Blade Nano qx First Look and Review

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Blade Nano qx First Look and Review – by Kyle B. from the  Quad Brothers.

Introduction

Blade is the brand name given to R/C Helicopter and Multirotors (Quadcopters, etc.) by Horizon Hobby, an American company which has been in business since the mid-1980’s. They have offices and manufacturing around the globe and, in this sense, differ greatly from many of the current “toy grade” vendors.

Horizon Hobby products are sold through various outlets – including many local hobby shops. You can also buy products directly from their web site or from Amazon and other online vendors.

In this review, our contributors The Quad Brothers will look at the Horizon Hobby Blade Nano QX quadcopter.

Droneflyers.com focuses on beginner and intermediate pilots – so this unit was purchased with a “starter” TX – the Spektrum DX5e. This is also made by Horizon and can be used for many of their other models as well as some other brands which use the DSM R/C technology (this is a wireless protocol type)

For those who would rather watch than read (or do both), here’s our video review: [Read more…]

RCLogger Xtreme 2015 Flight Test and Review(s)

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The RCLogger Eye One Xtreme was released over a year ago but suffered from a number of initial QC and design problems. Even so, this little quadcopter became very popular among hobbyists “hackers” who enjoy modifying, fixing and improving stock quadcopters. It also has a loyal following among those who enjoy active acrobatic flight and First Person View (FPV).

RCLogger claims to have fixed most all of the shortcomings and also improved many of the components and systems. Since the Xtreme is one of very few quads in it’s size and price range (200mm brushless), we felt it was worth another look and so ordered and tested a current production model. Note – this was purchased from a New England Dealer in early December, 2014 and is the latest version of both the software and the hardware as of this time (Jan, 2015).

Our original article, by contributor AKCOBRA, is located here.

Appeal to users: Advanced Beginners up to Experts who want the thrill of flight and a platform for acro and FPV.
Type of Quad: Hobbyist/Hacker
Cost: $129 with battery, spare props, TX, charger. Add approx. $50 for Aerial kit and extra batteries.
Crashworthiness – Good

The Basics

Only $129 for a brushless (read about brushless motors here) hobby-grade mid-sized quadcopter? Hard to believe – there are no other quadcopters currently on the market at anywhere near the same price. For example, the Blade 200QX would cost about double the price in a RTF configuration (with TX).
[Read more…]

Drones and Quadcopters at CES 2015

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2015 is shaping up to be the true Year of Drones and Quadcopters!

The giant Consumer Electronics show in Las Vegas is ground zero for many of the new introductions and upgrades in the world of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs, drones, multirotors, quadcopters). Soon after CES closes, there are multiple trade shows in the Hobby world which will provide a further peek into what’s new for 2015!

Droneflyers.com will study the field and give our readers a rundown on which announcements are likely to change the quadcopter landscape, which are too little too late, and which are worth completely ignoring (in our opinion).

Read our Summary at bottom!

Here are most of the consumer quadcopters and drones displayed at the show:

DJI – the current leader in consumer level drones is officially introducing their high-end Inspire 1 Quadcopter.
DJI Inspire at DJI Corporate Site
In addition to actually shipping the Inspire 1, DJI is also introducing a new handheld gimbal (camera stabilizer) which adds value to the Inspire proposition – videographers can now take stable footage from both the ground AND the air.

Hand Held Gimbal for Inspire

Hand Held Gimbal for Inspire

DJI has also hinted at a new Phantom model – but we don’t know yet (as of 1/5).
The rumor is based on this Instragram:
[Read more…]

Parrot BeBop Quadcopter Review – Part 1 of 3

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Our review of the Parrot BeBop Quadcopter will be done as a three part review. Subjects covered in the reviews parts are;

Part 1: initial look / open box / instruction review / setup / range and “radio” check / first flight / initial thoughts

Part 2: advanced flight / camera performance / flight time length / controls / movie and still photography / file retrieval (from BeBop to phone, tablet, or computer)

Part 3: WiFi performance testing / GPS function / acrobatic flight / cell and tablet performance / suggested improvements / final ratings

DroneFlyers.com purchased a Parrot BeBop from Best Buy…cost with tax was approx. $550. For that price you get more capabilities than with the earlier Parrot ARDrone 2.0.
This is a GPS enabled, video steaming UAS that is controlled by your own Smart Phone or WiFi Tablet.

Also note, DroneFlyers.com purchases every UAS we review, just like you would. We don’t want Manufacturers to send us a “pre-tested” model, we want exactly what you’d get from the store. By doing this we will give real results from field testing. We do not reprint Press Releases or copy what the manufacturer wants us to say about their bird.
[Read more…]

Avoid DJI Phantom Fly Away & Crashes

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Avoid DJI Phantom problems such as:
1. Fly Away
2. Crashes
3. Erratic Quadcopter behavior
4. Loss
5. Expensive Repairs
by following some the advice below. This article contains the best BASIC advice you’ll find on the DJI Phantom and DJI Phantom Vision drones. Whether you take our advice is, in the end, up to you. Our mission is to save you time, trouble and money…but we can’t help you unless you help yourself.

You might want to read one of our other articles…Reasons you should NOT Buy or Fly a Drone!

We have published two beginner books (ebook or paperback) on hobby quadcopters – if you are at the beginning of your journey, you may want to pick up one or both of them…more on the books at this link.

Let’s Start at the Very Beginning

Many thousands of you have received the Drone of your Dreams – the DJI Phantom – for a holiday or other gift. Still others have saved enough to finally buy this top-of-the-line consumer drone. We know you are in a hurry to get airborne – but this desire to fly quickly is probably the biggest enemy of your wallet…and your Phantom! [Read more…]

Reasons you should NOT Buy or Fly a Drone!

Quadcopter after Crash!

Wait! This is a site which promotes the safe, fun and productive use of aerial robotics (aka “drones”), so why would we produce such a story as this?

Simple – because it’s the truth and we want to save a lot of people money, time and trouble.

How would you feel if your $1500 laptop dropped on the sidewalk and shattered into pieces….the first week you had it? Not very good, right? Well, this experience is being had by dozens of people each day at this time of year as their new “holiday presents” are opened and test flown. Here are a few recent quotes for your consideration:

“I used to own a brand new (higher priced drone). Tonight I noticed the lights started blinking red and it fell out of the sky. I haven’t found it , will go to look for it in the morning…. I’ve been crying like a child…. ”
[Read more…]

Syma X11 Review and Rating

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Syma is well known for their low cost quadcopters and the brand is often suggested to those who want to get started in this hobby. Their most popular models – the X1 and X5 – are too large for extensive indoor flying, so we were pleased to see them release the Syma X11 Hornet, a smaller model. This model comes with propeller guards as standard equipment making the quad comparable in price to other popular starter models such as the Hubsan X4. Our review and rating will put the Syma X11 Hornet through it’s paces and let you know if you should consider this quadcopter for your fleet.
[Read more…]

DJI Phantom 1 & FC40 setup – Getting Started Guide

Phantom FC40

DJI Phantom 1 & FC40 setup – Getting Started Guide

Note – the following is for new users or buyers of the Phantom FC40 or Phantom 1 models. These models can be identified by the single round LED on the quadcopter read and the battery compartment door on the front. The FC40 includes a camera while the plain Phantom 1 comes with a GoPro holder.

Have you recently acquired a Phantom FC40 or Phantom 1? The Holiday season often ends with the unboxing of thousands of new Quadcopters!

If so – and if you have limited experience with the DJI Phantoms and advanced Quadcopters – please read and understand the following before taking to the air.

Before taking your Phantom outside to fly!

Read the manual at least twice. You can download the newest electronic version at:
http://www.dji.com/product/phantom-fc40/download

Basic Definitions:
NAZA – the flight controller box (F/C) inside your Phantom which contains the hardware and software which makes your quadcopter work.
NAZA Assistant – the software, windows or mac, which allows you to upgrade, test and change various settings on your Phantom.
Transmitter or TX – the remote control (usually a white box with two “sticks”) which you use to control your Phantom.
S1 and S2 (called X1 and X2 in the Assistant program!) – the switches on the upper right (S1) and left (S2) of your TX. These set the “modes” which the Phantom responds to and can be programmed in the NAZA assistant software.
RTH – Return to Home – Failsafe programming of the Naza
ATTI – Altitude hold mode on the NAZA F/C – this does away with the use of the GPS and gives you semi-manual control.
[Read more…]

Parrot BeBop Drone Quadcopter – First Look

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As we noted in our Parrot BeBop Quadcopter Drone Pre-Review Rundown, the BeBop is now available to be purchased and flown. We will be writing many articles on the BeBop but felt it was important to note some early impressions and experiences we are having with our review model.

If Nothing else, Read this!

Sadly, a number of technology publications are not truly testing the Bebop – instead choosing just to print marketing claims, press releases and their 5 minute experience flying the Parrot BeBop at Parrot hosted (and paid-for) PR events. In addition, Parrot has offered incentives to early customers (contests, giveaways) if they post reviews online (at bestbuy, apple store, etc.) and share those reviews with the manufacturer. In our opinion, this is not the proper way to get unbiased opinions and experiences. You might want to read our article about why you see so few negative reviews on quadcopters and drones.
The question is not whether the Bebop is an advanced piece of technology – that it surely is! The question is more of whether it suits your needs and expectations…is it the right machine for your intended purpose?

Overview

It takes many weeks – or even months – to properly test a complicated piece of technology like the Parrot BeBop. However, we thought it important to post some of our initial findings and advice so that those looking to buy and fly this quadcopter have some understanding of it.
[Read more…]

SJCAM M10 Review – Cube Mini Full HD Action Cam

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SJCAM M10 Review Introduction

SJCAM is a Chinese based maker of budget sport cameras. Their earlier models, such as the SJ4000 (approx. $110), are low priced copies of the GoPro rectangular style which have gotten very good reviews. The SJCAM M10 ($100 w/accessories, $70 bare) is a newer cube shaped model which we assume contains many of the same innards as the SJ4000 model. This First Look and Review will focus mostly on the use of this camera for aerial photography and video.

SJCAM M10 Action Camera

SJCAM M10

Before we delve deeper into the features and performance, it must be said that if you are shopping for a camera which like a GoPro but at 1/3 of the cost…you are not going to get it with any of the action cameras in the $100 category. Even an older model of GoPro such as the Hero2 will be superior to this category. BUT, if you are looking for a camera with a vast array of features, a color LCD screen and the ability to easily switch to a dashboard cam, etc. – then read on. [Read more…]