DJI Phantom 3 - my new toy

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FlyingPenguin
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DJI Phantom 3 - my new toy

Postby FlyingPenguin » Fri Sep 23, 2016 8:11 pm

Okay, so the wife wants aerial photos and videos of the new house under construction and I got prices from people who do this work and had a heart attack. So the wife convinced me to buy my own drone. Coincidentally, I went to Sams Club yesterday and they were selling the DJI Phantom 3 for $479, which is a fair price. I could have ordered it from Amazon for $15 less but Sams Club gives you a generous 90 day return period.

I sat down for an hour reading a very good review of this drone on Engadget before pulling the trigger. The guy has an very impressive video posted in the review showing off the quality of the camera:

https://www.engadget.com/2015/06/26/dji ... -3-review/

So anyway, I'll be playing with this over the weekend to figure it out. Since I've flown model airplanes before, this should be a piece of cake by comparison. These things are gyro stabilized and can even fly to designated points on their own. For instance there's a button you press to make the done fly back to it's takeoff point. You use your phone to control some of the automation features and to control the camera.

I'll report back more when I figure it all out, assuming I don't crash it into a tree. :)

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Re: FJI Phantom 3 - my new toy

Postby Genom » Fri Sep 23, 2016 8:16 pm

They are super easy to fly and pretty fun. Just dont fly it out of range cause the return is iffy on occasion and a few folks have had their drones just fly off into the sunset. Other than that they are great fun.

Also, DJI has notoriously shitty support, so make sure to document all interactions with them.

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Re: FJI Phantom 3 - my new toy

Postby FlyingPenguin » Fri Sep 23, 2016 10:07 pm

I've been reading up a lot on this thing online today, and from what I've read I am abandoning the idea of using my new Moto X Pure with it. Everyone warns NOT to use your phone - and if you do use your phone, then at least put it in airplane mode because you don't want to receive a call while flying. The main reason a phone is less than ideal is because we generally have so many apps installed and any background processes just steal CPU cycles from the pilot app which apparently really needs as much CPU as it can take. You don't want some app notification going off at a bad time either.

A lot of people are highly recommending the Nexus 7 (2013) tablet for it's processor and bright screen. Well it so happens I have one that I don't use anymore now that I have the Moto X Pure. So since I really don't need it, I'm backing it up tonight, and then and I'm going to wipe it clean and just install nothing but the Pilot app on it so there's nothing else stealing CPU cycles, and make that a dedicated tablet for the drone.

I'm rather impressed with the build quality of the drone - it's quite rugged and elegantly simple. I like how the blades just screw on and are essentially self-tightening (although I made darn sure I tightened down by hand real good).

At first I was horrified by the minimal instructions, but actually they cover just what you need without any unnecessary crap. I'm a little surprised they didn't include an instructional DVD, but there's plenty of Youtube videos out there.

One minor grumble is that for the price, they could have thrown in a mini USB charger for the transmitter. Granted I have a drawer full of those things, but it's a nickle and dime item they should have included.
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Re: DJI Phantom 3 - my new toy

Postby FlyingPenguin » Sat Sep 24, 2016 12:19 am

Well I have to fanagle the mount to make it work with a Nexus 7 - the jaw isn't wide enough, but I found a nice hack here:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0oLXirT1-Xg

I am somewhat pissed that this thing DID NOT come with the full 55 page manual, just the quick setup guide. I downloaded the manual PDF from the website. I don't know if the manual was supposed to be included or not, but it's crazy that it didn't come with it if not.
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Re: DJI Phantom 3 - my new toy

Postby wvjohn » Sat Sep 24, 2016 7:19 am

"Okay, so the wife wants aerial photos and videos of the new house under construction and I got prices from people who do this work and had a heart attack. So the wife convinced me to buy my own drone."

Best excuse I've seen in a while ;)

Sounds like fun, keep us posted!

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First Flight

Postby FlyingPenguin » Sat Sep 24, 2016 5:55 pm

Very easy to fly in P-Mode which uses GPS and the gyro to hold whatever position and altitude it's at when I let go the sticks. Controls are just like an R/C plane, and since I'm an R/C pilot I have no issues with disorientation. Someone who has never flown or driven an R/C boat or car will need some practice to tech your brain to follow the orientation - newbies get very disoriented when it flies towards you. Takes a few weeks then your brain just clicks. I'm already wired for it.

Setup is a bit complicated. Not major, but you do have to be careful and do it right. This tutorial walks you through it all the way up to getting ready for first flight:
https://youtu.be/gWgfUuym7mk

This guy does a nice tutorial for your first flight:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nr3yokRg9_s

Here's my first flight in the back yard:
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Re: DJI Phantom 3 - my new toy

Postby FlyingPenguin » Sat Sep 24, 2016 6:15 pm

Overflight of the new house's freshly poured foundation. They poured it last Monday. New house is being built in the back of my property - you can just barely see the slab in the background through the trees behind and to the right of the RV in the first video above.

I'm only using 720p at 30 frames per second. Don't have much need for 1080p or 4K right now and it came with a small memory stick. The quality is, none the less, better than I had dared hope.

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Re: DJI Phantom 3 - my new toy

Postby EvilHorace » Sat Sep 24, 2016 7:21 pm

Very cool toy! Can't justify a need for one so far but maybe someday.

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Re: DJI Phantom 3 - my new toy

Postby FlyingPenguin » Sat Sep 24, 2016 8:16 pm

The Nexus 7 worked out great. Nice big screen and bright enough to see. I have lots of trees so I stayed in the shade to keep the tablet from getting too hot.

The clamp on the Phantom Standard transmitter is too small for a 7" tablet but the case I have have on the Nexus 7 has a book type cover that folds into a triangular shape to act as a kickstand, and the clamp easily holds on to that.
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Re: DJI Phantom 3 - my new toy

Postby Pugsley » Sat Sep 24, 2016 9:14 pm

You should do some videos with the camera pointed straight down then just fly straight up as high as it will go... and how high is that BTW?

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Re: DJI Phantom 3 - my new toy

Postby Genom » Sat Sep 24, 2016 9:38 pm

400 feet if you follow FAA regulations.

If you have nosy neighbors Bob, make sure to register it.

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Re: DJI Phantom 3 - my new toy

Postby FlyingPenguin » Sat Sep 24, 2016 10:01 pm

Pugsley: Officially the range is .6 mile, but you're not supposed to fly it out of your line of sight. There is a failsafe mode (that's something that's been in all R/C radios for several years now). If the drone loses the radio link, it flies back to a position 40 meters above it's launch point and then lands (R/C planes just fly in a circle when they go into failsafe and maintain altitude).

In theory you can fly it vertically out of sight I suppose. Yeah, when I get the nerve I'll try a "Space-X" type vertical launch camera view with the camera straight down. That might be cool to do that in the middle of the mouse under construction (at least until the roof goes on).

Genom: I live on a 20 acre ranch. My neighbors mind their own business. We all have backyard gun ranges here and burn pits. Sometimes I love fucking hillbillies... :)
"Why should freedom of speech and freedom of press be allowed? Why should a government which is doing what it believes to be right allow itself to be criticized?" - Vladimir Lenin

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Re: DJI Phantom 3 - my new toy

Postby Losbot » Mon Sep 26, 2016 11:48 pm

FlyingPenguin wrote: Sometimes I love fucking hillbillies... :)


Does your wife know this about you? ;)

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Re: DJI Phantom 3 - my new toy

Postby Pugsley » Tue Sep 27, 2016 8:48 am

I had my car towed once and talked to the driver and he said he flies electric planes like 20-35 miles away from his home and back. He has a HAM and all that... I didnt know people could go that far with home made stuff.

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Re: DJI Phantom 3 - my new toy

Postby FlyingPenguin » Tue Sep 27, 2016 2:03 pm

Okay, the differenct between the Standard and Pro is my Standard only goes up to 2.5K. The Pro does 4K. I don't need 4K. Matter of fact, Media Center won't play 2.5K files, so I'm shooting everything in 1080p from now on.

Here's some 1080p footage I took today. Half the walls are already up. It goes up fast. Blocks were delivered yesterday.

Make sure YouTube's player is defaulting to 1080p.

"Why should freedom of speech and freedom of press be allowed? Why should a government which is doing what it believes to be right allow itself to be criticized?" - Vladimir Lenin

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