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New here and thinking about Phantom 2

Discussion in 'Phantom 2 Discussion' started by rockhoundrob, Dec 31, 2014.

  1. rockhoundrob

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    Hi, I am new here and trying to do my homework before buying a Phantom 2. I have a lot of questions, but I will limit it to 10 for now. Any answers, comments , or feedback will be appreciated!

    1) How easy is it to lose the Phantom 2 (in spite of doing everything right)? I know to stay away from power lines, metal buildings, calibrating the phantom, etc...

    2) Do you really have to calibrate the Phantom 2 EVERY time you take off (or change the battery)? I am going to Colorado and plan to fly it from a mountain top over a course of 15 days. I will be launching from the same spot (or within 10 feet). Do i still need to calibrate every time ?

    3) This requirement of 7 satellites links... how important is this? Or is this just for safety, so the Phantom can come home? what if it was 5 satellites?

    4) Fail-safe, how reliable is this? This is where the Phantom comes back to it's launch point if it loses the signal from the controller? If the Phantom goes out of range, will it come back to it's launch point?

    5) What is the normal range with the normal controller? I am finding 100 yards to 1 mile when I look it up on the internet.

    6) I plan to get a Gopro 4 to install (with a gimble). Of course, I plan to practice flying a lot before taking a chance and install the Gopro. How long does an average person take to learn to fly a Phantom 2?

    7) Where is the best place and prices to buy a Phantom 2?

    8) What is the average flight time?

    9) What is NAZA?

    10) Any other advice that new people over look? What about calibration? How hard is this to do?

    Thanks,
    Robert
     
  2. hemorrhagic flyer

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    Lots of information out there. In the manual, on this forum and available via simple Google searches.

    While I am not willing to spoon feed info to lazy folks I'm sure some apologists will be along to hold your hand shortly.
     
  3. rockhoundrob

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    @ hemorrhagic flyer: First of all, your response says A LOT about your character. 2nd of all, I am deaf. Sure I can look on the internet, but there is so much info, what is good info and what is bad?
    3rd...I even tried Youtube and there is TONS of videos about Phantoms and Gopros, but GUESS WHAT? I CAN'T HEAR when the people are talking in their videos, therefore I don't get anything!! So I was hoping to meet some nice people here, but you're sure won't get a 2nd chance to make a good first impression!

    So maybe next time think WHY someone is asking for help, before you show your true colors!
     
  4. hemorrhagic flyer

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    Your disability has nothing to do with the information that is available to you.

    There are many text sources that will answer your questions.

    Tough love maybe but you should just nut up and start reading rather than making excuses for your laziness.
     
  5. MacCool

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    Yeah, there are a lot of self-righteousness ****tards around here that repeatedly pull that crap on new users asking questions. Best to ignore him. He's likely to just keep rambling on. If you keep poking him, he'll just keep rambling. You could ask the question as to why he even bothers to post, but the bottom line answer is that some people are just dicks. They can't help it.

    What do you mean by "lose"? If you mean flyaway, that can happen. It's not common but it can. If it does, it's usually from loss of GPS signal. Probably less likely with the version 3.0, but could still happen. If it does, you can fly it back by switching to ATTI mode. Relative to that, more satellites is better. You might get by with 6. 7 is better. I wouldn't do 5. Usually around here, I can get 10-12, even in my house. There are a few apps (GPSPlan) that will tell you at any given time how many satellites would be visible to your Phantom at any given time. Failsafe is pretty reliable, but not 100%. Theoretically, it will come back to its home point. Again, it depends on the quality of your GPS lock. If you lose GPS, the Phantom doesn't know where home is.

    Transmitter range is maybe 800-1000 meters, depending on terrain. Range on the FPV wifi is less, but the Phantom 2 you're talking about doesn't have wife, so you won't get any FPV nor any camera control. You have to start your GoPro before you take off, either starting video or intervalometer for stills.

    Flight times...15-18 minutes, maybe longer depending on if you're doing a lot of hovering. That takes more juice.

    You need to calibrate the compass when you change flying locations. Not every time you start up (although that doesn't hurt).

    A lot of people buy these things off Amazon. They have a good return policy, and your credit card may extend the warranty. Another good place is B&H Photo.

    NAZA is the electronic module in the Phantom which combines a 3-axis gyroscopes, accelerometer, and a barometric altimeter with the motor controllers, compass, and GPS module to provide the automatic functions of the Phantom that make it relatively easy to fly. It's the brains of the Phantom.

    Good luck. These things are a lot of fun, but like any R/C aircraft they can and do crash. You have to go into this hobby ready to accept that likelihood. These Phantoms are much easier to fly than your normal R/C aircraft, but their rigid dependence on multiple electronic systems means that there are more critical failure points along the way.
     
  6. hemorrhagic flyer

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    Speaking of apologists a d hand holding...
     
  7. Meta4

    Meta4 Moderator
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    G'day Rockhound .. I see you've met HF. Don't worry about him. He can't help it.
    Some of us don't mind helping interested people.

    The jury is still out on the issue with the latest version but before it, most losses were pilot error or lack of understanding.

    Definitely not. I calibrated mine when it was new in May and haven't since. If you are travelling more than say .. 60 miles a recal might be in order but there is no way you need to calibrate every flight. The very conservative DJI would mention that in the manual if it was important - and they don't.

    It's 6 sats - and it is very important. Less than 6 and your Phantom has no idea where it is or how to go home.
    But with the latest model or the older one with the (essential) foil mod, you should always have lots of sats if you are out in the open. Less than 6 and your bird defaults to atti mode - still flyable but can't find its own way home. Something for you to look up.

    It's pretty good. The Phantom can come home and land but most pilots would take control back when the Phantom gets back into range and keep flying. Ensuring home point is recorded properly is important and understanding RTH can only work with sufficient GPS sats.

    Lots of variables but 500-800 metres is common, I've managed 1km (once) without modifications.

    The Phantom is easier to fly than most people imagine. This may be a factor in a significant number of crashes.
    It takes 5 minutes to learn - but you need a lot of practice to understand everything that can go wrong and how to make sure they don't.

    Close to 20 mins - but you want to be safely landed before you get to around 15%

    A flight control system. You can optionally configure the Phantom to use Naza mode which has additional features.
     
  8. Buckaye

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    Welcome to the forum!

    Good answers above from those that chose to answer.

    I will add to the question about learning to fly. It's very easy to learn to get it in the air and do basic "nose out" flying (when forward flight takes the quad away from you). The hardest thing to master is all the possible orientations of the quad and the mental flipping of the controller you need to make second nature to you (when the quad "nose" is facing towards you... The controls are reversed)

    I think getting comfortable with all orientations is the hardest part...and is really important as it will help you take the best video etc..as well as recover from situations quickly (like drifting towards an obstacle in atti mode etc).

    The great thing about these phantoms as opposed to say RC single rotor heli's is that when you're uncomfortable generally just taking your thumbs off the sticks in GPS mode just causes the phantom to hover in place while you have a chance to think :)

    Anyway... I think orientation is the thing you'll spend the most time learning... And if you're deliberate about it...it won't take that long.
     
  9. rockhoundrob

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    Thanks guys for the pointers! I read too many comments (Complaints) when I was reading the "rate this" about the Phantom 2.
    I guess people are quick to complain when something goes wrong, but there must be ALOT more happy customers that just never took the time to pay compliments.

    Will start looking at prices!

    Thanks again !!!
     
  10. Buckaye

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    Yeah you're right! Human nature is that people will go out of their way to complain...but will rarely go out,of their way to say they have had a great experience... Good luck and have fun :)
     
  11. johncanfield

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    While I don't have anything very useful to add to the helpful replies I can offer a non-grumpy welcome to the forum. Here's a digital book on Amazon that's inexpensive and a good primer of the Phantoms for total newbies.
     
  12. Buckaye

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    Cool book... Just downloaded it... Very clearly written :). Thanks for the link!
     
  13. DattaGroover

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    Just skimmed this whole thread, and I mildly disagree with some of the other answers. Here are mine, from my own subjective opinions:
    Very easy to lose. They sometimes malfunction and fly away. They sometimes fly away due to pilot error. They sometimes malfunction and crash. They sometimes crash due to pilot error. I would tell anyone starting that if it would not be an acceptable risk to lose Your phantom, or at least damage it needing costly repairs, don't do it. For me and many others, it is worth that risk.
    No, and here is where I disagree with some of what has been said. DJI recommends re-calibrating every time you go to a new place. I would say if you go back to the same place, re-calibrate as well. It only takes 15-20 seconds and is easy to do, AND if you are out of calibration, your Phantom may get lost. At least it adds to the risk.
    Another risk issue. AND what I've experienced (I fly in Colorado often) is that sometimes you only get 5 satellites on the ground, but once you get 5-7 meters in the air, you get many more. As mentioned in another post on this thread, immediately switching out of GPS into Attitude mode is important if you don't have the satellite lock you need.
    It is and it isn't. IF everything works well, it is amazing, You go out of controller range, it will come back home. If it malfunctions (and they DO), then it doesn't know where home is, and has no way of coming back. My recommendation is to fly with someone else as a spotter when possible. Keep it within sight, so if it does go wonky on you, you can bring it back with Attitude mode. If it's out of sight, the Attitude mode won't work, unless you are using FPV and an iOSD mini (which I HIGHLY recommend) so you can read the direction and fly back that way. However, in Attitude mode, it will travel with the wind with NO position compensation (which is a very cool GPS feature), so it may quickly go out of FPV range.
    My experience is that it gets dicey over 800 meters or so. Many people have upgraded controllers, and/or antennas which can give them ranges of a mile.
    Remember that you can't fly it with a gimbal without the GoPro. In other words, practice (which is sensible), then install your gimbal with the GoPro. Also, many people like the GoPRo 3+ better than the 4. There's a LOT of debate about it, so who knows? Time will tell.

    The good news is that it is very easy (much easier than cheap quadcopters) but also easy to crash if you get disoriented, lose perspective (I've flown mine into trees that I thought were farther away from my Phantom).
    I believe that's been answered sufficiently by others in this thread.
    Varies with altitude, wind and flying style. I typically get 15-18 minutes, mostly at altitude (5000+ feet). At sea level with no wind, it will be over 25.
    The Phantom's brain.
    There are several types of calibration, and they are all easy ( and must be done, or at least checked). Some are done via the Assistant software (where you connect your Phantom via USB to your computer) and some with the device itself (compass calibration)

    Hope that's helpful!
     
  14. DJIquadzilla

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    Welcome to the forum and good luck on your purchase ;)
     
  15. DattaGroover

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    Ditto
    VERY important- many losses (maybe most losses) occur because the Phantom was not landed in time.

    I like the iOSD with an FPV system so you can track battery level. At the least, one it starts blinking red, you need to bring it back and land immediately (and hopefully it's not too far away).
     
  16. rockhoundrob

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    Thank you again for the extra replies!...

    I went ahead and ordered that book. And will read it over when I get it!

    I plan to go to Colorado in April and June... so I assume if I buy the Phantom 2 by March 1st, that is PLENTY of time to learn how to do most things (calibrate and flying skills) by the time I leave?

    Thanks again everyone!
     
  17. rcarlin

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    Hi RockHoundRob,
    I'm pretty much a newbie too, so I'll chip in win some of my thoughts and experiences

    I bought my Phantom from DSLRPros; I asked them a ton of questions up front and they were very responsive and helpful. I bought a kit from them. I priced up buying the individual components and the kit was really good value. In addition, they test fly it before they send it to you.
    They also offer a flight school, which I will be attending next week.

    I bought a Nano, which is a tiny indoor quad to learn to fly before my phantom arrived. This allowed me to get comfortable with the orientation aspect that someone mentioned earlier. I think this is a really wise investment especially if you've not flown before.

    I calibrate my compass ( doing the compass dance ) for each new location.

    Welcome

    Regards
     
  18. DattaGroover

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    Probably, but as with everything else in life, it all depends how much you put into it. It will fly differently here, due to the altitude, just keep that in mind.
     
  19. rockhoundrob

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    I am waiting for the book to come in around Jan 8th or so. Plan to read up on it then jump in the Phantom Pool ...

    One question that I thought of (planning ahead):

    If I go to Colorado and do a compass calibration at spot "A" and fly the phantom around. Then the next day I go to spot "B" which is maybe 300 yards away and take off, if I lose the signal and failsafe works as it should, will the Phantom return to point "A" ? or at least try to return to point "A" even though I launched it from point B?

    Part of the problem I have where I am going is a clear area where I want to fly is only about 100' by 100'. I need to walk about 100 yards higher up the mountain and then try to fly the phantom up to me, then over a cliff. So I assume if i calibrate it in that 100' area, and walk 100 yards away, then if failsafe kicks in, the phantom will try to go back to that 100' area?

    Just doing my homework, so I can be prepared... I don't like surprises!
     
  20. Meta4

    Meta4 Moderator
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    You are confusing compass calibration with home point recording.
    They are unrelated.
    Compass calibration just ensures that when your Phantom calculates it needs to fly north, it flies north rather than 16º or 28º or some other unwanted direction.
    Wherever you record your home point is the place it will RTH.
    If you take off from B and have ensured home point recorded at B, it will return to B even though your compass calibration was done at A.
    A compass calibration done anywhere within several miles (probably much more than that) will be valid.