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Author Topic: Modifying a transmitter for special needs  (Read 1140 times)

Davross

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Modifying a transmitter for special needs
« on: May 19, 2017, 12:28:03 PM »

I've recently joined this group following some discussion over the content of my BMFA column, "droning on". What followed during the discussions about writing for the BMFA was an interest in how I've adapted my transmitter and wheelchair to allow me to continue flying as I get weaker.

Transmitter in question is a standard FrSky X9e tray radio, with a load of extras bolted on, mainly 3-D printed. All of the CAD and design was done by me with suggestions from Gaz, a good friend and carer. He has also just kindly taken all of of these photos.

Yes I know that cutting mat is a rather lurid pink, but it was huge and free so I can live with the colour :-)

Here is a list of the mods:
1) mounting bracket on wheelchair to support transmitter on a "stalk" - the weight on a neck strap would pitch me out of wheelchair
2) the stalk has a fixture that slots into a hot shoe on back of transmitter to allow easy removal
3) alternative tripod base for when the transmitter's not on my wheelchair - great for easy access when setting up models
4) increased size right-hand palm rest
5) relocated left-hand joystick in removable box (old hole blanked with printed FrSky logo) - box has to be removable so the transmitter still fits in standard carry case
6) left-hand joystick automatically electrically connects  to the transmitter when inserted via a multiplex connector
7) "eye of Sauron" style replacement joystick tops for better grip

I guess there's about half a kilo of ABS in 3-D printing, and 1 m of 20 x 20 mm aluminium extrusion.

Hope this is of some interest to the membership – I truly believe radio controlled modelling is a hobby/sport ideally suited to disabled people, and with the right thought and care, there is no reason wheelchair users can't compete at the highest level.

Cheers
Kev
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Davross

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Re: Modifying a transmitter for special needs
« Reply #1 on: May 19, 2017, 12:38:31 PM »

A few more...
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Davross

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Re: Modifying a transmitter for special needs
« Reply #2 on: May 19, 2017, 12:39:35 PM »

And finally…
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Coyote

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Re: Modifying a transmitter for special needs
« Reply #3 on: May 19, 2017, 01:07:18 PM »

Looks like a very nicely executed mod done there, nice job ! :)
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ClippedWing

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Re: Modifying a transmitter for special needs
« Reply #4 on: May 19, 2017, 01:12:50 PM »

Rate my ground station...

100 out of 10!  :o
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electrotor

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Re: Modifying a transmitter for special needs
« Reply #5 on: May 19, 2017, 01:15:19 PM »

Many thanks for starting this thread and sharing your valuable experience.

8 posts & 6 karmas! Must be a record.
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Ratty

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Re: Modifying a transmitter for special needs
« Reply #6 on: May 19, 2017, 01:52:24 PM »

Awesome, thanks Kev.

If it is ok with you, i am going to use these pics to show the OTs at the spinal unit what can be done. I also may have a few follow up questions.

Like Steve mentioned we have had someone on here ask about this type of modification before. He was met with a lot of "It cant be done" replies. Glad someone is showing that disabilities are not something that can stop you doing something you love, if you are willing to put the effort in to it.

Now all i have to do is convince them that Tiny Whoop races around the ward are a good thing for newly injured children.  ;D
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Davross

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Re: Modifying a transmitter for special needs
« Reply #7 on: May 19, 2017, 02:24:59 PM »

Awesome, thanks Kev.

If it is ok with you, i am going to use these pics to show the OTs at the spinal unit what can be done. I also may have a few follow up questions.

Like Steve mentioned we have had someone on here ask about this type of modification before. He was met with a lot of "It cant be done" replies. Glad someone is showing that disabilities are not something that can stop you doing something you love, if you are willing to put the effort in to it.

Now all i have to do is convince them that Tiny Whoop races around the ward are a good thing for newly injured children.  ;D

Ratty, feel free to use the photos, and ask more questions as you need.

This really wasn't that difficult a mod, other than drawing all the parts in CAD in the first place. The soldering to relocate the joystick (with the multiplex plug) took less than an hour, and there are only four holes that needed drilling for the backplane – everything else uses existing fixtures on the transmitter.

I will probably sit down and share all the files on thingiverse now since this has generated so much interest… at least that way, nobody else has to do the CAD work from ground zero.

Equally with your permission, I would like to make reference to your spinal injury and comments about rehabilitation in a column that I have now been inspired to write.

Kev
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Steve W

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Re: Modifying a transmitter for special needs
« Reply #8 on: May 19, 2017, 02:56:41 PM »

This is really awesome stuff - I mean it's all relative etc but to me being able to participate in this sport with such disabilities seems amazing. I'm always blown away by how people manage to adapt and succeed when met with challenges like this.

Fair play to you, Kev.

beesleyboy

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Re: Modifying a transmitter for special needs
« Reply #9 on: May 19, 2017, 08:04:16 PM »

Nice mods, that's the beauty of 3D printing and how easy it is to get one running nowadays, opens up so many opportunity's. I use my ones so much, my CNC is getting cobwebs. Lol
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Davross

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Re: Modifying a transmitter for special needs
« Reply #10 on: May 19, 2017, 09:50:42 PM »

Nice mods, that's the beauty of 3D printing and how easy it is to get one running nowadays, opens up so many opportunity's. I use my ones so much, my CNC is getting cobwebs. Lol
Love them – my second printer (a hacked XYZ da Vinci 1.0) had 8 km of filament through it before it ripped its own wiring out! My indoor racing quads were mainly 3-D printed, and then a friend started milling 1.5 mm carbon fibre and glass fibre sheets which does offer additional crash-ability!

Given that you can get a good printer for under £200 now, it is fast becoming one of those must have engineering tools… a bit like a drill!
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Ratty

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Re: Modifying a transmitter for special needs
« Reply #11 on: May 19, 2017, 10:38:45 PM »

Reference away, Kev. No problems.

There are at least 2 of us with spinal cord injuries that race regularly. Both of us have seen great improvements from being out and active. It gives us back that freedom that was once lost.

The race community is also excellent and very supportive with help when its needed. People will often put my quad on the start grid or retrieve it after the race.
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Davross

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Re: Modifying a transmitter for special needs
« Reply #12 on: May 19, 2017, 11:14:00 PM »

Reference away, Kev. No problems.

There are at least 2 of us with spinal cord injuries that race regularly. Both of us have seen great improvements from being out and active. It gives us back that freedom that was once lost.

The race community is also excellent and very supportive with help when its needed. People will often put my quad on the start grid or retrieve it after the race.
Thanks Ratty – as to flying, I only work part-time and can fly five days a week when the weather is good. Fully agree with you – you can't beat getting outdoors to improve your health.

Sadly, can't fly outdoors unless the weather is at least 18° C otherwise I get too cold. This is part the reason I run an indoor event for the winter months… Keeps the skills and stops me getting cabin fever.

Not sure if you have seen currykitten's videos of the indoor session, but we run custom 7 mm brushed racing quads around a track in a single badminton court. Costs everybody about 4 pounds per week and is a lot of fun.

Really wish we had a good full-size indoor venue down here – my 250 racing quad has barely seen the light of day for nine months.

Kev
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big a

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Modifying a transmitter for special needs
« Reply #13 on: May 20, 2017, 12:11:27 PM »

Awesome stuff Kev. This would make a brilliant article for youe next BMFA News column. Inspirational

Sent from my SM-G920F using Tapatalk

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Ratty

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Re: Modifying a transmitter for special needs
« Reply #14 on: June 01, 2017, 01:08:05 AM »

Saw this and though it relevant to the thread.

https://www.facebook.com/ajplusenglish/videos/970966909711483/

If you dont have FB:

It is a man paralised from the neck down flying a racing drone using head tracking for steering and a mouth controlled throttle.
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