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Newbie F550 questions

Discussion in 'Other DJI Multi-Rotors' started by OBX Kevin, Dec 8, 2014.

  1. OBX Kevin

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    I'm currently looking at buying a F550. I like to build stuff and I already have a Phantom 2 w/H3-2D gimbal. Is there a reason why you guys/gals bought the F550? I'm wondering if I should be leaning towards a different build. I'm trying to keep my costs down so a Spreading Wings build is out of the question. I see the DJI Flame Wheel F550 with Naza-M V2, GPS, and Landing Gear on a few websites for $549. I know I'll also need a transmitter and receiver as well as a battery. I will probably opt for something other than the DJI DT7. Any suggestions on build items or insight would be appreciated!
     
  2. CallMeAlan

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    I documented my entire F550 build on my website. Lots of pics, lots of comment, tips, tricks, ideas, warnings, etc, etc. Please take a look, see if it gives you any insights! Link in my signature below.
     
  3. ladykate

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    Nice job, Alan. Very solid looking.
     
  4. OBX Kevin

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    Alan - Thanks for the info! Was there a reason why you selected the F550 over other models? I'm in the same boat where I already have a Phantom 2.
    Nice Pilot (Lille)!
     
  5. CallMeAlan

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    Well, I love DJI stuff OBX. I had become really adept with my Phantom and wanted to move on to something more sophisticated, where i had more control with the components etc. I liked the idea of the 6 propellers. At the same time i wanted to maintain the same 'feel' that the Phantom has in regard to sticks and control, so the F550 seemed ideal, and I had a ball building it too! A thing like a F550 is never really finished - you're always tinkering. I think it's steadier in the air than a Phantom, and I'm really hoping for good weather this weekend so I can put the Hero 4, which arrived yesterday, aloft and get some 4K footage.

    Lillie is a great pilot. Trained by the Norwegian Air Force of course. Well, not really, but she does prompt a lot of questions and laughs when I'm out and my daughters love her!
     
  6. ladykate

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    re: A thing like a F550 is never really finished - you're always tinkering.

    The flexibility to tinker and still have a great basic airframe is one of its attractions for sure. I've used mine as a test bed many times.
     
  7. OBX Kevin

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    Ladykate and Alan - Thanks for the information! I also like to tinker versus just going with an assembled quad. I've had quite a bit of fun with the Phantom 2 and recently added the FPV. I figure I'll probably get the H3-3D for the F550 and can use the AVL58 from my phantom2. Now I'm trying to select the RC for the F550. Is there a reason why you stayed with the DJI DT7 Radio System with DR16 Receiver? I'm very use to the DT7 but was wondering if I should go with something else.

    Thx,
    Kevin
     
  8. ladykate

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    I went with a Futaba 14sg. Use it for all the multi-copters. There is a huge thread on here that explains how to set it up. Expensive but it really is a superb tx. I use Spectrum on my RC planes but the Futaba on a multi- is the nuts.
     
  9. OBX Kevin

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    I just looked at the Futaba 14sg and WOW that looks like it has lots of "bells and whistles". Do you use the extra channels for anything else?

    Thanks again for your insight!
     
  10. CallMeAlan

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    I never saw the need to go beyond the basic DJI TX/RX really. One major use for an extra channel or two is for fine tuning gains in real time while in the air, but then I thought, once your gains are set, they're set, and shouldn't need to be fooled with again. Otherwise, control of retractable landing gear would be a use for a spare channel, but I didn't want to add the extra weight to the craft.
     
  11. SanCap

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    I like extra channels for controlling roll and tilt of my gimbal, turning different lights on and off, payload release mechanisms, setting up dual modes for flight ( one very zippy and one that slows the controls down for smoother flight). I like to have 1, 3 position switch for gps/atti/manual then another for fail safe. Another channel for switching between my go pro camera and my fpv camera. Lots of reasons to get a customizable TX.
     
  12. ladykate

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    First, let me agree fully that it is expensive to go to a 14sg (or 8) but the extra channels can be used for many things on the quad/hex. Not just landing gear (which I agree is a weight penalty and, for me, a complexity penalty - I seem to break retractable gear on RC planes a lot) but may be necessary if you are doing extensive video - it gets everything out of view so your 'once in a lifetime' isn't spoiled) - lights, releases, two camera - selection (one for fpv, one for video selection or two different lens lengths), soil sample collection in case you land on the moon, etc. You are now flying a much more 'morph-able' aircraft - the extra channels let you experiment. In addition, the more sophisticated transmitter allows mixing so you can put yaw (or panning) on a knob at any rate you wish. You can set switches to do interesting maneuvers such as circling an intended target without worrying about the controls as much as the video. Take a look at the 14sg (and 8) threads - they are huge but the latest incarnations of the programming are quite useful. These programming features of the tx actually help the basic Phantom airframe, too.

    Now... do you need it? Heck no. But I didn't 'need' an F550. But I wanted it. If I had to select one extra thing (other than the basic Phantom V2) out of a list of my stuff, I would select a programmable Futaba tx. Note that selection list would include the F550 and a Tarot 810. They would be selected if I could choose three extra things. ;-}

    Having said that, the DT7 is a fine transmitter and it has as good a range as the Futaba - some say better.
     
  13. CallMeAlan

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    Ladykate, you've certainly stimulated my interest nerve there. I, perhaps rather naively, thought that the extra channels and controls weren't of a great deal of use, but maybe I'm changing my mind a bit. Soil sampling apart, which will be handy when I point my Flamewheel moonwards next May, I really had no idea we could set up multi-stick commands such as circling, etc.

    No, I don't need it, but neither do I really need an A2, which was to be my next investment. Hmmm, now I'm in a quandary.

    A
     
  14. OBX Kevin

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    That Futaba is well over my price point and at this point I can' justify buying one. I like the ease of going the DJI route tx/rx. I saw some people using the FrSky Taranus and it is definitely quite a bit cheaper than the Futaba. Again, I'm not sure if I can justify spending money for the extra bells and whistles if I'm not going to using them.

    Thx!
     
  15. OBX Kevin

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    As you can tell, I'm still somewhat of a newbie, but I love to tinker. I may have to rethink which route I take and maybe save a little more for a customizable solution.
     
  16. OBX Kevin

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    Do you have any experience with the FrSky Taranis? It is definitely cheaper than a Futaba but there are probably many reasons for that... Do you have any suggestions on something a little cheaper than the 14sg?
    Thanks again for your excellent insight!
     
  17. Khudson7

    Khudson7 Guest

    I have a taranis, and would not trade it for a Futaba for anything...yes, mine is a very bios opinion. And NO there are simply no reasons I have found to want a Futaba over a Taranis.

    Advantages of taranis( over Futaba):
    1. Voice programable activation and warnings verbally let you know what switch you just clicked, any warnings programmed, timers, etc. It also will tell you when you turn it on of any switches or dials are not set to your pre-determined starting point.
    2. Has RSSI(this is the signal strength of the radio to receiver. You will know and can set up voice warnings if your signal strength is approaching a lost signal, so you can head back before letting it go to RTH and having to depend only on that.)
    3. Uses openTX. This comes with a free MAC or windows compatible computer program that lets you do all the programming and testing with a simulator on the MAC/PC and then transfers it to the radio...much better than trying to fiddle with programming on a tiny screen, and last I checked Futaba only worked in windows.
    4. Uses openTX. What does this mean...I believe that the taranis can pretty much do all the same programming features as the Futaba but because openTX is open source, there are a number of programmers out there that are extending it's functionality. For instance, (I am not a programmer) I found a program that someone wrote that I just plugged into my taranis that sets the pitch of the camera to 3 different speeds via a 3 way switch, and then uses a knob to move it evenly up and down(yes I know this can also be done on the futaba) but THIS program also adds a ratchet up and ratchet down to the movement so at the start and end of this even movement it speeds up and slows down, does not stop/start abruptly. Also there are a number of other useful programs out there that extend the use of the taranis with additional screen information etc. There are more useful programs being added everyday by a number of LUA programmers out there...
    5. Programmer timers that I have set to start when I put the two sticks in the down and center position, in other words, when I start my phantom, a timer starts as well and verbally tells me each minute I am in the air. And when I stop the phantom with the throttle stick down, the time stops and resets itself without any further input from me.

    I am sure there are others but this is just off the top of my head.

    OH and I almost forgot....HUNDREDS of dollars less than Futaba. The Futabas are WAY overpriced in my opinion, and I firmly believe the taranis offers all the same programming abilities as the Futaba with an number of additional features as listed above making it arguably BETTER than Futabas.

    OK, one argument I keep hearing from some Futaba owners as it relates to a phantom is you do not have to change the receiver in the phantom as you do have to do with the taranis...something that scared me at the beginning with my limited experience then, but with plenty of help here and now in retrospect, it really is a very simple task.
     
  18. OBX Kevin

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    I'm glad to hear that because I sprung for the FrSky Taranis X9D PLUS and the X8R last night. After viewing many of the videos and posts on the Internet it appeared that it was a solid piece of gear and there was plenty of info to assist me in programming. I'm planning on using this on a F550 so no worries in regards to implementing a X8R in the Phantom 2. I'll probably opt to keep my H3-2D gimbal on my Phantom 2 and get a H3-3D for the F550. I saw some of the cool programming that you can do for the gimbal. It will sure beat that goofy lever on the back of my DJI. The FrSky saved me quite a few $$ over the Futaba.
    THANKS!
     
  19. OBX Kevin

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    Thank you so much for the links! I can't wait to get it and begin learning about it while I wait for the F550 w/Naza M V2 to arrive.

    Take Care,
    Kevin