$120 COMPLETE RTF indoor micro drone with FPV goggles
The indoor rig finally came in and it is fun! The goggles are acceptable, they are nowhere near as polished as the Fat Shark goggles I have had before and that is not saying much. However, when you consider the price, they really are pretty damn good. The diversity works great and the video signal is rock solid while flying around my house. The E010C is under powered but if you don't expect to fly super fast you can keep it from bogging down. With some practice, I should be able to get pretty good at this. The following video is from my second flight. You can see why the E010 is a good design for indoor flying - you can bounce right off the walls and keep going.
Alright, so this system is pretty cool for $120. However, there is one issue with the goggles. When I turned on the DVR the video became jerky. I don't really care much about the DVR feature except to show you guys so that is not a big deal. Maybe there is a way to fix this but if you really want to use the included DVR, I would avoid these.
Should you buy this inexpensive setup? Maybe..
This is a pretty neat novelty item and the goggles and the nano video transmitter and camera can be used on other systems. If you already have a ground station or fat shark goggles, the E010C is a decent enough way to fly. It is by no means high performance and lacks power but it is still fun. I have flown it twice so far.
Alright, fast forward several days. I love this setup and it is excellent for indoor flying. The E010C still bogs down when you put it into the fast mode and really try to fly around but in the slow mode (the default setting when you turn it on) it works pretty well. I have been flying this thing non-stop for days. It can bounce off walls, dogs, kids, lights and keep flying mostly. With this setup, the controller loses signal before the video so you do need to keep it within a room or two. This thing is nerd heaven.
Nano drone update
The Aerix Turbo X is currently my favorite little micro drone because it is fast and durable. I was hoping that the cheaper CX-10's would be able to match its fun factor, but they are just too glitchy. When your eager 70 pound dog is your micro drone recovery system you really need to fly something reliable because glitches get expensive. Avoid the basic CX-10s, buy the Aerix Turbo-x if you can get it for $20. I seriously doubt Aerix custom designed this hardware / firmware combo so there has got to be other CX-10 clones out there, if anyone knows of other versions of this drone please let me know. Remember, the circuit boards of this one and the cx-10 are different. I am still dreaming of a nano drone like this that I can connect to a real transmitter and adjust all the rates. This one does not yaw fast enough and I would love to increase the other rates to max as well. Other dream upgrades would be a super high quality high discharge battery. This one rarely bogs down, but I do occasionally max out the throttle stick. Is there a market for more high end nano drones?!
I am still waiting on the FPV goggles from BangGood, so that is really frustrating. They also sent me an E010 with a bad rear motor and would only offer to mail me a replacement motor or give me a $2 credit. If you order from these guys, know that you are rolling the dice because you never know when you will get your stuff and you don't know if your stuff will work. I am back to trying to find a good supplier of these micro drones. The next micro drone I am going to work on is an upgraded E010 with real flight software and motors with plugs. The 5 way charger for the E010 works great and I now have more batteries than I can fly in a day and this is a good thing. You might prefer to get one that does not look like a deformed robotic centipede with all those wires but remember - you can modify the ends on any of those wires to hook up other 1S batteries and drones.
I also could not resist the temptation of the Vortex 150 race drone that I ordered last week from GetFpv.com. I also sold my old Futaba radio and after much back and forth picked the Spektrum DX6 over Taranis and Frsky. I finally decided that the cheaper and newer Chinese brands never seem to deliver the same overall level of polish of the traditional brands so I decided to give up some whiz bang features in return for robustness. Taranis radios are everywhere and they seem to be the new standard, but old habits die hard.
Kobalt electronics repair kit - modular hex wrenches
I have a love / hate relationship with hex wrenches. I have never found a set I love but I might be hard to please. If you have spent anytime working on DJI stuff or drones in general, the 2.0mm (and all the other sizes as well) are critical tools to have. I have tried expensive ones and cheap Turnigy ones and I really can not recommend any of those. I was walking in the new Lowes here on Maui and I decided to go check their selection of tools and I stumbled on this bundle of tools. It has all the important hex sizes up to 5.0 and they snap firmly into the handle with a solid clicking magic. The tool feels solid and it looks like it will not rust out. The problem with new tools is that you really want to use it so I am actively on the hunt for something to take apart or modify or destroy.
I did some more editing and put this other sunrise shot together. It turned out alright but I think shooting into the rising sun looks better because you get so much color out of the sky. I need to try this angle again but at sunset so the sky will come alive with color. I will also try shooting in HDR and 5 shot brackets just to get some comparison shots. Remember to send me your sunrise or sunset picture and I will put it into a blog post. If you don't have one, try and get one because that is the best way to learn.
Golly Chickens stickers
I made some other stickers that are not drone related but maybe you know someone that could use a world famous Golly Chickens sticker. Head over to GollyChickens.com and request a free one.
Get inspired to drone
Lately I have been getting back into being a student of drone photography because it is just so fun to create things and see the world from a different angle. I find myself getting a little bit stressed out when people will be around because of the occasional negative reaction, but I try to not let things like that hold me back. I have been reading a few books that have really inspired me to get back to flying and creating, regardless of its quality. I know they have nothing to do with drones but I figured if I helped inspire one reader to go create awesome aerial photos or videos then its worth the effort to spread the word. These two books are bad ass and I would recommend to anyone looking to improve many different aspects of their life. They are rabbit holes of inspiration. They do a good job of 1) explaining the process of getting better at something and 2) offering inspiration to push through the dry spells. I could write nice long summaries of why I love them but I will just post links here and if they sound interesting, check them out.
Year long video challenge
I shot several clips from different angles when I was working on getting a sunrise picture with my drone. As I was editing these into the following 20 second clip for practice I decided I want to make more 5 second clips from around Maui and make them into a longer video this year. Chasing surfers around is my favorite thing to do so this will give me some great practice getting shots I do not normally go after. Any tips and tricks I stumble onto along the way I will be sure to share. If you are interested in doing this exercise with me let me know and we can do a cool post in a few months with the videos we all make. Why don't you join me on this year long mission? Lets all fly once every 2 weeks and get at least one 5 second clip to use to make a scenic video at the end of the year. Here is what I have gotten so far.
Check out this sunrise picture from Jeff Roberts
Get out there and take a sunrise photo with your drone and send it to me and I will feature in an upcoming post! It doesn't matter if it is not epic, just go try. Do it and you will learn something, push your boundaries and lets learn together!!! Here are Jeff's words about this beautiful photo:
This isn't bracketed but just a single shot from my Phantom 4. I have a P4 Pro now and how I wish I had used that or the X5 on my Inspire. But as they say the best camera for the job is the one you have with you. So it was a Phantom 4 that day when a sunset broke out in front of me.