Jun 182012
 June 18, 2012  Posted by  Boards, Components, General 4 Responses »

Above is a video demonstrating a feature of the new DJI Naza GPS / Compass module called Intelligent Orientation Control Course Lock. This feature is often called “carefree” mode on other controllers. It allows the pilot to maneuver the copter without worrying about its orientation. It is a neat feature. I can spin my quadcopter around while steering it around in any direction at the same time.

I control this feature by using a switch that I setup on my transmitter to turn it on and off. Before taking off, this switch has to be flipped a few times to set the initial orientation of the copter. A green led flashes when it is succesfully recorded. After that, it is ready to fly in course lock mode.

Course lock steers the copter relative to its initial starting orientation using the Naza’s compass. There is another Intelligent Orientation Control option called Home Lock that uses the Naza’s GPS. With Home Lock the steering is relative to the initial take-off location.


May 222012
 May 22, 2012  Posted by  General 3 Responses »

Here are a couple of videos of me flying my VC-450 frame from Hoverthings with a DJI Naza Controller. I haven’t done any tuning of the controller so these are the stock settings out of the box. All of the flying in both videos is in Attitude mode which utilizes all of the controller’s stabilization and altitude hold features. In the video below I was flying first person view (FPV) using an inexpensive FPV rig from HobbyKing and some Zeiss video glasses that I scored off of the RCGroups classified ads.

I was a total novice when I started getting into quadcopters a few months back and have been writing about what I have learned along the way. I am still a very inexperienced pilot. I need a lot more practice to become a good pilot, but the Naza is fun and easy to fly, even for a rookie pilot like me.

In the video below, I am flying line of sight (LOS) to show how easy the Naza is to fly and demonstrate some of its features.

May 182012
 May 18, 2012  Posted by  Boards, Components, News 5 Responses »

DJI is said to be announcing a new add-on to its DJI Naza flight controller platform that will be available around June 1. I recently purchased a DJI Naza flight controller for FPV flying and am very happy with it. This GPS add-on is rumored to be priced at just $169. This seems very reasonable and I am excited to see what the officially released features and pricing are. The buzz on RCGroups says that it will have a return to home, position hold capability and perhaps a new carefree mode that allows the transmitter sticks to function the same regardless Jof the position of the quad.

There are a few things that make the Naza flight controller really nice. First, the altitude hold is amazing. It locks in at a height I choose and stays there. Second, the FailSafe feature is a real life saver. If I get in trouble, I just flip a switch and the quad lands gently. Finally, the attitude mode levels my quad very well.

Adding this GPS to the Naza and at such a great price is a no brainer for me and I am really looking forward to its release.

UPDATE: This add-on looks like the real deal and can be pre-ordered with free shipping from HoverThings.com by clicking here.

Click “Continue reading »” to see a video of what is rumored to be a prototype of the new GPS. Continue reading »

Apr 202012
 April 20, 2012  Posted by  Boards, Components 6 Responses »

Judging Altitude when Flying FPV

I have just recently started to do my initial first person video(FPV) flights and found that judging altitude is one of the biggest challenges. I can take my quadcopter out a few hundred feet, turn it around, then bring it back and land it. However, I am constantly confused about my altitude.

OSDs and Gimbals

My rig doesn’t include an on-screen display(OSD) or a camera gimbal. OSDs are used to see graphical and numerical displays of various data including altitude. My display has no data displayed. I also, don’t have a camera gimbal that can adjust easily to different angles. My camera is fixed. I find that if I angle it straight out, I can see the horizon, but when I get high I can’t see the ground. If I angle it down, that helps me see the ground from up high, but I can’t see the horizon when I am low.

Altitude Hold

A gimbal, a new camera, or an OSD are all ways that I might  fix this problem. Instead, since I am not an expert pilot, I decided to fix my problem by buying a controller with good altitude hold. Altitude hold will keep my quadcopter locked at a specific height so I can concentrate on maneuvering around. To accomplish altitude hold a flight control board must have either a barometer or sonar or both.

DJI Naza

There are lots of inexpensive boards that have barometers, but the board’s firmware must be well written to take advantage of them. My research has led me to the DJI Naza Flight Control Board. Though not inexpensive at around $230, I think it is the best value for FPV flying with excellent altitude hold. It also appears to be very easy to use and configure.

I haven’t received mine yet, but ordered it today and will report back on whether it improves my FPVing.

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