I tried out the Aero RTF for the first time on my lunch today and it wasn't a good 'out of box experience'. A brief description of what happened:
- Charged & installed a 3S-2200 battery. (note: battery straps have inadequate velcro overlap to properly secure battery)
- Read & followed instructions to the letter. Placed drone in clear area, powered on transmitter, powered on drone, waited a bit for boot & GPS acquisition, armed motors, armed throttle, set flight mode to 2 (Attitude+GPS), slowly applied throttle until vehicle hovering at 1 ft.
- At this point the vehicle started drifting like it was in manual stabilization mode. Verified flight mode switch in position 2.
- At this point things got hairy. Default stick inputs not tuned well (too sensitive), vehicle began to rise and yaw with no stick input.
- I took action to reduce throttle and counter yaw. Was able to land (a bit hard but no damage).
- Inspecting the airframe I noticed the GPS was rotated on it's mast about 15 degrees. (might partially explain yaw) The set-screw holding the mast to the frame was loose. Tightened the screw, re-read instructions, and went out for another try.
- Repeated takeoff procedure in attitude+GPS flight mode. Definitely a squirrley vehicle, handled poorly to say the least.
- Vehicle still exhibiting X,Y,Z,Yaw drift. Tried switching to flight mode 1 and then 0. Vehcile reacted (momentary surge in RPM) but handled similarly in every mode.
- Attempting to land in mode-2, upon setting down the vehicle started to attempt to flip over. Yes, this was landing on a very level surface.
- At this point I tried disarming motors (left stick down_left). Vehicle refused to disarm. Tried disable throttle. Vehcile started tipping and scraping props on the ground.
- Finally I flipped to mode-0 and was able to disarm.
- Inspecting the vehicle, other than minor damage to props, everything looks ok.
Just to be clear, I didn't expect a consumer-level experience like something like the 3DR Solo here, but still I'm rather disappointed. I've hand-built seven drones of various designs over the years, including several of my own design. All the hand-built ones were running NAZA or OpenPilot. I contributed in minor ways to the OpenPilot software effort. So I don't think this is a neophyte user issue, I'm a reasonably experienced enthusiast. My guess is that the vehicle has sensor calibration issues. I don't think this is a GPS or magnetometer environmental issue, I've flown many drones from the exact came location. Apparently there's no way to know GPS satellite acquisition status without a telemetry link, which I haven't set up yet, so I can't really say whether I had a good GPS lock or not. Still, obviously RealSense / optical flow stabilization wasn't working. It really felt like only inner-loop stabilization was working.
So now I'm afraid to fly until the kinks are worked out. This leads me to a few questions:
- Is there a sensor recalibration procedure I can follow? Until now I've never worked with a drone that didn't need a pre-first-flight calibration procedure. Even pre-tuned vehicles like the Solo offer this as an option.
- I wanted to try the vehicle out 'out of box' to get a baseline understanding before messing with flashing new firmware, etc. Could this be a software issue?
- Once I have time tonight to set up the wifi telemetry link I should be able to download logs & start troubleshooting. Is anyone at Intel interested in taking a look at the logs?
Ok, sorry to be a pain here on the forum. So far I have to say the whole experience has been underwhelming to say the least. The 2-month delay on top of receiving a problematic vehicle is not impressive... Hopefully these are just teething issues, but the reason I purchased the RTF kit instead of just the Aero compute board & RealSense sensor was to familiarize with a stable platform before moving on to more advanced use-cases.
Comments & suggestions are welcome.