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.
Agree with all of these.
I had, what I would consider a moderately hard landing (had to drop it from ~1' off the ground) and the long picoatinny leg snapped at the top where it clamps on. I really like the idea of a modular accessory system, but if this is the strength of the accessories I would rather just have a straight up bolted on re-inforced landing gear. Even more frustrating that the part can not be ordered rendering my gimbal useless.
I would love to see:
Excellent summary and I agree 100% with your suggestions. I still need to add FPV as soon as the parts arrive, but plug and play for noobs would be a great addition.
you can now purchase replacement long legs from 3dr. https://store.3drobotics.com/products/iris-tall-legs
I know they aren't much to look at, but I don't think you will beat the weight. They are simple to make and if they fail or get damaged, very easily replaced. All you need is a drill press, a 1/8" bit and a 1/8" rod from Home Depot. They actually absorb a lot of damage in rough landings. The rod is 48" long and will make 2 legs. Each is 24" long. Put a 90 degree bend at the 6" point, then the 12" bottom portion then another 6" riser. Just hold the flat portion of the leg against the drill press table and start at one corner and it will end at the other corner. Easy Peasy..and it works really good. Why carry all that extra weight? Here is a picture:
iPad app for droid planner
Let's be fair: A Ground Control Station (GCS) app for iPad is not specific to 3DR or IRIS.
Also iPads are a closed system that don't allow developers to slam on some hardware and freely talk to it. That's why there isn't any GCS for iOS out there yet.
My recommendation: Buy a cheap Nexus 7 or other 7 inch Android tablet from eBay and use it as a GCS. Also buy an FPV screen mount for the transmitter and mount the 7 inch Android via velcro on that mount. That's what I did.
Some more items for the fixes list:
- Longer "short" legs: With the current short legs the IRIS hangs just a few mm above the floor. If starting/landing from (wet) grass - such as on a Baseball field - the lower body sits in the wet grass. Also this way the rotors often touch grass. Last but not least, you cannot actually open the battery door and slide in a battery when IRIS is sitting on the ground.
It would be good if the short legs were 1/2 cm longer.
My workaround: I bough these toy foam balls (http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B005O46EPW/), cut a little slit in them and glued them on the legs. This way IRIS is 1/2 cm taller and I get extra cushion/protection in case of a hard landing.
- Choice of radio transmitter: The 3DR branded FrSky 9x radio that comes with the IRIS is a decent and cheap radio. But unfortunately it also has some issues with the cheap potentiometers in it. They seem to fail quite quickly.
It would be nice if customers had a choice of upgrading their radio to e.f. Spektrum DX7s (https://store.3drobotics.com/products/spektrum-dx7s-7-ch-transmitte...) as you do with other 3DR models.
- LiPo for RC transmitter: 3DR should sell a LiPo as an add-on for the 3DR branded transmitter. Buying AA batteries for it, is just silly.
I'm using this Turnigy pack, which works very well. Only two words of warning. You need an adapter cable in order to charge it with the IRIS provided charger as it obviously doesn't come with a XT-60 plug. Before plugging the little white plug into the RC transmitter, make sure to swap the cables in it. Plus and minus are inverted. Looking at the RC transmitter you need black (minus) on the left, red (plus) in the middle and nothing on the right. It's easy to get the connectors out of the plastic piece and swap them though. See here for more: http://www.rcgroups.com/forums/showpost.php?p=27014439&postcoun...;
Any chance you can show a picture of the setup you are using? Are you saying you are using BOTH a 7" Nexus AND a separate FPV screen? I'd be interested in seeing what your setup looks like regardless of the answer to the second question.
Sure. Here are some pictures of my GCS setup:
Bought the FPV-screen mount on eBay for about 15 USD. It comes with a screw for that long slit in the middle of the top plate to mount an FPV-screen. As the Nexus 7 doesn't have a corresponding adapter, I used velcro tape instead. The 3DR telemetry is also attached to the Nexus 7 via velcro tape.
That way I can quickly take things apart and store it. Works great so far and it's not as heavy as one might fear.
+1 on all of Elsen's suggestions, especially the legs. Unless you're landing on completely flat surfaces, the belly of the Iris often gets scraped.