I've just built my first quad, it's a Feiyu Tech kit fitted with a kkmulticopter blackboard flight controller and it's almost impossible to fly. Every flight feels like a semi controlled crash waiting to happen, needing constant stick inputs just to keep the thing the right way up and I've given up on anything resembling a stable hover.
It's not at all like the various quad videos I've seen on youtube where the guy puts the transmitter on the ground and the quad remains in a stable attitude/altitude. The quad is also very twitchy, i.e. small stick movements produce large pitch/roll movements, not really suitable for a beginner, and to be honest I've stopped trying as even getting the thing into the air is quite scary.
Is this normal for this type of setup? I was looking for a stable platform to do some aerial photography but there's no way I'd risk putting a camera on this setup as it is. Would replacing the kkmulticopter controller with an Ardupilot Mega give me a flyable platform or should just buy a Parrot AR.Drone and hack my iPhone so I can record the FPV from that? I don't want to keep spending money on DIY kit if it's inherently unstable and I can't afford a DJI or MikroKopter setup.
The KKmulticopter board is just use to help limit the roll rates on your quad, it still requires practice and skill to fly. If you want you should try out an arducopter controller, or one of the controllers by Fieyu Tech, they can be used for stabilization to that if you let go of the sticks your quad will just sit there. You can the take it one step further to let it fly to way-points automatically (included with ardupilot, but Fieyu Tech requires addon boards).
However one thing that may help with your KK boads, it to try tune it abit more to get the gains right.
Hope that helps.
Just a quick update. I've spent a few days playing with the quad, balancing the props and tweaking the gain pots and I've managed a few short semi-stable flights, but I've noticed that to get the quad flying near level I've had to use loads of trim on my transmitter (almost max back and right). Does this suggest that there may be something wrong with my setup or is this normal.
I've decided after reading your comments that the KK board probably isn't what I was looking for, being a complete noob I didn't realise that you needed more than just gyros for attitude hold and after seeing demos of the Parrot drone I'd assumed these things were inherently stable. I'd say mine is currently about as stable as a fixed pitch heli, and I never did have the reactions to fly one of those well.
I really want to concentrate more on the photography than controlling the quad so I need some sort of altitude/attitude hold. I'm also wondering if the 10" props supplied with the Fieyu kit are a little large for stable flight, the one time I accidentally nudged the throttle a little too far the thing shot straight up about 30' and I just about managed to recover into a controlled crash that only cost me a prop :)... The feiyu frame does seem quite sturdy and has survived some pretty hairy landings unscathed, but I'm going through props like there is no tomorrow.
@UnmannedTechShop when are you expecting to stock the new ardupilot mega boards, seems that as it has the magnetometers etc. built in it's going to come in around £100 cheaper overall than the older board + oilpan + magnetometer.
@Jeff. I made almost word for word the mistakes you made. Bought an arducopter, couldnt get it to work, so bought a little quadpod from the UK. I also figured they must all be fairly similar as far as flight dynamics go.
Boy was I wrong! The quadpod handles more like a 4 bladed insect that Im pretty convince wants to kill me for giving it to my Dad.
I totally feel your pain and despondence when all you want to do is take nice aerial photographs, and all your platform wants to do is start world war 3 with the old lady next door!
NOW! The arducopter is for lack of a better word, breathtakingly decadent. Just as good, if not BETTER and a crap load cheaper than MK. All the bells as whistles with the new APM2. It requires a little setup, and a miniscual amount of technical know-how. The rocket scientists have made it "not so rocket science" for us!
Even with an untuned quad, my first flight in my lounge, I managed to fly the thing in a 1.5m box!
If you want a platform to do a job, not entertain and challenge you every time you think about charging a battery, then the arducopter is the way to go! One really important aspect of my whole multi-rotor experience has come from everyone @ the DIY Drones forum.
Without sounding like a spokesman or mascot, The Arducopter harware and software are the way to go!
I promise you wont be dissapointed!
One last thing! The AR Drone! Great little toy, but just that. Its something for playing around the house with until it inevitably ends up broken in the cupboard. Great stability and flight controls due to an optical flow sensor for position hold and sonar for altitude hold. Both of which are now available for the arducopter!
The Arducopter is a exceptionally versatile tool for anything from search and rescue to aerial photography and game capture.
Another last thing about props! DO NOT BUY the black plastic props! Im sure they're made from recycled milk bottles. Although I think milk bottles are alot stronger. I went through around 10 packs of 2 props before I realised that a prop shouldnt break from touching grass.... Its a conspiracy! lol
Just buy the grey composite ones! They're 10% more expensive, but can survive a crash into a brick wall without breaking, a little chipped maybe, but nothing you cant balance out!
Okay, I think Im done now! :)
Big salute to Chris Anderson, Jason Short, Jordi Munoz and everybody else that makes this community what it is!
Join us Jeff, its a party!
Thanks for taking the time to reply, I'd just about made up my mind that the APM was the way to go, and your comments have convinced me. Looks like it'll be March before I can get my hands on an APM2 module, gives me a bit more time to save up for telemetry and FPV gear.. I can see this ending up as an addictive and expensive hobby!
Only a pleasure Jeff :)
The best way to finance a hobby is to make the hobby pay for itself. The simplest and easiest job a multi-rotor can do is aerial photography. The markets wide open and we're pretty much on the cutting edge of the game!
These are like the pre-Microsoft days, before everybody realised they all needed a computer!
Theres a fortune to be made!
I would like to point just one or two things more... Have patience. Don't expect to have a DIY quad perfectlly balanced and hovering steady for your first flights. Open source hardware and software are made considering generic frame type and weight, but with everyone having it's own different frame, you will probablly have to tune the software. Expect to be mad, frustrated, angry, wanting to put it aside, but, with patience, you will solve all the major problems and start flying, and I asure you, when you make your first good fly, it will pay for all the past problems. Remeber to ALWAYS remove or let the propellers loose when working at home connected to the pc and making tests, and I really mean ALWAYS, that is, I think, the most important safety measure you can take.
Plenty of Patience and plenty of reading with a pinch luck is all you need (experience also helps) to be able to fly take off, and then a shit load more to hover !