Based on some of the comments I have stumbled over here and at http://ardupilot.com/ here is my "wishlist" for add-ons as well as "fixes" to IRIS. Please chime in if something is missing or some of the items are completely out of whack.
My hope is, that this will help 3DR's product management to prioritize on how to further develop IRIS as a platform. Here is my list in no particular order:
- Comprehensice spare parts: A lot of people have already crashed IRIS and potentially broken things. Unfortunately the list of spare parts one can order from 3DR for repairs is not very comprehensive. Two examples of items that have already broken for folks, where there is no spare part: Long legs for Gimbal usage, outer shell. 3DR should make all parts that are used in IRIS available as spare parts.
- IRIS clinic: For people who have crashed IRIS and broken it, there should be an IRIS clinic where you can ship your UAV and it will be fixed and checked out again. Obviously this can't be free, but should be reasonably priced.
- Easy-to-install FPV kit: Provide a ready and easy to install FPV kit (incl. for IRIS, that end-users can install themselves without having to solder anything. It would be good if a GoPro3 camera (either mounted in the front or on the Gimbal) could be used as camera. Also it would be good if a version with a LCD screen as well as Goggle (Fatshark?) version would be available.
- Higher capacity LiPo: Provide a higher capacity (5000 mAh?) LiPo that will fit into IRIS and has the correct XT-60 connector. Some people are already using such LiPo (e.g. http://www.rcgroups.com/forums/showpost.php?p=27463159&postcoun...) and want to increase flying time for IRIS with or without Gimbal.
- GPS receiver copper shield: Some folks are complaining about poor GPS reception due to interference. Whether this is really the case or not, this post here shows an elegant solution to better shield the GPS: http://www.rcgroups.com/forums/showpost.php?p=27425378&postcoun.... Why not offer this as a retrofit add-on: Copper-Foil with insulated sticky glue on one side, grounding wire with connector soldered to it and magnetic replacement screws.
- Transport/Storage box for props on: While the transport case at https://store.3drobotics.com/products/iris-case is nice, I would prefer one where you can keep the props on. Some made one out of a Pelican 1650 case already: http://diydrones.com/photo/iris-in-pelican-1650-w-dx8. Having to take the props off every time I put IRIS away to sleep is silly.
And here are some fixes that I would like to see on future IRIS revisions:
- RTF means don't mess around with Mission Planner: Place a big red sticker on the USB port of IRIS that warns users not to run through the setup in Mission Planner. Probably every second of your customer (including myself) has initially messed up IRIS playing around with that.
- Status LED: Don't place the status LED on the battery door, but underneath the failsafe button above he battery door. It's easy to break the wires of that LED when fiddling with battery charge cables. Also when I place the battery into IRIS and connect it to the XT-60 connector, I leave the door open until I get a blinking blue or green light. But it's hard to see this light with the door still open.
- GPS receiver copper shield: Install the above mentioned GPS copper shield at factory.
- RC transmitter - Backlight display: The RC transmitters LCD is pretty much useless outside without a backlight display. As such a thing is readily available it should be installed at factory already.
- Channel 8: Program channel 8 on the transmitter and place e.g. Simple mode on it.
Good tips and we have already put together an FPV set-up at www.blackopsdrones.com Video intro should be up in the next couple days.
Of course I already forgot one add-on:
- LiPo pack for RC transmitter: Provide a ready-to use LiPo pack for the RC transmitter provided with IRIS as an add-on product. Using regular AA batteries is not very efficient for frequent users. And soldering your own LiPo pack not possible for everyone.
This is awesome, thanks for posting!
Does the copper shield really offer a significant improvement?
Personally I haven't had any issues with the GPS and have therefore not tried this.
Gervais writes at http://www.rcgroups.com/forums/showpost.php?p=27425378&postcoun... that "This simple mod visibly improved the GPS reception of the IRIS (might act as some sort of groundplane or even reduced some interference of other components) : Faster 3D fix, lower HDOP". At the same time reading this (http://ardupilot.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=48&t=6689#p13052) from HZL states: "..HDOP did NOT go down as far as I can tell very much...".
So guess one can say: Results are mixed. From an electrical engineering perspective the mod does make sense. The question is: How much. But given the cost for the material is probably around 1-3 USD, it might be worth giving it a try. I would probably pay up to 10 USD if someone made a ready to use kit for this.
Yeah, I saw your 'IRIS Custom "Spec Ops" Package' and was hoping that you'll post more info and also offer the parts separately. :-)
What are you using for the transport case? Does it allow for the props to remain attached?
What is channel 7 switch operating? I know its programed cause I can see it switching in mission planner.. Can simple mode or any other mode be added to channel 7?
Yes, you can also use Channel 7 for Simple mode (that's what I do) or anything else. See here: http://copter.ardupilot.com/wiki/channel-7-and-8-options/
What I rather meant: The RC transmitter that comes with IRIS has the capability to provide channel 8, but it's not configured. See here for instructions on how to configure it yourself: http://www.communistech.com/blog/how-to-configure-a-switch-for-ch8-...
I just hope 3DR would enable Channel 8 by default in the RC transmitters.
I cant comment on the tx that comes with the Iris, but its possible with other transmitters to use 2 switches to output 6 levels on one channel. Using channel 7 to do the simple on/off ad another for flight modes means you effectively waste 2 channels. Mixing as described in my first sentence gives you "6 levels" over one channel.
Adding a gimbal adds about 200g and this significantly reduces the flight time. The bog standard motors are crap, add a bit of weight and your times go down fast.
its not the mod its using solid copper at the L1 frequency I am not sure is providing any relief, given my 1.2 ghz ham experience I suspect I need to silversolder coat the copper before its going to give reasonable performance at 1.2 ghz possible the shields from an old wifi B card repurposed will offer better performance(and lighter weight) or I suspect a mast is the only way the Ublox 6H will perform as its supposed to, I also was looking at ferrite beads on lines going to the GPS as I suspect this is RF being induced to the front end amp of the ublox and the resulting desensitization that follows.(not sure from what component however I will hook it(the gps cables to my SDR via capacitive coupling and see what it can find in spectrum analyzer mode. I need to fabricate a GPS mast next and hull attachment for same and get my molex crimpers out to fabricate some longer cables(out of milspec silver teflon(from my paparazzi days)).
ps you would think this would have been worked out before all these units were out in the field, I am NOT impressed by what I have seen so far on the GPS performance in the IRIS model with the 3.1 software mine came with.(in all other ways I am happy as a clam about the IRIS but so far the GPS performance sucks)...
Oh Ok that's what I thought. I had seen the channel eight instructions, but though why cant we just use 7.
One other thing they should also do is put out some video tutorials on using different features. Like adding channel's, or using mission planner or droid planner. They have a few but they are not the best and there could be a lot more. I'm sure their are plenty of knobs' like me here that are trying to wrap their head around some of this stuff. I'm getting most of it figured out slowly but better instruction would help.
I will say though, so far their support for me has been great