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 Post subject: Blade 350 qx3 initial thoughts
PostPosted: Mon Jan 26, 2015 4:07 pm 
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Joined: Mon Jul 25, 2011 5:07 pm
Posts: 778
Location: West sussex, UK
Hi all.

For those that didn't see my other thread,I have been sent a blade qx3 ap to run some test cases for a feasibility study we are doing into using drones for aerial survey and inspection work.

The reason it has come to me is I think I am the only person involved in the project who has a background in RC.
There was a problem on the first test flight carried out by the project manager and the quad stopped responding to the forward/aft pitch commands. He got it back by yawing it side on and then using roll to bring it back. I was quite impressed as he is a newbie and he got it back undamaged.

Anyway I said if he sent it over to me in the UK I'd have a look.

It was delivered today at half three in the afternoon and it gets dark at about half four so I didn't have long to look at it.

I rebound it calibrated the magnetometer and waited for gps lock.
Once it got a good lock I managed to get the motors initialised and lifted it up into a hover. It felt less locked in then my discovery running a Naza but it was fine.

I noticed the gps light flashing after a minute or so so I landed and it wouldn't take off again. I later worked out the motors wont initialise until there is a good gps lock.

The Naza never has trouble getting gps lock on my drive but the 350 does and takes a long time to decide where it is.

I topped up the battery and took it out into the now dark front garden and tried again. GPs lock took a long time to achieve but eventually I got the "happy" notes. Again lifting up into a hover it was ok but a bit looser than the disco.

After playing with the camera on the app ( which works well on iOS and doesn't work on android for me) I turned nose in to play with the tilt on the camera and do a selfie.
This was when it started getting weird. The quad drifted quite badly so I couldn't use the tilt as you need to switch into the mode and use the throttle stick. While I was doing this the quad was drifting all over the place. I switched out of tilt mode and yawed it side on and the thing surged forward and wouldn't stop so I closed the throttle and landed.

Now I need to rtfm because I'm not sure if this was exacerbated by one of those horrible pull toward yourself to fly towards yourself newbie modes. Even if it was in this mode I at no point pushed in the direction it was flying in so I need to go to an open space and try again.

Not. An excellent start.

Initial thoughts.

Pros
Camera is super stable and the app is ok.
Stock dx4e tx can control all the features.
3000 mah battery good compromise between price and duration
Super cheap.

Cons
Overly complicated start up
Need to do switch toggling to start it out of gps mode
App didn't connect to my android phone ( which says it is compatible)
Doesn't feel as locked in as a dji Naza equipped quad.
Feels quite flimsy not sure how this will cope as being an engineers tool.
Would like an osd on the app
Would like to be able to tilt and pan on on the app.

I will update as I work through the issues. I think I'll be using my discovery for the management meeting selfie the country manager wanted to use it for tomorrow.

Cheers
Steve


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 Post subject: Re: Blade 350 qx3 initial thoughts
PostPosted: Thu Jan 29, 2015 6:10 am 
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Joined: Mon Jul 25, 2011 5:07 pm
Posts: 778
Location: West sussex, UK
update,

The wierd flying characteristics were entirely down to me not RTFM! I was trying to fly nose in in smart mode so it is little wonder it wasn't doing as it was commanded because it was me in the wrong.

I had a short flight at the managers conference I was at and did a selfie of the group and it was fine to fly. I just made sure I had it in AP mode.

when the wind drops here I'll get out and put some proper flights on it.

/Steve


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 Post subject: Blade 350 qx3 initial thoughts
PostPosted: Mon Feb 02, 2015 3:26 pm 
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Joined: Mon Jul 25, 2011 5:07 pm
Posts: 778
Location: West sussex, UK
Ok it now seems that it wasn't entirely me. I took it out this morning on a lovely calm and clear winter day. On lifting up the bird seems to glitch hard then counteracts and gets itself back under control. This went on every 10 to 20 seconds for just the over a minute then it was all ok. Flew for 8 minutes until the led told me I was at 50% so I landed I couldn't feel my fingers anyway...

I emailed horizon hobby and the chap in support there is pretty confident it was either a motor or esc. So I have sent it in to be fixed. I couldn't be sure which way it was jerking but it was definitely a diagonal so sounds like a distinct possibility. I thought it may also be imu related as part of the imu calibration is to put the model in a freezer for 20 minutes and then take it out power on and leave it until it is up to room temperature. As this glitch went away after a minute or so I thought it could be temperature related but I hope to find out soon.

Cheers
Steve


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 Post subject: Re: Blade 350 qx3 initial thoughts
PostPosted: Fri Feb 13, 2015 7:32 am 
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Joined: Mon Jul 25, 2011 5:07 pm
Posts: 778
Location: West sussex, UK
Horizon replaced the quad for me, and now I have one that behaves itself.

I am really impressed with it. for AP videography it is excellent, the camera is really stable and the quality very good. it is definately a step up from a mobius in my opinion.

the stills are good as long as you are taking them without the video running, if you are filming video I think you get a single frame saved as a jpeg. the pictures when taken as a proper photo are a different aspect ratio.

RTH works a treat, it flies predictably and solidly.

now the downside.
5.8 wifi to give the app data, too laggy by far, you cannot use this to fly with, in some cases it is difficult to actually frame a shot it is that slow.

the flight style is not very dynamic it is more of a hover here, frame the shot, take the picture then go off and do the next one. perhaps if it had a dedicated channel for tilt it would be better but with the std RTF kit you have to use the throttle stick with the gimbal switch activated.

it is not possible to operate the throttle at the same time as the gimbal so fancy pan down as you gain height shots are totally impossible.

you need to set up before you do a filming run and then think about the next shot, but I suppose that could also be seen as a plus.

remember this review is totally impartial as I have not had to buy this unit.
If I were to recommend a quad for AP that is avilable on a tight budget then it would have to be this one.
add to the fact that you have horizon's legendary customer service backing you up and you are onto a winner.

for what I need to do with it I think it is not quite there, but I have a fairly specialist use scenario.
the unit I recommend for my company to purchase will have to have UHF RC to get around the interference.

this means that it may be more cost effective to build them from the ground up. something like a flamewheel with a zenmuse 3 axis gimbal and go pro 4 black. would be my choice.

we'll see how it goes.
/Steve


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 Post subject: Re: Blade 350 qx3 initial thoughts
PostPosted: Sat Feb 14, 2015 2:34 am 
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Joined: Tue May 22, 2012 6:53 am
Posts: 157
Location: Somerset, UK
Throttle sharing gimbal tilt seems weird, is this only on the rtf tx (dx4e?) So if you used a 7ch tx like new dx7 or dx9 would this then allow seperate control?

I'm not a fan of wifi for downlink, shame they don't provide a video out so you could plug into a proper vtx, it can't be hard to design this in and with the horizon/fatshark tie up you'd think they would be all over this.


Last edited by jamesb72 on Sat Feb 14, 2015 4:00 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Blade 350 qx3 initial thoughts
PostPosted: Sat Feb 14, 2015 9:43 am 
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Joined: Mon Jul 25, 2011 5:07 pm
Posts: 778
Location: West sussex, UK
Agreed, yes the dx4 e supplied has the throttle sharing. I only have a dx6 as I got burned by spektrum and fly futaba but I may try it on a three position switch, level ,1/3 down and 90 degrees are all I seem to use anyway.

I don't want to get too used to it though as I'll have to give it back soon.

/ steve


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 Post subject: Re: Blade 350 qx3 initial thoughts
PostPosted: Sun Oct 18, 2015 9:24 am 
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Joined: Mon Aug 18, 2014 12:23 pm
Posts: 10
Hi Stevec!

I'm from the US in New Hampshire and just starting to have a "second childhood" at 81 years by trying to enjoy my new hobby of quadcopter fun. See my subject as of today re. Blade 350QX2 and GPS fails.

I note in your venture of subject, you are using a QX3, but I don't see a mention of FPV. Can I mention that according to Horizonhobby that the QX3 doesn't feature a transmitter for video FPV. So I wonder how you are seemingly able to use FPV.

Please detail in this forum if you can.

THX,

RicMac
New Hampshire, USA


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 Post subject: Re: Blade 350 qx3 initial thoughts
PostPosted: Sun Oct 18, 2015 12:01 pm 
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Joined: Mon Jul 25, 2011 5:07 pm
Posts: 778
Location: West sussex, UK
Hi RicMac,

The qx3 has a live video feed from the cgo2 camera. I wouldn't really define it as Fpv as you need much less latency but the camera creates an ad hoc wifi network that you connect to from a smart phone or tablet. This gives control of the camera shutter and basic video controls.

The qx2 doesn't have this as far as I know. Hope this helps
Steve


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 Post subject: Re: Blade 350 qx3 initial thoughts
PostPosted: Sun Oct 18, 2015 4:09 pm 
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Joined: Mon Aug 18, 2014 12:23 pm
Posts: 10
Hi Stevec,
I understand and appreciate your reply. With FPV, I'm looking for greater distance than wifi. I sure wish Horizon would "Get with it" when it comes to what I believe, is the greater wish of most quad and other multi-users. That is a good, great, best FPV setup with the basics built in, such as TX, excellent generic gimbal (that accepts an assortment of GoPro-size and type video cameras. I'm a firm believer in generic sets whereby the consumer is not tied into a proprietary camera or battery. Just think if the proprietary camera or battery had defects in mfg. The consumer would have a quad that sets on the shelf, gathering dust.

Although I'm having my problems trying to set up FPV with my Blade 350QX2 and especially GPS fails, I am able to get excellent videos (not FPV) with my Mobius Action Camera. I adapted the Horizon GB200 gimbal to use the Mobius. With my Spektrum DX6i, I can't get tilt yet, but I looking for ways to be able to do that.

Have a great day!

RikMac


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 Post subject: Re: Blade 350 qx3 initial thoughts
PostPosted: Sun Oct 18, 2015 4:18 pm 
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Joined: Mon Jul 25, 2011 5:07 pm
Posts: 778
Location: West sussex, UK
The good thing about the qx2 is that you will not be competing with the wifi which also transmits on 5.8 ghz. You could tap the live out from the möbius straight into a small vtx like the aomway 200mw unit and the combined weight of the möbius and vtx will probably be about the weight of a go pro, maybe a bit lighter.
People moan about the latency of the möbius but it is only a factor for the very fastest race quads. I fly proximity Fpv through it and as long as it is set to wide the latency isn't really noticeable.

Pair the system on the quad with a decent monitor with a sunshade, or get some goggles and you should be good to go.
A decent helical antenna should see you flying around a kilometre maybe more...


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