Product review - DJI Phantom

Discussion in 'Product Reviews' started by RTRyder, Feb 13, 2013.

  1. RTRyder

    RTRyder Merlin of Multirotors

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    Hello everyone and welcome to the first of the MultirotorForums product reviews!

    For our initial review the folks at DJI have provided us with a DJI Phantom and I will be taking it from opening the box to full flight as well as having a friend whose RC experience is limited to cars and trucks have a go. It will be interesting to see just how well a complete multirotor novice does with the Phantom and appropriate as well since I think this is the market segment that will generate the most interest in this RTF kit.

    Here's the package...

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    Opening the cover...

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    What's inside...

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    As you can see the packaging is well thought out and durable enough to last a while when used to transport the Phantom should you decided to take it along on a trip. Since the overall package size is not that much larger than my transmitter case it wouldn't be difficult to source a hardcase with foam lining for more frequent travel via airline if that's your thing although the original will likely be enough for most.

    Next up will be the basic assembly and setup followed by the maiden flight, stay tuned...

    Ken
     
  2. RTRyder

    RTRyder Merlin of Multirotors

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    Time to get to work, here's a closer look at what you'll find inside the box...

    [​IMG]

    As I mentioned in my first post, well thought out packaging that is sturdy enough to be used for transporting the Phantom. The minimal assembly needed to ready the Phantom to fly means that you can quickly and easily disassemble it and put it all back into the box in a matter of minutes, all you need is a screwdriver.

    OK, next thing to do is lay the pieces out and get ready to begin putting it all together. First thing you may want to do if you're new to multirotors is visit the DJI website and download the manuals. While you're there you should also download the Assistant software, necessary for setting up the Phantom for its first flight. All of the downloads are available here... http://www.dji-innovations.com/products/phantom/downloads/ Note that the Assistant software for the Phantom is different than for the Naza-M flight controller so if you already have the Naza software you still need to download the Phantom version.

    Here are the pieces ready to begin assembly...

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    Now would be a good time to charge the battery so it's ready to use when you get to the point of needing to power the Phantom, this is the battery with included balance charger...

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    The kit also includes the adaptors needed for power outlets in other countries, all neatly packaged in the kit...

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    Read the relevant section of the manual on charging the battery and set it up to charge, it will take a while to fully charge. The charge lead provided also happens to be the right size and connections to fit other chargers, it plugged right into my Hyperion 720i so if you already have a LIPO capable balance charger you may be able to use it to charge the Phantom battery as well as the included charger.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 1, 2013
  3. RTRyder

    RTRyder Merlin of Multirotors

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    First thing to do is install the landing legs onto the body of the Phantom...

    [​IMG]

    You need to route the cable for the compass down through the hole provided in the landing leg. The manual cautions against using a magnetic screwdriver near the compass, so check to make sure the one you're about to use isn't magnetic to avoid any potential damage. Secure the landing leg with the provided screws and move on to the other one...

    [​IMG]

    On this side you need to route the antenna wire down through the hole in the landing leg then secure it with screws.

    While you've got the frame upside down you can also install the GoPro mount if you'll be flying the Phantom with a camera. If you're new to multirotors or don't have much RC experience you may want to wait until you're comfortable flying before adding the camera. Either way it's a simple matter to secure the mount to the frame and can be done at any time.

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    Now that everything is installed on the bottom its time to turn the frame right side up and take care of a few things on the top.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 1, 2013
  4. RTRyder

    RTRyder Merlin of Multirotors

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    One of the things included in the kit is a set of decals. The ones you want to install now are orientation aids that go on the arms to help you visually with which arms are the front and back. On the underside of each arm are LEDs that will give you visibility in low light and also aid in orientation when the Phantom is overhead. At lower level flight it may not be possible to see the LEDs so its a good idea to install the red stripes as shown here...

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    Almost done with the assembly of the hardware, make sure to leave the propellers off until after you complete the initial setup. It's always a good practice to have the props off whenever you have any multirotor powered up on the bench, especially if you will be upgrading firmware or making changes in the firmware.

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    Now we're at the point where you will need to install the battery so you can power up the Phantom and connect to the Assistant software to begin the initial setup. Open the battery bay and you'll find the connector for the battery as well as the USB connection to hook the Phantom to the computer running the Assistant software...

    [​IMG]

    Connect the Phantom to the computer using the USB cable provided in the kit. If you haven't yet installed the Assistant software on a computer now is the time to do it.

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    You can install the battery in the bay or leave it outside the frame for now, once the Assistant software is running you will need to connect the battery to power the internal Naza flight controller for the setup procedure done with the Assistant.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 1, 2013
  5. RTRyder

    RTRyder Merlin of Multirotors

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    After installing the Assistant software and opening the program you'll see this screen. You will need to register using a valid email address where you can receive a verification email that will allow you to activate the software. You will also need to have an Internet connection both to register and to open the Assiatnat for the first time. When you do your first login leave the 'Remember Me" box checked and you then will be able to open the Assistant on that computer in the future without being connected to the Internet, especially useful if you install to a laptop and take it to the field in case you want to make setup changes...

    [​IMG]

    With the Assistant software running you're almost ready to start the setup process, now is the time to get the Phantoms transmitter ready for use. All you need to do is remove the battery bay door and install batteries...

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    At this point you're ready to begin setup with the Assistant software. the Phantom version is far more descriptive and helpful than the basic Naza Assistant to the point that you could work your way through the entire process just by following the steps in the program. If you're new to multirotors and setup programs like this I recommend you read the manual first so you know what to expect as you work your way through the steps necessary to ready the Phantom for flight. Failure to properly complete all the steps could result in unexpected difficulties when attempting the first flight, make sure the calibrations are done completely and the LED displays the correct colors and sequences as you proceed through the steps.

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    One of the more important steps is the compass calibration, this screen shows the procedure that you follow to properly complete the calibration process...

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    Once you've completed the setup in the Assistant you're almost ready for that first flight, just a couple more things to do!
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 1, 2013
  6. RTRyder

    RTRyder Merlin of Multirotors

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    The last bit of assembly prior to take off and the most important one as well, installation of the propellers. Each arm has an arrow that shows the correct direction of rotation for the propeller, each propeller has an arrow that shows the correct direction for it to spin, make sure the directional arrows match when installing the props. In the picture I highlighted the arrow on the props so you can see where its located...

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    Take your time and install all four propellers and also install the nut securely. Don't over tighten the nut as you can damage the prop hub with too much force which could potentially lead to a prop failure, I usually snug it down and then go abut a 1/4 turn more to make sure it's tight. You should check the prop nuts after the first flight and every couple flights afterward to make sure they stay tight...

    [​IMG]

    One last thing to do before that first flight. Since you had the Phantom battery connected and powered on during setup with the Assistant software, put the battery back on the charger and make sure it's fully charged before the first flight. After that you may want to read through the manual one last time to become familiar with the Phantoms flight modes and how to activate them on the controller. Now find a large wide open area away from people, houses, trees and any other objects that might get in the way and fly the Phantom!
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 1, 2013
  7. RTRyder

    RTRyder Merlin of Multirotors

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    This is the very first flight I did with our Phantom, no settings were changed in the Assistant, all I did was assemble it, perform the basic calibrations, charge the battery, and hang one of my GoPro under it. As you can see the conditions weren't the best at the time but overall it flew very much like the other quads I have with Naza flight controllers. The video turned out pretty good for a quad that is essentially as delivered with no tuning yet performed. The next thing I'll be doing is dialing in the setup a bit to see just how smooth and steady I can get the Phantom to perform. If my other Naza are any indication, tuning to suit my preferred flying style should be fairly easy, stay tuned...



    Ken
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 22, 2014 at 3:24 AM
  8. RTRyder

    RTRyder Merlin of Multirotors

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    Reserved #7
     
  9. RTRyder

    RTRyder Merlin of Multirotors

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    Reserved #8
     
  10. Simon Templar

    Simon Templar New Member

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    Gee Ken....you sure seem to have a lot of reservations about this thing! :highly_amused: :highly_amused:




    ....sT
     
  11. Efliernz

    Efliernz Pete

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    First impressions... "is that it?"

    Appears a "little" small... ;)

    Pete
     
  12. Bartman

    Bartman Hot diggity! Staff Member

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    that's pretty funny. we're going to pass it around, i get it when he's done, then Droider, then who knows? maybe we'll have a "fly the Phantom somewhere interesting and post video" thread as it makes its way around the world.
     
  13. nicwilke

    nicwilke New Member

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    subscribed.... and reserved :nevreness:
     
  14. VINHEX

    VINHEX New Member

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    Excellent.. :highly_amused:
     
  15. RTRyder

    RTRyder Merlin of Multirotors

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    Updates in posts 2 though 7...
     
  16. W5HYN

    W5HYN New Member

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    Hmmmm, in the close-up photo of installing a prop the arm is marked counter clockwise, can't see the marking on the prop but looking at the airfoil of the prop it looks like it is a clockwise prop!
     
  17. SMP

    SMP New Member

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    I'm waiting for the Truck guy to take it for a spin ;)
     

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