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Newbie lessons learned

Discussion in 'Phantom 2 Vision + Discussion' started by QuadCopper, Jan 20, 2015.

  1. QuadCopper

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    This past weekend was the first time I flew my Phantom 2 Vision +. It was a great experience and thought I'd share some of my newbie lessons learned...

    Last month, I didn't even think I wanted a phantom. I purchased a Syma X5C ($60 quad with camera) for myself for Christmas. I opened it a few weeks ago and started flying it. For $60, it is a great item... especially with the ability to take [crappy] photos and video. After going on YouTube and watching some videos for the X5C, I saw some videos for the Phantom. I heard about DJI, but never really read anything about their products. Well, for the next couple of weeks, I was watching tons of videos about the DJI products and knew I needed to get either the Phantom 2 Vision + or the Inspire 1. As a newbie, I decided to go with the cheaper of my two choices. I ordered my Phantom on Amazon (prime) and received it a few days later. However, it was still about a week before I started flying it. I found this forum and took a great interest in the "Important Stickies" thread. I spent about four days reading and re-reading "The Ultimate Guide" and watching all of the videos which are linked in the document. That guide is AWESOME and has tons of information. I wanted to make SURE that I knew how to operate and understand this aircraft.

    If you have just purchased or will soon purchase a Phantom, DO NOT FLY IT without reading all DJI documentation, "The Ultimate Guide," and watching all of the linked videos found in the guide. There is a tremendous amount of information and resources in these documents and tutorial videos.

    Purchase a cheap quad to practice flying (X5C or similar). That cheap quad is an invaluable tool to learn how to fly "manually." I spent about a month flying the X5C before flying my Phantom. The controls are exactly the same. The red/green lights are similar. I flew it indoors and outdoors. I have crashed my X5C many of times and hit plenty of walls. But it is so light and durable that nothing has broken. I would much rather push the limits on my $60 aircraft than my $1200 aircraft. As you can see in the picture, I have placed blaze orange duct tape on the front half of the quad. This is because I had a 'fly away' and was lucky enough to find it :) During the fly away, I had lot visual orientation (all-white quad) and continued to see the aircraft disappear.

    Although Camo paint jobs might look cool, stay away from them. What if your Phantom went down in a wooded area? You just F'd yourself.

    I have seen the labels for the Remote Controller... they are pretty cool... but for $20+? Nope, I would rather spend that money on something else. I own a few graphics programs and I have a label maker, so I made my own. They aren't the prettiest things right now, but they function as intended. I even made some contact info labels for the Phantom and RC in case they are lost.

    While doing my initial research, I found out about NAZA mode. Because I was flying in "manual mode" for weeks with my X5C, I was pretty confident to immediately start flying in NAZA mode. I would recommend that everyone flies in NAZA mode if they have good experience flying in manual mode. There are so many benefits and I don't see any drawbacks. DJI recommends not using NAZA mode until completing the "advanced skills." Prior to flying my Phantom, I flew all of the DJI skills on my X5C. Obviously they are different aircraft, however, the controls are the same.

    Next piece of advice is to practice accuracy landings over and over. I took a pelican case and made it into my Phantom case/Helipad. I own a vinyl cutter, so I made some decals as well. This helipad provides a nice smooth surface for landing. The "H" provides a target for accuracy. I have landed my X5C plenty of times, but I never tried for accuracy. After my first flight with my Phantom, I realized that I had skipped a valuable skill set. The winds were a little gusty and luckily the GPS mode kept the Phantom pretty still. But I would recommend training on accuracy landings until it is second nature. After my training, I then practiced on my Phantom in ATTI mode. Out of my 12 Phantoms flights, I landed about 40 times. And I would estimate that 30 of them were in ATTI mode. It gets really fun when the wind picks up :) I am now practicing landing my X5C with the nose facing me... aka.... landing with backward controlss and I'm getting the hang of it.

    In summary....

    1. Read all documentation (listed above) before even thinking about flying.

    2. Get a cheap quad for practice. Don't fly your Phantom until mastering the cheap quad.

    3. Practice accuracy landing. When flying the Phantom, practice flying in ATTI whenever you can to build up your confidence.

    4. Get a helipad. Mine is approximately 16"x24" and 8" high. I would suggest a larger surface area. I had one tip-over because I landed and took off too close to the edge.

    5. Get a case to protect your stuff.

    6. Respect the winds. But practice flying in light winds if you can. Become a better operator.

    7. Make some labels for your RC. More helpful for those S1/S2 switches if you don't use them often.

    8. If you're typing a long post on this forum, type it into another program, save it, and then copy/paste it into the new topic....because I just had to retype EVERYTHING because this website logged me out. Grrr....


    I welcome any constructive criticism or other newbie lessons learned. :)
     

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  2. general01

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    You started out like me with a small quad
    Mine was a hubsun fpv model and is a lot smaller then you syma

    I have two phantoms now and love them

    I have always done number three in your list even with my smaller quads

    I have done six many times in atti mode though I use gps mode unless the signal is weak during landing(winds make for a very tricky atti landing near trees)
    I also have a case for mine(backpack type) it's great to have just to keep things tidy and together)

    Read up on here there is a mod to make the gps more stable for these(it's a foil mod) I plan on doing it to mine soon
     
  3. general01

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    Btw I also hate how the forum kicks you out as you try to post grr
     
  4. PhilD13

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    Good advice on reading the stickies especially the summary document.

    Naza mode is not manual mode. You still have only the two flight modes of GPS and ATTI, though in Naza mode you can set S1 to enable full manual mode if that is really what you want. I would not recommend full manual mode for anyone without extensive manual flying, unless you like spending lots of money.

    Naza mode just gives you additional flight options to make flying safer (can enable failsafe on S1), fun and videoing better (course lock, home lock) and may save your phantom. I enjoy the added options available. Learn to fly in the IOC options in both GPS and ATTI mode so you can learn how the phantom reacts in each mode.

    Practicing landing on the case in various modes is good, but Practice Hand Catching. It is a bit scarey the first time, but it is a skill everyone needs to learn and is really easy and safe. There will be times you will not be able to land on your case or heli pad and landing on the ground would not be an option either unless you want to break props, risk exploding the fets on the ESC's, or risk damage to the camera/gimbal.

    If for some reason the phantom gets into ATTI mode (by S1 or less than 6 satellites) it will drift with the wind and tend to keep flying in the direction of the last stick input or the direction of the wind. I had one drift recently out of range while talking (instead of piloting) about some features the phantom has and at first thought it was a flyaway until I realized it was set to ATTI mode.

    If you fly in the winter get a LIMAC Radio Glove. they work well with the phantom controller ( I have one) and keep your hands warm, just move the phone holder further back on the wire bail it attaches to. http://www.limacproducts.com/RG-R.html

    Don't add anything to the very top of the phantom. This is where the GPS antenna is and the less that interfers with GPS the better.

    Satellites vary in position and time of day, so it is wise to use an app to check for adequate coverage before flying.

    Consider a flight simulator program such as AeroSim-RC which allows one to use the phantom transmitter for indoor practice.

    I am going to check it out but can the X5C be flown indoors also?
     
  5. general01

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    Phil I have always landed on the ground(even in atti mode) and the only time I had a tip over was when I bumped the right stick while landing
    Any other time never had a problem landing on the ground

    I have videos of my flights to prove it

    Now if I had to hand catch the bird I would but that would only be if I was on a boat and didn't want to risk it possiblely going into the water but on land with steady hand you will not have a problem landing on the ground
    One thing I learned is to hold the throttle full down till the motors cut off(no csc command after landing=no tip overs) no landing pad either
    I haven't broke no props or the camera landing on the ground after any of my flights with either of my phantoms

    The xc5 can be flown indoors but it's a tad bit for indoor flight a hubsun or ladybird is better suited if you want a good small indoor quad
     
  6. erikgraham

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    I'd take the advice and hand catch. Its not just about safety, its also convenience.
     
  7. rickasaurus

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    I agree with general01. I always take off and land from the ground, except where it is unwise, such as on a boat, in snow etc. Takeoffs and landings are a fundamental part of flying, and lots of fun. Don't miss it!
     
  8. QuadCopper

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    I also bought a 'nano quad' (UDI RC U839 2.4G 3D Nano RC Quadcopter). I don't like it at all. I bought it because it was $30 and has similar RC controls and to fly around the office, but the controller is just too small and the response between the RC and quad sucks. I might return it. I bought it because it was a quad that one of the YouTube-rs demonstrated in a video link from "The Ultimate Guide." He was stating that people should get it before flying the phantom. However, I believe that a larger quad would help build more confidence. The Hubsun might be different. It looks like it has a normal size controller. How is the response? I'm happy with the Syma X5C as a training aid. I believe there is a cheaper version without the camera, but has older flying electronics which are not as stable.

    I've seen that the GPS mod is for Phantoms other than the V3... am I incorrect?

    When I was spoke about Manual Mode, I was referring to the Syma X5C... because that's the only option to fly the thing :lol: I don't think I'll ever use Manual Mode with the Phantom, because I like ATTI mode and also having a Failsafe 'switch.'

    Good point about hand catching. I have practiced with my X5C because it is so light. Here is my question... how the heck do you catch the Phantom with one hand?

    I like the idea about wearing gloves... but I'm not too crazy about the design of the LIMAC glove. Maybe I would consider if I could try before I buy. I would rather use some thin gloves on my hands.

    Good idea about the Flight Simulator... I read somewhere that the trainer port wasn't compatible with anything yet, but I looked at the AeroSim website and it looks like they are good to go. I will do some research into the Flight Sims. Anybody else have suggestions for programs compatible with the new Phantom RC?

    Yes, the Syma X5C can be flown indoors. But I would recommend flying it outdoors first to get used to the controls. And if you're flying inside, do it in a big room. I have crashed into my living room walls and ceiling... no damage.

    Same here. I don't use CSC for shutting down the motors. In fact... I hate the CSC command all together. I wish there was a separate toggle switch with a safety cover to start/stop the motors... like one from Top Gun. I mean, why the hell would you have four options to accidentally shut down your motors 400+ feet in the air?
     

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  9. Monte55

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    "One thing I learned is to hold the throttle full down till the motors cut off(no csc command after landing=no tip overs"

    I just about always just pull throttle down and hold to shut down motors but it does take a few seconds. CSC will shut them down quickly but can be uneven and possibly lead to tip over. If you do the csc but pull throttle down followed by right stick and then toward the center, they shut down smoothly and quickly
     
  10. BlackTracer

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    Why use CSC on the ground to shut down? Why not always use left stick down for 3 seconds. Why the big hurry to save 2 seconds? lol. When I hand catch, I have one free hand, so CSC isn't even an option.

    So the shutdown sequence is copter off, extender off, controller off. So when hand catching I use my right hand to grab the copter. Then I find myself awkwardly powering off the battery with my left hand while holding the controller at the same time while holding the copter with my right hand. It works ok, but is there a better method? I shy away from setting anything down if something were to go wrong.

    What do you hand catchers do?
     
  11. QuadCopper

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    I just searched "DJI Phantom Hand Catch" in YouTube.... here are few videos:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T21LrlYWH_o

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-ahFK3Gno_g (of course it would be nice to have two people)

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C0ZY-3K1uN4 (I ordered one of these gimbal guards... maybe I'll use it for a hand catch)

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mDvhO0nKn00

    There are more videos, I only wanted to list a few.
     
  12. happydays

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    Hover the aircraft at just above head height downwind - that's important. You don't want a quick gust blowing the props into your face!

    Walk over to the craft, reach up and take hold of the leg with your right hand, throttle down fully with the left hand until the motors stop. Place the aircraft on the ground gently - all done. What's so difficult?
     
  13. PhilD13

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    I land on the ground probably about as often as I hand catch and I use the left stick down for motors off. I never use the CSC method of motors off. You loose control that way and a gust of wind just before touchdown can knock it over.
    As suggested in other posts, it is easy to hand catch. You should use a neck strap. Fly it over and just above your head height, reach up grab a leg near where it attaches to the body and while holding it still left stick fully down until the motors cut off.
    Think of it as insurance. Practice it to become used to it and it then becomes an option that is available.

    I cannot fly with insulated gloves and thin ones don't really do much good. Once your fingers get stiff your done with controlling much of anything. I can fly when it is around freezing with fingerless gloves, but it is much nicer to put the transmitter into the RC glove and be able to fly without gloves on my hands. I flew the other morning when it was about 10 outside with a 5mph breeze just because it was a nice morning and the glove worked well. Didn't get the shots I wanted but then that was my fault.
    Here was a post about RC gloves. viewtopic.php?f=27&t=31663 The particular one I posted the link to earlier will fit the phantom RC without modification to the glove (someone in the post said it had to be modified, but that is not true) and it is easy to take your hands in and out if you want to operate the phone and the gloves window stays off the sticks. You just need to move the support for the phone a bit to get a better closure (= better warmth) around the antenna and wifi transmitter.
     
  14. Monte55

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    like I said, I normally shut down props with left stick but it does take a few seconds. If there is a breeze upon touchdown the quad could tilt over and have a prop strike during the time it takes for the props to shut down. Normal csc shuts down props quickly but a little unstable because it seems the props speed up a bit first which leads to tip over also. But if you do the csc in the delayed fashion I described earlier, you get a fast stable shutdown. I saw that on a video and it does work. Sometimes a few seconds may save your props etc.
    tr
     
  15. general01

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    I loved my hubsun quad it was pretty stable considering its size

    I have flow it outdoors up to 100 feet up(it was like spec at the hight but I flew fpv)

    I have two of them now and have yet to fly them since I got my phantoms and am thinking of selling them
    The controller is roughly the size of the phantom's but battery life for it isn't real good
    Here is a Amazon link for it http://www.amazon.com/Hubsan-H107D-FPV- ... B00GSNWB5K
    I have two of the quads and am thinking of selling both(only one controller) I got a spare quad in case I lost the other one(still new in the box)
    If you want to get them give me a pm
    I plan on practicing hand catching but prefer landing on the ground better

    I forgot you(op) got the version 3(mine is a older version) it will not need the foil mod though the upgraded gps antenna mod would improve the gps signal also
     
  16. general01

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    The phantom used to have a immediate option on the motor cut off(I used it on my fc40) and loved it

    I could bring the bird in and land and just pull the stick all the way down and the motors would shut off right then

    The intelligent mode is ok but I prefer the other
    Now as far as tip overs due to wind never had it happen
    I think a lot of the tip overs came from people using the csc command to shut the motors off vs holding the throttle all the way down(even landing in wind with atti mode)
     
  17. BlackTracer

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    I think I'm missing a critical piece of equipment. The neck strap! Then I could let go off the controller after motor shutdown and use my left hand to power off the battery. Doh!

    Setting it on the ground will work too but I have some paranoia there. I remember reading about the thing starting back up again and flying off on its own. So I want to power it off right away. I probably shouldn't be worrying about that though.
     
  18. general01

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    I have a neck strip for my non plus phantom vision and love it
    Need to get one for the vision plus soon

    It would be a very bad flight controller if it started the motors without input from the controller
     
  19. freefall101

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    Any ideas on which neck strap to buy? Do I also require a metal balancer so the transmitter is balanced when hanging freely without holding it?
     
  20. QuadCopper

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    I use a lanyard from the college I went to. It has one of those keychain like connections, so I just screwed it onto the holder on the RC. I don't use a balancer and I have no complaints.