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multi-rotor recommendation needed for work

Discussion in 'Beginners Drone Forum' started by alky6, Sep 15, 2015.

  1. alky6

    alky6 Member

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    Posted by alky6, Sep 15, 2015 #1
    Quick background:
    I am a fixed wing guy from the sister site (Giant Scale News) and I asked this same question there. I was directed over here, obviously much more relevant! I have been flying small foam electrics to giant scale gas airplanes. I have electric experience (Lipo, Life, brushless) so I am not a total noob in that arena. However, I don't have any multi-rotor experience.

    On to the question:
    OK. Sorry if this is the wrong location but my company (an irrigation district - supplies water for crops and drinking water) is looking to get a quadcopter to document pre-construction (and post) project conditions, provide footage to our Board, and perform general inspections of facilities that are not always easy to reach (radio towers, pipeline leaks in remote areas, maybe even pull a small water sample - a few ounces- out of a canal - a very low probability of that occurring). I am assuming @SleepyC@SleepyC and @Bartman@Bartman will probably be good candidates to answer, but I am sure many of you have relevant experience to share. Again, if you guys feel this is out of place, a discussion offline maybe? Any help would be appreciated.

    We are currently looking at the Phantom 3 professional. What questions should I be asking to ensure we get what we need?


    Thank you all in advance!
    -Paul
     
    Tags:
  2. mediaguru

    mediaguru Member

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    Posted by mediaguru, Sep 15, 2015 #2
    I guess you should ask several questions:

    1. What is your budget?
    2. Do you want to build a bird or are you looking for a RTF (ready to fly)?
    3. What kind of load does it need to carry in terms of camera/analysis gear?
    4. What flight time do you require?
     
  3. alky6

    alky6 Member

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    Posted by alky6, Sep 15, 2015 #3
    Thank you. Great questions. Answers added in bold.

    Do all come with GPS? if they do, are they/or can they be integrated to provide position along with the image (again, a want not a need).
     
  4. Bartman

    Bartman Welcome to MultiRotorForums.com!!

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    Posted by Bartman, Sep 15, 2015 #4
    Welcome to MultiRotorForums.com Paul and thanks for bringing your question over here! I think you're on the right track with the Phantom 3 Pro but let's not forget the Phantom 2 with DJI's Zenmuse H4-3D, still a very capable heli for the money. But if it's a business purchase and the money is already in the budget then just buying the 3 Pro outright might get you moving along as quickly as possible.

    As for the flying, grab a Dromida Ominus from Hobbico and start flying. THe Ominus is very durable and will fly enough like every other multi-rotor helicopter that you'll be well along before you know it.

    Just don't make the biggest noob mistake ever by getting too far or too high before you've really tested out your equipment and before you've really developed your eyes to see the heli in the air. a few turns here and there and all of a sudden it can be impossible to know front from back, left/right, etc.

    GOod luck and let us know how it works out for you and your company. Multi-rotor heli's expanding into different applications is where all of the growth is coming from as the tech development has slowed.
     
    2 people like this.
  5. Bartman

    Bartman Welcome to MultiRotorForums.com!!

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    Posted by Bartman, Sep 15, 2015 #5
    they don't all come with it but I'd highly recommend you get something with a GPS feature as it will help you a lot to get great images and to sometimes bring the heli back home when it's been flown too far from your position to see it well. not a great idea to let that happen very often but it does happen to a return-to-home feature is worthwhile.
     
    2 people like this.
  6. Carapau

    Carapau Tek care, lambs ont road, MRF Moderator

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    Posted by Carapau, Sep 16, 2015 #6
    I think the wrong questions are being asked as this stage- they are good questions for hobby flying but not for work. The biggest mistake people make is choosing an aircraft first. BIG MISTAKE.

    The first question is to work out what data is required- this is what you are actually selling.

    Next what sensor can acquire this data.

    Next question having decided on the suitable sensors is do they need stabilizing and if so what is the most suitable stabilizer (note that I say most suitable and not the best- pointless having a Movi if an old AV200 or Cinestart gimbal would do the job perfectly well to get the data required).

    Now you have defined the payload ie what is required to be lifted by the as yet unknown aircraft.

    Next look at your flight requirements such as endurance, weather capabilities etc

    NOW you can think about the airframe.

    Take this approach and you will end up with a good shortlist of what you need. If you dont take this you may end up finding the need to upgrade/change after a very short period of time.
     
    3 people like this.
  7. alky6

    alky6 Member

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    Posted by alky6, Sep 16, 2015 #7
    Thanks Carapau. Those are good questions, and ones that I don't probably have good answers to. Honestly, the media side is a foreign language! LOL. I will have to do some additional research so I understand a bit better and refine my questions regarding media. Thanks again.
     
  8. jinly

    jinly Member

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    Posted by jinly, Sep 16, 2015 #8
    You could always go Autonomous Flights using waypoints. Maybe a RTF http://www.fpvmodel.com/tarot-ironman-fy650-bnf-rtf-ready-to-fly-_g48.html . Then add a 2.4gHz Datalink withBTU (Bluetooth Unit) and an iPAD . You could fly auto pilot routes by mapping the area needed for survey with the Ground Station APP. I live in Rural Michigan, Corn, soybeans, and Sugar Beets are prevalent here. I help the farmers around here survey their acreage in the Spring to determine if their Drainage Tiles are defective. I built a Custom X8 Octorotor and use a Gopro and 30 min. Flights in steps to cover many many acres of farm land using the Ground Station APP (Google Earth supported). It's very viable option, using a very simple and inexpensive Windows Movie Maker, I edit and present videos to the farmers highlighting their problem areas. Just my $.02..
     
    2 people like this.
  9. Bartman

    Bartman Welcome to MultiRotorForums.com!!

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    Posted by Bartman, Sep 17, 2015 #9
    @Carapau@Carapau, i agree with everything that you said but in this case it appears he's got a pretty good set of goals that can be quickly met by an RTF quad. he's also got RC background so he's coming to the table with sufficient budget, short term goals that can be easily met, and enough RC experience to jump ahead of the most fundamental first steps.

    @alky6@alky6 if anything I'd say you should really investigate the quality of the image provided by the Phantom 3 Pro to see if it's flexible enough for your immediate goals. you should also consider to what degree you have room to do further research and to what degree your business needs a solution right now.

    here at MultiRotorForums.com we pride ourselves on learning and sharing the know-how to build (and in some cases design) our own equipment exactly as we need it to be. it's a lot different from the trend towards ready to fly helicopters where buyers open the box and the specs are rigid from the factory. if you have time you can go through the determinations Carapau mentioned but just be forewarned that there are a lot of options and usually the best first step is not to go for the final design but to start with something that lays out the process for an improved second build.

    we're here so keep asking questions as you need to. :)
     
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  10. jinly

    jinly Member

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    Posted by jinly, Sep 17, 2015 #10
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 17, 2015
    2 people like this.
  11. alky6

    alky6 Member

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    Posted by alky6, Sep 17, 2015 #11
    Whoa! Thanks @Bartman@Bartman and @jinly@jinly . Food for thought! Really appreciate all the feedback thus far! This is great stuff!! Thanks!
     
  12. alky6

    alky6 Member

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    Posted by alky6, Sep 18, 2015 #12
    Does anyone know if the Phantom 3 Professional will output realtime gps coordinates to the FPV tablet or phone? x,y & z? Specifically elevation? I know the Phantom 3 also includes an ultrasonic sensor for determining height from ground. Can that info be displayed? How accurate is the elevation data?

    I want to use this to determine line of site height requirements for radio surveys.
    Thanks!
    -Paul
     
  13. jinly

    jinly Member

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    Posted by jinly, Sep 18, 2015 #13

    yes. use the DJI pilot APP

    which is now CALLED the DJI Go APP. http://www.dji.com/product/phantom-3/goapp
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 18, 2015
    2 people like this.
  14. alky6

    alky6 Member

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    Posted by alky6, Sep 18, 2015 #14
    Thanks @jinly@jinly !! That is very helpful!
     
  15. jinly

    jinly Member

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    Posted by jinly, Sep 19, 2015 #15
    Good Luck!
     
    2 people like this.
  16. alky6

    alky6 Member

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    Posted by alky6, Oct 15, 2015 #16
    Wanted to follow up with decisions made and provide some feedback. Thanks again for the information, it was very helpful and ensured we got a product that was functional for our needs.

    We purchased the Phantom3 Professional. It has worked flawlessly (though a bit of a challenge getting firmware upgraded, but got it done). I have flown it over five miles of canal as a pre-project documentation. Required 2.5 batteries to make the distance (using stock configuration for low battery alarm). Followed it in a pickup. The system is rock solid in hovering. The camera gimball works extremely well and is quite difficult to perform fine adjustments due to the lag in camera position catching up due to the gimball gyro.

    We have also used it for line of sight surveys for setting up radios. This is really where we have paid for the unit as a 90' high lift rental (for one location and day) costs $1,300. We have already done two sites - Return on Investment realized! Definitely strange charging a lipo without an external cell balancer.

    No crashes yet. The P3 is extremely easy to fly and is very intuitive. One interesting note, by using the VLC media player (on a pc) the current lat and long and "home" coordinates show up on the video. Also the "barameter" value is displayed in what I have determined to be the height in meters. This information does not show up in any other video player I have tried. Haven't figured out how to turn off the data display either. As noted previously, I have very little camera knowledge - so getting settings to work in low light to high light conditions has been challenging, though, as with most things, experience and time seems to help.

    Thanks again for the help!
     
    2 people like this.
  17. jinly

    jinly Member

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    Posted by jinly, Oct 19, 2015 #17
    The platform seems to work nicely for you. I too have filmed miles of land in survey form. I use a 2000 watt Honda generator hooked to a 406duo iCharger connected to a 1500 W Meanwell dc/dc transformer to charge my 6S lipo's in the field. The set up was expensive, however, was invaluable in helping the farmers ( ALL at pro bono). I do get fresh meat and eggs though... My OSD (i.e. telemetry) is seen in the live time Monitor connected to the Tx, but through my GoPro I use, it does not show up. The SD card in the GoPro is what I use to edit the videos. There seems to be a way to shut off the Telemetry in your videos, via the phantom's OSD? I am not very well "versed" in the VLC system. Again Congrats on you progressive.
     
    2 people like this.
  18. Old Man

    Old Man Active Member

    Posted by Old Man, Oct 30, 2015 #18
    Welcome to the dark side:)
     
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