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,