I have had my DJI Phantom for about 3 weeks now and loved how easy it was to setup and fly. The best part was flying in GPS mode, I could just let go of the sticks and it would hover in place. 

Yesterday I decided to take some go pro pics of the intercoastal waterway and all the fishing boats docked at high noon.

Of course, the first time I fly near any body of water, my Phantom decided to go berserk and landed into the marsh. 

I was able to salvage it and and the go pro, but I'm pretty sure it will never fly again, nor do I want to waste any more time/money with DJI products.

So I have been doing research on the IRIS and wanted to know how it compared to the Phantom, specifically does it have a GPS flight mode where I can let go of the sticks and it hover. I believe Pixhawk has a 'loiter' mode - is that the same thing?

Also, DJI Phantoms are apparently notorious for random fly aways - is there a chance the Pixhawk or IRIS will have the same issues? With the Phantom, you have to be uber careful where you fly and calibrate your compass before every flight...such a pain.  

With the IRIS/Pixhawk, do I have to worry about stuff like that?


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I am relatively new to 3DR stuff, and quads in general, but have lots of fixed wing FPV and RC experience over the years. I recently bought an Iris and I can tell you my experience with it so far... 

The Pixhawk definitely has GPS based flight modes and I have found it quite easy to fly and have had no incidents with the quad yet... Its amazingly stable in Loiter mode and will just park itself, even in wind... I have not had any issues with fly-aways or erratic behavior. Once the compass is initially calibrated, I have not had to re-calibrate it yet... 

I am not sure if the DJI controller also supports this, but one mode I really enjoy is altitude hold mode. It gives you the ability to make pretty aggressive flights without the worry of crashing since it does a very remarkable job of maintaining altitude when you fly. 

here is a video I took immediately after unboxing. 


I really like the Iris and it continues to impress me every time I fly it. 

You can also fly waypoints as well which is a big plus. 

Hi Johnathan,

        I am one who just did this weighing of capabilities, the important thing to note here is that the DJI phantom is based on closed source code NO open bug lists , just complaints by lots of their customers.

I went with 3DR/IRIS for a variety of reasons.

Its Open Source.. ALL of it... its constantly evolving for things like GPS glitch protection, new features and protections are a git clone and make away(this comment is for developers).

While this would seem more unstable than the DJI model and it is a LOT more dynamic it has evolved the ArduCopter code to a better place than I feel the DJI phantom line is headed(ie encrypted battery controller chatting with proprietary Flight controllers and causing crashes is NOT the way to go DJI!).

also on a cost basis the IRIS with the included just plug it in telemetry(has to be started in the right sequence), waypoint GCS and flightplan capability with more features being added constantly represents a much better value than the phantom.

As  to it going berserk? watch all the videos and read all the manuals FIRST, there is a lot of complexity in there but the very first thing is to make sure the telemetry is active in case of a flyaway(depressing common for all kinds of pilots).

Leave the craft(IRIS) outside with a good view of the sky and make sure of green blinking(GPS LOCK)from the multicolor led in back it will take some time the very first time but subsequent power on(s) will reach GPS lock much more quickly.

All that being said positive about the IRIS its a new product launch and there have been a number of glitches reported in the IRIS support forums, and 3DR response so far has been all that one could hope for. I am in the middle of my own such support call since the arrival of the craft monday while I was sick allowed me to inspect it carefully and notice a number of deficiencies that need to be corrected prior to first flight.

And as I am writing this I just got email notification that the IRIS is back in stock :)

      and what ever craft you choose good luck

     hotel zulu lima


i think for the moment there are few bugs on the pixhawk which need to be resolved 

 this plateform(smt32 processor) is new so it recquiert some times before to be reliable 

Which bugs, specifically?

You can never expect a perfect flight controller from any company. Since these are very complex devices. Think that even the Boeing which has an aviation history/technology over almost a century, their autopilot or flight system fail time to time and lead to death of many people. It is our responsibility to make sure - take the risk of flight.

Hi guys,

This is one of my first posts here, though I have really enjoyed and am thankful for the flow of information prior. I've setup a Feedly UAS article stream, and definitely some of the best thinking comes out of diydrones. I'm also really looking forward to a build with the Pixhawk.

Having said that I generally take a pragmatic approach to all things UAS and feel compelled to respond to product or technology bashing, when I've observed much to the contrary. Between my brother and I, we own 9 NAZA controlled multirotors, including 2 Phantoms, an F550, a QAV400, a QAV540g, a Honey Badge, and 2 QAV250s. Our favorite missions are low intensity FPV and aerial photo. I've personally been flying the NAZA M since it was first released. It's still going strong in the F550, now updated with V2 firmware.

In all of the flying that we do, none of us have ever had a fly-away or anything that approaches one. On the contrary, I've out-flown my my Futaba 2.4, but still had a video downlink and watched it start to return home only to be reacquired when in range. I did have my F550 dump in the grass one day, but found that the GPS/compass had come loose in the mount and was spinning around on its mounting post.

The peripherals are really easy to deploy especially with CANBUS, my favorites being the Zenmuse gimbal and Mini iOSD. Also one thing that the NAZA does _really_ well is handle loss of thrust, to the point of me taking off and flying the F550 one day and wondering why my new PIDs weren't exactly as tight as they should be, only to discover that I'd departed (probably not the best word choice) and flown a half pack without M5. No need for coaxial mounting.

DJI products are far from perfect, but they have gotten much better in recent years, and when you move tens, if not hundreds of thousands of units, some of which are sold/marketed to first time flyers, there are going to be a high number (not percentage) of loses. I suppose that I would change my tune if my QAV540G decides to fly an autonomous mission. Until then, I'm keeping an open mind towards all of this new technology.

I've dabbled with the OpenPilot CC3D and Revo. Very sporty and certainly a lot of flight controller potential there. Wishing them the best as well. However, what does it says when a Revo with Ublox v3 GPS and a case is approaching the price of a NAZA M Lite/GPS.

Anyway, back to the IRIS. I'll be watching this space and sincerely hope that it reaches both it's performance and commercial potential.

Just wondering if anybody knows why AliShanMao on YT has moved away from Naza. He seems to be testing a lot of other non APM AP, like XAircraft, but he has never said why exactly.

I did ask him about APM once a while back and i think he responded that it was complicated and customers wanted P&P.

It's ironic considering the two top blog posts at the moment (1 - DJI Phantom vs 3d Robotics IRIS 2 - Iris flew out of control suicide mission).

I think we should remember that the power of the 3DR Iris does not come so much from the hardware (frame, motors, props, tx/rx) which look to be pretty standard. The power comes from the flight controller, community and the software.

The DJI Phantom is trying to be the Apple of the UAV world, and 3DR the Android. Take from that what you will.

I suggest building your own machine with the Pixhawk as the brain. It will take a lot of reading and learning, but much work has been done on the wiki to make it user friendly and you will feel much more confident in the air with a machine you know inside and out! That learning curve comes anyway with a RTF quad and I don't think many are prepared for that.

Forget Apple & Android what about Amiga and Atari.

>and 3DR the Andriod.

That's not a fair comparison, I don't consider 3DR to be a giant botnet like google. 

Perhaps.... I am just quoting Chris Anderson (maybe he said the linux of drones??)... :)

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