Hi Guys!

THIS is my very first post on DIYDrones, and I am most confused.  This is my story.

I am quite new to this UAV business, and I originally purchased a DJI Phantom (1st generation) from a locally BIG Camera equipment retailer, here in Montreal (LL.Lozeau).  To my knowledge at the time, it was the thing of the moment. I looked on the web, and little that I knew at the time, DJI seemed to be reliable, easy to use and, mostly for me at the time, affordable.

Enthusiastic about this new purchase, I read the provided « instruction sheet », and, I must confess, it was (seemed) most easy to setup and fly.  I did my first flight the next morning, since weather was clever enough to allow me to do so.  Well ... Okay!  Pilot error, I guess, I lost control.  BUT I recovered it, almost intact, a few houses down the block.  Only one Prop Guard was wrecked, but that was fixed rapidly thanks to Super Glue!  And up we go again, and all went well that time.  The same evening, I was flying with my GoPRO, and took some VeRrY ShAkEy PiCtUrEs of the area! ;-)

It was THEN, that I wanted a way to stabilize the HERO3, with, what seemed best at the time, the Zenmuse H3-2D Gimbal ...from DJI, of course.  Costs as much as the Phantom itself, but hey!  A man has to do what a man needs to do!  But that remote control seemed a toy thing, resembling more the one from Fisher Price than one for the real thing.  So I went to purchase a HiTech Aurora 9X Remote Control Unit, along with 4 x 3S 45C Batteries, the big Hyperion 150W charger and the whole kit and caboodle!  The real stuff, I thought!  Well, so far, so good!  I'm in business.  So I had the Gimbal installed, as well as the receiver replaced inside the Phantom.  « Cool!!  Let's try it! »

VERY stable videos!  I was impressed of the results.  Next, I wanted ...telemetry, because I wanted to know my battery voltage remotely!  HPP-22 and HTS-SS, with a HTS-GPS, and HTS-ORPM (Optical RPM Sensor).  OK!  Now I know when to land this thing, before the battery runs out, and if it falls, I'll know where it is!

Then, I wanted to see WHAT was my camera filming in real time, NOT once on the ground (legitimate request, wouldn't you think?)  I then needed a 500mW Video Link from ... Yup!  DJI!  And a link receiver with a screen to see the down linked images!  This is starting to add up $$$!

Now, the ULTIMATE thing would be, ...a Ground Station Control.  WOW!  Completely automatic flight!  That would be way cool!  Only one thing though!  This is a Phantom!  Not a Boing 747!  There is only limited space inside this plastic shell!  I needed the DJI Data Link, AND a DJI Can Hub ...

Hmmm!  What to do?  Well, the Flame Wheel F450 seemed to have plenty of room for all this equipment.  After all, I have the ESCs, the motors, the controller, that should not be to complicated to merge all this stuff to an F450 Frame.

So I did!  Managed to sandwich all the modules, and while we're at it, let's add an FPV camera and transmitter from ... no!  Not DJI!  This time, I wanted a Fat Shark gear!  Simply awesome!  The ultimate FPV, the camera being mounted on 2 servos, for full pan & tilt FPV experience!

Last week, I finally wanted to get this flying wonder a try.  Battery was fully charged, DJI was calibrated to the max, new version software, and all!  I was ready.  Gave it a go in my back yard and ... Well, I was happy it was in my back yard, and not in front of a crowd.  They would've had a very good laugh!  The thing was so heavy, that it raised 5 feet in the air before slowly acting like an elephant with canary wings!  Hehehe!  I had a good laugh my self, because I secretly had my doubts about this baby flying !!

Well, at this time, I see only one solution.  Adding 2 more Props!  So I am in rebuilding my F450 into a DJI Flame Wheel F550 Frame.  Just purchased a top and bottom plate, 2 more Motors and ESCs, and I should be in real business by the end of next week.  At least, I think!

Now I am filled with confusion.  I'm reading all this controversy about DJI and Fly-Aways.  Some are convinced that it's DJI's Naza-M Controller's fault, some others, like Dan Blake and Jamie Peebles (on other Forums), would have tendency to blame the unwanted behavior on the pilot more than the hardware or the software.  Who should I believe?  Should I go with another controller and discard the Naza-M V2 and go towards another manufacturer?

What is said about learning to fly in Manual Mode worries me, although I fully agree with it!  I've tried that a few times with my AeroSIM RC Simulator, and I crash it within a minute, if not, right at take off !!  I know! I know!  No GPS is used in Manual Mode, and this is the main reason there is no GPS-Glitch related crashes in Manual Mode.  But you need to be a REAL pilot to fly in this mode!  Hehehe!  I practiced in Attitude Mode tonight, and I must confess, it is not easy, although I spent 30 minutes and could maintain a fairly good hover positioning about 90% of the time!  I plan on doing some more practice this week.  Could this help me recover a GPS Glitch situation?  I ask anyone.

Well, here goes my first post.  I hope I was not too long.  I am here for one thing : LEARNING !!  Am I at the right place??  I sure hope so!

I also hope I've posted this one in the right board!  There are so many...

Yours truly,

Daniel.

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Thank you John.

Just today, I went to purchase a piece of UltraWire at my local Hobby Shop, and asked about all the controversy on DJI's Naza Controllers.  The owner of the place sels all kind of controllers so, he could tell me about the pros and cons on DJI Innovations' Controller.

He told me that given the amount of DJI Drones out there, it is sure that you're bound to hear flyaways.  But if you look some facts, just like you said, most of them are due to pilot error or bad setups/settings.  He flys all kind of planes, copters, drones, and told me not to look at the numbers, but at the percentage of crashes that really involves Naza Controllers faulty operation, this percentage is really minute if not insignificant.

Of course, I will, in the future, fly auto, and this is the main reason I purchased DJI's Ground Station Data Link module.  But this is not for tomorrow.  I'll learn who to fly in « Attitude Mode » (I call it « Momentum Mode » first.

Meanwhile, I continue building my Flame Wheel F550 and will dress it up slowly, to make sure I keep the center of gravity at the right place.  After all, I have a lot of modules to add on to this frame one by one.

Thanks for the reply and encouraging me in my quest for perfection.

Best regards

Daniel.

Wow!  Makes me think!  Hehehe!

I purchased a « 1Si » Micro Quadcopter, from Heli Max (see included pictures), complete with a micro camera and I think I'll get it out of its box before doing anything else.  And I'll get some practice.  I think it has both modes.  I'll check on the box and in the small owner's manual they provide, to mage sure how to set it up.

I will try it outside on a very calm day.  After all, crashing is very much a part of learning, and to this day, I have nothing to lose by trying it.  I have an edged backyard, so it can'd really fly very far now, can it?

Thanks for all the good advices and I'll be sure to follow them.

Best regards,

Daniel.

Attachments:

Hello to u Daniel. hope this message finds u well. Ok to start I have both a naza h and a naza m. both to me seem ok. I have had a few random accidents with the naza m. but I could put them down to maybe flat batteries. But I wouldn't say the naza is perfect by any means. But the same could be said about the APM 2.5. I have had a few crashes with the apm but again I cant explain them. very weird accidents. Thing is who can explain them. could be code errors or just a fluke? But good luck with your hunt. look at the controllers as women who can predict them lol. but seriously who know wot could happen. its a path and only u can decide which way to go........

Hi Daniel,

It's actually amazing you have had your progression turn out as well as it has.

I fly Flamewheel F450's a lot and really like them, but the Zenmuse gimbal and the GoPro are really a bit much for the stock DJI setup.

You didn't mention what props you are using I am guessing 10". You can go to 11" Gemfan carbon filled which will give you a little more boost but probably not enough. (And you have to bore out the prop hubs to fit the DJI oval motor shaft). 

I use those on my F450 and am very happy with them.

But the motors are really still too under-powered for the weight you are carrying.

You can do any one of the following.

Go to a bigger copter like the Tarot 650 with some motors that will carry bigger props and produce more thrust.

Put on some bigger motors (higher KV that will produce more thrust with the 10" props you now have.

Or the least expensive alternative, if you haven't already, upgrade to a 4 cell battery, that will give you 30 percent more boost.

In fact you would be best off with a quadcopter that could swing 12" or 14" props, but you ought to at least try the battery solution first.

One caution, make sure all your electronics will work with the 4 cell battery or use an appropriate UBEC.

You definitely belong on DIYDrones, you ought to be considering a Pixhawk for your non-Phantom effort and review both of the following resources thoroughly.

This wiki will be your best freind: http://copter.ardupilot.com/

And my quadcoptersarefun.com site can give you some help too: http://quadcoptersarefun.com/index.html

Best of luck, you are doing remarkably well so far,

Gary

Hi Gary!

Thanks for the reply.

I was (and still am) using 9 inch Carbon Fiber Props (see picture below).  As for more « pull », I decided to stay with the DJI platform, since I'm very satisfied with it, and opt in for the Flame Wheel F550.  I am making sure, while upgrading all my stuff, that all runs on 4S LiPo Cells that will provide my Drone with more boost, but the Cells are much heavier...

Question 1 : Will the 4S Cells allow a higher RPM to the Motors?  I have 2 x 2212/920 KV Motors (original F450) and 4 x ????/??? KV (Original Phantom 1 Motors).  My supplier tell me that the Phantom 1 Motors are the very same as the F450 / F550 Motors, aside from their color.  Could that make sense?

Question 2 : What is the KV rating?  Like I said, I'm green to this industry.  Some of my questions could seem a bit obvious to you, nonetheless, they are not to me. ;-)

Pixhawk.  I hear this name often.  Twice today, three times yesterday.  Are they THAT good?  I will « investigate », for I want to possibly rebuild my Phantom, since I have all the original parts, and sell it.  I will then be on the lookout for a new controller.  Will the Pixhawk be compatible with all mi other DJI equipment?  Reading and asking some questions will be my main activity in the DIY Drone Community for the next few weeks, I guess.

Well, I have much to read and to ask.  I thank you very much for all the valuable info you provided.  I will take a peek at that « http://copter.ardupilot.com » Site.  And I'll look forward to chat with you in the near future.

Yours truly,

Daniel.

Thank you Austin!  Yes, your message found me all right!  Hehe!

When I told the Controller / Women similarity joke to my wife, she threw me a dirty look!  I'm not sure why ... !o!

I'll sure investigate all the avenues prior to purchase another brand of controller.  I believe that Naza is, considering the enormous amount of Controllers DJI has out in the field, and the real fails, still very dependable.  But I promise I'll do my homework well before setting my choice.  Like I said previously, I have LOTS of reading and asking to do in the next few weeks.

Until then, have a very good end of week, and I hope we keep in touch, because I will sure post my finds and progress with this fine Community.

Best regards,

Daniel.

Hi Daniel,

Going from 3 cell to 4 Cell will increase your existing motors RPM by exactly the difference in number of cells, in this case 33 1/3%.

Of going the other way from 4 to 3 cell decreases RPM by 25%.

The KV rating is rpm per volt so for a 1000kv motor at ten volts you have 1000kv x 10volts = 10,000 rpm.

One thing you should not ever do is mix two different motor types on the same multicopter.

Even if they are rated the same, the response is not likely to be identical and that WILL cause stability upset.

Another thing you should also understand is that for multicopters, efficiency directly correlates to prop diameter, basically the bigger the prop, the higher the efficiency.

There are down sides if you go too big, but unless you go to extremes this is a central point.

The bigger the prop generally the slower it turns for an equivalent lift and the motors KV rating needs to match this fact.

Really big props usually correlate to really low KV ratings (100kv for Tiger motors U series but also 28" props).

You don't want to go there, just trying to give you the basic theory.

The F550 is an OK frame, but I have a freind with one and it is definitely a little "truck" like in its handling (also with a gimbal and a GoPro).

He switched to a Hoverthings FLIP FPV Pro (dead cat style) and it fly's like a sports car even with the camera and gimbal.

The DJI 920kv motors are what I use on my F450, F350 and Flip Sport, but they are very lightly loaded and hover at less than 50% throttle and fly like a sports car.

No matter what you use you are going to need at least 10" props (the biggest that will fit on an F550) and if you are using the stock DJI motors you will definitely need to switch to 4 cell.

And that is pretty heavy loading for those relatively inexpensive motors, it is unlikely their bearings will handle that heavy a load for an extended period.

Really good motors like Tiger Motor and lately KDE cost more than twice what the stock DJI motors cost although there are a number of people who will swear by some less expensive motors.

As to battery weight, A 4000mah 3 cell battery has roughly the same net energy as a 3000mah 4 cell battery.

Although you will have shorter flight times with those motors with the 4 cell equivalent battery for a 3 cell due to the fact that those particular DJI motors are noticeably less efficient on 4 cell than they are on 3 cell.

Go look at the tiger motor website and look at a few of their motors, they publish efficiency ratings for each of them and it is a good way to get a feel for what I am talking about.

http://www.rctigermotor.com/

As for the Pixhawk Autopilot, you can find a lot of info on it on the DIYDrones wiki I referenced you to.

It has a considerably broader range of features and capabilities than the Naza controller(s), but it does have a bit of a learning curve (you do not need to be a programmer though).

Hope this helps,

Gary

I started off with an ardupilot 1.4 back in 2009 and will continue to use the software/hardware (now APM 2.6 and pixhawk). However, I was lucky enough to acquire a DJI Phantom V1 from a friend of mine and have actually had a fly-away. I am no beginner with this stuff either, The Naza was set up properly and compass calibrated at the location of flight, also had full GPS lock. I still had a fly-away. I will tell you my theory of why it happened. It's all in the included DJI Phantom transmitter and receiver. I believe that if it's getting swamped by nearby 2.4GHz, the failsafe does not kick in properly - I lost total control. I tried switching in to manual flight mode but it did nothing. I was only 50 feet away when this happened. The location I had this fly-away is in the middle of a college campus with wifi hotspots all over the place. After this crash/fly-away, I put in my Frsky receiver/transmitter and have never had a problem since. Even in the same location as before. 

Daniel, I am glad you posted this question or questions. I have made the same journey but much longer. I started doing this for the Navy as a systems engineer (EE by degree) The SEALs I worked for used a drone called the Scan Eagle. I was putting a comm radio on board and when testing for the TX power out of the radio (a military Harris Comm radio) I watched the flight controls on the Scan Eagle. Thats when I started noticing the components were some of the same components I used on my helos. But MUCH less. about $149,900 less( Scan Eagle is $150K less payload PER Copy) So I started my own company and used DJI products as prototypes. I was amazed at the marketing of DJI. First of all you get used to a product that you paid $2000 for and then next month there is a new product out that is better for less. First they came out with the WooKongs, then the Naxas then the 550 Naza, then the S800 and then the S1000. I told my supplier you better slo down. He said WHY? we get my customers to pay more for the next great thing and they have to upgrade everything!  I said NO I will stop buying ANYTHING from you. And indeed the S800 is good enough for my demos. 

Meeting my customers requirements is almost impossible by using DJI. They are so BIG now they just try to run over the top of competitors or just ignore the requirements.  What I did was started to build my own which is what I did before they came out with anything but the WOOKONG.

I find the Pixhawks (except for the Sbus radios) and the Arducopter much easier to program. Infact the camera mounts on DJI have NEVER worked as advertised. Sometimes they work and others they dont. I have $5000 worth of Zenmuse that are sketchy at best. VERY disappointed.

This site and these people are SO helpful that I get more disgusted with DJI. And the stories I could tell you about the

dealers. AND the Owners? I met a guy at the AUVSI conference who was suppose to be one of the owners of DJI and

man talk about the promises that were never made. ONce they got a good share of the market those "we'll send you stuff to test" promises went right out the Windows Pardon the pun.

Anyway I can tell you more and more about my little journey but I am really having a blast learning about how every thing on DIY drones works. So here is my current opinion about the matter:

DJI is good for taking your money and teaching you the basics and then taking your video stuff and making it obsolete with your video stuff plus its under powered.   I like learning about new stuff on the market that isnt part of DJIs business plan.

This place is cool its an open place to talk. You can use DIY stuff or like for Video I like Iftron stuff for video. Much more power and cool receivers. But you'll probably find out about new stuff here.

I have almost everything DJI makes up to a year ago so if you have any questions let me know  I can probably help.

Like WHY does DJI reverse the male and female pins on their antenna on their video gear? Now you cant use other antennas to test with? why?

But if you want to GROW in this field learn how to use the APM 2.6 and Pixhawks

Hi Chris!

Thank you for taking the time to reply to me and my concerns about DJI and its weird behaviours from time to time.

Replacing the « Fisher Price look alike » transmitter and receiver was the very first thing I did on my Phantom 1.  I immediately went with a HiTeck Aurora 9X, so that controversy is out of the way for good.  I love the way it is programmed and controlled.  So far, no fly-away whatsoever with it.

This is why I can't understand all the controversy about DJI.  Sure, the Pixhawk is $500 and is certainly an excellent Flight Controller, but I'm ready to give the Naza-M a fighting chance ... for the time being.  If, in the future, I experience some unwanted behaviour from my F550, and it is proven without reasonable doubt that DJI's Naza is at fault, then, I'll seriously consider changing for another Controller.

2.4 GHz blast will sure distract the original Phantom's TX/RX Equipment.  I also considered going 900 MHz (long range(, but the Radios are very high priced, considering it is professional equipment and not that common for hobbyists like us.  Company like Dizifilms, Columbia Pictures, and National Geographic uses 900 MHz for their Drones and sure don't mind spending a few thousands of dollars on Radio Control Equipment.

Well, I am still on the lookout though.  Until then, Chris, Thank you for the info, and I'll sure keep you posted on my quest.  It was nice reading you and I look forward to read you again in the future.

Yours truly,

Daniel.

Hey Swift!

Thanks for writing in!  Pixhawk Controller is sure nice.  I am not quite sure it is fit for my needs just yet.  I am rebuilding my late Phantom 1 into a Flame Wheel F550 at the present time and, like I said before, I would like to give DJI's Naza-M Controller a fighting chance.  Some hate DJI, dome just won't even consider looking elsewhere.  It's all in the perceptions of things and the way you look at things.

Nothing wrong with the DF-13 type Connectors.  I find this type of Connecters very reliable, compact and durable.  Just like any other connectors, though, you got to be careful not to yank it out of its socket, like many do have the tendency to pull on the wires instead of carefully take the time to unplug it carefully with an exact knife or a small screw driver.  Then, when a wire comes out of the plug, they blame it on the connector type rather than the way it was handled prior to the fault.

Same applies with Controllers.  Bad calibration, pilot error is very often the cause of crashes and/or fly-aways...

It was nice reading you, my Friend, and I hope to read you in the near future.  I hope to learn more on this new technology as I continue looking for « the perfect solution » for me.

Yours truly,

Daniel.

So funny how most people start with AR.Drone or Phantom. I bought AR.Drone 2.0 as well as my first and loved it except when I got 50-60ft away from me it cut out and if it was windy flew away from me. Then I sold the AR.Drone on eBay and bought all the parts to build a F450 with APM (china clone) and after crashing multiple times and 3 Chinese APM's I decided it's time to buy 3DRobotics APM and wow, not a single issue with that. Then I decided the F450 was too small and decided to build an F550 so now I have both F450 and F550 with APM 2.6's and loving them. Have 3-Axis gimbal and GoPro FPV cable with 7" screen on tripod. Pretty fun stuff. Did this video the other day http://youtu.be/6SgFJtG6kWg - just a sample for a realtor to see what he could do.

Good luck everyone with their builds. BTW I made this video too in order to help people with simple mistakes: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lw6an0M_25Q

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