Cost at the time of publication: $37
Who is this device for: For those who take their first steps into the world of quadcopters
Recently, there have been a lot of quadcopters around. Almost everywhere you look in the blogosphere, they are everywhere. Varlamov photographs Moscow from a quadcopter, Navalny photographs someone’s dachas, and Sergey Dolya takes great pictures of nature (don’t worry if you don’t know who all these people are, consider that they are just those who take pictures from quadcopters).
Therefore, of course, I had a desire to purchase a quadrocopter for myself, and for a very long time. Periodically, I asked my flying friends, they say, what would I buy this for a start. They sent me a link. I opened it. Closed. Because I have no desire to spend 500 dollars on something that I can easily throw away later. A quadrocopter is not a SLR, you can’t sell it on the bulletin board.
But then something interesting happened — Sergey Uvarov came up with the format of the Chinese Flea Market for the Youtube channel iXBT.com, and Chinese goods fell on us. Initially, we thought that we would show only smartphones there, or, at worst, tablets. But in the comments they demanded “Give us video cards! Notebooks! Damn bald!”
As a result, I decided to take a chance and order an inexpensive camera quad from TomTop. It’s called the Skytech TK106, and it has a camera, a remote, and four screws. In general, everything you need in order to try. Briefly about it you can see here in this video of the “Chinese flea market”.
A quadrocopter came to me in a cardboard box, pretty exhausted by the delivery of Russian mail. On the box there is a model number, the name of the company (Skytech, I didn’t notice it during the flea market), and briefly the characteristics that don’t really tell me anything, but warnings that children under 3 years old should not be given a quadric, in 6 languages including Russian (and without English 0_o).
Inside, the quadcopter is packed very high quality, the device itself was put in soft foam rubber, the remote control was in cardboard, so, in general, everything inside was intact. The delivery set inspires some bewilderment — it, for example, has a microSD (okay, this can still be understood) and a microSD card reader (why is that?). Instead of all this junk, an extra battery would be much more useful (and I will explain why later). However, the kit also included the necessary, understandable things: landing “legs”, screw protection, a cord for charging the battery, a remote control, a screwdriver.
When assembled, the quadcopter looks very nice, somewhat similar to the more expensive Syma products.
The remote immediately resembles the one used in the Microsoft XBox. You need to shove as many as 4 AA batteries into it, for all the time that I drive the quadric, they never sat down.
Next, I will talk about some oddities, which, as it turned out later, are characteristic of all quadrocopters. Well, firstly, for some reason, manufacturers are very, well, incredibly fond of fixing everything with screws. The latch of the battery compartment in the remote control is fixed on them. And that’s what a screwdriver is for! Honestly, I didn’t spin this thing at all, why? And so everything is going well.
The maximum flight time of the quad is 3–5 minutes, depending on the attached body kit, and whether the camera is turned on or not. At first I thought — fu, what nonsense, and then I saw that even devices for $ 200–300 fly for 5–7 minutes, and to stay in the air for 15 minutes you need to spend quite an impressive amount.
Of course, the feature is sad, but it would not hurt me so much if the manufacturer
a) put a second battery in the kit, which is obviously cheaper than a 4 GB microSD and a card reader (I already ordered a second one for 300 rubles, but when will it arrive?).
b) at least somehow thought out a system for changing these damned batteries.
The last point deserves a special mention. The fact is that if you have never been fond of modeling and quadrics, and you think that everything is at least somewhat simple with changing batteries, then you should not think like that. The battery is connected to the quadcopter motor with a miniature connector, like a cooler to the motherboard, only 2–3 times smaller. In order to open it, you need to press it in a very cunning way, and it began to work out for me only after about a week. If you want to charge the battery, then — BINGO — you need to pull out this connector, plug it into the charging cord, and then, after everything is charged, plug the connector back into the copter. For dessert, it is worth mentioning that there is no charging indicator in the standard wire.
The above things, of course, are capable of bringing to white heat, they stopped annoying me only after a week. I just humbled myself and began to enjoy it. After all, all this time I … Tried to fly.
I must say that I spent most of the flight time in the kitchen. I rarely went outside, only to shoot a video, and all this because I had only one battery.
I watched a lot of videos with quadcopters, and often they had some complicated synchronization procedures with the remotes. Here, everything turned out to be just elementary — you need to turn on the flyer and then the remote control, they both beep, and you can “start”.
The quadcopter inside is very simple, it supports only two control modes — manual, and the so-called headless. Headless is a “semi-automatic”, that is, no matter which side the quadric is turned towards you, if you push the stick to the left, it will fly to the left, focusing on the remote. In manual mode, if you press “left”, and the quadcopter is turned towards you not with its tail, but with its “face”, then it will fly to the right. Basically I’ve been learning the “manual” mode all the time.
The remote control lies comfortably in the hands and its functionality is good. There is a diagram in the kit that explains everything.
The “gas button” has only one mode at all, apparently, it is responsible for the current that is supplied to the motor. The copter does not know how to maintain altitude.
Keeping the quadcopter in manual mode at a given height, and even during the wind, is another test. And, you know… That’s the fun part. I’ve had my quadric for almost two weeks now, and anyway, at any free moment, I run to run it in the kitchen. 5 minutes. And then charge again, half an hour. Sometimes I go outside with it, but without a second battery it’s pretty dreary.
I took video and photos from the quadcopter, but I realized that it is very difficult to navigate with it. Without real-time image transmission, it’s completely incomprehensible where the lens is turned and what will be in the frame at one time or another.
I’m thinking about some other quadcopter. This time, probably, dollars for 200–250. It is necessary to fly, until it is completely forbidden.
- I have a camera
- There are screw protection, landing legs
- Convenient remote control
- Flight time is only 5 minutes
- Inconvenient to charge and change the battery
- It is really difficult to control a quadrocopter, they say it is much easier for normal models
Despite such a primitive device, I am very pleased with the acquisition. For $36, it turned out to be a real step into the world of quadcopters. Probably, for this money, if you dig around, you can find something better, but there is not so much information — all professional copter YouTube channels are condescending to such little ones. Be that as it may, here is a link where you can look at the copter and find out its current price.