Freefly Alta with Synapse is here!

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

  1. Fabien Deregel

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    Steve,

    thanks a lot for the informations, i'll edit my post to update with your input. For sure cooling will always be better outside than inside and also getting the benefit of the props air flow ...
    I have no doubt about the ESC's design and quality.
    Having the central core possible to be environmentally immune is a true benefit for travelers and for far far away aerial video sessions also.
    Waiting will be horrible...
    Thanks again for the infos :)
    Fabien
     
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  2. Sam Fleishman

    Sam Fleishman Member

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    Is there any information out there about telemetry? I know it has an osd but can I get telemetry to my futaba 14sg? Can I attach a voltage sensor to the PDB? Does that void the warranty? Lots of unknowns, but I'm sure they thought of all that...I hope.
     
  3. Fabien Deregel

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    Hi, i do not know if there will be a telemetry system on the Alta / Synapse, all i can say is that the Synapse " ancestor" had full telemetry over BT link ( up to 300 meters with a UD100 BT adapter on laptop and over 800 meters with the right RP SMA antenna on the UD 100 BT adapter).
    It was very comprehensive yet very complete, with major informations on the left with colored rectangles ( Status, link, mode...) , full access to all parameters for setup, 3D dot visualization for the CET precision (very neat gadget to estimate the positioning precision when tuning the system) and complete logs recorded live on the laptop.
    So i just do not know about it for the Synapse but i know how much efforts have been put in this system development so i guess there will be something anyway ? :)
     
  4. Fabien Deregel

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    I do not know if i can post these "old" video links ( this was the Synapse Ancestor system), moderators please delete if non relevant, i will fully understand. These were non confidential videos with no informations about the flight controller.


    This will show how powerful that thing was already 3 years ago. Here in the videos the unit was mounted on a Mikrokopter Hexacopter frame with a simple 2 axis servo gimbal, and also on a DJI F550 frame. See how the gimbal was already stabilized from the Synapse ( it had gimbal stabilization integrated) , i was many times in mechanical limits of the gimbal especially on the roll..
    Sorry for the small jello / vibrations, the Mikrokopter frames had a very,v very hard life as i spent my time pushing the system to it's limits and sometimes the pilot also ( lol...)
    So imagine the precision of positioning, the smoothness and stabilisation abilities that were already possible to achieve 3 years ago with the Synapse Ancestor, compared to anything on the market by that time, and all the progresses and innovations made by FreeFly since that time... Starving huh ? :))) I can tell that when Brushless Gimbals went on the market, many of them were not really able to give as good results as this with servos... There was no horizon drifting except when i achieved to kill the servos and gimbal mechanical limitations by large flight anges..

    Here are tests with gimbal stabilization in standard small flights in the back garden (i repeat, with simple servo gimbal stabilized by the flight controller):



    GPS positioning fun tests :

    Was trying to put the system in error or getting nuts by " natural external disturbances " (lol ).. For that i did mount it on a F550 Frame.. Did not succeed...



    And how does it work in GPS with the camera fitted on (2 axis servo gimbal still, back on the MK Hexa frames, with MK DS18 servos) .
    I had hard time with the MK DS18 servos ( very unreliable most of the time) but well.. Still having fun here :)



    And here a bit of fun with GPS /Vario hold testing. I killed a MK DS18 again on that one on the roll ( lol) , there is very small angle possible on that servo gimbal ( the old MK gimbal)



    So, this was 3 years ago and a actual DJI A2 with GPS Pro Plus is not even able to compete with the basic of this 3 years old system.. Compared to Mikrokopter, it could not compete at all with the performances in term of GPS positioning or wind handling. The most impressive thing that i miss so much is the smoothness of the controls, you feel totally connected to the machine as if you fly a Rc Helicopter, but it softens everything naturally, in a few words, you feel safe flying it and you know it will not let you down even in emergency maneuvers .

    Architecture photographs will love the GPS positioning with altitude positioning for sure, you can take a monster lens and make fantastic pictures at 1/30 with no problems i think... (I'm not a photographer but customer are and they are picky on that matter..).

    For video /cinema industry, the real " plus" of the system i could feel at that time is that if you are making sensible following movement and a bank turn, and that a wind gust arrives, on other flight systems the shoot is missed because of erratic correction of the flight controller and kind of shaking / dancing that goes beyond the gimbal ability to stabilise. On this system, you could finish your move in most conditions wit no troubles, check in the videos links how crisp but smooth the correction was. All is in this subtlety : correction, sharp but feeling natural and smooth in order not to have the gimbal dancing on it's dumper leading to a " back bounce of death" for the video.. :)

    2 and half month to wait to fly the Alta and the Synapse, i wonder what they have tweaked all this time and can't wait, it's horrible lol !

    BEst regards,

    Fabien
     
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  5. Steve Maller

    Steve Maller UAV Grief Counselor

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    Fabien, that's super cool. It boggles the mind how mature this product is going to be at the time us actual purchasers get our finished boxes. That's really unprecedented.

    I suspect the MK-style telemetry download over RC channels is going away in favor for more of the MōVI-style bluetooth and (hopefully) wifi to a tablet, mobile phone or laptop. And of course, much of what the telemetry gives you is replicated in the OSD, so really it may be unnecessary except for tuning and diagnostics. I think given the price point and target market, Freefly want the best possible data and reliability, not the lowest-cost, lowest bandwidth option.
     
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  6. Fabien Deregel

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    Hi Steve,

    thanks for the comments :)

    I can not talk too much bout the telemetry as i just do not know what choices have been made, but on the old system it was a Bluetooth link, ultra reliable with the UD100 USB dongle ( and good range, we do not use these kids of rigs to make FPV far far away competitions..) and the software was on a CP with windows, but it's very possible that it has changed since, on that, i can't say at all. :)

    Best regards,
    fabien
     
  7. Tom Hirschmann

    Tom Hirschmann New Member

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    Fantastic! Thanks Fabien for sharing so much information. I am very much looking forward to the Synapse and finding out more details.

    As someone who was making their own servo gimbals back then, those are impressive results! Very nice.
     
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  8. Cam Batten

    Cam Batten Member

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    This just popped up and I recognised a little yellow plane on the thumbnail.. Great piece!

     
  9. Ben Platts

    Ben Platts Active Member

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    I really really want to get an Alta as I love Freefly's products and have full faith that it will perform perfectly but Im really put off by the lack of redundancy. I mainly fly with a Red Dragon on my M15 and would ideally want to use this set up on the Alta which would put it at the higher end of its capacity. Im based in the UK and things over here are moving in the way of needing redundancy to get permission to fly in more built up area's. As we often shoot films and commercials these are area's we need to be able to fly in. So combined with the amount of money in the sky and the areas we want to fly in redundancy is a pretty big factor. Does anyone have any more info on redundancy on the alta with these sort of payloads? I need someone to justify me pre ordering one!!
     
  10. Michael McVay

    Michael McVay Active Member

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    Beautiful...here is the BTS video - there is a shot or two of the ALTA in use.
     
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  11. Rolf Ableiter

    Rolf Ableiter Active Member

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    redundancy:

    signal lost: failsafe (hovering and/or coming home?)
    Rx: two RX units on Alta
    motors: Alta can fly with 5 motors
    i think you can bind two transmitters and turn the second one on when in trouble with the first.

    but what about the flight controll?
     
  12. Ben Platts

    Ben Platts Active Member

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    I read in Steve's report from speaking to freefly that it wouldn't be able to fly with a motor out on heavier payloads.
     
  13. Andy Johnson-Laird

    Andy Johnson-Laird Administrator
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    The may prevent its use in the UK for flights over people. I suspect that for those who need to obtain a CAOSC (Congested Area Operation Safety Certificate), that it will be denied. I'll check with some folks I know in the UK and see.

    Andy
     
  14. Andy Johnson-Laird

    Andy Johnson-Laird Administrator
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    I'm checking to see whether the folks in the UK feel that they could get the CAA to issue a Congested Area Operational Safety Certificate for flight operations over people. Either I'll report back or Angus Benson-Blair will post (he got a CAOSC not so long back).

    Andy
     
  15. Angus Benson-Blair

    Angus Benson-Blair Active Member

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    In short, the ALTA would pass a CAOSC as virtually any copter can in theory pass. The real question though is to what level could you reduce your restrictions in the CAOSC. So, to compare it with my restrictions ie 10m from the public, I think it would be hard to get. This isn't so much to do with the number of motors but more to do with the flight controller. I am sure the controller will be exceptional given Freefly's track record but, it will be hitting the market with no previous track record, or company track record for flight controllers. Also, there appears to be no redundancy option with it. As for the number of motors, I cant really comment on that as we don't know the power of them. If, and at the moment it is a big if, the motors were equivelent to the KDE5215 435s, using 18 inch props then that gives you just shy of 40kg of thrust at max chat on 5 motors so it might work with a motor out- not sure though with if the Red is top mounted as this would likely become very unstable. If Freefly wish to help people get through a safety case process which seems to be the way Europe at least is heading then what they can do to help is publish a lot of data about the components being used. This will then help an operator identify where the risks in the copter lie and how best to mitigate them. One of the reasons for my COASC success was that I built it from the ground up by myself. Therefore I was able to work out where potential weekeness are and then spec the components and adding redundancy accordingly. This is harder to do on pre built rigs unless the manufacturer supplies data and the design allows certain customisations.
     
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  16. Rolf Ableiter

    Rolf Ableiter Active Member

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    as i read in Steve's Report teh ALTA is flyable with 5 motors as long as the payload isn't to heavy. It would be great to get more information about what that payload is (max thrust of the frame with 5 motors).
    But the biggest problem is the flight controll. may freefly can inform us about their future plans with synapse. otherwise the ALTA will be a toy for hobby flyers in europe in the near future and unusable for professionals :(
     
  17. Ben Platts

    Ben Platts Active Member

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    Very helpful as usual Angus, thanks. It's exactly what I am worried about. Would love to be able to get an Alta but not if I couldn't use it in a large number of situations. More details about redundancy and components definitely needed.
     
  18. Ozkan Erden

    Ozkan Erden Distributor

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    Am I the only one who is not relying on a new FC with all the faith? :)

    My only concern other than redundancy is, EMI shielding of the FC components.

    Here is why: On some areas, Movi starts acting weird and go nuts because of the strong RF signals around. Where Mikrokopter never gets affected nor Zenmuse gimbals. Since FC shares similar components with gimbal controllers, this concerns me. This is why, all new components should be field tested by real users with real scenarios. I would like to know real users reporting that it would be performing similar to what Mikrokopter FC offers.
     
  19. Fabien Deregel

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    Hi,
    RF problems are most of the time hitting the GPS first and then EMI on the compass.
    The only way to avoid troubles in cases of strong electromagnetic interferences or RF disturbance in the 1,2 to 1,5 Gz band is to fly.. Manual :)
    In Europe ( for what concerns me in France), when we write the technical documentations of the machines for the DGAC to get an approval for producing pre certified machines, we need to fill up a complete technical survey and one important point is that at all time, the pilot must be able to switch to full manual mode in case of disturbances putting the external references sensors in trouble.

    Now regarding commercial flights for movie industry, there are several scenarios and cases, in France for example it is totally prohibited to fly closer than 30 meter from any person / animal without a written acknowledgment for anything up to 4 kg, and this distances is bigger depending on the size and maximum velocity of the machine when heavier.

    This is more common sense about safety than anything else, and step by step European commission is trying to put things more " global" for Europe. People flying like nuts over crowds is not a good example but well, "drones" are the new paparazzis, so there will be always responsible people and less responsible ones.. Like in any other activity except flying something heavy is still a dangerous thing even if with all the flight assistances it makes it easy and effortless ( which is the biggest trap of the thing, in fact..)

    The Synapse "ancestor" is one of the most safe and powerful unit i ever flown and the only problem i did get was in case of strong RF / EMI disturbances, the machine would go in toilet bowl mode a little but well, the ground telemetry warned about compass / GPS issue and just needed to flip a switch and get into manual mode and all was fine. As simple as that :)

    Regarding the redundancy, there is not always need to have 2 units to have redundancy. Redundancy can also be internal in various ways. The real redundancy is to know how to fly 100% manual, including without self leveling. This covers 95% of possible troubles in flight and how to deal with them..

    For that, proper training is required, too many " pilots" learn to fly on self leveling multirotors rather than on RC helicopters, if you really want to get the best reflexs and cold blood when sh.. happens ( breaking a prop, strong RF disturbing compass or GPS) then invest in proper Rc Helicopter flying training on a AMA field with an instructor ( and it is much cheaper than learning to fly multirotors in many places lol) or get a small quadcopter such as Blade 200 MQX and go from ultra assisted, to agile assisted and finally to manual mode and learn to fly nose in, forward, backward, all directions, then everything else will be a bit easier especially on large multirotrs when something goes wrong..

    About certifications, if the Alta cannot be certified, then, i do not really know what could be really certified except a few dual FC mikrokotper machines and dual FC custom systems ( with switching between FC).

    Let's see how the Synapse has improved since 2012 when the Alta /Synapse will come out :)))))
     
  20. Ozkan Erden

    Ozkan Erden Distributor

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    Fabien, thanks for the message.

    As I stated in my previous message, I find Movi more vulnerable to RF signals than other systems. This experience is based on real tests: While MK or DJI Zenmuse systems doesn't affected (MK is on GPS hold), the Movi becomes totally unusable under MK based multirotor. While they almost share similar components, I want to know why Movi is affected more than other systems.

    Personally, I would like to see a proper EMI shield on Synapse for peace of mind. Some industrial flight controllers achieve this by placing the FC PCB into a EMI shielded case.

    About redundancy; when a Hexa looses a motor, if the flight controller software is not intelligent enough, the multirotor enters uncontrollable yaw; this is when the problem starts. The forward of the craft changes so fast so it becomes almost impossible to control it. DJI and MK has IOC/carefree function, which helps to control the craft in case of motor loss on a hexa. So, Alta's flight behaviour on a motor loss should be tested throughly.

    On an octo, I had several ESC problems with MK BL Ctrl 3.0 and every time I had landed without an issue. If the Alta was an octo, the redundancy would be a less concern for the most.

    Another note for Alta:

    User maintainability of the parts is one of the most important aspect for me. We always carry two or three of everything just in case one fails. If some parts fail on the field, we pass to the second system. But assistant tech guys should fix the the main copter on the field if that's possible. Lets say, we have a motor or ESC problem with Alta. I will want to change it on the field. It can be provided as a full arm as DJI offers with their S1000/S900 systems. If the main hub has the issue, there will be nothing to do on the field since Freefly will probably will ask it to be shipped to them for fixing and I have no problem with that.
     

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