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Mikado . Futaba-RC . HeliProz
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Scale Model RC Helicopters

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NAZA-H Install and Flight Test

Joel Rosenzweig

Veteran

Marlborough, MA - USA

I have received my NAZA-H and have installed it into my Vario Lama. It's a 36 pound electric heli, with an OF rotor head and 1004mm M-Blades putting the rotor disc at over 2.0M. I had this heli flying at IRCHA this year. When I wasn't flying the Air Crane, I was flying this!

I wanted to share a few photos of the NAZA-H electronics, and what it looks like installed into the heli. I have setup all the software, and now I must wait for a relatively calm and sunny day to put it through its paces on its test flight.

Here are a few photos to show you what you get. I'll follow up with a link to a flight video as soon as I get it into the air.

Here's the NAZA-H in my hand:

Here's the familiar looking NAZA GPS module, and an extension cable. You'll use the extension cable to locate the GPS in a convenient spot away from metal. The GPS is optional. If you buy it, you get the GPS position hold feature. If you don't have it, then your Naza will do manual mode and ATTI mode (self leveling) without being able to maintain it's hover position. It's good that you can choose what equipment you want, because GPS hold may not always be what you want to use. So you can save some money by purchasing just what you need. I am finding the GPS fun to play with on my Wookong-H equipped heli. I think it's fun to have at least ONE GPS enabled heli even if you don't use it every day.

This shows the indicator light module. It has a bright LED that changes color and flashes different codes to tell you status information, such as your current flight mode or satellite acquisition status. By the way, it flashes RED while it is finding satellites. You want to let it find at least 7 satellites for best GPS hold performance. When it stops blinking RED, it's done. One nice improvement over the Wookong-H is that the GPS module captures satellites faster. I get a satellite lock for all 7 in about 30 seconds. Sometimes it takes 1 minute. My Wookong-H can take anywhere from 2-10 minutes. So this is a nice improvement.

On the side of the indicator light module is the USB connector that you use to connect the Naza to your PC.

The NAZA-H has an optional BEC module, which is capable of outputting 5A continuous, and 15A burst. It's voltage settable for 5.8v or 7.4v output, via a switch on the side. If you use this module, the NAZA-H can monitor battery pack voltage and enter fail safe at a pre-set voltage. The current version of the configuration software does not give you a lot of options for setting the fail - safe. I expect DJI will update this over time to enhance the functionality, just as they have for the NAZA-MultiRotor version. The Multi-Rotor version allows the machine to enter fail safe and hover, or return home and auto-land. I don't know what DJI will do for NAZA-H, but I'd expect them to adopt some of the failsafe functionality for helicopter use.

Here's the top side of the module:

Here's the back side, with the heat sink fins. It's in a nicely machined aluminum case. The Naza main unit is encased in plastic.

This photo shows the NAZA installed into my Lama. DJI supplies all the cables to connect it to your receiver. They are twisted cables, and are done so to aid in noise supression. I found that on Wookong, using cables other than the supplied cables interfered with the GPS to some degree. I got a much better GPS lock when using the DJI cables, so keep that in mind!

I located the GPS in the front floor of the cabin on my heli. Fiberglass does not get in the way of the GPS signal at all. This was as far away from metal as I could get, since this whole machine is metal except for the cabin.

Finally, here's my test subject. She's unfinished, but flying

The software is typical for DJI, with a few enhancements over the other DJI installs I have done. The NAZA-H software now has a setup wizard that leads you through the configuration. It's not necessary to have the wizard, but if you're one of those people that don't know where to start, this will come in handy. I've installed a lot of DJI equipment, and even more stability systems, so the software was straight forward for me. That said, it's still got lots of details that you need to pay attention to, and some settings you just won't know until you flight test and try. This is normal, but be aware that it won't likely fly to perfection on your first flight, unless you're working with known settings for your model.

I learned a few things while using the pre-production prototype. Because of the mass of my helicopter, I had to reduce the amount of cyclic pitch from the recommended 8 degrees down to 5. Their latest instructions talk more about this setting, and actually suggest that smaller helis would use a smaller cyclic pitch range. It would follow that larger helis would use a larger cyclic pitch range, but that was clearly not the case in my original setup. The heli bounced back and forth when given stick inputs and wouldn't settle easily, until, I lowered the cyclic pitch range. It's no problem .. there's a learning curve to all of this. I don't have a formula to tell you how to find your initial setting here. If you're running something large, then consider a cyclic pitch range in the 5-6 degree range for your initial flights. But, there are enough factors at play between each model, that I can't certify that that's absolutely what you want to do. Just be aware of it.

Default "auto" gain settings were reasonable with the prototype. I settled in on 110% on the aileron, and 120% on the elevator, which made it fly really well. I'll happily post all my settings for this model once I have flight tested it. My intention is simply to state that there is tweaking to do to dial it in. So like any similar system, especially one new to you, be prepared to dial it in.

Videos and commentary on flight experience next!

12-11-2012 Over year old.
helifan314

Heliman

Wheaton, IL

Look forward to seeing a video of the flight!

12-12-2012 Over year old.
2tall

Veteran

Crystal Lake, Illinois, USA

Mine is on the way. It will be installed in an E converted FBL Mongoose. I'm anxious to see your continued reports and video.

Jon

"Pay attention...lest the ground rise up and smite thee."

12-12-2012 Over year old.
Rckfish

Veteran

Little Rock,AR

Awesome Joel...I have just received mine and I am anxious to learn from you.
Paul

12-12-2012 Over year old.
Joel Rosenzweig

Veteran

Marlborough, MA - USA

I had my first flight with the NAZA-H late this afternoon. This short video shows the position hold capability of the NAZA-H with GPS. As you can see from the video, it is working quite well.

I lifted off in manual mode and brought the heli to altitude. Then I switched into GPS hold mode, and the helicopter just sat there like it should without any stick input. I pulled out my iPhone and recorded what you see here. I walked around to the front of the heli, then rotated it just a bit to place it better in the frame. I had it just hover for a few minutes and observed that all was working as it should. You'll notice very little drift in the video.

As far as flight performance is concerned, it handles just as well as the Wookong-H. As I indicated elsewhere, the Naza-H does not come with a governor like the Wookong-H does. Since governor functionality is required, you either need an ESC with governor mode, or an external governor for your gas/glo engine. Fail safe modes are not as advanced on the Naza-H compared with the Wookong-H. Perhaps that will change in the future, but I have no information about that. It appears that the Naza-H is optimized for electric helis, because the vibration dampening is less compared with what's found in the Wookong-H (according to DJI engineers). I have no data on this to say one way or the other. But if we go with that, then the Wookong-H would remain better suited for gas and glo helis simply due to their increased vibration levels inherent in those machines. Turbine engines run quite smooth, but I have no data on DJI having run the Naza-H in a turbine scale heli, so I can't say how it handles there. The Wookong-H is known to work with turbines.

Given how the Naza-H is performing, I am quite happy with it, and it seems like a great alternative to the more expensive Wookong-H for electric helicopters at the least.

Watch at YouTube

12-13-2012 Over year old.
Sidneyw

Senior Heliman

Lake Zurich, IL

I have always wanted a Lama.

12-13-2012 Over year old.
Dr.Tim

Elite Veteran

Mojave Desert

JOEL, That is Awsome!!
I will post how it fly's with a Gasser as soon as mine arrives ...

From Simple minds come simple ideas! Approach Engineering

12-13-2012 Over year old.
HOMEPAGE  
Mojave

Elite Veteran

Palos verdes Estates, Ca. USA

Wow, very cool! I wonder how it feels in forward flight? Is it robotic, or are you able to override the computer control for a natural feeling flight?
Barry

All helis and planes have an expiration date stamped on them...you only find it after you crash!!

12-14-2012 Over year old.
Joel Rosenzweig

Veteran

Marlborough, MA - USA

The feel in ATTI or GPS - hold mode is very different from normal flight. For normal handling, just switch to manual mode. It still acts like an excellent flybarless controller in manual mode, but it won't self level or hold position.

When using self-leveling, or self-leveling + position hold (ATTI+GPS, i.e. GPS hold mode), the heli will move with a velocity proportional to your cyclic stick input. You are no longer directly controlling pitch and roll rates or angles. The NAZA is doing all the work to regulate the pitch and roll rates and angles to achieve the velocity you asked it for. In that way, it will feel much stiffer than manual mode, simply by definition of what this control mode is intended to do.

So if you want to perform fluid aerobatics, use manual mode. If you want to perform super solid scale looking maneuvers, then ATTI (or GPS hold) mode would be the best choice for that.

Joel

12-14-2012 Over year old.
Rckfish

Veteran

Little Rock,AR

I received my Naza H with GPA and installed it on my EBenzine. As with anything it takes a bit to understand what is being asked in the setup Wizard. With Joel's assistance I got the unit installed. Now having been through the setup it all makes sense and goes very quickly.

My heli flies really nice in Manual Mode. The Naza H is a beautiful FBL or Multiblade unit in and of itself, especially at the price. I have taken the gains down but that has been about it. As Joel mentioned you do have to tune your cyclic deflection a bit. DJI recommends 6-8 degrees on larger helis, mine seems to like 5 degrees best.

In the GPS Mode it is rock solid...it is kind of spooky to give NO...I do mean NO control imput and the heli just sits there, wind or not.

In the ATTI Mode I am still trying to sort out some issues. Myself along with many other pilots are getting either a left (if your heli has a Counter Clockwise rotation) cyclic deflection or right (if your heli has a Clockwise rotation) cyclic deflection. There has been one firmware update (1.02) which introduced this deflection when switching to ATTI mode on the bench...it just doesn't go away in the air. Hopefully it is something DJI will sort out. I am just glad to know I am not the only one sorting this issue out. There are several threads on HeliFreak under flight stabilization reviewing the Naza H and any issues in set up or trimming.

I love the unit and am anxious to put it into one of my scalers. I believe they have a great unit on their hands and will sort out any issues. It maybe possible for them to add some features in the future with the ease of firmware updates.

Paul

01-02-2013 Over year old.
Joel Rosenzweig

Veteran

Marlborough, MA - USA

Paul,

I don't have that tilt problem you are having, but I didn't upgrade to the same version of firmware as you. I did all my flight testing right before 1.02 came out and have not updated it since then.

Have you submitted your issue to DJI so they can take a look?

Joel

01-03-2013 Over year old.
Rckfish

Veteran

Little Rock,AR

Hi Joel,
Yes, I have sent an email but have heard nothing back. Is there a U.S. contact I should chat with? One thing I could do is unistall everything and restore the factory settings back to 1.0 and test.

By the way. The 5 degrees on the cyclic is really smooth. I am also running the swash gains at about 80%. Really love the unit and am anxious to sort out the ATTI Mode.

Thank
Paul

01-03-2013 Over year old.
Joel Rosenzweig

Veteran

Marlborough, MA - USA

Hi Rick,

The dealer you bought it from should be in a position to provide support, either directly, or by communicating with DJI on your behalf. If that support system doesn't work, I can check with the folks that I've been in communication with. I'll do what I can to help.

If you have the option to go back to v1.0, that is worth a try, since it works for me.

That said, every time you do a firmware upgrade, you _DO_ have to write the defaults back to the device, then overwrite it with your values. Using the "default" button to write the default values sets some internal parameters that appear not to be visible via the assistant software. I ran into a problem when upgrading the firmware on my Wookong-H. I had to make sure to write the default settings on each screen, which I could then overwrite with my settings afterwards. After that, all was happy.

So, see if you can go back to v1.0 first. And make sure to reset the defaults. If it doesn't let you, then at least reset the defaults with the firmware version you do have, and try again on the bench.

Joel

01-03-2013 Over year old.
95nostalgia

Senior Heliman

US of A

Naza-H

Just completed my first flight with the Naza-H GPS installed in my e-converted Benzin (gallery) which used to have the WK-H. Like Rckfish, I too expereinced the same left (and slightly forward movement in Att mode). Here is what happened. Took off in Manual. All was about the same flight as the WK-H but needed some mild tweking. But confident enough to try Att Mode. Started cylcing left and forward. Used sticks to correct and quickly realized what Joel was saying. It fought me and when it did correct, the movement was radical. So here it is flopping around while drifting and I am getting close to stuff in my yard. Went for a landing as it edged towards a bush. Pulled back just before touch-down in effort to avoid the bush then let it go back to level. Didn't work. Took out two 1/2" branches at same time and the tips of my mains were damaged enough to ruin them.

With the same throttle & pitch curves, mechanics etc but swapping out just controllers, this may be one of the best tests of the Naza-H itself. I am seeing what Rckfish did in Att mode and never got far enough to dial down the cyclic or try GPS mode. Attitude mode (and I) could use some help. Next test flight you can bet I will be sweating bullets. At least I was pretty cool on this one.

If it weren't for the several relaxing flights with the S800 I had today, I might feel bad. Think the supplier will buy me a new set of blades?

God created only a few perfect heads...the rest he put hair on them.

01-03-2013 Over year old.
Rckfish

Veteran

Little Rock,AR

I just got an email from DJI and they recommended to fly in GPS mode only. They are working on the ATTI mode issue.

01-05-2013 Over year old.
95nostalgia

Senior Heliman

US of A

GPS

Thanks for the update, Rock.

On a somewhat related topic. Just finished a test flight of the S800 with WK-M. Marked takeoff spot. Started in GPS mode. ONLY touched throttle/collective. Raised S800 to roof high in 5-6mph light gusty wind. Left it there for 10min. It slid around within an 8' diameter but NO altitude changes. No stick input at all. Lowered throttle/collective slowly to let it catch wind diff. Landed 24" diagonal from takeoff mark. Boring but impressive too.

God created only a few perfect heads...the rest he put hair on them.

01-05-2013 Over year old.
tintmaster

Veteran

Wichita, Ks. U.S.A.

Naza-H

I just got mine today. I am putting it in my AS350E 700. I still need to get a 330kv motor and I can start installing all electronics. I have a little idea on the installation, as I had a F450 quad.

I have a question though. The wire leads supplied are awfully short. Can I use longer leads and just twist them like the stock 1's? I am installing on a Trex 700E airframe.

Just call me Farmer Brown. 'Cause I know how to really plant 'em

01-11-2013 Over year old.
HOMEPAGE  
Sidneyw

Senior Heliman

Lake Zurich, IL

Yes, you can use longer leads.
I use Futaba, single lead to D-bus.

01-13-2013 Over year old.
2tall

Veteran

Crystal Lake, Illinois, USA

I use Futaba, single lead to D-bus.
When using the D-Bus connection option is it necessary to also use Futaba D/S-Bus servos, or does the NAZA control unit have the ability to individually address any brand digital servo?

(I'm considering a 14SGH purchase for use with the Naza-H, but know nothing about S-Bus.)

"Pay attention...lest the ground rise up and smite thee."

01-13-2013 Over year old.
tintmaster

Veteran

Wichita, Ks. U.S.A.

Naza-H

I am using a JR 921 Rx and JR 11x Tx.
CaI still use the single lead to D-Bus?

Just call me Farmer Brown. 'Cause I know how to really plant 'em

01-13-2013 Over year old.
HOMEPAGE  
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