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Old 03-21-2013, 02:50 PM   #1
Ali in Austria
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Default Gr Gott - Newbie here.

Hi folks.

I am a complete Newbie as far as RC is concerned although I am pretty handy on the XBox I guess RC doesn't have the "I don't fear the consequences" of the XBox though

I'm a British Ex Pat now living in The Austrian Alps living a dream. My main hobbies are winter sports and summer motorcycling with a bit of Paragliding thrown in. We run a B&B attracting many motorcycle tourists during the summer and for which I have a couple of GoPro HD2's and an HD3 Black along with a few other video cameras, Drift etc, for making films of Guided Tours.

Living at 1200m and backing straight on to the mountains which go up to 3000m gave me a yearning for filming from some different angles. Paragliding is OK but limiting. Trying to get some close ups at altitude would end in disaster.

So I started looking around and was initially drawn to the iFly 4S having never heard of the Phantom up to this point. Then I saw the Phantom and being a bit rash when it comes to making decisions, swallowed the advertising hype and bought one. Having started to look a bit further and reading various forums I see that it is not as perfect out of the box as I initially assumed and reports of a couple going AWOL are alarming especially if they had a GoPro attached.

Having invested a fair amount of money in The Phantom I really want to go about this half right. The first thing I have done is order a Ladybird V2 to get the hang of flying these things without risking too much money and I am currently waiting for it to arrive. Once I have got the hang of it there are a couple of deserving young lads who live just along the mountain a bit who I a sure will have a bit of fun with it.

In the meantime my Phantom is sat here next to a pile of spare batteries. I understand the importance of calibrating the compass, the order for powering up, checking my surroundings etc but are there any tips for a Newbies initiall attempts at getting off the ground?

As I said I want to use it for filming with a GoPro. I bought it from a German Dealer, Globe Flight, who also supplied a dampened camera mount utilising rubber bungs between two plates. I have read about MoonGel and would think it suitable to use on this mount if necessary but where do you get it? I understand why "Jello" ocurrs and the main problem is how modern cameras work which isn't something that I can alter.

I have also read that a major cause of "Jello" is unbalanced Props. I have a DuBro on its way and having seen a few videos of prop Balancing I think I should be able to get my head around it. What Grade of Grit paper should I be using? I also like the idea I read from one guy who sprayed a clear lacquer on rather than sand material off. Has anyone else tried this? If so, what type of lacquer did you use?

Some mention actually balancing the motors. Is there a recommended way of doing this and any links to a "How To Do It Video".

I guess the above two tasks should minimise what has obvious potential to causing damage regardless of a camera being fitted.

I also have some Graupner 8x5 props coming which are described as being for The Phantom but reading around it would appear I am expected to Drill them to make them fit. Again, any tips would be appreciated. I will be saving these until I am ready to be a bit more adventurous. I have spare standard props coming for The Phantom as I expect a few to get broken. Are there any other props that people would recommend, how big can you go, is there any advantage in fitting slightly larger rotors one end to compensate for the offset weight of the camera etc?

Do the motors require any lubrication and what is the best way to monitor for potential failures?

I am having trouble getting my head around the Advanced Calibration requirement which would also activate one of the functions available. Can anyone spare a few minutes to give an explanation in Idiot Speak as to why it is done, what the settings do and what should be a useful base setting to work from.

Flying straight out of the box doesn't appear that straight forward.

Once I start being able to run (unusual for me to learn how to walk first) I would probably be looking to get a camera Gimbal. I hadn't realised just how new The Phantom was and there appears to be Gimbals out there which were rushed in to production. I have also seen examples that appear to give excellent results and as The Phantom has caught on, more appear to be about to be released. What are users thoughts on Gimbals, what should I be looking for in one or can anyone with hands on experience recommend one.

OK, I have asked a lot, and the answers have probably been obtained by people learning the hard way. Over the years I have been that Guinea Pig in other circles, learning the hard way, often with a fair amount of physical pain and lasting injuries for my troubles. So, while I sympathise with those who have had to learn about The Phantom the hard way, I feel I have paid my dues so be generous, take pity on me and help a dumb idiot out here

Any advice is appreciated.

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Old 03-21-2013, 04:02 PM   #2
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Hello and welcome to Wattflyer.

I'll jump in here as I have become the local expert on the DJI Phantom and other controllers. I'll start with a disclaimer, my opinions may not be the most common, but free advice is worth every penny you pay for it


Balancing props is important to any RC model. On the Phantom, its not always needed. Once you put the props in the balancer, just use a fine grade sandpaper on the TRAILING EDGE of the prop (like 220) on the heavy side if needed.

Next, dont use the WiFi on the Go Pro, you wont have any DJI troubles with that. Use the GoPro wifi when just playing with the camera.

I would disagree on buying another quad to 'learn on'. Fact is, the Phantom is crazy stable and reliable. Its like a Segway for the skies. It does all the work for you. If you spend the money and time learning on a 'toy', I dont think the skils you want for the Phantom really translate. I have had equal amounts of pilots with and WITHOUT R/C skills buy, own and fly the Phantom. Total RC newbies (i.e. photographers) are now loving the Phantom.

Balancing the motors is completely un-necessary. With balanced props, simply use the GoPro case that comes with the camera, not the worthless frame that comes with the Phantom.

Graupner props are also IMO a waste of time and money. They are good props yes, but I see absoloutely no advantage to buying $8 props (cost in my area) when the DJI props are near indestructable, and CHEAP. ( I have Black DJI's on the rear).

In this video, I have NOT balanced the props, but am using the GP case:
YouTube Video
ERROR: If you can see this, then YouTube is down or you don't have Flash installed.


Do you see any jello? Nope. I have since however balanced my props, just 'cause.


You will see once you launch the 'assistant' software, there are no reasons to change anything. You can activate I.O.C. but do that only after you are good flying it around, otherwise sometimes its hard to grasp the concept of Intelligent Orientation Control.

I have mixed feelings on Gimbals. When I am flying FPV, I like to have a direct visual cue as to pitch, yaw and roll. When doing aerial video, a gimbal is sweet to have. I have it on good authority that DJI will be filling this void soon. For me, I'll wait until they offer one.


And flying out of the box IS that straight forward. Calibrate your compass, wait for GPS to acquire, and FLY MAN FLY.

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