The wind almost ate my DJI Inspire
It was very windy and there was a pretty big swell in the water. Some of my friends asked if I would chase them around while they tried to kite surf some 15 foot waves. I went to Baldwin beach, launched and made it about half a mile out to sea and the Inspire just started going haywire. Or at least the gimbal did. I have only barely glimpsed the props before but today I got a full view. Then the gimbal just started spinning around. Half a mile out to sea with a malfunctioning drone in 25+mph winds.. I caught myself thinking today might be the day I lose my first copter.
For reasons I still don't understand, my camera decided to orient itself incorrectly. This made my video downlink worthless. Luckily the DJI go app is amazing. I just pulled up the map and flew her home.
That sounds easy enough, but it was full stick into the wind and it was barely making headway. It said I was going 30+mph but I was barely moving. I remember thinking that was odd. I finally made it back to the beach in one piece. There was this burned out car sitting by the beach and I was glad my drone did not look anything like that!
Earlier this week I came across a site advertising a nano drone that could go 30mph and I couldn't help it. I ordered one that ended up being about $45 with shipping, a little steep but I bet the cost of these comes down. The website is AerixDrones.com if you want to check it out.
I just finished my first test flight and I would say this thing is a perfect indoor copter to train and practice on. I hate to say it, but this thing is cute. Also feels solid and well built. It came with an extra set of propellers but due to its size I bet this thing crashes really well. This version has 3 flight modes that just make it more responsive, I preferred the turbo-x one because it was so nimble.
There are a few things I did not like. I don't think you can swap batteries. I fly my little drones a lot and low quality lipos wear out fast - time will tell if this one lasts.
The controller is almost too small for my hands and I do not have large hands. If you have big hands, you will not like this controller. Another problem is the sticks, they are way too firm. The first thing I'm going to attempt to modify on this will be a spring removal for the controller. This guy is way too twitchy to have stiff gimbals.
Overall, this little nano Quadcopter is cool. It seems solid and it flies really well. Perfect indoor drone for learning to fly or running lego supply missions with your kids. Your cat would probably freak out on this one too. Did I miss anything? Please add it in a comment below.
Let's try and hack this thing..
While waiting for the battery to charge up, I decided to open up the controller and see if I could remove the springs on the gimbal. Getting at the gimbals was easy - just remove 4 screws. What I found was interesting - two types of gimbals. The 502F+ gimbals are the ones with springs while the 502J- do not have springs (this one is for the throttle stick). I will be contacting the manufacturer / retailer and see if they make a version of the controller without springs. I will also be checking to see what other controllers might work with this nano quad (I already checked my Hubsan x4 remote and it didn't work).
The last ditch option will be soldering in new gimbals and that would be a bit of work but it would really make it easier to fly.
I was out testing my equipment yesterday for the upcoming Aloha Classic which is a windsurfing competition every year in Maui. The waves were not that impressive but it was good to get my Inspire 1 flying again. Constantly being nagged about the firmware gets annoying but I have to say the latest firmware looks great. It also has stopped hassling me with a red ! saying I need to cycle my batteries. I take really good care of my batteries but it was always begging me to run them down to 5% and charge, which I would do. Now it seems to recognize that my batteries are indeed just fine and in great shape. The X3 camera is a decent, low priced camera with action cam level optics albeit with the perfect lens for flying. I am anxiously awaiting a price drop on the X5 because $1800+ just for the camera seems a bit steep for me. But damn I want that 4/3 camera.. things would be looking so much better.
Anyway, check out this youtube tutorial video below to learn how to do this within photoshop. After I made the video, I could not get adobe to output an animated gif so I just uploaded the video file to giphy.com to make it an animated gif. Drones are so easy and advanced so I am always looking for new ways to make creative, new content. Animating panos is cool way to do it. Do you have other ideas to make content more interesting?