I was having some seriously annoying issues with my DJI Phantom where the batteries would not be recognized AND I was getting an occasional compass issue. This was all before my iOSD was even installed. I thought it was my batteries and sent them back but they did not test out bad. What finally seemed to get everything to work was to simply reinstall the firmware. There is not a new version but maybe they did a stealth release, so if you are having this problem try reinstalling your firmware on your Phantom. All is good now and I have the iOSD installed and functioning. Even with this very annoying issue, I am still really happy with the Phantom and would not hesitate to recommend it as the best aerial photography drone out there currently. I have been pretty excited about the S900 and I am starting to think about buying one for the winter surf season here in Maui. Flying a $3800 hexacopter with a $1000 camera over jaws is a bit intimidating but the footage would be awesome!
By the way, theDJI Phantom 2 now comes with a 3 axis gimbal for $979 from Amazon - Shipped! This will make better video than what you see in my vimeo video below because it offers an additional axis of stabilization. A 3 axis gimbal will provide more professional video than a 2 axis gimbal. When my Phantom finally decides to become a submarine, I will be upgrading to a 3 axis gimbal (if I don't get the S900). I have really been enjoying the GoPro Black+ and I would say this is the camera to get ($399 with free shipping from Amazon). I really like filming in the 720 60fps and take a photo every 5 second mode. You always end up with at least a few really cool pictures whenever you fly!
The iOSD is a great cheap upgrade for your Phantom and I can say it is worth the $69.99 price tag. I really like having battery voltage and the diamond that marks the home location is going to save my butt at some point in the future. There is not a way to change the unit to operate in feet but I am comfortable with meters so I do not mind. I have also learned a few things about the Phantom from using it briefly. The max descending velocity is around 2 m/s while the max climb is 4+ m/s. Things get a little shaky when you come down too fast and this confirms my feelings that going up is easy but coming down takes forever. I also enjoy the horizon indicator because it gives me an idea of which way the wind is blowing because in Maui, the wind is always blowing! If you want tobuy the iOSD you can get it from Amazon here with free shipping.
I am going to start experimenting with self portraits from my little aerial photography platform and might try and do one as our Christmas cards this year. The picture up top is me and my 2 year old. He really loves this stuff. However, I had the goggles on flying around and he snuck up into the cab of my SUV and was probably pressing every button and turning every knob.
Awhile ago, I bought the 5.8ghz FPV version of the Hubsan copter. It was a pretty cool concept but failed in many ways. For example, the extreme narrow angle lens made it difficult to fly via FPV. Also, the video transmitter was not that good and would freeze and cut out. I would much prefer a more normal analog type feel where it just gets grainy. Anyway, I pulled it out and was going to upgrade it and turn it into an awesome micro FPV quad. However, during some initial testing, I managed to crash it and broke the camera. It still flies great and there is appears to be no damage but the camera element is most likely broken. So this is a fully functional FPV copter minus the camera and someone out there would probably love to make the necessary upgrades to the FPV equipment to make this an awesome nano FPV copter! And this brings me to the contest - I am going to give this guy away along with a wide angle lens that I was going to attach. I will throw in a brand new Hubsan X4 as well. So what is the contest?
Do something awesome with your nano quad (size of Hubsan X4, no 250 sized quads allowed!) and film it. Fly through something small, fly it somewhere amazing, or just make a really cool yourtube video clip. Put "DroneAbove NanoQuad Contest" in the title and post a link in the comment section. The contest ends September 15th.
Brand New Hubsan X4
Banged up and broken Hubsan FPV copter
Wide Angle Lens attachment for the Hubsan FPV
Make an awesome video featuring or filming your nanoquad
Put "DroneAbove NanoQuad Contest" in the title
Post the link in the Comment section
The winner will be selected by me and my panel of judges (my two young boys)
Good luck - any questions email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
I have done nothing on the aerial photography front for awhile now and needed an excuse to go fly again so I ordered the DJI iOSD from UAVproducts.com (or available on Amazon if you prefer that). I plan on using this to orient myself to my home location and get a more accurate read on battery voltage while I am flying. In case you don't know, it overlays your FPV feed with data from your onboard flight controller (the Naza) and has a bunch of useful stuff on it. Think of it like a heads up display in an advanced aircraft! My friend Ian has had the iOSD for awhile now and has nothing but good things to say about it, so I had to try it out! More on this when I get it.
I live in Haiku on the island of Maui and it can be really humid here. I kept opening up my hard protective case to find a layer of dew all over my Phantom. To solve this problem, I ordered a bunch of silca packets and I drop three of them into the case every month or two and it seems to have solved the moisture problem! You should be able to get these anywhere, but I ordered mine from Amazon because I order everything from Amazon!! Here is a picture of the packaging as well as a link. These are great if you are in a humid place or plan on visiting a humid place and want to avoid a rusted gimbal like mine (although it still works perfectly!).
Another awesome purchase I can now easily recommend to Hubsan X4 owners is the 5 pack of extra batteries offered on Amazon for around $20. They have more capacity than the stock pack and you can really tell - it seems like it flies forever! These are 380mah and take a bit longer to charge on the stock charger, but you can easily make a hookup to use your existing charger if you want a better charge. Luckily these are only 1 cell so they don't need to be balanced. With the recent price drop of the Hubsan X4, throwing in 5 additional batteries is something to consider if you want to be able to fly for what seemed like a solid hour or more. Lots of practice. These batteries are a bit bigger, but you can still squeeze them in. I would stop flying as soon as you get your voltage warning (blinking lights) to prevent them from puffing up. If they puff, I am not sure they would still fit.
I took my extra batteries, my hubsan x4, and my two boys and went to a playground. It is a challenging place to fly and a great training ground to improve your RC skills. I wanted to get some cooler pictures, but I had to fly and take the picture at the same time so I could not really get the pictures I wanted but figured I would post them up here anyway.