Freefly Alta with Synapse is here!

Discussion in 'ALTA' started by Steve Maller, Apr 12, 2015.

  1. Tom Hirschmann

    Tom Hirschmann New Member

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    Just saw your write up Steve, nice work! Looking forward to getting more details together on this build. Really looking forward to the ALTA and Synapse manuals to be released to we can dive into the details before the product is out. lol, I must really be excited to be looking forward to manuals.

    Frank the price isn't ridiculous for a 15 pound capable RTF setup with a purpose build flight controller. Building a custom setup with that payload capability and feature set would get you in the same ball park.
     
  2. Frank Castle

    Frank Castle New Member

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    Tom, I never said it was ridiculously priced. I am simply asking what is included in the price. You also make it sound like, that a purpose build FC justifies the price? Why? I would rather buy a FC from a company that specializes in FC's, than one that just came out with their own, or at least wait and see how the new one is doing. Apple is the best example. I believe Apple's R&D budget is "slightly" higher than the one of Freefly and even they had issues with new phones, e.g. Thumb of death. So newly design is not always better. Someone else was saying the same thing as you, that a custom setup would cost the same?! I have to disagree. However, it is impossible for me to tell how competitive this price is, before I know what is included.

    No one seems to really know?!

    Thanks,

    F
     
  3. Tom Hirschmann

    Tom Hirschmann New Member

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    Hi Frank,

    Didn't mean to imply you said it was, just stating that the price isn't ridiculous. I've seen a lot of ridiculous pricing out there for RTF setups so I was commenting on that. I believe that the pricing is competitive for what you get. For example, the Raven from Vulcan UAV is $4,000 just for the frame and $16,000 ready to fly with a comparable payload capacity. The Aerigon is $50,000 RTF with only a slightly higher capacity. The HL options from Quadrocopter.com are rated for 12 pounds and are $6800+ for RTF with no folding.

    Commenting on the FC, a company like DJI might "specialize" in general use FCs but there is nothing on the market that is solely focused on video work, the FreeFly Synapse is supposed to fill that need. You are right in saying the FC is completely unproved and we have almost no details on it but I do know it has been in development for years and I am excited to see a new entrant into the market. I haven't been 100% happy with the alternatives.

    From what I was told, what you get is everything you need to fly except for batteries and a transmitter (and MoVi). Up in the air is what accessories will be included and what will be add-ons (handle, battery tray w/ legs, spares, etc).
     
  4. Frank Castle

    Frank Castle New Member

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    Its all good.

    Let me say first, that anyone can spend as much money as they like, on whatever they want. It is their money. This is a free world as long no one gets harmed, its all good. However, I think your example doesn't really work. That would be like saying, "The guy that weights 400 pounds is not obese, because there are others that weight more!" You are correct to say that some of those prices are pretty ridiculous!
    How the Vulcan Frame cost that much, is a mystery to me?! I am surprised he gets away with it?! How do you go from an already overpriced frame to an even more overpriced RTF setup of $16K?! Amazing!

    Speaking of Vulcan. I have a Vulcan UAV Y6 and even though it is nice and reasonable priced, it is obvious that whoever designed this thing, cannot see the forest for the trees. I suggested two years ago, that they need to come up with something that makes mounting the arms easier. Instead of using those long screws, which they are still using, they should use short screws, so the frame plates can get screwed to the arm directly! They said back then, that they are working on something. Nothing ever happened. I asked them again a couple of month ago and never heard from them. So I decided to do it myself. See attached pictures. Printed those myself. Anyhow...

    How so?! How is a FC "made" specifically for Filming?! Its like saying a Camera is made especially for Weddings?!

    The iPhone was developed for years and they still screwed it up. Remember the thumb of death. If this can happen to Apple, it sure can happen to anyone else.

    I see.

    Well, I believe that that the Alta is overpriced. Overpriced is relative though, so you might be OK with it. I don't care how much money I have, I am not just going to pay for something, if I feel like getting ripped of. I have a pretty good idea how much machining, fabrication, R&D, materials and what not cost, but I have no clue how much the CEO and the rest make. All I know is, that they are laughing all the way to the bank.

    Remember, they can charge whatever they want. You can pay whatever you want. Just like they have the freedom to do so, I have the freedom to voice my opinion.

    thanks,

    Frank
     

    Attached Files:

  5. Urs Clement

    Urs Clement Member

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    It looks just awesome. I need to save some money for this great ship, but because i don't own a M10 yet, it will become very pricey for me :) But especially the option to mount the gimbal on top is a great feature for building & construction surveying too.

    Does anyone know if the Synapse is able to fly waypoints? That would be a must have for my purpose.
     
  6. Dave King

    Dave King Well-Known Member

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    Frank

    You can't build yourself a heavy lift copter under $5800-$6000. For that kind of money you would have a lot of time assembling, configuring and testing the copter before its ready to do any jobs. Now for $8500 you have additional features you can't get by building your own copter including:
    *Water proof
    *Very Portable
    *Incredibly accurate position hold
    *Very rugid construction, about as crash proof as you can make.
    *Top mount camera option for upwards shots

    For these things alone its well worth the extra money. Then factor in your own time you would be spending trying to build your own copter. How much time is that worth to you? To me its worth more than $8500 that but I will deny saying that lol!
     
  7. Urs Clement

    Urs Clement Member

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    What about a parachute on the ALTA? I love this ship, but we really need huge confidence into it with "only" 6 motors and no parachutes, flying tens of thousands $-cameras!
     
  8. Steve Maller

    Steve Maller UAV Grief Counselor

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    There are a few parachute systems on the market now. I know at least one that wouldn't work (DJI's which is integrated with the A2), but others might. I've yet to see definitive evidence that a parachute system has actually saved an AUV in a live photo/video/film situation. But I don't doubt that it is possible.
     
  9. Steve Maller

    Steve Maller UAV Grief Counselor

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    This is the classic argument about what your time is worth.

    If you're a tinkerer and you consider building UAVs recreational, then you can value your time at $0 (as you would whilst fishing or surfing), which would make the BYO option feasible considering the dozens (scores? hundreds?) of hours required to get a heavy lift copter in the air (ask me how I know).

    But if your recreational time is limited, and your UAV is considered a work tool, then you can't really value your time at $0, so that has to be considered.

    So when it comes down to it, I highly value the amount of R&D and field testing that Freefly did to get ALTA to market, and if I think about the BOM for the machine, the additional "profit" I'm paying them is a bargain, and comes nowhere near the cost to me to build something comparable.
     
  10. Ozkan Erden

    Ozkan Erden Distributor

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    Personally I would say that, Freefly Alta is very reasonably priced when compared to the same level multirotor ARF & RTF systems.

    Look at the Gryphon, Vulcan Raven frames, they are all priced over $3K, if you add a reliable ESC & motor system, you are already at $6000 mark.

    On the photos of Alta, I can't see vibration dampening system under the copter. Steve, Tom; did you see a vibration dampening system under the copter also? There's one on the top, clearly.
     
  11. Steve Maller

    Steve Maller UAV Grief Counselor

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    The one that I've seen is similar to the Cinestar one. It needs to be relocated from bottom->top if you want to top-mount the MōVI. If you bottom-mount the MōVI, the batteries and antennae go on top, and don't need the vibe isolator, so i think it's removed. It's not clear what kind of hardware is involved in that (is it tool-less, or are there screws?) but I'm sure we'll find out before long.
     
  12. Tom Hirschmann

    Tom Hirschmann New Member

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    Ozkan, the vibration dampening system on the top has a core which passes through the center of the ALTA and comes out the bottom as a toad in the hole. The load on top and bottom are part of a single rigid structure that is completely isolated from the hexacopter.
     
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  13. Tom Hirschmann

    Tom Hirschmann New Member

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    looks like we posted at the same time Steve! The vibration isolating system is pretty cool on this thing, I spent a moment talking with the rep about it. Apparently the system is designed so you can just switch the MoVI and battery mount and be good to go without any more tweaking. Pretty cool.
     
  14. Steve Maller

    Steve Maller UAV Grief Counselor

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    Whoa that's cool.
     
  15. Michael McVay

    Michael McVay Active Member

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    There is also some discussion about making the isolators some type of cartridge that can be easily changed to alter the amount of dampening - like switching the colors of your O rings. I was told its possible / likely that something similar to that could make the final production version. Essentially just pull out the cartridge that is like the blue bands and be able to put in a cartridge of black ones (or whatever mixes they end up creating). They would make sense because changing out the o rings is a bit of a hassle - things need to be taken apart - and wouldn't quite fit the theme of the Alta.
     
  16. Josh Lambeth

    Josh Lambeth Well-Known Member

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    I've already pre-ordered mine and I have spoken with Steve about this but I am very curious to see how this does in the heat here in Phoenix during the summer... that is my only concern. We often are needing to fly in 115-120* weather for about 3 months out of the year...

    Ugh is it June YET??!??!?!?!
     
  17. Rolf Ableiter

    Rolf Ableiter Active Member

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    ordered mine... i am in this business since more than 5 years. i always built the copters by myself (started with mikrokopter and switched in 2012 to my first cinestar 8 with the 3 Axis Gimbal and WKM - now with the M10).
    it was hard to find out wich ESC, motor, prop, flight controll, etc to use and in fact there is no help out there - just people in forums talking about things they don't really understand :)
    I dreamt of a multirotor, built RTF from a company like freefly in a reasonable price range. a system wich ist tested and safe, water resistant (for slightly rain and snow) with features for filmmakers like me. i hope it is as stable in position hold (especially altitude) as they are telling :)
    freefly was a small company when i bought my first cinestar and it was nice to get help from Tabb when i was in trouble with the radians.
    i never got any help from dji nor mikrokopter. i never got help from guys building customized ESC (like herkules wich i use). The fact that you build it by your own is the reason why there is no one responsible for the copter when you are in trouble.

    I really look forward to get a RTF System from freefly.
     
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  18. Michael McVay

    Michael McVay Active Member

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    I'm not sure if anyone has posted a picture of the proposed Pelican case yet...I have this and a few close ups of the latches for the folding arms if anyone would like to see them.

    IMG_3025.jpg

    IMG_7290.jpg
     
  19. Fabien Deregel

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    Hi,

    just my 2 cents regarding the Alta and the FC ( Synapse) here :)

    We can see many integrators selling things such as the S1000 from DJI for 11K Euro and more for a built system ( yes, some do it..) for something that is unprotect out of the box and requires a lot of wrk and modifications to make it worth it... With a clearly very, very poor customer support in case of problem with Zenmuse or A2. And a canon 5D max Payload, with a fixed lens.

    Most of the customers, really professionals one, want to have a choice for their lens, for their camera and for this only one gimbal on the market allows it with a light weight and perfect results : the Movi. It does not have anything to prove anymore to anybody i guess.. :)

    Then, regarding the flying rig, these professionals are fed up of tuning and tweaking gains, settings, in order to have a "working" system, working one day and giving troubles another one, electronically or mechanicaly.

    Freefly has designed a serious rig, fully integrated, no cables mess, light rain and snow proof, with a very solid frame and reinforcements all around. They just did the right thing for sure as many problems of existing frames are the lack of seriousness in the design of the central frames themselve. Gryphon has ultra rigid arms, but ultra chewy center plates... And Gimbal is attached below the lower plate, so with the weight and elver effect and inertia of the gimbal ( + bouncing due to the dampers) the frames fed. Like S1000, like S900..

    If you remember about Cinestar 8, it had ultra stiff booms installation and thick central plates. This is why it allowed very good videos already when other manufacturers were still searching ( and some are still..) searching for their path and solutions to vibrations problems..

    Alta has foldable arms, but they made them foldable horizontal with a solid anchor system and string pressure strap system. No slope. No vibrations / resonance.. You can see from pictures side alu plates ( vertical) between frames : extreme rigidification ( and maybe ESC cooling plate at the same time, who knows?? Edit : ESC's are under the motors, thanks Steve smaller for the update) . So for sure, the frame system is rigid and up to the task..

    Now regarding the Synapse, it is everything but a unproved flight controller.. There is more than 4 years ( or more) of background on this flight controller... And every person using a Movi is using a bit of the core of the Synapse in some ways...

    But today customer and pilots do not really want to have to deal with complicated settings, or experiment, especially when you re carrying a very expensive gimbal and camera + lens and eventually other equipment.

    So the only way to have a multirotor at a professional level with professional flight characteristics is to simply make it all in one, and test it, and tune it with various payloads, for a long time, and gather all informations to make a mathematical model ( let's say find the settings allowing the machine to fly perfectly between this and this payload range), and make it hard coded and just let access to a very few user parameters to limit the risks of a stupid crash due to wrong settings..

    Regarding ESC's, the people behind them are more than capable and already had very advanced skills a few years ago... Driving system must be pretty efficient for sure..

    For me, Alta is more than a flying rig. Freefly waited the right time, worked behind the scenes, and during the time competition was focusing on competing with the Movi ( yes you find much cheaper systems but look a the weight and true performances including speed compensation.. ), they fine tuned their design, tested and worked hard to release THE thing that we are all waiting for, including people like me ( integrator) : a finally working complete system with true engineering and development behind it. Everybody can make a multirotor, but how many companies can make such complete systems with real performances and true reliability ??

    I doubt very much that Freefly releases something unfinished or unproven according to the world wide excellence reputation they have gained since they released the Movi... :)

    Even the price is affordable : you have no idea of how many people build S1000 or large rigs and spend 2 or 3 times the price of the hardware to get it working fine... Alta is flying, really, out of the box for sure, you take it, you set it up, and you can work with it. end of the story :))) This is worth anything for operators and pilots, and movie production...

    It is foldable, the carry case is half the S1000 carry case size, you can mount the camera top or bottom, and ti's the company behind the Movi that is behind that one, so well, what else ? :)

    Oh and more than anything... After sales & service is Freefly...

    So to make it short, i just think this is worth it, and i am confident that this multirotor will offer performances and reliability beyond many people expectations :)

    Best regards
    Fabien
     
  20. Steve Maller

    Steve Maller UAV Grief Counselor

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    Fabien, that's a great summary of what ALTA will mean to those of us who rely on these platforms.

    One point of information about the ESCs/cooling: the ESCs are built into the motor mounts under the motors, and in the propwash. Others have done that, but these ESCs are designed from the ground up to be electrically configured for the longer power supply lines with the correct capacitance, and the cooling effects are obviously far better out there. The central core can be environmentally sealed with little need for ventilation, making it much more durable IMHO.

    I can't want to get mine and to start the next phase of this adventure!
     
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