09, 2013 6:24 am

Lol.

Well aware it is made of wood.

That's why I wanted the aluminium one.

No issue. I will just paint this one with aluminium effect paint!

But in theory - it will achieve the same end result to suit my purposes.

Rob

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Re: Open RSSI Antenna Tracker

Post by kaos » Sat Nov 09, 2013 7:08 am

Rob Thomson wrote: But in theory - it will achieve the same end result to suit my purposes.
Assuming you never tip over your tripod. :lol:

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Re: Open RSSI Antenna Tracker

Post by Rob Thomson » Sat Nov 09, 2013 7:10 am

If I do that - chances are my helix antenna array will break. Not the pan tilt!

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Re: Open RSSI Antenna Tracker

Post by jhsa » Sat Nov 09, 2013 11:14 am

who flies FPV and dance at the same time anyway? :mrgreen:
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Re: Open RSSI Antenna Tracker

Post by kaos » Sat Nov 09, 2013 4:27 pm

A musician has the best probability to do that. :mrgreen:

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Re: Open RSSI Antenna Tracker

Post by kaos » Sat Nov 09, 2013 5:15 pm

Have a question here. I was looking at the servo /stepper motor for the tracker.
Exactly how much torque is needed for tracker purpose? It seems to me if the tracker is well balanced, it should not need much torque to move things around. But when I look at the servo the ATpro uses, they are in the range of 13 kg-cm. that is a lot.

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Re: Open RSSI Antenna Tracker

Post by Rob Thomson » Sat Nov 09, 2013 6:07 pm

Depend how big an antenna you are moving.

The at pro is designed to move a large yaggi!



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Re: Open RSSI Antenna Tracker

Post by kaos » Sat Nov 09, 2013 6:14 pm

I don't intend to put a large yaggi for sure, 9 turn helical is all I need. ;)

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Re: Open RSSI Antenna Tracker

Post by Rob Thomson » Sat Nov 09, 2013 6:24 pm

Ok...

My current plans are as follows:

Pan Tilt Unit
http://www.readymaderc.com/store/index. ... ucts_id=96
Image

The unit arrived today. I was caught out slightly by the size of this one. The plywood mount for the antenna measures a diminutive 100mm across. Considering I need a box on top of that to hold the antennas, and rf circuitry, things will be tight!

My thoughts are that I will be mounting this box to the front of the ply face using 4 strong neodymium magnets.

On the box, I will mount 5 antennas. Left/Right/Top/Bottom/Middle.
Inside the box will be 5 receivers.

A balance lead will act as an interconnect from this box to the main pan tilt. This will carry the RSSI & POWER signals to the arduino that will be on the main chassis. So a total of 7 wires needed.

I am awaiting two of these servos:
http://www.hobbyking.com/hobbyking/stor ... duct=40921

They should do the trick!

Apart from that.

Now just a waiting game for the parts to arrive!

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Re: Open RSSI Antenna Tracker

Post by kaos » Tue Nov 12, 2013 3:48 am


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Re: Open RSSI Antenna Tracker

Post by Rob Thomson » Wed Nov 13, 2013 9:20 pm

An evening of cutting, gluing, soldering..

And I have this little beast to show.

Lots still to do - but coming together.

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Re: Open RSSI Antenna Tracker

Post by kaos » Wed Nov 13, 2013 9:48 pm

wow, now it becomes huge. Are you sure you still can cook there? :mrgreen:
What is the minimum distance between those antennas?

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Re: Open RSSI Antenna Tracker

Post by Rob Thomson » Wed Nov 13, 2013 10:01 pm

Actually not that big.

The whole thing is small that the previous version. And about 1/2 the weight.

The antenna are all spaced apart by about 30cm diameter circle.

You can get them closer - but makes it all very fidly!

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Re: Open RSSI Antenna Tracker

Post by kaos » Wed Nov 13, 2013 10:29 pm

30 cm is not bad. it surely looks a lot bigger in the pic. ;)

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