I read an article a while back, probably linked from here, that positioned a strong case for DJI still leading the industry by miles in price/features when it comes to drones as a camera platform. They consistently have the best, most feature rich and reliable product in several price ranges of all well known brands. Can’t find it now, though, but doubt you will go wrong with a Phantom 3.
Meanwhile, back at the ranch, I seem to have acquired another 'copter…
This is another micro sized quadcopter - Eachine QX90C, one of a growing range of cheap, small sized units coming out of China characterised by70-100mm frames, 8mm brushed motors, full featured flight controllers running open software, usually as bind and fly. There are many different models available now, coming thick and fast and improving rapidly in terms of build quality, components and performance. This sucker was AUD$75!
I have not managed to fly my previous FPV bird much, but when I tried it outdoors, it was a complete no-go. Slow and sedate indoors, but too light and way underpowered to cope even in a light breeze. Good to practice on and fly around the house with the kid, but not so good for getting outside in some wide open space and really getting a bird’s eye view.
Took a few days to manage to get it set up. Comes with a choice of built in receivers, DSM in my case, so I managed to bind it with my 9XR-Pro TX with no problems, but from there, you really need to fart around in the flight control software to ensure everything is working correctly and assign a TX switch to arm the motors. Getting connected was painless - the flight boards have a USB connector on them and are pretty much plug and play on Win10. The CleanFlight software has a standalone Chrome App configuration tool that is completely painless. But all my channels were messed up, out of order and reading incorrectly. It took me a bit of trouble shooting to get to the bottom of the problem, which turned out to be disabling an ‘auto’ option for sub-protocol selection on my TX and setting it manually. Channels immediately mapped correctly, so a bit more trial and error to work out how to configure a three position switch (flight mode selection) and I was done.
Took it out today and it flies very nicely. Decent power, very agile and quick and seems to have a nice tune out of the box. Flight modes are the key though. CleanFlight has three flight modes, angle, horizon, acro. Angle is fully stabilised with limited pitch/roll axes. Horizon is stabilised, with unlimited pitch/roll. Acro is completely unstabilised. Horizon mode is great - you can be really aggressive and get the thing tipped right over, but if you get into trouble, just middle the sticks and it returns to level.
With the QX90C I did my first manual flips today (in Horizon mode, which makes ‘catching’ a cinch)! My Dromida has an acro mode, but it is gutless and I would never attempt a manual flip as I don’t think it would be possible (it has a auto-flip button, but that seems to use customised rates that are otherwise unavailable). Power reserves make a massive difference to responsiveness and the ability to roll quickly to complete a flip.
Flying FPV is amazing, very, very cool. Next step is some flips while flying FPV!
Is there an assistance group for people addicted to buying these things?