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THE QUADCOPTER REVOLUTION
The emergence and proliferation of quadcopter technology has blown traditional remote controlled helicopters into a tailspin. As RC enthusiasts and developer of both helicopter and multicopters, we have witnessed first hand the dramatic transformation of a once vibrant RC helicopter market into an explosive professional quadcopter industry in aerial videos. Harnessing decades of advanced helicopter technology, quadcopters are now widely adapted for a wide range of applications. Let’s examine some of the mystery that lead to this transition.
QUADCOPTERS VERSUS HELICOPTERS
The equivalent of hybrid helicopters, quadcopters are designed to combine the agility and wind resistance of collective pitched helicopters with the stability of pilot friendly co-axial (double layer rotors) helicopters. Pilot level required for collective pitch single rotor helicopter is comparable to riding unicycles, where as quadcopter pilot skills are comparable to riding bicycles. Offering the best of both worlds, quadcopters are easy to learn and wind resistant at the same time. Every other quadcopter motor is alternately a clockwise and a counter-clockwise rotor to cancel torque. This inherently stable format is further accentuated by 3-axis gyro technology in the form of a flight controller plus GPS based functions on more sophisticated quadcopter models. While payload under a traditional helicopter structure is at best awkward, quadcopters are well adapted to carrying cameras and gimbals with minimal affects on center of gravity.
BASICS QUADCOPTER CONTROLS
Like most remote controlled vehicles, quadcopters are piloted via a transmitter radio’s joysticks and switches. These instructions are then transmitted and received by a receiver on the quadcopter. The quadcopter flight controller serves as the central station where all incoming information is processed. An advanced attitude sensor or 3-axis gyro provides continuously updated flight status while the flight receiver relates instructions from the flight transmitter operated by the pilot. Mixing the pilot’s signals with output from its electronic gyros, the flight controller algorithm calculates and signals the ESCs which in turn determines the speed of individual motors. Even with proper instructions, it's still up to the power of the rotors and the stability of the quacopter structure to execute flight requirements.
A TORQUE FREE ARCHITECTURE
While the main frame (hub) houses all the electronics, four radiating arms (booms) provide stable mounting positions for 4 rotors. Each rotor consists of a propeller driven by a motor controlled by an ESC (electronic speed controller) which is usually located on a ventilated location near the main hub. Applying Newton’s third law of physics - for every action force there is an equal and opposite reaction - a quadcopter’s clockwise and counter clockwise rotors results in a torque free system. In contrast, a conventional helicopter’s single clockwise rotor forces its fuselage to rotate in a counter-clockwise direction which is then countered by a very complex and vulnerable tail rotor system. With 4 rotors doing the work of one, quadcopter rotors also don’t have to spin as fast for more efficiency, less vibrations and reduced noise levels.
MOTORS AND MANEUVERS
Quadcopter motor#1 and motor#3 are counter-clockwise and motor#2 & motor#4 are clockwise. Increasing and decreasing rotor speeds on any side creates the pitch (tilting forward or backward) and roll (banking right or left) responsible for a quadcopter’s lateral movements. The synchronized speed of all motors provides throttle (climbing & descending) to control the quadcopter’s altitude. As oppose to using the tail rotor for the yaw (turning right or left), a quadcopter utilizes the torque differential between the clockwise and counter clockwise propellers. For example, by speeding up the clockwise rotors and/or slowing down the counter-clockwise rotors, the quadcopter gather more torque towards the counter-clockwise direction thus turning the quadcopter's heading to the left.
THE IMPORTANCE OF CENTER OF GRAVITY
Having a well-balanced CG (Center of Gravity) is crucial to any aircraft operations. In the case of quadcopters, CG is usually located in the midpoint between four rotors. Any payload, such as camera and gimbal not located at the quadcopter’s CG are usually compensated by moving the battery in the opposite direction. Without proper CG, one or more of the quadcopter rotors will constantly strain to maintain balance. Due to a lack of knowledge, experience and planning, CG is often the Achilles’ heel of many privately integrated a.k.a. DIY quadcopters. A flight controller with associated gyros should be located at CG. To adjust and verify proper CG, find 2 opposing points next to the flight controller and lift the quadcopter with your left and right index fingers. The quadcopter should represent a well-leveled seesaw. If the quadcopter is not properly balanced, the operator can adjust CG by moving either the payload or the battery until the seesaw levels.
A quadcopter's aerodynamics is quite different than that of an airplane. Unlike wings providing lift on an airplane, extensive quadcopter surfaces represent a significant liability in wind resistance. This is especially critical in gusty conditions and when a quadcopter is descending. More advanced DJI Naza and A2 flight controllers and SimonK electronic flight controller firmware offer algorithms that address both issues.
STRUTURAL INTEGRITY WITHOUT EXCESS WEIGHT
Inadequate infrastructure can negatively impact larger quadcopters than smaller systems. Since smaller quadcopter possesses neither high torque nor long arms, rigidity on smaller toy quadcopters doesn’t garner the same relevance compared to larger structures. The lifting power of rotors determines a quadcopter’s total budgeted takeoff weight. If you exhaust this budget with a heavy structure, you will have nothing left for critical payload. Although light and stronger materials is generally beneficial to quadcopter structures, larger quadcopter are especially prone to the negative impact of plastic components and inadequate structures. An uncompromised quadcopter architecture starts with carbon fiber and aluminum instead of plastic injection molded components. Rigid long arms/booms for spanning distances between larger stiffer propellers and well designed aluminum brackets for securing and anchoring components are hallmarks of a well-planned quadcopter design. Cheaper quadcopters usually resort to mass-produced plastic frame, arms and brackets that result in excessive flex and weight.
SIMPLICITY EASES MAINTENANCE & REPAIRS
If you haven’t notice already, there are no gears or long shafts on quadcopter designs. Fast spinning gears on long vulnerable shafts are a pain in the neck to align and maintain on helicopters. Ever try mounting and maintaining pinion and gears on a helicopter? It’s a nightmare you don’t have to deal with on a quadcopter. In fact I’m dumbfounded that commercial helicopters aren’t quadcopters. One possible deterrent is the cost of four sets of motors and controllers (ESCs) versus one. On smaller cheaper quadcopters, a $5 set of motor and ESC multiplied by 4 is only $20. But on a much larger quadcopter, with a $200 set of motor and ESC the total cost for 4 motors and ESCs can easily escalates to $800.
THREE BASIC CATEGORIES OF QUADCOPTERS
Beyond the obvious limitation of size in quadcopter functions, the specification of each component has varied effects on performance. With a wingspan (propeller tip to tip) of 6” to 12”, many toy quadcopters are usually constructed from molded plastic parts and brush motors. A couple of popular models include the Walkera Ladybird and E-Flite Nano QX/MQX that are perfect for a little fun and getting your feet wet. Next comes the hobby quadcopters at 13” to 24”. These mid sized quadcopters, many of them look like a white plastic starfish, can usually carry small cameras but struggle with gimbal (camera mount) options due to a lack of power, flight time and stability. Good videos are possible with upgraded hobby quadcopters in perfect operating conditions - in other words all stars have to be aligned for a decent video. For professional and industrial applications, there is no substitute for a full size quadcopter with an ideal mix of high quality components. Only with a wingspan approaching 3 feet or more, can a quadcopter generate enough power and lift to accommodate higher quality gimbals without compromising safety and video stability. Some of the quadcopter models are fully assembled, tested and ready to fly (Walkera Lady Bird/QR X350, E-Flite Nano QX/350 QX, Turbo Ace X830/Matrix, DJI Phantom, CX650-R) while others are just kits (Gaui 330X/S & 550X/S, AX650-K) which require assembly and testing. Further more many DIY systems will require additional receivers and transmitter radios (Gaui 330X/S, & 500X/S, AX650-R, CX650-R).
* Toys & Trainer Quadcopters: 6-12 inches wingspan (Walkera Lady Bird, E-Flite Nano QX/MQX) micro are well suited for both indoor & outdoor flight. And because they are lighter and more resistant to crashes, they are often used for training quadcopter pilots.
* Hobby Quadcopters: 12-24 inches wingspan (Walkera Hoten-X/QR X350/MX400, TBS Discovery, DJI Phantom/2/Vision/Vision+, Gaui 330X/500, AR.Drone, Arducopter) Most of these quadcopters has the capacity to carry a small camera such as the GoPro Hero3. Due to limited payload, the addition of camera mounts or gimbals on these systems will significantly compromise performance, flight time and video quality.
* Professional Quadcopters: 25-30 inches approximately (Turbo Ace Matrix/X830/X720, Draganflyer X4, Lotus T380/T580, AX650-K/R, CX650-R) With larger and more powerful rotors, professional quadcopters are especially prone to structural dificiencies (e.g. T380/T580 quadcopter). Look for a well-braced infrastructure with stiff carbon fiber or aluminum booms (e.g. X830 quadcopter). Foldability for shipping and storage is an important asset for many professional applications. A comprehensively glide and lock solution is crucial in providing both rigidity and security (e.g. Matrix quadcopter).
PILOT TRAINING FOR DUMMIES
Kick start pilot training with some fun hands-on flying. Although simulators offer a controlled environment, it should only play a supplemental role in pilot training. The primary training tool should be an inexpensive palm sized quadcopter (e.g. Blade Nano QX & Blade 180 QX) or if you have a more flexible budge, a hobby quadcopter (e.g. Blade 350 QX, Phantom 2 or Phantom 2 Vision). Lighter palm sized quadcopters are extremely crash resistant so you will spend more time flying and less time fixing. Even if you eventually break a propeller, it only takes about a minute to switch out a $3 propeller on a small quadcopter (Blade Nano QX). Charge up 3-4 batteries in advance and schedule 20-30 minute sessions 5 times a week. Initially, fly in a tail-in (tail towards the pilot) orientation so that the transmitter's cyclic (directional) stick corresponds to the quadcopter's direction. Stay at least 2-3 feet above the ground so the wash (deflected air) from the ground does not interfere with the quadcopter's stability. With consistent practice, training sessions can then focus on intermediate orientations (e.g. tail-out & tail-to-left-or-right) and patterns (e.g. circles and figure 8). Depending on individual's hand-eye coordination, you should be ready to transition to conservative flights on larger quadcopter in a one to two weeks. Any prior experience with RC cars, airplanes or even video games will certainly speed up this process.
THE UPGRADE TRAP FOR HOBBY SIZED QUADCOPTERS
In general, camera and gimbal payloads exert too much stress on hobby quadcopters, the main cause of erratic videos and shorter flight time. Rampant problems call for an ever-increasing amount of remedies. From carbon propellers that exert excessive force on stock motors to larger motors that exert excessive force on weaker frames, each solution often leads to a new problem. Misinformation and exaggerated upgrade claims from factories, vendors and overzealous “end user” reviews often leads to unrealistic expectations. Smooth Youtube videos taken from white hobby grade quadcopters are the exceptions rather than the rule. Almost without exception, these videos are taken in near perfect conditions by factory sponsored pilots who spend days piecing together post edited videos. Even then only the best of the best will surface to the forefront of Youtube search for public consumption.
GO BIG OR GO HOME
In the world of quadcopter there is no substitute for size and power. Stock quadcopter propeller is a very good indicator of the quadcopter's capacity to carry payloads because you are not forcing small stock motors to drive larger after market propellers. If the plan is to stick with a small camera without an auto-stabilized gimbal to take casual videos, the minimum is 9" propellers. Flight time will be approximately 10 to 20 minutes with the camera onboard. If you try to push beyond the maximum flight time like the ones on Youtube videos, you risk damaging expensive batteries. When you use higher capacity batteries on a smaller or medium quadcopters, you are trading performance and video stability for marginal flight time gains while decreasing the life span of over taxed motors. If you go overboard with a huge battery, the flight time will actually decrease. For most videographers, an ideal setup is a compact camera mounted on an auto-stabilized gimbal (camera mount) with video transmitter for live video feed. Video stability and flight time with this larger payload require a big quadcopters with 12" propellers (e.g. X830 quadcopter) for about 9 to 15 minutes of flight time depending on the size and weight of battery you are going to implement. Going bigger with 15" propellers (Matrix quadcopter) will yield 20 to 25 minutes of awesome stability.
A NOTE ON OPEN SOURCE ARDUINO
Open source Arduino flight controllers might be a tempting format for individuals who are interested in adding customized features for research. But generally speaking, the most desirable user-friendly features are already integrated on leading flight controllers. Even from the point of view of an experienced hobbyist, Arduino presents an extremely difficult challenge. Integration may take months and the outcome is often disappointing for the average DIY integrator because an extensive and constant amount of tuning is required. You should leave custom Arduino integration to the experts.
A NOTE ON FOLDABLE QUADCOPTERS
First of all, you don’t need a diminutive sized quadcopter to be foldable. It’s the larger quadcopters that benefits the most from a portable design because you can easily fold it down for transport and storage. The challenge lies in a larger quadcopter’s requirement for a rigid structure for increased torque on expanded frame that consist of longer propellers on longer arms. Let’s take a closer look at a couple of examples. The QU4D offers an easy pop in “C” brackets design, but the booms can pop out just as easily during flight. How about the new Walkera QR X800 featuring arms that can be removed? Not such a good idea either. Both are common but marginal folding solutions with compromised performance due to vibrations and osilations. Fortunately, there is a new generation of foldable quadcopters on the horizon with the ideal mix of professional performance on a foldable platform. Also know as the Matrix, these cutting edge designs, with well anchored arms, penetrate and lock into the main frame providing exceptionally smooth and ultra stabilized videos.
DRAWBACKS OF STANDARD TRANSMITTER & RECEIVERS
Consistent signal strength at longer distances is vital to reliable quadcopter operations but stiff competition in transmitter brands is a breeding ground for overstated specifications. It’s one thing if you are dealing with a $50 toy that weighs a little more than a paper airplane. It’s a whole different matter if you don’t want to jeopardize $3,000 of equipment. Toy transmitter range is usually about 50 feet. If you go beyond this range you may never see the little quadcopter again because the controls are usually stuck in the throttle up position when pilot looses contact. Although hobby grade 2.4GHz transmitter such as the ones used on Walkera and DJI Phantom quadcopters are specced for 500-1000 yards, the real distance is only about 500 feet. Also, you should avoid all quadcopters using the iPhone's 2.4GHz WiFi for live video feed, because the operator is forced to use 5.8GHz for piloting the quadcopter. This is an inferior combination since 2.4GHz should be reserved for the reliable piloting signals while 5.8GHz provides faster and higher data transfer rates for videos. Without an established standard for testing, a manufacturer can easily claim a 3,000 feet range when the signals is only working 90% of the time. Even if a transmitter is functioning with 95% reliability per minute at 500 feet distance, odds are you will loose signals in every other 10-minute flight. For the most part, a failsafe Return-to-Home function is able to save and recover your quadcopter from signal lost. However, preconditions include having proper GPS calibration for specific locations, establishing GPS based home position prior to takeoff, maintaining all satellite connections and hoping no trees/buildings are in the way. With these real world concerns, it's best to integrate a reputable transmitter and receiver with reliable signals than to be overly dependent on GPS based Return-to-Home functions.
RELIABLE LONG DISTANCE TRANSMITTER & RECEIVERS
To address safety and to safeguard your long-term investment, a reliable transmitter and receiver set up is an indispensable element of any professional aerial video platform. To service long range operations, a new generation of advanced transmitters such as the Spektrum DX8 and Futaba 14SG employ a combination of cutting-edge technology in the 2.4GHz bandwidth. Frequency hopping technology enables the transmitter to hop amongst bandwidths with the least amount of traffic. Advance algorithms on multiple receivers or antennas are implemented at different locations for signal path diversity. And, as a last line of defense, these faster transmitters can recover from signal loss within a fraction of a second (as oppose to 3-4 seconds on standard 2.4GHz transmitters), way before the failsafe Return-to-Home function kicks in.
Because a quadcopter is a moving platform that can tilt, roll or pan, it’s often difficult to consistently stabilize a subject in your frame. Fortunately, many of the more advanced camera mounts can automatically compensate for a quadcopter’s movements. Continuous signals from onboard attitude sensor or 3-axis gyro in combination with your transmitter input effectively instructs the servo(s) on the camera mount where to point. This compensation significantly stabilizes the image. This compensation significantly stabilizes the image. As with each apparatus, there are limitations as to how fast the servos can move. So the stability of the quadcopter is paramount in providing quality footage that you can later utilize. With the best camera mount set up on a ultra stable quadcopter, you will have the option to skip post editing video stabilizing software such as Mercalli, a very practical software tool that is also effective in removing lens distortion and the fish eye syndrome.
On the other hand even the quickest multi-axis camera mounts and the smartest stabilizing software can not neutralize excessive video vibrations. These critical elements must be addressed at several different levels. The root of most vibration problems starts from the quadcopter’s rotors with well balance motors and propellers producing fewer vibrations. Some motors are dynamically balanced at the factory such as brushless motors used on the Turbo Ace X830 & Matrix. Similar to balancing a tire, each motor is spun at high speed and small amount of material is added to the motor core to bring the mass center into alignment with the mechanical center for smooth rotation. As for propellers, a simpler procedure can be used to balance them with an inexpensive blade-balancing tool. Premium propellers are usually quality controlled and factory balanced, so end users propeller balancing is only required for continued maitenance to reduce vibrations. Finally, even with properly balanced motors and propellers; there will still be some residual vibrations. The last line of defense is to isolate the vibration from the camera mount. For heavier cameras & gimbals, look for a more substantial vibration dampening system. Inadequately matched dampening features sometimes weaken a gimbal’s foundation, and the extra layer of components becomes counterproductive.
CAMERA MOUNTS & GIMBALS
How can such a simple device play a critical role? Well, having a super stable quadcopter without a good camera mount is analogous to a good camera with lousy lenses. . A wobbly camera mount with sluggish controls, often a consequence of substandard material, hardware and design can easily compromise premium video. To select an appropriate camera mount, first determine how each individual axis need to be auto-compensated by gyros and/or accessed on your transmitter. For single-axis camera mount (e.g. Gaui G-210705 & HM-UFO-MX400-Z-32), look for a rigid structure to carry the camera. Since single-axis gimbals are sometimes used on smaller quadcopters, minimizing weight is often a contributing factor in reducing structure. As for 2 and 3 axis camera mounts, there are two basic designs. The lighter simpler pivot design on a quadcopter can be very effective in turning out quality video without too much fuss. Strategically placed servos drive the structure to pivots on 2 or 3 axis. Pay special attention to the both the material and the joints used to establish a structure that can retain its shape while holding and moving the weight of a small to medium size camera. Flush bearing is an integral part of the pivot design (ALA3CM01) and so are high quality metal gear servos of the appropriate size, speed and torque. Pivot gimbals improvised with hinges (Helibest) results in uneven movement and will eventually fail prematurely. For heavier cameras, you might want to consider the track mount gimbals using a combination of tracks and pivots. The track mount gimbals can be quite heavy which can affect both payload and performance. You will need at least a very powerful hexacopter or octocopter.
The size of and dimension of your camera can greatly affect you choice for gimbals. First make sure the camera will fit in the gimbal with the proper alignment of mounting holes and hardware. As with helicopter, quadcopter and multi-rotors, center of gravity on a camera mount is a key consideration. When a servo or motor attempts to move both the gimbal structure and the camera, the combined center of gravity will need to be close to the pivot point. If the center of gravity is too far off, the servo or motor will strain to lift and offset the difference. Forcing servos and motors to lift unnecessary weight will cause undesirable jerky movements and reduce the life span of both the servo gears and motor. A convention servo driven camera mounts for your quadcopter can usually be adjusted to accommodate a variety of camera configurations while the faster more stable brushless gimbal are customized for specific camera and lens. Before attaching your gimbal to the base of a quadcopter, first test the center of gravity with the camera that you are using. Whether if you are using one-axis camera mount verses a 2-3 axis, the procedure is the same. By holding the gimbal near each pivot point you can see if the camera is tipping towards a certain direction. You should move the camera in the opposite direction on the mounting plate until you achieve the best balance.
STRUCTURAL STRENGTH, PAYLOAD AND STABILITY
At this juncture, you are well aware of the importance of payload. So, please be warned that differentiating between flying weight and total weight with and without battery is very different. Payload, battery size, flight time, stability and performance are all inter-related. A chart may be very misleading because you will compromise stability and performance that is critical to a secured flight with expensive equipment on board. If a quadcopter is able to pull 3LBs, that may mean that the quadcopter will operate properly with 2 lbs and excel with 1 lb even under windier conditions.
Another often-overlooked factor, structural strength, will significantly affect the ability to carry heavier camera equipment. Most quadcopters has the payload capacity to carry 2 lbs but lack to structural integrity to sustain the weight without flexing. Flexing which causes a dangling and bouncing effect is detrimental to both video stability and flight stability. Especially when dealing with larger wingspans you need to make sure the overall structure is sufficient to suspend the payload in addition to the carrying capacity of the multi-rotor helicopter. Look for a well braced super structure that will sustain the addition weight without sagging the center hub where the stress is most critical.
SOME EXAMPLES OF QUADCOPTERS
The following are more detailed information and specifications on several popular quadcopter models, starting with the most powerful and advanced designs. Look for more quadcopter updates in the coming months.
TURBO ACE MATRIX QUACOPTER
A game changer in aerial video and photography, Matrix is new paradigm in super quadcopter designs. Sporting low profile architecture, its triple carbon fiber deck supports a generous 1000mm wingspan that's foldable down to fit inside an optional carry-on aluminum case for portability. No dismounting and remounting of propellers, landing skids or gimbal are required. Its larger & powerful motors, propellers and batteries offer up to 3 times the flight time and payload of a traditional quadcopter. Ideally positioned camera mount on the nose delivers wide-angle views unobstructed by propeller shadows, reflections and landing skids. And, with versatile battery positions to counter a variety of gimbal and camera payloads, Matrix's well-balanced center of gravity is key to superior video quality for a wide range of applications.
MATRIX FEATURED VIDEO
MATRIX PACKAGE FEATURES & OPTIONS
Triple Deck Carbon Fiber Architecture
Foldable Arms that locks into portable or operating positions
Naza-M Lite, Naza-M V2 & WooKong Flight Controller Selection
GPS & Compass Functions include GPS-Lock, Home-Lock, Course-Lock & Return-to-Home
Brushless Gimbal for gyro based auto-stabilization or Hard Mount with Vibration Isolation Options
Centrally Located Rotation for camera & gimbal auto-stabilization eliminates the pendulum effect
42mm Brushless Motors dynamically balanced to minimize vibrations
40amp ESCs with Cooling Algorithm over specced to support extended high torque operations
15inch Extra Heavy Duty Carbon Fiber Propellers to resist flexing and warping under heavier payloads
2.4GHz Standard & Long Range Walkera, Spektrum & Futaba Transmitters, Receivers & Telemetry
Multiple Battery Mounting Positions both on the top or bottom of main frame
Dual 5300mah Stock Batteries or Single 8,000-10,000mah 6S (22.2V) LiPo Battery Options
B601 or Quattro Professional Wall Charger Options
Adjustable Landing Skid for a variety of surfaces
Foldable GPS Compass with Locking Bracket for consistent alignment
Adjustable Arms Mounting Position for aggressive forward sports flight
FPV Live Feed Video available for a selection of cameras
Flash Memory with detailed instructions
Heavy Duty Aluminum Carrying Case will be available to fit Matrix, transmitter, gimbal & more.
Training Package Options including small crash resistant quadcopters & flight simulators
Dimensions Operating Position (including propellers): L=392mm, W=1000mm, H=135mm
Dimensions Folded Position (including propellers): L=800mm, W=290mm, H=120mm
Dimensions Motor to Motor: Diagonal=725mm, Front to Front=615mm, Back to Back=545mm
Dimensions Blade Tip to Tip: Diagonal 1106mm, Width=996mm
Maximum Payload Capacity: Gimbal+Camera+Accessories=3.5LB, Gimbal+Camera+Accessories+8000mah Battery=6.2LB
Maximum Optimal Payload Capacity: Gimbal+Camera+Asscessories=2.5LB, Gimbal+Camera+Accessories+8000mah Battery=5.2LB
Matrix Weight without Payload/Battery: 3.5LB
Typical Operating Weight: Matrix+Brushless Gimbal+Hero3+VTX+2x5300mah Batteries = 8LB
Motors: Diameter=42mm, Height=35mm
Propellers: 2xCW & 2xCCW, 15" Extra Robust Carbon Fiber Constructions, Dual Position Mount
Battery Recommended: 6S (22.2V) 35C at 2x5,300mah, 1x8,000mah & 1x10,000mah
Flight Time: Matrix + 8,000mah Battery + Brushless Gimbal + Hero3 = 25min
Flight Time: Matrix + 8,000mah Battery + Vibration Isolation Carbon Plates + Hero3 = 30+min
Flight Time: Matrix + 10,000mah Battery = 35min
Transmitter & Receiver Recommendation: 2.4GHz, Minimum 6-Channels, Optimal 7-Channels or more
Standard Distance Operations: 300 to 500 feet (Using Walkera Devo 10 & Most Other Name Brand Transmitters)
Long Distance Operations: 4,224 feet (.8miles) to 6,336 feet (1.2miles) (Using Spektrum DX8/DX18 & Futaba 14SG)
FPV Recommendation: 5.8GHz Video Transmitter & Video Receiver + Monitor or Goggles
Wind Tolerance: Class 5
Aluminum Case Dimensions: L=935mm, W=410mm, H=145mm
CULMINATION OF INNOVATION, EXPERIENCE & EXECUTION
Leapfrogging quadcopter records with ease, the sporty new Matrix is crushing all competitions with its super sized wingspan. Yet, it folds down nicely to fit in a professional aluminum case along with the transmitter radio. Matrix's super efficient 6-cell system powers 4 muscular 42mm brushless motors driving 15" carbon fiber propellers for unparalleled lifting capacity and stability. Conceptualized by master FPV pilots, Matrix is a quadcopter designed for rather than adapted to carrying cameras. To satisfy an almost insurmountable list of high expectations, Turbo Ace engineers set out on a journey of innovation and discovery. Applying more than 85 years of combined helicopter and multi-rotor expertise between our master pilot group, engineers and designers, the Matrix represents an ultimate breakthrough in quadcopter engineering and optimization. To search for the ultimate mix of performance and durability, Turbo Ace developers matched up countless motors, ESCs and propellers combinations followed by series of unrelenting updates and test flights. From planning and implementing the best components on a foldable structure, setting and meeting new milestones in flight time and payload, to executing crucial requirements for flight and camera stabilization, the Turbo Ace Matrix is truly a quadcopter beyond its time.
UNPRECEDENTED PAYLOAD & FLIGHT TIME
Matrix's big breakthrough is an amazing 25-minute flight time carrying the #1 selling GoPro Hero3 stabilized on the ultra fast 2-axis brushless Gyrox3 gimbal. Cutting out the gimbal but keeping the Hero3 on a vibration isolation plate will extend Matrix flight time beyond the amazing 30-minute threshold. Despite many unrealistic claims, the closest competition offers less than half the flight time. At about 3 times the size of a mid-sized quadcopter, heavier payloads exert disproportionately less impact on Matrix flight time than smaller quadcopter flight time. Without exception, even the top selling mid-sized quadcopters with 8" to 10" propellers will max out at 5-6 minutes with Hero3 and gimbal onboard. It's not uncommon for both vendors and end users to exaggerate or manipulate payload and flight time by gutting critical components inside quadcopters and cameras or by using lighter batteries with limited rechargeable cycles.
IDEAL UNOBSTRUCTED AUTO-STABILIZED CAMERA/GIMBAL LOCATION
Tired of propellers and landing skids framing your video? The Matrix's nose offers an ideal location with unobstructed view - no propellers even in wide angle videos, no skid landing when pointed down and no more annoying propellers shadows on the lenses. Although these are nagging issues, there are even more crucial factors in achieving stability. Because traditionally mounted cameras are about 8 inches below the main hub, a quadcopter’s roll causes the camera to swing like a pendulum. Although a good gimbal is able to compensate for the roll axis movement, it's unable to address the horizontal movement resulting in videos that shift from side to side as if a skater is holding the camera. By moving the gimbal and camera up to the level of the propellers, the Matrix design has basically eliminated the pendulum effect. Last but not least, gimbals are only as stable as the foundation they are mounted on. Bypassing the weight and slack of unstable under-mounted gimbal platforms, Matrix's gimbal is mounted directly on the main frame to prevent oscillation from surfacing.
FOLDS AND FITS NEATLY INTO A CARRY-ON SIZED ALUMINUM CASE
No more awkward quadcopter with protruding arms and propellers to lug around. Unlike typical folding mechanisms, the Matrix's arms and landing skids are designed to lock into folded or operating positions so you don't have to sacrifice structural integrity for portability. Implementations of slotted tracks enable fast and secured transitions without the risk losing any hardware. For a day out in the park or a hiking trip, you can retract the arms and skids to reduce the footprint. And for traveling, foldable antenna enable the Matrix and the transmitter to slip comfortably into a professional aluminum case without dismounting the propellers and gimbal. Upon arrival at the flight location the operator can adjust the landing skid height to accommodate rougher terrain. An optional aluminum case even includes cutouts for transmitter, batteries, spare parts & tools. Who knows, you might have a trip planned for Europe and the very versatile Matrix can make a great companion as a carry-on.
STRONG AND VERSATILE STRUCTURE FOR COMPREHENSIVE INTEGRATION
In housing and supporting an extensive list of stock and upgrade components on a super-scaled quadcopter, Matrix's triple decked carbon fiber structure is extremely strong and versatile. Four foldable arms which double as supporting beams are securely sandwiched between the lower decks along with multiple ventilated ESC positions. The middle deck houses and protects all critical electronic components such as the flight controller, the GPS, LED and other optional systems. Versatile Battery and ESC mounting positions allows the operator to shift CG (center of gravity) upward, downward, forward and backward to accommodate a wide variety of payloads and flight characteristics. Mount the battery below the lower deck for more stable flights or move the battery to the upper deck to increase maneuverability. And to counter balance different camera payloads, you can shift the battery, ESCs and arms into optimal positions for proper CG.
DYNAMICALLY BALANCED MOTORS & OVER-SPECCED ESCS
For exceptionally smooth flights, Matrix super muscular 42mm brushless motors are dynamical balanced. Since brushless motors are hand-wound, the mass center is usually not in alignment with the mechanical center. Using advanced electronic balancing instruments, our factory spins up each motor then make proper adjustment to bring the mass center into alignment. Then to control and power the motors, Matrix 40A ESCs feature advanced multi-rotor algorithms which offers better performance and reliability than generic helicopter algorithms. Over specced to sustain unrestrained amperage in higher torque for acceleration, extreme maneuvers and bigger payloads, Matrix is engineered to operating below capacity, so mechanical and electronic components stay relatively cooler even with consecutive flights.
STIFFER & THICKER DOUBLE-POINT MOUNTED 15" CARBON PROPELLERS
No propellers are created equal. 15" Matrix robust carbon fiber propellers are sculpted with extra thick mid-section to resists flex then tapers to efficient blades to cut through the air with minimal resistance. Traditional circular mounts are accidents waiting to happen because the force of rotating propellers will eventually unscrew the crown nuts during flight. Integrated double point mounts on Matrix motors and propellers eliminate this possibility and at the same time improve tracking precision because the propellers are forced to sit flat against the top of the motors. Another benefit of a flat mount is that there are no vulnerable protruding motor shafts. Slight deviations in traditional circular mounting holes or protruding motor shafts are extremely difficult to detect which magnify pitch and tracking variances, a major cause of vibrations and unstable flights. Since end-users are often required to purchase and mount propellers, Matrix's new hassle free mounting configuration is implemented to prevent vibration issues from surfacing.
SELECTABLE MANUAL, ATTITUDE & GPS FLIGHT MODES
A 3-positioned switch is setup on Matrix' transmitter for pilot to select between 3 different flight modes. (1) With Manual Flight Mode, the absence of Gyro assisted flight makes it very difficult for the Pilot to stabilize and maneuver the quadcopter. (2) For 3-axis gyro auto-stabilized flight, the Attitude Flight Mode will automatically keep the Matrix in a leveled and sustainable flight thus enabling the pilot to focus on maneuvering the quadcopter. (3) Finally, the GPS Flight Mode is the most often used mode because it combines the benefit of 3-axis gyro auto-stabilized flight with 4 advanced GPS based functions described below.
GPS-LOCK & RETURN-TO-HOME
Under GPS Flight Mode, (1) one of the most utilized GPS based functions is the GPS-Lock function. Simply release the cyclic stick and allow it to spring to the middle of the control and the Matrix will be locked into a fixed GPS location (longitude-lock and latitude-lock) with a tolerance of 3 to 5 feet radius. Another similar function from the Matrix flight controller, the Barometric-Lock can be activated by moving the throttle stick to the middle of the control and the Matrix will be locked into a fixed elevation (altitude-lock). A hands-free hover mode is established when the pilot activates both the GPS-Lock and the Barometric-Lock simultaneously and the flight controller takes over. Either lock may also be used independently to hover in a fixed GPS coordinate with pilot controlled elevation or the longitude/latitude. By relinquishing controls to these auto-hover modes, the pilot can better focus on monitoring the video and controlling the camera. (2) Another popular GPS function is the Return-to-Home sequence, a preprogrammed failsafe function that is automatically triggered by lose of remote control signals. Upon activation, the quadcopter will hover in place for a couple of seconds before elevating to a preprogrammed height and return to the home position for an automated landing sequence.
GPS BASED COURSE-LOCK & HOME-LOCK
Under GPS Flight Mode, there is dedicated 3-positioned carefree mode switch set up to access (3) Course-Lock, a compass based carefree mode that remembers the initial take-off direction of the flight which is used to consistently orient the quadcopter. Under Course-Lock, the transmitter radio must remain in the initial take-off direction until it's reset or until the quadcopter lands. For example, with the transmitter pointed in the eastward direction, a quadcopter takes off in eastward heading orientation then turns towards a northward heading. Without Course-Lock, a transmitter cyclic (directional) stick moved up towards the east will cause the quadcopter to head northward. Under Course-Lock, a cyclic stick moved up towards the east would cause the quadcopter to head eastward which is consistent with the initial take-off direction. In fact, by keeping the transmitter pointed in the initial eastward take-off direction, the cyclic stick direction will always correspond to the direction of the quadcopter no matter how the heading has changed. At any time the pilot may reset the initial direction by flipping the Carefree Mode Switch in and out of Course-Lock. (4) Lastly, there is another similar carefree mode with a twist. Home-Lock, a home coordinate based carefree mode is very similar to Course-Lock. The difference is that Home-Lock uses the home location as the consistent tail-in orientation for the entire flight. While this allows the pilot to constantly turn and follow the quadcopter, the pilot should not move away from the home location. And because GPS has a tolerance of 3-5 feet, Home-Lock is less precise than Course-Lock. However, as the quadcopter gains more distance from the home position the precision improves dramatically. This is why Home-Lock will not and cannot be activated within a 30-feet circle from the home position. To use Home-Lock, the pilot usually maintains a tail-in orientation until the quadcopter is well beyond the 30-feet circle before assuming that Home-Lock has activated. At this point the pilot can constantly turn and point the transmitter at the quadcopter and the cyclic stick will always correspond directly to the quadcopter's direction. To bring the quadcopter back, the pilot simply pulls the cyclic towards himself - basically a manual controlled return-to-home function. Special caution is required when the quadcopter approaches the 30-feet circle because Home-Lock will automatically switch to Course-Lock. If the quadcopter enters the 30-feet circle from the initial take-off direction so that Home-Lock is equal to Course-Lock the pilot can assume that the quadcopter is under Course-Lock until the quadcopter lands. In summary, an experienced pilot uses the "Normal" flight mode because no help is required from GPS. Both Course-Lock & Home-Lock carefree flight modes enable the operator to pilot the quadcopter without keeping track of the quadcopter's tail position. This is especially useful if a less experienced pilot is rotating the quadcopter to pan the video. There is much less confusion for beginner pilots to stick with either "Normal" mode or use GPS assisted Course-Lock. Home-Lock is usually reserved for longer distances within-the-line-of-sight flight because it's a bit confusing to operate when it approaches the home position.
ULTRA DURABLE & MAINTENANCE FRIENDLY
All Matrix material and components are selected and built for reliability and durability. Premium carbon fiber is utilized in the main frame for its rigidity and lightweight properties. Wear resistant CNC aluminum is utilized in screw-mounted joints, brackets and posts. Tough Japanese bearings are implemented to guard against higher temperatures. Then for continued maintenance, Matrix is based on a modularized design with strategically placed high tensile strength connectors so it's extremely easy and cost effective to maintain and operate. With minimal disassembly, components can be independently removed and replaced to diagnose and repair problems. As with all Turbo Ace production models, well stocked Matrix parts and upgrades are manufactured in larger volumes and savings are passed on to end-users. Operators are encouraged to keep some backup parts such as spare propellers, screws and batteries for replacement. Complimentary Turbo Ace videos are available online to assist operators in maintaining and upgrading the Matrix.
EXPANDABILITY WITH OPEN ARCHITECTURE & UPDATABLE ONLINE FIRMWARE
Catering to research professionals and avid hobbyists, the Matrix welcomes a full spectrum of specialized modifications. An open architecture supports unparalleled flexibility for arm and frame extensions, variable motor mount options and ample space for peripheral integration. To get a head start on more advanced integration, you can get an upgrade from the DJI Naza-M Lite to either the Naza-M V2 or WooKong flight controllers are all supported with continued online updateable firmware. Multiple adjustable mounting positions are pre-drilled to accommodate third party gimbal integration.
FLIGHT CONTROLLER OPTIONS & SPECIFICATION
DJI NAZA-M LITE
Support Multi-Rotor: Quadcopter I4, X4/ Hexacopter I6, X6, IY6, Y6/
Supported ESC Output: 400Hz Refresh Frequency
Recommended Transmitter: PCM or 2.4GHz with minimum 4 channels
Working Voltage Range: MC: 4.8V~5.5V
Power Consumption: MAX 1.5W (0.3A@5V), Normal: 0.6W (0.12A@5V)
Operating Temperature: -10 ~ 50 degree Celsius
Assistant Software System Requirement: Windows XP sp3 / Windows 7 / Windows 8
Maximum Yaw Angular Velocity: 200 Degree/Sec
Maximum Tilt Angle: 45 Degree
Ascent / Descent: +-6m/Sec
Dimensions: MC: 45.5mm x 31.5mm x 18.5mm, GPS/Compass 46mm (diameter) x 9mm, VU 32.2mm x 21.1mm x 7.7mm
Built-in Functions: Three Modes Auto-pilot, Enhanced Fail-safe, Low Voltage Protection, S-Bus Receiver Support, PPM Receiver Support, 2-Axis Gimbal Support
DJI NAZA-M V2
Support Multi-Rotor: Quadcopter I4, X4/ Hexacopter I6, X6, IY6, Y6/
Supported ESC Output: 400Hz Refresh Frequency
Recommended Transmitter: PCM or 2.4GHz with minimum 4 channels
Working Voltage Range: MC: 4.8V~5.5V
Working Voltage Range: PMU input:7.4V to 26.0V (recommend 2S to 6S Lipo)
Power Consumption: MAX 3.15W (0.25A@12.6V), Normal: 1.638W (0.13A@12.6V)
Operating Temperature: -10 ~ 50 degree Celsius
Assistant Software System Requirement: Windows XP sp3 / Windows 7 / Windows 8
Maximum Yaw Angular Velocity: 200/s
Maximum Tilt Angle: 45
Ascent / Descent: +-6m/s
Dimensions: MC: 45.5mm x 32.5mm x 18.5mm, GPS/Compass 46mm (diameter) x 10mm, PMU 39.5mm x 27.5mm x 10.0mm, LED 25mm x 25mm x 7.0mm
Built-in Functions: Three Modes Auto-pilot, Enhanced Fail-safe, Low Voltage Protection, S-Bus Receiver Support, PPM Receiver Support, 2-Axis Gimbal Support
DJI Wookong-M controller with 3-Axis gyro
Multi Rotor Types: Quadcopter / Hexacopter / Octocopter
Supported ESC output: 400Hz refresh frequencies
Recommended Power Supply: DC 4.8 ~ 12V
Power Consumption: MAX 5W (0.9A@5V, 0.7A@5.8V,0.5A@7.4V,0.4A@8V)
Operating Temperature: -5°C to +60°C (You have to keep the IMU warm if you want to use it under low temperature, could be -5°Cor lower.)
Flight Modes: GPS Lock & 2 Care Free Flight Modes
Hovering Accuracy: Vertical: ± 0.5m, Horizontal: ± 2m
Suitable Wind Condition: < 8m/s (17.7mph)
Max Rotate Angle: 35°
Vertical Speed: 6m/s
Packaging & Shapes
Dimensions: Main Controller: 51mm x 39.6mm x 15.8mm, IMU: 40mm x 31mm x 26mm, GPS & Compass: 50mm (diameter) x 9mm, LED Indicator: 25mm x 25mm x 7mm
Total Weight: <= 150g
Built In Functions: Auto-pilot, Fail-safe Hover, Voltage monitor (not telemetry)
Aerial cameras mounted under quadcopter serve two main purposes. (1) First and foremost, cameras are used for the purpose of recording videos or taking still photographs. Preferably, a DSLR camera is mounted on an auto-stabilized gyro based gimbal (camera mount) to stabilize the camera's horizon. (2) For more experienced pilots, a camera can be used for the purpose of piloting the quadcopter from the point of view of the camera AKA FPV (first-person-view) piloting. If the camera is either mounted directly on the quadcopter without stabilization so the pilot can experience the tilt (pitch) & roll of the quadcopter. If the camera is auto-stabilized, OSD (on-screen-display) may be required to overlay artificial horizon and flight status on live feed video.
Super Compact at 1"x1"x1" Approximate Dimension
Convenient 2-way Tape Mounting facilitates an easy way to change PFV location.
For FPV Piloting: 600TVL camera is hard mounted on the quadcopter's frame so pilot can see the video's tilt & roll action of the quadcopter.
For Framing Videos: 600TVL camera is mounted on the bottom of the brushless gimbal that is aligned with the Hero 3 on the gimbal.
Adjustable Ultra Wide Angle Lenses
2X Faster Image Processor
2X Low Light Performance
12MP Image Sensor for high definition photos
HD Video from 1080p at 60 fps to 4K at 15 fps
Wi-Fi enables all camera function to be remotely controlled at up to 500 feet.
VIBRATION ISOLATION MOUNT & AUTO-STABILIZED CAMERA MOUNTS ON MATRIX
Employing vibration isolation mount for camera can significantly dampen high frequency vibrations to prevent rolling shutter & jello effects on videos. And for more professional applications, we can optionally add gyro based camera mounts to automatically stabilize cameras to accommodate quadcopter's tilt & roll movements to maintain a leveled video horizon. To control the camera's aim, a dial switch on the transmitter radio enables the pilot to tilt the camera up or down. With the freedom to maneuver and turn the quadcopter from different perspectives, heights and angles, one can achieve an endless variety of high quality shots and videos.
H3 Vibration Isolation Mount
Vibration Dampening (for GoPro Hero2/3 & other small cameras)
GoPro Tripod Mount & Tripod Screw
Super Light Weight Configuration Enables Dual Battery Setup for Extended Flight Time
Gyrox3 Brushless 2-Axis Gimbal
Super Fast Auto-Stabilized Roll-Axis
Super Fast Pilot Controlled & Auto-Stabilized Tilt-Axis
Expanded Tilt-Axis Angle Enables the Camera to Point Straight Down
Optimized Stabilization & Mounting for GoPro Hero3 Camera Only
FPV LIVE FEED VIDEO
Live feed video enables the pilot or cameraman to see real time videos from the camera's point of view is synonymous to FPV (first-person-view). In contrast to slower and shorter distanced WiFi video streaming on cameras, aerial FPV requires much longer distance transmission without visible delay. A video transmitter is usually attached to a camera's video-out port to transmit the video signals. A matching video receiver, located next to the pilot or cameraman, receives the video signals. The video receiver is connected to a monitor mounted on the transmitter displays the video live so the operator is able to pilot the quadcopter and watch the live feed video at the same time. There are 2 main purposes for aerial FPV. (1) To enable pilot/cameraman to see and frame videos or still shots by adjusting the gimbal and/or the quadcopters location and orientation. (2) To enable pilot to see and fly from the point of view of the camera - as from the cockpit. If a camera is hard mounted without auto-stabilization, the video will reflect the tilt (pitch) and roll of the quadcopter. If a camera is auto-stabilized on a gimbal, an OSD (on-screen-display) may be implemented to overlay artificial horizon and flight data on the auto-stabilized footage which do not reflect the tilt and roll of hexacopter.
FPV From 600TVL Camera
Lighter TVL camera is easy to set up and promotes longer flight time.
Composite video output & standardized plug enable simple connection to video transmitter.
Hard mounted on the quadcopter, TVL camera can be used for FPV piloting & surveillance.
Mounted on under or above the gimbal, TVL camera can be aligned with DSLR camera for framing your videos and stills.
FPV From Hero3 or HD Camera
You can see exactly what the Hero3 or HD camera is capturing for framing your video and stills.
Special cable connector is provided for video transmitter to plug into the Hero3 or HD camera's video out port
Examples of cameras supported: Hero3 & Sony NEX 5N/6N/7N
STANDARD & LONG DISTANCE TRANSMITTERS FOR MATRIX
Due to safety and equipment concerns, transmitter reliability is crucial in professional quadcopter operations. Without an established standard of verification, it's common place for transmitter brands to overstate operating distance by discounting the importance of reliability. A typical transmitter spec for 2,000 feet range may only be reliable 80% of the time and you can easily lost your quadcopter and associated equipment in several flights at 300 feet. Only extensive field testing over several months - not biased reviews based on several test flights - are true indicators of consistently reliable operating range.
Walkera F7 Transmitter
2.4GHz Transmitter with 7 Channels
RX701 Receiver with 7 Channels
Telemetry Installed for Updated Flight Battery Status to Trigger Low Battery Alarm
Standard Distance of 300-500 Feet
Build-in 3.5" Color LCD Screen for FPV Live Video Display
Compatible only with DV04 Camera
Walkera Devo 10 Transmitter
2.4GHz Transmitter with 10 Channels
RX1002 Receiver with 10 Channels
Telemetry Installed for Updated Flight Battery Status to Trigger Low Battery Alarm
Standard Distance of 300-500 Feet
A Practical and Cost Effective Solution
Spektrum DX8 Long Distance Transmitter
2.4GHz DSMX Transmitter with 8 Channels
AR8000 Receiver Package with 8 Channels
Main Receiver & Satellite Receiver Strategically Placed for Signal Path Diversity
TM1000 Telemetry Installed for Updated Flight Battery Status to Trigger Low Battery Alarm
Reliable Standard & Long Distance of 1 to 1.2 Mile
2013’s #1 Selling & User Friendly Transmitter
Futaba 14SG Long Distance Transmitter
2.4GHz FASSTEST Transmitter with 14 Channels
R7800SB Bi-Directional Receiver with 8 Channels (Optional: R6106HFC Receiver for 6 additional channels)
S.Bus2 Bi-Directional Protocol for Additional Servos, Telemetry & Other Auxiliary Functions
Telemetry Voltage Sensor Installed for Updated Flight Battery Status to Trigger Low Battery Alarm
Ultra Reliable Standard & Long Distance of 1 to 1.2 Mile (Upgradable for even longer range
Overwhelmingly Recommended by Professional RC Pilot Groups
TRANSMITTER & RECEIVER OPERATING REQUIREMENTS
Standard remote control transmitters and receivers utilized with the Matrix quadcopter operate under FCC Part 15 (S29DEVO-10, BRWDAMTX11, AZPT14SG-24G, S29TX5803) in either legal 2.4GHz and/or 5.8GHz frequencies. In general, advanced quadcopters require a minimum of 7 channels under the 2.4GHz frequency range: 4 channels for piloting controls, 2 channels for the GPS and 1 channel for controlling the tilt-axis of the gimbal. Extended distance transmitters usually employ several methods to promote signal strength and reliability. (1) Frequency-hopping spread spectrum (FHSS) is a method of transmitting radio signals by rapidly switching between several frequencies to seek the least amount of traffic. (2) Dual or triple paths diversity enable signals to reach two receivers or antennas mounted in different locations on the quadcopter enables the transmission to utilize the strongest signal path. Bi-directional receivers can also communicate signal strength between the receiver and the transmitter to locate the best frequencies in real time (3) In case of signal disruptions, ultra fast signal recovery algorithm enables the transmitter and receiver to quickly rebind for continued quadcopter operations. Products using permitted frequencies without certification will require an amateur radio (ham) license. It is the operator's responsibilities to ensure the use of such products meet their individual countries' federal and local government's rules or regulations for RF devices. If you are unsure of your government's requirement or unable to comply with them, please do not purchase this product. Please do not alter the purchased product in violation of said rules and regulations because Wow Hobbies cannot be held liable for operator's misuse or modification of a legal product.
INTEGRATION, SET UP, FLIGHT TEST & SHIPPING
There is a myriad of Matrix quadcopter options to satisfying specific applications. After installation, setup and inspection, our technicians will complete final adjustments plus a series of test flights. If your orders is placed for pick-up, we will redo a live flight-test when you arrive at our showroom. If your quadcopter order is to be shipped, a test flight video for your specific Matrix order will be recorded, saved and shipped with the instructions in a flash drive. Our Matrix packages are designed to retain all assembled components as a fully integrated system during shipping. To prevent damage, the Matrix quadcopter is suspended in the middle of a large corrugated shipping box.
MATRIX QUADCOPTER STARTING TIPS
* Make sure you read the entire Matrix Instruction Manual on flash drive before you operate the Matrix quadcopter.
* Follow the instruction manual for a tied down flight test. This is the safest way to make sure the Matrix quadcopter has not been damaged in shipping.
* Foldable Matrix aluminum arms operate on guiding carbon tracks with locks on each end. To release the arm from the folded or operating ends of the track, you need to unscrew the arm bolt several turns for a height of 1/8” before the lock will release. If the bolt is not unscrew to a sufficient height you may risk damage to the carbon track.
* Prior to each takeoff, make sure the GPS antenna/compass is erected from the folded position.
* When mounting a propeller, make sure the propeller clamp sits completely flat against the top of the propeller.
MAINTAINING MATRIX'S LIPO BATTERIES
* Please read charger instructions to set up the charger to charge Matrix quadcopter LiPo batteries and other possible batteries for the gimbal or the live video feed equipment before you start.
* Matrix quadcopter batteries are made up of 6 cells and each cell must be maintained between 3.7V to 4.2V. The total voltage for Matrix quadcopter batteries should be maintained between 22.2V (3.7Vx6) and 25.2V (4.2Vx6). It’s very important for you to keep each cell above 3.7V. A cell is at risk of being damaged at 3.6V. And at 3.5V you are pretty much guaranteed damage. If any one or more cell is damaged, the 6-cell battery will not function properly and should not be used. Once you have set up the charger for the Matrix quadcopter battery, the charger will automatically stop when the battery is fully charged.
* Each Matrix quadcopter battery includes a yellow charging/discharging plug and a white balancing plug. Both plugs are used for charging the battery. The yellow plug with thicker gauge wires enables a faster charge rate while the white plug with 1 small red wire and 6 small black wires enables the charger to balance charge 6 individual cells. When all 6-cells reaches 4.2V each for a total of 25.2V, the charger will automatically stop. You should always monitor the charging cycle, which takes about 1 to 1.5 hours for each battery. Battery should be stored in a cool location but not the freezer.
* A quick battery meter is the easiest way to monitor voltage on any LiPo battery. There are seven pins on the battery meter and one of the pins is marked with a “-“ symbol. Line up the black wire on the edge of the Matrix battery’s white plug with this “-“ pin then insert. You will see a total of 7 sequential numbers on the meter. The first number is the total charge of the battery’s 6 cells which should fall be between is 22.2V (3.7Vx6) to 25.2V (4.2Vx6) follow by six more numbers representing the individual charge of each of the 6 cells with 3.7V to 4.2V each. Without the quick meter, there are other ways to monitor the battery’s charge by using the charger or through the transmitter’s telemetry functions which requires the battery to be plugged in on the quadcopter.
* To prevent batteries from slipping out of battery straps, we highly recommend that you apply a 2” strip self-adhesive felt velcro on the batteries’ slippery surface. Due to possible fire hazard, a LiPo battery that is punctured or damaged, from a fall or otherwise, must be properly disposed immediately.
BEFORE & AFTER EACH FLIGHT
* Before each flight always turn on the transmitter first then plug in the Matrix quadcopter battery. Then, you need to allow proper time for the flight controller & GPS to complete initialization (study the User Manual’s LED Description Section).
* After each flight always unplug the Matrix battery first then turn off the transmitter. If you forget, the quadcopter and/or transmitter will continue to drain power from the batteries. Once a LiPo battery falls below 3.7V per cell at no load, it will loose the ability to fully charge back up again. This rule also applies to all LiPo batteries used to power other accessories.
* Do initialize the Matrix & takeoff from a large leveled surface.
* Do implement a pre-flight checklist & use it consistently before takeoff.
* Do unplug the Matrix Battery when maintaining or upgrading the quadcopter.
* Do dismount propellers if battery is plugged in for updating flight controller.
* Do observe privacy concerns. Stay away from windows and backyards.
* Do recalibrate GPS if the Matrix has passed through airport X-ray screening.
* Don’t operate near airports or other sensitive government institutions.
* Don’t operate near people or pets & do not allow people to approach an operating quadcopter.
* Don’t operate in tight spaces or near vulnerable property.
* Don’t use magnets (e.g. magnetized screwdrivers & tools) in close proximity to the GPS antenna/compass.
* Don’t be tempted to catch a quadcopter. The torque of the propellers might surprise you.