So I just received my hexacopter and I'm very new to drones in general, so setup and following the very poorly written instructions from jdrones has proven to be very difficult for me. I would greatly appreciate any help and thank anyone who has taken the time to help me out.
1. My first question: Do I take the hexacopter stands off? They are very tightly screwed on, but I'm assuming they come off before flight. My copter is pictured below:
2. Is this the battery holder for the batteries that need to run the copter? If it is, where do I connect it? If not, what exactly is the battery/battery holder supposed to be/look like? I assumed jdrones sent everything, but thats the only semblance of a battery case I could find.
3. What do I do with this receiver? Where should I connect it and what do those two silver wires on the right end do? Do I connect those silver wires somewhere too?
4. This is my radio. I've gotten it turned on after putting 8 batteries in it but it is beeping obnoxiously and telling me I have an "air brake warning". I googled around and found out I should simultaneously press the curser/select keys and that the issue is a programming error that (I?) need to fix, but I bought this and did not program anything myself. I was trying to follow: http://jdrones.com/jDoc/wiki:s_jdwfly9ch#flight_modes but the beeping is too obnoxious to continue. What should I do about that?
5. How do I do a test flight? Is the mission planner necessary?
Ok , first of all you need to find some one local who has RC flying experience. Any one from local RC flying club will be able to help you to understand
1. Basics of RC flying ( what is what , what is a RC control and what you should do to set it up etc)
2. Once you have good understanding of the above , you should come to Quad , auto pilot and related stuff. Else you will crash and loose money( sorry to be blunt but that is the plain truth).
We can help you via text advice etc but nothing like having some one in person close by to teach you . It is like teaching you how to drive a car via text instructions here. :). If you have some around to teach you with trainer setup, you can fly in less than a week. Easy :)
Now to answer your questions above.
1. Do I take the hexacopter stands off? No , they stay as it is , it is to keep the hexa and any other payload( camera etc) beneath safe. It is also for keeping the hexa safe when landing.
2. Is this the battery holder for the batteries that need to run the copter? . This is battery holder to power the RC Receiver ( shown in photo 3 next to the PC keyboard). Hexa is powered via bigger battery called LiPo ( which should probably say 2200 or bigger number on it. It looks like this. I did not see it in your photos)
3. This is the radio control receiver. This is used to receive the signals from remote control and feeds various control signals to electronic stuffs in the Quad/airframe. The two silver wires are antenna/s and you shouldn't do any thing to them. They stay as they are( don't connect them to any thing). Any damage to those will result in receiver not working. The colored wires in the left are to be connected to servos/ quad controller board / auto pilot board if any. You will need some assistance here , you are advised to contact local RC flyer/enthusiast /club.
4. This is remote controller which a flyer/RC pilot uses to control/fly a model plane/helicopter/quad copter. You need assistance in setting it up. Advised to follow point 3.
5. For now don't worry about this, you need to do 1,2,3,4 first , learn it well ( it is simple but has to be in person and not via any text coaching here).
You said "using drones for foraging. " , BTW what is foraging? & how do you think usage of a drone help in this?
Happy and safe flying.
Morli gave a great response. Starting with a hexa is great way to see a lot of money destroyed in seconds NOT minutes... 2-4 seconds!
I would like to add that purchasing a basic 3-4 channel electric powered R/C airplane and learning to fly it first with local assistance will help you learn all the needed basics, of radio, electric motors and associated systems. You will also easily find someone to help you with a traditional airplane where as a multirotor local expert may be much more difficult to find. Learning orientation, and eye hand coordination with a traditional aircraft will save you much money and grief in long run. After that move on to basic quad THEN you'll be ready for the Hexa.
Hope you take our words seriously though your budget seems to be deep. BTW do i see a Parrot quad in the background. Is it in working condition? Did you fly it? Hmm , quite a few goodies in there.
Do let us know if you need any further help.
First of all, thank you so much to all of you for responding. Your quick responses will really help my research along!
I have some basic flying experience from an AR Parrot drone. I'm not trying to fly the hexacopter in any crazy formations or take it very far. I was just trying to get it to take off about 2-3 feet from the ground and just test if I could get it to fly around. Your detailed answers to my questions are very useful! I am slowly learning about how to use the drone and I'm not in a big rush to take it on missions or anything, but unfortunately, I don't have an RC expert at hand, so I have been taking very slow steps in learning everything myself. I just felt a bit lost when the box of all the parts came and I did not know where to begin.
As for your question about drones for foraging, I am working with a couple people and we are learning about drones for both mapping and image processing. We are helping a local foraging group called Concrete Jungle by providing them with the information that we gather and we are trying to determine how they could use drones to make the finding/identifying of fruit easier. We take the images captured by the drones and put them into a large database to further analyze. I have a wordpress blog called dronesforforaging if you have further interest in seeing what I am doing.
Also, yes, that is a Parrot in the background. That was my practice drone that I have been working with for the past month. Everyone's responses have really helped me out and thank you again! I will heed all advice!
Thanks for your advice! Don't worry, I won't be taking it high at all!
I have learned to fly an AR Parrot so I do have flying experience. I also have access to a large green area where I would be practicing with the hexacopter. I'm in no rush to take it out into any crazy areas or anything, but thank you!
I do have experience flying a Parrot, but I see where you are coming from when it comes to experience with radios and motors and such. I will try and see if I can find someone to help me, but for the most part, I've been learning through youtube videos and reading forums. Thank you for your response!
Yes that is telemetry modem/radio. You need one in each end. One is fixed in flying airframe ( in your case it hexacopter)
The other one is connected to computer/laptop running a Ground control station software like mission planner. The telemetry modem/radio transmits status and other data from flying/remote object/system to local computer to display or control/change/program any parameters in autopilot from your laptop. Like mentioned earlier , you don't have to worry about this right now. Things to do based on priority is as follows.
1. Learn to fly using RC control. This can be done using RC flight simulator on your computer ( highly recommended). I use this to practice different things before attempting it with real RC model flying. This kit comes with hardware similar to your RC radio/controller and a software. All serious fliers use this to practice difficult flying techniques. So investing in such simulator will save lot of money/time/ grief and effort spent in building a flying RC model plane/heli/quad.
2. Read Wiki of the airframe and hardware you have purchased many times and ask here when you have specific doubts.
3. Assemble your airframe + install all electronics you have got there.
4. Test the above electronics with out the propellers ( as shown in your picture). This will keep the airframe from flying off and crashing or hurting you self/other. These small propellers are serious and dangerous ( imagine a spinning knife at 1500 RMP) and many fliers have wounds/scares to prove it.
5. If you have practiced well with item 1 flying a heli , then you can try the Quad. Remember flying heli is different from fixed wing plane. So practice flying heli in simulator.
6. If you can hold quad almost still at say 10 feet up in air for more than 2 minutes, then we can talk about setting up telemetry modem and GCS. For now keep these telemetry modem in their antistatic bags. Setting this up is easy and if done correctly will take less than 20 minutes. So don't worry about them right now. BTW the telemetry modems/data radio( and all the other related stuff you bought are good if that is of any comfort) you have are good ones and if used correctly will give you range of few K.M. Do not power them with out antennas they came with. I will send you link to wiki for setting this telemetry later.
So we purchased the RealFlight Basic flight simulator and have been having lots of trouble with flights (so obviously we did need to purchase something to help us out). After flying a lot of the helicopters on the simulator, I was wondering if we would need to purchase something that would include quads as well? The RealFlight Basic is only helicopters and airplanes and we're not sure if they are much different from quads.
Also, is there any sort of user manual for how to get better at the flight simulator?
That is very positive step you have taken. Good. Now There is no other alternative to lot of practice flight on sim. You can crash as many times and then press the red button on the sim controller to reset the heli. Don't fly chase plane scenes ,just choose a comfortable airport and any heli without gyro support while flying plane. Gyro support is a cheat. Sim is the help, there is no other help for help. I don't understand what you meant by " is there any sort of user manual for how to get better at the flight simulator". Answer is practice. I guess you are academic. So want to read it through. :). Nope there is no manual for physical practice. Sim gets you the muscle memory required for finger reactions and finger-eye-brain coordination. It easier done than said. Not to worry and don't get frustrated. If you can't do it in sim then you can't do it for real. And now you would have understood that what ever flight time/experince you got on parrot amounts to nothing in real RC flying. Quad behave more/exactly like heli. The only difference is visual clues on the orientation. search on you tube on RC heli practice and things to do. Most of it is hovering it facing out/away and in front of you. then moving/swinging from side to side for say 10 mts without bobbing, then front and back in straight line , finally trying to do figure 8 well. All this while heli is pointing outwards/away from you not more than say 5 mts high. Once you are comfortable then try all the above with nose in( pointing the nose of heli towards you). You can increase the wind setting by pressing "+" to say 10 k.mph to make it more realistic. then do all sort of flying you can think of while remembering how the airframe looks like while flying and keep on doing it for say atleast 50 hours with session no longer than 15-25 minutes. So practicing a heli relates better to quad then fixed wing plane. In fact if Quad is your target then practice heli alone. I personally believe that practicing plane corrupts the heli habit and infact un-learning plane is difficult. Though I do both my self , I would not tell others to do the same especially new fliers with out any direct help. I use a older ver ( 5.5) , so do not have quad as option but do remember seeing/reading a quad in newer ver some where. Heli experience gave me the confidence for quad which was up in the air after few minutes and with in 2 test runs I could go as far as 100 mts though visual orientation with quad was little difficult but that too you would learn soon.
Meanwhile I will search for quad add -on and let you know or others members might chime in. BTW what version of real flight did you buy? Did it include the sim RC hardware which looks exactly like your RC controller?
PS: I assume you have read the simulator manual and understood all the controls. Also don't forget to calibrate the controls in the menu.
what do you mean by "trouble with flights (so obviously we did need to purchase something to help us out)."
Does it/flight sim not work? Can you elaborate on trouble with flight? In Sim after all basic loading the software and calibration of RC sim controller and audio/sound card setup, you have to choose airport( ignore if default is fine) of you like and choose a model and start flying! So what is the trouble? Are you not able to fly any thing or you don't know how to control the plane/heli stable etc? Is there a software problem or error messages? You will have spend some time here to tell us exactly without us asking you to detail it every time.!!
By trouble with flights, I just meant that none of us have been very good at flying without crashing, but I assume that is because we are not in practice. We are getting better though!
Sorry about the lack of detail, but thank you so much for all the help you've provided! (The simulator did not come with a manual though. It just had a simple instruction sheet on how to install the program, but we are attempting to learn).