I Really Need help solving a problem for all of us!

We have a great new Wiki / Manual which is actually being I think very helpful for all of us.

But there is a Huge - Seemingly Intractable Problem. At least in my estimation of things:


No the Iris isn't the problem, It's a really great 3DR copter, probably the best one available for the price - period.

Mostly its just here to get your attention and point to the actual problem.

The problem is the wiki is viewed as the exclusive property of 3DR: essentially for the dissemination of information about 3DR products and the firmware that runs on them.

This is not true for the DIYDrones website, only the Wiki and it has produced such significant conflict that I resigned as director of the wiki because of the conflict my more liberal approaches were causing.

Don't get me wrong, 3DR is underwriting this whole venture including the DIYDrones web site, but the Wiki is the persistant and coherent reference that allows us to put information important to us in a place for all to see.

Neither DIYDrones Blogs or Discussions have the sort of persistence and coherence necessary for a body of reference and instructional material.

I am especially distressed because I was truly central in importing almost all of the files from the previous wiki to this one and in updating most of them considerably.

I think it is fair to say that at this point at least 75% percent of the wiki pages contain major editing and additions by me and the only reason it is that small is that lately their have been more contributors - especially Randy.

Indeed, I also think the wiki should primarily support our open source firmware and hardware and such hardware as works with it and favoring 3DR is certainly understandable.

But I also feel very strongly that DIYDrones now serves as a central information hub for people who know nothing about Multicopters and drones and that we are missing both an opportunity and an obligation by not also thoroughly addressing those needs as well.

In particular I have written the following pages that are currently living in the APMCopter Wiki section that are at the moment a considerable cause of discord:







And Particularly


Which I consider one of my best.

Several of the pages are directly built off of members Blogs, answers to repeated forum or Blog questions and they all seek to provide guidance in areas of obviously common interest to many members.

Lately I was told that these were not considered appropriate for the Wiki because they didn't stick close enough to the mandate of providing information for APM firmware and hardware installation, set up and tuning.

And I was directed that a DIYDrones Blog or discussion would be more appropriate.

My consideration of this is that they are completely inadequate for this and simply fade into non-existence in a few weeks.

And they do not provide anything like a rich enough format for this sort of important information.

I went to a hell of a lot of trouble to learn about the Wiki and how to edit optimally in it and to make full use of it's features in the belief at the time that it was a democratized wiki for all to contribute to.

And now I am told to say what I think is important in a format without persistence or form.

Of course I am not happy about this, but it is, in fact, entirely beside the point.

What is the point is how can we get this information to be available for our DIYDrones users without either conflicting with 3DR or with the Wiki / Manuals primary reason for existence of providing information for our Open firmware and Open hardware.

I would think either a separate Wiki section within each major wiki section or a separate wiki section entirely.

But in either case it is necessary to convince 3DR of the necessity for this because as it stands they view their ownership position as not having room for this - in so far as I have been led to believe and understand.

If yoiu do not care or think that this descision is 3DR's tomake and should stand as it is fine - repond and let me and 3DR know you are in complete agreement with them.

If you think that there needs to be a centralized, persistent and non specific to APM/Pixhawk hardware and APM firmware resource on the DIYDrones site speak up or forever hold your peace.

And suggestions of form and method are also appreciated (though I think the WP wiki which I have spent over a year learning the ins and outs of are pretty excellent).

Best Regards,


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  • HI Gary, I saw your last post. I visited your new venture - dronesarefun - I like where that is going and bookmarked it. Time to move on, mate. Keep up the good work and don't look back too often. Good things will come from your venture.


  • For anybody still looking at this link, just a note, Randy has now removed the "Start Here" page I put in that recommended starting with an inexpensive consumer RTF quad like the Hubsan X4 or UDI 818.

    And even supplied complete instructions on how to fly.

    I actually thought that was one of the most worthwhile and beneficial to new people coming to DIYDrones pages I ever wrote.

    The way it is now they can waste thousands of dollars on broken parts before they ever learn how to fly.

    It wasn't exactly about APM or Pixhawk, but it did tell people a safe, inexpensive and sane way to learn how to fly multicopters.

    Randy thought it wasn't necessary, so send your bills to Randy.

    It is still alive and well at:


    But so many of the new DIYDrones members will never get to my site, I am sorry about what the Owners of the DIYDrones Wiki site have decided wasn't in their best interest and that you will have to suffer for it.

  • Hi Aaron,

    Thank you for the link, it looks like it has lots of good information I will certainly link to it on my website, and to specific articles within it where they are germane.

    Drones Are Fun is now finally up and running and I am planning on expanding it with several new pages of constructive value for even hard core DIYDrones members.

    First I have already put in a new page on batteries which provides more comprehensive description and implementation  information for our uses than I have seen elsewhere.

    And I am next planning on inserting several pages on camera and video installations and practical methods of exploiting them for copters and planes using the latest capabilities of Pixhawk and APM.

    Best Regards,



  • For what it's worth, I just came across a useful, very open wiki at http://www.eflightwiki.com/ .

  • IRIS makes Model Airplane News ... sort of...well, not really...

    @ John Dennings: You're spot-on, this sort of thing is bad for business. Another negative effect of obsessing over what's happening in what is perceived as a bought-and-paid-for personal sandbox is nearsightedness and loss of focus. For a possible example: Yesterday my copy of July's Model Airplane News arrived, and on page 75, in an article titled "Hot For Summer! 35 Must Have Planes & Products" there's pictured a RTF quad, "Iris." This Iris has an on board camera, etc. etc. and costs $129.99, but is reduced to $99.99 at Amainhobbies.com, the primary vendor! Is this Iris maybe related to the 3DR Iris? Who knows? Certainly not a noobie customer.  I'll bet that a lot of people will be wondering why one Iris costs tens times as much as another Iris. Maybe somebody needs to be paying attention to trademark and branding instead of worrying about non-3DR-specific content polluting "their" so-called open source community. Heads should probably roll, but I'm ROTFL!  

  • First, a partial apology to Craig and Randy, I better understand your positions now and I actually sympathize with them.

    I say partial because, sadly, this looks like it was a matter that could have been largely resolved by better communication and collaboration several months back rather than simply issuing edicts.

    Till that time I was in charge of the wikis and responsible for them, simply cancelling that circumstance and demanding that I get permission for everything was (in my opinion) an abysmal way to handle it.

    Had Randy and I actually communicated with each other we could have worked this out to the benefit of the DIYDrones community.

    And Randy, publishing your list of editor "commands" in one of the editor information resources was not adequate for one simple reason, I wrote the information resource, I knew everything in it, it is the single place I would never look.

    Honestly, it might have been a good thought to have Emailed me a copy - don't you think!

    I was breaking "RULES" I didn't even know existed.

    Unfortunately, that isn't what happened and I am sure I am at least partly to blame, although I was honestly unaware of the true nature of the problems at the time.

    Oh well water under the bridge and there is really no going back.

    Randy still is very much of the opinion that the Copter wiki should only be for APM and PX4 implementation and use specific information and put in there in the most coherent way possible.

    In fact I actually agree with him, but that also means that the wiki does not have an indexable source of encyclopedic information outside of that.

    Since that was my original purpose in taking on the wiki in the first place, clearly it is not the appropriate place for me to continue to expend my efforts.

    Therefore, I will continue ahead with my own website which is intended to provide primarily Non-APM or PX4 implementation and use information of interest to the DIYDrones community and others interested in UAVs for personal use.

    I have not yet really launched my website as it is still missing a substantial number of it's pages.

    But for those of you interested you can take a look at the very much under construction version at


    I still have lots of pages to add and the pages that are there are mostly just starts.

    My gary@dronesarefun.com Email is now also active and if you would like please feel free to contact me there with any suggestions, changes or additions you would like to see.

    I am very happy to entertain any positive contributions any of you would care to make although at the moment I will have to insert them by hand because the site is straight HTML / CSS.

    There will be no divisive or negative or controversial content of any kind, the site is there to be informative and helpful, period.

    Eventually I hope to include a public forum or bulletin board, but that also will be moderated to achieve the above conditions.

    Best Regards,


  • I wish I could be as knowledgeable as Gary, as diplomatic as John and as eloquent as Oliver, but I'm none of those. I'm just a guy who likes drones and am trying to figure it all out. And Gary's stuff has helped me immensely. This "3DR shooting itself in the foot" seems to be a new and developing theme, which is unfortunate.

  • +1. Very well said.


    >  It also demonstrates in no uncertain terms that the corporation, 3DR, owns or thinks it owns this "open source" community.


    This seems to  be the origin and core of the problem. And it means scores of existing or potential  customers going elsewhere every time this incorrect belief  results in disagreements.

    VC's or anyone caring about bottom lines should take note ... 

  • As an experienced R/C pilot who attempted to use the pathetic instructional material that was the norm here prior to Gary McCray's contributions I am dumfounded that anyone with an ongoing interest in DIYD's continued relevance would be so stupid (and I use that word advisedly) as to do anything other than bring Gary cookies and milk and ask him in gentle loving tones what else he might want or need to remain happy and productive.

    Engineers, even brilliant engineers, are as common as Thoroughbred horses. Engineers who can write coherent useful material useable by non-engineers are as rare as albino buffaloes. The earlier post by 3DR's Mr. Elder denigrating Engineer McCray is a spectacular example of  someone shooting himself in the foot, killing the goose that lays the golden eggs, throwing the baby out with the bathwater, biting his nose to spite his face - take your pick. It also demonstrates in no uncertain terms that the corporation, 3DR, owns or thinks it owns this "open source" community.

    Good luck to DIYD/3DR replacing Gary, no offense to any individual but there's no sign anywhere on this site of the required talent. Rather to the contrary, as many of us peasants have struggled for hours and days as if dealing with a 1970's VCR with badly translated Japanese instructions. While much improved by Gary's work, especially in regard to basics, the chaos can still be seen every single day in the forums (where the frustrations and failures conveniently sink out of sight quickly, so as not to disturb the shiny corporate illusions of reliable, easy to use RTF products).

    It is our great good fortune that Gary has decided to continue to help us, but on his own terms and on his own Web site. He says he'll continue to support this community and 3DR. That's remarkable in light of the abuse he's been handed. A lot of people would issue a one finger salute and be done with it, and I wouldn't blame them. Shame on everyone who has driven this man into such a position, whether intentionally or out of thoughtlessness,  just shame on you!

  • Hi Gary, it seems like the central point of disagreement revolves around the concepts of "Stricly Manual/3DR products”, vs “Wiki/authoritative Ardupilot information source” going beyond pure Ardupilot how-tos and 3DR products” ? I for one have found all your articles first rate, and think they are much enriching. I also prefer an authoritative kind of wiki, as a user and 3Dr customer.  So thank you for the enormous work you’ve done with the current wiki, and your first rate entries. I also strongly agree that relegating flagship information to the obscure and unfindable cellars of the DIY Drones site is not a viable alternative.


    It’s a tough problem. On one hand I can understand the 3DR need for control in order to guarantee accurate information, and  I also admire the great work by Randy and others there. I also understand that as a sponsor 3DR needs to seek and obtain  a return on its investment, along with the fact that  3DR has done a lot to further Ardupilot. On the other hand, though,  I find that the need to specifically restrain information restricts scope and quality[*]. So we are back to this “3DR gain” vs “Variety and richness for users” dilemna. It’s not influencing development to favor Pixhawk vs other boards now,  it’s influencing information to favor 3DR products vs other products running Ardupilot, at the cost of quality and variety.


    I also  find the “Sponsored by 3DR” logo on each page disengineous if it actually means: “Content fully controlled by 3DR, restricted to 3DR products, APM 2.x and Pixhawk”. (Oh, and VRBrain , flyMaple, etc ... info  not welcome, high end octocopter CF frames neither, etc ...  nope, only aluminium square tubes here ‘cause that’s what we do). Yeah, ok, :) I am pushing it but one gets the drift.  “A 3DRobotics Website” would be more accurate.


    3DR has every right to do what it wants, of course, but we,  users and customers, can always  favor alternatives, informative ones in this case. So I hope 3DR  can be more inclusive and flexible.  If not, and by dictating and restricting what goes where, (yet historically resting  on a lot of free information from volunteers), 3DR runs the risk of getting into another epic fiasco,  the way it just has  with this. I really hope it won’t go there on this issue, as it will be the first loser, and it will lose a lot, just like it already did. Which means everybody loses ...

    But if no consensus can be reached, forking is always an alternative. As far as I know none of the information is copyrighted ... A Github tree for community revision control and syncing, with a Google or similar site for actual display, could work ...


    *[ I mean, (this is just one example) in the case of multirotors Iris is ok, but come on, far from representative of the best copters running Ardupilot.  Anyone not convinced can check Marco's fleet ...  So a site that wants to be authoritative on Ardupilot simply cannot focus just on 3DR. This will necessarily result in lower overall quality, and it is a serious issue, especially when much of what Ardupilot rests on, documentation included, is from the community and not 3DR.]


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