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-   -   Tri-phan - thrust vectoring tri-copter by monophan (https://www.wattflyer.com/forums/showthread.php?t=78762)

VAALLEON 08-05-2017 11:50 PM

Tri-phan - thrust vectoring tri-copter by monophan
This is a prototype that I designed during long drives of a recent road trip. It’s a combination of tri-copter and MonoPhan thrust vectoring technology. The purpose is to come up with the most stable EDF powered camera platform. The unit always stays level while the thrust vectoring takes care of all directional input. No tilting at any time. I also wanted to reduce the lateral resistance therefore wind drag by keeping it level.

Never packed this much electronics, mechanics and cables in such a tight space before. 35mm EDFs powered by an amazing Genace hardcase lipo which also act as the landing gear. It took me a couple of days to tune it well enough to fly. The smaller the harder… I believe the flight time is over 5 minutes.

It has interesting flight characteristics:) Will work on fixing some of the lose parts to get it to some higher speeds and test the maneuverability... Ignore the date on the video. This was taken today. Thanks


birdDog 08-06-2017 01:07 AM

I can totally see a laser gun mounted to that.

VAALLEON 08-06-2017 07:51 PM

Originally Posted by birdDog (Post 1007785)
I can totally see a laser gun mounted to that.

haha, I agree

VAALLEON 08-07-2017 03:58 AM

Re-assembled the unit fixing some lose parts. Flies like a charm. Not suitable for high winds and it is tiny but still beats the wind pretty well as seen in the video.

The flight time is AMAZING for a tiny EDF contraption:) I calculated over 7 minutes theoretical flight time, which means I can easily get more than 6:30 minutes!


VAALLEON 11-27-2017 04:06 AM

The maiden flight of the new 64mm TriPhan. It turned out to be a real beauty. Just wanted to hover a little bit and test the flight and the controls. Flies very well. Crash landed at the end of the flight due to hardware failure. I could swear it was ESC failure but then they didn’t even feel hot. When I got back I realized that the flight controller failed!!!

My first flight controller failure during a flight. Will replace and test again.

This unit is built to be a part of a larger project which I believe some will find very interesting. Hopefully I will make updates in the next couple of weeks.


VAALLEON 12-02-2017 08:29 PM

I had a “no-drama” second flight. The new calculated flight time is around 6 minutes. I tested hover stability, some maneuvers and see how it handles, avoiding flying too high, keeping in mind the last flight’s failed FC. It looks pretty good but a little funky on the controls. I would want it a little more responsive when I am harder on the sticks. So I did a little bit more PID tuning.

Below is the 3rd flight after PID. Better handling after the PID tune. A little bit of breeze today, good for the test. Lots of people and kids around, so I cut it short. I little more tuning and I think I am ready for some higher speeds at the larger section of the park:) Some nice closeups where you can see the fans change angle to control the unit. Thanks.


VAALLEON 12-03-2017 02:09 AM

The last and a better flight with higher speeds. I reached the limit of the pitch stick once. Which means that I still have some more room to tilt the fans for higher speeds. I can keep on increasing the tilt angle and speed until I feel a significant altitude loss. I will probably go that route in the next couple of weeks and let you guys know.


VAALLEON 12-25-2017 08:44 PM

During my projects over the span of 4 years I had a love & hate relationship with the GPSs. I used them a lot but had to deal with all kinds of weird reactions from drifting to almost crashing the craft with wild swings, etc… Also, they are not very accurate and not very suitable for the purpose of my current projects, which requires precision. So, I am working on implementing alternative position hold systems.

One of these is optical flow sensor. I had this adns3080 sensor for more than a year and al last I had a chance to test it. One of the reasons that I found courage to test is that TriPhan doesn’t tilt. So, “hopefully” I don’t need to deal with the calculations required to adjust for the tilt angle, etc…

I am NOT conducting this with the APM board which the sensor is built for, but an Arduino board that talks to the flight controller. So, I setup my arduino nano and the code to do what I need it to do. It took me a significant amount of time to make everything work together. Below is the video of the very first test and it turned out to be way better than I expected from a first test. This is a VERY good sign. We had a little bit of drift at some parts but overall, the unit was hammered where it was on all X, Y, Z axis (BARO for Z). I even tried to push it with my hand, it wouldn’t move:)

Now it’s time for further tuning and higher altitude tests.


VAALLEON 12-26-2017 10:06 PM

Here is the latest test. Getting to understand cause effect a little better.

The improvements: 1- I rewired the arduino board and the sensor with better and lighter stuff. 2- I adjusted the focal length of the sensor lens. Before it was at the shortest level which I think caused problem as the unit climbed higher. 3- I increased the sensor sensitivity range that I adjust with the 5th channel towards the more sensitive side. I wanted to find the sensitivity limit where the unit over compensates and starts oscillating.

First couple of tries the sensor did nothing and the unit drifted. So, I reduced the focal length, to be around 1/3rd of the full range. Then the unit responded really well. You can see the unit oscillating, caused by overcompensating at the beginning. Then it stabilized as I reduced sensitivity. After this I took it higher and it kept the position without drifting. Having a little wind really helped to feel the response of the unit. Now it’s time to go higher and see what it does.


VAALLEON 12-27-2017 08:30 PM

The best test so far. I operated the sensor right below the sensitivity level where it oscillated yesterday and the same focal length. In fact, I set the maximum sensitivity to that level. So, I can adjust it up and down with ch5. I took it as high as I felt comfortable, probably around 125-150 feet. It started to drift a little as it went higher but didn’t lose the position hold. I guess that is normal as there will be relatively stronger winds up there. Didn’t touch the sticks while in pos hold mode. Still WAY better than my experience with GPSs.

So Far I am very happy with the results. Next step is to install an OSD and FPV cam so I know how high I am going, etc… I want it to be able to hold position as high as 300 feet. Further tests will show if the current setup is capable of handling that. There is a chance that I will need to automatically increase sensitivity as it goes higher. As you know the objects which are further away seem to move slower. I am pretty sure this will be the case with the optical flow sensor and the sensitivity level close to ground may not be able to provide a tight pos hold at higher altitudes..

Future videos will most likely be aerial videos with some on screen information. I also want to test it in higher winds and do necessary tuning to be able to beat some strong winds.

Thanks for following.


Don Sims 12-27-2017 11:58 PM

The project is moving along.

VAALLEON 12-30-2017 05:12 AM

Originally Posted by Don Sims (Post 1010645)
The project is moving along.

Thanks for following.

VAALLEON 01-07-2018 02:44 AM

Re-tuned the first 35mm prototype with what I learned from the second 64mm prototype. Love it. Flies faster and nimbler. Just need to reduce yaw compensation to get rid of the servo flutter that happened during takeoff and a couple of more times.


VAALLEON 01-08-2018 03:41 AM

Watch the little dragster zip like a badass, maneuver like a pro and land on my hand like a falcon:) At last I found what flying this unit feels like. It feels like flying a drag boat… I replaced the canopy and now it looks like one, too.

Especially at the turns a little wobble in roll compensation looks just like a drag boat turning. It flies soo good after the last updates:)


VAALLEON 01-22-2018 02:22 AM

I had a nasty crash in my first test with the on board cam. The unit simply stopped working in midflight. So, I fixed the damage and in the process found out some problems with the setup. It took a while to change the setting, the code, etc… I also completely separated the electric circuit for the whole aerial video system, to avoid any problems that may cause during the flight.

The first flight with aerial recording. After hours of trying I was able to have the OSD work and provide some useful on screen data. I activated the optical flow right after I climb 3m and go as high as 21m with any major problems. The only problem that I am having is a little bit of yaw drift. Didn’t want to push too far in the first serious flight after changing the setup. The new code also have nice feature where I can adjust the yaw and the roll still holds and vice versa…

I have a set of poor man’s FPV goggles with an external eachine DVR attached on the outside:)

Next step is to integrate a GPS to the system for high altitude position hold and a solid yaw hold. I will be using Arduino with the GPS, shaping my own code, instead of going with the stock GPS capabilities on the board, which are very unstable many times.

Thanks for watching!


Don Sims 01-22-2018 10:56 AM

It's flying nicely. Was that a hand catch at the end?

VAALLEON 01-23-2018 02:24 AM

Originally Posted by Don Sims (Post 1011065)
It's flying nicely. Was that a hand catch at the end?

Thanks! Yes, that's how I usually end the flights. Not risky like the quads when you have the EDFs:)

VAALLEON 01-23-2018 02:49 AM

A better aerial video with some closeups from a tree top, to test the precision of the position hold. Overall a better flight, except a couple of slight drifts during hold. I think I figured out the reason for that and revised the code. Hoping to test again tomorrow.

Meanwhile trying to get used to FPV. This flight was on and off, sometimes through the goggles but mostly naked eye.


VAALLEON 01-26-2018 01:20 AM

It was a windy day but the 7 degree roll tilt is not because of the wind. The unit was a little off today. Roll balance was off but I decided to proceed with the test. Anyway, I was able to go up to 39m down with a solid optical flow position hold.


VAALLEON 01-27-2018 04:52 AM

Did some more fine tuning and had a good test. Went up to 52m or 170ft with a solid position hold and back. All of this flight video, except the hand launch and hand landing has been done in crawl mode, and baro hold. The position hold performed very well, even when I got as close as inches to a tree top. I believe I am getting very close to my target of having a precision position hold which can also perform at higher altitudes. The next step is installing a front sonar to avoid contact at closeups. Then, I will also install a GPS as a backup system.

I am pretty confident that the system will work in even higher altitudes but I cannot test that in my neighborhood park. Need to get out to the fields.


VAALLEON 02-16-2018 03:13 AM

A better test of crawl mode + optical flow + sonar + Baro. A longer precision approach to a tree with the tractor beam. I can easily adjust the distance with the 5th ch knob while all systems are taking care of the pos hold. I consider this mission accomplished. Maybe some further fine tuning but nothing further is necessary. I will probably post a couple more videos of a precision approach to some objects and a cliff.

Ground cam

Onboard cam

VAALLEON 02-25-2018 01:44 AM

Testing the performance of the position hold in some relatively strong gusts. I had to do this before declaring glory on this project. 20-25mph gusts. The unit is fully under pos/alt hold right after take off. Stays within a radius of 2-3m. Hardware and software work well together and beat the wind. Good performance. Thx...


VAALLEON 04-18-2018 05:08 AM

Decided to have some fun with this. It was a handsome unit as it was. So, I wanted to see how it would look like with some boost.


VAALLEON 04-19-2018 01:47 AM

A better flight video in the daylight. I really like the looks of this bad boy. I’ll keep this as the best looking unit I ever created. Even my wife liked it… for the first time in 5 years that I have been building😊


VAALLEON 09-01-2019 04:15 AM

World's (probably) first 3 fan thrust vectoring foamboard tricopter:) Arduino supported, can maneuver either fully thrust vectoring with no tilt, or just like any other tricopter with differential thrust. I had tens of tests, PID variations, ESC replacements, crashes... I totaled the first unit and re-built trying to fix all design issues, adding carbon fiber enforcements, changing the servo drive method, etc. If I went through all issues it would take a couple of pages... Anyway, at last, the unit flies like a dream. It is probably more stable and smooth than anything else I flew. This is a short, first fully successful test. More videos to follow... Thanks...


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