Drones/Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAV)

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PeteC
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Drones/Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAV)

Post by PeteC » Mon Aug 11, 2014 5:35 pm

This topic needs its own thread, and I guess Motoring is the best place? To me these UAV's are the neatest thing since sliced bread. :D

JJB's can go about 1 mile horizontally, and about 1,500' high. Seems more than adequate to me. Where does this model sit in the scheme of things. Low/medium/high cost? Low/medium/high capability?

I did hear a slight motor buzz behind the video music. Can the mic on your GoPro be turned off to avoid that? ...assuming it was a GoPro attached?

See below for the video I'm talking about. Full screen is best. Pete :cheers:




________________________________
Nereus wrote:Don`t forget about the exclusion zone. There is also an airspace exclusion zone from the south end of the airport to south of the palace.

http://www.huahinafterdark.com/hua-hin-area-map.htm

Can you let us have a few more details about your UAV and camera? I have been trying to source something that does not involve selling the kids to pay for it. PM is ok if you do not want to make it public. :cheers:
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Re: Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV)

Post by fpvguy » Mon Aug 11, 2014 7:02 pm

Yep, go pro most likely with the brushless gimbal to get the smooth video. Dji Phantom with gopro and zenmuse gimbal is what the most people are flying these days.

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Re: Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV)

Post by J.J.B. » Mon Aug 11, 2014 7:27 pm

Good shout on the exclusion zone, Nereus, I made a point of not going anywhere past the Hilton just to be on the safe side but mainly for the airport. The drone I have incorporates software that won't allow it even to take off when it's within 1.5 miles of an airport and restricts altitude gradually out to 5 miles; clearly it doesn't know about the palace though.

The UAV in question is a DJI Phantom 2 Vision Plus and I would describe it as middle of the range, coming it at around $1299. It's pretty much ready to fly out of the box, although you will need an iOS or Android device to view the first-person video (FPV) and telemetry as well as control the camera functions. The Vision + comes with its own camera that is stabilised by an electronic, 3-axis gimbal, which makes the camera steady as a rock and the video look silky smooth. There are other versions of the Phantom you can buy that you can sling a GoPro under or something similar, but you will need to invest in a separate video transmission system and monitor for the FPV.

For a few hundred dollars you can buy a quadcopter that will take video and can be controlled either with a remote controller or via an iPhone but the range is poor, as is the camera quality and there won't be any kind of stabilisation. At the other end of the scale you can spend $15,000 and more on a high-end octocopter (with more powerful lift capability) and then sling a camera of similar value underneath but that's a lot of cash to drive into a tree...and they do tend to jump out at you when you least expect it!

I was looking for something that was not too difficult to learn how to fly but with advanced options for when you get more confident. The DJI Phantom range uses GPS control as well as a digital compass and barometer (for altitude) so provided it can see at least 6 satellites, it will stay just where you put it, like some kind of autopilot. Speaking of which, if you lose contact with the vehicle, it detects that and then flies back to its 'home point' (usually where you took off from but you can set it elsewhere) and lands. Similarly if the battery goes below 25%, it will do the same. The app also includes something called 'Ground Station', where you can plot up to 16 points on a map and set the UAV to fly the route totally autonomously - I haven't tried that yet.

The sound you mention is interesting, Pete, because the Vision + camera doesn't record any sound :shock:
For the very reason you mention, all you would hear is the roar of the propellers or other wind noise and there's no point taking-up extra bandwidth and space on the memory card. I'll check the audio track again but can't think where any buzz is coming from...perhaps your speakers?
:cheers:

The pace of technology change in this field is quite remarkable, it seems that the balance of computing power and low mass of the electronics required came together so that these things became possible. New models from Walkera (the Tali 500) and the Align Corporation will eclipse the Phantom very soon as they have integrated FPV into the controller and neat tricks like retractable landing gear and orbital filming capabilities (flying a perfect circle around an object using GPS). It is tremendous fun and if you can get involved, responsibly of course - these thing are basically flying lawnmowers(!) - you should.
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Re: Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV)

Post by hhfarang » Mon Aug 11, 2014 8:21 pm

Just don't ever try to use one over the southern U.S. It would be shot down in a minute with a 12 guage shotgun. :P
My brain is like an Internet browser; 12 tabs are open and 5 of them are not responding, there's a GIF playing in an endless loop,... and where is that annoying music coming from?

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Re: Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV)

Post by STEVE G » Mon Aug 11, 2014 10:07 pm

It makes a pretty impressive video. I was at the wakeboard park at Black Mountain a couple of months ago and someone was flying something like this, I was shocked at how far and high it was flying.

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Re: Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV)

Post by PeteC » Tue Aug 12, 2014 4:21 am

Thanks JJB. I'll watch the video again when a bit more awake this morning and try to isolate the time when I hear the buzz. Also, I guess you always need to be in line of sight between craft and controller or the defaults of "return home" will kick in? Pete :cheers:
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Re: Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV)

Post by PeteC » Tue Aug 12, 2014 5:01 am

^ Okay, the sound is between about :55 and 1:20 and it seems to be nothing more than the quiet humming background from some violins. I took it as muffled motor buzz yesterday, probably because my mind was waiting and conditioned for it. :laugh:
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Re: Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV)

Post by PeteC » Tue Aug 12, 2014 5:19 am

I assume you bought the unit outside of Thailand and suitcased it in? Pete
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Re: Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV)

Post by PeteC » Tue Aug 12, 2014 7:21 am

More questions.....what's the max video time the camera is capable of? I assume the memory card is upgradeable if wanted?
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Re: Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV)

Post by J.J.B. » Tue Aug 12, 2014 8:21 am

It's always advisable to have line of sight with the aircraft at all times but the distance between the controller and the craft as well as what the obstruction is made of will determine whether a return to home (RTH, or 'failsafe') is triggered. If you are 1,500 out and the craft drops behind a mountain, you will probably see the control signal lost whereas if you're on the beach and fly behind a clump of trees, you should be fine. There are two radio systems in operation, one at 2.4GHz for the control of the device and one at 5.8GHz for the video feed and camera control. You may lose one, the other or both but only the control signal loss will trigger a RTH. What's interesting is that when a RTH is triggered, the craft will rise by 66 feet (depending on it's relative altitude to the previously set home point) to avoid possible obstacles as it will return on a direct heading to the home point. It's not fool-proof though!

I bought the unit in the UK and shipped it in the hold. It was a sphincter-tickling moment when my case emerged at Swampy and I opened it to check the contents, but all was OK. DJI is a Chinese firm, as with most of these outfits, and I daresay they have dealers in Thailand.

The camera is both video (up to 1080p) and stills (14 MP), where it can record in DNG raw file format as well as JPG, which is excellent as Adobe Lightroom and photoshop have the camera's lens profile and can correct for any aberrations. The camera takes a micro SD card and will go up to 32GB capacity but 17 minutes of video is around a 1.5GB file. The main limitation is the flight time on the batteries, realistically around 20 minutes and I have 3 batteries (around $129 each) so have about an hour in total so a 4GB card is just about enough.

It sounds like you're itching to have a go! Let me know if you're near HH in the next couple of weeks and perhaps we can arrange something.
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Re: Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV)

Post by Nereus » Tue Aug 12, 2014 9:12 am

Yes, thanks very much, JJB. There is a shop I found in Bangkok that has quadcopters and all sorts of spare parts, but I have yet to find one of these.

I will add this video as your link brings up a virus warning. There are hundreds of videos on the Net now I know what to look for. :cheers:

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Re: Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV)

Post by Nereus » Tue Aug 12, 2014 9:21 am

May you be in heaven half an hour before the devil know`s you`re dead!

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Re: Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV)

Post by PeteC » Tue Aug 12, 2014 1:30 pm

Thanks for the offer JJB, but doubt will be in the area. Regardless, what you've supplied is very helpful and now I need to do much reading if I decide to go the next step. Pete :cheers:

PS: One more question.....can the batteries be charged in a car charger like you can do with a cell phone, or even with one of those portable charger bricks people carry around for their phones?
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Re: Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV)

Post by Nereus » Tue Aug 12, 2014 1:44 pm

The following is the shop mentioned by Richard Burrows. It is in Thai, but Google will help. They list one "professional" unit on there at 200k Baht! They also have a deal going on bigger batteries just now.

http://www.hobbythai.com/
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Re: Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV)

Post by J.J.B. » Tue Aug 12, 2014 3:53 pm

Nereus wrote:Yes, thanks very much, JJB. There is a shop I found in Bangkok that has quadcopters and all sorts of spare parts, but I have yet to find one of these.

I will add this video as your link brings up a virus warning. There are hundreds of videos on the Net now I know what to look for. :cheers:

The model in this vimeo video is the Phantom 2 Vision whereas the one I have is the Phantom 2 Vision +, the main difference being the stabilised gimbal. The link that Pete shared for the Thai Hobby shop has the Vision+ listed at just over 42,860 THB, which is a very keen price at current exchange rates.
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