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Christmas toys to play with

Posted by Bob in Everett 
December 26, 2013 11:39AM
I am learing to fly a remote control toy helicopter and help the grand children fly theirs too. Good thing I got one too. They are too much fun for just children to have by themselves.

Bob in Everett
rkj
December 26, 2013 11:05PM
Quote
Bob in Everett
I am learing to fly a remote control toy helicopter and help the grand children fly theirs too. Good thing I got one too. They are too much fun for just children to have by themselves.

Hey Bob, This has to be fun. Ferdinand has one he uses to take video with. I miss my remote control cars!

Cheers and Best, Rick
December 27, 2013 11:16AM
I think the cheaper the remote control helicopter is the more difficult it is to fly. I am getting better with it though. It just takes too long to charge up the battery between flights though.

Bob in Everett
December 28, 2013 02:55PM
I have a DJI Phantom. It's so stable it practically flies itself.

Shot this video yesterday:



December 29, 2013 02:34PM
Was that you and someone else standing near one end of the bridge? That "toy" has quite a range. No wonder people are concerned about privacy issues with government owned drones.

Bob in Everett
December 31, 2013 05:09PM
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Bob in Everett
That "toy" has quite a range. No wonder people are concerned about privacy issues with government owned drones.
The "toy" is fairly expensive with a limited range, tiny carrying capacity, and short flight duration. It's quite noisy, and is lit up with red and green lights. There's no way it's ever going to sneak up unnoticed on anybody.

There are far more effective, and cheaper, ways to spy on people if one were so inclined. The privacy issue is overblown.
January 06, 2014 08:29AM
What kind of phantom, the one which you add a GoPro to, or the one with it's own camera ?

The movie is really good.

Thanks,

--
A physics truck just turned over outside. There's physics everywhere!



Edited 2 time(s). Last edit at 01/06/2014 08:30AM by jaffar.
January 06, 2014 10:30AM
Hi Jaffar.

It's an original Phantom-1, with a GoPro 3 Black, and Zenmuse H3-2D gimbal.
January 07, 2014 03:49AM
Can the gimball be controlled from the Phantom remote, too ?
I am very close to ordering something similar smiling smiley

Thanks

--
A physics truck just turned over outside. There's physics everywhere!
January 07, 2014 04:03AM
Oh ! I just saw the "making of" video now. Do you also have remote video ? Please give more details smiling smiley

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A physics truck just turned over outside. There's physics everywhere!
January 07, 2014 09:01AM
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jaffar
Can the gimbal be controlled from the Phantom remote, too ?
Yes. You can remotely pitch the camera up or down.

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Do you also have remote video ? Please give more details smiling smiley
I have the Fatshark Predator2 FPV goggle kit, but pipe the output from the goggles to a monitor on a tripod instead.

I don't like wearing the goggles because I feel too locked into that view. If I have a problem and need to take the goggles off, then fumble to put my eyeglasses back on, and then look up to try finding the Phantom, by that time I have no idea where in the sky that thing has gone to.

With a video monitor I can look at the FPV view on the monitor or instantly look up line-of-sight directly to the Phantom.

Having the FPV monitor makes it much easier to fly because you can always see which way the Phantom is pointed. It's tough if you're just watching it from ground, unless you always stay in close.
January 08, 2014 03:33PM
Fooling around on the Motorsport Club of Ottawa winter driving school track.

At first I flew high enough to ensure the Phantom always cleared the power lines and lamp posts.

Then I got a little braver and almost smacked into the track at 7:30.



January 10, 2014 03:26AM
I'm sold ! Santa will come late this xmas, I just ordered my phantom 2 + stabilizer kit, should arrive in 1-2 weeks smiling smiley
I need to find a POV system that's available around here.

Any advice for not destroying it really fast ? I've never played with flying toys, except for some very cheap infrared helicopters, that I was crashing constantly.

--
A physics truck just turned over outside. There's physics everywhere!
January 10, 2014 08:36AM
Some crazy driving, there are times when the cars look like completely out of control.
:rally:
January 10, 2014 07:49PM
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Jose Pinto
Some crazy driving, there are times when the cars look like completely out of control.
That main loop of the track has been watered down to form a solid ice base. It is verrrrrry slippery compared to all the other bits which are just compacted snow.

I don't know the guy in the blue MX5 Miata, but the other drivers in the red Audi and the Subaru Wagon are actually some of the better drivers in the winter series. They were just showing off for the cameras, tossing their cars sideways for fun.

This weekend was supposed to be the first winter driving school session and the first competitive timed event, but we're expecting +7° C with rain, so it's all been cancelled for fear of ripping up the track. It'll get colder again this week so hopefully we can run on it the following weekend.
January 10, 2014 08:09PM
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jaffar
I just ordered my phantom 2 + stabilizer kit, should arrive in 1-2 weeks smiling smiley
Any advice for not destroying it really fast ? I've never played with flying toys, except for some very cheap infrared helicopters, that I was crashing constantly.
The Phantom is MUCH easier to fly than those cheap toys.

Be sure to download and READ the manual. Do that now while you're waiting for your kit to arrive. You can also download the Assistant Software with which to install the latest firmware upgrades and to do calibrations. http://www.dji.com/download/phantom-2-downloads/

Never take off before the Inertial Measurement Unit (IMU) has finished warming up and initializing, and GPS lock has been established.

Only use small control inputs. The Phantom is very nimble and it will get away from you quickly if you are too ham-fisted with full inputs on the control sticks.

At first always fly with the camera and nose of the Phantom pointing away from you. Right on the control stick moves it to the right, left moves it left.

When it's pointing with the camera facing you, right on the control stick moves the Phantom to its right, i.e. your left! Like with all radio controlled stuff, that takes a bit of getting used to and it's REALLY easy to get into trouble quickly if you're not used to that happening.
January 14, 2014 07:19AM
Wait, GPS lock ? So I can't fly it indoors ? sad smiley
Yeah, I always have trouble running my Revo towards me smiling smiley

--
A physics truck just turned over outside. There's physics everywhere!



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 01/14/2014 07:20AM by jaffar.
January 14, 2014 12:33PM
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jaffar
Wait, GPS lock ? So I can't fly it indoors ? sad smiley
You can use ATTI mode or Manual mode indoors.
January 17, 2014 05:29AM
Woo-hoo ! It has arrived today !
I have to admit, flying is a VERY difficult business if you're not on-board. First time I rotated it, I totally panicked and lost it.





Thank you for making me make the decision, I've wanted this for such a long time smiling smiley

--
A physics truck just turned over outside. There's physics everywhere!
January 18, 2014 07:10PM
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jaffar
I have to admit, flying is a VERY difficult business if you're not on-board. First time I rotated it, I totally panicked and lost it.
That was very brave of you to fly it first time indoors in such a small room. It really is much easier to fly in GPS mode, outdoors.

In GPS mode, if you get out of shape, you can just release the sticks, centred, and the Phantom will stop and hover in one spot.

When flying in ATTI mode, without GPS lock, it takes constant corrections to hold it still because the Phantom will merely level itself but continue to drift with the wind, or continue to drift at whatever speed and direction it was doing when you centre the sticks. It takes a bit practice to get used to that.

It's scary to start straight off with ATTI mode, especially within an enclosed space where you don't have a lot of room or time to react to what it's doing.

Rotating, in yaw, is especially dangerous because then you also need to keep track of which way it's facing. Even though the Phantom always moves to ITS right when you move the control stick to the right, it very rapidly gets confusing if it's facing you and instead moves to YOUR left, or it's drifting toward you and you push the stick forward hoping to move it away and instead it comes right at your face!

It's safer to keep it facing away from you, so the control stick movements are obvious, until you get comfortable with its handling.

When taking off, it's better to give it a good shot of throttle to get it to jump into the air. If you try for a slow smooth liftoff, only gradually feeding in throttle, if it's at all windy out the Phantom will sometimes trip itself and tip over. That's not such a big deal if you crash into soft carpet or grass. But if you're taking off from asphalt, a tip-over will chew up your props.

You seemed to have figured it out pretty quickly though. Good for you. :popcorn:

Once your knees stop shaking and you feel more confident, you can try Course-Lock (CL). When the Phantom is first powered up it memorizes the direction it's facing. Let's say, like in your video, at first it's facing the wall where the fire extinguisher is standing under the video screens. That wall becomes the "Forward Direction" for CL. When you push the stick forward the Phantom always moves toward that wall. You can rotate (yaw) the Phantom 90-degrees to the right, so it's now looking at the wall with the round window. In CL, if you move the control stick forward the Phantom will still fly in the recorded Forward Direction, toward the fire extinguisher and video screens, even though it's currently facing the round window.

CL is really handy when you're flying in a small room like this, because then forward/back and left/right always stays the same regardless of which direction the Phantom is rotated to. Forward is toward the fire extinguisher, right is toward the round window, etc. no matter which direction the Phantom is rotated to face toward.

See this video:

January 18, 2014 11:03PM
Those are really good observations. My little toy has no guidance except mine and all those problems you mentioned. I have to wait for a low wind, almost still condition to fly as it does not have a lot of speed to be able to deal with the wind.

Definityl have to take off quickly as it does want to tip over if I try to lift off slowly.

Bob in Everett
January 19, 2014 05:08PM
Just be careful during mating season. The female always kills the male................
Attachments:
open | download - MidairHeli.jpg (78.5 KB)
January 20, 2014 07:31AM
Thanks for the very good explanations, Ferdinand !

I took it outside yesterday. After 2 minutes I was ready to risk the camera, so I mounted the stabilizer. I filmed just an ugly ground with some weeds and garbage, but it was amazing ! I need to find some real objectives now. Also, got an amazing flight time of 25 minutes - I was expecting a lot less, loaded with the stabilizer and the camera !

I did not use the GPS mode at all - after seeing so many people complain on youtube that theirs flew away by itself sad smiley
Got a bit scared when I tested the failsafe, too - because I had not read the manual before smiling smiley

Did you film with the gimbal + hero3 in snow ? Did you waterproof the camera, or anything else ? I'm a bit disappointed that it is so precisely calibrated on the Hero3, I have several Hero2 that I was more ready to risk, plus I wanted to use the waterproof case.
Do you know if the gimbal can be used on something else ? For example, my motorcycle vibrates a lot smiling smiley

--
A physics truck just turned over outside. There's physics everywhere!
January 20, 2014 01:29PM
Quote
jaffar
got an amazing flight time of 25 minutes...

I did not use the GPS mode at all - after seeing so many people complain on youtube that theirs flew away by itself sad smiley
The larger battery capacity of the Phantom2 gives you a lot longer flying time, compared to my old Phantom1 which will only fly for 6 or 7 minutes per battery when loaded down with camera, gimbal, video transmitter, etc.

However, I'm happy to say that if mine ever did fly away from me, it'll only go for max 7 minutes, whereas yours can fly away MUCH longer and further before its battery finally runs out. :laugh:

I am not familiar with the other flight differences between the Phantom1 and Phantom2. As long as you allow the Phantom to properly go through its warmup sequence and get a good GPS lock, there's nothing to be afraid of in using GPS mode. If, for whatever reason, you do lose satellite reception, the Phantom will default from GPS mode and automatically switch to ATTI mode.

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jaffar
Got a bit scared when I tested the failsafe, too - because I had not read the manual before smiling smiley

The Failsafe return-to-home function also depends on having good GPS satellite reception. If you lose satellite reception while it's on its way home, it will land instead where ever it is at the moment. You can cancel the Return-to-Home function at any time by switching to ATTI mode.

Course-Lock (CL) works in both GPS and ATTI mode. But, be careful, the Home-Lock function (HL) only works when the flight mode is set to GPS mode. If you select HL while in ATTI mode, the Phantom actually defaults to CL mode and that might give you unexpected results.

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jaffar
Did you film with the gimbal + hero3 in snow ? Did you waterproof the camera, or anything else ? I'm a bit disappointed that it is so precisely calibrated on the Hero3, I have several Hero2 that I was more ready to risk, plus I wanted to use the waterproof case.

Before I got the Zenmuse gimbal I always flew with the GoPro hard-mounted in its waterproof case. If the whole thing crashed into the lake, or into deep snow, I knew at least the GoPro would survive.

Unfortunately the GoPro will only mount on the Zenmuse gimbal without a case. It is very exposed to potential harm then. To keep the camera from hitting the ground (or snow), I now always hand-catch the Phantom when landing. When taking off I set it on my carrying case. You can use a flat board or something.

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jaffar
Do you know if the gimbal can be used on something else ? For example, my motorcycle vibrates a lot smiling smiley

The gimbal came with a small black box Gimbal Control Unit (GCU). All you need is one of your LIPO batteries wired to the black/red power cables of the GCU and the flat ribbon cable from the GCU to the gimbal. Then you can mount the gimbal anywhere and it'll work to keep the camera level.


January 21, 2014 05:11AM
Right. Mine came with a label instead - "only for phantom 2" smiling smiley

Do you know why there are 4 CSCs, do they do anything special ?

First time I started it (without the gimbal), I had to do this: \/
After activating the gimbal from the PC software, it woudl no longer start with \/, so I found out now it starts with / /
The manual does not say anything interesting on the subject, so I understand I could use any of the combinations.

--
A physics truck just turned over outside. There's physics everywhere!



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 01/21/2014 05:13AM by jaffar.
May 07, 2014 02:56PM
Here's my latest video, from last weekend's Lanark Highlands Forest Rally. We weren't competing because Martin is in the middle of rebuilding the car and it wasn't ready in time. So I got to fly my helicopter instead.



May 08, 2014 08:59PM
Way cool aerial views!

I noticed you pulled the copter up abruptly a couple of times just before hitting som tree tops(well it looked close) ;-)

Do you ever worry about getting the copter out of range of your control? some of those shots looked to be a fair distance from your stating point!
May 08, 2014 09:34PM
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Archeo-peteriX
I noticed you pulled the copter up abruptly a couple of times just before hitting som tree tops(well it looked close) ;-)
Due to the wide-angle lens on the GoPro, it was actually even closer than it looked! Freakin' trees.

I can fly by watching the video display on my monitor, but then I can't see anything that's out of camera view. It's okay as long as I'm always flying forward, but sideways, backwards, or even climbing or descending is dangerous unless I'm certain no trees are going to suddenly jump into the copter's path.

Otherwise, I can fly line-of-sight always keeping the copter within my vision. But I suck at depth perception as the copter moves further away from me. I have one clip, not included in that video, where I thought the copter was well beyond the other side of a big tree and it was safe to descend behind it. The camera was aimed at an oncoming rally car and I wanted to descend and pivot the shot to track the car as it went by. I never even noticed until studying the video later that the copter only just barely missed dropping right into the top of that tree.

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Archeo-peteriX
Do you ever worry about getting the copter out of range of your control? some of those shots looked to be a fair distance from your stating point!
I worry about all sorts of stuff. Every flight that lands safely is a miracle as far as I'm concerned.

The dji Phantom has a GPS system that records its Home position when it takes off. If you lose radio reception it will return all by itself and land at the Home position. That, however, assumes it has solid GPS signal reception, and has enough remaining battery power to make it all the way home.

I've never flown it all the way out to loss of control signal. My video transmission breaks up well before the control signal is lost. That's scary enough because when it's that far out I can't even see it in the sky anymore.

It was REALLY windy that day, with strong gusts. At one point I let it fly full speed quite a ways downwind to chase a fast car, and then it struggled to fight its way back upwind to return to me. That had me wondering how much longer the flight battery would hold out, as it would have been very awkward had the copter dropped into the forest or a swamp.
May 09, 2014 08:44AM
Nice video! That's so cool to get those aerial views of the cars. :thumbup:

__________
Dave
'91 325iX
January 08, 2015 06:38AM
I had a very lucky escape with my quadcopter while shooting video of a R/C sailboat.

I'm getting more proficient at framing the subject while flying by watching what the camera sees on my monitor. But while videoing the sailboat I was nervous about flying too low and maybe touching the water, and it's hard to judge that gap from my monitor view. So I had to occasionally glance away from the monitor to look directly at the copter to check it wasn't getting too low.

Well, one time I did that I lost sight of the sailboat in the monitor and I thought I was far enough behind it but actually flew directly into it. eye rolling smiley

One prop snagged on the sailboat's rigging and the copter crashed. Unbelievably it didn't crash into the water and sink to the bottom of the pond. Instead it fell square onto the deck of the boat, amidship between the two masts, and didn't even get wet at all. If it had dangled off the side it might have capsized the boat, but we managed to sail it close enough back to shore for me to perform a successful rescue.

Lucky.



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