JackCarter

starting out...

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Hi, 

I just joined your forum and would like to ask for some advice.  
I am a photographer and would like to start filming with drones. 
Recently I almost bought a hexa drone, but friend of mine advised me to get smaller model first and learn how to fly the thing. Guess that's a sensible advice... 
Since I'm really just getting into drones have to admit I have no idea where to start. 
 
Several colleagues recommended Phantom 3. Apparently there are four models - Standard, SE, Advanced and Pro. 
Ideally, I would like my drone's camera to produce good enough video for documentaries or web campaign, and reasonably good photographs.  
Which model would you recommend as a beginners choice.  
 
Also, where could I find samples of images and videos taken with those four drones, to make a comparison. I tried youtube...
Last question, and I know there is no easy answer. Would you consider getting s/hand drone ? 
 
Thank you 

 

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Welcome to the forum. 

Your kind of conflating learning to fly and buying a good AP drone. If you want to learn how to be a good pilot buy something like a small Hubson that you can fly indoors or outdoors with no wind.  To become a good pilot you need to be able to fly in manual and in any oriontatiin. It takes quite a bit of practice.  It’s obviously a good idea to be a good operator,  Phantoms pretty much fly themselves, you just kind of herd them around and often people who learn to fly with them learn to rely on the automatic aspect and it generally takes a lot longer to become a proficient operator.

 

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Regarding the camera you want to use depends largely on the deliverable. If the destination for the content is Youtube then just about any drone with a a 4K camera will suffice. If you want it for broadcast content then your choices are limited. 

If your a professional photographer then you know all about pixel peeping and how everyone has their favorite camera and everything else sucks.  That’s especially true in the drone market.  A little common sense goes a long way.  Early on drones were the limiting factor, the cameras had to be small and light.   Now drones are more capable and can lift heavier payloads longer so you can choose from better cameras and gimbals.

The camera that come with drones like the Phantom and Autel have a small sensor, a plastic len and is on the lower end of the spectrum.  Great for real estate or anything being distributed online.  Drones that can carry a mirrorless or DSLR are more readily available and there’s no way those smaller “drone” cameras can compare with a GH5, Sony A9 or even broadcast camera’s like the Sony FS5 or Canon C200.  The DJI inspire with the X5S is a great middle ground, the problem with anything DJI is there always changing firmware which also effects the camera.  

 

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Hi, 

thank you for your answers. 

I know, its impossible to find relatively cheap drone with great camera. It looks like I'll go for Phantom 3, possibly s/hand. That way I'll learn basics of flying and filming, guess if i get hooked will go for a better model. I realize it will take me at least 6 months to be able to fly without crashing it into a tree, 

Will let you know of the progress :-)

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I just found s/hand Phantom 3 pro, with two batteries. Guy had it for a year and did 4 flights in total. 

I'm not sure about the batteries, guess it's not great to leave them sitting for a year...

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On ‎12‎/‎28‎/‎2017 at 10:15 PM, Av8Chuck said:

Chances are the batteries are fine.

Just charging them for the first time... how long does it take, someone said 40 min...

 

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Depends on how old or the number of charges and how depleated they are.  40 minutes or longer is not unuasal. 

If your using the DJI charger (and you should) I’m not sure you can tell the total amount of energy beeing put back and with smart batteries it’s difficlt to tell what percentage it charges to.  

Using a balance charger, regular LiPo’s will only charge to a certain percentage, when they’re new they’ll charge to 99%, over time the internal resistance will go up and that percentage will go down.  There’s probably something in the GoApp that can provide you with similar information.  

The more you fly the more you’ll get a sense of how fast your batteries are discharging.  Just keep in mind that batteries don’t last for ever, so you need to pay attention to the percentage of energy used for a given flight time.  There are a lot of variables that can effect this but you will get a good sense of how well the P3 is performing with experience.  

Finally, this is not a dig at DJI, but despite how “smart” they claim these batteries are, or how pretty they are in their plastic enclosures, they are still LiPo’s and you should not charge them unattended in your house.  Probably shouldn’t charge them in your house at all if you have the choice.  

Here’s how we do ours.  Inside a fire resistant cabinet I have a couple of cinder blocks, inside the cinder blocks there’s are LiPo bags the batteries go in the bags, inside the blocks inside the fire resistant cabinet.  Also the cabinet is in the garage, next to the door, on a rolling cart.  If the fire can’t be contained in the cabinet then open the door, push the cart out and let the neighbors worry about it.  That last parts a joke...

We charge 22k and 16k 6S batteries which is why we do it this way.  You can do a similar thing with just a cinder block, a cinder block end cap and a plastic bag of sand.  Place the cinder block end cap on the floor, the cinder block facing up on the end cap, put the battery in the cinder block to charge and then place the plastic bag filled with sand on top of cinder block.  If the battery pops off it will melt the plastic, the sand will surround the battery and will turn to glass.  This will not extinguish the fire but will dissipate the heat enough so that it shouldn’t burn down your house.  

The batteries are one of the most dangerous components on a drone.  If you google LiPo fires you’ll see a ton of videos of peoples houses and cars being torched by LiPo’s.  You don’t want to be standing their watching a battery starting to vent and then try to figure out what to do. 

Also, a lot of people use “ammo” cans as a container to charge in.  This is a really bad idea.  LiPo’s don’t really explode, it’s a chemical reaction that causes extremely high pressure and temperature and it has to vent.  You can’t extinguish it, the best you can hope for is to control it.  If you put it into an “ammo” can you are literally creating a bomb.  Obviously it depends on the size of the battery but anything above a 4S 5k battery has enough chemical to cause serious damage.

Again, I’m not trying to scare anyone.  You just need to be smart about how you manage your batteries and understand a little about how they work to prevent stuff like this:

I don’t know what these guys are saying but they’re having too much fun..

 

186FF332-2C02-4E89-B42E-909EE743F83F.jpeg

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As chuck as stated they are likely fine, if you want to have a very basic idea of their health post a picture of the battery screen with each one in and we can take a look. 

Chucks posts is bang on with everything the only real thing I would say is once the packs are known after a few cycles charging inside should not be an issue in my opinion as long as you can do it where you mentain control and visibility and are able to control the situation if it changes rapidly, charging them out side every time is not something that is absolutely nessesary once your in a place you can control things, often I’m charging packs on my bedroom floor BUT I’m allways there and am able to take control if something goes south. 

 

I do store them in a metal safe when not in use and all my other dumb packs in the worshop live in ammo boxes like chuck stated, I tend to keep the DJI packs indoors and warm ready for use, my workshop has been crazy cold so it causes me issues if I want to use them quicklY, It’s arguable all year long if a smart battery has made them safer or not and that’s smart batteries across the board from drones to laptops but what they have done is made it safer for new users imo from a charging point of view by taking some of the complexity out of understanding voltage ect, however that’s not nessesary saying that’s a good thing because knowing how a lipo works is very important as chuck has stated and they are funny beasts at the bests of times, while rare you can do everything right and they can still go up for no apparent reason.  

Im sure you will be fine and post the pics if your not sure and we can take a look at the voltages and capacity’s, it won’t tell you that they are safe but we can say if they look fairly healthy.  

 

@chuck that’s a nice setup I need to do something like that my self tbh, when your dealing with that many packs is absolutely what needs to be done as you have said. 

Edited by Mad_Angler1

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I did charge one battery yesterday, it took about an hour. As charging started lights were flashing one after the other ( 1st, 2nd, 3rt, 4th, 1st... ). I was expecting them to stay on at the end of the process, but they went off. When testing battery it showed it is full, all four came up. Hope that's OK.

So far I used my Samsung Core Prime for flying, and am planning to get iPad mini 2 16 Gb retina WiFi. It's on the list of recommended tablets, do you have any experience with it ?

Thanks for all the answers :-)

 

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8 hours ago, JackCarter said:

I did charge one battery yesterday, it took about an hour. As charging started lights were flashing one after the other ( 1st, 2nd, 3rt, 4th, 1st... ). I was expecting them to stay on at the end of the process, but they went off. When testing battery it showed it is full, all four came up. Hope that's OK.

So far I used my Samsung Core Prime for flying, and am planning to get iPad mini 2 16 Gb retina WiFi. It's on the list of recommended tablets, do you have any experience with it ?

Thanks for all the answers :-)

 

That all sounds normal, yes the packs turn off when charging is complete and will show 4 solid Leds when done when you check them, a piece of advice, do your self a favor and download the P3 Manual read read it cover to cover a number of times, there is some stuff in there you really need to know around how this works and the behavior of veriouse features. 

Some other info that may be helpful for you 

 

First flight. 

 

Take it easy for your first few flights until you understand what the craft is doing and how it behaves vs how you expect it to behave as they can be different. Avoid water or tight spaces and give your self plenty of open space to check the craft is working correctly and you understand its controls. 

 

Do not use CSC to stop the motors after landing it has a habit of tipping the craft, just hold the throttle down to minimum for a few seconds to shut the motors down. 

 

Battery 

A few simple rules will ensure you should not have any problems 

 

Take it easy on new packs, or even ones that have been stored for some time could take a number of cycles to realise it full capacity, do not fully discharge a new pack for the first few cycles and ideally don't discharge below 50% for the first 10 cycles/flights, it’s just helps a little it appears .

Try not to fly a partly charged pacI and only take off with a fully charged battery when ever you can, if you stop flying do not use the pack again for another flight further to this try to only fly that pack with in 24 hours of charging, ideally sooner, if the battery has been sitting for over 24 hours discharge it to below 90% then charge it fully before and long flight. 

Keep a charged battery warm before flight as temps are dropping and cold weather can have an averse affect on the battery and its performance, try to keep the pack warm between charging and getting to the fly site in colder weather,  battery temp should ideally be between 20-30c for take off, since V1.6 it will warn you of your temp is to cold and may not let you arm of its below 15c, if between 15-20c take off and just hover for a bit for the pack temperature to rise above 20c 

 

Finally be gentle In colder weather avoid full throttle unless its absolutely necessary, especially until the battery has warmed in flight, take off at part throttle as this is when the largest load is on the pack and its cold. 

 

Fly safe folks and keep those birds coming home

 

Edited by Mad_Angler1

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Hi. I'm new here because my sister recently bought a DJI Phantom 3 drone and she's asking me for guidance. However, I don't know anything about drones so both of us are researching about drones and this thread is pretty helpful.

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Hi. I'm new here because my sister recently bought a DJI Phantom 3 drone and she's asking me for guidance. However, I don't know anything about drones so both of us are researching about drones and this thread is pretty helpful.

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Hi. I'm new here because my sister recently bought a DJI Phantom 3 drone and she's asking me for guidance. However, I don't know anything about drones so both of us are researching about drones and this thread is pretty helpful.

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Hi. I'm new here because my sister recently bought a DJI Phantom 3 drone and she's asking me for guidance. However, I don't know anything about drones so both of us are researching about drones and this thread is pretty helpful.

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sorry for the multiple replies. I didn't know it will be posted once I clicked the submit reply button. it's quite different from the other forums I've joined so far. Apologies once again.

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15 hours ago, Mad_Angler1 said:

That all sounds normal, yes the packs turn off when charging is complete and will show 4 solid Leds when done when you check them, a piece of advice, do your self a favor and download the P3 Manual read read it cover to cover a number of times, there is some stuff in there you really need to know around how this works and the behavior of veriouse features. 

Some other info that may be helpful for you 

 

Thanks for the answer, you're absolutely right. Drone is a relatively complicated piece of machinery and it makes sense to read the manual. Yes, I know it's pretty obvious, but in this day and age YouTube seems like a viable source of info. Of course, I'll read the manual - I guess I was just too excited to start flying.

 

I researched local regulations - it's allowed to fly Phantom 3 pro in unpopulated areas, with a parachute attached and insurance sorted. So far you can't fly it in cities and populated areas in general, for that you need something bigger than a quad.

 

Thanks again, going to download manual now :-)

 

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