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  1. #1
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    Default Multirotors / Quadcopters / otherwise known a DRONES

    First off let me say if this is the wrong area just move it to where you feel best.

    I have posted up a few videos I have shot from my multirotor and have gotten quite a few comments on them that I figured there might be enough interest in these flying machines to start a thread....if not it will die a quick death.

    I don't claim to know even 1/10 about multirotors, but I have been flying RC for over 30 years. I know a little about them, but it is a moving target and things are in change all the time.

    Why would this community care about this stuff? Well first off it is kinda fun. Second they are very handy for checking out things ranging from storm damage to seeing if you need to clean out your gutters on your house....so if you think you can see a use, fun or otherwise read on.

    Costs....first thing everyone wants to know is how much does it cost....and the usual answer it depends. They can cost as little as under $100 to well into the tens of thousands for "hobby" classed aircraft. But for under $500 you can get into the air with a good quality unit that will be repairable and large enough to carry a camera.....you can go up from there.

    Differences.....in painting with a very wide brush there are two types of birds.

    Manual, this you fly the thing 100% of the time.

    Autopilots....there are really two different auto pilot type birds out there, one is APM, the other is DJI/Naza/Wookong (Phantom) These are really the two most popular at the moment.

    The difference with the auto pilot machines is that they have sat. tracking in them so they can be programmed to follow a "mission", this can be handy if you want to fly a grid over a crop field to look for damage, or even if you have some cows that got out. They can also be set to hold at a given altitude and you can move the machine where you want....really whatever you can think of.

    Cameras.....there are really again two basic types of cameras, the kind that record, then you bring it back download it to your computer and watch the video, the other is live video or FPV (first person view)...this is where the video has a radio link to a receiver on the ground and it is plugged into some type of monitor...you see what the camera sees in real time.

    Again if there is any interest in this I will be happy to explain more....if not, it took me 5 min to type this up.

    Here is a little example of the type of video you can record for well under $500.


  2. #2
    Veteran Member jimmysisson's Avatar
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    That's pretty cool, but wifey needs a bigger mower!
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  3. #3
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    Default Re: Multirotors / Quadcopters / otherwise known a DRONES

    I am very interested, much easier to survey the rocks I can't climb on the hillside behind our house.

    Thanks for answering the cost question, that was #1.

    The other is... our place is often very windy. A light quad isn't going to do well then. Can heavier (bigger) quad/multi handle wind better? Or would this be mostly an early morning/early evening flyer?

    edit: oops, another question: range on a sub-$500 flyer

  4. #4
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    Default Re: Multirotors / Quadcopters / otherwise known a DRONES

    Windy....well the one in the video is a 350mm machine....350 from rotor across to the other rotor. This is a pretty popular size and IMHO do just about everything just not anything real well. They are very easy to transport, and will take a fair bit of wind, lift a gopro, and some FPV gear bit over a pound or so....but I would say anything over 10mph would be VERY IFFY. If it is much over 15mph I would say everything is going to be grounded....not that they will not fly in it but after you get past 500mm the costs really start to get up there as those are usually all carbon fiber affairs with pretty high costs. 450 is pretty much the largest "inexpensive" quad you can go for.

    As to the range you will have control over it further away then you can see it. And that is pretty much a function of the radio. MOST of the radios are 2.4ghz and will have about a mile range give or take. You can get into UHF radios that will go MUCH further, but again a entire new area of both cost and complexity comes in here.

  5. #5
    Veteran Member JJZ 109's Avatar
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    Default Re: Multirotors / Quadcopters / otherwise known a DRONES

    A small local business has been doing some work for real estate outfits and has assisted local law enforcement a couple of times. Because the law enforcement operation was publicized in a local paper, of course the FAA got wind and is giving everyone grief over it.
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  6. #6
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    Default Re: Multirotors / Quadcopters / otherwise known a DRONES

    Quote Originally Posted by JJZ 109 View Post
    A small local business has been doing some work for real estate outfits and has assisted local law enforcement a couple of times. Because the law enforcement operation was publicized in a local paper, of course the FAA got wind and is giving everyone grief over it.
    Yea, that much of it is still very much up in the air....but let me tell you what I know so far without acting like the news and telling you just what they want you to know.

    The FAA is really having a problem with a few areas of RC flight.

    1) Flight for hire....like taking a photo of a house for the real estate people and making money off of that. I have flown over peoples houses to look at roof tiles, gutters and sky lights....to see for damage or to see if the gutters need to be cleaned out. As long as I do this for free SO FAR the FAA has not had a problem with it. They are trying to treat unmanned aircraft the same as manned and think the same rules apply.

    2) FPV (First person view) they really have a problem with this. Up to this point RC aircraft had to be flown by someone with their eyes on the bird itself. With FPV you can have your eyes totally covered with goggles and never actually see the plane. They want all RC flight to be with the pilots eyes on the aircraft at all times....this cuts out a buddy watching the plane for you.

    3) Range, this goes along with seeing the plane and FPV, you can now fly the plane on cross country trips long out of sight. With radios now reaching almost 10miles you can take quite a trip....the FAA is not real happy with that.

    4) Navigation/autopilots. You can buy a bird that will actually fly itself....from takeoff to landing you don't have to do anything put program it in a computer....and it is super easy. This is all controlled with autopilots and GPS units....and it can all be had for under $300.

    5) Size, with the ability to lift 50lbs and keep it up there for 30 minutes they are more then a little worried about that as well.

    6) Speed, There are some turbine powered models (yes real jet engines) that can cook through the sky at speeds over 300mph....These are usually very expensive models and flown at actual airports....but the FAA is not happy about this as well.

    It does not take a lot of thinking that this could be a big bucket of bad....think about it, I can put 50lbs on something that will fly for 30min and it will fly to its destination with no more input from me other then clicking on one button....just use your wildest dreams and think what that 50lbs could be.

    I really don't know where this hobby will go in the next 10 years or so, but I do know it is going to change, licensing everything has been suggested to outlawing everything.....no one really knows.

    I will say that even if flying is just a hobby to you these things are VERY dangerous. Fires from damaged batteries is not uncommon, and these lipo batteries hold huge amounts of energy....everyone I know has had a lipo issue at one point in their time in the hobby.

    The real problem is that so many are new to flying because there is no learning curve anymore (remember they fly themselves) that they don't really earn their wings with smaller models. Here is a short video on a lipo explosion in what looks like an extra. People have lost their cars and even their entire houses to lipo fires. This are big powerful batteries that are pushed to the limit.

    It is a fun hobby but you have to respect it and fly in safe areas....not out the windows of some office building, imagine if the plane below crashed on an office building (has happened) or in a downtown area, over a sports field, crowd of people. The people flying these things need to use their head, and the new people just don't really understand the bad that can happen.


  7. #7
    Platinum Member caver's Avatar
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    Default Re: Multirotors / Quadcopters / otherwise known a DRONES

    Video I shot on vacation while a bit bored at a campground. I bought one for the aerial video ability.
    Claude farmer

  8. #8
    Super Star Member k0ua's Avatar
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    Default Re: Multirotors / Quadcopters / otherwise known a DRONES

    50 lbs, 30 minute flight time with full programmable auto-pilot? Rut Roh!.. that is what is known in the defense industry as a "fire and forget" offensive weapon.
    James KØUA

    Kioti DK35se hydrostat with 2 QA buckets, 48 inch. King Kutter Rotary Cutter. 750 lbs ballast box. Loaded tires, Construction Attachments SSQA Lightweight Pallet forks. EA 50 inch single lid "wicked" Grapple. Satisfied Everlast PA160 welder owner How to add a link to a post . Best way to search TBN


  9. #9
    Elite Member GManBart's Avatar
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    Default Re: Multirotors / Quadcopters / otherwise known a DRONES

    Fun stuff! I've been thinking about getting something similar to fool around with on my property.

    LiPo batteries are no joke...even a pin prick can make them explode. Here's a drone company that had a battery explode just sitting on the shelf...not even charging!

    LiPO Spontaneously catches on fire at EZDrone - YouTube
    Life is more fun when you ignore the trolls...we can only hope for the day they take a magic carpet ride somewhere else.

  10. #10
    Elite Member GManBart's Avatar
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    Default Re: Multirotors / Quadcopters / otherwise known a DRONES

    Quote Originally Posted by Cherokee140 View Post
    It is a fun hobby but you have to respect it and fly in safe areas....not out the windows of some office building, imagine if the plane below crashed on an office building (has happened) or in a downtown area, over a sports field, crowd of people. The people flying these things need to use their head, and the new people just don't really understand the bad that can happen.
    Yep, it's gotten to the point that they're so capable, and so easy to use, it's easy for people to be dumb.

    I happened to be meeting with an executive at a huge worldwide company recently, and he asked if I wanted to take a look at the drone one of the window washers found. They downloaded the video from the attached GoPro, and found that it had crashed into their building near the top floor, and spun down until it landed on a ledge...luckily the area below isn't open to the public. The video also showed them flying well over 1,000ft AGL, within an airspace corridor, so the owner might be in some legal trouble. I was surprised how small, and light the machine was to be able to fly that high, and carry a camera....I want one now
    Life is more fun when you ignore the trolls...we can only hope for the day they take a magic carpet ride somewhere else.

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