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Slideshow: Helicopter Drones Are Everywhere

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William K.
User Rank
Platinum
A fun hobbyist use.
William K.   4/22/2014 7:33:46 PM
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The really fun use of a camera-carrying drone will be to explore the "off limits" parts of our parks, those places too fragile to allow the puyblic tramping through them. My drone won't leave any marks at all, and IU will get to see some views not available to people, only to birds. Plus, if I crash a drone I won't be injured, except financially. Oh Well.

Charles Linquist
User Rank
Silver
Re: Fabulous Tools
Charles Linquist   3/25/2014 11:26:15 AM
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Yes, I build them.

 

Probably the best source of 'raw materials' is Hobby King

www.hobbyking.com

You will need:

4 motors 

4 propellers (2 CW rotation, 2 CCW rotation)  10"X 4.5" pitch recommended.

Radio (transmitter + receiver)

Flight Controller

Frame

4 ESCs (Electronic Speed Controls).  Get 40A types with ESC (on-board 5V regulators to provide power for the other equipment).

2-3 Batteries  2200mAH to 5000mAH 3-cell (12V nom) LiPoly.

Battery charger for above.

Miscellaneous flexible (silicone high-flex) wire.

Gimbal mount for camera

Camera (Go-Pro recommended because of size/weight)

Nice add-ons:

GPS accessory for the flight controller (allows for auto-hovering and return-to-home features).

FPV (First Person Video) transmitter + receiver + monitor to send live video to you so you can see what the camera sees.  You can use the GoPro as a camera for that, or use a separate small camera.

 

Some hints:

Get the best frame you can buy.  Something very sturdy, but with individual parts that are cheap and easy to replace - you will crash often at first.  You also need something with lots of ground clearance - so that your camera setup 

 

The exact setup depends on several factors, one of which is how much weight you want to lift, and how much time you need to spend in the air.  Normally that is 12-25 minutes on one charge.

You can contact me more directly at charles@linquist.net

 

Charles Linquist
User Rank
Silver
Re: Fabulous Tools
Charles Linquist   3/25/2014 11:26:07 AM
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Yes, I build them.

 

Probably the best source of 'raw materials' is Hobby King

www.hobbyking.com

You will need:

4 motors 

4 propellers (2 CW rotation, 2 CCW rotation)  10"X 4.5" pitch recommended.

Radio (transmitter + receiver)

Flight Controller

Frame

4 ESCs (Electronic Speed Controls).  Get 40A types with ESC (on-board 5V regulators to provide power for the other equipment).

2-3 Batteries  2200mAH to 5000mAH 3-cell (12V nom) LiPoly.

Battery charger for above.

Miscellaneous flexible (silicone high-flex) wire.

Gimbal mount for camera

Camera (Go-Pro recommended because of size/weight)

Nice add-ons:

GPS accessory for the flight controller (allows for auto-hovering and return-to-home features).

FPV (First Person Video) transmitter + receiver + monitor to send live video to you so you can see what the camera sees.  You can use the GoPro as a camera for that, or use a separate small camera.

 

Some hints:

Get the best frame you can buy.  Something very sturdy, but with individual parts that are cheap and easy to replace - you will crash often at first.  You also need something with lots of ground clearance - so that your camera setup 

 

The exact setup depends on several factors, one of which is how much weight you want to lift, and how much time you need to spend in the air.  Normally that is 12-25 minutes on one charge.

You can contact me more directly at charles@linquist.net

 

Rob Spiegel
User Rank
Blogger
Re: As long as the images are for personal use only.....
Rob Spiegel   3/24/2014 9:17:04 PM
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Thanks for this information, Thinking_J. That explains a lot. I would imagine Amazon would have to alter that law if they plan to deliver packages with drones.

Thinking_J
User Rank
Platinum
As long as the images are for personal use only.....
Thinking_J   3/24/2014 7:47:32 PM
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Currently,

ALL commercial use of drones in the US are banned under current law. There has been only one exception and that literally took an act of the US Congress to get approval.

Hobbyists.. have a great deal of latitude in where they fly. Most act responsibly. Those drones being sold last Christmas at the Mall? It is assumed they are being sold to hobbists... like RC airplanes of the past. Spying on your neighbors? Nothing new. You can sit in a tree , looking over your fence doing this.

When a hobbyist creates a model jet capable of going over 400 mph.. no problem. They have rules to work within. (look it up! really cool video on web)

When a hobbyists takes pictures of property for sale and uses the arial photos to promote it's sale.. .they are breaking the law. It is that simple.

When a movie company uses a drone... it is breaking the law.

When a farmer uses a drone for monitoring crops.. the law is being broken.

When a police dept uses a drone for documenting the scene of a crime.. the law is being broken.

YES .. thousands of well meaning , reasonable people are breaking this law.

What isn't simple .. the random enforcement of the law.

If something goes wrong (hits a child, crashes in a street causing a auto accident, etc...) they can be prosecuted in Federal court. In civil claims courts, it will make it harder to defend what they thought was reasonable actions on their part. They will be automatically be determined to be a "felon" at the time of their mishap. If they were a hobbist it wouldn't have been an issue.

 

This is a failure of the FAA... in setting the legal ground rules for obviously valid commercial uses of drones. This should have been in place 20-30 years ago. RC aircraft have been used for commercial purposes for a very long time. They just chose to ignore this because of it wasn't being discussed by the general public. This isn't a reflection of any adminstration, it is a reflection of a bureaucracy failing to be proactive for decades. (if no one is screaming to fix it.. leave it alone)

Their prior deadlines have passed.. the known future deadlines are un-likely to be met.

Lack of legal frame work for valid commerical use is the dominate issue related to drones in the US.      Hobbists? no problem.

 

lexfidesign
User Rank
Iron
Re: Fabulous Tools
lexfidesign   3/22/2014 3:15:45 PM
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Hi Charles,

When you said you own, do you mean you build them as well? Maybe you can direct me to resources for building one. I just have a need to mount my camera and hover it over a bike track. Thanks.

Charles Linquist
User Rank
Silver
Re: Fabulous Tools
Charles Linquist   3/21/2014 4:01:07 PM
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I own several quadcopters (drones) as a hobby.  I get my thrills by learning some new skills (controlling a remote aircraft), designing the controllers and writing the firmware that allows an inherently unstable machine to fly, and also figuring out how to make lighter and stronger airframes.

But - while the motors on a a 20" X 20" "X" shaped quadcopter frame might look small, they are powerful. Typically, they draw about 20Amps at 12 volts, and spin 10" propellers at 9,000 RPM.  Not many have shrouds around the blades (added weight). And, being electric, they don't make much noise. Someone will eventually get hit and hurt badly by the blades. I have also have had a motor come loose and the whole thing fell from about 300'.  Not good if you are using your machine to take pictures in a public place.

I think that if drones like mine get very popular, they will be 'piloted' by people that are less mechanically savvy than myself and have unknown agendas. Imagine driving in a country that had no rules whatsoever regarding owning or driving a car.  Rules will eventually come, but they will be hard to enforce because being remote-controlled, there is no way anyone can know exactly who is in control - or where they are.  Two of my quadcopters have FPV (First Person Vidoe) cameras.  Standing on the ground, I can see what they see.  There is no reason that I couldn't be in England controlling my drone in California over a 4G cellular network.  Battery life is about 20 minutes, but I can fly miles in that time.  

And what happens when some terrorist puts some C4 or RDX on one?  My quadcopters have no trouble lifting 2-3 pounds of anything I strap to it.  Special Delivery!

Just some things to think about....

William K.
User Rank
Platinum
The least publicised, most useful drone.
William K.   3/21/2014 3:31:55 PM
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A while back there was a posting of a "sort of drone" generating system that would fly a platform with a bunch of wind turbines, doubling as helicopter blades, that would take it up to an altitude that had a useful amount of wind, so that it could recover wind energy. The concept makes a whole lot of sense because it avoids having to build the huge support structures and the foundations for those structures. In addition, the generating system would cost less because of being direct drive, not needing a gearbox speed increaser. I wonder how that project is developing presently. But that would be a great way to recover power, probably cheaper than solar cells. In addition, the solution for the claimed problem of adequate insulation in the power cable would be to use separate cables, one for each side of the line. So simple that even an engineer could figure that one out.

JimT@Future-Product-Innovations
User Rank
Blogger
Re: Can that cost be right-?
JimT@Future-Product-Innovations   3/18/2014 2:51:14 PM
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That's certain.  The sophisticated encryption algorithms took several minutes to "boot-up" and the usage was overly complicated.  Tough to use.  But I guess that a topic for another thread, someday.

Rob Spiegel
User Rank
Blogger
Re: Can that cost be right-?
Rob Spiegel   3/17/2014 11:33:57 PM
NO RATINGS
Great story JimT. Obviously, the militatry-issued devices were not serving the soldiers' needs.

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