Before You Take Flight
- Check the prop nuts and make sure they are tight. Don’t over tighten them.
- Check the props for any cracks especially around the hubs
- Between every 5 or so flights you should check all gimbal and body screws. They can come loose from vibration and this happens a lot on the gimbals.
- Check the cell voltage of you flight battery before you plug it in. A lipo alarm works well for this.
- Make sure you’re not within 5 miles of an airport! This is critical.
- Check the area you are flying for any antenna towers. Also check for any power lines. These can affect you compass because of all the magnetic noise fields that are created around them. This is usually confined to a radius of around 20 ft, omni directional.
- Check the voltage of your transmitter batteries. 50% or more is fine with a lipo, due to AA/AAA not so much. After 50% it’s all downhill from there and quickly!
- If you have a cell phone with you turn off Wi-Fi in the phone.
- If you are running a GoPro make sure Wifi is disabled. It’s even better to wrap that camera in copper tape. They do cause receiver interference and GPS lock loss.
- It’s a good idea that if you are flying in a public area, make sure any people know what you intend to do and that if they decide to come watch, they leave the cell phones in the car. Or turn Wifi OFF in them right away or they need to stay 25 ft radius from your TX.
After all of this is met you are ready to power up and if you haven’t ever calibrated the compass or you moved more than 100 miles from the last place it was calibrated do it now. After that you wait for a solid GPS lock. Sometimes it helps to move the copter a few feet if the GPS status is weak. This is because the ground reflects signals and causes dead spots. Since GPS works on 1.2ghz the dead zones are only a couple of feet in any direction.
ALWAYS arm the copter on the ground. NEVER EVER arm with it on something like a car roof or from the roof of a building. This messes up the barometer and makes an RTL less possible. If you must take off from somewhere other than the ground, then do so but do not rely on RTL and do not do this with 1.7 firmware. Taking off below the home point can cause the motors to shut down once you go below the home point because this is the same issue LVC/Low Voltage Control has. It can shut down the motor’s mid flight.
Always and every time you fly take Loiter with a grain of salt. We never know what the real conditions of GPS status and compass really is at one given moment so we all should test loiter every time we fly and as soon as you flip to Loiter, and it takes off immediately go back to stabilize to get control back and land to reassess.
Rules to keep your copter flying!
- Do not try to flash firmware into the devo-m with mission planner! It will brick the boot loader and there is no way to fix this.
- Do not run the wizard with mission planner!
- Do not store your lipo batteries with a full charge for more than 24hrs. It starts to damage the cells after that period. If you don’t have an iMax charger with the storage function, then run the battery down with the copter to around 11.5v at rest.
- Check the motor mount screws every 3-5 flights.
- Check the prop nuts every flight.
BEACH FLYING WITH CONDOS & Wi-Fi
- Cell Phones With Wi-Fi
Never fly with a cell phone on you! make sure if people do come by you they turn the phones off or put them in airplane mode! wifi in these cell phones are causing loss of signal between the transmitter and the receiver in the quad. this can cause any channel in the receiver to go wide open causing the quad to run away out of control.
- Gimbal Screws
Check all gimbal set screws. Also, there are some wire plate covers that have small Philips head screws that come loose and could cause you to lose the cover plates. These are on the arms. I checked after flying many flights and found loose screws all over the gimbal.
- Never Ever Fly By The Ocean!
It’s because all up and down the ocean are most likely condos and condos have very high RF Wi-Fi antennas that beam out over the beaches. This will cause your quad to take off out of control. If the beach you want to fly on has no condos, then it should be okay, but I do not recommend it.
- Compass Calibration
You only need to calibrate the compass one time. The only time you need to calibrate the compass is if you move more than 100 miles or if you try Loiter and the copter drifts out of position. In that case fly around for 5 min and check loiter again. If it continues to drift I recommend landing and performing the 4-point compass dance, then try loitering again. It will eventually learn the offsets and loiter will stay put. Do not calibrate the compass in Mission Planner. Doing so turns off the COMPASS LEARN param in the advanced params list of Mission Planner. The Devo-M is programmed for COMPASS LEARN to be on. Stick to the manual Walkera compass dance procedure if you are running a Devo-M. Others with the APM or PX4 or whatever other flight controller will calibrate the way those direct them to calibrate.
- Replace the stock lipo battery plug. That is the red banana plug that comes with the X350 Pro and the X350. This plug can melt and cause a short circuit in flight. This can cause the unit to fall from the sky and even cause a serious fire even before it ever hits the ground.
- Prop Guard Warning!
Using prop guards have caused motors, ESC’s, batteries and battery plugs to burn up. Also, every video I’ve seen with a prop guard on, the quad would lose thrust and drop down very quickly especially when the battery gets lower. This is because the props thrust is being reflected by the guards. Just learn to fly without them.
- Flight Mode 6
Never change flight mode 6 from RTL. Because with any of the Walkera data bus receivers, RTL is hard coded to flight mode 6. So, let’s say for instance someone was to put circle mode into the number 6 position then circle would happen when the signal is lost between the transmitter and the receiver. So, RTL must stay in flight mode 6 unless running a different transmitter and receiver combo.