The Witch Doctor

The Witch Doctor
The Witch Doctor v.?

Chugs and I decided to have a drone-off, as it were. Wow, what a cool journey and pain-in-the-ass it has turned in to. First off, I can’t fly! Secondly, I still can’t fly. But, that’s besides the point. We each set a budget for our birds (boy, went WAY over on that one! HAHAHAHAHA, but I digress …). I jumped right in to body design, not knowing a damned thing about drones. Well, that’s me. Both feet and head first.

I wanted something aggressive looking, so I started there. Get a rough shape down and start making it look mean, electronic position be damned! I’d figure that out later.

The name came much later, after I realize when the doc was standing on his back legs, he looked like some tribal shaman witch doctor with one of those huge tribal masks (I might have watched a lot of Johnny Quest as a kid), and so the name was born.

Round One

Round Two

First design was a flop. I was perfectly unaware of motor mixes at the time. I just wanted to get some height. Who knew then just how fast these friggin’ things really are? Well, it flopped over and tried to land itself while I was swooping it up out of the rocks that it was kicking all over me and Moose, and thwack! Hit my thumb. Ouch. Busted the motor right through the ill conceived motor mounts. So, on to version two! COOL! IT FLEW. I learned more about Cleanflight. I crashed it into the house! hehehehehehehe

Test Flight One

Test Flight Two — Whoopsie

Round Three

Ok, wood isn’t working. When I crashed into the house, the prop sliced right through the body and arm. Nope! Time to learn how to make carbon fiber plates.

First round of that went OK with the newly acquired vacuum pump from Harbor Freight, but I determined I needed a vacuum table. So, built that and DAMN, it sucks. Sucked so hard that air went right through the particle board! Yikes. Duct tape fixed that problem. (See below Chugs doing a walk of shame after showing off how awesome he could already fly. I’ll never catch up.)

Round Something — There were a few iterations in here

Well, the body and arms got a complete redesign. It was too much of a pain to take apart the earlier, arms/computer/body stacked design. So, back to a simpler design that is much quicker to take apart. This included buying a PDB instead of using the earlier homegrown one. Not sure I like it, but like all things, this probably won’t be the final Witch Doctor.

Chugs TOTALLY Tearing It Up

Zamir and The Witch Doctor

Best friends!

Not Done By Any Means

Looking forward to future designs. A quick note about the original 20A Lumenier ESCs: they were complete rubbish. A complete waste of money that killed many of my Cobra 2206/20 motors, and them ain’t cheap, son! Looking forward to getting back in the sky.

Young Frank

Just a quick post to introduce a bit of an older project, which got done while the blog was down. I needed a smaller sous vide device. Big Frank was simply too big for cooking small things, like gyro meat loaf. Since the water has to cover the heating element, or melting occurs, I needed a smaller vessel. Introducing Young Frankenvide. He has the same brains and guts as v.2.0, but a smaller body.

Sous Vide 2.0: The Sous Vide-enning

The imperfect perfection.
The imperfect perfection.

Few know that Sous Vide 1.0 took a huge dump by committing suicide. It drained all of its water over night and fried itself to death. It also ruined a rack of ribs, but, that won’t happen again!

Introducing Frankenvide: Sous Vide 2.0. It’s NEWER. It’s better! It slices! It DICES. It even juliennes!. Two out of five of those are accurate. It’s marred and imperfect, but I think I love him. I even bumped the toner where it said COOK. Now, it says COCK, but I’m too lazy to take it back apart. It will say COCK forever, methinks.

It has a new design, simpler controls, and is all around lighter and better. I just heated water and there was no overshoot. Now, I’m ready to get back to cooking the water immersion method.

Some design notes:

1) The first iteration had no pump. I tested heating and there was about a 12 degree difference between the meat thermometer and what old Franky was telling me. I was frustrated. I went through every line of code. I changed the coefficients, over and over. I then decided to shake the thermistor and it jumped in temp! I thought, “huh, there must be a short!” Then, I realized, I moved the thermistor to the same level in the column of water that the meat thermometer sat at! There was about a 12 degree difference between the bottom of the water and the 6″-8″ of water on the top! Holy COW! I never thought the pump did much in the first version. BOY, was I wrong.

2) You can see the heating element sits vertically in the water, this go around. I read that a horizontal element will whistle and make more ruckus, as the first sous vide demonstrated. With the element vertical and the pump pushing water around it, the heating element is nearly silent! All that can be heard is the hum of the water pump.

3) The hole is ABOVE the water! I won’t ever have to worry about this bad boy leaking … EVER! There is even a wee bit more room to cook than 1.0. If this heating element takes a dump, I’ll just need to pop in a new one. No worries about sealing, etc.

4) Different brain: I went with the Atmega328. This is just way more stable than 1.0. There was less PCB to create and seems to be running great! Also, a lot less code, since the chip is driving the display, as opposed to 595’s and all of the data shifting.

I think this one will last a lot longer. Mrs. Emery is ready to get back to her meats, as she has missed them, greatly.

P.S., I considered putting a PID algorithm in this. It is completely unneeded. It holds temperature within .2 degrees of its set temp. For this application, that is plenty accurate. So, if you decide to build your own water immersion cooker, don’t worry about the time and/or money expense of a PID controller. There simply is no need when the thermistor is accurate, detects temperature quickly, and there is sufficient flow of water to keep the temperature steady.