Tag: DJI

DJI retracts Phantom 2 Firmware v3.10, urges users to roll back to 3.08

DJI retracts Phantom 2 Firmware v3.10, urges users to roll back to 3.08

February 6, 2015 23:20 | By | Add a Comment

DJI is urging users who already installed v3.10 of the recently released Phantom 2 firmware update to roll back to v3.08.

According to DJI, “there have been a small number of reported issues”. No word about what these issues are and how serious they were, but a warning is better than nothing.

P.S. Did you fix your compass sensor as we posted in the past yet? If not, you should do so, regardless of your firmware version.

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DJI to update no-fly zones to prevent more White House incidents

DJI to update no-fly zones to prevent more White House incidents

January 29, 2015 12:35 | By | 1 Comment

In reaction to recent news that DJI multicopters were used to smuggle drugs and fly within Washington D.C., the company announced a firmware update that adds not only over 10.000 national airports, but also country borders and the FRZ around Washington D.C. to it’s no-fly zone list.

This will prevent owners of Phantom* and Naza flight controllers from repeating some of the the stunts seen recently.

At least, if they apply the firmware update, and even then only until they realize that open source flight controllers have no such restrictions.

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Phantom flies onto White House lawn

Phantom flies onto White House lawn

January 27, 2015 13:24 | By | Add a Comment

A quadcopter enthusiast apparently lost control over his DJI Phantom, which proceeded to fly over to the white house and crashed onto the lawn, where it was found and recovered by Secret Service agents.

B8TLor_IIAAVehG

Folks, there’s two lessons here:

1) Flying any RC craft, regardless of whether you do it for recreation or not, within D.C. is illegal. There’s a 10nm FRZ (Flight Restricted Zone) which prohibits, among other things: balloon operation, model rocketry, model aircraft operations, UAS, test flights, private aircraft operating from a ship or private/corporate yacht, etc.

2) If you own a Phantom or Phantom 2, and you haven’t replaced the compass mounting on your landing struts yet, you risk your quadcopter flying away uncontrollably. This means your quadcopter may start flying into a random direction once you enable position hold or return home modes, with it not obeying any no-fly-zones programmed into the firmware. It will also not obey any user-defined geofencing or range limits.

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If your screws or the metal mounting mechanism is magnetizable, you run the risk of compass decalibration, even during flight. If you fail to do this, you run the risk of damaging other people’s property or lives.

In all the Phantoms we examined, the screws were magnetizable and the reason why compass calibration was lost. We recommend you replace them with non-magnetizable screws, for example, brass screws as used by Horizon on their 350QX.

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DJI Inspire 1 user claims bug in auto-takeoff function crashed his copter

DJI Inspire 1 user claims bug in auto-takeoff function crashed his copter

January 15, 2015 12:33 | By | Add a Comment

There’s a lot of hate in the youtube comments to this video. “Learn to fly” is probably one of the nicer ones. But comments aside, Mark Taylor had a bad day recently when he let his Inspire 1 take off in auto-takeoff mode.

According to him, no pilot input was given, the compass was calibrated and the issue was even observed before: His Inspire 1 just kept drifting off at auto takeoff.

While lots of youtube commenters are quick to blame Mark, we are not so sure. After all, DJI is still selling the Phantom 1 and 2 with a compass sensor mounted with magnetizable screws, which we found to be the root cause for most flyaway issues.

DJIPH03-2

We discovered that simply removing the metal case completely and using double sided tape to stick the magnetometer PCB to the landing gear made position hold much more precise and completely eliminated the need to recalibrate the compass after this has been done once. A miscalibrated compass can cause a flyaway if you switch your Phantom into position hold or return home mode. To this date DJI has neither acknowledged this simple design flaw, nor have they changed the mount on new Phantom 2 copters.

For this reason, we are a bit cautious about blaming the pilot just yet. The Inspire 1 is a brand new product and contrary to what some commenters may believe, DJI is not perfect.

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Walkera H6 actually named “Voyager 3”, only a prototype

Walkera H6 actually named “Voyager 3”, only a prototype

January 7, 2015 14:30 | By | 1 Comment

German IT magazine heise.de reports from CES Las Vegas that the previously teased Walkera H6 was nowhere to be seen at Walkera’s booth – and was shown to them only on their request (German, Google translate).

Photo by heise.de / nij

Photo by heise.de / nij, used with permission

According to Walkera, a communication problem with their american distributor led to the premature announcement, which was planned for end of January this year at the Toy Fare Nuernberg in Germany. Sadly, pricing and features are still secret until then, even though production is slated to begin “soon”.

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Walkera H6 debut at CES, runs APM/Dronecode

Walkera H6 debut at CES, runs APM/Dronecode

January 5, 2015 12:43 | By | Add a Comment

Need more proof that APM and the Linux Foundation-backed Dronecode alliance is really taking off? Walkera is about to debut the H6, a fancy-looking high-end quadcopter with retractable landing gear. The design is reminiscent of the new DJI Inspire, though the construction uses a simpler landing gear mechanism instead.

No info on price or availability yet, though we expect this to be announced within the next day.

Stick around for more pictures after the break.

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Upgrade your Naza-M lite to a Naza v2… for free

Upgrade your Naza-M lite to a Naza v2… for free

January 4, 2015 17:51 | By | 3 Comments

Thanks to the efforts of rcgroups user udnham (RCGroups removed his post and then closed the thread due to “legal issues”, surprise surprise…), you can upgrade your Naza-M flight controller to a Naza V2. Without paying hundreds of dollars for a box that contains the exact same hardware.

Yes you read that right. Not only does DJI use relatively low-performance accelerometer and gyro sensors (maxing out at 200 degree/s), they essentially sell the same hardware at a significant price markup with the software being the only difference. And since anything done in software can be undone in software, udnham has done just that and is now offering a free upgrade tool at http://naza-upgrade.com for  all Naza-M owners.

What does this upgrade give you? Well..

  • Better inflight algoritms – takeoff, landing, GPS position and altitude hold
  • Octacopters support
  • Ability to connect CAN-bus devices such as iOSD, zenmuse gimbal etc (using v2 pmu module)
  • Autonomous waypoint flight from groundstation with dji datalink modem
  • All other features that Naza-m v2 have

The tool works by circumventing the software locks DJI built in to prevent users from upgrading their flight controllers “too much”. It’s a non-official hack that basically turns your $160 flight controller into a $300 one. It’s unlikely that DJI will just continue to let this happen, so you may want to grab the tool before DJI yanks it, as the RCGroups post is already gone.

It will be interesting to see DJI claim any kind of legal issue here though. The firmware update is being distributed for free over the internet, the only thing the tool does is make the V2 firmware work on the V1 flight controller. Though we are not lawyers, this does seem to invoke the interoperability exception to copyright in most jurisdictions. Or in other words, if you buy a Lexus car, the manufacturer can’t really sue you for showing customers how to make cheaper Toyota brand parts fit in it. Then again, a new lawsuit may bring a new ruling…

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DJI Phantom 2 with H3-2D Gimbal Review

DJI Phantom 2 with H3-2D Gimbal Review

May 12, 2014 22:34 | By | Add a Comment

The Phantom 2 is available as a complete package complete with 2-axis brushless gimbal. The price for this combo started out at over $1000.- but has recently come down to a more manageable $680. Magazine reviews are glowing, but few of them have any comparisons to make. Is the Phantom 2 combo offer worth the price of admission, or should you look elsewhere? Find out in our review!

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Ex-DJI CEO wins injunction against DJI, prevents (some) US companies from importing DJI products

Ex-DJI CEO wins injunction against DJI, prevents (some) US companies from importing DJI products

January 26, 2014 20:46 | By | 3 Comments

Well this is bad news for DJI: Apparently, Ex-CEO Colin Guinn filed and won an injunction against DJI, preventing it from doing business with 31 US businesses from importing DJI products. They are still able to sell stock but they cannot restock or import new products.

The official letter from DJI can be found here, and there’s a very detailed video about this situation below.

There’s not enough information to gauge the situation with certainty but it does appear to be an attempt to grab a high settlement payment at any cost. It’s doubtful that this will hurt DJI over the long term however. If anything, competitors may have a bit of an upsurge in the US as a result. But time will tell.

Clarification: This only pertains the companies named in the injunction. There are other US companies importing and reselling DJI equipment not affected by this.

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Have a DJI Phantom? Install a proper radio system

Have a DJI Phantom? Install a proper radio system

December 20, 2013 13:12 | By | Add a Comment

If you’re a lucky Phantom or Phantom 2 owner (or perhaps you’ll get one this Christmas, hint hint), please do yourself and the FPV/multirotor community a favor and install a proper RC radio system. This helps preventing you from making the news because your phantom flew away on it’s own. These are not isolated incidents either. As a poll on RCG shows, there is a considerable number of people who experienced a total loss of control coupled with the Phantom taking off and just zooming away. DJI recently acknowledged that they are working to fix this via firmware upgrades, but the fact of the matter is: Their radio system is not the best, and no firmware update will change that.

So please, pick a solid frequency-hopping system (Spektrum DSMX, Futaba FASST, Multiplex, Jeti, HOTT, FrSky, just to name a few), stay away from systems that lack frequency agility or antenna diversity (DSM1, DSM2, ISM, XPS, Walkera) and make sure to check that your failsafe is not set to give full throttle. If your multirotor is equipped with GPS, set failsafe so that return-to-land is activated in case of signal loss.

If you own a Phantom, get a better RC radio and fly safe.

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DYI DJI FPV remote kit comes in 2 sizes

DYI DJI FPV remote kit comes in 2 sizes

December 17, 2013 16:07 | By | Add a Comment

Remember that Phantom Ground Station that puts your Phantom transmitter guts into a new case and adds an LCD screen?

Goodluckbuy is now offering two versions of a similar product: Coming in 5 inch as well as 7 inch variants, these are kits that require some assembly and soldering – as well as disassembly of your phantom controller. Price is $330.- for the 5 inch model, or $370 for the larger 7 inch one. The case is made of carbon fiber, and the screens are reported to be IPS with a high brightness and contrast.

These kits are a bit more pricy than the ground station, but they’re also larger and look rather nice. Still, we can’t help but wonder if your money isn’t better spent on a proper RC transmitter, with the screen mounted on the handle.

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DJI announces Phantom 2 DNG support, Waypoints at the end of the year

DJI announces Phantom 2 DNG support, Waypoints at the end of the year

December 6, 2013 9:47 | By | Add a Comment

DJI announced that their new Phantom 2 quadcopter will receive a firmware update enabling it to capture photos in raw Adobe DNG format. This is certainly welcome news for everyone trying to eke out a bit more image quality out of that camera via appropriate post-processing. This update is expected to be released before the end of the year.

In other news the Phantom 2 will get waypoint capabilities!

dji-waypoint1This will also come via a firmware update, though that one is scheduled for January 2014. No specifics on the technical details yet, though we don’t expect you have to buy additional hardware for this – it’ll probably use the wifi link like the video streaming. Of course this would mean a maximum range of 300 meters – but again, we don’t know for sure yet. One thing is certain though, it’s great news for all Phantom 2 owners.

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UPS announces: “Me too!”

UPS announces: “Me too!”

December 4, 2013 13:53 | By | Add a Comment

In a statement to TheVerge, a UPS spokesman stated that UPS, too, is playing with the idea of using multicopters for small parcel delivery.

“The commercial use of drones is an interesting technology and we’ll continue to evaluate it. UPS invests more in technology than any other company in the delivery business, and we’re always planning for the future.”

Aside from this being an obvious “me too” statement in response to Amazon’s well-executed PR maneuver, DJI has announced that they could produce suitable models within “18 to 24 months”. The question now is: Who else will make such an announcement next? It’s not too late for sticking a company logo on a multirotor craft for some nice press shots…

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Upgrade your DJI Naza to Waypoints

Upgrade your DJI Naza to Waypoints

December 3, 2013 11:31 | By | Add a Comment

If you’re looking to upgrade your Naza to add waypoint capabilities, this set from Foxtech is not a bad offer: You get the DJI Canhub, iOSD and the datalink receiver and transmitter for USD $332.-

Of course you have to update your Naza to the latest firmware. This set works with the Naza, Naza2, WKM, Ace One and A2 flight controllers. In total, a typical waypoint-capable setup runs you about 500 bucks, which is very cheap for DJI.

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On the open source side the same capability, without restricting the user to 16 waypoints, can be had for $100 – but it means more effort during setup and tuning. On the other hand, DJI components come in waterproof cases with very solid connectors, while the open source offerings are often barebone PCBs. The DJI system appears to be using a frequency hopping 2.4GHz data transmission system, which is pretty good. The airborne transmitter even includes a dual antenna setup for improved link quality. Range is specified to be around 1km outdoors.

Bottom line: Still a bit pricy, but DJI is slowly getting down to the “realistic” price range.

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DSLRPros offers a turnkey DJI Phantom FPV set

DSLRPros offers a turnkey DJI Phantom FPV set

December 2, 2013 9:38 | By | Add a Comment

DSLRPros is offering a range of complete sets centered around an upgraded DJI Phantom. Basically they upgrade the motors and props, and add everything you need for FPV flight including gimbal, GoPro 3 camera, 5.8GHz video system, several batteries, a balancing charger, as well as a Futaba 8FG instead of the standard DJI Transmitter.

dslrpro

The ultimate set costs over USD $3,600.- although smaller sets are available for as low as $1,355.-

On one hand their marketing is a bit too rich, with them selling a “fluid pan mode” that is really just a dual-rate setting for the yaw axis, or the fact that their 5.8GHz system is “tuned to not interfere with GPS”… on the other hand, they offer some useful extensions for the Phantom like a battery tray that takes up to 4800mAh batteries, and a complete package means someone else took the guesswork out of the equation for you.  Whether or not that is worth the asking price  is up to you of course.

Click on “Read More” to check out the marketing video.

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