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Old June 25th, 2015, 10:55 AM   #1
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Learning copter: video/FPV questions

Hello there quad squad,

I am thinking about learning to fly a toy first, before buying a real tool... as advised here and everywhere. A couple of questions...

Those of you who used an inexpensive unit to learn, did you benefit from a video quadcopter, or is it better to separate the two, and just learn the flying part without worrying about video at this stage?

Second, if your answer is video from the beginning, is an FPV model helpful or detrimental in the learning experience?

And lastly, is it better to invest in a more complex radio like the Spektrum DX6 and a quad without its own radio transmitter, or just buy the kit?

Thank you,
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Old June 25th, 2015, 01:51 PM   #2
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Re: Learning copter: video/FPV questions

I wouldn't depend on the video feed alone in controlling a drone, there is a problem when you fly the craft a distance away from you and do some manoeuvres, you can easily get disorientated as to which way the craft is pointing etc. the video might help with that, the problem in depending on FPV mode is that you dont really have that much peripheral vision so you could easily collide with an obstacle outside the FPV view.

I think you need line of sight for safe flying.
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Old June 25th, 2015, 03:06 PM   #3
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Re: Learning copter: video/FPV questions

I suppose it also depends on how far into this you want to end up.

For instance, I think of my Iris+ as a toy, even though I do plan on using it at some weddings a little (just another tool, like a slider).

Or will you be trying to enter into the tower inspections and full on high end professional flyers?
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Old June 25th, 2015, 09:00 PM   #4
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Re: Learning copter: video/FPV questions

+I have been learning by designing and building my own quads over the last 8 months. I ve built everything from a 200 size to a 650, in both quad h, and quad x configuration. Knowing how bad I would be at flying, I have stuck with APM controllers, and configured my rigs with "super simple" mode, as well as the RTL mode (return to land automatically from take off point). Assuming your GPS is functioning properly, orientation of the craft doesn't matter. No matter which way it is turned, if you pull the right stick back, the craft will come back toward you, pull it left, and it will go left, etc. etc.....

I have done a lot of crashing still, mostly due design issues, and less than dependable motors and escs. And learning to get electronics right. Most of my testing has been done with my GoPro Hero 3, which has taken a bit of a beating at this point. Jello effect is a constant issue.

I just finished building a Hex, which seemed a lot smoother in test flights, and I will move my gimbal to that craft now, to see how the image looks;

I do have capability to fly FPV, but I am not using that yet, as I think it is important to get the piloting procedures down without it, because you will likely lose your FPV at times due to tech issues.
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Old June 27th, 2015, 12:59 AM   #5
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Re: Learning copter: video/FPV questions

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ervin Farkas View Post
Hello there quad squad,

I am thinking about learning to fly a toy first, before buying a real tool... as advised here and everywhere. A couple of questions...

Those of you who used an inexpensive unit to learn, did you benefit from a video quadcopter, or is it better to separate the two, and just learn the flying part without worrying about video at this stage?

Second, if your answer is video from the beginning, is an FPV model helpful or detrimental in the learning experience?

And lastly, is it better to invest in a more complex radio like the Spektrum DX6 and a quad without its own radio transmitter, or just buy the kit?

Thank you,
Do you want to become a drone operator or do aerial photography? Far too many people get hung up on building their own quad, when I started you had to build your own quad, but now there are a lot of different RTF quads available.

For aerial I use a GH4 and fly it on mostly Y6 and Hex's. I am not a huge fan of DJI, BUT I also have a Phantom3 Pro. I got it to shoot for the myriad of cheap clients who didn't want to pay or there were some simple odd jobs that just needed some 4K video shot. I used to mount a Hero4 on my bigger multi's but I don't like the look of GoPro footage and the Phantom3 is so much easier to deploy that I find myself using it more and more. I'm getting lazy..

The 4K camera and gimbal on the Phantom3 are marginal compared to the GH4 and a good gimbal but its more than adequate for a lot of simple real estate, event videography, etc..So it really depends on what type of work you'd like to do.

You'll probably spend way more fooling around finding the right Tx, FPV equipment, getting the best efficiency, tuning the gimbal, tuning the flight controller etc than you would by purchasing one of the many RTF quads available for flying a Hero4 or other small 4K camera.

If you want to practice, learn and hang out s shingle stating your in the aerial business its pretty hard to beat a Phantom. If you want to be a drone nerd and enjoy building, tuning and spending a lot of time and money then go nuts. Obviously if you want to fly a camera bigger and heavier than a GoPro then your choices decrease significantly.
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Old June 28th, 2015, 05:03 PM   #6
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Re: Learning copter: video/FPV questions

While I do realize that the answers will/should be more than yes or no... I am still left wondering, without having received answers to my questions. A year from now "mine is better than yours" type answers will probably come in handy, but not at this time.

At this point, I would like to learn to fly an entry level "toy" quadcopter, with plans to later purchase a quality machine that can take professional video and still images. No intentions to building anything; looking at RTF units exclusively. So...

Those of you who used an inexpensive unit to learn, did you benefit from a video quadcopter, or is it better to separate the two, and just learn the flying part without worrying about video at this stage?

Second, if your answer is video from the beginning, is an FPV model helpful or detrimental in the learning experience?

And lastly, is it better to invest in a more complex radio like the Spektrum DX6 and a quad without its own radio transmitter, or just buy the kit?

Thank you,
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Old June 29th, 2015, 12:31 AM   #7
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Re: Learning copter: video/FPV questions

Bear with me here.

Flying a drone is super simple.

Two sticks.

Left stick is up/down to go up/down, and left/right to rotate the aircraft.

Right stick moves the copter left/right/forward/back.

So, set the thing on the ground ten feet in front of you, press the up/down lever UP, and it takes off. Hovers there (or near there) forever. Until it runs out of batteries and lands on its own.

Want to move around? Press the right stick whatever direction you want to travel, and that's the way the bird moves.

This is all super simple.

The one caveat in the whole plan is this: rotation. So, as long as you never rotate, it's as easy as A-B-C. But the instant you rotate (and you must rotate to get any decent shots, or even to navigate well), now the bird is going a different orientation than you. So, rotate 90 degrees left, NOW pressing the forward/back stick makes the bird move forward/back, HOWEVER it is no longer forward/back from you, it is left/right from you. So pressing left makes it go toward you instead of to your left. Get it?

This takes some learning to master. Once you get it, it's not that hard.

You can pick up a quadcopter on Amazon for fifty bucks. If you wreck into something, the worst that can happen is you're out fifty bucks.

I learned on a Phantom2V+. They're about $1200.

The Phantom2V+ can get something like a half-mile or a mile of range. Let me share with you a little secret that most P2V+ owners don't know: It also flies very well 25 or 50 feet from its operator.

So, if you want to learn the skills described above, go find yourself a baseball field, and instead of flying your quadcopter up 250 feet and then three blocks away to learn how to orient it back toward you... you can lift it 10 feet off the deck and 20 feet away from you, where there is nothing to hit and no way it can take off, get lost, or mow into a kindergarten field trip. It can do this all day long. Then, when you're pretty good, you can fly it 50' or 100' away.

So, if you're particularly unsure, you can blow $50 on a toy (which will teach you the same characteristics). But if you don't need the training wheels, just take the plunge.
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Old June 29th, 2015, 03:51 AM   #8
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Re: Learning copter: video/FPV questions

With no experience at all of RC flying, I started with a Phantom 1. The basic control is very simple, as has been stated, with rotational orientation being the trickiest. The Phantom has lights on it, but once it is more than about 100 ft from you they are not much help. I put a brilliant white LED light on mine, which was easily visible at the sort of distances, up to 500 metres that I would fly.

The Phantom can also be set so that left, right, forward, and back is always relevant to operator position. So even if you don't know which way it's facing, it will always come back to you if you pull the stick back, providing you have set it that way.

I added FPV once I was confident with the flying,, but don't personally think it makes the flying easier. It does enable you to see what is around you, so in my case, I mounted a Gopro 3 and can view what the camera sees. I should also state that if you are trying to fly the quad through the camera, you will very quickly lose visual contact even if it is fairly close, as soon as you take your eye off of it. I don't think that FPV helps to fly the quad, but is essential to orientate correctly for video or stills and also helps to fly closer to obstacles if that is what you want to do.

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Old June 29th, 2015, 11:31 AM   #9
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Re: Learning copter: video/FPV questions

The Hubsan X4 is great to learn with and it's under $50.....
http://www.amazon.com/Hubsan-H107-Mi.../dp/B009M1PO7W

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