3D Robotics

Top Five UAV N00b Questions (and answers)

Having run this site for a few years now, I'm all too expert on the first reaction of newbies. Some of them I understand, some continue to mystify me. Here are the top five:

1) I want a helicopter to fly by itself! Can you help? We get this one daily. I don't really understand why. Perhaps it's because helis are so hard to fly manually? At any rate, most of these folks don't stay long. As the regulars here know, helis are the hardest autonomy challenge there is, between vibration, lack of forward motion for GPS yaw correction and generally fiddlyness. It sounds easy ("can't I just use a gyro or something?"), perhaps because heading-hold gyros are so common in RC helis, but it's not.

2) Where can I buy a UAV ready to go? Do you have one for less than $100? This is pretty understandable, and maybe someday you will be able to buy UAVs at Target. But not yet. And this is, after all, DIY Drones.

3) I've got a tilt sensor/heli gyro/Wii controller/iPhone. Can it fly a plane? This is the reason we have the FAQ about the need to fuse data from three gyros and three accelerometers to create a full attitude solution right on the front page. Again, unless you know about gyro drift and accelerometer noise, you don't understand the need for both. Hopefully a little reading here will help explain all.

4) I want 2 build a UAV drone! Can u help me please sir! Sigh. This is invariably from college students from a certain country I won't name. No, we won't do your homework for you. Please do us the favor of reading the information on this site for just a minute before you ask people to repeat what's already here.

5) How do I do [X]? (where X is something linked right on the front page). This is probably our fault as much as newcomers', but there is an incredible volume of information on this site if people would take the trouble to look for it. We've tried to anticipate most needs with tabs, a search box, forums organized by categories and a newbie guide ("I'm new to this. Where do I start?") right at the top of the front page. As we move the documentation to the Google Code wikis, we'll have even more organizational features at our disposal. I suspect this is a job that's never done, but if you all have any suggestions on how to do it better, please leave them in the comments.
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  • I AM a noob, for sure, without a doubt, not subject to opinion. I am still assembling my first drone, and read line by line through the manual while doing ANYTHING. I don't think posts like this one are offensive, but noobs DO get offended. Watch for it. There are people right here at the drones, just like any web community, who feel a need to use the forums as stress relief. Noobs are an easy target, and veterans need to watch out, or the knowledge base will quit growing.
  • I've not been here that long, but my brain hurts regularly with the amount of information I'm trying to digest of this site. I don't really post yet, but I will soon enough... the plans are on the table and I'm itching to transition from theory to practice :)

    BTW, for any other noobs reading this. Subscribe to the DIYDrones podcast on iTunes and listen to every single episode. There is more information in those than you can poke a stick at! Then if you get through all those, and you've exhausted the blog entries here, go look at the RCGroups threads.

    Oh and fly your trainer - LOTS!
  • Lets motivate each other to be the first to release a drone on an other planet...To infinity and beyond!
  • Admin
    Thank you, I like what you said about" directions to moon" and "don't wait for me" , I am sure your words will motivate the moderators and admins here to do even better. All I as a noob can say is keep up, some day soon you will make a gr8 UAV op./ enthusiast, soon
  • Noob's offended? I'm not. i'm very interested in UAV/UAS to start a little paying hobby aka company aside my 5 days/week payed slavery occupation. I dare not te dream of anything greater. Some commercial UAV/UAS like the microdrone or the draganfly keep me up at night or make me wet my bed but looking at the price my hart stops pumping. So i came to DIY drones and yes i've put in my share of noob-remarks. But only the good will stay. I'm good at soldering and programming, but that's my job. But i won't get a system with camera to take vertical photo's at predefined locations under €1000 without putting in my own share. That's the reality.

    But what all you pioneers must realize: The further you get the more stupid questions will pop up. If "we" really landed on the moon and when those guy's had a mobile phone, the first call they would receive would be from a noob to ask directions to the moon...go figure
    Keep up the good work and maybe if i am persistant enough i can keep up, but please don't wait for me ;-)
  • This ain't DIFY DRONES.

    I was, am and will be a noob for a while yet...probably a long while.

    But, I appreciate everyone who welcomed me gave me a bit of feedback and allowed me, through the organization of this site, to participate and learn by "watching" what they have been doing, trying and sometimes failing. Things I can try or don't have to now that its been done.

    I understand DIY and what it really means...

    All you Noobs...look, read, learn, have fun...but don't expect anyone to DIFY (Do It For You), that includes selling you a ready-made UAV or tracking down the info you need and could easily find on your own.

    All you not-so-Noobs...patience. Its the most important trait of the teacher...and like it or not that is what you are here...teachers. Its expected.

    Umm...maybe put a link to the FAQs right up at the top with the other tabs. I had a hard time finding it and I've been here a bit. A big flashing button "Noobs go here..." might help. LOL

    Keep up the great work everyone.
  • Developer
    @Jim, I share that feeling too and sometimes i wait months to get an answer (usually happens when i'm surfing the web and i find it by accident). Right now i feel fear to post something about anything, specially if i'm not 100% sure because this site has hundreds of super professional Engineers with masters in control design that are watching and maybe they laugh about the stupid post from a 23 years old University Student from Mexico.

    For example Jack Crossfire is a clear example of persons that make nervous.

    That doesn't stop me to continue learning and developing in the background. The only difference is that i post less often (as you can tell). But i guess as more i learn this insecurity will fade away. ;-)

    @Dave Glidden, Sure you can. Just don't ask me how because i'm kind of busy building the ArduPilotMega Shield and other goodies. ;-)
  • @ Jordi; so you're saying I CAN'T use ArduoPilot to get my Furby's Barbie to operate a blender while vacuuming?
    Well there goes my summer project!

    Also, I probable fit the definition of a "DIY lurker". All reading, no questions... yet!
  • Admin
    Hi Jim,
    no fear bro, the point is that any one and every one puts in some effort to search / look into blogs & discussion forum before posting it in discussion forum if you have question on what is what or things thats is already being or might have been discussed. this is just to encourage healthy discussions and keep the forum/this site Noob UAVdroner friendly. , else soon enough senior members might disappear leaving us to fend on our own. If you some new info regarding UAVs and related subjects you can post it in Blogs.
    One line vague questions puts load on every one else to find the specific post/answer and help Noob or for that mater of fact any one which also is in line with any good DIY forum code of conduct , The sheer amount of info here is daunting( Hey I found a month afo that there was a search function right on top right of first page and I am here for more than a year !!! :0( ) but most if it is there, Put in some effort to look up and you will get the help you deserve like any one else, Cheers and start posting
  • Hey Guys.
    I'd like to think of myself as a n00b too, among all you 1337 pros :) However, posts like this only help to reinforce (in me) a sense of fear about posting messages that may be seen as uninformed, or lazy. I know this is a great community, and you are all a super friendly bunch but you just get this feeling that I can't post, because or the suspicion the answer is on the site somewhere already. Often, the most noobish questions are the ones with the most unspecific search terms, which in turn return many hits of only passing relevance. I know this sites admins and founders have worked very hard to make this accessible to everyone, but the sheer depth of information on here can be difficult and daunting to navigate.

    Now I've said that, I'll pluck up the courage to ask my own noob question... just got to work out if i should post it as a blog message, or in a forum? hrrmm :)

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