Tag Archives: quadcopter

Quadcopter – two- or three-blades is best?

Today, I’m experimenting with changing the stock two-blade rotors on my Syma X5C toy quadcopter with some three-blade options that I picked up from eBay:

I’ve read differing views on which types of blades are best so it will be interesting to see the results when I get the aircraft outside. That won’t be happening properly today, though – it’s far too windy! I’ve tested to make sure it flies still, and it does, but time will tell.

Meanwhile, any drone, quadcopter or just general aircraft enthusiasts out there have any views on which types of blades are better?

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Syma X5C-1 Altitude Test. Failed…

Yes, this had the potential to go very wrong indeed.

I’ve been quite impressed by my Syma X5C-1 since getting it at Christmas, but I’ve struggled to find any definitive answer as to how high it can actually go.

YouTube videos have titles like ‘altitude test’ and then show impressive feats of flying, often followed by crashes, but none actually say how high the drone really went. I had a go myself last week, and flew in to a tree

The best I’ve managed to learn is that the range of the quadcopter’s 2.4ghz control is approximately 30m (~100feet), although there’s a good video here on how to increase that range. But that’s the range of the controller, not the height the Syma can fly to.

Syma X5C-1 Altitude Test - failSo I came up with a plan. It mostly consisted of installing an altitude app on my HTC One, then zip-tieing the phone to the quadcopter.

Sadly the phone wouldn’t fit through the landing brackets on the bottom of the drone and strapping it to the top of the craft was out as that would impede the rotation of the blades. So the only place it could be strapped to was the bottom of the feet, effectively turning my rather expensive phone in to landing gear.

Yes, this had the potential to go very wrong indeed.

Fortunately, it didn’t go wrong, as the phone proved too heavy for the Syma X5C-1 to lift, as this video shows.

So, back to the drawing board. Just how high can a Syma X5C-1 fly…?

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Using the eversion function

One big downside to the Syma X5C quadcopter has to be the instruction manual. It’s poorly translated in to English and quite difficult to understand, so one area of the drone I haven’t played with at all has been the ‘eversion’ function – the bit that makes the toy do flips.

Yesterday, while out playing in a nearby field with the children, I managed to make it flip by accident and then couldn’t work out what I’d done. But this morning, I had some practice, and it’s all to do with this button:

Push this button to make the quadcopter flip

Hold the button on the Syma’s controller and then push the direction control in which direction you would like the drone to flip and, hey presto, over she rolls.

One thing that the instructions do make very clear is that the eversion function will not work when the camera is active. Clearly, this is another piece of mistranslation. It works very well indeed:

The only thing that it remains for me to learn how to do now is reduce the volume on the video when editing in Microsoft Movie Maker!

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More practice needed…

Work, wind and rain have all conspired to prevent me from playing with the quadcopter recently but this morning a glance out the window and some confidence inspiring ‘FLY!’ instructions from the iPad’s Hover app sent me off up the country path to where I thought I had some open space to explore the drone’s capabilities a little further.

For example, I didn’t know how high I could take it.

Or how far away from me it could fly in a straight line.

(Turns out, for a £40 toy from Amazon, both quite high, and quite far.)

Then I tried the eversion mode and, somehow, actually managed to get it to somersault.

So then, I got cocky, stopped concentrating, and flew backwards in to a tree, from which it hung limply until I managed to get it down with some persuasive throttle-on-throttle-off action until it loosened itself from the branch it was caught on.

What the video doesn’t show is that I then flew it straight up in to the air again, and straight in to another tree, which it couldn’t remove itself from. Luckily, I had a teenager with me, and he likes climbing trees.

So, more practice needed then…

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Flying in to the mist

So I’m steadily getting the hang of flying my quadcopter now. Being a low-end model, the Syma X5C has a gyro to keep it level, but hovering requires constant adjustment of the controls as there is no other stabilisation.

Still, it was fun to fly it up in to the mist this morning…

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Dress with your pockets on the outside…

Happy New Year!

Welcome to 2015, a year I have been waiting for with baited breath since 1985 (or 1989, if you’re being supremely picky).

This is the year that we’re supposed to dress with our pockets on the outside, our clothes will dry themselves, our pizzas will be hydrated in seconds by a Black & Decker device and, most importantly, the local kids will terrorise the neighbourhood on jet-powered hoverboards.

This Is Twenty-Fifteen!

This is the year Marty McFly will arrive from 1985, buy a sports almanac and return to 1985 to discover his entire present has been changed.

But right now, let’s say goodbye to 2014. It was a year in which we had to say goodbye to my 97 year old Nana, and several others too, but it was also a year in which great friends and family got married, with no less than three weddings to attend before the end of April! An impulse eBay purchase saw us buy a trailer tent and go camping again for the first time in ten years and for work I wrote about giant vending machines, joined professionals in a cook-off, and met Natalie Pinkham.

2015 promises to be even more exciting, with trips to Malaysia and Holland already booked and paid for and big opportunities at work.

As for resolutions, I don’t really make them. I gave up on that a long time and stick doggedly to one resolution each year: to sort out my sock drawer. But I will add one other to the list for this year: to see if I can get some short stories I’ve written published, in one capacity or another.

I’ll keep this blog updated mostly on how I’m getting on with that challenge, and some videos from my favourite Christmas present this year: a quadcopter!

It makes it nice and easy to keep an eye on how the building work is taking place in our back garden, as well as just being fantastic fun!

For now, though, I’ll wish you all a Happy New Year, and leave you with the immortal words of Dr Emmet Brown…

Where we're going, we don't need roads

Image Source: Google Images

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2014 in review

One thing I always love about WordPress is how they produce an end-of-year report on the stats for my blog. It’s always a fascinating read, and it always serves to remind me I must try harder the next year!

I do write an awful lot more than is often seen on this blog and I always mean to reference it here for you to see and usually just end up forgetting.

I’ll be doing a lot more travelling in 2015, both for work and pleasure, and my Christmas present from my wife this year was a drone – a quadcopter with a camera fitted. So with that fantastic toy and lots of great new places to visit next year, hopefully my 2015 stats will be much better than the ones below!

Have a great New Year and see you in 2015.

Here’s an excerpt:

A San Francisco cable car holds 60 people. This blog was viewed about 2,300 times in 2014. If it were a cable car, it would take about 38 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.

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