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Adding a flash chip for blackbox on the DTFc

Looks like it is time for my annual post to this blog!

I recently took the plunge and bought the parts for a new quadcopter. I ended up with the Doge Time Flight controler. It has several advantages and disadvantages. Asides from pretty common yaw jitters, one of the main problems is that it doesnt have any onboard storage to record your flight. It does however have pins to add your own!

So following the guide on Oscar Liangs site, I purchased some flash chips from aliexpress and got to it. The list of supported chips could be found on the manual for the blackbox in the cleanflight/betaflight repos. At the time this list consisted off:

  • Micron/ST M25P16 - 16 Mbit / 2 MByte
  • Micron N25Q064 - 64 Mbit / 8 MByte
  • Winbond W25Q64 - 64 Mbit / 8 MByte
  • Micron N25Q0128 - 128 Mbit / 16 MByte
  • Winbond W25Q128 - 128 Mbit / 16 MByte

Of course I immediately went for the largest option. I could only find the Winbond chip on aliexpress, and bought 5 of them. This turned out to be a good idea. Before trying it out on my new doge board, I had a practice run on my old naze32. The solder pads on the naze are closer together, so the pins needed to be bent in and attempt one ended with a broken pin. 

The next attempt, where I rolled the chip on a hard surface to bend the pins was more sucessfull. Thankfully the pad on the DTFc is the correct size for these chips and soldering to this was much easier. I simply pinned each of the 8 pads, held the chip in place with a pair of tweezers and ran the soldering iron down through the legs. The designers of the DTFc conveniently placed a white dot over the polarity mark of the chip. Just align the dots and you are good to go. I had made things a little awkard for myself by going through this process long after the quad has been built, making getting underneath the flight controll board difficult (the chip goes on the bottom). 

And that is all that was to it. Next time I connected to the betaflight configurator, 16MB of dataflash was available. I enabled it on the "Configuration" tab and was ready to fly!

 

I should probably note here that I was very surprised and slightly disappointed at how quickly it fills up and how long it takes to export. I haven't tried debugging yet but on average it takes over an hour for me to extract the contents of the log. Next step will be to bind it to a button on the transmitter to only log whenever I tell it to. 

 

I might add an example video here in the future. 

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