I've decided to get a ArduCopter but wanted advice on which one/accessories/upgrades are the way to go for me as it's looking like I'll need to do a bit of a upgrading for what I want.
What Im after is as follows;
Basically I want to fly around via FPV in forested areas without drop outs... which is probably a little hard with line of sight issues on the RF controllers, is there a way to get around the limitations of line of sight issues (I've read about having it switch back to waypoints as a default if it looses signal, I just want to try and avoid it all together so I can keep the live video feed), ie boosting the signal or using something other than an RF controller for FPV flying? (probably should put in other than launching my own satellite!)
How limited is the los on the RF controllers for these units, will forested areas affect it or is it only objects like hills/valleys?
I'm thinking I'll need to add an extra battery (maybe 2 extra) to increase flight time so I'm leaning towards the 3DR Hexa ready to fly kit as the base as it is probably better at carrying the increased payload, would this be right?
Last but not least, which APM should I be looking at, I was thinking 2.0 but as 1.4 is the default in the purchase options and more expensive it made me think maybe 1.4 is better?
Thanks everyone, Happy 4th of July by the way!
Go with APM 2. It's better (and cheaper!). The RTF kits should be shipping with it soon; you can request it now if you're willing to wait a couple weeks for it to ship. Ask for the new 3DR Ublox GPS, too.
Thanks for your quick reply! I was thinking the 2.0 was better, the cheaper price threw me though!
Do you think it is feasible to have a ArduCopter as described above with a flight time of at least 20 minutes?
Thanks again, its helping me put all the pieces together!
Yes, with a big enough battery, 20 minutes is doable. With a quad, you'll need at least a 3,600 mah battery. With a hexa, I'd go closer to 5,000 mah.
So would a quad be the way to go or a hexa... I was assuming a hexa to carry the extra batteries for longer flight time but does more props = less fly time... or do more props = more efficient flying?
Actually, if you want long flight time, you should really go for a plane, not a copter.
I did think about that but for what I want it for I really need to be able to hover over a location, also landing/take off with a plane might be an issue in some areas that I want to work it from.
But thanks for the thought!
APM 2 is better because it's cheaper and smaller. WIth series one, they had a logic board and a 2nd sensor board that came together using headers, and then the GPS was another board.
With APM 2, they put all this on a single PCB, and reduced the price. Can't beat that.
Chris mentioned to ask for the new 3DR Ublox GPS, but if the APM 2 has a GPS in it then do I also need a 3DR Ublox GPS as an added? Or can I opt to have the 3DR as the GPS in the APM 2.0 chip?
It's not so much "ask for" as "buy separately." It seems that you'd have to, when buying the APMv2:
Select "none" for the GPS option, and then separately add to your cart the 3dr ublox: https://store.diydrones.com/ProductDetails.asp?ProductCode=BR-3DRLEA-6
That's the link you go to when you hit "Buy external GPS, Ublox LEA6-H module!"
That's a lot more expensive. Especially if you're just getting started, I think you'll be more than fine with the defailt MediaTek MT3329 they include for the $199. Chris might know something I don't but that's what it seems to be. Follow up with him to be certain.
Thanks for that, I didn't notice the GPS option when buying the APM kit for some reason... I dont know how I missed it!
Sure thing. By the way, I'm also obsessed with long flight time in my future quadcopter. Most lipos are quite light... which makes them awesome... but you should still keep in mind that a bigger battery pack adds weight to your quad and there's a fine line between longer flight time and too much weight that the motors have to lift, resulting in not-longer (not shorter, more like original if you had gone with a smaller battery pack, but it costs more and guzzles more electricity) flight time.
I was thinking the Hexa was a good way to go as it can lift more, but then I started thinking it only lifts more due to an increase in motors which = more battery use! which frame do you think I should use if I want to go for longer flight time with extra battery packs, a Hexa or a quad?
I figure two batteries in total is probably the most I can add and then anything after that is going to have weight to power issues... but I will try three just to see if I'm wrong!
Surely someone has tried it already though!