Captain's Table

Mark Austen

2020.05.30 - Drones and Sunshades

It has been over a month since I last flew a drone and you might say "So what? We're on lockdown". Except that we own a 3 acre field at the back of the house and I am able to fly there. Well, away from the horses, that is.

No, there are two reasons why I've not flown recently. The first is that recent updates to the software of the drones and controllers have prevented the tablet I have from woking with the drones, the Android OS is too old, and the second reason is that the sun is shining. Something had to be done. Can you imagine the response to "Sorry, I can't inspect your roof today, the sun is shining."?

No, I'm not joking. Most smart phones and tablets are not good in bright sunlight at the best of times and we have had a lot of that these last few weeks. So, I finally took the plunge and bought a new tablet that will work with the drones and I have made a sunshade.

It looks like this. This is just a prototype to prove the concept which it why it is made from cardboard and gaffer tape.

The table sits at the bottom and is tilted forward a little by a wooden batten at the rear. This stops the screen from reflecting the opening at the top of the hood. I used the flash with this photo.

This is my old not-very-good table at the bottom of the hood and you can see that it is very visible, no flash with this photo, that light you can see reflected is the sun shining through a hole in the workshop roof. It is not so good outside in the sunlight but it is good enough for me to be able to use it when flying drones.

As a temporary measure, a dowel was passed through the cardboard so that the straps would prevent the entire thing from flopping forwards when worn.

The side view shows that angle of the front piece. This is necessary since the controller will rest on a platter in front of the hood and will need to be seen. The front of the hood pretty much points to my eyes and is thus not seen when looking either at the controller or at the tablet.

Does it work?

I don't know. I'll try it out a little later on when the drone batteries have charged.