Hey folks, I wanted to check in with my recent arducopter experiences and ask about flying in cold weather.  I had hoped to have all my testing done by now but it looks like I'll want to make a couple flights.

The issues I've been having are detailed here http://diydrones.com/forum/topics/replace-accelerometer-or-get-new-apm

Since then I got a new APM board, which seems to be working well.  In my most recent attempt I had some troubles with a battery coming loose from the velcro, however I got extra hardware to fasten it more securely.  It just came in the mail and after I get back from Thanksgiving I hope to be back out flying.
Do you guys have any experience with cold weather flying?  I read that LiPo batteries should be okay as long as the temperature is above freezing.  I'm also hoping to avoid snow as it seems like any type of contact with water would not be good.

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Hi Steve, 

Sorry to read about your crashes and hardware problems.  I know we wouldn't have made as much progress without the dedicated help of the MechE students in our lab over the past few years, so I know it must be tough for you to be balancing all of the different project tasks and be a PhD student.  

As for cold, I don't think I have flown below freezing, but I think in the 40s F.  These guys flew in Antarctica: http://www.mdpi.com/2072-4292/4/5/1392 .

What did you do about the battery?  Im curious to know what didn't work and what you bought to fix it.  I hate having to wait for mail delivery to go out flying and usually end up coming up with a fix from stuff I can get at Home Depot.

Hey Jonathan, thanks for your reply.  In order to secure the battery more effectively, I got some longer standoffs and mounted it in between two center plates on the frame as shown.  This has been working well.  I was out a couple days ago, in 40 F weather, and the battery was working fine.  I've been having good recent experiences flying manually in stabilize mode, however now there are issues with the Arducopter auto pilot.

I tried putting it in loiter mode or using altitude hold several times.  It would hover for a few seconds, in one case went up and down through about a 10 m range, which I think is the loiter radius, however it would always eventually start to "land" and I would need to put it back in stabilize mode to avoid this.

I'll be back in the lab tomorrow or next week to look at reasons why this might be happening.  My plan is to look at the parameters which govern altitude hold, see if they should be adjusted, and also try reinstalling the firmware, which has corrected unexplainable problems in the past.  One concern I have is that my frame is heavier than the original Arducopter kit (1000 g vs 500 g), so maybe the autopilot parameters need to be adjusted to compensate for this.  I'm sure there's info out there somewhere for this.  Have you all needed to adjust autopilot parameters to account for heavier frames or payload?

I hear you re: undergrad help.  Once we determine what a feasible platform for UAV photography is (i.e. will Arducopter be too much of a pain and should we splurge for a Mikrokopter), then scale up to multiple aircraft, it would be a good idea to get some helpers.



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