Tag Archives: uav

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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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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