• Theo,

      Thanx for the input. Your right, I've been building, flying, driving, racing R/c stuff most of my life. The coolest thing I did was race nitro power outrigger hydros at over 100 mph for about 7 years. There are not RTF stuff in that world. You design and build from scratch. I think i breathed too much nitro methane, glue and resin in those days though.

      This is just my first venture into the autonomous stuff. I would much rather fly than build and understood from the start that I would have to work on it a lot but never expected the bird to fall so short of advertised specs.

      that being said I am going to do exactly what you suggested. Build my own with high quality components. I would order a chassis and motors and ESC's today if I knew what I was going to order. I am open to suggestions from folks who have running birds.

      Thanx for your time,


    • Ahhh, there  is nothing better then the smell of nitro in the mourning!!!

    • Mark, check out a new info site (not a vendor) at, this guy seems experienced and there is a lot of basic info and options there.

      I would stick with a quad, and if photography is going to be the thing then the "dead cat" configuration.

      Research the power system carefully, good motors are not cheap and it can be hard to make changes. You are looking to match the prop size/pitch to the motor wattage and KV. Remember bigger props are better. For hauling a gopro, 10 inch min. 11 or 12 is better, with motors to match.

      Pay a lot of attention to vibration elimination via balancing and the mount for the FC.

      Don't get hung up about frame strength. Stiffness matters at the motors, but strength in a crash can actually be a liability. Look at Goodluckbuy and Hoverthings (among many others) for frames. Frames and parts are pretty cheap and when you build your own changing out parts is no big deal.

      Here's a key thing. You already know how to fly, so you'll be good to go in that regard (all sorts of idiots try to fly these things purely autonomously without being able to fly manually at all - a guaranteed bad experience sooner or later). But still be very conservative and methodical about trying both radical manual maneuvers and working into the auto stuff. Fly only in Stabilize (manual) first, then maybe try Altitude hold, then Loiter, etc. Be ready to take manual control back instantly.

      Also: there is a lot of chatter here about flying down to voltage failsafe routinely. This is not only sketchy from a safety standpoint but is hard on LiPos. You already know that, but apparently lots of people don't, and vendors like 3DR are not about to tell you to shorten your flight time. Fly to 80% of your nominal battery capacity based on time of flight, once you've figured that out.

      Have fun.

    • I guess a compact still shot camera could be mounted for mapping? Looks like you could take the gimbal off and make a mount for the front?

    • Replying to my own post: There is a lot of confusion about 4S vs. 3S batteries. Simply going from 3S to 4S will not automatically increase flight times, and may do the opposite. Given that the two batteries have the same overall capacity, the immediate functional difference will be in motor/prop speed. The prop speed needs to be matched to the aerodynamics of the prop. For our purposes this is usually determined experimentally. Be ready for that. But a second factor is also at work and can obscure the issues,namely motor efficiency. Our brushless motors are designed to operate most efficiently at a particular voltage. Some motor makers publish those figures. Anyway, the point here is that it's not so simple as just increasing voltage to gain longer flight time or more lifting power.

    • Hi Mark

      Sorry you're having a bad time with the Iris.  I don't have one but it looks pretty cool.

      I started in the R/C / drone thing only a couple of months ago being completely new to all this wanted something simple to build to start with.  I think I lucked out into a really good combination that sounds like it might be perfect for you.  I went with essentially the DJI frame/propulsion, and the 3DR electronics so get the best of both worlds.  I get 25 mins hover/slow flying from a cheap 5000mah 4s Zippy with landing frame but no gimbal, and around 17-18mins with a gimbal.  

      Frame: DJI Flamewheel 450

      Propulsion (Motors, ESCs, Props): DJI E300

      Electronics: 3DR Pixhawk, 3DR Telemetry radios, 3DR GPS/Compass, FrSky tx+rx (taranis+X8r) - similar to what comes with the Iris I believe.

      By the sounds of it you could reuse all the electronics and just get yourself a Flamewheel ARTF kit - this includes the frame and the propulsion set in one package and are widely available for very cheap.  It's dead simple to setup and run - the props and ESCs all pre-balanced and calibrated so there's none of that malarky to go through.  I've lost count of the times I've crashed mine - including multiple drops from hundreds of feet, and apart from broken props and arms (which cost a few bucks each, get lots of spares!) everything else is still miraculously working.  You can just concentrate on the flying rather than the building..

      Like others have said you really need at least 4s power for a gimbal, and you might even be better off with a hex - you can also get cheap hex flamewheel ARTF kits (F550 + E300 6-axis).  The E300 is the same propulsion that is used in the Phantom 2/vision, and you can get parts everywhere really cheap, including ebay/goodluckbuy etc and lots of 3rd party extras as well like landing assemblies, good c/f props etc.

      If you want a similar layout as the Iris, look at the TBS Discovery which uses the flamewheel arms but provides bigger longer body with the front arms further outstretched like the Iris, so the props/legs don't get in the camera shot.

      Good luck!  Don't take a hammer to the Iris, I'm sure it's something simple that you or 3DR or someone else will figure out in due course.

    • Mark,

       Just sent you an email just in case you get banned, lol. It sounds like you made up your mind on what you what to do so it sounds like you're done messing around with the IRIS. Dont smash it, I just bought mine so I may need a chassis. I will buy it from you!

      If not then bring on the video, lol.


    • Dan,

      I stripped it but I'll hang on to it for a little while. Have to hide it to keep from pulling out my big hammer:)

  • I agree they should do something. I was lured over to the iris because of its autonomous  flight. It was a lot cheaper than buying a DJI wongkong or some other flight controller's that alone around a grand. Of coarse now they have Ground station for the Phantom for around $250 .

    What good is unlimited way points when if your lucky to get 6 to seven minutes of flight. Yes you may be able to get 15 minutes with a different battery with out gopro and gimbal. But im guessing 99% of the people that buy these types of quads what them for the videoing platform.

    They better get something going with better flight times or they are going to lose a ton of customer base to DJI and even Blade has stepped up to the plate along with walkera with 20 minute flight times with full fpv and camera gimbal.

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