Greetings, all. For the past several years, I have led a project that involves the filming of a the length of a river from headwaters to a specific point for environmental purposes. For the past projects, we have hired a helicopter company and have had a camera operator in the passenger seat actually do the filming. This year, I'm looking at putting together a UAV system to do the same thing. Here are my plans and a couple of questions if anyone would be so kind as to answer them.
I'm planning on purchasing a fully-assembled kit. Specifically this one: http://www.udrones.com/product_p/acrtf2.htm ... I plan to add the GPS, full 2-way telemetry, sonar, and camera mount options from that page.
I plan on attaching my company's T2i to record the video, which I think will have to be done in approximately 15-20 minute segments (because of the large camera payload and battery life). I plan on using the MC software to add waypoints over the waterway that I need to film and then following along the route in an automobile (there is a highway parallel to the river the whole way).
I have a couple of questions...
Thanks so much for any help you can offer! I will be reading everything I can, but I just can't seem to find answers to these questions. I appreciate this forum.
Most people doing "heavy" lift camera go with an Hexa or Octo... the Quad will lift a GoPro but I would not put an expensive (and heavy) DSLR on one... at least not with basic motors and 10 inches props... heck scratch that I would not even put a T2i on the Quad with upgraded motors and 12 inches props.. go with Hexa and you will thank me later! :)
For fly time, assuming you still put that on a quad, you will get like 8 minutes max as you will have to be a 90% throttle to stay in the air. Stability will also suffer.
As for just putting the batteries and RX and fly... not quite... you will need to install the mission planner and do basic configuration for the TX... and your telemetry stuff...
But it's almost ready to fly. Quite simple actually.
For your orientation question, you can tell the autopilot to maintain the direction so you will be ok. But even if you fly the mission in autonomous mode nothing replace manual mode for precision...
Jump aboard, buy a kit and fly away! (just don't put the camera in for your first flights until you get comfortable!)
Thanks for your reply. The more I look at GoPro HD, the more I think it might serve my needs. However, in most of the video I see from the GoPro, you can see the propellers. Is this unavoidable or is it just the way their copters are set up?
By "install mission planner" do you mean install the software on a laptop? Is all the setup/config something that a total newb can do on his own?
I'm leaning toward the GoPro and the quad copter just because it's less expensive for this noble experiment. If things go well, I can always upgrade later and run both systems for various projects. I would certainly never put an expensive camera on there without lots of practice, though! Good advice!
lots of people needs to see their props as they fly FPV and this helps a lot to know where your frame is...
I am sure there is a way to mount the GoPro so you dont see the props... or use one of the new setting on the GoPro2 to reduce the wide angle to medium... I dont have a GoPro so I am not sure...
This is just the beginning of your adventure, you wont stay a newb for long! and you might create your own mounting solution!
As for the mission planner, please keep reading the Wiki: http://code.google.com/p/arducopter/wiki/AC2_Mission
It is really easy to use and Michael Oborne did put a lot of work in it!
you can even "play" with it without a copter so give it a try to see your comfort level with it!
I'm sorry to bother you again, but you've been most helpful today and I just have one more question. I didn't want to start a brand new forum topic, so here goes...
So I bought this: http://www.udrones.com/product_p/acrtf2.htm
I think I have everything I need except the RC controller/receiver. If I buy this: https://store.diydrones.com/product_p/rc-spektrum-dx8-01.htm does it come with the controller and receiver or do I need to purchase a separate receiver?
It comes with the receiver and also a telemetry module. You can set up the telemetry module to relay battery voltage to your radio. The easiest way to do this is two solder two single pin headers to the end of the "voltage sensor" they include with the radio. Really its only two cables with a nice connector on one end and bare wires on the other. After installing your battery on your quad, plug in the voltage sensor to the cell balancing connector on your battery. Black to ground and the red to the cable furthest from ground, that should give you overall battery voltage.
I, too, am purchasing the same Quad kit and Spektrum DX8 remote Aaron mentioned but was wondering if you might shed some light on the telemetry option available on this page: http://www.udrones.com/product_p/acrtf2.htm. What's the difference between 900mhz and 2.4ghz option? If the remote is 2.4ghz should the telemetry component be the same or will that cause interference?
Any thoughts you have would be greatly appreciated!