The High Pro Glow

Welcome! The topics introduced in this blog will vary wildly. Here, you will find a lot of odd topics that are here to help somebody in need. I post off-beat information, hard to find history, & stuff that is otherwise seldom regurgitated in our modern place. Sit back & find something interesting. Comment if you have a need or suggestion.

Thank you for crossing paths!

Christopher R. Smith (aka. Littlehorn)

I've got it on! Have you got it on?

Saturday, March 23, 2019

Parrot Skycontroller 1 Disco Firmware

At some point during the Parrot Disco's development, possibly before the Skycontroller 2 was integrated, it seems Parrot added Disco control support to the classic Skycontroller 1 for development testing but never officially released the firmware to the public. It's out in the wild now...and Parrot may have accidently released this very special Skycontroller 1 firmware 2.0.0-rc3 (Build Date: August 2017) during their website reorganization in October 2018.

This firmware allows the SC1 to control the Disco. Streaming flight video feed with overlays is available via FreeFlightPro as well as via SC1's HDMI-out. That's a huge bonus...the SC1's HDMI-out port offers the unrestricted use of HDMI Goggles, HDTVs, HDMI compatible tablets, or stand-alone HDMI displays to be used for viewing the live flight video feed.

Additionally, this firmware should also technically allow control of the Disco via the 5GHz WiFi band frequencies within the SC1 capabilities, as CHUCK also supports 5GHz.

Setup Note:
North is recorded for OSD flight telemetry upon Disco's, point the Disco North before powering up CHUCK.

Installation Notes:
This firmware may require a 'force installation' command before installation can be initiated. Notes coming soon.

A USB thumbdrive is required to manually install this firmware into a Skycontroller 1. Copy the firmware file to the root directory of the thumbdrive making sure the filename does not change. Center the control sticks and buttons and do not touch them during the installation. An HDMI cable may be used to watch the installation progress on an HDTV or display. Insert the thumbdrive into the SC1's USB port and power on. The SC1 will display information and a light show will tick away as the installation progresses. When complete, the SC1 will be able to operate the Disco!

Get the Skycontroller 1 Disco Firmware HERE.

The Newest SC1 Firmware v1.7.4 (for Bebop control) is HERE.

Wednesday, December 12, 2018

Parrot Bebop User Quick Start Guide

***Frequently Updated***

This information is for the Parrot Bebop, Bebop 2, Bebop 2 Power, and the Bebop-Pro Thermal airframes.

Parrot Drones are training-drones for a lot of people. The Bebop's are very good despite the low prices that draws in the masses. There are some aspects of using these systems that can become problems as these systems are still very technically involved despite the lack of included instructions. To help curb the learning-curve and possible problems beginners will have here is a list of the information that can improve anyone's enjoyment duration. The more you know...the longer you can fly. It involves some reading...but the knowledge will pay you back with maximum fun.

I have been a part of the Bebop Facebook groups for 4+ years. I visit daily and help users understand what they are experiencing. The problems I see are very common because the Bebop's are attracted by a unique type of user. No Offense meant..Most of the users have very little technical experience...few are ready when they rip open the box and fly it as high/far as it can go before the battery is even fully-charged for the first time. No manual read. Just go at it expecting Parrot and the drone to take care of everything. It is a "Ready-to-fly" kit carrying extremely high expectations. Everything that could go wrong is then perceived as a fault of the drone. Misperceptions are very easy at that point and blaming everything else without any placed on operator error is very common. It is a combination of conditions and Parrot is not free of blame. The manuals are not included and very hard to find...out of date...and not as informative as they could be for the target demographic they sell these drones to. There are hidden pitfalls and even environmental impacts that contribute to users having bad experiences and hating Parrot. I can help.

I come from a very technical background. I have also been involved with R/C everything for decades. I am a robotics and software developer. I was a Space Shuttle Quality Assurance Inspector for NASA. But, I also read everything before using a Bebop. I have never had a "fly-away" and none of my Bebops have ever done anything that I didn't cause it to do. I can help new users with the difficulties these systems can force upon us.

The information below is not complete. I will add more as I can gather the time. If you can manage reading this you will gain years of usage from your investment.

First, Mind The Rules...
In most developed countries around the world...the common airspace is governed by some authority. They have set forth regulations for certain aircraft so safety for everyone can be maintained. In some areas it is very dangerous to use any small unmanned aircraft system (sUAS) and flying can be illegal without the operator/aircraft being registered. There are not many regulations and most are rather common-sense points for safety. In the USA, any aircraft like a Parrot Bebop weighing 0.55lbs. (250grams) or more is required to be registered before flying outdoors. If you enjoy your freedom I recommend you to become familiar with the sUAS regulations in your country. Operators in the USA should go to FAA's site (the second registration option HERE) for details before jumping into the deep end.

--Bebop 1: HERE
--Bebop 2: HERE
--Skycontroller 2 & FPV Kit: HERE
--FreeFlightPro App, FlightPlan, FollowMe: HERE
--Skycontroller 1 (Red/Blue/Yellow/Blk Ed): HERE
--Preflight Checklist w/ SC1: HERE
--Preflight Checklist w/ SC2: HERE

Battery Quick Tips:
--Always watch batteries charge. Never leave them alone and go out for lunch or go to bed.
--New gently for the first few charge/discharge cycles. They need some time/exercise to reach their full true capacity and performance potential. Land at 40%-60% for a few cycles and recharge. Stay low and close and don't push too hard or cells can dump charge and drop a Bebop unexpectedly.
--Let packs rest for 30-45 minutes after charging and flights.
--Do not leave packs fully-charged for more than 1-2 days. Do not leave packs discharged for more than 1 day. Storage-charge packs to 3.75V-3.85V per cell.
--Stock charger flashing red...means the battery is too low to trigger the stock charger to start charging. I recommend using an aftermarket LiPo Balance Charger. But, if the stock charging setup must be used, the charger can be tricked with a good battery to start charging then very quickly swap in the low battery. There are other methods to input a little charge into the low battery. YouTube has many examples. It is not very safe or healthy for flight batteries. Do not leave batteries charging unsupervised indoors.
--Measure the individual cell voltages before & after charging & flights. Voltages suggest battery condition and health.
--Battery Measurements: HOW HERE
--Do not charge aftermarket battery packs with the stock charging setup. Aftermarket batteries do not have the internal balance circuit board inside like the stock battery packs. The aftermarket battery will be harmed and become a potential fire hazard.
--Important Kit Version & Charging VIDEO.
--Reasons to buy an aftermarket balance charger and a Bebop adapter cable from me.
--Bebop 2 & Power Charging: HERE
--Bebop 1 Charging: HERE
--Balance Charging & Adapter Cables: HERE
--If you are handy...Modify your Bebop 2 stock charge cable into a balance charge cable for use with an aftermarket balance charger...HERE.

Proper Preflight Flattrims & Calibration:
Before flight...get a green GPS lock outdoors, Flattrim, Calibrate with smooth quick movements, and Flattrim again on a very level surface outside away from metal, power and communication utilities.
Video: HERE
--Reasoning: the first Flattrim cleans up some shared memory and zeros sensors and improves accuracy in preparation for the following Calibration. The second Flattrim sets a clean more accurate final zero orientation for stable flight and levels the horizon in flight views and imagery. Before each flight is optimum. The Earth's magnetic fields are always changing. Frequent Calibrations provide more accurate GPS data. Consumer GPS accuracy is approximately +/- 30 feet.

Skycontroller 1 Updating:
In some fresh kits and configurations or if FreeFlightPro has bern updated the Skycontroller 1 may not connect to a Bebop or if FreeFlightPro. The SC1 just needs to be updated. Do Not Use The SC1 Firmware Update File Currently On Parrot's Website! If you did, follow the options below to unbrick the SC1.
--Good v1.7.4 Update File Link: HERE
--Clean SC1 Firmware Update Steps: HERE
--SC1 UnBricking Options: HERE

Propeller Tips:
--To maximize prop longevity remove the props after flight sessions and before transport or storage. Store the props without applied pressure.
--Locking screws should be tight but still barely removable with bare fingers. Never too tight to struggle with the tool.
--Check/re-check prop installation between flights.
--Use only Parrot brand Props. Trust me on this one.
--Props Installed Reference Pic: HERE
--Prop Install Trick & Tool Use Video: HERE
--Prop Balancing Video: HERE

Reset the Bebop...When, Why & How:
--Before Updates...Reset, Reset, Update, Reset again.
--Transfer Any Valued Stored Media First. Resets erase stored videos and pictures. Big DNG picture files require direct Bebop cable to PC transfer.
--Reset the Bebop anytime you see or suspect strange behaviors. To Reset the Bebop...while powered on hold the power button for 10 seconds and release. The Bebop will rethink life and reboot itself beeping it's motors and starting it's fan when complete. It takes about 2-3 minutes.

Optimizing the WiFi Setup:
--When using the Skycontroller 2, turn off WiFi and Bluetooth in the phone/tablet before connecting to the Bebop.
--Always point the Skycontroller's antenna towards the Bebop. Directly overhead is a WiFi deadspace and connection risk.
--Connect to the Bebop, in FreeFlightPro's Network Screen, use USA settings, select "Manual", select a clear or clearest  channel 2-3 clear channels apart from the congested channels in use by other networks in the entire flight area even downrange. Use a WiFi scanner app.
--The Skycontroller 2 can only use the 2.4ghz WiFi band. If you find that the Bebop doesn't may have been accidentally manually switched to the 5ghz WiFi band. To switch it back...while powered on...hold the power button for 5 seconds and release. The Bebop will switch between WiFi bands. Alternatively, Reset the Bebop to return to its default 2.4ghz WiFi band.
--The Skycontroller 1 can use both the 2.4ghz and the 5ghz WiFi bands simultaneously. Use the 5ghz band between the SC1 and the phone/tablet, then use the 2.4ghz WiFi band to the Bebop.

Return To Home:
-When RTH is initiated: If under 20m altitude, the Bebop will rise to 20m and return in a straight line back to its liftoff point. If over 20m altitude, the Bebop will maintain the current altitude during its return. Obstacles will not be avoided. So, plan ahead.

Control Sensors vs. Altitude:
-8m and under the Bebop uses its belly camera and Ultrasonic sensor to maintain height and stability. The belly camera is low rez and needs plenty of light and discernible ground patterns.
-Above 8m the Bebop uses its barometer and magnetometer to maintain altitude, stability, and orientation. Additional data from the GPS system is also used.

Repair Guides:
Bebop 1 Disassembly Video: HERE
Bebop 2/Power Repair Guides (PDF): HERE

For more specific information about The.High.Pro.Glow Drone Reflectors for Search&Rescue and Bird Deterrents or many other flight tips...look at my full blog list HERE.

I hope you had a blast learning how to keep the fun flying..if you want to show me your appreciation by buying me a cup of coffee or a's the link below and type in some amount. Its safe and easy as pie!


Thank You!

Tuesday, December 04, 2018

Parrot Skycontroller 1 Stuck Update Fix

What Happened -
The file from Parrot's website fudged your Skycontroller 1 (SC1). Now, it just seems to be halted or, if you connected an HDTV you see this message: "Connect the Skycontroller to your Parrot Drone"...which is impossible. The Skycontroller 1 update file (26mb size) on Parrot's site is not complete and has an incorrect filename. The proper installation file is 161mb in size. Parrot recently updated their website and posted a broken update file. They have been informed but have not corrected the download file yet.
Fix Options -
A few options are available to fix this situation. First, call Parrot and tell them it is stuck. That their update file is too small and that they need to fix this problem. Do Not let them try to fix your is a waste of time. You can claim they broke it and ask for a new Skycontroller 2 for replacement if you wish. (Parrot USA - 1 (877) 972-7768)
Option 1.  Reinstalling using the proper v1.7.4 update file that is the proper size of 161mb and filename "nap_update.plf". Sometimes this will fix the halted installation. (v1.7.4 File Link)
-- Skycontroller 1 Update v1.7.4 (Most Current Update)  **HERE**
Option 2.  If Option 1 does not work, next try to downgrade to an older file v1.6.6 then upgrade back to the most recent update file v1.7.4. (v1.6.6 File Link)
-- Skycontroller 1 Update v1.6.6  **HERE**
Option 3.  If Option 2 does not work, you will have to go into the SC1 operating system and apply a 'Force Update' command using the steps below.
Here is Vincent Costello's careful and ask questions if needed.
Only attempt this option as a last resort, corrupting these files can cause permanent damage to your Skycontroller.
I will accept no responsibility if you brick the have been warned!!
Things you need:
-Android Studio (free download) Install this program to your PC, it is quite big.
-Micro USB cable. USB/USB Micro cable.
-USB thumbdrive (no bigger than 16GB) with the correct v1.7.4 update plf file.
-HDMI Cable and TV.
1. Plug micro USB cable connector into the SC1 (the smaller connector).
2. Plug the larger USB connector into the PC. Turn on the SC1.
3. Open a Command Line Window (cmd.exe if you do a Windows search).
4. Type:  C:\Users\(Your Username)\AppData\Local\Android\Sdk\platform-tools\adb shell  ..and hit return.
5. A new window will open. The SC1 should now be connected to the program.
6. Type:  pinst_trigger  ..and hit return.
7. Now, disconnect the SC1 from the PC and turn it off.
8. Now, insert the USB thumbdrive containing the v1.7.4 update and insert an  HDMI cable into the SC1 and TV.
9. Turn the SC1 on.
10. If all is well, you should see the update progress bars moving on thecTV screen and the LED lights on the SC1 blinking.
11. After some minutes the process is complete. Turn off the SC1 and disconnect the thumbdrive and cables.
The SC1 is now updated and ready for normal operation.
You Are Welcome!

I hope you have un-bricked your SC1...if you want to show me your appreciation by buying me a cup of coffee or a's the link below and type in some amount. Its safe and easy as pie!
Thank You!

Sunday, November 18, 2018

Bebop 2 & Power Stock Battery Modification

By-passing the circuit board inside Parrot Stock Bebop 2 and Bebop 2 Power battery packs can eliminate several potential problems before it drops your Bebop 2. There are firmware issues that prefer the Power battery's higher voltage 3350mAh 11.4V LiHV discharge rates and this can cause problems for the Bebop 2's using the standard 2700mAh 11.1V LiPo battery packs. Apart from the firmware issues, there are multiple reasons that the internal "protection/balance" circuit board causes batteries to deteriorate and die well before their potential lifetime could permit.

Use these instructions and the video below to accomplish an internal circuit board by-pass. it can help save your bird and get the most out of your batteries and investments.

By-pass/Delete of the internal circuit board:

These instructions are for Parrot Bebop 2 and Parrot Bebop 2 Power Stock battery packs.

The Plan...
To by-pass the internal balance circuit board by relocating one wire changing the battery circuit into a typical 3S multi-cell configuration.

-removes voltage-metering flight risks.
-prevents the circuit forcing shutdown during flight.
-better charging with aftermarket balance chargers.
-better charge percentage reporting.

Warnings!  Potential Dangers!
-Do Not Allow Metal to bridge wire solder points or any components.
-Battery damaging short circuits! Power exists in circuit and battery terminals.
-Do Not Puncture the foil battery envelopes.
-Cut traces with an abrasive non-metal dremel bit.
-Requires charging with an aftermarket balance charger. Do not use the stock charging setup after modification.

1. Unscrew shell. 16 in B2, 8 in B2P.
2. Pry cells from shell base. Do Not Puncture the battery's foil envelopes.
3. Cut traces with a non-metallic dremel. Do Not use a metal file or scrapper.
4. Apply Liquid Paper to everything except the P- solder point. This is a barrier to prevent solder flow and reduce accidental shorting.
5. De-solder SMD components for kicks.
6. De-solder Black Wire. Do not touch wire to other wires.
7. Solder Black Wire To P- solder point. Do not touch wire to other wires.
8. Add barrier between black and red wires to prevent shorting.
9. Add cells to shell base & secure with 2 screws at connector bulkhead.
10. Add shell top and screws.
11. Relabel "*Modified* Balance Charger Required".

Charging Notes:
-Modification requires using an Aftermarket Balance Charger Only. Do not use the stock Parrot charging setup.
-Bebop 2 LiPo packs...Set charger to 3S LiPo and 2.7Amps Balance Charge.
-Bebop 2 Power packs...require a balance charger with LiHV charging capability. Charge with LiHV charge profiles. Do not use LiPo charge profiles for Power packs. Set charger to 3S LiHV and 3.35Amps Balance Charge.
-Use 'Balance Charge' profiles only. Do not use 'Fast-Charge' or 'Quick-Charge' profiles.

I hope you had fun with modding your batteries...if you want to show me your appreciation by buying me a cup of coffee or a's the link below and type in some amount. Its safe and easy as pie!
Thank You!

Modification Video:

Tuesday, September 11, 2018

Parrot Bebop-Pro Thermal Inspection Report

The Parrot Business website offers a fantastic option for Inspectors that might like to reduce the risks involved with performing their services and easily gain access to difficult to reach locations to obtain information quickly. The 'Parrot Bebop-Pro Thermal' is the technology that can remove the risks to human inspectors. Since June 2018 I have run this thermal camera enabled drone through some challenges. It is a very substantial development in technology combining aerial photography with thermography to achieve a new height in remote information gathering. The possibilities are very diverse and extremely useful to a great number of professional modalities. I have used Parrot Bebops for years but this one is unique. The FLIR Thermal Camera it carries increases this drone's usefulness with see what could not be see through what could not be seen through. Find cool spots from hidden waterpipe leaks, a structure's insulation deficiencies, HVAC losses in walls or above roofing material, roofing leaks, heat buidup from electrical problem or fires, detect solar panel damages, and see in the dark! There are many uses and those are only few. The best part of this system is that it can save the life and limb of human inspectors performming risky inspections.

Read the Usage-Case below and all shall be revealed.

Parrot created this Case Usage Report from my Inspection Services experience with the Bebop-Pro Thermal. There is a downloadable document at the bottom of Parrot's blog entry. Check It Out!

Thursday, June 28, 2018

Parrot Skycontroller 2 Cable Modification

This is a tiny modification that can save connection problems resulting from SC2 USB connector fatigue and damage. It's not much of a modification..but it can help prevent stress to the SC2's USB port from repeat cable insertions.

The idea is to leave this cable installed permanently. It involves using a stabilizer to further position the cable preventing stress to the USB port. For this task..I chose an age-old DIY material..a humble LEGO element (#15712..available here) to hold and stabilize the cable. Hot-glued to the device mount bracket, it works perfectly. The awesome thing about LEGO elements is that they are plentiful and come in many shapes. Several different clips could be used here..this isn't the only clip they produce. The clip size is universal in LEGO choices..and the fit is perfect for cables.

The cable is a Nylon Braided Right-Angle USB-C stiff 10-Inch beauty, available on Amazon. has a specific USB-C type connector for newer phones & tablets. This seller offers them in 2-packs for a great price. It's almost like it was made for the SC2. Get it HERE!

I feel this is at least one good way to keep the Skycontroller 2's USB port healthy. Try it!

FPV Version Coming Soon!

**HOT GLUE GUN EXPERIENCE REQUIRED**... so, take a class at a craft store or ask an old lady before you screw up and burn yourself.

Tap on the images to enlarge.

Monday, June 25, 2018

Parrot Skycontroller 2 Battery Modifications

The Skycontroller 2 is a nice quality controller. It is a wonderful piece of tech with a lot to offer operators. It's form factor is familiar and it's functionality is very robust. It's a very portable package post Skycontroller 1 with the same feel but without the larger frame and weight. It is a nice turn. With all of it's perks it does have a drawback in that it contains the balance charger to support its rechargable battery. Many problems with this aspect have been experienced by users over that last couple of years. Some users have reported that batteries are not fully-charging, SC2's are shutting down early and during flights, and others have batteries failing to charge after a realitvely short time. Since the charger is self-contained and the battery has a non-typical circuit the system can run into difficulties keeping the battery healthy. If anything, LiPo batteries are quite touchy and they can behave in ways that create problems for automated charging systems. Include the safety aspects that have high thresholds triggering charge or charge refusal and the system can produce several situations where the battery does not have enough charge to support the Skycontroller 2 as expected by users. This can become evident in a few, it seems to fully-charge but halfway into the first flight the battery voltage plummets and the Skycontroller 2 shuts down leaving the operator in a state of emergency. A real impact to operator confidence and trust in this control system.

What are the options?
- Option 1, primarily the first option is to rely on the product warranty for a replacement battery. Parrot offers a 6-month warranty on battery packs. However, this option does leave users with the same situation that can end in the same result.
- Option 2, remove the battery and treat it with an aftermarket charger that can provide better charges and more information than the automated system inside the Skycontroller 2. These types of "smart" chargers are inexpensive, they can provide helpful information about what is actually happening with batteries and their internal individual cells, apply different charge levels (full or storage), they can keep a battery pack healthy for a much longer lifespan, they can ensure packs are fully-charged, and they can also charge almost any type of battery..not just LiPo cells.
- Option 3, remove the battery and modify it for Balance Charging. This is the most involved option but also the most rewarding option. Similar to Option 2, the end result is a more stable and reliable battery with a much longer lifespan. But there is an added benefit of fully-charging a battery's individual cells to the same level so that each can also discharge to a similar level...called Balance Charging. The benefit here is that a pack can output the total required voltage for a longer period of time while supporting their devices.

How to fix?  There are a couple of ways to fix a failing system or to prevent it from failing. Each require a new charging system, adapter cables, and possibly a modification to the battery itself. Before I get into the options I need to explain the Skycontroller 2 battery's specific design. The version 1 Skycontroller 2's battery is a rectangle layered 2-cell 2S 7.4 volt 2700mAh LiPo pack. It has a proprietary protection circuit board that attempts to prevent over-charge and over-discharge of the cells inside. The pack is not wired like typical 2S LiPo packs found in the R/C industry. The connector is a 3-wire Molex-Mini with Red & Black wires in typical locations. But, the center Blue wire is actually a Thermistor lead specific to the protection circuit and the Skycontroller 2. This layout prevents typical voltage checks like users would expect with normal 2S LiPo packs. So, only the Red & Black wires produce the total pack voltage when measured by users. As is, the individual cell voltages cannot be measured to determine health and voltage balances. Optionally, charging this battery outside of the Skycontroller 2 with an aftermarket charger will force users to make a to leave it as it is and use a 2-wire Straight-Charge adapter cable or to modify it for Balance Charging purposes.

There is a difference in these types of charging and I will explain.
- Straight-Charge is when a multi-cell pack is charged without regard of there being multiple cells inside. Straight-Charging multi-cell LiPo packs will create cells that are not Balanced. The charger essentially treats the pack as one cell..charging it by applying the charge into the pack until the first cell becomes full ahead of the other cells until the charger sees that the pack voltage has reached the preset cut-off charge limit. Essentially, leaving the cells at different voltage levels. This situation can produce a shorter output performance during use. The pack voltage drops during use and one cell reaches its discharge level before the others. The system reacts when the total output voltage level is low triggering alerts or early shutdown. This can actually hurt some cells. During a charge the cell reaching the fullest charge first can become fatigued and wear-out over time. Also, the lowest level battery can become over-discharged and develop inclusions over time that create internal resistance worsening performance and shorting cell/pack longevity and lifespan. In a lot of cases this option is still better than the stock Skycontroller 2 charging setup since packs will become more fully-charged and have longer operational performances. Its one step up from the stock setup. It requires a 2-wire Adapter Cable to match the aftermarket charger used outside of the Skycontroller 2.
- Balance Charge with an aftermarket charger to apply charges to all cells equally during the charging process. This option is by far the best for health and longevity of any LiPo multi-cell pack. The reasoning is that the cells are all fully-charged to the same level allowing them to output similarly down to the discharge trigger level the system expects during use. So, a longer performance is produced and cells are all kept at safe levels at full and discharged without any one cell being over or under. This option will also require a 2-wire Red & Black lead to adapt the stock Molex-Mini connector to the chosen charger's main charge connectors (typically, 4mm Banana Plugs)..this option also requires modifying the battery as detailed below.

What Options to Take?
- Fabricate or purchase an adapter cable to match the chosen aftermarket charger for straight-charging (Mod Part B, below).
- Modify or have me modify the battery for balance charging (Mod Part A, below). This also requires a 2-wire Molex-Mini adapter (Mod Part B, below).

Modify! This option requires some parts, a tiny bit of soldering skills, and a little knowledge and care. I will explain how to make the modification and what parts are needed. I am also offering to make the cables and modifications for a reasonable fee for anyone that would prefer this service. It will void any warranty. I am not responsible for any mistakes anyone will make, though I test my work and verify it to be correct before release into the wild. I have tested this modification and it works. If done correctly it will work for anyone willing to take the leap.

Request the Battery Modification Service Here.
Purchase the Skycontroller 2 Molex Charge Adapter Cable Here.

Skycontroller 2 Battery Modification for Balance Charging (Part A):
Parts Required:
- 1x. 6-inch 2S JST-XH 3-Wire Balance Lead (22-AWG)
- Solder equipment
- Clear Tape
- carefully unwrap the battery pack.
- locate the solder points.
- prepare 2S balance lead. stagger the ends to solder point positions. strip the ends. tin the ends.
- tinning..first apply flux to bare wire ends and then solder the ends.
- locate center wire and solder the end to a piece of clipped wire forming the T for the bridge.
- solder bridge across the solder pads at solder point 2.
- solder + red wire to solder point 1.
- solder - black wire to solder point 3.
- route new wires with existing wires and carefully rewrap the battery pack.

Tap on the images to enlarge.

Fabricate a 2-Wire Molex-Mini/Charger Mains Adapter Cable (Part B):
Parts Required:
- one Molex-Mini connector and 2 3-inch pieces of 18-AWG wires.
- small heatshrink, if desired.
- one pair of Red & Black 4mm Banana Plugs.
- strip and tin wire ends. tinning..first apply flux to bare wire ends and then solder to the ends.
- remove center contact "X" from connector.
- tin connector contacts.
- solder wire ends to Molex connector onto correct contacts 1 & 3.
- add heatshrink to Molex connector if desired.
- add Banana Plug rubber backers to wire, not onto contacts.
- tin banana plug contacts.
- solder wire ends to the banana plug contacts.
- push rubber backers onto banana plugs over soldered area.

Additional Picture Notes:

Balance Charging Information:

The Skycontroller 2 flat-pack 2S LiPo 7.4V/2700mAh battery requires specific charge settings and charge rates. To maximize the battery performance set the charger to '2S 7.4V LiPo Balance' at '2.7 amps'..which is max. If the charger cannot be set to exactly 2.7A just select the next lower number available. 2 amps is OK just takes a little longer to complete. '8.4V cutoff'. For storage-charging when the pack is not to be used for a week or more, set the charger to '2S LiPo Storage'..most chargers have a default charge rate and cutoff voltage for this process. The storage voltage range is 3.75V - 3.85V per cell. Additionally, it is not healthy for a LiPo battery to be discharged below 3.2V per cell, to remain fully-charged for extended periods, and is to never be drained below 2.8V or below for the battery will become damaged and unsafe for continued use.

I hope you had fun developing this skill..if you want to show me your appreciation by buying me a cup of coffee or a's the link below and type in some amount. Its safe and easy as pie!

Thank You and Have Fun!

Tuesday, April 24, 2018

"What is the best Balance Charger?"

I'm asked this question almost daily.
Not many people will want to read all of this information. If you wish to remain clueless..skip down to the "Recommended Balance Chargers" section below.

The best balance charger is one that will have more features, adjustability, and reliability than the "dumb" stock chargers. Smart aftermarket balance chargers can provide far better maintenance for expensive batteries and are not expensive.
When choosing an aftermarket balance charger look for...

Features like a display that can provide details about the battery..such as..individual cell voltages, warning and error descriptions, settings options, and possibly a battery internal resistance meter. A very useful and important feature a balance charger should have to help keep Lithium batteries stay healthy is called 'Storage Charge' which allows the battery to be charged to a healthy level before periods it is expected to sit without being used.

A good balance charger should also have adjustable settings. It is important to adjust the charger for different types of batteries, their capacities (MAH rating), charge rates (Amps), and balance charge voltage cut-off limits. Charge rate adjustments being very important since rates too high can harm performance and cell longevity.

The reliability of any charger is something that should be expected to perform when needed. Stock chargers have a few tricks but cannot be fully trusted to treat batteries properly..and without a reliable method of feedback from the stock charger it is almost impossible to know if it is working properly. Furthermore, if the stock charger doesn't operate it can't tell you why. Generally , most chargers are manufactured in China. Some are manufactured better and with quality checks than cheaper chargers. This can become a problem when trusting a charger to treat batteries properly and more so when charging potentially volatile batteries in your home.

There are many great chargers to choose from when upgrading to a better than stock charging setup. The Parrot stock chargers are Balance Chargers..just not stellar performers. A step up are Bebop specified mulitchargers which can charge 3 packs at once. Unfortunately, the ready-made mulitchargers available for Bebops are basically 3 dumb stock chargers in one..with the same lack of information, adjustability, and they use high charge rates that decay cell performance over time.

I added links with tips on charging Bebop 1, Bebop 2, Bebop 2 Power, and Disco batteries below.

While there are many chargers to choose from it is important to choose a legitimate brand and not one that is a clone. Good brands are copied and usually the clones are not manufactured to quality standards. Finding a genuine model can be difficult if details are not provided by sellers.

Recommended Balance Chargers:

Genuine SkyRC Imax B6ACv2 - Caution..there are cheap Clones. Be diligent in choosing these chargers from sellers..matching box/unit design with the SkyRC website. Look for "Genuine"  being present in descriptions and a holographic sticker stuck on the bottom of the charger. Newer models should also note "LiHV" battery type compatibility on the box and printed on the face of the charger. This is a popular charger, it contains it's own power supply and has all of the needed functionality and many additional useful features. It is a "4-button" with a typical menu. The menu can be confusing at first or at times when you forget what selections you learn how to use it and make and cheat-sheet of the needed selections for the batteries you intend to charge.

iSDT Brand Chargers - This brand is very good, very easy to use with a very intuitive menu, and they are not yet cloned. These chargers are far better than typical 4-button chargers and have greater versatility. They do require purchasing a separate power supply to support it..and adapting the power supply's connector to an XT-60 type plug to match the charger. However, they can also accept power from several different types of sources such as a wall-plug AC/DC power adapter, a 12 volt automotive type battery, or a larger LiPo battery. Selecting a power supply depends on how much amps are needed to support the charger to charge batteries. I recommend a laptop type wall-plug AC/DC power adapter with an output of 12 volts and at least 5 Amps (5000 mA).

I will add links to these chargers in the future. Until then, if you need help just ask here.

For Bebop 1...

For Bebop 2 & Bebop 2 Power (& Disco)...

The Disco battery uses the same type of 3S LiPo even though it is not labelled as being a LiPo. But, it uses a common XT-60 connector instead of a proprietary Parrot design. Most chargers inclue adapters that allow the Disco battery to connect right out of the box. So, follow the LiPo charging advice, number, and use charge profiles for 3S LiPo batteries in the Bebop 2 link above.

Thursday, April 19, 2018

Waiting Room Helper

This is an old headphone plug nipped-off for a purpose.

For about 15 years I've carried one of these to silence annoying TVs in different places. I "donate" about 3 a month. I know it might drive the establishment's proprietor insane trying to figure out what happened to the volume..but blaring "The View' in waiting rooms should be illegal.

About 15 years ago my oldest son broke off one in the TV and killed the volume. It took me a few hours or maybe days to figure out this was the problem. Once removed the volume returned.

If you do use this somewhere..use a long one that can be removed so you cannot be sued by the proprietor.

Take this tip and live longer...

I am also offering to sell them for $1 plus shipping if anyone is interested.

Monday, April 16, 2018

For Sale - Parrot Bebop, Disco, & Skycontroller Power & Charge Cables

The.High.Pro.Glow - Custom Cables

For All Versions of Parrot Drones, Controllers, & Batteries

** PLEASE READ EVERYTHING **  I have a professional work life combined with an ulra-busy family life. I make cables as a side project because people need these specialized items. Unfortunately, too many people do not read anything on this page before ordering and cant seem to send their mailing addresses. So, I have to disable the instant ordering/payment links for a while. Please, compile your order then email me for a payment link. Questions Are Welcomed.

Prices Include Shipping to US Addresses. USPS shipping recently increased. Sorry!

What?  -I am offering a wide array of cable/adapter solutions built to NASA fabrication standards using the genuine OEM connectors to help keep all models/versions of Parrot Bebops, the Disco, and Skycontrollers powered and working better for longer. I make these cables/adapters for my own use and now for anyone else that can see the benefits. I will explain each cable and their intended use and the benefits they offer.

Why?  -There are many reasons that cables/adapters are needed when departing from the proprietary stock charging and powering setups of the Parrot Bebops, Discos, and Skycontrollers. Specifically, the proprietary stock powering and charging systems are rather weak, expensive, and some ar no longer available. Most of the setups are not providing adequate maintenance to keep battery packs healthy for long-term use and they do not convey adequate information about what is happening within battery packs. Simply charge and hope everything is good to go. Costing users time and money and confidence when an aircraft drops for no apparent reason. This outcome can be avoided with a little knowledge and practicing a little care. 

Purpose?  -Better Balance Charging, reliable power as expected, extending longevity, adaptation between stock proprietary connections and common aftermarket options. These cables adapt Bebop 2 (LiPo), Bebop 2 Power (LiHV), Bebop-Pro (LiHV), the Parrot Disco (LiPo), and Skycontroller (SC2/LiPo, SC2P/Li-Ion) battery packs to typical aftermarket Balance you can ditch the stock chargers..and adapt common R/C power systems and batteries to the stock connections.


Quality Statement! -Built to NASA High-Reliability Hand-Soldering fabrication, process, and verification standards. All OEM connectors, high-grade silicone wiring, and high-quality gold plated connectors with appropriate wire sizes matched to specific applications in alignment with industry standards. 

Aftermarket Balance Chargers have specific connections with a few options of different connector types. I can match connectors to chargers upon request. The Red&Black 4mm Banana connectors are for typical 4-button balance chargers, some use Red Dean's T-Plug type connectors, or Yellow XT-60 for iSDT chargers and the Parrot Disco charging setups. Other connectors available. If you are not sure what you need, just Email Me.

The prices below include USPS shipping within the USA with tracking but without insurance. Insurance adds $12 for USA addresses. International shipping with tracking but without insurance is usually $15 USD. $36 International shipping with insurance. Please send me your address to verify the cost before ordering. USA Customers, I accept PayPal payments via the links below. PayPal charges a 2.9%+.30 fee. It's safe, fast, and easy! Please, add your address in the payment note. Email Me for other payment options. 

-- Use the links below to purchase cables --
**Prices includes shipping.
(**Please, Contact Me Before Placing International Orders)
-- Please, use the PayPal links provided. It is safe, easy, and free!
-- Please, add a note in PayPal listing the ordered item(s) and your shipping address.
-- Please, combine multi-cable orders into one by changing the total amount in PayPal before completing the payment process.
-- Please, DO NOT inhale fumes from smoking cables.

#C1 - Parrot Bebop 1 Charge Adapter Cable. Charge stock Bebop 1 battery packs with an aftermarket balance charger: $15 USD

    #C2 - Parrot Bebop 2, Bebop 2 Power, Bebop-Pro Balance Charge Cable. Charge any Bebop 2 type battery with an aftermarket balance charger: $35 - Stock Low. Email Me for availability.

      #C3 - Parrot Disco Balance Charge Cable. Charge the Disco battery pack with an aftermarket balance charger: $25 USD Email Me

        #C4 - Parrot Skycontroller 1 (Red, Yellow, Blue) Power Adapter Cable. Adapts any 3S LiPo battery pack to power the SC1 (R/Y/B versions). Can also be used to provide bench-power to the Bebop 1: $14 USD

        #C5 - Parrot Skycontroller 1 Black Edition Power Adapter Cable. Adapts a common 3S LiPo battery pack to power the SC1 Black Edition. Also can be used to provide bench-power to the Bebop 2. Battery Not Included.: $26 USD

          #C6 - Parrot Skycontroller 2 - Battery Power Adapter Cable. Adapts a common 2S LiPo battery pack to power the SC2 v1. Battery Not Included.: $18 USD

          #C7 - Parrot Skycontroller 2 - 2S Battery Charge Cable. Charge the stock Ver.1 Flat 2S LiPo Modified or Unmodified Battery. (Add $5 to include a JST-XH Balance Lead, shown below in gallery): $18 USD Email Me

          #C8 - Parrot Skycontroller 2P (SC2P) - Single Battery Power Adapter (18650). Replaces stock battery. Adapts a common 18650 Li-Ion battery to power the SC2P. Highest Quality. Charge batteries separate from the SC2P. Easy removal of the battery clip plate in the battery bay is required. VIDEO Battery Not Included.: $19 USD Stock Low. CONTACT ME FOR AVAILABILITY!

          #C9 - Parrot Skycontroller 2P (SC2P) - Double Battery Power Adapter (18650). Replaces stock battery. Adapts 1 or 2 common 18650 Li-Ion batteries to power the SC2P. Highest Quality. Charge batteries separate from the SC2P. Easy removal of the stock battery clip plate in the battery bay is required. VIDEO. Batteries Not Included.: $27 USD Email Me

          #C10 - Parrot Skycontroller 2P (SC2P) - 1S Battery Charge Cable (Ver. 2P Cylindrical Li-Ion Battery). Adapter to charge the stock cylindrical battery with an aftermarker charger: $19 USD

          #C11 - JST-XH 2S Battery Balance Lead Pre-Cut & Bridge/Soldered. (needed for Skycontroller 2 Ver.1 flat LiPo Balance Charge Modification)($5 uncut/unsoldered shown below in gallery): $9 USD

          Tap on the images to enlarge.