Two new upgrades for me this week on Drone Mod Monday. A connection to use my 34 inch monitor for flying/viewing, and a collapsible Landing Pad.
We get a lot of persistent snow here in Vermont. It's actually a little late for us, but with the 4 inches we had last week and more on the way, the ground will typically remain covered now until March, and we see some warmer temperatures. This prompted me to get a Landing pad. I used to think these were just another gimmick and even made fun of them, but it really does help keep the prop-wash from splattering snow or water, or dust onto the lens. I'm sure it will be helpful in the summer when the grass gets tall. Even with the extra legs attached, the blades are often hitting grass to take off or land given the low height of this drone.
This model has a spring around the outside that allows it to easily fold by twisting it, down to about a 10-12 inch circle and fit into it's little storage bag. It then simply springs open once you allow it to a nice size 36 inch circle. It's got waterproof cover with the little "H" on it. It's two sided, one bright orange for daytime, and the other black/yellow reflective for night. It came with four plastic stakes to be able to stake it to the ground. I doubt I'll use the stakes much, but will probably rig up some clip on weights to keep it solid in windy conditions.
I'm not really a fan of the hand-landing. I don't mind taking off from my hand, but this Mavic 3 is especially not very tall from the safe hand hold underneath to the propellors, and it wouldn't take much of an angle to catch your arm in the way. Then it's also a bit tricky to hold the two sticks down-and-in to shut the motor off with one hand. For me, it's not worth the risk of slipping and dropping for this one, maybe the smaller, lighter drones would be a good option.
I also received a cable that is an HDMI to Mini-HDMI this week. This allows me to plug the RCPro controller right into my 34inch monitor. Great for when I want to fly from the warm office instead of standing outside in the cold. I can still easily fly a couple miles back and forth if desired without losing signal (Over 5 mile range if in the open supposedly, but I've never gone that far). It would also be a great option for Search And Rescue teams (SAR), although would need an AC converter in the vehicle to power the monitor (which most of them have already for other items).
I must say I really, really like using the RCPro controller vs. the normal controller that uses a cellphone for monitor. It gives me a brighter, bigger screen, allows me to easily click the finger buttons for pics and video, has a nifty little storage area underneath for the sticks, allows me to zoom in and out using the scroll wheel, work the gimbal from the other scroll wheel, and has much longer battery life. I could easily fly a few hours on a single RCPro battery, using up at least 5-6 of the Drone batteries, and then still have to use or impact my cellphone battery. It also just has a better weight and feel.
For the newbies out there, this model (DJI Mavic 3) like many of the DJI models, has an auto take-off, and Return-To-Home (RTH) capability. The RTH can be actively chosen from the screen, or it can be configured to automatically kick-in if the controller loses signal (highly recommended) with a RTH altitude also configurable to ensure it comes back above the trees and other obstacles. This video shows the auto-take off feature, a short flight and look around, and then the RTH feature. Notice the RTH auto landing only about an inch from where it took off. Pretty impressive. The RTH has likely saved me a couple times from losing track of the drone or when it lost signal going under a bridge (not recommended) or around a large mountain outcropping. Pretty much the only time I wouldn't want to use it would be if flying from a moving boat. Then obviously you don't want it returning to the water!
Auto Take-off, RTH Landing, and 34 inch Monitor demo video.
There is a setting to have it return to the controller instead, but I haven't tried that feature out yet. Anyone else tried it?
What other drone mods have you done? Happy or un-happy ones?