Recommend an inexpensive drone to learn with

Discussion in 'Bad Dog Cafe' started by DrPepper, Mar 29, 2020.

  1. DrPepper

    DrPepper Friend of Leo's Ad Free Member

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    I want to learn how to fly a drone. What is the best bang for the buck for a beginner? I will be starting in the house.
     
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  2. dented

    dented Doctor of Teleocity Gold Supporter

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    I'm listening too! I want one for a photo hobby. Like I need something else....:confused:
     
  3. DrPepper

    DrPepper Friend of Leo's Ad Free Member

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    I have heard that if you can fly a small one indoors flying outdoors is the next step. Are the cheapies at wally world a good starting point?
     
  4. Middleman

    Middleman Friend of Leo's

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    DJI Spark or their new mini. I have the Spark. Buy at least 4 batteries for an hours worth of fun. Don't fly over 400 feet above ground or they can track you now. Learn the no fly zones near hospitals and airports. If you drive to the top of a mountain, you can still fly 400 feet above it.

    Also, don't fly over your neighbors property or near people as you can get a ticket for being intrusive. State parks and parks in general, or designated fly zones are good but National Parks are a no-no.
     
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  5. DrPepper

    DrPepper Friend of Leo's Ad Free Member

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    Looks nice, but more than I want to spend... I want to keep it under $50...
     
    Last edited: Mar 30, 2020
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  6. ce24

    ce24 Poster Extraordinaire

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    Under $50????
     
  7. DrPepper

    DrPepper Friend of Leo's Ad Free Member

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    I see micros starting at less than $10...
     
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  8. ce24

    ce24 Poster Extraordinaire

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    Well, looks like you answered your own question.
     
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  9. getbent

    getbent Telefied Silver Supporter

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  10. dhodgeh

    dhodgeh TDPRI Member

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    Flying a cheap micro can be a lesson in frustration. I started out on one, but I was fortunate in that I got in on the fire sales that 3DR had on their Solo platform - About $2000 worth of a pro level drone system for about $400.

    Even then the thrill did not last long. Unless you're really into video, the new wore off very quickly. I was hoping to use mine for photography, but all the cool places where I want to take photo (National and State parks) are all limits to drones.

    Anyway, good luck with your quest.

    D
     
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  11. Junkyard Dog

    Junkyard Dog Tele-Afflicted

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    We bought the Propel Snap 2.0 (I think that is the correct make/model) for my son for $50 at Costco. It’s pretty easy and fun to fly! And it has a camera that streams video to your phone.
     
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  12. trev333

    trev333 Telefied Ad Free Member

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    an inexpensive drone to work with?... mmmmm?..o_O

    Hey! I'm a Bass player... you got beer?...:lol:
     
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  13. BorderRadio

    BorderRadio Poster Extraordinaire Silver Supporter

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    I fly UAVs professionally, for the past couple of years. I’m no expert though, still gaining lots of experience.

    I skipped cheap drones altogether and got a DJI Mavic Pro. Looking at the Mavic Pro 2 this year.

    Given the heavy price, you gotta ask yourself what do you want to do with it. If you just like the idea of it, just playing around, by all means just get anything under 50 because it’s all a crap shoot at that price point, and if you crash it, no big deal. Basically, drones fly themselves. They just need a human to charge them and tell them where they are and what to do. Seriously, anybody who can play a video game can fly one, and the easiest to fly drones are the expensive ones. They also take some effort to crash, but they can, and it sucks to crash an expensive one. Heh, I crashed my Mavic on my first flight but since then zero incidents, all learning experiences. That said experience is completely different under about 400 or so.

    0956178E-E318-44D5-A110-7635E79EFBA9.jpeg
     
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  14. DrPepper

    DrPepper Friend of Leo's Ad Free Member

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    Looks like I am going to have to sell my bass to fund this...
     
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  15. MarkieMark

    MarkieMark Tele-Afflicted

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    Well, heres my story, take from it what you will.

    My interest has been multi-faceted.
    First, I am fascinated by the machines and technology.
    I am also interested in photographic/video options and flexibilty.
    All part of the continued learning curve.

    Also, having flown models since I was a kid, rubber free flight, gliders, U-Line and later radio control airplanes I think I wanted to learn the multi rotor drone flight skill just because.... (Warning, 6 axis takes serious focus :cool: )

    Actually, to add a few details, I was playing with RC cars just as they became available. RTRs werent yet a thing, and you had to build from kits and parts.
    I sold my stuff wanting to get into RC helicopters. And at the time they were also just expanding. Gas, no gyros or anything.
    I went and hung out with some guys who were into it and quickly realized they were devoting hours to adjusting and tweaking equipment for just a few moments of test flight, only to go back to hours of adjusting and tweaking. And so much as a hard landing..... Well you know.
    Keep in mind, I was into RC planes. Loved to build and fly. I had developed the habit of installing a fuel tank bigger than the kits spec'd and an upgraded receiver battery to maximize flight times. RC helicopters suddenly didnt look like so much fun, despite being fascinating machines.

    Fast forward.

    My first foray to the electric "drones" I guess was really those counter-rotating helicopter "toys"
    With some serious effort, I learned to fly it. Control? Minimal. Photography options? Fogetaboutit.
    Waiting a while, Eventually the next phase of cheap toys came around. Quads. Game changer.
    I got a micro drone for inside practice. (I think it was $39 at the time)
    Easy? No.
    Fun? If you are determined.
    Worthwhile practice? I think so. I learned some basic skills with a lot of practice, and also.... Learned about the limitations of inexpensive toy technology of the time.

    After I felt like I had a fair grasp of flying it indoors I tried taking it outdoors. Nope. Even a slight breeze was difficult. Visibility, difficult and disorienting. I needed something bigger.

    Fast forward some more.
    I was interested in a step up, but still in a "just for fun" budget range.
    Again, dating myself. Things have changed a bit.

    I learned there are multiple paths and specialties.
    In the middle ground there are general purpose "sport" quads. Fun to fly around and learn on. Less stable than craft dedicated to videography. Fast and fun, but not as much so as dedicated "racing" drones. Another rabbit trail alltogether....
    And not as pricey as either.

    I settled on a model called "Bugs III" I believe it was.
    At the time, about $100 with a spare battery and some spare props.
    (Props get broken while learning. Its a sacrificial part)

    Fast. Capable of some basic stunts if you are up to it.
    Not equipped for the stability for great videography, but certainly powerful enough to carry a GoPro and capture some footage.
    Fun. NOT a beginners drone!

    What to know:

    First major tip.
    LiPo batteries are potentially dangerous.
    Economy LiPo batteries combined with "wall wart" chargers should be outlawed.
    if you are lucky, you will only destroy a battery pack or two learning this.

    I cannot emphasise the importance of this tip enough.
    Upgrade to a better charger. They are available without breaking the bank and are far safer than the wall wart. You need to know how to charge and store these things. It is something you should not trifle with!
    I also upgraded to some better quality battery packs. They charge more stabily, and are therefore safer. As a bonus, they have a little more run time.

    One last time- the stock batteries and charger are not only crap, they are a serious safety hazard! LiPo batteries are not to be taken lightly. Serious performance to weight ratio advantage over the other options but can be a very serious fire/explosion hazard if used without upmost attention and advanced knowledge!
    Seriously.

    I also purchased a fire retardant battery charging/storage bag.
    Do your home work on this aspect please!
     
    Last edited: Mar 29, 2020
  16. ozcal

    ozcal Tele-Holic

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    just get the 10 dollar one... crash it into the wall then go play ya tele...
     
  17. trev333

    trev333 Telefied Ad Free Member

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    It won't be long before they are everywhere... every year more and more experienced operators will be needed.... they have so many uses already...

    we'll need things like drone school, drone kindys, drone scouts, etc.... the delivery drivers of the future...

    all from working from home maybe...
     
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  18. John Backlund

    John Backlund Friend of Leo's Gold Supporter

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  19. DrPepper

    DrPepper Friend of Leo's Ad Free Member

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    Thank you, I found that very informative. So, it looks like I want to go the toy/indoor route first, then move up to something like the Bugs 3 pro... I understand what you are saying about the chargers.
     
  20. DrPepper

    DrPepper Friend of Leo's Ad Free Member

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    ?
     
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