Freitag, 16. Dezember 2016

DJI Mavic Pro

I bought this drone, didnt get it from DJI but ordered it via This is my trusted shop (I ordered my firest FPV set back in 2008 at this shop).
I have a lot of drones - the Mavic makes most of them obsolete now :(
I started with the tricopter in 2011, got the TBS discovery with DJI naza in 2012 (which was my first GPS position hold, return home platform back then!). Later got into AP ships with brushless gimbals (DJI Phantom2, Black Snapper, Xugong). I still fly the Phantom 2 from time to time - but a 2axis gimbal just doesnt look good anymore :) Tried the Inspire1 and the Phantom4 when I had the chance to - but after the first playing around with it I didnt actually buy one (cause I had so many similar drones already).

Now since I skipped P3 and P4 I thought it was time to get this really tiny, backpack friendly, worry free drone. It's ready for flying in 2-3mins and has so many functions built in - a few years ago you would have needed a whole trunk full of expensive FPV gear to yield the same results (if possible at all).

What I love about this one:
- very easy to handle
- small, compact, well thought out
- super cam quality (best in this size cat) you can print stills to large format and even can take RAW pics!
- great range / video transmission
you just have a smooth 720p image, without intereference, without the permanent fear of flying blind suddenly
you can switch to 1080p live video - but then the recorded video is also 1080p
I even flew it from inside my car to a nice distance (more then enough) without even loosing signal or stuttering video!
- flighttimes - 20mins for sure - which is really more than you need normally!
- very well designed remote controller
- bright display (ok this is rather depending on your phone - I have the Galaxy S7 which is very bright)
- DJI Go app: great functions!
highlight: it records downlink video in great quality directly on your phone as well (ok that's not new with the mavic).
also records all flight data in a log file! so you can even replay the GPS data and see how you flew, where, what happend, how you moved the sticks... really great log functions (cool for a statistics nerd like me).

- easy to catch with the hand (carefully though!) - landing in grass or dust is not optimal. Having to use a landing pad would also kill some of the ultra portability...
- silent, doesnt draw a lot of attention on you

some problems I found:
- DISCONNECT problem
this is maybe the biggest issue I had, but maybe they already fixed it (not happend again yet):
what happend? on a flight, the app went into black/white and said it's disconnected. Restarting the app didnt help. While this happend my Mavic was far away, I was blind. But I could use the remote still. So I pressed the RTH button and luckily it came back reliable!
things I do now to prevent this:
I close all apps on the phone before using DJI Go app,
have it in airplane mode,
SAMSUNG S7: I turn OFF the "quickcharge with cable" function in powersettings - one theory of mine: the phone sucks to much power out of the remote while charging and the remote cuts the connection
try to run it with as much phone battery as possible
also got 2 DJI go app updates since then, and on 7.Nov. they published a new mavic firmware - INSTALL this asap!

- sometimes cam/gimbal does shake (on sudden change of flight direction - so go smooth!)
regarding go smooth: there are some guidlines out yet, how to finetune the YAW endpoints, YAW expo and also smoothing out the gimbal movements - this all helps to get much smoother shots. Best yet I find it to just fly straight "like on rails or a cable cam" and let this impress your viewers - stunningly smooth and crips clear 4k footage!

- gimbal looks very fragile! It hangs on weak rubber (for vibration dampening) and if not protected with the plastic part for locking the gimbal - the cam shakes a lot - so DONT transport it without this plastic protection!

- obstacle avoidance can get irritated by sunlight or fog as well - if this happens - SWITCH to sport mode and be able to come home thru these invisible obstacles that your drone wants to avoid :)

- in higher winds normal GPS mode is to slow - also switch to Sport mode to fight the headwinds!
NEVER fly too far away with tailwind - you might underestimate the distance and power needed to come back against a strong wind. This might lead to an unplanned landing far away from you (in worst case you're flying home over the water against wind!)

- GPS / compass error if you want to start from the roof of your car

- DJI Go app: IOS has better language support (german available), Android version has NO german language...
you can get LITCHI which is also available in german (other languages?)

- 1080p60 seems to look aweful (aliasing, steps)

Advice "fly more!":
I bought the "fly more" package - you should too!
When you buy the normal package - you will end up ordering a 2nd maybe 3rd battery soon after (because only one batt is never good).
If you buy 2 batteries seperatly - this is almost the same price than the "fly more" pack!
(and this pack includes also: the car charger, the 4x serial charging hub, the nice carrying case, powerbank adapter, props).
Of course you also should do enough training flights with the drone on safe grounds (large field) before you start taking it with you and fly anywhere.

Litchi Help:
Goggles: Homido 69€
Flightlogs, lots of stats:

Freitag, 2. Dezember 2016

How to start FPV - what to get

Since I get asked a lot how to enter the FPV hobby I compiled this list of things to start at. Not the best components - but something you can use for a long time with good value/price rating. Most of the things I use myself (excep the 250 copter here).
FPV entry is really easy today - so many RTF systems, plug & fly versions... You got to consider some things and most of us have to watch their budget.
For small budgets - 250 class Miniquads are good to start with. As they are often aimed for the races they are quite crash-resistant! There are many 250 sets - recently I tested the ambitious "XJaguar" from Fylpro, my alltime favourite this year is still the ImmersionRC Vortex250. Durable, lots of features and I had many flights with it this year! 
Also checke out this free FPV sim to get started:  Drone Racing League SIM
1500mah 3cell with high C-rating!
I would use the hobbyking EU warehouse (or whatever is next to you) to have shorter delivery times and less customs problems.
These here are good bot out of stock tm: Turnigy Nanotech 1500mah 3cell
these would also work: ZIPPY Compact 1500mAh 3S 35C
you need at least 4 pieces (you only get 5 mins flighttime on each). Also get one more for goggles / receiver.
Lipo-Charger  (if you can, go for a dual charger since you will have to charge a lot and you shouldnt leave tham charging unattented)
Cam to record (in HD, not neccessary for flight but cool to have something to share):
RuncamHD  (also get one or two 16GB SD Cards)
Cam for downlink:
(25mw are legal and good for 200-300m)
Video receiver
dual / diversity receiver with better signal: Diversity FR632
(if you bought the diversity RX above - also get one directional antenna ImmersionRC Spiro Patch )
or better yet, check out the Circular-Wireless Helicals! 
This could be the most expensive part here (if you go for the Sony Cinemizers or the Dominator HD for example - 500-700€)
But you can get away cheap and with a great image if you get the styrofoam box type goggles like the:
Quanum V2 and batterycable for it (make sure to get a 3cell battery for goggles and RX also!)
Recently they brought out the Fatshark Dominator SE which I think is the best value/money option - check my short video review. 

Radio - control link:
FrSky Taranis - a good remote which is very affordable!
Receivers are good range and cheap here (around 30€). Standard receiver for me is the X8r (with telemetry and around 1-2km range). If you really wanna go far, check the LR receivers.
One of these X8rs is in the Set above or the longrange L9R

Hope I didnt forget something really important here - please comment if so. Also comment your suggestions if you have something WAY better for a newbie to be included in this list. But it's not the "top notch" list, it's aimed for entry into the hobby.
I think this topic is hot, and if I get a lot of response I might try to cover this in a video also.
greetings and happy FPVing,

Donnerstag, 24. November 2016

Flypro XJaguar

This is a great racing drone kit! The components are pretty decent, well thought out (like the powercube style electronics, CCD Cam usage), the quad is durable (although I didnt crash it yet) but lightweight.
Build is simple but there are some setup tips (in cleanflight and in the OSD) which you should read here to have an easier build.
OSD: you can even change PIDs in the OSD with your remote (like I know it from my Vortex).

The VTX power of course is not 25-600mw as advertised - rather 20-300mw - but that's fine. Switching the power can kill the VTX which is about the only problem I found here. Ok - you will see that the video downlink has a vibration issue (maybe loose board in the Runcam Swift?).

Find all the Specs here
And buy it for around 250$ in most of the chinese RC stores. They suggested I should get an affilate link, but I think this could affect my reviews in a way I dont like.

Video Index:
00:46 Unbocing
03:47 Buildtips
05:30 Soldering ESCs
06:42 motor direction
07:46 important cleanflight tips
07:58 VTX Settings (channel...)
08:57 VTX Power switching (25-300mw)
11:25 Maidenflight
11:58 Maidenflight #2 :)
12:28 my tuned PIDs
13:14 Speedtests and FPV footage on the field

►Build Tips:
PDF quickguide
Flypro build video (with captions)
RCGroups Thread

ESCs set motordirection in blheli suite?
- there is a drawing in the RCGthread but you can also use blheli suite to correct directions in software

PIDs should be preset in factory no they werent. PIDS see video.

X4r SBus Connection
use the UART3 and turn on radio switch in Cleanflight / Ports tab, use Serial / Sbus setting in Receivers Tab

►OSD (I think it's a MinimOSD integrated in their VTX board):
THR=mid + YAW=right + Pitch/Nick=full = go into OSD menu
if this doesnt work, your OSD board doesnt have a connection to FC board (was the case for me). you might also have "no data" in OSD.
Solution: in Cleanflight Config / PORTS Tab: set UART2 Data/MSP to on!

To switch VTX Power:
hold vtx ch button
power on the quad (then the band LED will blink slow for LOW mode and fast for HIGH mode).
Danger! Do not switch to often, use the smallest possible battery.

Montag, 7. November 2016


►Tech Specs:
Size (diagonal): 210mm (other framesizes available)
Arms: 3mm CF
Motors: ZMX V3 (now they have newer fusion motors)
ESC:  Aikon 30a
Flight Controller:  SPRacingF3 with Cleanflight
Weight: 609gr (with SJ M20 and heavy 1300mah 4s)
VideoTX: Quanum 25-200mw
RX: FrSky D4rII

GPS Logger: Unilog SM GPSLogger 

3 bladed DAL props 5x4x3

Roll P 22
I 21
D 20
Pitch P 24
I 24
D 22
Yaw P 48
I 36
D 0

Looptime 2000 / PID Contr: MWRewrite / Airmode on

Samstag, 1. Oktober 2016

How to treat your LIPOs (battery usage tips)

I explain lipo battery charging in general in this video. Turnigy Graphene 1300/1800mah 4cell  (make sure to order them from a nearby warehouse!)
Turnigy Nanotech a-Spec 1300mah 4cell (maybe not so good?)
(cant find them anymore, but the "normal" nanotechs should be good as well:

Difference between Graphene and Nanotech? Graphenes are a bit heavier, hold up to high power drain better, keep their discharge voltage up until the end, are said to be durable and have a longer lifespan (to be proven over time).
That being said I have a few Nanotechs with high c-rating and they work quite well also!

if a battery has higher C-rating it will be a bit heavier.
if you fly and the battery is very hot afterwards - you're demainding too much - battery wont life long
puffed batteries are worn out, wont have full capacity anymore
charge batteries with 1c  (means with their capacity in amps - 1300mah batt - charge with 1300ma - or 1.3amps)
always balance
dont use damaged batteries - they might have an issue and lead to a crash on the next flight
DONT LET YOUR CHARGER UNATTENTED! make sure to always be around, have more chargers to charge more efficiently, USE A SMOKE ALERT in that room, have a fire extinguisher...

Montag, 26. September 2016

Ultrapower UP400AC Charger review, comparison to Graupner Ultra Duo 60 and Team Orion

How to charge all those miniquad batteries? I use 3 different Dual-Chargers - see their options and features here. Ultrapower UP400AC Duo - buy:
Tech specs:

Graupner Ultra Duo Plus 60   (289€)
Team Orion Advantage Touch  (215€)

DONT LET YOUR CHARGER UNATTENTED! make sure to always be around, have more chargers to charge more efficiently, USE A SMOKE ALERT in that room, have a fire extinguisher...

Jumpmarks (for the unpatient ones :)
00:12 ==Ultrapower UP400ac
01:11 Overview
02:48  menu and settings
07:37 ==Graupner Ultra Duo 60
08:44  menu and settings
11:38  ==Team Orion Advance Touch
15:16  12volt (source) charging

Donnerstag, 3. März 2016

ImmersionRC Vortex 250pro

Aus ImmersionRC Vortex 250pro

24.5.2016 - update! see PIDs and settings on the bottom!

Quick Tipps
LED Board button
Press 2sec to change VTX BAND
Press 5sec to enther TX Setup Wizard

Arm Motors: Throttle=0, YAW=right
        Disarm:  Throttle=0, YAW=left
 Enter OSD:   Throttle=0, YAW=left (while Motors are disarmed)
(if you cant arm or dont get into the menu: try trimming yaw more to right or left - your stick "servo-way" is not 100% - set rates on your radio to 100% and repeat the TX Wizard!)

►►GPS Support?
Immersion told me, if you use a "supported" GPS ezOSD will use it and show speed and distance. Anyone already tried this?  I'll see if I can get more info on this...

ImmersionRC Official Vortex250 page
Quick Manual 
Huge RCGroups Thread
3D printed BUMPERs (if you use the cam above)

►Tech Specs:
Size (diagonal): 250mm (275mm option for 6" Props)
Frame: 2mm CF, with 15x Aluminium Standoffs
Arms: 4mm Flat CF
Motors: vSpec 2204-2300kV, 3mm Shaft
ESC: 20/22A EzESC, OneShot125, rotorSENSE
Flight Controller: STM32F303 based ('F3')
OSD : Full Graphic
BlackBox: 2MB Included
Rx Support: Native CPPM, S-Bus, Spektrum, XBus, SumD, SumH
Rx Selection: Fully Automatic
Camera Mount: GoPro 3/4, mount included
USB Port: Through-Hole
FlightCam: 650TVL CCD (HS1177) (this is an important change vs the stock cam, see this video for comparison)
weight: 671gr (with gopro+ 1300mah 4s)
451gr all except hd cam and batt)

PIDs:  (24.05.2016 modified the Protune 12 - ummagawd)
I use: all on stock and:
1800mah 4cell Turnigy graphene (heavy!)
3 bladed DYS props 5x4.5x3 Bullnose

Roll P 3.5
I 0.052
D 38
Pitch P 4.1
I 0.050
D 42
Yaw P 6.7
I 0.062
D 38
(Alt P 5.0
I 0.000
D 0
Vel P 12.0
I 0.045
D 2
Level P 4.6
I 0.050
D 113 ) all of this on default 

RC Rate 1.15
RC Expo 0.50
Roll Rate 0.70
Pitch Rate 0.60
Yaw Rate 0.65
RC Yaw Expo 0.50
ThrottleExp 0.00

Looptime 1000
PID Contr.      MWRewrite
Airmode on

BL Version
OSD Ver.
LED Ver.
HW Ver. Fusion Gen 2
FC Ver. 2.5.3 BTFL
API Ver. 1.16

Freitag, 19. Februar 2016

BIG 5.8 GHz Video Receiver shootout / comparison (practical rangetest with my car), 25mw Videorange

If you want good range the RECEIVER is an important factor. Also the used antennas (see last video) and the transmission power (mw) and environmental influences (humidity, trees,...).
I wanted to see how much the receivers influence the way we see the world (when we fly FPV) - and here I compared 3 of them in different priceranges (Quanum, FR632 and ImmersionRC).

To get to the maximum range soon I used extension-cables on the transmitter and receiver side. The cables DO HAVE a significant penalty on radio power! I measured this at home with the ImmersionRC Powermeter. When using a 1m cable on a 25mw transmitter you only get half the mw you would get without the cable.
3m extension cable on the receivers makes it even worse!
This way I got 170m - 250m until the signal was completly gone. Of course while driving the signal would come and go - and this is where the receivers had different behaviour. Some would drop in- and out more frequently - others showed a quite consistant picture.

Donnerstag, 11. Februar 2016

Quanum Groundstation + FPV Antennas

Hobbyking sent me this nice groundstation for review.
I think it's a good way to get started fast, without having to build something by yourself. If you maybe have an Quanum Autoscan Video RX already this is a great way to upgrade to a diversity system.
If you want to be very mobile (backpack) with your groundstation - than rather go with a small dedicated diversity and goggles - this box is rather heavy and bulky and more suited for the flying field, taken directly out of your trunk ;-)
I like the combination of power distribution and different VOLTs (5 and 12) available - as well as the easy diversity and battery monitoring.
As a sideeffect - you can check your 4cell batteries if you forgot your battery checker. Vor a next upgrade of this groundstation it would be nice to have more balance plugs and maybe some color led bar- that shows the batt capacity nicer.

►Quanum Groundstation
►Quanum Auto Scan 5.8Ghz FPV Receiver
►RCGroups thread
►small alternative: FR632 Diversity RX (I already did a short review about this one)
►Feelworld 1000cd FPV monitor

Provides 5V and 12V output
Diversity summing when using two standard receivers
Holders/attachment points for Quanum FPV receivers
Tablet mounting frame suits small tablets (ipad mini, not iPad Air)
XT-60 battery connector
Ultra loud Lipo low voltage alarm (lipo voltage limit adjustable - monitors each cell)
Reverse polarity protection
Ports available: RSSI, Video-In, Video-Out
Power Output: 5V and 12V
Power Input: 4S Lipoly
Recommended Battery: 4S Lipoly 5200mAh (Multistar 5200 4cell fits in nicely and has some more room)
Dimensions: 200 x 90 x 82mm
Weight of Unit: 466g

1 x Power Supply Unit
1 x Tablet mounting frame
2 x Quanum FPV Receiver holders
Leads and cables
Instruction Manual

IF battery stays connected to Balance lead: power consumption of the LiPo meter is 8mA
that is around 500hrs or 3 weeks on a full 4cell 5200mah
so you shouldnt have it connected all the time (and definitly not over the winter season) but it's not a big deal if you forget it over the night...

Since I get asked about FPV antennas often and while I was preparing the FPV receiver comparison video I compared all the different antennas I have (+ the new AOMWays I got sent).
I did collect some very useful information for you guys since a solid videolink is one of the most important things for flying safe and having fun (you can only enjoy FPV flights if you don't always have to fear the loss of your videosignal).
When I have more time and weather is warmer I will do comprehensive comparisions of antenna- and receiver performance - to get the best range.

►LINKS to the Antennas:
Aomway 8dbi Patch
Aomway SPW omni
ImmersionRC SPW
ImmersionRC 13 Patch
ImmersionRC 8 mini Patch

►Antenna Knowledge:
good visualisation:

also check this awesome test from Bruce: