Contributing to Cleanflight

Following the unveil of Dominic (Hydra) Clifton’s new SPF3 Neo combined FC/PDB & VTX/OSD at the UK Drone Show on the 3rd and 4th December, we wanted to share some news of a recent clean flight  feature that we had a hand  in creating. CF V1.14.2 (Aux Channel VTX Enable/Disable)

A little back story

This all began with Team Scotland’s entertaining attempt at the team racing. We were a man down (due to severe food poisoning), so we drafted in Banthony from team Ireland to make up our numbers.

We were doing well, seven laps in when the first pilot’s quad went down, stuck in a tree after the split-s gate. Initially we thought that was us out of the race, however, Joe Scully at the race control tent encouraged us to carry on.

So I powered up our 2nd pilot – one lap behind at this point – who unfortunately crashed at the exit of the slalom. Next quad up again crashed at the half lap mark and it all comes down to Fraser and the last available quad to complete the remaining five laps.

He pulled an incredible flight out of the bag, flying blind for four laps with our other other three quads all powered up on the same video channel (and still crashed out on track). It was possibly some of the roughest laps of the competition, but Fraser crossed the finish with the crowd going wild and a real buzz in the control tent.

This was the most fun I had at the event, and I think the rest of the team will agree with me on that.

Later that night we were discussing options that would help us get through the team race final if we had a crash. Initial thoughts were having a relay (MOSFET) in the IRC Tramp vtx power supply line that could be activated on a spare channel. All ideas would prove impossible to accomplish in a log cabin in Ibiza. So we went to Grannys bar to ‘plan’ for the following day’s racing. It was an entertaining evening and our first time meeting Dominic.

The following morning was a little wet. Teams were sitting in the pits waiting for the rain to clear and get flying. Fraser took out BuzzinG’s midge and just flew in the rain. Comments from other teams in the pits eventually led to quads getting wrapped in plastic bags and flown for a bit of freestyle fun with no pressure. Along comes Dominic with a little secret project in his pocket, now called the SPF3 Neo.

An exciting new board, and really interesting talking to Dominic about its development and capabilities. While chatting about its features the subject came up about the spectacular show from the previous day, which lead to the previous evening’s discussion on deactivating a VTX from the pilot’s transmitter.

I don’t fully recall, but Dominic might have had a glint in his eye and disappeared.

It can’t have been long, half an hour max and Dominic reappeared with all his kit – laptop, quad and VRX ground station – and proceeds to demonstrate the VTX disable function from his transmitter that he’s just programmed! A few minor tweaks later it’s working like a charm.

So there you have it, sharing a simple idea can really make a change with this stuff, and let’s hope that the team racing is something that will be included in future race events.

Check out the commit on github

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