I've been planning on getting a phantom for sometime but recently it was suggested that I look at the arducopter. I've been doing some research and like the 3dr quad and hex rtf version. But I'm not prepared to get into the intracies of programming arduino and such. My question is if I go the arducopter route am I getting more of a project than a platform? I appreciate your thoughts on this.

Also for what it's worth I emailed sales@3drobotics Monday with a few questions about the product and after sales support. No reply yet so I'm concerned if I can't get a prompt reply when I'm interested in buying one what kind of after purchase support can I expect?


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Ardupilot is the superior platform imho. If you want quality, this is a no brainer. Go pick up the Phantom's TX. Feel the light weight, the lack of quality bearings in the controller. Terrible sticks imho, feels cheap. Now go pick up a decent Spektrum like a DX8 or a good Futaba . Night & day difference. People by it because they want instant turn-key systems found in many hobby shops. You don't find Ardupilot in hobby shops or RTF Arducopters, or people would be flying those instead.

There's no magic to programming. You plug in a USB cable and run the Mission Planner software. 1 click to flash it, little to no adjustments to make. If it's all wired right and the props are in the correct direction, just calibrate and go fly.

Hi Fred,

I have purchased Arducopter. - It is a project and product. You would have two options: 

- You can extend the project by programming (that I am upto)

- You can use it without seeing ever a line of code and get the most of what it can do.

- 10-15 minutes of flight time standard.

- Customer care was no good 2 months back, getting a reply weeks later, if you were lucky. Apparently, things are improving fast with 3DR, so you can expect better response  now.

- Cust. care is mostly for product support. For technical stuff, forum is the best option, I believe. Though, you will not get 100% support over forums from my experience of posts over the past one year, it depends on people's mood to reply and/ or depends on how they can help you with the question you posted.


Thanks for the reply. I've got a DX7. Are 7 channels enough? I've been keeping my eye on the new Taranis and waiting to see how that tx pans out.


On that service, previously it was 2 days before they got your stuff shipped, and lead times on items. Right now it seems like 24 hour response on service. Just this week I had an issue resolved within an hour. Desperately needed a new controller for a specific multicopter, it has to fly for an event this weekend. They went out of their way, more than you'd expect from most any other company, to overnight me an Ardupilot 2.5 within a couple hours of ordering it.

Can't complain about the service at all here.

You need 5 channels. 4 flight controls, 1 on a 3-way mode switch to control your flight mode. DX7 flap channel is perfect with its 3 position switch.

Everything past that is gravy, letting you control LEDs, or direct control of camera pan-tilt-roll mounts, bomb drops, whatever. If you want head tracking, using FatShark goggles or something, you need at least a DX8 do to the programmable master trainer functions if I remember right.

I have both and both have good a bad points.  Here is the quick version-

Arducopter Pros-

Waypoint Navigation

Ground Station Capabilitites

Lot's of flexability and tons of customization and options


Various manuals and unfortunatley opinions on how to do things

Support not always there

Still a lot of DIY, I dont care what anyone says.

DJI Phantom Pro's-

Turnkey, ready to go out of box

Return to home on loss of Rx or battery voltage

Nice clean look

GoPro mount included (2 axis Brushless gimbal out in 30 days)

Solid GPS position hold

LED Mode indicator


Small size limits lifting capabilities

No waypoints although APM's have been installed in Phantoms see Here

Some say cost although when you add the parts up its pretty equal

Yes, Radio is simple, trims have been remove for simplicity (Requires AA Batteries for Tx)

Overall I'd say depending on what you plan to do with either, you'd be happy with both.


Great info! Thx

Fred you can also take a look at jDrones RTF kits. jDrones is onr original ArduCopter manufacturer/developer. We actually have been doing RTF kits longer than 3DR. 

Thx Jani - great of you to respond here. I did see jdrones earlier and on first glance it looked like more geared towards kits and price point on rtf was higher. But it's not always apples to apples so I will go back and take a more in depth look.

I agree with Adam. I fly the 3DR hex and quad and have friends that fly Phantoms. I love the fact that I built what I fly and crash. LOL. Learning to fly takes a few crashes.

Fred, email me! I am your Canadian distributor! :) 

I answer emails right away. 

dany at CanadaDrones.com 

Already having the remote saves you A LOT! That was half the cost for me, I had to make the switch from FM to 2.4 GHz. 


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