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Flying from a boat -

AirHuna

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Any body else flying regularly from a boat over the ocean.

I have so much footage that i haven't got to, but here some test stuff as I am still learning.

I've only had my XSP since January but most of my flying is from our boat. Was a little scary at first but after just under 200 flights I have become "cautiously comfortable" with the process. Dont hear to many people talking about it and there wasnt to much info on it when I started. Learned and got some experience on land but the main reason i got the XSP was to film/fly from the boat.

So far... I have only had a couple of white knuckle moments mostly do to wind restrictions and trying to push when to fly.

After 6 months and what i think is a fair amount of my type of flying, here are some highlights from my experience with Autel and the XSP for anybody thinking along the same lines as the way I use it.

I have used the Nvidia Shield tablet from the start and have 6 batteries set up with 2 chargers. I have Eachine Goggles Two / 1080 which i use when the conditions are right.

  1. Amazing bird with a great camera but I'm new to drones and not a photographer. I'm a boat guy. :)
  2. I have had lots of conversations with Autel Support and well... They are great!
  3. I am on my 3rd bird because of developing motor mount cracks on the first 2 which concerns me, but seems like that happens. I explained to Autel in detail the way I use it and they didnt see anything that I was doing that might cause the cracks. Each time Autel has replaced the bird no problem and the second time actually got to me overnight cause we were leaving the next day for the Islands. I did however have to pay the shipping.

---

  1. In the Bahamas over the open water, much over 12-14kts of wind and it gets pretty hairy. I almost always set up my flights in to the wind unless its flat calm.
  2. I always hand launch and hand catch.
  3. My safe flight times are closer to 16-18 minutes. I shoot for being back onboard at 30-40%. My batt settings are 10% & 25%.
  4. Average distance for me is .75-1 mile but i have a pair of parabolic extenders that I occasionally use that get me just over 2 miles, however they are directional. Have to point the controller to the bird.
  5. Glare is always a problem and i have the best luck with a make shift type towel/hood that I use to better see the screen. The Eachine Goggles Two work pretty well but with dealing with the hdmi cable and having to put them on and take them off make it kinda of hard to use them very often.
  6. Follow Me function works pretty well except I would like to see the home point automatically updated every few seconds while active. When i use Follow Me I make sure to manually update the home point first thing after exiting Follow Me mode or the bird with take off for the original home point if I'm past the 50% battery/distance calculation. I have always had time to update the home point even if i have had to cancel the go home function.
  7. If I'm moving and the bird is up, I update the home point often, dont venture more than .5 miles away and always fly ahead of us unless stopped and drifting.
  8. Because of the crack issue that I have had, I now inspect the bird before each session not necessarily before each flight, especially the motor mount area.
  9. Most of my batteries have over 40 cycles and while i have not had any battery related issues like some have, i do have some slight swelling which i am watching. I have conditioned the batts after each 20ish cycles.
  10. I recently experienced the app disconnecting right after connecting.The problem appeared to be the camera connections and after removing/replacing the camera a couple times per Autel support suggestion the problem went away. I think the connections get dirty especially around the salt air environment.

Lastly... I will have to say that this thing has added a whole new dimension to our cruising/boating experience and well... is just plain cool!
 

AZ Autel

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Any body else flying regularly from a boat over the ocean.

I have so much footage that i haven't got to, but here some test stuff as I am still learning.

I've only had my XSP since January but most of my flying is from our boat. Was a little scary at first but after just under 200 flights I have become "cautiously comfortable" with the process. Dont hear to many people talking about it and there wasnt to much info on it when I started. Learned and got some experience on land but the main reason i got the XSP was to film/fly from the boat.

So far... I have only had a couple of white knuckle moments mostly do to wind restrictions and trying to push when to fly.

After 6 months and what i think is a fair amount of my type of flying, here are some highlights from my experience with Autel and the XSP for anybody thinking along the same lines as the way I use it.

I have used the Nvidia Shield tablet from the start and have 6 batteries set up with 2 chargers. I have Eachine Goggles Two / 1080 which i use when the conditions are right.

  1. Amazing bird with a great camera but I'm new to drones and not a photographer. I'm a boat guy. :)
  2. I have had lots of conversations with Autel Support and well... They are great!
  3. I am on my 3rd bird because of developing motor mount cracks on the first 2 which concerns me, but seems like that happens. I explained to Autel in detail the way I use it and they didnt see anything that I was doing that might cause the cracks. Each time Autel has replaced the bird no problem and the second time actually got to me overnight cause we were leaving the next day for the Islands. I did however have to pay the shipping.

---

  1. In the Bahamas over the open water, much over 12-14kts of wind and it gets pretty hairy. I almost always set up my flights in to the wind unless its flat calm.
  2. I always hand launch and hand catch.
  3. My safe flight times are closer to 16-18 minutes. I shoot for being back onboard at 30-40%. My batt settings are 10% & 25%.
  4. Average distance for me is .75-1 mile but i have a pair of parabolic extenders that I occasionally use that get me just over 2 miles, however they are directional. Have to point the controller to the bird.
  5. Glare is always a problem and i have the best luck with a make shift type towel/hood that I use to better see the screen. The Eachine Goggles Two work pretty well but with dealing with the hdmi cable and having to put them on and take them off make it kinda of hard to use them very often.
  6. Follow Me function works pretty well except I would like to see the home point automatically updated every few seconds while active. When i use Follow Me I make sure to manually update the home point first thing after exiting Follow Me mode or the bird with take off for the original home point if I'm past the 50% battery/distance calculation. I have always had time to update the home point even if i have had to cancel the go home function.
  7. If I'm moving and the bird is up, I update the home point often, dont venture more than .5 miles away and always fly ahead of us unless stopped and drifting.
  8. Because of the crack issue that I have had, I now inspect the bird before each session not necessarily before each flight, especially the motor mount area.
  9. Most of my batteries have over 40 cycles and while i have not had any battery related issues like some have, i do have some slight swelling which i am watching. I have conditioned the batts after each 20ish cycles.
  10. I recently experienced the app disconnecting right after connecting.The problem appeared to be the camera connections and after removing/replacing the camera a couple times per Autel support suggestion the problem went away. I think the connections get dirty especially around the salt air environment.

Lastly... I will have to say that this thing has added a whole new dimension to our cruising/boating experience and well... is just plain cool!
Excellent, question, how do you condition the batteries? Thx Bob

Sent from my SM-N915V using Tapatalk
 

WildDoktor

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Wow...thank you for the write up! Very well written, and should be part of Autel's FAQs.

I also have the K1, and recently bought the Goggles Two for the "glare" issue. I've only used them once so far. Like you, I'm finding them inconvenient. The right angle adapter I bought broke on the first use, and I don't have a mini to mini cable yet, so I'm stuck with the K1 and my Note 5. I like the Note 5 screen better, but it is a bit small.

Do you use filters at all? I just got to experiment with my Neewer set a couple days ago, and I really think it decreases the glare on the screen, which is totally bizarre.

Again, thank you...that's almost 7 months of wisdom packed into a single post, and I appreciate it!

Sent using Tapatalk
 
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AirHuna

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AZ Autel - Since most of my flights return with 30-40% I will draw the battery down every 20ish cycles to 7%. As I understand it, this conditions the battery and removes any false battery memory.

WildDoktor - I have a set of 4 Tiffen filters and use the Polarizer filter mostly with what I think is noticable results reducing glare over the water. I have tried the ND4 in the evening but to be honest ND filter wise I dont know what I doing. I called Tiffen when i got them a few months ago and they were great at trying to educate me, but again Im boat guy trying to learn something about drone photography. :)
 
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Ricco

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You summed it up very well and nice video.

I also fly a lot from my sailboat but didn't dare to use my XSP so far as due to the standing rigging, mast, etc. take-offs and landings can be challenging as you mention in windy conditions and flying has to be very precise which is not the strong side of the XSP. Not mentioning when the boat is moving.
I use the Mavic and P4 taking off from the boat itselfe but always hand catching at the bow in calm conditions and at the stern in windy conditions or when moving.
It can get a little challenging in winds around 15mph and I do not take off when the boat is moving and the water is not calm.

Thanks for your detailed write-up
 

Old Bama Dude

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Updating the home point often sounds like a good idea when you're moving. I talked with a guy who had a P2, and took it with him fishing in the gulf. Don't know exactally what happened, from what he told me sounds it decided to return home while they were moving and I guess the home point was somewhere they had been before. Now it sleeps with the fishes. Pontoons just might be a good idea.
 
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AirHuna

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Cracks & Epoxy


Thought I would post an update on my experience over the last month for anyone that might find it useful.

As mentioned above I am on my 3rd bird. A few days after my post above and after only 35 flights this one developed motor mount cracks also. Two on the top mounts and one very small one starting on the bottom of the mounts. Sending back was not an option this time and I really needed to keep it flying over the next 6 weeks to get the video content I wanted so I contact Autel to see what my options were.


Response:
========

Hello Rodney
Thank you for reaching out to us again. There is definitely some sort of a difference here that we would like to figure out. We have only had a hand full of cracked airframes over the past year. Your 3 account for a very large portion of this. Since you are out in the water (I'm Jealous), what kind of props are you using and what has been the wind speed?

Any kind of sealant will work fine as a temporary fix as long as you test it out on plastic beforehand to make sure it's not going to have a bad chemical reaction and melt the plastic.
I have these notes here and let me know when you are back so we can get that aircraft back to us for evaluation.

Tim M
===========

I let him know that i have always used stock props and that I only fly in less than 14-15kts wind and off i went to Mr. Fix it / Island engineering mode.

I keep Marine Tex Epoxy, " kinda like the marine version of JB weld" on board for use on all kinds of stuff so that's what I decided to use. I have used it on plastic before with good results. I had roughly 80-100 more flights planned until i get back to Florida and just patching the crack didn't seem like the best solution. I sort always overbuild everything so I decided to add some strength to all for arms/mounts and try to keep things balanced as best as possible.

Disclaimer --- Buyer Beware... :) I am not an engineer... I'm a boat guy and we tend to have to fix stuff on the fly. I'm not suggesting this, just passing on what has work for me so far.

What I did:
  1. Cleaned area with damp rag & dried
  2. Tape up heat vents and created a decent edge
  3. Roughed up the plastic using 80 grit sand paper
  4. Mix up enough for 2 aft mounts / then split into roughly equal parts & applied
  5. Mix up enough for 2 fwd mounts / then split into roughly equal parts & applied
  6. I went all the way around and back towards the center to try and spread out the load.
  7. Evened out as best I could then let it sit for an hour till it became tack free but still a little pliable. It was kinda like silly putty at that point and I was able to even, flatten and clean it up some.
  8. No way to really tell but I tried for a thickness of 1/16 on the arms and 1/8 inch thickness in the corners
  9. Removed the tape while still pliable and set it in our engine room for 12 hours, about 107 degrees.
  10. I gave it a total drying time of 18 hours and then set out to fly it. :)
The bird gets epoxy casts. Here is what it looks like now. Not to pretty but seems to be functional.

IMAG3388.jpg

Takeaways... after 68 more flights averaging 15ish minutes.

  • Added some weight but doesn't seem to effect its flying but I think the fix cost me about 1 minute of flying time. Weight, aerodynamics? Above my pay grade.
  • The mounts were always sort of bendable but now they are pretty stiff and no signs of stress cracks since. I wondered if the stress would be transferred further in towards the center and just moving the weak point but so far there are no indications of that happening.
  • The Marine Tex seems to have made a very good bond to the plastic.
The pretty is gone and now its become a work horse. Have another week or so of flying planned so I will decide if I'm going to send it back when I return, after I see how it holds up.

This seems like a design flaw to me, as I just don't think I'm that hard on it. But I still think it shoots great video.

 
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QuadSquad

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As far as filters go......

The ND filters are going to allow you to stay closer, in bright conditions, to a camera setting that gives a more cinematic feel, somewhere around 24 fps, with an iso of 100.

To reduce glare, and deepen the blue in the sky, you'll want to use a CP filter. This has to be rotated, before takeoff, while monitoring the live feed, to find the spot that cuts the glare. Keep in mind, that this setting will only remain effective, as long as you keep the angle of the sun the same, in relation to your subject. Once you change the polarization angle of the light reaching the lense, the filter is ineffective. The filter does allow a little play... so, you can pan a little left and right. I generally think you can get away with 70 degrees of shift, 35 degrees either way from the original axis, before you'll need to re-set your filter.
 

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