Know How... 133 (Transcript)

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On this episode of Know How we are going to be continuing Project Arduino, starting up Quad with Alien X and your feedback, our answers.

Father Robert Ballecer: Welcome to Know How, it is the Twit show where we build, bend, break and upgrade. I’m Father Robert Ballecer.

Bryan Burnett: And I’m Bryan Burnett.

Fr. Robert: And for the next four or five hours at least…

Bryan: This is going to be an endurance run of Know How. 24 hours of knowledge.

Fr. Robert: I've known hole. But seriously we are going to be bringing you some of the projects that we have been working on in the past couple of weeks so that you can geek out.

Bryan: Because we don't have enough things to do so we get to fool around with this kind of stuff all week right?

Fr. Robert: But before we do that, speaking of endurance marathons of knowledge. There is a nether kind of endurance that you actually know about.

Bryan: The 24 hours of LeMans.

Fr. Robert: Of all the endurance races, I have heard of LeMans and I have heard of Baja. If you know nothing about racing you will hear about those. But LeMans actually has an interesting history. Where did this race come from and why do they do it, and why is it so popular?

Bryan: Well, it started a long time ago in France. I don’t know all the specific details of the actual race but I want to go. I might be invited to go later this year.

Fr. Robert: No way. I think it is in June right? Maybe June 13- 14? I don’t actually speak French but I think it is in…. Now, let’s go beyond just the location and the history of the city of the event. You have been at an endurance race so what is so special about an endurance race?

Bryan: Well unlike where most races are a contained number of laps and it is just an all-out sprint to the finish line, this is more of a… well, the way I experienced it in Daytona was a long chess match where if you make one mistake it could bring down the whole thing for you. And it was like a demolition derby just waiting to happen because there are so many things going on. There are the different classes of cars and they are all competing against not only their class but against the other people on the track so most races it is just one type of car and they are all relatively the same speed. It is down to the drivers to kind of get around each other. But with a 24 hour endurance races they are weaving in and out of the prototypes, the LeMans cars, the GT cars and they all our fast. But some are much faster than others and have to be very careful about not hitting each other. And they switch out drivers so that is another level of complexity.

Fr. Robert: I actually had a question about that. When you switch out drivers is their strategy on where you put your strongest drivers where do you want them at the beginning or at the end or does it not matter?

Bryan: It does matter. Hopefully you are putting a team together and all of your drivers are strong. But that isn’t always the case. Usually, the way I saw when I was working close with the team here in Petaluma they would have their strong driver do the qualifying because that is the important position. And then you want your strong drivers at the end of the race too because as the clock ticks down those last few hours of the race that is like a sprint. That is the race. Everything leading up to that point is just trying to get there without breaking something, without someone having fatigue and then crash into a wall or something like that.

Fr. Robert: So basically what you need out of the driver in the middle shift is just to maintain your position.

Bryan: The way it was described to me is let the other people make mistakes and you just focus on what you need to do. If you lose a few seconds and a corner just try and maintain.

Fr. Robert: Is there a blue shell in LeMans?

Bryan: I think the blue shell is another car coming at you and not hitting the brakes.

Fr. Robert: We are not here just to talk about LeMans. We are here to talk about a specific company that is going to be competing in LaMans but they have brought kind of a crazy entry.

Bryan: They have a Nissan GTRLM Nismo.

Fr. Robert: This thing looks weird. This is not what I expected a race car to look like. This is what I would expect a show car to look like. So this is a GTRLM Nismo. It is 1250 hp, it is 1940 foot pounds of weight so this thing is ridiculously power to weight ratio. But the coolest thing about this is what they are doing with the aerodynamics and the power train. They have basically taken the racing world and what we know about how you design a race car and they have flipped it upside down. For example, race cars are never front engine and never front wheel drive. Why don’t you want that?

Bryan: Because if you have too much weight over the front of the car, you get under steer and it is a lot harder to go fast when you are and are steering. You can control over-steer a little bit better.

Fr. Robert: So most race cars are either going to be rear wheel drive or all-wheel drive.

Bryan: Without weight ratio of about 50/50.

Fr. Robert: That Nissan has decided to put the engine up front and they have made it a thought will drive car and what they have done is they have said all the disadvantages that you just mentioned, the wrong weight distribution and the wrong type of traction is actually made up because with putting all the heavy big stuff up front they can streamline the aerodynamics of the car and it actually runs faster.

Bryan: Okay, so I wonder… it might go faster but will it turn too quick?

Fr. Robert: That is what they are saying. When they were designing this, they wanted to solve that, they wanted to solve weight distribution and they wanted to solve for oversteer and understeer. So what they found out is that by putting the coolers upfront they could get all of the air they needed to cool down the oil in the engine and then they can streamline the back of the car. Essentially they can turn the entire car into a spoiler.

Bryan: It looks like a wing. Like a wedge.

Fr. Robert: Now they have done that in the past by either messing with the spoiler but there are limitations and how big you can make that. And they also use things like blown diffusers to kind of stick it to the ground but this is the first time that you have had an entry with a lot of cash behind it that has said no we are going to do a design that is completely different. Now we have no idea if this is going to work. It could just fail out of LeMans. But, the fact that they are doing something different I kind of like that.

Bryan: And that is not the weirdest car that I have seen at LeMans. There is a tried wheel car that has one wheel on the front and two on the back. I forget what it was called. It seemed to spin out a lot. It was fast.

Fr. Robert: I don’t think I want to drive it.

Bryan: Without four tires you are losing that much more traction.

Fr. Robert: And taking the corner at 150 miles an hour with three wheels?You got a be brave. But we will see. This event is running in June and we will see how it works. It it even shows, if it lasts 24 hours you can probably expect the other team to take a serious look at it. Because this is a first attempt and the other teams will start to say whoa aerodynamics cells play a big part. Maybe we don’t go front engine but maybe we go mid-engine and mess with our aerodynamics in the same way. Like what happened with the F1 circuit with Mercedes moving that turbo to the back of the car. Every team is now moving their turbo to the back of the car.

Bryan: Yeah, the part I find fascinating is not only are they trying something new that you have to be consistent. You can’t just make a car that will race for 16 or 20 laps perfectly it has to do it for 24 hours with multiple drivers.

Fr. Robert: Exactly. If you only have one driver that can drive your super special car that is not going to work.

Bryan: I'm looking forward to seeing somewhere that.

Alex Gumple: I'm pretty sure I've seen this design before.

Bryan: The similarities are uncanny.

Fr. Robert: Batman drives for Nissan? What?

Bryan: I knew that that mobile was front-wheel-drive.

Alex: It is jet powered.

Fr. Robert: Speaking of jet power. Well it’s not jet power. But we did, is that since it is March we have gotten past the January and February time. When we said we weren’t going to do any quad copter segment. We have hit that limit and now we are going to do plot copters segments. Specifically people are saying the 250 was nice, a lot of you bought the 250. Thank you very much because we are getting some great feedback in our Google plus group. But the one thing that people ask for is base say I wish I could take better Arial photography.

Bryan: That was the level of steps for me. We played with the Styma and I was like okay I have gotten good at this and now I want something faster. Then I got the 250 and it was super maneuverable but then I wanted to strap a Go Pro to it.

Fr. Robert: You can put a Go Pro on the 250 as is but the footage is kind of shaky and is not very good people people started saying can I mount a gimbal on it? You could but it is kind of heavy and you would get poor performance. It is time to move up. This is how it works. You get comfortable with one class and you move up to the next class. In this case we are moving up to this. This is Project Alien. Specifically it is an Alien X frame. It is a 450 class and remember when we talk about classes we are just talking about how far it is between props. But this is a stretched 450 class because as you can tell the distance between the front and the rear is actually longer than the distance between the two columns. And you stretch it for a couple of reasons. One is because it gives you more stability in this access, which is what a lot of people like that it also allows you to fork out these front arms so that you can get them out of the way of the camera because people don't want to see the props and the arms when you are shooting video. Now I played with a lot of 450 class and this is the one settled on just because it is a nice mix between camera stability and plan to fly. You could go for a straight 450, it is called an X450 which puts all the props the same distance from each other when you go off the sides. But the problem is that it is a boring flight. It is a good flight for cameras. But it is boring.

Bryan: So you like to do a little stunting or something?

Fr. Robert: I like a little something.

Bryan: You will sacrifice the stability to have a little bit more…

Fr. Robert: A little bit of stability. But this is just a lot more fun to build. Now what we want to do first is we want to give you all the parts that you are going to need to build Project Alien. So we are doing this two weeks before we continue the module. Because we want you to have time to order all the parts if you are actually going to build along with us. So on the table this is everything you are going to need to build it. Aside from the tools. You will need the standard tools, wire cutters, wire strippers, soldering heads, screwdrivers, ratchet drivers. I am assuming that you have all that on your geek workbench.

Bryan: Especially if you have already done the 250.

Fr. Robert: If you've done the 250 you already have all the tools you are going to need. But these are the specific parts that you are going to need for Project Alien. Let’s start with this. This is the frame. So we've got a top plate and a bottom plate. They look the same but the bottom plate is actually a little bit wider and a little bit longer. The reason why it is longer is because of this. This right here is a clean plate. That is going to mount on this bottom plate with a bunch of rubber dampers. And what that allows you to do is it allows you to isolate the camera from the vibration of the frame. Which is important because you notice that Jell-O effect that you get on the 250 and it is just because the subtle vibrations are shaking the camera enough that you get weird artifacts on the sensor.

Bryan: And one thing that I hadn’t thought of, Tony’s strapped a Sony camera to his quad copter and have the shaky cam mode on. So it tries to adjust for the amount of shake and that just made it way worse.

Fr. Robert: People always say I will just turn on the optical image stabilization and that should fix it. No. It is vibrating so much and so quickly that it is actually kind of counterproductive.

Bryan: That kind of stuff is fine if you are a handheld but have you ever uploaded a YouTube video where it says your video is too shaky? We can fix it for you. Every time I do that it just becomes worse.

Fr. Robert: So we are not going to do that. This frame is actually inexpensive. You can find it for about $18 on But there are a lot of them. Just look for an Alien X frame and you are going to find them.

Bryan: Can you find them on ready to fly quads?

Fr. Robert: They don’t do this one on ready to fly quads. I would actually suggest you get this one from Amazon. Now, power plants. Power plants are important because you need the motor to give you the power to go right? Right now there are two motors that I would suggest. The one I would suggest the most is this. This is an Emax 2213. I buy these on eBay just because you can get is set up for for about $56 or so. Take a look, this is what I like. These are actually count set for counter rotation. This red one rotates counterclockwise and this black one rotates clockwise. They are threaded for that. They are actually counter threaded so that the rotation of the prop will actually tighten the motor bolt. That is important when you start getting up in the bigger classes because you are now dealing with props with a lot more thrust.

Bryan: A lot more thrust and spinning. What is the power to weight ratio on this one?

Fr. Robert: Power to weight ratio on this one is about 8 to 1. So this will generate 8 g of thrust for every gram that it weighs. It is not bad. Now, the thing is if that is a little bit expensive and you really need to That this is the second motor that I would suggest. This is the red series and it is a house motor from ready to fly quads. This is $10. So you can get this and you can get a spare for half the price of the other sets of motors. This doesn’t give you near as much, this will probably give you about a 6 to 1 thrust to weight ratio. I wouldn’t use it unless I had to. But we wanted to give you a lower budget way to do it. Ready to fly quads also has some incredible motors that will give you like 12 to 1 the thrust ratio. But you can always upgrade. We are going to start with this. Past motors we’ve got to look at ESC’s. So these are little devices that are going to drive power from the battery over to the motor. They allow you to individually control the rotation of every motor.

Bryan: Was it last week we talked about PWM?

 Fr. Robert: Yes, these use PWM. It is that wave, that’s squared off wave that will determine how much power it delivers. Now the ones I would suggest RDs. These are the ready to fly quads and these are 30 A. The nice thing about this is that it is $10. And that is actually about as inexpensive as you are going to get. If you go to Hobby King or eBay they are all going to cost more and most of them are not going to be as good as this.

Bryan: These, with the better software.

Fr. Robert: They come with firmware which is what you want because it means it is refreshing itself more times so it responds more quickly to your throttle.

Bryan: Which is definitely what you want when you are flying.

Fr. Robert: Exactly. Because if you have a speed controller that is lagging and there is a little bit of delay between the time you throttle up and down. Some people think you turn the throttle on or you turn it off but you are always riding that throttle. And you want it to respond immediately so that you can keep your altitude and keep your heading.

Bryan: Especially if you are coming towards the tree. Like somebody this weekend.

Fr. Robert: I don’t know what you’re talking about.

Bryan: And those props exploding.

Fr. Robert: They didn’t explode they just farted.

Bryan: Right. Along with your camera.

Fr. Robert: I can’t blame the ESC’s, that was me using a really… well I knew there was something wrong with the receiver but I thought it was probably okay to use. Folks, quick safety tip. If you ever damage something just replace it. Seriously. Just replace it. It’s a good lesson. I could've saved myself a lot of cash by just replacing it. That is ESC is now let’s go ahead and look at power distribution. It is very important. This is how you get from your battery to the ESC’s themselves. This is a two dollar board from ready to fly quiets and it essentially allows you to solder two wires from your battery and it distributes that power to everything on your craft, either the ESC’s, lights or any sort of accessories that you may have. You can make your own harness. People just take wire and they sought are together and put bullets on it. You can do that. But I find this a lot better and it is a lot easier to expand if you are using the power distribution board. And it is just two dollars so you might as well.

Bryan: Definitely.

Fr. Robert: So we got our power distribution, we have a way to get to our ESC’s and now we need something that we can put on the motor to actually generate thrust. what I would suggest is to pick up a set of carbon fiber props. These are 845. So that is 8 inches long from tip to tip with a 4/5 pitch. Which means every rotation of this prop it is going to pull forward 4.5 inches. So it is a little bit aggressive, you could go with a lower pitch and a wider surface on the prop if you wanted a really steady video. In fact what you can do is you could go ahead and go with the 10 or an 11 inch prop on these motors. And it will rotate slower which will create less vibration which is actually better for cameras. But again, I like to balance it. I like these because it gives it a lot of zip. I don't want to talk about batteries right now that we might as well. This is a 3S battery, and this is a 4S battery. This one is going to run at 11.1 V and this one is going to run at 14.8 V so this one delivers more power. We know that motors, if you go way back to the first episode we had when we were talking about how motors work, they have a KV which is how many times they are going to rotate per minute times the number of volts. So you give more volts to a motor it is going to rotate faster. But, they also have a power limitation. The maximum amount of power that you are going to push through a motor until they blow out. They will just melt down. This will run fine with 10 or 11 inch props on a 3S battery but if you wanted to use a four asked battery you need to use 8 inch props because 10 inches will pull too much power through the motors.

Bryan: Okay. What kind of flight time are you looking at with these batteries?

Fr. Robert: With the 2200 pack I would probably get about 7 to 10 minutes. But I would put a 5000 pack on that and get 20 minutes. It all depends on what you want and what you are looking for. If you want longer flight times I would use a large 3S battery with larger props, it is more efficient and you will fly longer. But the nice thing about this is that if I want to sport fly I can put in the 4S with 8 inch props and if I want to photography fly I put in ten inch propeller with a 3S battery. And the other thing is, we are now moving into carbon fiber.

Bryan: I was going to say have you noticed much of a difference in stability between that and a plastic prop?

Fr. Robert: It is huge. It is ridiculous. carbon fiber does a couple of things. Number one, it is much lighter. Far lighter than a plastic nylon prop. Which is important because we talked about this when we talked about motors the first time. The agility of your quad copter comes from thrust control, how fast can you speed up and slow down props. Because that is going to determine how quickly can you change the state of your quad copter. If you have a heavier pop it takes longer to spin it up and longer to spend it down. So you want as light a prop as possible so that you can change thrust states immediately.

Bryan: With the most amount of strength.

Fr. Robert: Exactly. And that is the other thing. If you look at a nylon prop when you’re flying it actually bends.

Bryan: I’ve taken pictures of my quad before and in the picture you can see the propellers are bent.

Fr. Robert: And bending props means excess vibration and it also means that you are bleeding off some of the energy that should be pushing. It should be developing thrust. It doesn’t really matter on a 5 inch prop that is why we didn’t care about getting carbon fiber for our 250s. Because we are going to crash them a lot and carbon fiber props are expensive. And also at that size you don’t see a whole lot of benefit. A little bit that not as much to justify. I have never broken one of these props. Oh I take that back. One of these props was broken but that is because we got stuck in a 100mph windstorm and it actually blew my prop across the beach.

Bryan: You were flying in a 100mph windstorm?

Fr. Robert: No, no, no. It was on the ground. And it literally blew everything.

Bryan: And as it tumbled?

Fr. Robert: They will snap. One other thing though. Carbon fiber props are dangerous.

Bryan: They will cut you.

Fr. Robert: They will cut you. And they will cut you deep. So if you are going to be using carbon fiber and just know that you need to treat it like a knife.

Bryan: Do you recommend getting both and starting with the plastic prop? Or just get the carbon fiber ones and save the money and don’t hit anyone?

Fr. Robert: I would say that if you have been practicing on a 250 your training transfers directly over to a 450 class. So go ahead and get yourself the carbon fiber product. Make sure you’ve got all your stuff flying out on the 250 and then do steady flying on the 450. And fly it outside.

Bryan: No flying in the studio.

Fr. Robert: I’ve only done that once. So we've got our props let’s talk a little bit about flight controllers. I use a more advanced flight controller in the Alien that I fly for my photography. It does GPS, it does way point encompassing and that is all fine. But what I would suggest is that since technically we are still kind of reaching out in the start of your building career go ahead and use a KK. This thing is a $20 board. And this will do everything that you wanted to do. But the really nice thing about the KK’s is that they are so easy to use. They have that built-in LCD screen and the buttons are right on the flight controller so that if you mount this thing on the top debt of your quad copter you can make real-time adjustments in the field without having to have a computer or a phone or anything else. This is what it looks like.

Bryan: I was going to say you’ve done a very good job of your cabling and stuff so you have direct access to the buttons.

Fr. Robert: Right. And you can actually take this and move it under the deck. You can put it inside once you have it all dialed in and you want more protection. But with that cost, $20, some of that is really going to allow you to define the difference between what the PID settings do and what the thick scaling will do, it is priceless. Especially since what we are going to be doing as we build, we are going to show you what each of those settings will do to the characteristics of your craft. It is a lot easier if you can actually see it right on top of the quad.

Bryan: Because the other when you were talking about you have to plug it into the computer to dial in the settings right?

Fr. Robert: It is an Arduino board and I actually have mine set up with the Bluetooth module but it means I have to use my phone. It is cool but that in itself is a project. We are going to be doing that segment. This is digital and it is right on top and there is no messing around. You know exactly what you are doing, and exactly what the settings are.

Bryan: Because the worst thing is when you get out to where you want to fly your quad and you realize you don’t have something that you need.

Fr. Robert: Exactly. Like I have actually done that. I've taken my nice quad out where I was flying up in the mountains and it wasn't flying right. I wanted to change the settings but I had forgotten the cable. I had no options, either I fly it like that or I’d don’t like. If I had still had the KK on it I could adjust it right there. And I would be good to go.

Bryan: I forgot the SD card on my Go Pro once. After I got the Go Pro all mounted and everything.

Fr. Robert: So those are all good big-ticket items. There are a few other things that you are going to want for this project. You are going to want bullets. These are 3.5 mm bullets. Again, there are people who don't like bullet connectors they just want to solder everything to everything else. Totally logical and you can do that. I like a little bit more flexibility because I am always swapping parts in and out of my quads.

Bryan: And you showed on a previous episode that it is not too difficult to solder the bullets together. It is pretty straightforward.

Fr. Robert: It is pretty straightforward and if you do it right, like WiSpy is in the chat room right now and I respect him and he always says you are just adding a point of failure. And I know that. But at least for me, might builds are so dynamic I’m going to swap it out way before anything fails. But there will come a point when I am going to say this is a perfect build and I’m going to solder everything else and make sure it is bulletproof.

Bryan: Because we are still in the stages of playing around with what we like and what kind of models we want to play with right? And usually the point of failure is between my thumbs.

Fr. Robert: You are also going to need some servo leads. You just need three. If you buy your controller from ready to fly quads, which again I don’t advertise for ready to fly quite and they don’t give us any money I just have been so happy with everything I bought from Paul Baxter. They will give you the board, they will give you the leads and the pins soldered the way that you want. Just make sure that you check the boxes so that you get them when you need them. And of course, I am in love with his ESC’s.

Bryan: If you make good stuff we are going to want to play with it.

Fr. Robert: In fact I just ordered the parts for building an X8, it is an Optic Copter.

Bryan: Is that going to cut in to our snack budget though? We don’t have pork funds anymore.

Fr. Robert: You are also going to need 14gauge wire. So this is what you need to be able to handle the current that is going to be going through. You don’t need that much. I would just go to eBay and buy about 10 feet of this. For something like $7.50.

Bryan: And you have to get the silicone right?

Fr. Robert: Yes. This is important because if you get the plastic sheet one that stuff will melt. Silicone is nice and flexible and it will stay flexible. It is easier to work with. Don't cheap out on them. You are going to want to get some heat shrink. I got heat shrink tubing in every size in my lab. You could just get a pack like this. I think I got this thing for like five dollars. And it just contains all different colors of heat shrink tubing. Which is nice because sometimes you want to color code your connections. You are also going to want a set of nylon spacers. These are incredibly useful. I got a pack of like every size of nylon spacer. I actually have a much bigger tab of this that you can buy a starter pack. These are things that you are not going to exhaust just doing this project, so if you are getting into quad copter building by years self a nice supply. The more you buy, The cheaper it is going to get and you are going to use them. I am always using nylon spacers because they are vital whenever you are putting things inside an internal structure of a quad copter.

Bryan: I can see you have put them to pretty good use.

Fr. Robert: Absolutely everywhere. It just makes things more flexible. You also want to get a set of 8mm M3 .05 screws. These things right here. You need the 8mm version. I bought this pack for like four dollars because I am going to use a lot of them. You need the 8mm because 6 mm is not going to penetrate far enough into the can and you are going to get a motor that wants to let go. 10 mm will actually go too far into the can and you will start touching the windings. Make sure it is 8mm. Again, don’t buy small packs. A small pack will cost you three dollars and this cost me four dollars. Buy a big pack and you will use them for years.

Bryan: I’ve kind of learned that lesson in some of the parts that I bought for the Syma period I should have just bought all of them at once.

Fr. Robert: Actually there was one point and I was like I should just buy extra Syma’s for parts. It’s cheaper.

Bryan: And just buy with their free shipping and then wait a month or two depending on what you are buying and then just have them on hand.

Fr. Robert: So altogether if you want to go the inexpensive route and go with the inexpensive motors this build is going to cost you about $160 or so. If you have some of the stuff that calm you could shave off like $20. So the cheapest I have been able to build this with the existing supportive equipment is about $140. If you have none of it, but you do have a radio and a battery and a charger because you have done a build before, it is going to cost you about $170 to $180. If you have absolutely nothing if this is actually the first bill that you have ever done and you need to get a transmitter and a battery etc. it is going to cost you about $250 to $280.

Bryan: Ka-Ching! If you are going to get a Phantom, this is still cheaper than that.

Fr. Robert: And by the way this doesn’t include the Go Pro that you were going to strap on.

Bryan: Oh that is true. but I think you can pick up the older Hero3 for not too much.

Fr. Robert: So. We are actually going to talk about alternatives. For example, I lost a camera during my AFP the incident but it was a $50 one. So it is not as bad as losing a $400 Go Pro.

Bryan: Yeah. Black edition or something like that.

Fr. Robert: All of this is going to be in the show notes so you don’t have to rewind us to figure out what you are going to get. I have actually given your links and prices so you know exactly where to go to buy. You have got to week so if you buy it today you should have them all in your house by the time we actually start the build.

Bryan: Cool. Can we fly these now?

Fr. Robert: No. You have to wait.

Bryan: You bring all this stuff out and I haven’t even gotten to play with it.

Fr. Robert: I built this one for you.

Bryan: Well let’s go fly then. Can we just end the show now? Wait let me grab the quad.

Fr. Robert: Now, we will be applying more of these in just a bit. But right now, we are going to jump into our crossover episode. If you came here from Coding 101, then you have seen what we had to do coding wise in order to get the Arduino clock working. We’ve got Mark Smith, Smitty from DefCon, who is guiding us through a little bit of embedded programming and now we are actually going to show you how the hardware comes together.

Mark Smith: Hey everybody this is Smitty on Know How. Over the last few weeks we have shown you on Know How and on Coding 101 how to make one of these awesome analog panel meter clocks. We showed you the code, we showed you some of the hardware on a breadboard. Today, what we are going to do is we are going to take a prototyping shield for the Arduino and we are going to hard solder that circuit onto this board so that you don’t have to worry about wires falling out. And then you can use your prototyping board to go work on some other project. The results of this will be a hard soldered kit that you can put together in an awesome box like this and have a final product that you can put on the shelf and use forever. You will notice that there is one very similar to this already in here. I have used lots of them but the one that I like for this project is the solar bought XB ProtoShield. The reason I like this particular ProtoSheild is that it comes with buttons. It has four buttons built into the board already. It also has some LEDs and some other things on there. We won’t be using those. But the buttons are the things I really like. It is about the same price. Some are about $10-$20 each and I think I got these for $15 on Amazon. I’m sorry, not Amazon. Solarponics. Links will be in the show notes. We are going to be using this board with those buttons leaving off some of the bits that we are not using since we are not actually going to be using it for prototyping this is going to be a final thing. Consequently, I’m not going to follow the instructions. Instead, we are just going to install the bits that we want and leave off the bits that we don’t want so that we are left with a minimal product. The first thing we are going to do is we are going to solder on the male headers. The male headers are the ones that connect the shield into the Arduino. There are a bunch of male headers there, there are four of them in the kit. Two of them are 8 pin and two of them are six pin. If you look at the shield there are two sections of six pins over here and two sections of eight pins over here. So we are going to put those headers into these holes over here. Now, also notice that there are two different roads. There is an outside row and an inner row. This kit was designed to have a separate male and female header. The male header is on the bottom like that so that you can connect it to the Arduino. And then the female header goes on top so that you can plug your wires into it. Since we are going to be hard soldering to this board I am not going to bother with the female headers. But we are still going to use the mail headers on the bottom. One thing with headers is that they wobble a lot. When you put them in and they haven’t been soldered yet. You really want them to sit flush with the board and the way I do that is by pushing down on it with my finger now on the plastic and that pushes the plastic flat against the board. To do that, and be able to solder all at the same time, the way I've found to do that is to go ahead and solder one in without worrying too much about whether it is flush. Let that solder cool, then we are going to take the board and I am going to hold it with my finger, don’t hold onto that pen because you will burn it but hold onto the other pins and push it flush against the board. Wobble it around while you preheat the solder and when you know with this flash then you can release the solder, let it cool down and now you can go back and solder the rest of the pins and that first pin will hold it in place. I’m going to go ahead and do the same to the other three headers. Notice how that is kind of off angle it is a little wobbly from the other one. So I’m going to go in, reheat that solder, line it up, let that cool down again, and then it will be nice and straight and in line with the other ones. That is the way we want to see it. Let me go back and solder the rest. One thing to note is that I am exhaling ever so slightly while I am soldering this and blowing the smoke away from me otherwise when you inhale you will get a lung full of solder flux and that is no good. All right, so, we have an Arduino shield with straight pins and we should be able to plug this in an Arduino. Line up the pins nice and straight and make sure none are overhanging on either side, make sure they are all making it into the holes and plug it in. And it is good. Look at that it is a shield. It doesn’t have a whole lot of useful information on it or a lot of useful parts on it but we are going to put those on next. Next thing we want to put on here are the switches. It comes with five different switches, these are small tactile switches. They are very small and simple switches. There are four places up here for four different switches that you can wire into your circuit. We are only going to be using three of these so I am going to leave one of them unpopulated. If you remember from the Coding 101 episode where we talked about this, two of these will be used for setting minute and seconds and one of them will be for putting into calibration mode. The fifth switch that is on the board is a reset. Sometimes your code gets a little wonky or you want to started over from scratch for whatever reason you want to be able to reset your code. So this one down here is a reset switch. You can kind of see it is labeled reset on the board. That is a feature that they included on this prototyping board. Make sure that all your buttons go all the way down before you solder. So I am going to go ahead and solder these buttons in. Let’s take a look at our buttons. The minute and hour, the calibrate and the reset. They are all flush with the board. We’ve also got some LEDs and they are current limiting resistors. We will go ahead and populate one of these because I did put a LED tick-tock on the code. Now one thing to note about the LED is that there is a little bit of a flat side and then the other side is still rounded. The flat side is one of the two sites. These devices are polarized so you need to make sure they go in the right orientation. If you look at the board you will notice that the outline has kind of a flat side on the outline of the diode. Make sure that the flat side of the LED goes into the flat side on the board. So I am going to do that. We will go ahead and push that in. If you were making this kit as a general prototyping board you would go ahead and populate all of these that since this is going to be a special purpose application we know what it is going to be doing and we know that there are going to be three other LEDs so I am not going to bother populating them. We are going to keep it in minimal board. We will cut off the excess leads. There you go. So we have an LED, but we don’t have its current limiting resistor. I need to put its current limiting resistor in there. They come in packs of four like this and I’m just going to take one out, just literally pull it out of the sides. Now, look at the board. The pins and the holes on the board are awfully close to each other so I am not going to be able to do a standard bend on a resistor where it looks like that. Instead, we are going to have to make this a vertically mounted resistor where the band looks like that. So I am going to go ahead and push this in. Resistors are non-polarized so it doesn’t matter which way they go in. On the flip side, on the back side of it here I am going to bend these wires out just a little bit to hold it in place while I solder it in. That way the resistor won’t fall out. Trim off the excess leads. All right we’ve got an LED, a current limiting resistor, we’ve got our switches, I think that is about it for all the components that come on. The rest of this subordinate has a couple of servo outlets over here that you can run some servos. We are not going to be using any of those. These two 1x4’s are the connections to the switches and the LEDs and normally the kit has us putting these female socket headers on top. So that you can use the breadboard wires. We are not going to be doing that, we are going to be hardwiring now so I am not going to the put these in. That is pretty much it and now we need to start soldering up the rest of the board.

Fr. Robert: We actually have a question from the chat room, they are wondering why he wasn’t putting more components on the this ProtoShield. it is because This is final assembly. If you want to see what it looks like using a breadboard what you want to do is watch the crossover Coding 101 episode. Because he just puts the components and and then he jumpers them. So if you want to test first go ahead and use the actual breadboard ProtoShield. This is final assembly ProtoShield in other words this ProtoShield will never be used for anything else.

Bryan: And he is very fast at soldering.

Fr. Robert: I know did you see that? And actually I slowed that down. If you do want to continue with the entire project we are going to be doing it over the next two weeks. But again, he is only going to be showing you the hardware on Know How. Coding 101 is where you have to go to find the software. The nice thing about this is after this set of episodes is done I am going to show you how I repurposed the hardware and the software to do something else that is actually very cool with no additional work required. This is one of the things about the world of Arduino that use start to notice which is one project leads to another which leads to another. Because you just start adding inputs and outputs and you are good to go.

Bryan: Yeah, and the more you play with at the more you find other projects. And Hi Tech is saying Always thought a tip clean. Absolutely. That is not just a safety tip if you don’t keep it clean intend what is going to happen is that your tips will corrode and when they corrode they look like they do in my shop.

Bryan: I was going to say if you see any of padres soldering segments…

Fr. Robert: Please. But they end up looking discuss things although they will still kind of work but you get messy solder joints and if you buy something nice take care of it.

Bryan: I think you just do it to prove that it can be done.

Fr. Robert: I have a really nice kit and you never see it on camera. Because I don’t want to mess it up.

Bryan: It is like buying a toy and leaving it in the wrapping.

Fr. Robert: It is a fine control soldering iron and the problem is when you solder on camera you are always doing weird angles. End it doesn’t work. Nevermind. Let’s go ahead and jump into a little bit of feedback because it has been a while since we had a chance to listen to what the folks in the chat room and in our Google plus group have been saying. Bryan, do we have a first winner?

Bryan: Our first feedback question from our Google plus is, “What is your network tester?” and that is from Daniel. He wanted to know if we could identify the fluke network tester that you used on episode 129. He couldn’t actually make out what was written on it even though it was then 720 P.

Fr. Robert: Sorry about that but I thought I mentioned it but maybe not. I was using this. This is an old fluke network tool. They don’t actually sell these things anymore. So buy on eBay. If you were to buy this one when it originally came out it was like $1500. But not anymore. You can actually get one of these from between $100, in pretty bad condition cosmetically, and they go all the way up to $500. One of the nice things about this is that it is not just a cable tester it is a network tester. So it will test your D8CP server, your DNS, it will actually look for continuity. It will tell you where the break is because this will do the return time. So it knows where there is a break in the cable. But, one big disadvantage and that this is just 10/100 so this does not test gigabit networks. Which is actually not a big deal because we are not looking to verify gigabit runs we are actually looking to test continuity and then test service.

Bryan: Especially if you made your own network cable.

Fr. Robert: Right. Which brings us to something else that you can get. You can buy this brand-new. It is about $200 and this is one of their IntelliTone’s. The cool thing about the IntelliTone it isn’t just a cable mapper it is also a toner so I can plug this side into the toner end this side will actually allow me if I get close to the cable it will let me know what I am plugged into. So if you’ve got a project where you have a bundle of cables or you are trying to figure out which cable goes where, you plug this into one end and you can use a toner to find exactly what cable that is.

Bryan: And that works because it is sending a signal down the line and these are basically like little antennas?

Fr. Robert: That’s right. It is just sending a tone down the line enough of that are at the energy comes off end this is like a radio receiver to so it is just receiving the signal and then it amplifies it. Back, it has a second mode. And the second mode is if you plug the cable into both ends it will actually do a cable test. It’s got these eight LEDs that will tell you whether or not that particular lead is connected properly. Now, Bryan, I actually got this cable from your desk.

Bryan: This is my handiwork.

Fr. Robert: This is your handiwork so let’s go ahead and turn on the cable map and see what it looks like. Okay well the first two are good. And then the bonk sound is not good.

Bryan: That is what the noise should be at the end of the line. So two of my connections are okay but the others are not.

Fr. Robert: It’s a start. But again this is a multipurpose tool because this allows you to locate cables as well as testing them. Now I know that is still a lot, $200 can be kind of pricey for the newer versions. This is the links printer and this one can go all the way down to $100. This is a new product from fluke end this will do cable testing but it does it in a weird way. You actually start up in account on flukes Web server and you test a bunch of cables and it will actually upload the results to the Web server and then you can check them from your computer. Which sounds convoluted but then is like automatic documentation. It documents your house.

Bryan: Is there a mobile app?

Fr. Robert: Yes there is a mobile app. So, I like fluke networks just because I have used them for so long. They are really high quality tools and they never break unless I am trying to break them. They are pricey. If you just want super simple cable testing, go to a place like Monoprice and for $30 you can buy something that will just literally tell you if electrons are passing from one side of the wire to the other.

Bryan: That if you are going to be wiring, not only your house but maybe relatives houses….

Fr. Robert: It’s nice to have more of a little something something. I know people who have a cable tester that they will plug a laptop in and it works.

Bryan: If I can get on the Internet we are good.

Fr. Robert: And I’m not going to make fun of that. That is fine. You go with what you’ve got. But sometimes it is nice to have nicer things.

Bryan: Especially if you are laying more than one cable. I guess we should move on to our next feedback question. So, believe got John.

Alex: Hey Brian, sorry I am looking at the network. And it looks like we just have a hand on this episode. We should probably cut it short. We don't want to feel the episode with too much free knowledge.

Bryan: Woe woe.

Fr. Robert: You were the one who told him to take a bigger role in the show. And this is what he does.

Bryan: The power has gone to his head. But we've got so much wore to talk about.

Alex: But we've got responsibilities here.

Bryan: I need him to keep us in check Padre.

Fr. Robert: Fine. Fine.

Alex: We’ll save him for next week.

Fr. Robert: Thank you very much for staying around for this segment of the show. We know this was a lot of material end especially since we gave you a parts list we are not going to leave you in the dark. On the show notes page you will have everything spelled out. We literally will take everything from our notes and put it into the show notes.

Bryan: We’ll take what Padre puts in the dock and we’ll paste it in the website.

Fr. Robert: Where do they go for that?

Bryan: They go to And not only can you find our show notes you can find past episodes which is extremely handy when we are going back on projects like soldering bullets and are quad projects and everything else. And there are handy little drop-down menus for downloading the episode to your preferred device. So if you have a Zoon like Alex.

Fr. Robert: My Zoon died.

Bryan: Well you should have been smart and bought like two or three like Alex did. I think he even has like, what is that little phone? A Ken?

Alex: I have a Ken somewhere.

Fr. Robert: That only worked for like 30 days.

 Bryan: And when they discontinued it they had to notify their next of kin. But I digress.

Fr. Robert: If you've got really bad puns like that you are probably going to want to check out our Google plus group. It is 8000 members and growing. Tell your friends to join in. It is a great place to get information.

Bryan: And it is a cool place to go around and see other people’s projects and get ideas from those. I know that a few of the projects that we have done had been outshines on Google plus. So thank you.

Fr. Robert: Stop it. Just stop it. We used to give you a link for it but just go to Google plus a look for know-how. There is only one Know How group. Come join in, ask questions, post questions and post your projects. We will take your questions on the air. One of the other things that we did if Alex hadn’t stopped us, we actually had a feedback of a very cool Arduino project that one of our Know It All’s did. We are going to show you that next week.

Bryan: We were going to show you. But now we are just going to drive out. All because of Alex.

Fr. Robert: You can find us on other social media venues. Specifically on twitter. You can find me @PadreSJ.

Bryan: And I’m @cranky_hippo. And if you want to complain about the episode being short you can go to @anelf3.

Fr. Robert: In fact the power of Padre impels you to go to twitter and complain to @anelf3. Tell him we want more Know How.

Alex: In reality it was totally my decision.

Fr. Robert: Don’t forget we are getting back into our quad copter episodes which means next week we are going to continue the Arduino clock but we are also going to be doing the first episode where we are going to show you mindset you can make to your existing FPV 250. So if you built a 250 from three months ago we are going to start to give you little tips, some of them completely free, that can increase your performance and stability.

Bryan: I just want to fly, Padre. Can we just see some FPV?

Fr. Robert: Until next time, I’m Father Robert Ballecer.

Bryan: And I’m Bryan Burnett.

Fr. Robert: And now that you know how…

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