I am sorry.

Hey,

Let me start by introducing myself as this is my first ever post on this wonderful forum. My name is Corey and I live in the wonderful country Australia. I work for a telecom here in Australia so I am familiar (somewhat) with electronics, soldering and basic electrical principles. I also moderate a few technical based forums and run a few websites for fun! But that's enough about me...

The reason I titled the post 'I am sorry' is because I know how frustrating it can be to have people asking the same question that has been answered 1000's of times because they lack the initiave to search the forums before posting their questions. I how ever did search the forums for information to help me achieve my goals but I in the end I was left more confused the when I started. There is so much information and people looking to achieve different outcomes although I imagine what I wish to achieve is a fairly common request. So lets begin and sorry once again..

My objective:
I am interested in using a 'drone' to survey small areas, my budget is $1200. I would like live FPV of the video displayed on a PC and the camera being able to rotate, mainly up and down. (I think the term might be Gimbal, Possibly...? )

The range from the receiver will not be to large but I am not sure what a 'reasonable' distance is.

Flight time is as long as possible obviously but as far as I can tell I can expect 10-15 minutes.

I am not sure of the pro and cons of Quad Vs Hex in relation to copters, I assume Hex is better?

I am not sure whether to buy a Ready to Fly drone or purchase the supplies individualy, I am sure if I build it myself the knowledge will help me in the future and will allow me to upgrade/repair if needed.

I welcome any comments or questions just no flame please :)

Resources I have investigated.

http://code.google.com/p/arducopter/

This is a RTF drone I have seen but does not incorporate a camera. http://www.dji-innovations.com/products/phantom/overview/

I have also searched http://www.hobbyking.com but I just ended up confused.

And then there is a local retailed in Australia http://www.baskindustries.com/aerospace/ - Once again no camera though.

http://diydrones.com/forum/topics/planned-quadrocopter-uav - A very old post that appears to show how to build a cheap drone.

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Replies

  • Sorry mate but you will be hard pressed to build anything that will do what you need for $1,200? I am somewhat new to this myself but I have done considerable research on this initially thinking I could put something together for less a $1,000. Boy was I wrong! For this price range you will also be hard pressed to build anything that will fly for more than 10 min tops, and more like 5-10 mins using a gimble and at best a GoPro camera. The sad fact is that no matter what you build if you need accurate vibration free filming will cost min $2,000 and up. Video quality is entirely contingent on the type of gimble used for isolating the camera from the copter.For any professional filming a Hex is the only real option. 

    My current project for under $1,500 is a from 3DRobotics, Hexa-B kit and APM 2.5 controller. I splurged on the transmitter since I am currently working on 3 different projects, its a Spektrum DX8 using AR8000 receiver. I plan on using a GoPro Hero3 camera as soon as I can find a landing gear and gimble for the Hexa-B kit.

    The other serious contender is a DJI F550 Hex frame using a Naza-M contoller with GPS. Also using the Spektrum DX8 and AR8000 receiver. This luckily has the AeroXcraft Landing Gear for the F550 and a GoPro 3 camera and 2 axis gimble.

    Both kits are similar except that the ArduCopter is considerably cheaper if you are looking for way-point navigation and true UAV capabilities for less than 1,500. I think you need to be very careful not to expect the budget products to deliver the same capabilities as the professional systems. As long as you keep this in mind you will not be disappointed. I have been researching these systems for almost year now and it is amazing what is finally becoming affordable. If you have the talent and patience you should be able to put together something extremely useful for semi-professional AP and AV systems.

  • Distributor
    Hi Corey,

    I tried to contact you via email but I'm not sure if it got through to you.
    This post was done some time ago and I only just found it but no doubt you are still interested and maybe even have a system now? If you are still looking for a system or need help with anything then please give us a call and we'll help you out. You can find all of our contact details at http://www.baskindustries.com/aerospace/support/
  • $1200 ain't going to buy you much to setup a business to survey small areas in Australia.

    Gatewing X100.  $70,000 

    UAV Operator Certificate.  $8,000

    Insurance.  $15,000

  • Developer

    Corey you can take a look also jDrones RTF kits. We have several models available including first born ArduCopter kits

    If you buy a kit from jDrones, cameramount etc can be installed too on your frame according your needs. 

    jD-main
  • @shaun   You can get aGoPro Camera Gimbal from here for $69 and the adapter brackets to fit the frame you mentioned here for $10. The Gimbal supports both pitch and roll, which the APM2 handles perfectly. I had one of these and I loved it, but since the Jdrones Gimbal for $39 fits the Arducopter so well (and for a sweet price) I'm going to start using it instead. But for the frame you recommended the one I linked to cannot be beat!

  • The range from the receiver will not be to large but I am not sure what a 'reasonable' distance is.

    Typical off-the-shelf RC radio setup will give you a range of about 3km.  Range can be greatly increased by utilizing directional antennas,  however there are many other options here.

    Flight time is as long as possible obviously but as far as I can tell I can expect 10-15 minutes.

    This will depend on many factors.   In short it depends largely on how optimized your multicopter is for the given all-up weight (AUW) including payload.  For maximum efficiency (flight time),  you will need to ensure your choice of motor runs at 60-70% of their max power in the hover, with full payload.   In addition, as a basic guide, you will find that a quadcopter  with good quality, low KV motors (350-400kv) combined with large props (14-15inch), will give you the longest flight time.  Low KV motors spin slower, produce more torque and therefore can swing a larger prop.   A large slow spinning prop is more efficient at moving the same volume of air than a smaller faster spinning prop,  however  smaller props can change their speed faster and therefore will be generally more stable, especially in wind.   However for your application this won't be a problem, as you are taking stills, not video.


    I am not sure of the pro and cons of Quad Vs Hex in relation to copters, I assume Hex is better?

    A hex providers single engine out redundancy, provided that you have sufficient power to weight ratio head room.  You will need about a 3:1 power weight ratio,  however a hex is generally less efficient than a quad and further, you may need larger - heavier - motors that can provide at least a 3:1 power:weight ratio head room, which will further sacrifice your efficiency (as explained above).   So you will have to find an even medium that suits your application best.

    I am not sure whether to buy a Ready to Fly drone or purchase the supplies individualy, I am sure if I build it myself the knowledge will help me in the future and will allow me to upgrade/repair if needed.

    Good question.   Forums are a good source of information,  however personally, if I was to do it again  I would find someone competent that is in your area, and can provide for you professional consultation on machine setup, configuration, flight training, troubleshooting  and maintenance.   This will be your fastest path to getting you business up and running, and in the longer term, the most cost effective way of going about entering the world of multicopters.



    I welcome and comments or questions just no flame please :)

  • 3D Robotics

    No worries, those are all good questions. They basically boil down to three questions:

    1) How big a camera do you need to carry? If a GoPro or point-and-shoot is fine, a quad is ideal. If you need a DLSR, you'll do better with a hexa, which can carry more weight. 

    2) Do you need a UAV or just a RC copter? If you plan to fly everything manually, a RC copter is fine. But if you want it to do autonomous GPS-guided missions, you'll need a full UAV like ArduCopter. 

    3) How technical are you? If you're not pretty experienced with both RC and electronics, you'll be better with an RTF copter. Don't worry, you'll get plenty of challenge and learning ;-)  Here's a good place to get RTF ArduCopters.

    http://www.udrones.com/category_s/25.htm
This reply was deleted.

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