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.

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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.

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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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Full run down test Cahaya 2500mah lipo

Time for a test to see how long I can get out of this new lipo, wind was calm 1-3 mph. I rain the AR Drone with the weight of the Parrot GPS Flight recoder and the Mirumod installed.

In total 533grams.

Fully charged lipo and landed when it read 35% left on the Freeflight app.

I got 17 mins which is the longest flight battery tested thus far, even though it doees make the ar drone a bit sluggish and slow to respond to any wind blowing it about.

If course this was just a boring hover flight and I would expect less flying it about and I still think while the lipo is new , a time of around 15mins without running battery down too low will be a good result.

I could have got longer than 17mins if I had ran lipo down lower, but I dont think its worth it as anything less than 35% left is going kill the battery real quick.

Anyway, the lipo used just over 1500mah in that 17mins flight

Without weight of the Parrot gps flight recoder and Mirumod and just a stock AR Drone, I think a easy 20 mins flight is there with this lipo.

I personally think you gain so much better control , especially in the wind with the Mirumod that its a no brainer to fit one and if you not upto soldering then you can buy the board all ready made.

 

As I have already mentioned this is the longest running lipo I have tested in the AR Drone 2.0 and bear in mind if you try and fit the Parrot GPS Recorder aswell, you are going to have to cut away the foam inside the shell and also velco wont really be long enough and either mod it or make sure shell cant come off in flight.

I only had the Parrot GPS unit installed to test flight times as I believe anything inder 8/10 metres the gps does nothing to stabilize the craft, as at under 8/10 metres it only uses the sonar and the bottom camera for position hold, GPS only helps stabilize high up and if course if you want to use waypoints.

Video of the battery running down to 35%.

Shall be testing a very different battery next if all goes well………..

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Cahaya 2500 mah 20c Lipo

Done 2 tests now with the Cahaya 2500 mah 20c Lipo and the first test in the AR Drone was just a break in test that I always try and do with a new Lipo.

At a weight of 513 grams + a small lipo alarm added it was a lot of weight to lift.

The first take off it just about got off the ground and then I remembered that the AR Drone FreeFlight app has a setting to change to HD battery, I think what that may do is to slightly change the internal pid settings etc to better cope with a heavier battery.

Anyway, flew for what was about 10:30 secs in total down to 60% left for a first flight, the drone was indeed very sluggish and had problems with the wind, it was about 5 mph and because of testing in a back yard , also the wind was swirling about a lot.

I did do a video of it but done with very low resolution camera glasses as my HD pair have failed.

So excuse the poor video and sound on this… But gives a basic idea of how flight went.


I think it would have handled a lot better without the heavy weight of the Parrot flight recorder and at these low heights the flight recorder does nothing to help stabilize the flight, and only records video and gps track but I had it installed just to see what it was like at max weight.

Now waiting for a no wind day to do a full test down to 35% left and see how long we get.

I am thinking it will be about 15 mins max with this kind of weight……..

Also another note is that to get this lipo and the flight recorder to fit under the outdoor shell one has to cut away a lot of the foam inside and its still a tight fit and the velco strap inside hardly grips at all. Need to take that out and fit a better one.

I did do another flight but indoors and that was 12:30 seconds down to 40% at which time teh ar drone decided as it does a lot to flip over and fall on its back, luckly this was at low heigh and on carpet.

Next test will be outside when wind dies down….

I have since got another Cahaya 2500 mah lipo and that also read new at a perfect balance at 3.85 oer cell, so these lipo’s come very well balanced and are available for a great price.

 

 

 

 

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AR DRONE 2500mAH 11.1V 20C Li-Po

Just received a Cahaya 2500mah 20c lipo to see how we go with one of these.

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At least with this battery, it read totally evenly balanced unlike the ZOP Power one I tried from elsewhere last time.

So this Lipo is looking promising, and shall as I always do, give it a nice gentle 100mah over night charge and then test it.

Weight wise this Lipo came in at around 155 grams.

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I read that some are saying they are getting around 22mins flight time, but as I have the Miru RC Mod and Parrot GPS Flight recorder, I am not expecting that long without taking the Lipo too low in voltage.

For interest with this Lipo installed the all up weight of my AR Drone is now 513 grams.

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Stock AR DRONE 2.0 is about 380 grams with outdoor hull.

Will post a link where you can buy this from if it performs okay.

For sure at 513 grams, prob getting very close to being too heavy (Especially in wind) as it will prob drop like a brick and wont have enough power to fight wind.

But hey we shall see 😉

Note: This is for anyone who is new to the AR Drone 2.0 and this battery needs a different charger , and you can not charge this lipo with the standard charger as this Lipo is like most others and it has a balance plug lead.

For Compassion :-

My old GiFI 2000 mah lipo and that was thus far the heaviest Lipo I used.

Was getting around 15 mins on that, landing at 30% left.

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ZOP Power Lipo

As my old AR Drone 2.0  lipos I was using are getting pretty work old and I am getting only around 7 mins each from them, I decided to look around for some new ones.

So I see a ZOP Power one at a good price from China and ordered one to try out.

Plugged the Lipo into to see how well balanced it was.

As you can see below the lipo was not very well balanced, and cell 2 looked the worst.

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Anyway, I balance charged it upto full charge at a slow gentle 100mah , and it took around 630mah.

End full charge readings were :-

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Not as even as I like, but thought looks like it should be okay.

So changed the deans connector over for a tamiya connector so it would fit the AR Drone and off for a indoor test flight to see what difference to flight time a new lipo would make.

Was going okay I noticed I got down to 42% left remaining in freeflight app and then it went 42% and then straight down to 32%.

The length of the flight was 12 mins 30 secs until I landed at 32%.

I quickly hit land and read the lipo as heres what it showed.

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As you can see that cell 2 is reading 2.84!! And in fact it was actually 2.78 when I first read it straight after the flight, it recovered a bit 5 mins later to the above.

So that Cell 2 that looked iffy to me when I first unboxed the battery was indeed not very good at all.

And being its resting at 2.84, it must have been down at around maybe 2 volts when I landed.

So this lipo is duff, and I wont be buying any more ZOP Power Lipos.

Although I consider this lipo wrecked now , I thought I would connect it to charge and charge to storage and see what it came upto.

Not worth trying to send it back as that would cost more than buying another.

This was the result :-

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Hmmmm seemed to charge to storage voltage okay…

So balance charged again at a gentle 100mah over night to full charge which I see the following:-

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Similar to the first charge results I had.

Oh well lets try another flight and I thought this time I would land at 50% left.

So I ran it until I hit 50% and landed which then was about 49%.

And took more readings:-

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As you can see Cell 2 is low again, not below 3 volts this time but under load I think it may have hit 3 volts or lower.

This will be okay as a test lipo until it puffs, which it will surely do and I will have to make sure I land at 60% left.

As many will know, you can get good and bad lipo’s from new and as always the clue is how well balanced are they.

Normally when I get new ones they read around 3.84 volts and maybe within .01 of each other. This one was way off and Cell 2 definately well off where it should be and no way can I get the expected flight time from this 1500mah lipo, as cell 2 is no good.

This could just have been unlucky me and I got a duff one, but I think maybe they should at least test the voltage of the cells before they send them out, and being as they cant have been checked thats the reason I will now steer clear of any more ZOP Power lipos.

I will carefully run and change this lipo a few times to see how much worse it gets or how long before the cells puff.

Now I am charging from my last flight to see just how many mah goes back in to full from the 3.72 , 3.40, 3.70 voltages..

Update :-

Charging up this lipo it took 1277mah back into it from the above voltages and ended up with 4.16 , 4.18, 4.17.

I think if Cell 2 had not been weak like it is, then I would have got about 15mins flight time from it which was what I used to get with another makes , flying with outside shell, parrot gps and Mirumod installed.

Just for comparison below are weights of the ZOP power and the GiFi 1500mah lipo.

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On another update to this quite long post now, but anyway a 3rd flight on this ZOP Power Lipo and I ran the AR Drone until it read 60% left and then landed.

With again as the setup below, I got a about 10 mins 15 seconds and then I hit 60% left.

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Then again hooked it up and resting voltage was as follows:-

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So to end this quite long post now, it seems even though this lipo is pretty much trash, I can for the time being get about 10 mins out of it until cell 2 gives up or starts to puff.

Tempted to get some more of the GiFi lipos as they seemed to work quite well and the 2000mah version gave me about almost 20 mins when it was new…

I do have some info I kept on these others when they were new, I just need to find it and add it, just case the info is helpful to others.

Have fun!

 

 

 

 

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AR DRONE 2.0 testing

Well after repairing the main board and replacing all the motor bearings and on my first test it seemed to fly okay but seemed to have problems holding height and would jump in and down all of a sudden.

I knew I had a new navigation board and sonar that I bought a long time back and so fitted that and then it seem to work fine.

Well that was until after a few test flights , as I fitted the battery for another test there was a flash of fire as one of the fet’s in one of the motor’s esc board  decided it was time to self terminate.

Lucky enough I had a spare esc board that was in my old original ar drone so I grabbed that and re-soldered motor to it and will repair this fried esc pcb at a later date.

So after a lot of time and also lucky enough to have some spares laying around was able to get this ar drone working again.

But if I had to have buy news parts then this would never had been worth it.

So bear this in mind if you see a cheap faulty ar drone for sale, as chances are it will cost more to fix than buying a working second hand one or even a new one.

Right, as now this was working I fitted back the AR.Drone v1.0 and v2.0 WiFi-less mod by Miru

For now I just fitted MiruLLC (Logic Level Converter) as I had a spare one from what I ordered from him before and wired it up temp to the Arduino that I used before.

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Reason I done this was way back when the last time I flew this mod with the ar drone it flipped over in the wind and fell and broke the central cross and also the mod which at that time I had fitted inside the drone rammed into the main board and killed the data line and I was unable to use the mod on that board as one of the data lines had a internal short.

Not a fault of the mod, but just bad luck the way it crashed.

But I do intend to make a smaller Arduino and rx combo and fit it back inside, but waiting to make sure this ar drone works ok for a while first.

So done a few test flights on back yard and seems to be working fine (touch wood)

Had to be careful as flying over grass can really confuse the sonar and bottom camera position hold, and with wind aswell, makes this very touchy and it wants to flip over really.

So I found using the Miru mod and switch the bottom camera off by the rc switch helped but of course it drifts off as the Parrot GPS recorder I have fitted does not come into play til I believe its over 10 metres in height. (Wish there was a way to enable this at lower with bottom camera position hold off)

Wanting to do some more testing before I take it up high enough for gps to kick in , but its just too windy at present and trust me this ar drone needs pretty much no wind conditions, more so when testing in back garden or yard etc as the turbulence you get from being inside a fenced area will throw it around a lot.

Outside at a field as wind mostly blowing from one direction it handles it much better.

Anyway, its been fun to use this again and although by todays standards the camera is poor quality and in wind its not as stable as say dji or walkera quads, its still kinda fun….

 

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Happy flying 🙂

 

 

 

 

 

 

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AR DRONE 2.0 Motor bearings

On my refurb of a rusted ole AR Drone I obtained, I got a new set of bearings from Blade (BLH1607).

These bearings I have used before and so I ordered some more to fit to these 4 rusted motors.

Getting the motors apart involves using a weller gas hot air gun and heating up the top and then turning over the motor held with pliers etc and tapping the bottom where the shaft slighty sticks out with the plastic end of a screwdriver until the top begins to part and then gently and carefully grab it and pull it off.

Be careful as the wires that go into the motor and to the pcb are fragile!

The old bearings were rusted in solif to the top and bottom caps and were a pig to remove!

Tapping out bottom bearing also the bottom cap came off, probably the glue was also weakened by the heat.

The actual shaft and magnet were as you can see in picture rather rusted and I used wire wool etc to clean them of rust.

Anyway new bearings with a drop of oil in them were fitted back and then the top and bottom caps were glued back on with Super glue and seemed to freely spin again , so fitted them back to the drone and ran up motors while holding the drone underneath and all seemed fine.

So new bearings and time and patience got these 4 motors running again.

Again main reason to attempt this was 4 x new motors which come soldered to new esc’s would be around £100!!

 

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AR Drone 2.0 repair why bother?

I have thought this through a few times and its been about 4 years since I bought the AR Drone 2.0.

Back then it was out just before DJI lanched it’s Phantom 1.

So in 2012  the AR Drone caught my eye and I bought one.

It was rather clever how it could hover on the spot and record video and for the time the video was pretty good.

Controlling via the iPad or iPhone was a pain in the butt, very hard to control in a precise way. Also it could not handle any kind of wind without normally flipping over and crashing and nearly always breaking parts.

Although still pretty neat in perfect no wind conditions and had a good flight time with a after market extended battery of around almost 20 mins.

My biggest gripe was the cost of parts, more so once DJI came along with the Phantom 1 and other similar quads started to appear which were stronger and also much cheaper parts.

Anyway, then I came across the WiFi-less mod for AR.Drone v1.0 and v2.0 by miru

Which added a way of using a standard 2.4 RC radio with the drone.

Now once I had built one of these it totally changed how one controlled the AR Drone and made such a better experince!

Anyway after a lot of good flights I decided to mod around with the quad and bit by bit it broke to the stage where it was not worth spending any more on it.

These days I have a DJI  FC40 and a Scratch bult Walkera QR X350 Pro and a Naze32 quad and they all work so much better than the ole Parrot Drone.

But sometimes I miss the ole AR Drone and seeing its sad state in its box I thought I will get it running again and probaly regret it! LOL

So no good reason to get it working again apart from just the urge to fix it really.

Quadcopters have come so far in a few short years and even Parrot have its bebop drone with wifi controller out thesedays, but oh my the price of that and its controller are so expensive.

The Parrot Bebop and its controller do look intresting and maybe one day I will get one to try.

And also you see the latest DJI quads holding position and using sonar and a camera for position hold etc and to be fair the AR Drone had all this way back when.

Okay it was not as precise as what is around now and needed ideal conditions to work, but it was also a lot cheaper than the cost of the latest and greatest DJI and other quads around today.

Anyway happy flying and fly safe…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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AR Drone 2.0 Main Board Repair

Spent some time on this AR Drone 2.0 main board to see if it was repairable….

After checking over the main pcb, I have had the small ic U1700 (DMG4413LSS Mosfet) by the power in leads fail on more than 1 occasion and so seeing as I had a spare I desoldered the old one and fitted a new one.

The old chip did not read any short and therefore I had a feeling it was okay and connected back the battery and it did the same.

So moving on to ic U1701 ( RT8293BHGSP Step down convertor) it also did not read a short, but I noticed it was not producng any 3.3 volts in output pin 3.

I removed the coil L1702 that is feed from it on other side of pcb , in case something was dragging it down.

Did not find any reason why the voltage was not there unless an internal failure of the chip, as it seemed to be getting correct voltages to activate the chip.

So as I had a spare chip, I removed it and soldered in a replacement.

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Connecting back up the battery but with coil still removed it flash up 3+ volts on meter although board still dead as the coil was not back yet.

So next test was to solder back the L1702 coil and low and behold the main board led flashed up red and then green.

Now why did this chip fail? My thought was maybe as the motor bearings were rusted to hell this blow the chip, but really would have expected IC U1700 to fail to be honest as that supllies all the 12 volt rails and then U1701 converts that to the 3+ volts the Micro and other chips need.

But there is also the fact that around the top side of the main board around the L1702 coil it was totally rusted and was all around the coil.

So maybe that had been shorting the 3 volt line intermitelly and that caused the failure?

I guess I will know once the motor bearings have all been changed…

Anyway this repair was far cheaper than another Parrot £100 main board…..

Not as pretty repair as I like, but my fine tip solder tip broke so had to use one too big for job really.

Also Please Note! on other boards I have changed U1701 , sometimes the earth/heatsink part under chip is soldered to main board and that takes a lot of skill and patient to remove it without disturbing any of the chip components nearby.

These boards are very delicate to work on.

This time however the earth/heatsink it was not soldered down and came off very easy with a Weller hot air gun on it.

 

Next task to repair the rusted out inrunner motor bearings…………..

 

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