After building over six 3DR APM 2.5 based quadcopters I thought I would try the Quanum Nova from Hobbyking. It is my first APM based quadcopter built by someone else. Here are some first impressions of the quadcopter/drone.
Firstly I would like to point out that I have not adjusted any of the PID's (Parameters). Right out of the box the quadcopter seems to be well built. Three of the propellers went on fine but the last one must of had a molding issue because it would not go on easy. Had to use the propeller nut to tighten it down. It is hard to take the prop off now but it does not effect the flight. I did not to a preflight propeller balance.
After calibration of the compass the first flight was perfect. The quadcopter held a steady position in GPS hold (position hold) only moving about a meter while sitting in the air. Changing modes was easy but I noticed with the throttle at half the quadcopter would drop when changing modes. Be sure to have a height buffer to be able to correct the altitude drop when switching modes.
I calibrated the compass after the first flight using mission planner for my second flight. I also added some propeller guards and later found that they are a must have. This time when in GPS hold the quadcopter moved a little more and after about 30 seconds started to toilet bowl. I tried correcting the toilet bowl effect while still in GPS hold which made it worse. By the time I had a chance to put it into stabilize it was too late and it hit a tree falling out of the sky, hit the ground and cut the grass below before motors disarmed. Luckily the propeller guards prevented any major damage to the quadcopter and propellers.
After the crash I downloaded the logs from the flash for analysis. By the looks it was bad compass health. I did a re-calibration and took it out for another few flights. It flew well even when hitting a tree. I hit the tree and was able to recover it. After a couple excellent flights I decided to try the range a bit and lost the quadcopter into the trees. It got about 25 meters away at a height of 20 meters and would not respond to my controller. I tried RTL with no response. I figure the wind about the trees was too strong for the stock settings of the quadcopter and or the battery did not have enough juice to fight the wind. Either way it hit the ground hard and caused the case to split along the top and bottom half seem. No biggy because with a little pressure it snapped back into place.
The controller is simple with not too many knobs and switches. Flight modes are controller by two toggles at the top of the controller. There is also two knobs for accessory control (Gimbal). The Throttle/yaw and tilt/roll controls worked well but are very sluggish with the default PIDS. The quadcopter needs to be made a little more aggressive to be able to fight strong winds.
For the price the Quanum nova is a good practice drone/quadcopter but it is too risky to use for professional use. I am going to add a telemetry radio and a gimbal to see how it performs with computer/tablet control. I think I will also change the receiver to a FRSky for more reliable range.
Transport Canada has recently outlined the new requirements for flying remotely piloted aircraft commercially. These aircraft are known in the media as drones, but by professionals as RPAS, UAV and SUAS. If you plan to use this growing technology for business you will need to study the outlined material on the Transport Canada website.
"TP 15263 – Knowledge Requirements for Pilots of Unmanned Air Vehicle Systems (UAV) 25 kg or Less, Operating within Visual Line of Sight" http://www.tc.gc.ca/eng/civilaviation/publications/page-6557.html
Transport Canada has put out a friendly safety post for hobbyists and commercial users of UAS, SUAS, RPAS and model aircraft. The bottom line is be safe and take into account your surroundings. For more information follow the link below.
From the government website;
I was one of the lucky people to get one of the first GoPro Hero 3 Black editions in Canada. At the time I worked for a reseller of the product so I got a decent deal on it. Good thing or I would be a lot more upset with the purchase. I like the camera but have had nothing but problems since I got it. The same problems most people in the world were experiencing.
I had the camera always shutting down at different intervals due to a overheat error. I finally got rid of the error! The most recent update may of helped but I think the simple mod I did was the solution. I found a video online that pointed me in the right direction. What was the solution?
Remove the sticker in the battery compartment that is next to the electrical contacts. It has a metal back and will slip out of place when the camera heats up during normal operation. The metal back contacts the battery terminals and causes the overheat error. You don't need to remove the sticker completely. You can cut around the area in question. I have not had a overheat error since the mod and firmware update in June 2013.
That being said when I do use the camera it is great. It has many awesome features that will allow every one to shoot video like a pro. I plan on using it for FPV now that it is no longer shutting down on me. Just in case I will be running two cameras and a video switch.
I have been fascinated with multirotors and drones for many years. A year ago I decided to take the risk and start building drones as a hobby. I started with the very popular APM 2.0 flying a Quadcopter. I chose a very robust frame the Turnigy HAL (Heavy Aerial Lifter). It is made mainly of aluminum pieces and weights about 800 grams without electronics. Once my build was done the copter would range from 2.2 Kg to 2.5 Kg depending on the payload and battery used. Flying time only about 4 minutes tops.
Here is a list of the parts used to accomplish the build.
The FPV equipment I first used