A few days ago I made my longest(103 minutes) flight ever with my maiden PolyClub and NCR18650B batteries.

I love PolyClub, it is my favorite RC airplane since 9 years. I was made my first scrap build PolyClub from polystrene foam in 2006 and it was fun. But this time I bought it from the original source (France).
PolyClub is official beginner airplane of France RC hobbyists since years. The airplane made from EPP, works with almost all size motors, almost all batteries and servos. You can fail but it survives. Not fast, not perfect but works.

Thanks to GuixModel from France, They made a favor and shipped this cheap model (€19.90) to UK.
Then I build the model with contact adhesive, cut the battery, servo and receiver compartments and attached the gears.
Unfortunately, I used a lot of old parts on this model. So, I don’t know the brands or specifications of them.
Here is the part list:

  • PolyClub EPP plane from GuixModel link here
  • 2x NCR18650 3400mA Lithium-Ion battery from Ebay
  • 10 Amper ESC (non-branded from 2005)
  • 27mmx8mm Brushless motor (non branded from 2006 or 2007, probably 5A max. at 3S)
  • 2x Henge MD933 metal gear servo from HK
  • 8×4 Propeller
  • 6ch FRSKY receiver



I was expected it will fly around 30-40 minutes with this high power batteries in a windy day.
The wind speed was ~8-12 mph when I was started to flight at 8:30am
I set the timer of the transmitter for throttle-on time to measure real battery powered flight time except thermal flight and ground times.

I’ve landed after 40 minutes maiden flight and measured the batteries as ~7.6 volts.
It was a shock for me because this is higher than nominal voltage of the battery.
So, I returned to flight to finish the battery, but this time I was sitting to ground to rest :)
I took this shot with one hand when flying, it was 51 minutes 52 seconds :)


This shot from 73 minutes 39 seconds. You can see the plane on the right side of the transmitter as a small white dot.


After 85 minutes (!!!) I landed again to measure the battery. 85 minutes!!!
The flight time was more than this, because of some thermal flights after wind speed reduced to 5-6 mph.
This is the throttle position statistics(below). As you can see some zero and some very low throttle values there cause of thermals


My TX battery dropped to 12.2v, I’m really happy to use 2200mA LiPo on my TX :)


After 103 minutes 24 seconds flight, finally the battery done and plane landed safely.
Unfortunately, I faced with limits of my transmitter. It has 2 digit for minutes and rolling to zero after 99 minutes :/

But no problem, this is my personal record with 2 cell battery, and I was expected only 40 minutes 😀



You can see the last throttle statistics in this photo.
As you can see, The throttle was >%50 for almost all time because of low battery voltage at the final minutes.
I measured 6.2 volts after landing.



Here is the winners. Batteries, Motor and ESC.
ESC was important, because most of them cannot regulate the servo voltage at 6.2 volts.






This is me. Happy but burned badly cause of UV radiation :/
Next time I will bring a tent and chair to rest. :)




What is next?

I have ordered a cheap action cam from Banggood to record this flights.
And I’m thinking to cover the PolyClub with thin plastic film to reduce the drag.

These batteries are awesome. Peak currents are limited but perfect for slow flyers and breaking records.

See you next time…







After few flights, I really impressed from the outdoor performance of X5C.
The range is still a problem after Transmitter Antenna Hack but enough for small fields and short range video transmitters.

Fortunately, I found a lot of cheap low res. cameras and video transmitter modules in my boxes. And a switching step-up voltage supply to stabilize the input voltage.


After first tests, I realized the direct battery connection is impossible for X5C because of very high noise ratio by brushed motors.  So, I removed the step-up converter and isolated the FPV circuit with an additional battery.

Camera has connected to 5.8ghz 100mW video transmitter module. Also I found a big tantalum capacitor and soldered it to the power inputs of the module.

I used 27mm long a piece of silicon battery wire as whip antenna.



There is perfect space for the camera  in front of battery compartment. I cut the hole with exacto knife and glued the camera there with contact adhesive.  The contact adhesives are better than CA or epoxy for this kind of soft and vibrating frames.



I found some small 120mA 1S lipo batteries and connectors. This battery is perfect for ~20 minutes FPV and weight is only few grams.
I used the ventilation holes of the frame for battery cables and antenna.


Woow! it looks like a real drone :)





As you can see, I removed the original digital camera of X5C from battery door.
After few FPV flight I realized, the camera weight is not changing the flight time.
So, I attached the digital camera to record FPV flights.

Good thing about that, The Quadrocopter is only 100gr with Digital camera recorder + FPV gear.
So, You can not hurt anyone with it.  And it is almost  indestructible.

What is next ?
I’m thinking about it, may be I will replace the flight controller with APM auto pilot. 😉


Ekran Resmi 2015-05-15 20.58.38

This was my Friday night project and the cost was zero except for two beer.

Required Parts

  • Raspberry Pi (B, B+ or Pi2)
  • RTL-SDR dongle (5$ on Ebay) (original antenna is OK)
  • Wifi Dongle (or Ethernet connection)


Run following commands on raspberry pi terminal.

sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get upgrade
<following 2 lines are the single line, copy them together>
sudo printf 'blacklist dvb_usb_rtl28xxu\nblacklist rtl2832\nblacklist rtl2830' > /etc/modprobe.d/nortl.conf
sudo apt-get install git-core
sudo apt-get install git
sudo apt-get install cmake
sudo apt-get install libusb-1.0-0-dev  
sudo apt-get install build-essential 
git clone git://
cd rtl-sdr
mkdir build
cd build
sudo make install
sudo ldconfig
cd ~
sudo cp ./rtl-sdr/rtl-sdr.rules /etc/udev/rules.d/
sudo reboot 
<It will reboot>
rtl_test -t 
cd ~ 
git clone git://
cd dump1090
sudo apt-get install pkg-config
./dump1090 --interactive --net

You will see the similar output below

Ekran Resmi 2015-05-16 20.15.14


Dump1090 is including a web server.
So, type “http://<yourPI_IP>:8080” and press enter on your web browser.

you can visit my receiver from this link if it is online:

Ekran Resmi 2015-05-15 20.58.38

Thats all, Now find the best position for your antenna.

Run Automaticaly on Startup

It’s looking great, but you have to type

cd dump1090
./dump1090 --interactive --net

these commands after each reboot. So, we need a startup script for our automated ADS-B receiver server.

Type following lines

cd ~ 
sudo nano

copy the following text into the file.

# Provides: fr24
# Required-Start: $remote_fs $syslog $time 
# Required-Stop: $remote_fs $syslog $time 
# Should-Start: $network
# Should-Stop: $network
# Default-Start: 2 3 4 5
# Default-Stop: 0 1 6
# Short-Description: Start Adsbox and Flightradar24 feeder at boot time 

killall dump1090

cd /home/pi/dump1090/
./dump1090 --interactive --net

press CTRL+X then enter to save this file to the home directory.

Type following lines

sudo chmod +x
sudo crontab -e

copy the following text into the cron. These lines will run the script automatically on startup and refresh continuously.

@reboot sleep 20;/home/pi/
0 */8 * * * /home/pi/

press CTRL+X then enter to save the cron. then reboot with following command.

sudo reboot

If everything is OK, your server will be online automatically in a minute.



Ekran Resmi 2015-05-01 10.32.17

After the first road test I’m really happy and I want to extend the sphere size.

I found this shot from the original movie
Ekran Resmi 2015-05-01 10.22.32
and measured the sphere sizes by Adobe Illustrator’s circle draw tool,

Ekran Resmi 2015-05-01 10.32.17
The top sphere ~280mm diameter but this is not a standard sphere size.
So I will use 300mm diameter foam sphere for this part.
You can find the spheres on  Ebay.

I’m looking forward to delivery.

You can find all BB8 Build Log Posts under this link






Central hub designed and 3D printed from ABS plastic.

the motors have connected together for basic proof of concept test.
I didn’t designed a controller and motor driver yet and used motor driver circuit of a RC servo. This is the simples way to drive an electric motor via rc receiver.


The battery pack attached with bluetack adhesive putty.



RC Receiver attached with rubber bands










Now it’s ready to test

Great success for the first time!
It has some balance problems and also micro size servo motor drivers almost burned after 10 minutes play, but not bad for the first time.


You can find all BB8 Build Log Posts under this link

Hi Eveyone,

Today I have tried to install a DroneThermal thermal camera to my  X5C and I faced with a power problem for my FPV gear. The quadrocopter body has a lot of small screws and I don’t want to open it for only a power connection. So the camera was better option.

At first I have removed the camera from battery hatch.



the camera is really small and well designed. I like it.




I have soldered an old servo cable as power cord(signal wire stripped off)




then assembled the parts.





That’s all. Now I have a battery extension for my FPV gears.

What is next?
Visit 5.8Ghz FPV Modification page  for my Poorman’s FPV Platform.


Hi Everyone,

As you may know, we will meet with a new droid that called BB8 in the Starwars – The Force Avakens movie.
The robot is looking amazing! And also I’m interesting with sphere robots since years. So, I will build a replica of BB8 and will share all details in this page.

At first meet with BB8

the design is fimilar, It is a sphere robot but the head???
If I right, the head is a big foam object and very lightweight and floating on the surface with internal magnets and a pan tilt mechanism.
Not a big engineering job, but impressive.

Unfortunately I don’t have big budget for 1/1 . So I will build 20cm diameter replica of BB8.

At first I ordered 20cm diameter plastic spheres from this web site.
Only £10.50 each.


I found these omnidirectional wheels on the rapidonline.
They are relatively cheap and small omni wheels for my robot design but unfortunately nearly impossible to fit into the 20cm diameter sphere. So, maybe I should order bigger spheres :/


Now, I’m waiting for electric motor and wheels.
Thank you for reading

You can find all BB8 Build Log Posts under this link

final transmitter

Syma X5C is almost perfect flight machine. I’m really happy to see someone made lightweight (<100gr) design instead of tough. This is the first rule of flight but forgotten since everyone can fly with autonomous multicopters. Just compare it with DJI Phantom. You sill understand what I mean.

After first 3 minutes flight of my Syma X5C, I realized the video/photo shutter buttons placed on wrong place.
SKU115108_55a I have turned off the transmitter in flight instead of start video. Because distance is only few millimeters between sliders.

Also the antenna is fake like almost all cheap mini rc toys.

So I have to hack it :)

Hack 1-Video Shutter

-Remove 10+ screw first,

SYMA X5C buttons  and features


Wow! The board design is not bad. Single side (because it’s cheap!) but very clever. Almost all buttons are using same microcontroller analog input channel with serial resistors. So just solder a switch between ground and original switch to change switch positions.

I will use this cheap and stable quadrocopter to test my micro FPV gears and I don’t need loop button. This is why I didn’t used an additional button and hacked it.
– Cut the PCB trace
– Solder a piece of wire between loop button and video start/stop button (or photo button if you wish)

IMG_4052 copy
That’s all. Now I can start stop the video with one simple click without any turn-off risk.

Hack2-Antenna Upgrade

X5C has 4 powerful LED lights but the range is only few meters with this “great” antenna!
IMG_4046Yes, believe or not, the red board is 2.4ghz transmitter(!) and this wire piece is an antenna :)

Changing the transmitter module is possible but not easy and cheap. So, changing the antenna system is better idea and you don’t need good electronic skill to doing it. You just need a soldering iron and an old 2.4 antenna system from a Wifi router or old RC transmitter.

SMA to UFL Pigtail

SMA to UFL Pigtail

– Remove the original antenna(1)
– you will see a second empty gold pad under it. It is the ground plate.


Strip off the pigtail cable shield

cable stripped

– Solder the cable core to antenna pad.
– Solder the cable shield to the ground pad.

pigtail soldered

You can place the antenna where you like.
I think, the SYMA logo plate is the best position on the transmitter because of 45 degrees angled position.

– remove the logo plate and drill a hole for antenna connector.

logo removed

– Place your antenna connector

tx inside

– Done!

sma output

final transmitter


Now, I have a real antenna. The range will be better but I have to upgrade the onboard antenna too for the best range.

UPDATE (19-06-2015)
I tested the quadro with modified antenna and the range around 80 meters without glitches. Here is the FPV video from Syma X5C

See you next time!

What is Next?
Poorman’s FPV Platform – 5.8ghz FPV Mod for SYMA X5C