A new tools for forest restoration monitoring

( Our new Iris with video team from Al Jazeera Earthrise series )

Recently we try the Iris equip with Gopro Hero 3 in front to monitor the progress of forest restoration in North Sumatra National Park.

The beauty of this system is its full automatic capability. Pilot or the forest restoration manager just need to program a series of waypoints and the desire altitude according to the resolution require. Then the Iris will take off by itself once it was commanded, slowly accents to altitude and fly in a constant forward speed. It also navigate the grid line well.

This system also provide a very important and essential properties because of it's capability of vertical takeoff and landing. In tropical rain forest, one almost impossible to find a good landing spot for plane base UAV. Parachute recovery may end up hanging the drone on top of tree canopy because of changing winds direction.

The only drawback of this system currently is the flight duration. With a Gopro on board, we can only program for a 7 to 8 minutes flight which travel a distance of about 2 KM. It will be great if 3D robotic will upgrade it to fly for at least 20 minutes. With a longer arm, low kv dish type motor and a big propeller and battery, I think it is not too difficult to get there.

But even with the current set up, one can easily monitor 20 to 30 hectares of forest in less than 10 minutes. 5 fully charge battery will enable the forest manager to cover more than 100 hectare in less than 2 hours. Compare to ground survey, a few forest ranger may take weeks to complete the same task.

As the Iris is relatively new to me and the fact that I am also new to arducopter firmware, I will need to accumulate more flying hours with it and explore different functions the powerful Mission Planner can offer. I already had a very good start thanks to the Ready to Fly Iris. I do hope to discover more ways to use the system for various conservation, research and agriculture work.



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Comment by Noli Sicad on March 11, 2014 at 12:45am

Hi Keeyan,

You can probably increase the endurance (i.e. flight duration) of your IRIS by buying 2 pcs of  one of these lipo batteries (below). These lipo batteries are 14.8 volts. (It is available in Jakarta shop). Then you can use the parallel distribution cable to connect to the APM power module connector.

Revox Pro 5S 5500mAh 30C Nano Tech Li-Po Battery



Revox Pro 4S 5500mAh 30C Nano Tech Li-Po Battery


You can buy a parallel distribution battery cable


You can modified the cable by using this

Revox Pro XT90 Ultra Connector (2 Pair)


Comment by Noli Sicad on March 11, 2014 at 12:56am

I think this is the connector that you should be buying to connect to APM power module.

Revox Pro XT60 Ultra Connector (2 Pair)


"These connectors are made from high-temp nylon with gold-plated spring pins or sockets molded in. The shape of the XT60 prevents reverse polarity, and when plugged in the connection is super-solid. Perfect for applications up to and beyond 65A continuous draw. Sold in pairs of 1 male and 1 female connector."

Comment by Mike Downey on March 11, 2014 at 4:55am

are you flying your iris on 5s?

Mine came with a 3s3500 pack (and not a very good one) but I have been flying it with a $22 20c 3s5000 zippy pack. this gives a substantial increase in flight time and the pack still fits inside the battery bay, which is nice. I didnt really notice any difference in flight characteristics either....

Comment by Simon Wunderlin on March 11, 2014 at 5:27am

The above posts look like blog spam. The iris' engines are rated 4S max, propellers are probably optimized for 3S. Don't use these batteries, it is very possible that you will damage the iris.



Comment by keeyen pang on March 11, 2014 at 6:17am
Hi Noli, thanks for your info. I think Simon is right. The motor and ESC can only support up to 4S and the propeller included is certainly optimized for 3S battery. It will worth to try out 3S 5000 if it can fit in the small compartment.
Comment by Mike Downey on March 11, 2014 at 7:37am

Yea.. I was wondering what he was smoking! :)

the zippy packs I am using now fit quite well. They are rated 5000mah and measure 145x52x25mm. There is room on either side, so this dimension would even grow, but the height of 25mm is about perfect for the battery compartment. the 145mm length is about tops though as the wires still need space to be tucked away. 

Comment by Simon Wunderlin on March 11, 2014 at 7:42am

how are flight times with a 5A 3S compared to the stock battery?

Comment by Noli Sicad on March 11, 2014 at 7:51pm

Hi Keeyen,

Reading the specs of the IRIS from 3DR, I think to safe you should get this lipo batteries,

Revox Pro 4S 3500mAh 35C Nano Tech Li-Po Battery

4S will give the burst of power when you need it. Again, I suggest you should get 2 pcs. 4S 3500mAh can connect  in parallel. You will probably get more than 2x of your current flying time.

BTW, could get this type of lipo batteries in KL or Medan? Any shop in KL and Medan that sell FPV / UAV stuff?

Would it be possible to post photo on where the current lipo battery is placed right now? Is possible to put 2 lipo batteries in IRIS?

Comment by lianpinkoh on March 12, 2014 at 12:55am

Great job! I like your cap Keeyen ;)

Comment by hotelzululima on March 12, 2014 at 6:24am

hmm I just got the IRIS.. and its clearly up to a 4S LIPO.. and the above poster does state to hook in parallel the batteries he is pushing  resulting in only a 4S voltage to the curcuitry and that being said a quick run though xcoptercalc.ch quickly reveals that its a vanishing returns problem after about 5000ma as the extra weight from 2 batteries will not net you flight times like you are expecting.

BUT I will indeed look at any and all 4S solutions as I will be carrying aloft a LOT of extra crap... like gimbel gopro or public labs webcam and beaglebone black  and navigation lights  up 1 meter strip of 144RGB  led per meter UBEC for 8 amps for same(solid white all lamps light max), OR Blue Electroluminescent panels on the bottom OR an RM-80 radiation assay sensor OR OR... plus telemetry boards + lidar unit(planned).

Maybe I should just get the Gryphon Dynamics DuoDeca on order right now :)


ps that battery compartment is quite limiting


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