Weight, Weight, Weight….
The AR Drone was designed from the ground up with weight being one of the concerns, but they managed to make it fly. A finely tuned machine that counts on everything being perfect. It can lift its weight and hover around for 15 minutes before swapping batteries. All the while, you the operator are asking yourself “what can I hang on this thing?” All I can tell you is, ‘check it out yourself.’
Remove the top cover and put it in hover mode. (indoors) While in hover, place another battery (105gr) on top of the installed battery, stand back, first you’ll hear the RPMs increase and the battery level indicator on the control device will drop much faster. That alone will tell you that if you want to tinker and hang stuff off the drone without sacrificing battery power, you have to lighten the drone somehow. Keep in mind, if you mess with the electronics package, your drone won’t work right, mess with the structure, there are
things you can do!
It was generated out of sheer boredom.
Drone weights for individual parts and notes: NOTE, all weights are approximate, and temps were taken by a nine dollar Radio Shack digital thermometer, so take it for what it is.
DRONE PART EST. WT. NOTES
Overall weight with battery and indoor hull 433gr
Overall weight with battery and outdoor hull 406gr
Indoor hull w/skin 60.0gr
Indoor hull w/o skin 48.5gr
Indoor skin only 13.5gr [ How to separate? Click here ]
Outdoor hull w/skin 31.0gr
Outdoor hull w/o skin 11.5gr
Outdoor skin only 19.5 gr [ How to separate? Click here ]
Battery 104.9gr after 15 minutes of operation, battery temp
is between 99 and 105 deg. F
forward cam w/ribbon 3.3gr
motor assembly 17.9gr assembly cooled by prop rotation
brd only 3.0gr
motor only 14.9gr after 15 minutes of operation then
stopped, a motor will reheat to 131+ deg F
axle alone 0.9gr
prop only 3.5gr
bull gear only 2.4gr
Main board 22.2gr after 15 minutes of operation, the 2-board
pkg generates 90 to 101 deg F
Nav Brd 14.3gr
lower hull w/batt cage 290.0gr
Central Cross 82.3gr right out of the bag-no hardware
The drone has the equivalent of a “Black Box” built in. When the drone is submitted to Parrot on a warranty issue, the first thing they do is pull the last 30 seconds of flight data and video from the main board for, well whatever.
The drone mainboard has a power buffer. It makes hot-swapping batteries a plus, no need to reconnect wifi, etc.
The reason the drone only spins up 50% for two seconds before going on lift spin is if the drone spins to full liftoff rpm right off, the teeth of the large plastic gear would be milled (shaved) off by the small brass drive gear. As it is, even after 40 flight hours, noticeable wear will occur on the brass drive gear. It is recommended that before 50 flight hours the clockwise turning motor assemblies should be swapped with the counterclockwise motor assemblies.
This is no different than rotating your car tires. 20 hours after the swap, closely inspect the brass drive gears, the teeth should begin to look thin and sharp. Start thinking about replacing the motor assemblies OR get creative and change the drive gears, a semi-complicated task if you don’t have the tools.
The prop axles are case hardened, that means that they will bend, but will snap in half if you try to straighten them.
Propellers and the plastic gears are pretty much in balance when you get them new. But if you crash, and a blade chip occurs, try and get new props ( set of four-US$9.95) Try not to put too much time on the drone with a chipped blade, especially if you still have bushings, as they will wear out faster creating a larger expense later on.
Believe it or not, you can take a picture of your drone while it’s in hover mode, easy. Hover your craft about waist high (or whatever). Turn off the flight app by pushing the iPhone home button. Activate the phone’s camera and start snapping pics or video. When you leave the flight app, the drone will continue to hover. However, when you restart the flight app, the drone will soft land on its own. You must reconnect with the drone to continue flying. This cool trick is handy when you want to text the pic or vid to someone.
IF you remove all the props and gears, mark them as to which spar they went on. Two spins clockwise and the other two spin counterclockwise, alternating around the drone. IF you get just two props mixed up, the drone will not work! Make a small sketch of the blade positions in the back cover of your owners manual for reference before you remove them for the first time.
Flying the drone over grass or weeds will give the drone mixed altitude data. It may seem to some as an uncontrollable drone. Just be aware of this.
IF your drone goes for a quick dunk in water or the electronics package gets wet, REMOVE the battery immediately!
Remove the mainboard and nav board and place them on your water heater. Some electronics like digital watches that go through the washer will come back to life after a week or so of being on the heater. In the meantime, order up new electronics just in case it doesn’t work.
In hover mode, the drone moves an incredible amount of air. If you fly indoors, the drone will tend to suck itself either to the ceiling or walls if flown closer than 18″.
The Wash or down blast of air coming from a single propeller at hover is……19.5 MPH. (really!) NO- combined Wash from all props at hover is NOT 78 MPH!
The drone requires a contrasting image to get a hover (horizontal) lock. It is especially true when it first lifts off. If the drone doesn’t see a contrasting image, it will tend to wander around, making it seem like a defective toy. Parrot shipped their product in a sturdy box with either side being able to be used as a launch pad complete with contrasting markings. If you look real close to many of the CES demos on YouTube set up by Parrot, you will see a birds-eye view of a graphical city laid out on the floor, tiled from wall to wall. It was done on purpose. It allows a faster hover lock when stopped anywhere within the demo room. Try it yourself. Fire that puppy up over a large white bed sheet, it won’t be able to grab an image to lock onto, providing the sheet is large enough and the drone
doesn’t see an edge.
Same thing with the darkness. The drone is pretty much useless in the dark. However, some creative person came up with an I.R. LED that mounts underneath the drone using a button cell…all it needs to do is illuminate the ground below the drone so it can get a lock on a contrasting image.
All digital “cameras” can see infrared light emitted from even common devices like TV remotes etc. The drone’s cameras are no different, if you are going to operate the drone in none to low light, go I.R. LED.
Huh? Using what you know about contrast locking, on a sunny day using your shadow, you can have your drone track near you as you walk. I’ve done it…