I now have a new hobby and my inner engineer has taken over. Flying RC Quad-copters, aka Drones or Copters!! So many options, and lots of fun (even just watching). My dad recently bought a copter, to take video of our transforming back yard. He ended up getting what is still the largest copter in our family (the 4 of us all have at least 1), the MJX X101, with a camera. My sister, mom, and I all have the Cheerson CX-10 mini copters. We all have been flying then when there is no wind, or when we feel like tearing up the inside of the house… The big MJX X101 has already had a couple little incidents inside the house, which should never be flown indoors in the first place. The little ones have so far manage to find just about anything and everything that would get stuck in the props… and terrorize the cats.
What I hope to do is show you what you can get, possibly get you interested and hooked in flying these awesome toys. There are several different kinds, all with different prices and features. There is lots of options that vary a bit. My family has managed to hit most of these options so far, with several more on the way!! (hexacopters being one :P)
First here are some pictures so you at least know what I am talking about. We have the Quad-copter kind, the helicopters you can readily find in electronic stores are quite difficult to control in comparison. Quad-copters have 4 blades, and usually 4 motors right bellow those blades, a battery and a control board inside the main body. The look of the body does not matter if it won’t take off or fly stable. Some have propeller guards (or prop guards), which prevent damage of the copter and objects, and allow you to easily recover from hitting an object. Landing gear is nice, but not always necessary. You may prefer landing gear if you have a camera attached underneath or open gears on the bottom of your copter. Enjoy the pictures, there is a link to the gallery bellow as well.
The MJX X101 :
Here is a link to a gallery of pics of our copters. Some of these pics were provided by my dad, or taken by me.
Okay.. for now these are what quad-copters we own! MY Cheerson CX-10 recently died. The motor snapped out of the casing and the wires were damaged, it was ‘fixed’ for a moment. And shortly after we got the motor going again properly, and glued the casing back together it dramatically died. It is assumed that a controller for the motor inside the copter must have been pulled out of place at one point, and that is it.. for now. Anyways, it was a good little flier when it was working, and would gladly get another when I have a chance. Moving on, there are many different options out there, some simply being remakes or copies of others. So really do your research before buying. Gearbest.com, and Aliexpress has been good to us so far. Aliexpress being were dad got the MJX X101, and Gearbest the XJ X380. Everybody got there Cheerson CX-10 from Gearbest. Amazon.ca is where I found the F181, however I never bought it without first doing a bunch of research on Gearbest.com and YouTube. There are a ton of reviews and help on YouTube!! One thing in common with all these copters to beware of is that the instructions are not terribly useful. They are either poorly translated or just not through enough. I have already helped someone out, who was having issues pairing their copter they got for Christmas! (If your reading this, be safe and enjoy!) What I suggest doing while waiting for you copter to arrive is watch as many videos on how to fly, and how to set up your copter! They are generally all very similar in pairing, and controlling. Still, you should make sure you understand how they work, and how to operate, BEFORE you try for the first time. You will still end up learning how to actually fly, and crash ALOT. It does take practice… And I would suggest getting a small one like the CX-10 to practice with indoors first. This is sorta how I learned for the most part.
Not all copters are the same. You have your stunt/learning to fly copters, and then there are GPS ones. The GPS ones, tend to be more for aerial video purposes, and the non-GPS ones for racing and stunts. The XK X380 is a GPS copter, and has an automatic takeoff, and return to home function which works VERY well. The reason the automatic return actually works is because it uses a GPS point of your take off point to return too!! It will also automatically return when the battery is close to dead, however we have yet to witness this since the battery lasts a half hour or so. We currently get too cold after 15 or so to fly much longer, summer will be better for us and the batteries. The XK X830 is very stable in flight, so if you let off of the sticks it will hover. Not drop like a stunt copter would. I am not 100% sure if this is true of all GPS type copters, but it is certainly a plus. Headless mode, and a couple pan options are included in this copter. The pan options are for aerial video, it will allow the copter to automatically rotate 360 degrees around a object or on spot. Headless mode is nice on any copter, since it sets the forward to be the way you are facing and keep it like that until you turn it off. This makes it easier to fly since you do not need to worry about what direction the front of your copter is facing.
Stunt copters, racing, mini, or nano ones, are similar in how you control them. Mainly it depends on what you end up getting. Size, and features will be the biggest deciding factor. The racing/stunt ones tend to be a bit larger, and can be built from kits or pre-made and upgraded. Depends on your tech and mechanical knowledge and skills. So far I have gotten only pre-made widely available copters. Some features you may want to look for and/or find are headless mode, return to home, flips, size, cameras, control range and battery life. Figure out what you want then go looking. I would personally decided on what you want it for? If its aerial video you will want to learn how to fly first so try for a mini/nano. And if you have a larger budget go for a larger sized one, preferably with a camera on it. I will note that sometimes the FPV ones are not a grand idea, since you are suppose to be focusing on flying your copter and it should really always be in your sight. I suggest just getting one with a camera that will record to a card/storage, plus isn’t that is what video editing software is for?? Editing? It is not suggested to use the return to home on stunt copters, since it tends to simply send it backwards and nothing else. So if you have the back of the copter facing you, it will fly AWAY….So really return to home feature is useless, but yet sometimes you have to activate this feature to get into headless mode. Therefore return to home and the headless mode tend to come together.
It is also not suggested, from personal experience, not to use a table for the takeoff/landing zone for a GPS model. Since, there is some error in the GPS it is very easy for the poor copter to try to fly into the table. Usually the table wins against the copter and damaging blades, as shown above! So please fly using a ground level takeoff/landing zone, just in case. Grass is perfectly fine to use as a landing zone. Now for the stunt/racing copters, as long as you can control the copter well enough you should be fine landing and taking off from a table. As long as you don’t mind accidentally hitting the table and crashing on occasion. Wind happens to be a issue with most of the racing/stunt type copters, either you fly on a high speed rate using your battery more quickly, or the wind takes your copter. Generally, I fly on calm or little to no wind days. If I do fly with some wind I tend to set the trim in to go into the wind in the hopes of better countering the wind. This doesn’t always work.
Currently working on video from my and my dad’s flights! If you have any questions, please feel free to ask! Either email or comment!
Working on more! Thanks for reading!