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godale03

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Hey Guys,

I have a GoPro 4 silver edition coming from Santa this year. I am looking for a quad that I can mount it to. There are lots of options out there and I am bit overwhelmed. I am not looking for just a camera platform. In fact flying it with the camera attached is only a small percentage of how the quad would be used. I am also looking for an RTF since I do not have a radio already and I am at a budget of around $500 bucks max. I like the DJI stuff but it is very pricey and seems to be exclusively a flying camera mount. I would like to be able to perform some flips and rolls once my skill level improves. Oh.. by the way... I am a novice. I like the Blade 350 QX3 but it seems like it may be just a camera platform as well. Any suggestions? Thanks

Tom
 

HPIguy

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Tom, it sounds like what you want is a sport quad that can also carry the GoPro. If that's the case, then buy a kit and build your own and buy the radio separately. You'll come out cheaper, and depending on the flight controller you choose, can be tuned more aggressively as you learn and will fly rings around any RTF quad. You'll also know how it was built, i.e. were all the solder joints done properly or is there a cold solder joint that will eventually fail due to vibration, etc vs. mass produced RTF stuff. Just my $.02
 

SMaxxin

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I also suggest buying your own radio, I destroyed many planes and heli's with junk RTF radios! Learn how to use the settings, for me it truly is the most important tool in successfully learning how to fly!!
 

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godale03

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Thanks for the advice guys. I appreciate the input. Its nice to have a place to turn when your just not sure what the heck your looking at. The quad segment has grown so quickly it is hard to catch up if you didn't jump in on the ground floor. I am thinking of buying the new Real Flight 7.5 simulator and practice flying on the simulator over the winter. If you believe Great Planes their simulator is so realistic that you can learn to fly. I am wondering if that might be a good option? At least when I crash I can just hit the reset button instead of grabbing the wallet. Also what would be a decent kit to start looking at? Also I am sure you need a special type of speedo and a set of 4 motors as well.... correct?
 

SMaxxin

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I'm as clueless as you on the quadcopters but I do know that a good flight sim is a great tool, it's all about learning to use the controls without having to think about it....just like cars/trucks. I practiced planes on the sim for a month, walked outside and started flying a mini 3d plane with very little difficulty, same for the mini helis. I found the quad sim on real flight 4 or 4.5 to be close to impossible for me to fly, I actually flew the real deal a lot easier but I'm sure they have make big improvements by now.
 

hamz9561

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You will need 1 ESC per motor and a flight controller for directing the ESCs. KDE is the one that I've heard the most good things about in the way of ESC/motors. DJI Naza is the standard for flight controllers. As far as kits go, the DJI Flame Wheel F450 is supposed to be a really good kit.

I used Phoenix Flight sim as it is more realistic to me for flying both helis and multi-rotors.
 

HPIguy

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I had a DJI flight controller, and I'll never own another one. They're well known to do some weird crap (as did mine) out of the blue and have very minimal settings that you can actually tune. But, they are really easy to setup and get flying if that's all you want.

OpenPilot CC3D or Revo boards would be my pick of flight controllers, or if you want really cheap a acro Naze32 board. SimonK flashed ESC's, and tiger T-motors.

The flamewheel F450 that hamz mentioned is a great starter quad, it's very durable and parts are cheap. The only downside is that it's near impossible to get video that doesn't have the props in view. But you can always learn with it, then transfer everything over to a more FPV / video based sport frame, that's what I did. I'm a big fan of Hoverthings frames, and the people that own the company also. I fly their Flip FPV for video duty and have been extremely happy with it.
 

godale03

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I like the dji kit because it comes with everything I need to get started. I don't know if you would agree, but my thinking is that with this kit I can get going... its all inclusive minus batteries and radio, and it would allow me to get the feel for it and learn.... even mount the GoPro once I get better at flying. Then maybe offload it and build a better kit with individual components. What are your thoughts? I mean... the way I look at it, I don't want to waste money... but I also don't want to go so cheap that I end up having a bad experience, and end up with a bunch of useless junk. Also... any advice on a good affordable radio? Thanks

Tom
 

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The only DJI thing I have issues with is their flight controllers. I actually nicknamed mine the DJI nada, because it did nothing well LOL. But everything else is still being flown from my kit. It will get you in the air, and at this stage, that's the most important thing. You can find the combo with the newer Naza lite for around $300, throw in a decent 7 or 8 channel radio and you'll be around $600 minus batteries.
 

godale03

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The only DJI thing I have issues with is their flight controllers. I actually nicknamed mine the DJI nada, because it did nothing well LOL. But everything else is still being flown from my kit. It will get you in the air, and at this stage, that's the most important thing. You can find the combo with the newer Naza lite for around $300, throw in a decent 7 or 8 channel radio and you'll be around $600 minus batteries.
That's the way I was looking at it. At least with the DJI I can upgrade components as my skill level progresses. The one question I do have is does the DJI have any training type modes like the Blade setup does? I mean will it hover when I let go of the sticks or return to home if I loose sight of it? Those are some pretty cool features of the Blade setup that I do like. Based on what I have read I am not sure if DJI does this or not. Also any radio recommendations to get me started in the right direction, or at least something I can grow with? Thanks again for all the advice.
 

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I'm not familiar with Blade's larger quads Tom, sorry. WoodiE just picked one up recently so hopefully he'll chime in.
The DJI Naza lite will have attitude mode (stability mode) and manual mode (acrobatic mode). If you spring for the version that adds the GPS receiver it adds a GPS flight mode where the aircraft will hold position in the air, but you can still pan around with the rudder, and it works fairly well. The addition of GPS also brings the return to home feature. But there are various opinions all over the net about that, so I'll leave mine out of it. I will say, if you use RTH, make for damn sure you have a solid GPS lock prior to taking off.

For the radio, I personally prefer the older Futabas that have the snap in rear modules. I think they brought that feature back on one of the new radios also. That allows you to use FrSky TX modules and RXs (great stuff and great prices), and moving forward you can go LRS (long range system) should you decide to get into FPV flight. Barring that, the DX8 is always a good radio. Only issue is Spektrum radios are known to not play nice with some LRS gear.

DISCLAIMER: FPV flight is technically against FAA rules at this point, so don't do it.
 
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godale03

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Thanks man. I appreciate the info as always... I don't have to worry about FPV..... not even remotely on my radar. I am really just looking for a new facet of the hobby to jump into.... learn to fly and then use the GoPro to check my gutters! LOL
 

hamz9561

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DISCLAIMER: FPV flight is technically against FAA rules at this point, so don't do it.
You need to add with goggles and without an observer. If you have a small LCD display (or a tablet/smart phone) an observer isn't needed according to the latest that I've read.
 

godale03

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I'm not familiar with Blade's larger quads Tom, sorry. WoodiE just picked one up recently so hopefully he'll chime in.
The DJI Naza lite will have attitude mode (stability mode) and manual mode (acrobatic mode). If you spring for the version that adds the GPS receiver it adds a GPS flight mode where the aircraft will hold position in the air, but you can still pan around with the rudder, and it works fairly well. The addition of GPS also brings the return to home feature. But there are various opinions all over the net about that, so I'll leave mine out of it. I will say, if you use RTH, make for damn sure you have a solid GPS lock prior to taking off.

For the radio, I personally prefer the older Futabas that have the snap in rear modules. I think they brought that feature back on one of the new radios also. That allows you to use FrSky TX modules and RXs (great stuff and great prices), and moving forward you can go LRS (long range system) should you decide to get into FPV flight. Barring that, the DX8 is always a good radio. Only issue is Spektrum radios are known to not play nice with some LRS gear.

DISCLAIMER: FPV flight is technically against FAA rules at this point, so don't do it.
How hard is it to get a GPS fix? Are the GPS not very reliable on the DJI?
 

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If you want a bind and fly quad I'd certainly recommend the Blade 350 QX3, it has several enhancements over the QX2 which is what I have and the QX2 is a very nice quad.

If I was to do it over again and spend more time thinking about a quad and not just buying one I'd build a kit myself. I really like the DJI Flame Wheel 450 and F550. While the QX2 and QX3 are great quads they are much more limited in what you can upgrade, and modify/change then compared to the DJI kits. The DJI kits are also much easier to repair and far cheaper to repair. My QX2 which I've crashed already and broke the "body", which is also the frame, is about $30 for a new one. The DJI kits arms are just a few bucks and repairing them is just a few screws.

Don't think I'm bashing the Blade 350 because I'm not trying to. It's an amazing quad and I love flying mine when I can. I'd just do things a bit differently if I was to do it over again. So just be sure to look at all your options.
 

HPIguy

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^^I was hoping you'd chime in WoodiE

You need to add with goggles and without an observer. If you have a small LCD display (or a tablet/smart phone) an observer isn't needed according to the latest that I've read.
They've since closed the loophole for guys using monitors by stating that the aircraft must be withing visual LOS at all times. Here's the actual wording;

By definition, a model aircraft must be “flown within visual line of sight of the
person operating the aircraft.” P.L. 112-95, section 336(c)(2).
1 Based on the plain
language of the statute, the FAA interprets this requirement to mean that: (1) the aircraft
must be visible at all times to the operator; (2) that the operator must use his or her own
natural vision (which includes vision corrected by standard eyeglasses or contact lenses)
to observe the aircraft; and (3) people other than the operator may not be used in lieu of
the operator for maintaining visual line of sight. Under the criteria above, visual line of
sight would mean that the operator has an unobstructed view of the model aircraft. To
ensure that the operator has the best view of the aircraft, the statutory requirement would
preclude the use of vision-enhancing devices, such as binoculars, night vision goggles,
powered vision magnifying devices, and goggles designed to provide a “first-person
view” from the model.


You can read the rest here;

http://www.faa.gov/uas/media/model_aircraft_spec_rule.pdf

How hard is it to get a GPS fix? Are the GPS not very reliable on the DJI?
It's not hard, you just need to make sure it does so. In other words, take your time with pre-flight and don't get all excited and just throw it down on the ground and go zipping off into the wild blue yonder. :D
 

WoodiE

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If you spring for the version that adds the GPS receiver it adds a GPS flight mode where the aircraft will hold position in the air, but you can still pan around with the rudder, and it works fairly well.
The GPS / Controller, is what makes or breaks a quad. If you're leaning towards a kit then don't cheap out on the GPS / Controller system. I'd get the DJI NAZA-M V2, getting the Lite version will serve you well to start then very soon after you'll want to upgrade. Just get the better version from the start.

You can get a complete kit (minus radio) for $499.
 

godale03

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Thanks guys! Based on the great Intel I have received today, I have decided on a kit build. I am reading everything I can get my hands on and will probably watch a fair share of YouTube videos. I really like the DJI f450 kit....it fits my price range and it sounds like based on my skill level it will allow me to learn and grow with instead of learn and outgrow. The next question is how hard would this kit be to build? I've built my fair share of RC's over the years so I guess as long as the instructions are good I can hold my own.....but calibrating and setting it up is another story. Is this hard to do? This is something I will need to consider as well since I don't know of anyone local that could give me a hand. Now the other issue I am having is deciding on a radio that not only won't break the budget but will also grow with me as well. The kit is already putting me close to my $500 budget.
 
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