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SamFromCO
April 10th, 2015, 02:34 PM
Over the past few months I've been getting into quadcopters/drones. I've been mostly flying the nano/micro size and lately I've have been doing a little bit of FPV. I'm getting pretty interested in building a bigger one (450-650) as a camera platform. I'm would like to hear from others that are also interested and share experience and ideas.

Here's my collection so far:

http://i123.photobucket.com/albums/o308/SamFromCO/IMG_5604.jpg?t=1428607996

newracer
April 10th, 2015, 03:36 PM
I have only flown the Blade Nano so far. I am also looking to get a larger one soon.

SamFromCO
April 10th, 2015, 03:56 PM
I like the way that the Blade 180 QX flies. I've heard that the Nano is a pretty decent flyer too.

I chopped up the body on the 180 and added a camera/transmitter like this one for FPV.

http://www.wholesaletrains.com/SMImages/LG200922024.jpg

My plans are to build a Flamewheel f450 but there are a couple of other frames that are pretty interesting. I just haven't figured out which flight controller to use. The Naza-M seems like a good one but the more programmable ones are either much less costly or have better features.

Mark
July 15th, 2015, 02:01 PM
I know this is an old thread, but I only just came across it. I started out flying the Hubsan X4, then jumped in with both feet to an F550 FlameWheel hex.

Here's mine, in it's current configuration with a gimballed Hero4, and a nadir mounted Hero3+ Black:

http://i.imgur.com/Ud6mcyN.jpg?1

http://i.imgur.com/3Regeqp.jpg?1

http://i.imgur.com/eiRAlji.jpg?1

I use mine for aerial surveying & topography, as well as construction documentation. Some of the stuff I do: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dlndKiKwgso and https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0oquEYAekI8

SamFromCO
July 16th, 2015, 09:56 AM
Interesting stuff and a very nice setup. The 3d video was especially cool.
My progress has been quite a bit slower. I have a Flamewheel 450/Naza M now. Haven't flown it as much as I would have liked to. I just picked up a video transmitter this week so that I can do some FPV stuff. I have a Taranis R/C and have it set up to monitor the battery and location. I have my old Hero 2 mounted on the quad and have done a few videos of my back yard. I was surprised at how well the videos came out even without a gimbal or rubber isolaters.
I did get a ham radio license so I'd be "legal" to transmit video. I'm still saving up for a gimbal and a newer GoPro.
I had one scary episode with it when I accidentally flipped the RTH switch and thought I was having a fly away. Having the quad zoom away with no control freaked me out. Still haven't totally got my confidence back yet. A fly away is still a big fear. Have you had any issues with control yet?
I'm anxious to see what the FAA is going to do about commercial operations although (from checking out the Craigslist ads) it seems like a lot of people have said screw it and started doing "commercial" photography already. I'm kind of holding back for now but I see a huge opportunity for growth and I'm trying to get ready for it.
I have tried to do some videos of four wheeling with my little Proto X but it doesn't fly very well at higher altitudes. I'm hoping that the Flamewheel does better. If I get something worth watching I'll post it.

Mark
July 16th, 2015, 10:54 AM
Interesting stuff and a very nice setup. The 3d video was especially cool.
My progress has been quite a bit slower. I have a Flamewheel 450/Naza M now. Haven't flown it as much as I would have liked to. I just picked up a video transmitter this week so that I can do some FPV stuff. I have a Taranis R/C and have it set up to monitor the battery and location. I have my old Hero 2 mounted on the quad and have done a few videos of my back yard. I was surprised at how well the videos came out even without a gimbal or rubber isolaters.
I did get a ham radio license so I'd be "legal" to transmit video. I'm still saving up for a gimbal and a newer GoPro.
I had one scary episode with it when I accidentally flipped the RTH switch and thought I was having a fly away. Having the quad zoom away with no control freaked me out. Still haven't totally got my confidence back yet. A fly away is still a big fear. Have you had any issues with control yet?
I'm anxious to see what the FAA is going to do about commercial operations although (from checking out the Craigslist ads) it seems like a lot of people have said screw it and started doing "commercial" photography already. I'm kind of holding back for now but I see a huge opportunity for growth and I'm trying to get ready for it.
I have tried to do some videos of four wheeling with my little Proto X but it doesn't fly very well at higher altitudes. I'm hoping that the Flamewheel does better. If I get something worth watching I'll post it.

Oh yeah - I've crashed the hell out of mine. I'm on my second full set of motors, six or seventh set of props, third set of landing gear, and countless other small parts. The first time I flipped my RTH active (turned off transmitter), my UAV promptly climbed to altitude, paused for a second and then attempted a backflip. It quickly nose dived into the grass, destroying a few components. Pretty crappy feeling, but I've quickly realized that there are certain things in this field that are 'consumable', and part of the cost of doing business in such a new field. I will caution you that WiFi signals are a major source of issues with the Naza flight controllers - broadcasting from your GoPro with it is a big no-no.

Why did you get an ham license to transmit video? Are you on UHF? Unless you are, you shouldn't need it.

SamFromCO
July 16th, 2015, 01:50 PM
Why did you get an ham license to transmit video? Are you on UHF? Unless you are, you shouldn't need it.

"What you might not know is that one of the prerequisites for most types of FPV flying is obtaining an amateur radio license (aka “ham radio license”) from the FCC (Federal Communications Commission)."
http://www.tested.com/tech/488686-what-you-should-know-about-getting-fcc-license-flying-fpv/

If you look at the ads for a lot of the video transmitters you'll see that they mention that you need at least a Technician license to use them. Now if anybody would force the issue is another question. For me, it was something to do. I learned a few things in the process.

https://www.google.com/#q=fpv+video+license

Mark
July 16th, 2015, 01:53 PM
That's interesting - first I've ever heard of it. Learn something new every day.

JeepWheelin02
July 16th, 2015, 02:12 PM
If you already got Technician, then you should go ahead and shoot for General next, it's an easy upgrade.

SamFromCO
July 17th, 2015, 11:00 AM
If you already got Technician, then you should go ahead and shoot for General next, it's an easy upgrade.

I crammed for the Tech test and aced it. The examiner said that I should go ahead and take the General test as it didn't cost any more if I did it at the same time. I didn't do nearly as well on that one. :dunce:

JeepWheelin02
July 20th, 2015, 08:46 AM
hamradioschool.com is a great resource. I used their Technician and General books for mine. Doing a little studying now for Extra.

SamFromCO
July 21st, 2015, 03:35 PM
I used this site: http://www.hamwhisperer.com/p/ham-courses.html . Of course I wasn't really interested in getting into ham. I just wanted to be able to pass the test. If someone wanted to actually learn the subject matter that is not the best way to go about it.

Mark
August 26th, 2015, 04:13 PM
Did a for-fun flight at a local marina this morning. That was a lot of fun! I didn't add any audio yet, but here's the vid of the flight:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DPMxKnuC8-0

cheftyler
August 26th, 2015, 05:50 PM
Did a for-fun flight at a local marina this morning. That was a lot of fun! I didn't add any audio yet, but here's the vid of the flight:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DPMxKnuC8-0

:thumbsup:

SamFromCO
August 31st, 2015, 02:12 PM
Did a for-fun flight at a local marina this morning. That was a lot of fun! I didn't add any audio yet, but here's the vid of the flight:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DPMxKnuC8-0

Very nice! Do you worry about flying around water?

Mark
August 31st, 2015, 02:14 PM
Very nice! Do you worry about flying around water?

Funny you should ask that. I was nervous as heck flying over water. I was back out there Saturday morning to fly over a big tie-up/flotilla that had been organized. On the fourth flight, by battery must have crapped out, and down she went. It's been in the lake since Saturday morning at about 8:30. Just 20 minutes ago we got word that the diver (who has been on the lake since Saturday) found it. The drone and camera will be a total loss, but hopefully I can recover the footage from the SD card.

SamFromCO
August 31st, 2015, 08:13 PM
That really sucks. Was it a flyaway or just lost power? Did you have any sort of floats that didn't work. I ask because I would like to do some boat photography but with all of the crap that can happen I'm pretty skeered.

Mark
August 31st, 2015, 09:12 PM
I think one of the cells in my new battery crapped out. I guess that's what I get for skimping on a $30 battery when most others the same size are $65+.

Here's the un-amazing video of the crash:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ivUg_nKl1qw

cheftyler
September 1st, 2015, 11:35 AM
Ugh...that sucks!

Mark
September 25th, 2015, 09:17 AM
Same as four-wheeling, when you break, it's time to upgrade, right?!

http://i.imgur.com/BCZenEd.png

Just ordered up the new DJI Inspire 1 Pro with the micro 4/3rds X5 camera. Doubtful DJI will actually ship on the date they claim, but I hope there isn't too much of a delay - I need to put this thing to work!

SamFromCO
September 26th, 2015, 09:53 AM
Very nice, Mark! It should be a much better camera platform than the 550. Are you going to use it professionally or just for fun?

Mark
September 26th, 2015, 10:00 AM
Just for fun until my 333 exemption gets here.

Have you had a chance to start on a larger platform for yourself?

SamFromCO
September 27th, 2015, 10:20 AM
Yeah, I have a Flamewheel F450 that I've been working on. It's slowly coming together. It has a Naza M V2 flight controller, Taranis X9D Plus transmitter w/FrSky X8R, 700TVL board camera for FPV and GoPro Hero3+ on a Tarot 2D gimbal, iosd mini, and 400 mw Flysight video transmitter. I still have to get a camera switch so I can see what I'm filming (videoing ?). I only have 15 or 20 flights on it so I'm still pretty cautious/nervous when I'm flying it. Mostly flying in atti and GPS. Manual mode is still pretty shakey.
I was out flying a couple of weeks ago with a guy that had a new Inspire with autonomous flight. It has pretty amazing capabilities compared to mine. I'll bet your getting excited.

SamFromCO
September 27th, 2015, 10:22 AM
Mark, here's a question for you. Do you have to have a private pilots license and be current to get the 333 exemption?

Mark
November 9th, 2015, 09:13 PM
Mark, here's a question for you. Do you have to have a private pilots license and be current to get the 333 exemption?

Wow, sorry - I hadn't seen this. Technically, yes. The pilot-in-charge must have a current pilots license & current FAA airman cert.

Truth be told, rumors are somewhere north of 90% of existing 333 operators do not have a pilot's license, nor do they hire one for flights. In a recent poll taken at one of the commercial drone conferences, almost 40% of those polled stated they had no intentions of pursuing a 333 exemption; that they would just fly commercially without exemption.

I can't say I blame them.

SamFromCO
November 12th, 2015, 12:49 PM
I'm not ready for commercial operations quite yet anyway but I've been trying to follow what's happening with the FAA/Homeland Security rules. I plan on eventually getting into some type of commercial operations but I doubt that it will be photography. Some type of search and rescue type operation would be more interesting.
Meanwhile this is my latest addition to my collection:

http://www.emaxmodel.com/media/catalog/product/cache/1/image/9df78eab33525d08d6e5fb8d27136e95/1/_/1_3_9.jpg

I think I'm going to try some FPV racing.

Mark
November 14th, 2015, 10:45 PM
Sam, there's a multicopter meetup tomorrow at Autonomous Avionics (http://autonomousavionics.com/) starting at 9 for a DJI new pilot training, but the real show starts at 11. Myself and a few others will be doing short presentations on different topics - FLIR, mapping, aerial videography, etc. I think it runs until about 3:30.

I know it's late notice, but better late than never!

SamFromCO
November 16th, 2015, 09:55 AM
I was there. What an interesting day. Which presentation was yours?
I wish I had read this before I went, I would have said hi.

Mark
November 16th, 2015, 10:06 AM
I was the mapping presentation right at the very end.

SamFromCO
November 16th, 2015, 12:58 PM
It's a shame that the meetup ran a little long and you didn't get as much time as you deserved. I think that there was a lot more interest in drone mapping applications but the crowd was getting a little restless. Hopefully there will be future meetups that go into more detail on all of the different applications of drones.

Mark
November 16th, 2015, 01:18 PM
Yeah, imo, Shaun was a bit long winded going over really basic stuff at the beginning, but then I had to hurry up. Maybe the basic stuff that Shaun covered was more applicable to more of the crowd though, who knows. I'd never been to one of those before, so it was really great to see so many people from right here in Colorado, doing such cool stuff in this fledgling industry.