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Solent - Bank Holiday weekend

by mlines » 28 Aug 2017, 19:29

We managed two trips out over an extended Bank Holiday weekend.

On Friday we went over to Yarmouth, stopping to do some wakeboarding on the way and then walking into town for lunch. It was a lovely day with low winds but a strange chop in the Solent that made the return ride uncomfortable (Easterly wind). It was nice enough to take my new drone for a quick flight over Yarmouth.

On Sunday we went to Cowes to see the start of the Cowes-Torquay-Cowes Powerboat race. Again there was a very annoying chop to the water which was counter to the windless day. We think it was a combination of eastery wind, incoming tide and a confusion of wakes. We retired to the complete calm of Newtown Creek which was a great choice as it was hot, windless and calm. It was full of boats all BBQing, swimming etc. a real summer experience.

Here are some pictures from both days mixed together.

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Last edited by mlines on 28 Aug 2017, 19:35, edited 1 time in total.
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by mlines » 28 Aug 2017, 19:34

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by ian h » 28 Aug 2017, 20:35

Thats what boating is all about making the most of the English weather
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by shibbs » 28 Aug 2017, 22:33

Looks great!!! 8-)
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by Ianfs » 29 Aug 2017, 12:49

Once again, amazing photos Martin.

Also the Spark is an amazing piece of kit, have you managed to fly it with your hand yet? :)
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by ColinR » 30 Aug 2017, 09:06

As above.

I managed to sneak a fishing trip out on Saturday, off Hengistbury Head. Flat calm and very pleasant.

Not a lot of fish, half a dozed good sized mackerel and a small pout. Lost 2 traces to the reef though :roll:

No pics I'm afraid.
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by mlines » 30 Aug 2017, 09:32

Ianfs wrote:Also the Spark is an amazing piece of kit, have you managed to fly it with your hand yet? :)


I have flown it by hand and using the Remote Controller. If anyone is considering buying one I would go for the Fly More kit which is more expensive but actually contains everything you need to fly as the basic kit of just the spark is too limited (I went with the Fly More).

Hand flying is useful for a very quick picture/video of yourself. Best described as selfie mode. It saves you setting up the remote controller (this takes a minute or two to connect up).

The ability to hand launch and recover is great, especially as James valiantly sacrificed his fingers to the exercise (you need to be careful landing it on your hand!)

However, it currently has a few issues. It is almost as if DJI released an advance Beta set of software for the public to test for them. Up until last week the software had a bug in it that would cause the Spark to fall out of the sky completely dead. It looks like they have fixed this. You will also see a number of people complaining of "fly aways". However these often seem to be user error as users do not seem to appreciate that this is a short range drone, designed to be used in close quarters pictures. Once it gets to its range limit you are pushing your luck as to whether it actually returns to you.

It also has a single internal compass rather than the dual compass of larger models. This compass is affected by metal and magnetic fields and as its a single compass there is no ability for the computer to compare readings and realise that the compass is wrong. This again causes fly offs. You have to be really aware of your surroundings as metal is everywhere (concrete is full of metal rebar for instance, do not launch from a concrete pad). With boats you have a large lump of metal in the back and lots of electrical kit so you have to be careful that the internal compass is OK before launch. I have had one related incident on Sunday when bringing the Spark back onto a marina pontoon. Of course a pontoon is full of metal, mains electricity and WiFi feed cables. As the Spark came into land it suddenly went sharply sideways, heading for the water. I managed to climb it again rapidly away from the interference and land it on my hand instead.

Being very small it is very portable and very discrete when flying. However being small it is limited by its performance in wind.

Nice bit of kit and improving with each software release.
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by Ianfs » 31 Aug 2017, 08:24

Watching some youtube channels, 4K seems to be their aim and a few drone manufacturers are flogging it as the future. I find it great for watching F1 in ultra for example, however for me it is a pain for amateur use, my son and I were editing some footage taken in 4K and it not only takes forever but you need a massive card to store even small amounts.

Consequently a flying camera like the Spark, I think it does have HD, not sure, but anyway, the resolution is fantastic.

Martin, you mentioned the compass, can you disconnect it and use GPS instead?
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by mlines » 31 Aug 2017, 08:48

Ian

The Spark takes stills @4K and video at 1080p (HD)


The internal compass and GPS work together. GPS doesn't give heading information unless moving (as visible on a chartplotter when moored up, your heading is all over the place). The compass gives the heading information.

It does seem that a little maths could have been used to solve the problem ie. once the compass loses heading information then any movement of the drone would restore heading information as the GPS will kick in. However it seems that once it loses heading information from the compass due to magnetic interference then it can suddenly shoot off on its own. This is also a function of the "Return to Home" capability. It is constantly monitoring its battery state and calculating whether it can return to its pre-programmed return point. Once it gets to the point where only enough battery is left to get home it automatically invokes a return. If at any random point in the flight, way before low battery, it calculates erroneous information on its location (ie much further away than it actually is) then it will suddenly decide it needs to return home. Unfortunately as it is a "beginner" level drone it is not possible to turn off this automation so you have to rely on it taking correct decisions. Still it seems basically reliable as there must be 1000's of them out there and only a few complaints. It quite clearly states in the manual to avoid metal objects and also to move away quicky when you see yellow magnetic interference warnings on the screen. It appears that some people ignore the warnings and press on with flying.
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by ColinR » 31 Aug 2017, 09:06

Drones are an interesting technology but can be a real nuisance. One of our neighbours has one that he plays with all the time. It is really noisy and a pain when it's a nice sunny day or evening and you want to spend some pleasant time in the garden. If I knew exactly which house it was I would have words but it is over the back from us. Also I believe that he is breaking the law as it is withing 50m of private dwellings / people? Not sure on that. He does keep it within the confines of his garden but we do see it occasionally buzzing about. Am I allowed to "accidentally" shoot it down?

Edit, just found this

Anyone flying a drone in the UK needs to follow some basic rules.
The drone must always be kept in sight, and must be flown no higher than 400ft (122.9m), or further than 500m away.
Drone users should not fly near airports or other aircraft.
They should keep at least 50m away from people, vehicles, vessels, buildings or structures, unless these are “under the control” of the drone pilot.
The drone pilot should not fly over or within 150m of a congested area or large gathering of people.
They should also get permission from the landowner of wherever they take off and land.
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