I have been reading this web site for over a year now and I have finally decided that I will take the plunge and get a quad, but I have a few concerns.
To give you an idea of my skills,
- I have no RC experience
- I am a software engineer
- Should I be getting some RC experience before getting a quad? If so, where should I start?
- Frame: Should I buy a cheaper frame to learn with and then upgrade later or get a good frame first up?
Thank you all, This site is awesome :-D
Get something like a QR Ladybird. They are pretty indestructible, are great to learn quad piloting on, and are inexpensive. And fun. You can find them for about $120 with the controller. Get a "mode 2" controller. Just one opinion.
Your chief obstacle besides having no piloting experience is not likely to be a lack of RC experience so much as electronics. As a software engineer, you'll have experience debugging, troubleshooting, having multiple issues at the same time to aggravate your troubleshooting, overlooking your own mistakes, etc. Your software experience, however, does not naturally lend to helping you with the hardware challenges like RF and magnetic fields, cold solder joints, vibration-driven sensor aliasing, avoiding pulling too much current through your board, addressing heat issues, etc. But you should pick it all up pretty quick if you don't have the background (and you might anyways, you just didn't mention it.)
Thanks for reply Mike,
Those QR Ladybirds look like a neat little package. The Tx that comes with it looks good, could I use it down the track for an APM powered Quad or would it be recommended to upgrade it?
I have got a little electronics background. I have made a rover with an arduino brain and ultrasonic ranger on a stepper motor for collision avoidance, servo for steering etc.
So step one, piloting experience. Anyone know a good Australian suppler of the Ladybird, or have any other suggestions?
If you were going to try, you would want to research each of the various TX units you can buy with the QR. They sell many different packages, and the primary difference is a more advanced TX. The "value" edition comes with a stock basic 4 channel, no switches or pots, limited programming functionality. I don't know that much about the TX, except the model I have, which is the bottom of the line. It is not suitable for use with the APM. It is a nice little transmitter, it has a pretty solid feeling, and muscle memory learned on it translates very well to my Futaba, but that is as far as I expect its use to be for me.
There are others around who know more about the various transmitters they offer, I never intended to re-use it, so I got the budget model. I'd lean towards suggesting a Turnigy 9x and upgrading the firmware to ER, if you want a cheap but capable transmitter. They are very popular.
You can work in parallel. There is a lot to learn about building quads. And ordering and shipping of parts takes weeks, generally. In most cases, I recommend tying down your (full sized) quad anyways, as part of your flight tests, so feel free to order up the parts to build a jDrones or 3DR. I don't usually recommend doing a scratch built first, since that adds several dimensions to the issues you will need to solve, before you've walked the common path where you can get help and gain the confidence in how things should work.
After I replied to you and started to look at getting a ladybird I realised exactly what just told me. There are many combinations of the ladybird and TX. I might just go the base pack as well.
Good to know that I was on the right track with my quad plan. I was going to get the 9x and put the ER firmware on it and get the 3DR-B, frame and motors kit and buy the APM 2 for the brain :-D.
I am getting pumped just talking about it.
yep, you're a goner. If you're this hooked already, there is little chance for you *not* to be an addict when you actually start flying. Good luck :) Welcome to the habit.
I'm also new to this. I just received my first UAV -- the QR Ladybird. I've followed the directions in the manual, but am having trouble getting a connection between the Ladybird and the radio. Just a red flashing light. I've tried all of the trouble shooting tips in the manual, but still no luck. Any suggestions? Can anyone give me a step-by-step in a clearer way than the hard-to-understand manual? Thanks.
@Tim Sandler: :-) I am more of a newbie than you to UAVs, and I will receive my first system tomorrow (QR Ladybird with Devo 7 TX). That said, I did stumble across a potentially relevant comment, probably on an RC Groups forum. I did not save the context, so I cannot give credit here to the author who asserted: "To solve the binding issue, I turned on the FIXID in the Devo7 transmitter. It now binds quickly every time."
On the other hand, I could imagine many situations where binding of the handheld TX to the QR Ladybird would fail after a crash: TX switches in incorrect positions; TX battery low; Ladybird antenna shorted; ... ; I have no experience yet with the overall system to be able to describe the possible points of failure, nor the probabilities of various failures. Good luck!
Bought the QR Ladybird (LB), Devo 7 TX, and some spare parts from WOW Hobbies. Everything arrived as advertised, plus there were stickers indicating that the LB had been tested with the TX. Interesting documentation... much of it appeared to be for model planes and helicopters, not for quadcopter models.
After reading about other kinds of LB crash damage, I attached a prototype 'cage' (see photo), thinking that it might give me more flight time. And I made an assumption that the Devo TX had been configured by WOW for 'Normal/Beginner' Mode', and for 'Mode 2' (left hand operates the throttle stick). Ignoring Step 4, I followed steps 1 - 3 in the 2-page Radio Setup Guide to a successful binding on the first attempt. Tied the LB to our ironing board with a 2' piece of thread so I could test it in the house. So far so good (with a few small crashes).
Next I went to a grassy field, focusing on the Mode 2 section at the bottom of page 11 (for box 4, a better image would be nice), and on the Flight Practice advice on pages 13-14, all from the LB Manual (not the TX Manual). I like the practice advice. Made a few small flights before a crash that terminated my flying for a while. A plastic molded part cracked (on the topside of one motor), where the part slips over the boom and is fastened with a screw. Perhaps some glue will fix it for a while. The cage may have contributed to the break, so I have prototype #2 in mind, to avoid stressing the motor assembly-to-boom points in a crash. At least the cage appeared to reduce damage to the props and motor-axles. Found that the battery does need to be fastened somehow, so it does not shift in the holder.
That's some of what I learned so far. Am about to order some more spare parts for the LB. For more self-training and discovery, I am waiting to receive a WL Toys V929 Beetle. At the moment, I am not convinced that it's best to start learning with very small quadcopters, especially those with, um, inadequate documentation. But I certainly do need more flying practice, and this is one way to get that.