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Buying Phantom 2 shortly, but have reservations

Discussion in 'Phantom 2 Discussion' started by MrJoshua, Oct 1, 2014.

  1. MrJoshua

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    Hi guys

    I've been spending a lot of time reading up recently about the phantom as I'm intending to buy one in the next few weeks as a 40th birthday present for myself with money I'm getting.
    I'm really into photography and have always been a huge RC fan, so the 2 things gel perfectly for me in buying this, and I'm very excited about intending to buy one.

    I currently have a modified Parrot AR2 drone, which is great fun, but is basically a glorified toy and no use for proper video or aerial photography unlike the phantom.

    But I worry a bit after a lot of discussions I've read about flyaway phantoms, or ones that just drop out of the sky it seems.
    Really really really want one, but I'm a little scared of the prospect of losing it + expensive gimbal + gopro, through no real fault of my own. If it's pilot error I can accept that, but it seems people lose these kites despite not doing anything wrong.

    Or at least that's the impression I've picked up, and am hoping you guys can set me straight and reassure me that this isn't really likely to happen at all? I realise no-one can guarantee a failure free machine - things don't work like that of course, but what I'm looking for is a little bit of perspective to put in place some rationale on how common these sort of issues might be in reality, and whether I do need to worry or am just reading scare stories etc.

    I hope that doesn't sound negative - it's not intended to but I'm just wanting to get some factual input on things like whether there are any currently known issues that could cause such scenarios, outside of me doing something dumb as a pilot (like flying next to power lines, taking off without a lock on the satellites, launching with a nearly flat battery etc).

    Appreciate your objective input on this guys, and hopefully in a few weeks I will be a fellow pilot getting a lot of enjoyment from my new machine. :D

    Thanks very much!
     
  2. QYV

    QYV

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    couple things: early "flyaways" have been (mostly, afaik) attributed to user error: leaving the GoPro's wifi enabled, which can override the RC control signal (they're on similar frequencies) and cause a flyaway. So I recommend you use the product as directed and make sure you don't leave the gopro's wifi on during flight and you should be fine there.

    You also have to remember that a forum like this is where people come for help and to post problems, so of course you're going to see a high amount of problems posted here... but what about the thousands or more people that never have any issue at all and their Phantom2 just works fine all the time? My point is you're going to see a disproportionate amount of problems around a place like this.

    That being said, every product has a failure rate and there's other inherent risks in this hobby. I recommend using a vendor like B&H which has excellent policies surrounding replacement, especially if you can recover a crashed device and it can be proven that it was device failure.
     
  3. Haze

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    About 200 Flights now with my 2x phantom 2's and no Fly aways, but i crashed my first one a couple of small times on landings and stupid stuff that was my fault, I catch land now 99.9% of the time now. no errors that i have noticed for a while. 3.0.6 firmware seems to have solved VRS due to speed limits and such but its a solid machine. I 1000000000% recommend getting a FPV system or this is still basically a glorified toy. once you have the FPV analogue or DJI Lightbridge HD system (which I use) installed then you can really use this to fly and shoot pic/vids. so its not just a $1000 dollar purchase, u need to get a monitor, video transmission system (analouge or digital like lightbridge) and possibly a mount for monitor to your remote or a tripod to mount monitor on. price is about 2000-5000

    analogue system is cheaper but way less fun to watch with static and crap and with lightbridge its full 1080p hd for 1.7kms so :)

    my setup

    phantom 2
    hd-3d Gimbol
    Gopro hero 3+ (or the new hero 4 - i want - shoot in 4k then stabilize and zoom in and output to 1080p:))
    Futaba 14sg Remote
    DJI lightbridge
    Flysight Blackpearl Monitor 7'
    Tripod that reaches 7 feet for transmitter mount and monitor
    Monitor mount for tripod
    gopro mounting pieces for lightbridge to tripod
    Hard case for the phantom 2 so you dont break it on transporting it.

    Aprox $4500 canadian ($4000 USD or so)
    and i couldnt go back.
     
  4. Buckaye

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    Agree with the other posters - most fly-aways seem to have an underlying user error or previous crash involved. However... since you are an RC fan - you also should know that any time you put an RC aircraft in the air - there's at least the possibility of a problem/crash. It's part of the hobby, IMO. But - all of that said... if you're really excited about getting into Phantom's - I think most of us would yell (in unison) GO FOR IT! I have absolutely been loving it!
     
  5. Fyod

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    +1
    I too was eager to fly right away which led to crashing right after takeoff on cement = two props dead right away. I also neglected to do the compas calibration.
    So go out to a large park, away from concrete, trees and people/dogs, do a "compass dance" and really take your time to learn, flying out just a few meters, then go further as you learn.
     
  6. WPSPETE

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    I have 39 flights with just over 8 hours flight time. My first flight I tried to land on the case. Dumb and cost me a prop. A few flights ago I was descending to a mountain top with a slight tailwind. My forward speed was too slow and I got caught in VRS and it started dropping. Luckily I was able to recover it. My last three flights were over water and one of those I took off and landed from a boat in the middle of a lake. Both incidents were pilot error. Other than that its flown like a champ and I am very impressed with everything except the ribbon cable that goes to the go pro. First one broke at 6 flights. Second one is fin but I have a bigger loop where the ribbon comes out of the gimbal and goes to the go pro.
     
  7. westray

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    Over 50 flights with Phantom 2 and Zenmuse Gimbal(both H3-2D and H3-3D) and zero problems.Great piece of kit in my opinion.
     
  8. MrJoshua

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    Thanks for the replies guys - it's very reassuring, and yes, I'm all too aware that when you search online you do indeed find all the bad stories and get a lot of skewed perspective. That's the main reason really that I was asking, to get a better handle on whether there generally are 'product issues' etc that can cause total loss aside from pilot error.

    In terms of what kit I'm aiming to buy, the plan is to buy the basic Phantom 2, the Zenmuse gimbal, and a GoPro (not sure if it will be the Hero 3+ Black, or one of the newest ones).
    I REALLY want FPV, but I'll have to sell a couple of things to help fund this kit as it is, and I'll be using up my full budget pretty much for this, so FPV will probably have to wait sadly. :(
    I agree that this limits the usefulness since presumably I'll have no idea what the camera is pointing at really, plus it will be harder to fly the drone any long distance away without seeing what it sees.

    What sort of price can I get a basic FPV setup going from? I'm happy to use my phone (iphone 5S) as a monitor if that saves money. Also, I have other radios like a Spektrum Dx6i but I presume there would be no advantage really in trying to use a TX like that instead of the DJI one?

    Thanks guys
     
  9. Fyod

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    If you're going the non-Vision route as you've stated, you can't use your phone for FPV.
    The extra bucks for tx and monitor are worth it though and I now know that a 7" monitor (FlySight in my case) is the smallest I'd ever use. I have a 5s too and it would be horribly small to fly with.
     
  10. MrJoshua

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    Ok cheers. I'll look up to see what they cost.

    So if I'm using a gopro, and have FPV does it transmit video from the gopro of do I need to add an additional camera?
    Sorry if that's a dumb question.

    I know it's rather on the large side but is there a way to use my iPad as monitor?

    I'm trying to think of cheap options for this really since my budget will be basically maxed buying drone, gimbal & gopro.
    No idea how cheap I can buy regular bolt on FPV kit for. I've not looked yet.
    I'm in the uk if it makes a difference (probably a lot more expensive than the U.S.).
     
  11. Fyod

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    You can't use the iPad, because it can't recieve the video downlink. If you want to use iphone/ipad, your only option is Vision+.
    You'll need a monitor, ideally with a built-in receiver http://www.heliguy.com/video-fpv-camera ... ch-hd.html
    a 5.8GHz transmitter (ImmersionRC 600mW or 250mW for example)
    and if you want flight data on screen, a Mini iOSD http://www.heliguy.com/dji-iosd-mini.html

    Search around through the topics, there's lots of info on what's needed and other options. I know it can get a little confusing though.
    The complete non-Vision FPV system will be more expensive than the "ready-to-go" Vision, but I think you'll be happier in the long run. There is also much more room for upgrades and improvements later on (Gopro 4, better antennas, larger monitors, for example)

    [youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s1rEk3CdMnE[/youtube]

    [youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-2dDHm1Kf1w[/youtube]
     
  12. MrJoshua

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    Thanks, that's really useful. I'm not keen on the Vision version as I get the impression that the better GoPros given better images (I might be mistaken) but I like the idea of one of the 4K ones so I could potentially get usable quality stills too.
    I'm used to doing landscape photography with a Canon 5D3 so I know I can't expect the same image quality from a GoPro of course, but it'd be great if they can potentially do photos good enough to be used for the sort of thing I do.
    I presume you can't get 'raw' files from them? I'll google it anyway.

    A friend has said he'll lend me his gopro for now (of course if I lose/break it then I've bought it!) but that gives me more freedom to have FPV straight away.
    I'm considering an ImmersionRC (or Boscam - I forget which is was now) 600mw TX, but not sure yet about the RX/Monitor side of things.

    What sort of distance is commonplace for the various TX power ranges, eg at 200mw 400mw 600mw etc? I know it's not an easily defined thing and varies of course according to surroundings etc, but as a rule of thumb?
    I think also, I'll get one or two of those keyrings that inflate on contact with water, assuming they're pretty light, just in case the drone ditches, then I have a chance at least of retrieving it.

    Can you buy float type landing skids? Obviously I don't want it in the water, but just want it to be bouyant should the worst happen. I don't know if much would be salvageable if it went in salt water anyway but worth trying.
     
  13. tom3holer

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    I would strongly suggest the Immersion 600mw transmitter. It is both very small and actually puts out a little over 600mw.
    Using cloverleaf antennas you should get 1000 meters of range.
    By going the route you are headed you will have the advantage of a better camera and the use of it off the Phantom. It is not as plug-n-play as the Vision but a better setup I believe. I have both the goggles and the Flysight 7" monitor. I prefer the monitor hands down.
    You could use the foam tubes that they use in swimming pools on extended skids.
    Tom
     
  14. Sledge

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    That is the same basic step I have, except I don't have lightbridge. What is involved in setting up lightbridge? I am able to some mods, but don't consider myself a full electronics geek....so not sure if I'm qualified to make this upgrade. But I really want the better video feed.
     
  15. Almmohd

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    I have noticed some quirks with my phantom 2. Flying slowly and low over level ground (12ft) the phantom loses height as it went out to about 76 ft coming down to ground level. It gained the height back when I brought it back towards me.

    Take a look at the battery failures some of us have been griping about.

    It handles some wind pretty well, I have flown in windy conditions around the beach, not sure what wind speed but when I put it in attitude mode the wind got it up to 5m/s before I had to put it back on gps mode.

    I'm looking at getting another quadcopter but it may not be a dji, I'm very annoyed about the battery and cost.
     
  16. Fyod

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    Are you sure there wasn't a slight slope? Coming back to the same spot/height sounds like this is the case. The Phantom will not attempt to keep the same height over a slight hill. If you fly straight forward it will keep the same height relative to the starting point, not relative to the actual ground under it, the rest is up to you as the Pilot. This is NOT an automatic thing that relies only on sensors, you need to learn to fly it.
    You can of course buy something else, but remember, this hobby is very new and there really isn't a flawless quad out there. I think people are pampered by things like modern cars that have heaps of electronics and the driver is there just to turn left/right every once in a while.
    Remember, no matter what the toy, there is always a learning curve. Guys that flew aero's and heli's before the Phantom have a head start. The rest of us need to learn to fly and it isn't something that can be done in an hour. But DJI provides a very nice tutorial with excercises for beginner pilots.
     
  17. Almmohd

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    The road was level, I went out to that road to test it because I was flying low somewhere else when I first noticed this. I usually fly off a hill which is maybe 100 ft above the surrounding ground so maybe that's why I hadn't noticed it earlier. So I raise the p2 about 30 ft off the hill and then fly out so I'm maybe 130 ft above sea level.

    Oh, I think I mentioned this in another post with you. The phantom was 12' high it came down to ground level after it got out to about 75' distance. There was no wind at the time.
     
  18. MrJoshua

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    Thanks guys - 600mw sounds plenty then for a tx. I can't imagine at this stage flying it so far but hopefully I will do! That's just down to apprehension of letting a model get so far away really based on previous flying skills.
    I've got a couple of small helis, and have had a few small planes. I can't fly planes very well (never taken the time to try and really learn), but I can fly a heli around ok except doing nose in flying!
     
  19. MrJoshua

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    I thought of another question just now actually.

    I notice there are a lot of brushless funnels around down to as low as half the cost of the ski zenmuse one, but is there a good reason why I should avoid them, or would regret buying a cheaper one?

    Interested to know if stone of you guys use cheaper ones and are happy with them?


    Thanks!
     
  20. Almmohd

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    I use the DJI avl58, it works great no complaints. I even forgot to put the tx antenna o. A couple times and used it and it survived. That's something the might have burnt out other txs. The range on it is also very good.