Know How... 145 (Transcript)
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On this episode of Know How the next generation of Internet over microwave, shame your ISP, and an easy way to upgrade your Arduino project. Know How is next.
Father Robert Ballecer: Welcome to Know How, it’s 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 50 minutes or so we are going to be showing you some of the projects that we have been working on so that you can take them home and geek out on your own.
Bryan: Yep. We have been geeking out hard all weekend just for this.
Fr. Robert: Yes. We are going to talk a little bit about how hard that geeking out was.
Bryan: Involved in crashes. We are not going to get into that are we?
Fr. Robert: No we are not going to start off with that. Because what we want to start out with our microwaves.
Bryan: Okay, I like microwaves.
Fr. Robert: They are very important.
Bryan: Yeah, how else am I going to heat up my steam buns?
Fr. Robert: Actually it is the same microwave. But specifically I am talking about the microwave delivery of data. When we think about Internet speeds, the fastest thing is fiber. It is always fiber right? It is faster than the speed of light.
Bryan: Exactly. Except that fiber actually slows down light a bit.
Fr. Robert: This is one of the things that a lot of people don’t quite understand. Which is that the speed of light is constant through a particular medium. So it is different from being in a vacuum, from being underwater, from being in glass. If you transmit light through glass, the fastest it will go is about 200,000 km/s. Which is fast. But, in a vacuum it is 300,000 km/s.
Bryan: That is a little bit faster.
Fr. Robert: What we have learned is that there are some researchers over at MIT, the University of smart people, have been working on a solution to divide the traffic that you use into what needs to be delivered really quickly and what needs to be delivered in a big bunch.
Bryan: Okay. And there are a few cases that people want data really fast. Like, faster than anyone else can get it. And give them an advantage?
Fr. Robert: Yes. So with Stock traders this has already been used. You've got a stock traders who have set up microwave links between New York and Chicago and what they are doing is using that super slight advantage, just a couple of milliseconds, over a fiber network by using microwaves. And by using microwaves they might get a financial bit of data 5 ms before everybody else. But in the world of fast trading that is basically a crystal ball.
Bryan: Okay. That sounds like cheating. Is it?
Fr. Robert: It is a great area.
Bryan: If you can build the fastest line then I guess it is all more power to you.
Fr. Robert: The FCC hasn’t really caught up with that yet. Actually it is very dangerous because the only way to take advantage of those crazy fast transaction times is to use a computerized trading system. And computerized trading systems will cause flash crashes, which is bad. We don’t want that.
Bryan: Will going back to microwaves, we talked about that a while where there were all these stations that were left over from years ago that had been pretty much abandoned right?
Fr. Robert: Right. So we were talking about these, the long line across the United States. This is how we used to transmit data across the country. We had these microwave towers that were normally on the top of hills and mountains and it allowed us to beam data via relay stations. You could go back to that episode of Know How and actually see what that entails. Because those stations are actually very cool. It is a nice piece of history. But they were abandoned because they just don’t have the bandwidth.
Bryan: You started running into the era of Physics.
Fr. Robert: You ran into physics, you can’t signal any faster.
Bryan: The same thing that is happening with fiber.
Fr. Robert: Well, it is a different situation. Because in fiber you can carry a massive amount of data. It is kind of like the opposite of the microwave tower. You can do a lot of data that it is slower than a microwave tower. A microwave tower is faster than fiber but you can’t push much data through it.
Bryan: That is fascinating.
Fr. Robert: So what they have done, is said we can now start to play with people’s psychology. The Internet is as fast as you think it is. Remember this. There are people in our audience who remembered us. When you were using a 300 bod modem…
Bryan: Me and Alex are in the day of the 56K modem.
Fr. Robert: Exactly. That is what I’m talking about. I started with 300 and then we went up to 14.4 and that was so fast. It is the same thing here. It is not necessarily that it is so much faster, it just feels faster. And they figured out a way to capture that feeling by transmitting everything that needs a lot of bandwidth over fiber, transmitting the stuff that needs to arrive quickly over microwave.
Bryan: Okay. So it is kind of like if you are imagining a freeway there is the slow lane for all the cargo trucks and in the carpool lane for the fast track.
Fr. Robert: Exactly. Now this is actually an interesting thing. We are not just talking about microwaves. This is a very interesting network technology, this idea of bonding channels. So you are bonding something that is very fast with very limited bandwidth was something that is slower but huge amounts of bandwidth. Almost an infinite amount of bandwidth. You can just connect to both of those up to a computer and say okay I’m faster now. You do need some sort of system at both ends that will figure out what traffic needs to go fast and what can go slowly and then recombine them at the other end so that the client computer can just see a single stream.
Bryan: Sort of like an air traffic controller.
Fr. Robert: Do you remember when U.S. Robotics released the shotgun modem? The idea was you had a modem but it had two phone lines and you could use both phone lines and it would do what is called bonding. The problem is you needed another shotgun at the other end. This is sort of the same problem. Unless you’ve got some things at the other end that will decode what you are doing, it doesn’t work. It is cool tech, but it might take a while.
Bryan: Isn’t it kind of cost prohibitive to try to install more fiber where the microwave stuff is already set up?
Fr. Robert: It can be. And that is the thing. We are now at the point where there is so much infrastructure that is deployed around the world, that this is probably going to be something you could take advantage of. That is what they are doing with the microwaves. We moved away from microwave technology so there is a lot of stuff that you can buy cheap. So, who knows. Maybe your future Internet might also help him eat up his hot pockets.
Bryan: I like hot pockets.
Fr. Robert: I want to move on to something that we promise to the audience a while back. And we are now delivering. Do you like your ISP?
Bryan: I don’t really have a choice do I?
Fr. Robert: That is another discussion that we are not going to get into. But, most of us hate our ISP.
Bryan: I think I would fall into that category. Fortunately, I haven’t had to deal with Comcast as my ISP right now. So that actually has worked out for me. But is soon as I have to deal with them I hate everything.
Fr. Robert: What is the most frustrating thing that you can have as a tech person when you are trying to fix a problem?
Bryan: When you are trying to fix a problem? I don't know.
Fr. Robert: It is the intermittent problem. You can't pinpoint it.
Bryan: That happens to me all the time. Where I will be playing a game and then all of a sudden I will get a lag spike. And I will go on my laptop and run a speed test and everything is fine.
Fr. Robert: Everything checks out. I don’t know what is wrong with your equipment.
Bryan: And then they try to get me to change my modem.
Fr. Robert: Exactly. And actually that is the part that I really hate. It is saying that every day between 4 AM and 6 AM my Internet goes down.
Bryan: That actually has been happening to me. I stay up a little later than I should but at exactly 12:30 every night when I am watching something on Comcast and it just cuts out. And then it picks up like five minutes later. It happens three or four times a week.
Fr. Robert: And if you call up your ISP they are going to tell you everything looks fine on our side. All of our equipment says it was great so there must be something wrong with your network. Wouldn’t it be nice if you had a way to easily and freely, it’s not going to cost you anything, to document exactly what is going on?
Bryan: And I would be able to use that information to shame them.
Fr. Robert: Or even to give to a tech person and say I am not imagining this. This is what I saw. But wouldn’t that be nice? Something that you could do easily. Something that everyone could do, regardless of what your operating system might be. Something that you could do now.
Bryan: I have a feeling you are about to show me.
Fr. Robert: I am. Hey, Alex. Press the magic button.
Fr. Robert: Documenting your bad connection starts with getting some basic information about your network. These instructions are for windows users, but Mac users should be able to follow along using Shell, and Linux users well you already know how to do all this so I’m going to give you all a gold star and ask you to sit outside. Open up a command prompt and use the command IP config to bring up your IP address information. You can also use IP config/all for a more complete inventory of your IP networking configuration. Document your IP address and your default gateway. In my case the client resides at 192.168.0.15 and my gateway is 192.168.0.1. This gives me my first hop on the network. Meaning that my client is one step away from a gateway. If you want to speed up the process create a shortcut for the command prompt to make it easier to open up multiple command windows. Open up a new command window and ping your default gateway. In my case I type ping192.168.0.1 space-T. The dash T switch turns this into a continual ping request to the gateway, your first stop. As each ping gets them back to your client you get your ping time. Since this is your gateway the ping time should be extremely low. Typically 1 to 2 ms for a wired network, sub 15 ms for a wireless network. If it goes higher than now for an extended period of time you may have issues with your internal network. This gateway address is good to have but if it starts with 192.168 then it is a non-routable address and we want the first top pass to your internal network. This will require you to get into the interface with the device supplied by your ISP. In my case it is a Cisco DPC 3825 Doxys 3.0 gateway. Upon entering the interface I can find a default gateway and my router. This is the first half for my router which means I now have a path from my client to my router to the first point of contact with my ISP. Again, document everything. More experienced users will tell you to use trace route but I am going to give them a gold star and tell them to go sit outside with the Linux guys. With this new information, open up a new command window and start a continual ping of your router’s default gateway. In my case it is 18.104.22.168. As a window populates you will start to see ping times two that second hop that you can compare against times to the first hop. That is important because it means you know how long it takes to get to the end of your network and to the edge of theirs. Typically I like to have a third or fourth ping running to a popular service on the Internet. Something like Google, 22.214.171.124 or to open DNS at 126.96.36.199. Accessing those services will take you through your ISP networks to a handoff with a nether network. Once you have your pings running you can start looking for patterns in increased latency. I’ve taken screenshots that I can show to my ISP tech when he doubts that I am having a problem with their network. In this example, pings from my internal gateway average 1 ms to the ISP’s edge takes 7 to 14 ms and to Google takes 56 ms. That is actually average. What I want to look for is when I can still get to my internal gateway and to that edge but not to an external service or when that external service takes a extraordinary amount of time, past 1000 ms or more. That is when you know that the problem is passed your network. This doesn’t always guarantee action but at the very least you can shame them by posting their atrocious pings on to the internet.
Fr. Robert: The shaming often works much more quickly than trying to reason it out with a tech. I don’t like to say that but it is true.
Bryan: What is up happening when you call over the phone is that you get the scripted kind of response.
Fr. Robert: You are not talking to a tack you are talking to someone who has a manual in front of him or her and they are reading a lock. Hold on, have you tried turning off the modem for 30 seconds and turning it back on?
Bryan: Is your computer plugged in? Yes.
Fr. Robert: Is it on fire? No. But what this can do, ping is probably the most versatile network tool we use. I've got gear that is very expensive that can tell me exactly what is going on with the network. But the ping is on every device I ever need to use. It is on my android phone. It is on OS X, Linux, Windows so it is a really good resource to know how to use. And if you know how to interpret at it is even better. So what we did in that example, is that we had one end that was pinging to the internal gateway so that is to the edge of my network. Then we pinged the edge of the ISP network. Then we pinged beyond the ISP network. And it tells you very clearly what is happening. If you are not getting into that first ping, there is something wrong with your network. If you can get to the first ping but not to the second. There is probably something wrong with the modem or the actual ISP network is down.
Bryan: And the last one?
Fr. Robert: Then you know that you are getting into the ISP Network but it is not getting out of the ISP network.
Bryan: And then no way you can make an informed decision on when to call them or send an email?
Fr. Robert: You can call them and say I can ping inside your network all day long, but the second I asked to try to get to something on the Internet it fails. So obviously there is a problem with you. It is not with me, or my DNS settings, or my internal network. You've got something that is busted.
Bryan: I like that idea. Because far too many times I have things happen to me and I haven’t had a way to prove it other than saying you guys suck.
Fr. Robert: I will say this. Don’t go to your ISP and say I've got 15,000 hours… they will have no idea what you are talking about.
Bryan: Print out all your pings and bring your stack with you to Comcast.
Fr. Robert: I have noticed, especially with Comcast and Cox, if you just put the @Cox or @comcast and say look at my Ping times, you will get a call. I had this problem in Las Vegas, like I said every morning at 2:00 to about 6:00 we would lose connectivity. This was literally something that went on for 10 years. Until finally I got fed up and ran a ping test and started posting the screens to twitter and the next day they came and replace the piece of faulty gear that had been there for a decade. And it fixed it. Totally.
Bryan: All right, so what from your experience what would have been going on with that faulty gear?
Fr. Robert: A bad amplifier. That’s all it was. And I had told them that six months into the problem.
Bryan: And then they say we will send the guy between 8 o’clock and 6 o’clock.
Fr. Robert: The problem is I didn’t live there so they were talking to my parents. It’s your modem, just replace your modem. That is actually why we stopped buying. They said you’ve got to rent it from us.
Bryan: They told me that years ago. I think it was about four years ago they tried to get me to change my modem to them. All I had to do was call, complain and have them reset it and I haven’t had a problem since.
Fr. Robert: Not all ISPs are bad and actually they do a great service. But sometimes they need a little shaming. You know who doesn’t need shaming though?
Bryan: I think our next sponsor.
Fr. Robert: Yeah. Let me ask you about this. What would you do if you can have something that was very easily installed, that would let you find out who is coming to your front door at all times? Not necessarily ringing but just coming into the vicinity of your front door?
Bryan: Well, I am one of those people that hates going to the front door and answering it, if it is not somebody I know. What I always end up doing is peaking around the window and opening up the shade to see who it is. And then they look over and I try to pretend like I’m not home after that.
Fr. Robert: What if I told you there was a way to do that without getting up, just from your smart phone or your tablet. And you didn’t even have to be in the house to do it?
Bryan: You had me at “not getting up”, Padre.
Fr. Robert: It is Ring. Now, I do have a really cool story about this. This last weekend I was in Las Vegas, I was spending some time with my parents, and we have actually had trouble because they live in one of these elderly communities kind of a semi-gated community. They have had a lot of break-ins. There are a lot of people that know that many of these homes are used as vacation homes. Or they are elderly people that won’t fight back. And I was actually kind of scared for my parents. So, once Ring became a sponsor I actually bought a Ring and installed it in about eight minutes. Here is the cool thing. This is totally off script, this is not supposed to be an ad but I am going to do it anyway. This is my personal phone. This is the device that is over in Henderson Nevada right now. I can find out, they missed a call so someone came to the door and it actually did a recording of who came to the door. Now this thing is freaking awesome. The nice thing about this, is that it doesn’t necessarily have to be a ring. I have it set up with motion detection. So if somebody comes up to the threshold and starts peeking through the windows I can actually see high definition video of the person. And it will record every single event.
Bryan: That is a wide angle lens too so you get a pretty good picture.
Fr. Robert: It is 180°, it goes all the way to the side. This thing has really change the way I’ve set up home security for my parents. Take a look what is in this kit. If you buy one of these you are going to get this, their installation kit. And when they say installation kit, they mean it. It comes with everything. Not only do you get the doorbell, you are going to get the tools, the drill, the bit, the level and all the screws that you need to put this thing into play.
Bryan: And not only will it run on the existing hardware if you have a door bell better also comes with a battery.
Fr. Robert: Exactly. So I was able to wire ours into the existing doorbell power. Which is nice, because then it also lights this up. You just want to make the sound don’t you?
Bryan: I like the sound.
Fr. Robert: But it also runs on external power, because we don’t have anything plugged into it right now. You can just charge it with this. It is a little USB port. One charge will last you for a year. Now here is the cool thing, once I got this set up I was actually walking around the house and it is like a little video camera. I tell you, something like this really does revolutionize a part of home automation and most of us take it for granted. We have upgraded our home security, and thermostat, our home automation that we haven’t done anything with the doorbell.
Bryan: That is probably the thing that I use day in and day out that I would rather have automated. Especially the fact that you can change the sound so my dog won’t freak out every time he hears the doorbell.
Fr. Robert: I actually am going to get one of these for my sister. Because we have the same problem with her little Pomeranian. If he hears a doorbell it will just start barking. But if they hear a piece of music playing they don’t care. I got to tell you folks, you’ve got to try Ring. Now, right now Ring is doing a special offer with Twit TV. Because they love us and because we are just so much into them, if you order with them right now you can get a Ring Video Doorbell for only $174. That is $25 off the normal price. imagine what you get with that. You get essentially caller ID for your door. You get a device that can stop 95% of home break-ins that happened during the day. You can install it in minutes, you can have either a battery power or line power and you can put your mind at ease. Isn’t that worth it? I’m a believer, it is what I use. And I ask you to use it too. Protect your home and have peace of mind with Ring. Just go to and save $25 off your purchase. Do it now. Do it for your parents. Do it because it is cool.
Bryan: Do it for your dog.
Fr. Robert: Alright now, we’ve gone from something very practical, something that everyone can use. We never do two practical segments.
Bryan: No. Why would we?
Fr. Robert: So what we thought we would do is take a trip back over to Make Fair and take a look at a company that is trying to give you an easy way to connect your Arduino project to the Internet.
Fr. Robert: Once you’ve got your Arduino project to gather, there is one thing that most makers are going to run into and that is how do you connected to the Internet? If you want to be a part of the Internet of things, you’ve got to be connected. Which is why we are here at 1Sheeld and I’m speaking with Amar, who has a unique technology that allows you to use your phone to put your Arduino on the net. Amar, what is this?
Amar: Well, one thing basically allows you to communicate between the Arduino and the smart phone in a really easy way. So whenever you want to buy hardware shields you don’t have to because you already have all the hardware in your phone right? So your phone can connect to the Internet it has a light of sensors, a lot of capabilities and we made that happen with Arduino. So we designed an app and a board. The app opens the sensors and capabilities, and the board has a Bluetooth module that communicates back and forth between the smartphone and Arduino board.
Fr. Robert: If I have a smart phone I have an amazing cornucopia of sensors. Everything from accelerometers and gyros to just a really nice communication platform. You have given me access to that through Bluetooth. Now, right now you work on android and I know you’re working on iOS but how does this actually work. How would I connect to my Arduino device?
Amar: Okay perfect. So it is really simple and easy. First you get the board itself and you hook it on top of the Arduino. And then you have an app on the android phone. This app opens the phone sensors and capabilities. So you have that accelerometer sensor that gives it the XYZ coordinates. Or you can make phone calls from the Arduino itself, so that it goes both ways. So you control the Arduino itself from the phone or you control the phone from the Arduino.
Fr. Robert: I love the fact that this looks complicated that it is actually really simple. You’ve got four servos that are driven straight off of an Arduino board and then you’ve got the 1Sheeld in there so that you can actually control the motion of what it is doing.
Amar: Exactly. So it is really simple, it is really one line of code. What you get is the data over the accelerometer sensor and then You do a mapping function between the cerebral motor and the accelerometer data. so whenever you move your phone left, it moves left. And if you move it right it moves right, and so on. What is good about the smart phone is that it has a lot of sensors. You know what that is? A proximity sensor. So it can be used to grab things up right?
Fr. Robert: If they want to find out more about 1Sheeld and maybe get one for their making kit, where can they go?
Fr. Robert: Thank you very much for speaking with us, thank you very much for sharing your vision for a smarter Arduino. That is 1Sheeld, the Internet of things just got smarter.
Fr. Robert: That is probably the easiest way to hook up your Arduino to something else. It is so cool because it is lightweight and easy to use, easy to program. But, getting it connected to something is not necessarily using.
Bryan: That gets a little tricky. And I didn’t realize he had it connected to his phone when we were shooting that. So I went in to get a shot of that and it started freaking out. I’m watching him talk to you and he’s gesticulating with his phone and I was like, okay now I get it.
Fr. Robert: The arm wasn’t just trying to be difficult.
Bryan: It wasn't trying to be a jerk. He just wasn’t paying attention.
Fr. Robert: All right, now again. We know there are people out there who have had it up to here with quad copters. So we are not doing a quad copter project today. Instead, we are just going to talk about quad copters. Specifically we have a couple of questions from our Google plus group from people who want some general information about what to do with their projects. This first one, we don't have a link. This was actually an email that I got a long time ago and I forgot to answer it. And then he tweeted me and said, Hey man, remember my question? I’m sorry. This is from Raimundo Diegas. Actually a very cool guy and he asked a very simple question. I think it is important to know. He wanted to know the difference between Opto and non-Opto electronic speed controllers.
Bryan: Which, I hadn’t even heard of that.
Fr. Robert: Right. Because most of us are using non-Opto. Like this. This is the one that I have been suggesting. This is that 30 amp one that I like so much. It is $10, it is bulletproof, it works really well, and it comes with a BEC, a battery eliminator circuit. That is what allows me to power my onboard electronics with this. Rather than have to run a separate power distribution for the radio and the flight controller etc. So this is what my basic ESC looks like. There is this. This is what is called an Opto ESC. And if you take a look at this side-by-side you will see the difference. First of all it is a tiny little guy, so it is lighter and smaller. The reason why it is smaller is because it doesn’t have a battery eliminator circuit. So this does not supply five bolts to the receiver and the flight controller.
Bryan: Why would that be good?
Fr. Robert: The reason for it is because when you start running really high power applications, when you start doing multi-rotorcraft if you have all of these ESC’s with the battery eliminator circuit, you actually run into a problem where the EM being generated actually starts to disrupt the craft. And you actually see this in high power applications. So, the problem is because of the battery eliminator circuit you are linked. So you're onboard electronics are linked to the motorists which are ridiculous EM generators. Basically that is what they do. They are creating electromagnetic interference. That is how motors work. This, isolates the electronics. So there is an actual separation between the control side and the power side.
Bryan: So the situation that you would want to use this is if you had something more than four rotors right?
Fr. Robert: For example the octave copter that I built, the X8. I used these opt to controllers because I didn’t want straight DEM getting into my flight controller and making it go crazy. Which I was actually getting a lot. I started with standard VEC ESC’s and every once in a while it would kind of freak out. I didn’t understand why. I looked at all my inputs and it was one of my friends on the Internet who said let me guess you’ve got VEC in all your ESC’s right? Try to replace them with Opto…
Bryan: And see if that is the end of the issue?
Fr. Robert: Now let me explain how this actually works. In this, you’ve got power coming in here. This is where the motor is connected to the three leads. So the power comes in here and get split up. Five bolts of it goes down the control line and that control line goes into the flight controller. And the flight controller gives power to the receiver. But, it is directly connected to these leads which means it is all one system. So any interference you have in the system is going to propagate throughout the entire system. With this there is actually an air gap between the control interface and the power interface. The way it does that is when the power comes in it goes straight into the controller which goes to the leads. The way this works is there is an LED diode and there is an LED receiver. And the control impulses are actually transmitted over a small air gap via light. So it get turned from electrical impulse into light and then back into electrical impulse. And that is what actually controls the ESC. So there is that air gap which means an electromagnetic interference will not come back over the power lead into your control lead.
Bryan: That is awesome. I had no idea.
Fr. Robert: What it does mean though is that you now need to put another device in your quad copter that can supply power to the flight controller. Because these will no longer do it.
Bryan: So you need to put in a separate line?
Fr. Robert: A separate line. So you need to go into a 12 V or a 14 V down to a 5 V to power the ESC. Now, the one that I run I went to extremes. I have a separate power system, a completely separate system. It is not the same battery that runs the receiver and the flight controller. It is much smaller. It is also the same battery that runs the gimbal. So, the gimbal the second receiver for controlling the gimbal, the flight controller and the receiver are all on their own power system. And then the motors have a battery for themselves.
Bryan: Okay. So you are breaking them apart.
Fr. Robert: It is more complicated and some people don’t see the benefit of doing it. But when you start to get into crazy designs, you can find yourself using this more and more often. Besides, if you feel these it doesn’t feel like much but it is actually a considerable amount of weight. So if you are really designing a performance craft you can shave precious grams off by going with this.
Bryan: Multiply it by how many motors you have.
Fr. Robert: Right. Because there is a battery eliminator circuit in each one of these you only need one to power the entire craft.
Bryan: So I learned something too. These get hot. So you don’t want these covered. You don’t want to tape them. Is that the reason why they have this metal because it is a heat sink?
Fr. Robert: Yes. This is actually heat sink. So this takes the heat that has been generated by the transistors and the gates and it allows it to vent out. If you don’t have that there… exactly.
Bryan: Shall we move on to our next question?
Fr. Robert: Let’s go ahead and move on.
Bryan: This one comes from Ray Davis. He is gone unbalanced Alien X, so the bigger quad, “I’m about to complete my Alien X build and I’m finding it difficult to balance the quad. I’m using all the recommended parts but unless I put another battery in the front, the quiet is always tail heavy. Any suggestions?”
Fr. Robert: Yes. Don’t do that. Don’t unbalance it. Now, let’s answer for real. This is actually a very common problem. The thing is, the Alien X frame was designed to have a camera in the front. So if you don’t have a camera in the front, by design it will be tail heavy.
Bryan: And there is no way to get around that?
Fr. Robert: What you can do is actually put the battery on the front rather than in this tail. This is also a problem if you use a Mobius camera because a Mobius is so much lighter than a GoPro in its casing.
Bryan: When I was flying around I had the GoPro and it was perfectly balanced with the battery.
Fr. Robert: Right. Unfortunately, you are right. There is no really good way to fix that. It is the design of the craft. You can only do so much within the limitations of the design. Now, what I have actually done with this Alien X is I actually put a gimbal underneath here and I have run the entire system with the Opto ESC’s. So I needed a second battery. So the camera was underneath, the battery was here and a kind of balance each other out.
Bryan: It sounds like he is just flying it to fly. And not have a camera strapped to it.
Fr. Robert: Right. So if you want to fly just to fly, what you want to do is put this piece of Velcro and it will stick the battery in the top and put a piece of Velcro over the top. Center the mass and then do the same balancing. Put your fingers in the whole here, as you can see I am actually really tail heavy here. So, that is what you would have to fight. That doesn’t even have the battery in the back yet. In order to make this balance out you actually have to put some weight in the front to do that.
Bryan: When you slide the battery into the little chamber down here and you put the camera in the front it is perfect. I didn’t have any problem.
Fr. Robert: That is what it was designed for.
Bryan: And it is fun!
Fr. Robert: It is fun. Hopefully that helps. I know it kills you. It kills you to add weight because you were thinking that is taking away performance, and flying time. But, not having it balanced kills performance and flying time even more.
Bryan: It is a fun quad. I have really enjoyed it. So the next question. Another quad question. “ I need my quad fixed in the EU”. This comes from Michael. “Hey guys, does anyone have a good online shop for buying stuff for quad copters, Arduino and RaspPi’s, possibly a collection of sensors for temperature inside the EU.” Ummmm.
Bryan: It is a global site?
Fr. Robert: It is a good global marketplace. And they sell everywhere. They just actually got the USA warehouse open. I used to have to buy from the EU and they would have to ship. Which was not fun. This is actually where we got the very first build we did, the FPV 250. That came from Hobby King. It was a kit. We since replaced it with something that is much better performance and actually a little cheaper. That is the Know How 250, which we are going to be building. if you look under robotics and DIY, they do have an entire section for Arduino and robotic. So if you are looking for Arduino and RaspPi sensors, gear etc. this is a really good place to do it. And they have international warehouses. I won’t say it is the cheapest thing ever but the nice thing about using a global warehouse like Hobby King is that they are going to have a lot of stuff in stock. So if you are looking to do a project, you are probably going to find it there. And it is actually pretty good. It is not like a local hobby shop but you will find more things and you will probably find it cheaper than you would be able to get local. This is your best option. There you go. In fact, I still buy a lot of stuff from Hobby King. Because, although I love Ready To Fly Quads, and I think Paul Baxter is a great guy, when I start doing the more advanced stuff that is not what he is about. He is about getting you your gear and getting you in the kit. If I am doing something crazy, I order from Hobby King.
Bryan: If you are not in the US then it sounds I could good option. All right, well the next question we have is streaming FPV. “With our local UAV group starting to talk about quad copter racing events, I have been trying to think of a way I can stream the races on a service like Twit. I think it is fairly simple to take the 5.8 GHz signals and lay them out split screen but the hurdle I am running into is bandwidth. Do you have any ideas for streaming and HD from a park or some other place without good Wi-Fi that wouldn’t cost hundreds of dollars per hour?” I love the idea.
Fr. Robert: This is actually a really good question. I love this. This is why I wanted to do this question.
Bryan: I want this to be a reality, but is it possible?
Fr. Robert: It is really hard. What you are talking about is that obviously ethernet is out. You are not going to have a wired connection. You are also saying there is no good Wi-Fi. So what you are talking about is cellular. You are going to have to use cellular. I have no idea what carriers are good in your area. That is something you are going to have to find out. Thankfully, there is a lot of key error that is ready to use with cellular networks out-of-the-box. The first one I would recommend, and actually I am going to cut this little bit from our NAB footage. It is the Teradek. Teradek is a device that allows you to put any input in and it will stream it out. It will work with ethernet, Wi-Fi, 3G or 4G cellular, cooked up USBs. So it is a fantastic device. It can get a little pricey. You are looking at $500-$1000, depending on how you want it. If you want a drop dead simple solution, this is a really good way to do it. There is something else. The LiveStream that you could use. This is the LiveStream broadcaster. It is basically a Teradek, but they have bundled it into servers. I don’t want to say it is bad, it definitely has its use. But it is a little simplistic. The prices are lower and the reason why is because you have to use LiveStream service. So they lock you in. The Teradek I could use anything I want. When I use LiveStream it is a Teradek that is locked to a service.
Bryan: Is that much more inexpensive?
Fr. Robert: It depends on how much you are going to use it. So, if you are going to use it a lot it might not be a good thing. But if you are going to use it once or twice a month, it might be worth it to get the lower entry price.
Bryan: So I want to try this out. Do we have the LiveView backpack?
Fr. Robert: We do.
Bryan: How much is the LiveView?
Fr. Robert: Alex?
Alex: No idea.
Bryan: If you have to ask how much the LiveView backpack is, you can’t afford it.
Fr. Robert: It is a very expensive piece of hardware. It is a great piece of hardware.
Bryan: Maybe it has a different card?
Fr. Robert: They have bonded multiple networks which we just talked about at the start of the show. Which means, their device has to be able to connect to multiple services. It goes back to their service gets recombined and comes back to us.
Alex: I believe it is a subscription. So you pay for their service.
Fr. Robert: You pay for their service and you pay per use. So as long as you use it. I think the hardware is like $20 grand. The cheaper way to do it is to use your laptop. If you have a laptop and have good service through Verizon, you can run software on your computer that will allow you to take multiple inputs. Here’s the other thing. The input that you are going to get from the FPV camera doesn't look great. It is slow resolution and it breaks up a lot. So you will be streaming a lot of that. What I have seen that works much better is if you have a GoPro on the wide, at the end of the race recombine it. That is so much more of a compelling video. I know that it is not real time but it is cheaper and the final finished product is going to be so much nicer.
Bryan: I guess we probably have to wait for the technology to get there.
Fr. Robert: I saw one at NAB, it was a really solid HD transmitter that was about this big. It could fit on a quad copter, in fact it was designed for quad copters. It was for news quality quad copters. But it was $6000.
Bryan: Strapping that to my $200 quad!
Fr. Robert: And the other thing is, you need a way to lattice them together. You want to be able to switch. So you would be looking at a tri-caster mini, which is $4000 to $5000.
Bryan: I really want to do that though. Can you imagine having like eight quads in the air doing a race switching between each quad as we go and streaming it live?
Fr. Robert: The future.
Bryan: If you have enough money you can do whatever you want.
Fr. Robert: All right. Now, we do get to the part of the show that we haven’t done for a while. We haven’t had a parting shot in about three weeks. But, you had a little something something over the weekend. We do want to take a look at it. We are not going to show you the video we are going to say that for next week. But, do you want to show them what happened to your Alien X? We built this for you.
Bryan: Careful, careful. So you built this for me. And I have to say that you put a lot of time and work into it. You balanced all the props, everything was really pristine. I loved it.
Fr. Robert: Was this the first flight?
Bryan: Outside? Yeah this was the first flight outside. I got about 15 minutes into it. I was coming to the end of the battery. So, I would like to say there was a little gust that put it into a tree, but…
Fr. Robert: If you look at this from a side cam…. there doesn’t seem to be anything wrong with this. It looks perfect. What’s wrong with this?
Bryan: If you look closely, there is a zip tie here and there are two more zip ties there. If I take those off, and flip this bad boy over it was like a process. Fortunately I had my garage right there and I put it back together. And you know what? I flew with the next day. But this is what it looked like after it hit the house. It didn't fly so good right away.
Fr. Robert: I could see there being a design flaw in that configuration.
Bryan: Credit to the 450 frame though. I zip tied it together in my hodgepodge way and it flew all day.
Fr. Robert: I didn’t think it would. Because the first image that you sent me, you had duct taped it.
Bryan: That is how I found out that the ESC gets hot. You’re like, “That is probably not a good idea Bryan, maybe you shouldn’t do that.”
Fr. Robert: We wanted to show this to you because everybody crashes.
Bryan: We were telling people to fly your quad and send in your crash videos. Well, I have one now. And it was glorious. It went out with style.
Fr. Robert: You learn from every crash. The thing is, this ultimately is not an expensive crash. Because the motors are still okay, the props are toast and we can replace the props. But the ESC is okay, it is one arm. And I was actually able, I have a present here for you. This is a complete 450 frame. I got this for $13. This is everything to build yourself a new 450 frame. And now you have replacement parts.
Bryan: And I would recommend to everyone to buy extra arms and props. Like we have been recommending. It is actually probably for the best that the arm snapped like that because if it was more rigid something else probably would have broken.
Fr. Robert: Exactly. And that is what you've got to remember. Especially on the larger craft. The smaller mono craft, they can take a hit because they are not that heavy. You are not importing a lot of force.
Bryan: I definitely gave one of my friends a close shave. We will save that for the video. Slow motion.
Fr. Robert: If the arms don’t snap, something on the frame itself will snap. That would be even more expensive. What you don’t want is the motor to take the brunt of the force. Or the ESC where the controller taking the brunt.
Bryan: It came out okay. The props got messed up a little bit, the top of the caps got a little scratched. All in all, it is kind of a beast. I was able to put it back together in fly it the next day.
Fr. Robert: Now, the reason why this is a parting shot is because we realize we have neglected our audience who does fly. Next week we want to show you the proper procedure for post crash. Not taping up your ESC’s. It is also actually what you should have in your crash box. Because you don’t want to go out to a field, have one crash and then you are done for the day. So we are going to show you the things that you should have in your box. We are going to show you the spare parts that you should be having on hand. And we are going to show you the things that you really should do any time you have, not just a crash like this, but any time there is a hard landing. There are a few things that you can do to extend the life of your quad copter. We will show that to you in the next episode.
Bryan: Yeah, I could’ve used that last week.
Fr. Robert: You are going to love the video. Because at the end he is like, “Padre is going to be angry”! No, crashing is part of flying.
Bryan: I was happy when you sent me that the picture with the table of parts.
Fr. Robert: Whenever I buy parts I always buy extra. Because I assume I am going to break something. Folks, we know this has been a lot of information. So we are going to make sure that you get all of our show notes. If you want to find out about the procedure for using ping to shame your ISP, if you want to find out more about 1Sheeld and maybe where you can get one of their Sheelds to blue tooth enable your Arduino project, or if you just want to find out where Hobby King is and all of our other cool stuff. You can go to our show page which is…. where Bryan?
Fr. Robert: Go there and you can also subscribe.
Bryan: Subscribe to the video, download the audio if you so choose, and you can enjoy the screen shots from our last week. I think you are being attacked by a packet storm. So, yeah. Check out our show page at twit.tv/KH.
Fr. Robert: Don’t forget that we do have a Google plus group. It is growing still. 8600 people. There are a lot of crash photos and a lot of crash videos. But also some very good projects. Please join in, play around, post your projects and your questions. We love to hear from you. We have a lot of people in there that just answer questions all day. In fact, it is hard for me to get in first because there is always someone in there working.
Bryan: That is why we called them the Know It Alls. It isn’t a name for making fun, it is those with a collective mind that everyone pretty much knows something. What did Patrick say? We are the Twit R&D department.
Fr. Robert: We have to get a sign. We will no longer be known as the Know Hole, it is the R&D Department.
Bryan: It sounds much better than the guys who break stuff in the basement.
Fr. Robert: The R&D Department should get a budget right?
Fr. Robert: Also, if you don’t like Google plus you could always follow us on Twitter. You will find me @PadreSJ.
Bryan: And I’m @cranky_hippo.
Fr. Robert: And don’t forget our TD, Alex. You can find him @anelf3.
Alex: I just want to say that once again we have delayed the Know How host cam unveiling.
Fr. Robert: I can blame Delta for that. Those are currently in that bag. Delta lost my bags.
Bryan: The audience has been hammering for the host cam.
Fr. Robert: Coming from Las Vegas to San Francisco, I couldn’t do it. Lost a bag. I didn’t get until 3 o'clock last night, or this morning.
Bryan: I was wondering why you haven’t been around. So you’re going to sleep after this? You’ve been asleep for half the show.
Fr. Robert: Until next time, I’m Father Robert Ballecer.
Bryan: And I’m Bryan Burnett.
Fr. Robert: And now that you know how…