Wingsland S6 Tear Down and thoughts

Seeing as my Wingsland S6 had a camera which did not work most of the time, I decided to strip it down to see if anything loose.

Maybe these photos will also help others and show whats inside.

There is a lot of technology in these, the quad is packed with hardware.

Also interestingly, the board that drives the motors is DJI hardware!

So that kind of tells me that it should be able to react quick enough to say change of wind etc.

And also coupled with the Barometer covered and enclosed well, it really should be able to hold its height much better than it does!

This is also a photo I posted on the Facebook Wingsland Owners group of the barometer pointed out and its in a plastic shell with holes in the top and a small piece of foam under it.

So this really should hold its height much better than it does.

But I do wonder if it actually holds it height much better higher up and I assume it was originally designed to use the sonar and downward facing position camera for indoors and also under about 10-15 feet outside.

But as the sonar and the position camera are disabled in either the firmware or app now, maybe that is also why its poor (especially in the wind) at low attitude hold.

Again I feel this really well built little quad been really let down by the lack of app and firmware development.

If they could have updated the firmware, I feel reviews would have been much more positive for Wingsland.

 

Anyway, a few more photos of the teardown for anyone curious.

For the above which is the Arm CPU and video processing chip etc, I added some thermal compound to maybe help.

Other assorted pics

I added a small bit of  foam over the barometer, even though it already looked done well enough. and surely made no difference at all to the altitude hold.

There is also another pcb under the battery which I forgot to get pics of.

Its the wifi pcb.

But I think its clear to see this was a lot of hardware inside, but sadly due to the lack of development in the firmware/app has caused most of the issues in my view.

Also with the low flight time of about 5-6 mins and no where near the claimed upto 10 mins.

However I did see someone post a photo of flight time they got on the Facebook Wingsland owners group that got about 9mins before it landed , which is very impressive and maybe with the right conditions one could also get near that on a good day.

But most reviews seem to say its around 5-6 mins normally.

So to recap, for the price these now are is it worth it?

Depends on what you want from it.

The stabilization of the video is poor and probably better not to use it and use one of the other app video settings and then run it through some pc/mac software to stabilize the video.

The camera itself on this is good and in a calm day one can get some nice shots and maybe especially if you after some good quality still shorts, but you need very calm conditions for this to be of use when taking just stills.

With no wind, it holds position and height really well

What really helps with this is the Wingsland R6 Controller, but sadly there does not seem to be anywhere with any left!

I wonder if any more are even being made as it seems out of stock at all the usual places and no eta of when coming back.

Coupled with the low price you can now buy these on places like Banggood, I do wonder if they are just selling off all stock of the Quad and controllers and once its all gone that its.

Worth checking back at bangood if you still decide to get one as they do deals now and then and drop the price even more 🙂

Even though I got a unit that had a pretty much non working camera , I do like this enough for what I wanted it for that I do have another on the way from Banggood.

Fingers crossed this next one works okay and will use this original one for battery mods and testing out different props etc.

So for me personally I think its still a great looking quad , awesome packing and presentation and fine if you have specific needs where this will fit in.

For a quick fly up take some snaps and video on a dead calm day, this might be worth it to you.

But bear in mind it’s low flight time and there’s a good chance there will be no more updates in firmware or app software, unless anyone at Wingsland is still working on something.

I also paired this up with a bluetooth controller , which although not as good as the proper R6 controller, kind of does ok for now.

You cant seem to use a wifi repeater on this like other quads out there though.

Seems the app will only connect direct to the S6 and wont go through a repeater, but I guess with such a short flight time this is not too much of a issue not being able to increase the range.

If Wingsland are not updating this quad anymore,  I wish they would release the FTP / SSH passwords, so some of us could connect to it and maybe adjust some of the internal settings to address some of the issues.

I have checked out the flight firmware and its encrypted so no way in via that route either 😉

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Wingsland S6 Dobby props

Well for my next test with props, I tried some Dobby ones.

Had to fix a small piece to dobby prop holes as they were too big for the S6 posts.

I used very small tube from a pen! which fitted just about right and still left them loose enough to move.

But trying to fly with these props did not work that well.

The dobby props must be a smaller pitch angle than the S6 props and it only just about got off the ground.

I think the Dobby uses the same KV rated 4300KV that the Wingsland uses.

The dobby weighs a lot less than the Wingsland and so I assume the props dont need such a high pitch angle as the original S6 ones.

So need to find some other props to try.

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Wingsland S6 Camera issues

Well done a few flights with my S6 now.

First off  even though this is the S6 V2 Advanced edition, DO NOT TRY AND FLY THESE INSIDE!

First 4/5 flights I tried indoors , the quad took off and flew straight up into the ceiling!

Chipped all the props and put scratches on the top of the quad.

Even on this version , the sonar and position flow is not working (presumed disabled in the firmware)

Tried it outside and it shots up around 10 feet from take off and then drops down a bit and settles. (That explains why it hit the ceiling in my house)

On my model the camera does not work most of the time, I just get a blank screen, although it will still take off and fly but wont record anything , as it does not sense the camera.

I tried loads of different SD Cards and formatted them from within the Wingsland app and still it only works about 1 time out of 10.

So I defiantly have a faulty unit.

Just not worth the hassle to send it back to China and so I will end up just taking it apart and seeing it it has a iffy connection etc.

Flight time was really poor.

Seems to be between 5 to 6 mins max before it autolands.

It’s using 1100 mah from battery for those flights.

Checked by using a balance charger and I made up balance charge lead so I could see what the voltage and mah put back in was.

End voltage after a flight seems to be around 3.74 volts per cell , so I am guessing this lands at 3.6 volts a cell.

I need to connect something up to see just what is the critical landing voltage, but seems they are being too cautious on low battery voltage unless its a really low C lipo and its landing at around 3.3 per cell under load?

I also tried some bigger props , DJI Spark props.

Did not fly too well due to being too big, but they just about fitted and was curious what they would do to the flight time.

Was a tad longer as it turned out, but have some better props on the way to test , as I think with better props and modding the battery maybe I can push this to a more reasonable 12 mins flight time at least.

Photo of S6 with DJI Spark props:-)

Anyway, had a wind free slot in weather yesterday and it flew really well and camera actually worked for a change!

It took off to about 10+ feet and I left it with no inputs until auto landing.

It hardly moved and really held position well.

So in no wind , this flys well apart from the low flight time.

I think Wingsland should have made a extended battery for this.

I guess because battery fits inside quad the changes of ever seeing that , even from third party are very slim.

If they could have worked on the firmware to make it more reliable and got the sonar and position flow working and given it a flight time of about 12 mins , they would have had a far more successful Quad!

Most of the reviews on these are terrible and I feel a lot of the issues could have been fixed by more firmware upgrades.

But although the app was updated recently, I doubt we will see any firmware upgrades.

It looks really cool and the packing and presentation is excellent.

Real shame and it seems they are no longer sold now with stores just selling off what stock they have.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Wingsland S6 from Banggood

Always wanted one of these quads and Banggood was doing a good price on these , making it worth a try.
Even though many reviews online and on youtube are very negative on them.

Received mine after only about a week and a half, so really good service from Banggood.

Box was not crushed and inside package was some foam around box and after removing that, there was the outside Wingsland Box and inside that, the actual Wingsland package. Glad they done that as its quite a way from Shenzhen China to the UK and packages no doubt get bashed about a bit on the way and so the good packaging was much appreciated.

In fact I wished more makers and sellers done this..

Only thing I noticed after removing the shrink wrap around box, on the inside on the Wingsland S6 there was no plastic film protecting the arms or any film on the camera and plastic strip around the manuals as was seen on some of the unboxing videos, and also the unit had fingerprints over it and a couple of marks on the body underneath.

So this makes me think that at this cheap price, maybe they are refurbished units.

The rest of the stuff inside was brand new in had wrapping and ties etc.

Still at the price and as long as it works ok, I am okay with that.

Bearing in mind a few of the reviews said the battery it comes with was no good, first thing I done was to use a meter and measure the shipped battery voltages.

Resting shipping voltage was 7.78 volts.

1st cell  = 3.88 Volts

2nd cell = 3.90 Volts

So pretty well balanced and no bad cell thus far

Then it was time to charge the pack and I charged from a computer usb 2.0 port so give a nice slow charge from the first one.

Took 1 hour and 20 mins and at the end I had:-

Fully charged pack = 8.78 volts

1st cell   = 4.35

2nd cell = 4.43

So that second cell seems a tad overcharged to me. Need to check that again on next charge, or could well end up with puffed battery.

These batteries are the LiHV type so hence higher voltage than normal lipos and for these I would expect 4.35 per cell giving a total of 8.70 volts not the 8.78 I have.

Anyway, after that fitted the battery and started up the app on my iphone.

Was greeted with this:-

And so hit the yes to update and there I run into first problem!

On the next screen it has no update button!!

There should be a orange upgrade button, but alas nothing and going back a page it still says update available.

I tried turning the phone, but app on that screen does not rotate as my guess was update orange button might be there, but wont fit on iphone screen.

Anyway, pulled out a old Android phone and tried the app on that and it went to update screen and showed the firmware update!

So seems to be a issue with ios11 and a iphone 6.

Maybe works fine on other models of ios? and maybe it works on a ipad with bigger screen.

I guess other way is to download the Quad S6 firmware from Wingsland’s site and put it on a SD card.

After the firmware updated it says update camera firmware and one needs to get that manually from Wingsland’s site and unzip the download and put the WingSland.bin file on a SD card and boot the quadcopter and it will update the camera firmware.

So then onto doing the calibration and I am now just waiting for decent weather to test.

So far, as others have pointed out the presentation of this quadcopter is first class, the packing etc was class. Except in my case what looks like maybe a refurbished unit, was the only downside for me.

I am also doing some videos on this, which I will update the post with.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Bebop 2 GPS Repair

Okay, now we have a working Bebop 2. Its now time to see if I can fix the GPS chip.
At present I am flying the Bebop with no GPS chip on it.:-

But I do have a not used anymore GPS that has the correct UBLOX chip on it so I used a hot air station to remove the chip.

The Original UBlox chip had a short on the 3 volt vvc line and that was why it was removed.

Takes quite a bit of heat to remove these by the way.

Anyway, removed it and soldered it back to the Parrot GPS board.

There is a small ic next to the gps board (more on that in a minute.)

(The white bit of plastic is just what I covered the barometer with and had a bit of foam inside to maybe help with altitude hold)

Fitted the board back to the Bebop and fired it up and no GPS still!

In the app where it should say GPS version it was just blank.

I figured it needed to use the correct Parrot GPS firmware as opposed to what was already in the GPS chip.

So tried flashing the firmware, hoping that would sort it out, but sadly still nothing.

So it occured to me, maybe if I swap out the winbond firmware ic in the ublox with the original chip off the shot circuit board it may work?

Original winbond chip read ok and no shorts.

One has to remove the shield on the UBlox chip to get to the winbond ic.

So I removed the original winbond chip from the new ubloc board and fitted the small firmware chip that is pictured above, and then refitted the shield.

Fitted the GPS board back and it worked!, and also it updated the GPS version.

Went for a quick test outside and it picked up about 16 satellites and worked no problems.

So yes with some patience and having a spare correct UBLOX gps chip around one can change it.

But if you need to buy the chip the cost and shipping makes it much easier and not much difference in price really to buy a new GPS board from Parrot.

This is really just a test to see if it’s fixable.

Considering this board been through salt water damage, I would not advise to do this and then relie on it when your Bebop is up high or away in distance as any other damage might show up and you will lose your device.

So if you attempt this and you lose your Bebop, you have been warned 😉

The best way is just to buy a new board!

A video I made about the repair and also test of some new LG HG2 Cells.

 

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Bebop 2 Repairs Continued

Well I had to say fairwell to the motherboard!

Sadly there was another short around the CPU area and the Power management chip had also failed on this board.

After removing the underfill around the chip, it was removed and there was some corrosion under the chip.

Sadly I had to give up on this motherboard as there was a good chance there was more damage with the remaining chips.

So I moved onto a spare board I had which was also faulty, but a very easy repair in that this other one just needed a new motor wire and a wifi sma plug soldered back onto the board, which was taken from the water damaged board.

So now onto putting the board back in the Bebop 2 along with the original water dipped main camera, motors , downward facing camera and gps board and motherboard fan.

On power up the red led on back just flashed and there was no motor esc sound or the board fan spinning.

To cut a long story , I found there was a short on the UBlox chip , the vcc power line was short to ground. Hence as the bebop needs to read the barometer from the gps board and it could not, the board would not boot.

So I did wonder what would happen if I removed the GPS chip?

So I removed the chip, and plugged the GPS board back into the bebop and it did indeed boot with the esc sound and also the motherboard fan spinning and going from flashing led to solid.

I could connect via wifi to the Bebop and the main camera was working fine!

I kinda felt that might be toast, but was working fine , as was the other original water dipped parts.

I then tried out a test flight which it took off and held hover via position hold from sonar and downward camera indoors well.

I was not sure whether with no GPS chip, it would work to be honest.

But I guess with no gps chip, the bebop just checks for GPS signal and with no chip it assumes inside with no satellites etc.

This test was also done with a mod I had done to the original damaged lipo cells and that was replacing them with 3 x 18650 Samsung 25R INR18650-25R.

For my next test , I tried outside and the flight time from 100% to 0% landing was around 14mins.

A video I made is below.

To to recap, to get this salt damaged Bebop 2 working again needed :-

full set of motor bearings

Main board

GPS board

Battery

So if one was buying new parts = uneconomical repair! Just buy a new one!

However……

I was lucky enough to have another faulty main board , but not to much effort to repair.

Also I am running the GPS board without the Ublox gps fitted.

My next steps with this will be to try to fix the GPS board and also test out some new LG 3000mah 18650 cells as a flight pack.

More soon.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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More Dead Parrot Bebop 2 continued

Well being a glutten for punishment, I have all 16 mosfets for the main board on there way to me. The postage and customs and UK VAT cost the same as the parts! As could not source them all in the UK.

Curious to see if replacing all these brings any of the board back to life.

Will update with progress or lack of when I get and fit them back 😉

Next while I am waiting as I will clean up the old ones to read on a meter see if any obvious internal shorts on the original fets.

 

Update:-

Tested the SIZ342 Power Mosfets and 4 of the original 12 are reading short circuit.

 

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Dead Parrot Bebop 2 continued

After slowly ramping up to a normal voltage of 12 volts to the board the mosfets down the bottom of main board got really hot, so must be a short there and most likely on the others too as well as maybe internal short on chips or through multi layered pcb.

So with a short on the main board and how badly corroded the mosfet area was, I decided to remove every mosfet!

1  Z342 missing from above photo, there should be 12 of those.

 

As you can see a lot of the above had a lot of corroded/Missing pads.

Once this was done , no short and connected the 12 volt input and nothing was getting hot.

Although with no power mosfets in , not much going around the board anyway.

 

  

A lot of corrosion on the pcb pads, maybe with some flux and tinning area can clean the pads back up without having to make jumper wires up 😉

(The 2 red wires were just in place of the normal lipo connector as this was weak not being in shell and also getting in the way to measure voltages etc)

The Motor pre driver chips of which there are 4 on the board are MPS MP6530 (Three – Phase Brushless DC Motor Pre – Driver)

And the other power mosfets which there are 12 of them seem to be Vishay SIZ342 (DUAL N-CHANNEL 30-V)

Best way forward now?

Use as spares…..

If I get bored , I might for a laugh get new mosfets and fit them back just to see if anything happens.

But with corrosion around wi-fi chips and other exposed chips , almost certainly replacing all the mosfets will not bring this back to life, just too far gone.

But intresting to see just how much damage will happen if electronics on a quadcopter like this will take if it lands in water, especially salt water as this one did and more so if just left to dry out.

Think twice if you ever offered a water damaged quadcopter, the machine will 9 times of 10 need at least a new main board at the very least….

I may use the shell with new bearings in the motors with something like a naze32 or pixhawk board in the future.

 

 

 

 

 

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Parrot Bebop 2 landed in the sea

Got hold of a damaged Parrot Bebop 2 , suffering from landing in the sea.

Judging by the state of the boards and motors, I assume its been sitting around after it’s dip in the sea for quite some time.

  

First thing was to totally strip down everything and then wash all the boads and let them soak in warm distilled water to try and disolve the left over salt water damage.

Then after this was to dry the boards off and them drop them in isopropyl for a few hours.

 

After this, let the boards dry out and then inspect and still parts around some of the smaller chips that had bad corrosion.

Used a small brush and a combination of switch cleaner and then washed the main board again with washing up liquid and gently rubbed away and then dryed and back into the isopropyl for a while.

Then coated the bad areas around the corroded chips with some solder flux as that may help and then will probably use a heat gun and more flux to clean the chip up.

But at present it looks so fragile, that part can wait while I check the board for shorts.

The battery on this was left plugged in, which is a shame the previous owner did not leave it removed.

The board had a short on the incoming main power line, and the lipo that came with it was totally reading 0 volts.

At this stage, looking like it will need a new main board which is uneconomical of course as the board is like £249.99 in the uk or $324.99 in the USA.

Also all the bearings on the motors are gone and 2 motors the bearings totally seized and so they would also need to be replaced and those motors should be fine.

But as the main board is pretty much a trash job, it cant do any more harm to have a play!

So first off wanted to see if I can get some clue where the sort was so connected up a small 1.2volt battery to main board input and quite quickly drained that down. Not enough current for anything to get warm.

Then applied 2.4 and then 3.6 and killed them pretty quick, these were only normal dry cells.

So next connected up a 18650 battery at 4.1 volts charged and it was only slighty draining down, but done a few measurements and had that 4.1 volts at 3 of the 4 motor wires.

I am fully expecting the mosfets to have died landing in water.

I dont know history of why it landed in the water, I presume low battery and it when into auto land.

Thats as far as I have got thus far into this experiment.

4 motors are salvageable once new bearings fitted.

Just looks wise the gps board looks like it might be okay as no corrosion on it( I did remove the small backup battery on it)

The main Camera looks sealed and maybe water did not make it into base, but have to assume theres a good chance that is history too.

Downward facing position hold camera again looks ok, but again have to assume it trash.

The ribbons on the board connecting various items all badly corroded.

All in all this confirms what we already really know, if a quadcopter lands in water and even more so salt water, you have to get the battery out ASAP and DO NOT leave the quadcopter to dry out.

You must either strip it down and wash it with distilled water and dry and clean off or get it someone who can do this for you.

Leaving it as this previous owner did will pretty much write off the chance of repairing it at a cost effective price.

Now I am going to ramp up the current to see what gets hot……

Happy flying….

 

 

 

 

 

 

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18650 batteries in a AR Drone 2.0

Decided to see if it was possible to use 3 x 18650 batteries in a AR Drone 2.0.

So I made up a 3s pack using Panasonic 3400mah NCR18650B, these are rated for around a amp draw of around 6.7 amps constant.

I thought they may be borderline on the AR Drone as I recall there is a video around on youtube of a guy doing a test and that was showing the drone pulled about 7 amps on take off and so with the weight of the rc mod and flight recorder I did wonder about whether this would work.

Anyway….

3 of these weighed around 137 grams.

IMG_0998

You have to be careful where you buy these as there are many fakes around!!

Quickly made up a balance lead to charge the batteries and from new the resting voltage was 3.66 volts per cell.

IMG_0999

As I did not have a spot welder about to contact the batts together, I just roughed up the ends so solder would take and then quickly soldered them together. If you do it this way you have to use a good soldering iron and be quick or you going to cook batteries and that can lead to possible problems and even fire, so be very careful!!

From the resting volts of 3.66 per cell and doing a gentle charge at 100mah these batteries took 803 mins and 1337 mah to a full charge of 4.20 per cell.

Again I always charge new lipos gentle at first and this is just personal choice, no scientific reason really.

So popped them into the ar drone and see how they worked or did not work as the case may be.

First thing I noticed when I took off is battery went from around 98% left on the freeflight app to just under 50% almost straight away and I thought this does not look too promising.

Carried on the flight and landed the craft at 10% left after 6 mins 57 seconds.

Well it did fly, but I could already see the amp draw of the drone was too much for these batts.

Voltage at end of flight was around 3.88 per cell when read back.

So charged them back up and the pack only took 717mah back to a full charge of 4.20 volts per cell and so was obvious these batts cant handle the high drain needed

went for another try and this time I would I would land when the ar drone auto lands at 0% battery.

This is what I see and that was a flight time of 8 mins 10 seconds and the drone auto landed at 0% left. The batts reading at end of flight was 3.78 per cell and used a total of 843mah.

So although it did fly , these batteries did not fit the bill.

I did 1 final test without the Parrot GPS Flight recorder and got 9 mins 23 seconds……

I would not class this as a fail as the batteries were able to power the flight, and I am still impressed that 18650 batteries are getting close to being able to power a quadcopter and if you put 6 of these batteries in a 3s config and not too heavy quad will get better results.

But of course you cant do that on a ar drone due to weight and also space and tiny motors etc.

So moving on , my next test will be with some Samsung 25R INR18650-25R 2500mAh and expect better results.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Posted in AR Drone 2.0, Radio Control Models | Leave a comment