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General BS forum I guess this will be for anything that would seem to be off topic in any other forum here. Just general shootin' the breeze kind of topics.

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Unread 12-22-2017, 09:15 PM   #11
Rich Z
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Oh, here is the very first video I did with my very first drone. Video is just awful! Not to mention that little drone was just very hard to control. But you'll see what I mean...



https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HxcGm_vpBY4

BTW, even the video itself was all screwed up with resolution, as you can see from the squatty look of my garage. It was a bear even getting this video to a point where I could render it for publication on YouTube.

I actually just completely dropped interest in this stuff for about three years, because I knew that what I wanted out of taking video from drones was a long way to reaching a point where I wanted to buy into them. Not to mention that even the more expensive ones were unreliable as hell and people were constantly having them fly away or just dropping out of the sky to crash into pieces. I just couldn't see the sense of even considering one of those things at that time.

Things are a whole lot better now, but of course, nothing is perfect. I have a slight squeal coming from what I think is the front right propeller motor. Not sure how significant it is, though. But things do break, and when it is something that weighs 3 pounds and is 300 ft up in the air, it is not going to fare well when it impacts the ground.
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Unread 12-23-2017, 02:40 PM   #12
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WOW! Watta difference between the first one and the current one!
All herky-jerky in the first one, and you're right about the squatty garage.
looks kinda like a model garage for matchbox cars! LOL
You need to find someone with a Vette that will let you ride shotgun and
control the drone while they do a "performance start" and run up through
the gears. That might make a neat video! And have you seen all of the you tube
videos about people crashing their drones? I mean some of them cost multiple
thousands of dollars, and the owners appear to be happy to post a video about
it. If it was me, I wouldn't want ANYONE seeing some asinine stunt I pulled
to trash my drone... SHEESH!
Andy
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Unread 12-23-2017, 06:17 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by navy2kcoupe View Post
WOW! Watta difference between the first one and the current one!
All herky-jerky in the first one, and you're right about the squatty garage.
looks kinda like a model garage for matchbox cars! LOL
You need to find someone with a Vette that will let you ride shotgun and
control the drone while they do a "performance start" and run up through
the gears. That might make a neat video! And have you seen all of the you tube
videos about people crashing their drones? I mean some of them cost multiple
thousands of dollars, and the owners appear to be happy to post a video about
it. If it was me, I wouldn't want ANYONE seeing some asinine stunt I pulled
to trash my drone... SHEESH!
Andy
Actually I am glad that people are having the courage to post their videos of their crashing their drones. I think I'm learning a lot by watching their mistakes and trying to figure out what they did wrong. There appear to be several causes:
  1. Being distracted by someone else nearby
  2. Flying via FPV in a direction other than where the camera is pointing
  3. Misjudging how far the drone is from some obstruction or it not being visible at a distance when flying via line of sight
  4. A hardware or software failure in the drone or controller

From what I have seen in the available videos, the first three are much more common that #4. And since, as you inferred, people might be a whole lot less likely to post videos showing their mistakes than they would of actual failures of the drone/controller, I suspect that "pilot error" is the cause of a vast number of crashes.

Before doing this latest flight yesterday, I recalibrated the gimbal and the compass, and had to do a firmware update too, so I was running slim on battery life for the flight afterwards. These firmware updates are mandatory, evidently, and you just cannot fly the drone until the update has completely successfuly.

The gimbal seemed more level than before, and I didn't get any of the compass errors I seemed to get every flight. The horizon still goes skewed sometimes, but it seems to correct itself eventually.

I also mounted a modified antenna booster too, just to see if that would help. But I didn't send the drone out far enough to really test it any. I will sometimes get video distortion on the display of the cell phone, so I want to see if the antenna booster will help with that.

As mentioned above about "pilot error" I almost made a mistake when Connie was out there with me. Not paying close attention and when I was bringing the drone back down, it had drifted away from the garage more than I had realized. When I noticed the drift, I got disoriented when I tried to move it away from the tree, not immediately realizing what direction the drone was pointing, but luckily caught it in time. I wasn't as close to the tree as it appeared in the video, but close enough. Not a good idea getting distracted when flying these things, I suppose.

Anyway tried a little manual "follow her" when Connie walked down the driveway to fetch the trash cans.

I'm still very impressed with how stable this flying video platform is.



https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZNqQqbx4QHY
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Unread 01-03-2018, 05:33 PM   #14
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Took the drone out the other day to try to figure out where that high pitched squeaking noise is coming from that I am hearing. First I took the props off and then used a microphone attached to my camera to try to see if I could identify which motor was making the noise by checking one motor after another. But I really couldn't hear the noise that way, so perhaps the lifting force of the propellers is necessary.

So I put the props back on and then did a short flight and brought the drone as close to the camera as I could to see if that would register audibly what I have been hearing. I guess I should have moved the work table out of the way, as this drone just does not like an uneven surface that gets in the way of the prop wash. I found it tough to control even under GPS mode and had to fight with it when it kept trying to drift close to me and the camera.



https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1A4OYaY_yvs

But I can plainly hear the squeaky noise starting around 2:54, but not too much luck trying to determine if it is just one motor making the noise and if so, which one. I think it got slightly louder as the left front motor of the drone faced the camera, and I kind of leaning towards that motor being the culprit, if I had to make a choice.

If it would hold still, I could try the same thing using the microphone, but that would mean having to set the controller on a table and walk around the drone closely without having any hands on the controls. I am not too keen on that idea.

Not sure how much this is something to be worrying about, though. Maybe a little spot of lubricant applied to the motors would help? Hopefully if it gets worse, it will do so gradually instead of a sudden motor failure while 200 ft up in the air and over a pine tree.
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Unread 01-29-2018, 10:46 AM   #15
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I contacted the company about the slight gimbal tilt I (and others) have had with this drone, and they set it up such that a new firmware update would be sent to my controller the next time I logged in to fly the drone. So the other day I set things up to get the firmware update and then go through the recommended calibrations. One thing that struck me as odd was that the procedure indicated that the drone should be pointed due North for the calibration. I could see that for a compass calibration, but no idea why that would be important for the gimbal to be able to "dead reckon" a flat horizon. But I did it their way, anyway.

I then took a short flight, straight up, and then spun the drone around to check it out. Still seems like a very slight tilt, but definitely looks like an improvement. Even if I can't iron out the slight tilt, this would be livable.



https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tlrcojiD2uQ
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Unread 02-10-2018, 04:00 PM   #16
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Finally had a day yesterday where it wasn't raining, windy, or I was under the weather from that cold or bug I picked up last week. So I took the drone out to try out some stuff with it. Actually felt a bit rusty at the controls, so this is something you really need to practice quite a bit, I guess.

Anyway, this drone comes with some automated flight features in the controller app that I wanted to play around with. The first one is the capability to set way points that will direct the drone to automatically fly from one to the other point in sequence. What you do is to go into the menu to select it, set up the parameters you want (drone height, speed, etc.) and then select the points you want on the map screen by simply tapping points on your cell phone display running the controller app. My goal had been to send the drone out the driveway at 125 ft elevation, down the road, then when reaching the edge of our property, move from one corner to the next, circumnavigating the four corners and head on back to "home". But I think there is a limit of 6 way points, which would have been OK, since I could have triggered the Return To Home feature when the drone had finally reached the end of the way point run.

BTW, what is interesting to me about this function is that I think it would be handy to set way points to command the drone to fly a pre-determined path, which would allow me the freedom to then just worry about manning the direction that the camera is pointing without also having to worry about where the drone was actually going to be flying. Theoretically, of course. At this point, I don't know what the drone actually does if you, for instance, yaw the drone to chance the lateral position the camera is pointing. The only movement you can make with the camera itself, is from pointing directly forward to pointing directly down, and any point in between. Any time you want to video something off center from being directly in front or directly under the drone, you have to move the drone itself to do so.

But the flight plan didn't work out as planned, however. When the drone flew out over the driveway, and then headed north up the road to the north edge of the property, it got to the point where I had it set to turn west to that NW corner of the property. Instead, it announced that it had lost signal, and that automatically triggered the Return To Home safety function, so it just turned to point directly "home" and came on back to the launch point and landed. Perhaps I could have regained control at that point, but I didn't try that quite yet.

Hmm, flight data was showing that it got out to about 1100 or so ft, and I think I've flown it slightly further than that before. But I was running a screen capture program on the smart phone this time, so perhaps that is interfering with the control app somewhat. I then tried a simpler way point set, just heading straight out to that northwest corner of the property, then turning south to the next corner. BTW, it seems that you MUST put the drone up high enough to clear any obstructions BEFORE triggering the way point routine, because when you trigger that function, it immediately heads towards that point, gaining altitude along the way. In my case, that would have meant flying directly into a pine tree before it got high enough to clear it. Fortunately I put the drone at height before triggering the way point command, otherwise this could have turned out ugly. Anyway, the drone again only got about 1100 feet or so out there, and then lost signal and did the RTH thing again. I may have to try this again sometime without that screen capture program running to see if that is causing this problem. The drone SHOULD be able to go much further out than that. Some people have logged a couple of miles with their drones (this model). Of course, I don't expect to get it that far with all the trees causing interference, but still, I think it should go somewhat further than 1100 feet out from me.

Anyway, so much for the way point test. So I then decided to try another function called "Orbit Mode". With this one, you have to position the drone above the Point Of Interest (POI), then set up the parameters you want. There was one parameter called "angle" that I'm not sure about, since the display didn't mean much to me. It could mean the direction the drone is pointing, but that is apparently covered in another selection. Maybe position of the camera, but the display didn't seem to be associated with the possible directions you can actually set the camera, which is just up and down at various degrees. So I guess I'll have to play around with that sometime just to see what it does. Again, you need to put the drone at height to clear obstructions BEFORE triggering this function. It doesn't go UP then out, it goes up gradually at an angle while heading to the start point on the circumference line of the circle you have set.

This one seemed to run without issues, but I was only about 215 or so feet from the controller.



https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uz6Q2hUT7dc


I can see where people could get into trouble with some of these modes by not knowing how it actually operates and allowing the drone to run into something as a result. There is no sort of obstruction avoidance on this drone, so if you tell it to run into a wall or tree, it will certainly oblige your wishes. I'm guessing you can cancel these automated functions on the fly, but things could happen quickly and you just might not have time enough to figure out what to do before the crash. Probably would be a good thing for me to figure out experimentally under controlled conditions.

Also I had quite a few instances of trying the RTH (Return To Home) function, either because the drone lost the control signal, or I just used it as a fast and easy way to bring it back home, and noticed that the drone just didn't seem to get as close to the launch point as it had in the past. Sometimes came down as much as 8 ft. away. That's not too bad, I guess, but you still have to keep that in mind in case you are launching it from a narrow area with obstructions all around you.

But all in all, a good day of flying. Any day you don't crash or lose your drone flying it is a GOOD day.

Oh, just out of curiosity, I took my temperature gun outside because I wanted to check the temps of the propeller motors after flying to see how that looked. I'm guessing that a motor going bad would tend to be hotter than the rest of them, so I wanted to get a feel for what the temperatures should be. All four of them were registering between 100 and 103 degrees F, which doesn't seem TOO hot to me. So all is good with the motors, so far.
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Unread 02-26-2018, 06:49 PM   #17
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This video is taken by someone using a DJI Phantom 4 drone, and not the Xiaomi Mi, but it gives an interesting application of using a drone to actually find snakes out in the wild. For those of you interested in that kind of pursuit....



https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v97KrZTzYWU
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Unread 02-26-2018, 10:29 PM   #18
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Don't think I would like it if my drone went down on top of one of those dens! I might just have to write off that drone as a bad experiment. I kept waiting for one of the snakes that was out of view, to pop up in front of the camera while striking at the drone. All in all...........very interesting video!
Andy
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