So apparently I jumped head first into the quadcopter world by building this weapon. It’s not a drone, if anything it’s a UAS (Unmanned Aircraft System) but that sounds bollocks too. It’s a quadcopter, it’s got four rotors and is piloted by me, with a transmitter and sometimes I wear video goggles so I can fly it in first person view (FPV) depending on the situation.
So the finished product, a DJI (yes they make Phantoms) F450 on my walking backpack with RayBans for scale.
So I spent a fair few weeks searching for what I wanted in my quadcopter and knocked up a checklist:
- Hold a decent camera (I already owned an SJ4000 GoPro clone)
- Have at least ten minutes flight time
- Be easy to fly, intuitive to learn with
- Stable airborne platform that wouldn’t fly away over the horizon if something happened
- Light enough to take hiking with me places you can’t drive your car
So with this in mind, I thought of the DJI Phantom series, but the cost was simply stupid, I couldn’t bring myself to stump up that kind of cash. Also search youtube for “Phantom flyaway” and be scared. I thought of the Parrot Bepop, but the ability to pilot via your phone just limits the range and the extended remote system was mega bucks. I looked at various other RTF (ready to fly) platforms, but in the end decided I needed a new hobby, and I wouldn’t get what I wanted by simply walking into a shop and walking out with a quad.
I didn’t have any prior knowledge of the hobby and hadn’t flown anything RC in many years so the consensus was that I’d bitten off more than I could chew but I’m one for jumping in and learning as I go.
The DJI Naza V2 flight controller (FC) system is simply superb. I could have saved myself considerable money by buying a basic FC but wanted out of the box, GPS, Altitude hold and a failsafe system, there are few systems that are so intuitive as the Naza. The GPS system onboard allows the quad to return to home if I were to flick the failsafe switch and land safely, it has a system called Home lock so if you can’t determine which direction the quad is flying, click the home lock and whichever way the quad is pointing if you push forward it will simply fly back to you. The failsafe can be set to return to home, so by flicking a switch it comes back to where it took off by itself, this also works if the receiver on the quad loses signal from the transmitter (if the receiver supports failsafe), for instance if the battery died on you transmitter the quad won’t fly off over the horizon but come back to you. As I say, superb.
I learnt a shedload building this quad, and have made a build-log to that affect, hopefully helping others in the same boat as me.