Freefly Alta with Synapse is here!

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

  1. Fabien Deregel

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    Hi,

    there are couple of MK based Cinestars flying with the Movi and i did not yet had that kind of problems.

    DJI is a bit irrelevant on my opinion as it is a DJI /DJI proprietary thing so it is hard for anybody to make a mistake in components placements and power feeding.

    Most problems when using gimbals in aerial is when they are 3 axis and brushless, if the Pan is not perfectly balanced on the gimbal, then it will have hard time to work correctly.

    Another possibility is that the wiring / power feed is not correctly done or there are devices that are plugged and can cause problems ( hard to connect a external device on a Zenmuse gimbal as it would not be supported except maybe just a small shutter system...)

    Please do not mistake in what i say, you might have an issue but it might not be a "vulnerability" , it could be something else :)

    The Zenmuse does not have a GPS (it uses the Flight controller GPS / compass system), and when flying a MK machine the Zenmuse can not be used ( except if you hook up a complete DJI FC to it) so it might be a third party gimbal without GPS on it ? What other gimbal are you using on the MK based machine that works fine ?

    I could tell may issues with MK or DJI, it this would not be professional. I build a LOT of DJI S900 /S1000 for customers and so far i never had a single failure un flight reported. Only common issues are with .. Zen muse stoping working with no explanations. Some people flying same configurations have issues all time... Maybe the assembly and connections are not proper or secured enough or machine has a bad maintenance ? hard to tell but sometimes we wee build performed by " so called" professionals and ouch ouch ouch.. We even wonder how the machine could just hover sometimes... :)

    Did you check with FreeFly to make a complete analysis of your system and troubleshooting with them already ?

    EMI is more impacting compass than anything else and the simple fact that the Alta can fly with batteries upper and gimbal lower (or vice versa) means that EMI shielding is properly done, but you can not make an EMI shield on a compass ( would be nonsense as the compass needs to see the earth magnetic field to do it's job). It's more a matter of location of the compass mainly and then of GPS antenna.

    Alta has it's own distribution board with integrated BEC's and this is for me the best thing as this way, no possible mistakes in the wires harness DIY thing or wires routing.

    In anyway, i think that FreeFly is testing more the Alta enough and the Synapse is in test since very long time, one more time, i really doubt that FreeFly would " play" to release something unfinished and that is not properly working...

    Regarding spare parts / on field repairs, changing an arm on the field is something eventually OK but changing a complete main frame is something that needs to be done correctly and requires full machine / motors tests ( if you change the core / frames, it means that something really bad happens and you never go back flying without having the full system checked and re checked).

    For these kind of situations, most users have a spare unit ready to fly and will take it in case anything is wrong with the other unit, so they have time to fully investigate and check properly the damaged / malfunctioning rig ( and i bet they will check it more than deeply when they use very expensive gimbals and cameras on it).

    The only case you can replace an arm and go back flying is when you made a small " touch" with the props and land safely. If anything else happens and needs further work, it also needs deeper inspection..

    But let's wait to see what will be available as spare and will not.. :)

    Best regards,

    Fabien
     
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  2. Ozkan Erden

    Ozkan Erden Distributor

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    Fabien,

    I'm not here to find a solution to a problem; I'm expressing a concern as a "professional" operator who knows much more than balancing who spends almost 5 days a week on sets over 6 years. The problem I describe about EMI and RF exists in Movi (there are bunch of users reported similar problems here on the forums); and ofcourse Zenmuse / MK is a good comparison just because these units share similar components basically.

    EMI shielding is very important for professional grade equipment, and since the Alta is sold as "RTF" and not a hobby grade equipment, this kind of security measures should be taken care of in the build process.

    Redundancy of Alta and EMI shielding is the two topic I'm willing to know more about from Freefly team. Both topic is no joke. EMI shielding stuff, I will have to test it myself; but for redundancy I'm sure lots of users will want to see how Alta behaves when a motor is out.

    These comments are to improve a product; not to judge it.
     
  3. Fabien Deregel

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    Hi Ozkan,

    thanks for the input. I integrate UAV's and multirotors since 2006 for professionals and i understand very well your concerns, we face sometimes things that are more than smile challenges with some configurations, i do admit :)

    What i tried to say (but when reading back my post i think i did put too many different things maybe in the wrong order), is that the Movi has a GPS for speed compensation, and maybe also magnetometer ( that, i do not know ..) , which makes it a bit more sensible than a Zenmuse which benefits from canbus informations from the flight controller directly rather than having a GPS right under the mainframe dedicated to the gimbal, and only carries it's own IMU.
    And it is prepared for interconnection to the DJI flight controllers so all the " chain" is covered from top of the machine till the bottom. Only thing that is unfortunate with DJI is the lack of seriousness in their frames designs which requires a lot of additional work to get something reliable, but this is another story.

    The Alta is not yet released, neither are detailed informations about it, but for having tested the "ancestor" of the Synapse 3 years ago, i can already say the following from my own small experience on this flight controller :

    - Compass was integrated inside the FC housing ( it was a simple plastic casing for electronics as it was a prototype) and so was the GPS. It only needed to be installed on a right spot without high currents, copper or metal too close to it, and i managed to get it working perfectly on a F550 frame which was not the best thing to use ( lot of copper, batteries very close...) . On the MK frames / canister frames it worked like a charm :) It was possible to mount an external compass and sure it would have been possible to fit the GPS antenna anywhere else if needed.

    - On the MK and F550 i could hover and fly and land the machine with 5 motors with a standard payload without much problems, heavy payload was a bit more tricky to handle, it was "sloppy" in the inputs only but i know that the complimentary filters and algorythms are more than powerful and clearly do not have worry compared to MK or DJI on that matter ( i can't tell more because of NDA). Despite this, for an ultra large rig i would more have gone with 8 rotors rather than 6 to get more safety but it's Freefly choice. Motor choice, and power ratio will be a first important thing, then FC algorithms will do the work, or not... That we need to wait and see with such big rigs compared to what we tested it on, but i just tested a prototype on small frames so i think it is not very relevant compared to the big frames coming up..

    Now, all this is for sure a bit premature as the Alta /Synapse are not there yet, but you can be sure that when it will be available, we will push it to it's limits to check every aspect of it and i will let you know if we find anything, and if yes, how we can manage ( or not..) the situation :)

    Out of all this, there are a few tricks which can help to reduce problems with EMI, if you can send me your exact configuration ( rig + gimbal and accessories, power of each system..) i can give a look and maybe ( i say maybe as you might have done all the possible things already) i could suggest some things ?

    Best regards,
    Fabien
     
  4. Steve Maller

    Steve Maller UAV Grief Counselor

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    Ozkan, you're a great source of information, experience and wisdom. I must say though that the additional cost, weight (?) and potential complexity might dictate that the ALTA is not bulletproofed WRT EMI and other such factors. The reason for this is I suspect that this kind of operation is relatively rare for most customers. This is not to say that some (such as you) are routinely operating in such environments, but one of the goals of successful product design is to consider all the possible needs and wants of your customers, and implement a reasonable set of compromises, and possibly an upgrade path for certain features. So maybe ALTA will be able to be shielded for certain high-exposure applications. But I doubt that'll be the shipping configuration. One of the reasons for this is that shielding works both ways: if you keep out the EMI and other nasties, you also block things like GPS and other TX/RX stuff. That's difficult and complicated.
     
  5. Josh Lambeth

    Josh Lambeth Well-Known Member

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    Does anyone know an actual date within June that the ALTA will start to ship? I'm getting anxious. :)
     
  6. Michael McVay

    Michael McVay Active Member

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    I had heard that June might be optimistic from someone. I know they are pushing for June, but I'm prepping myself for the fact it could be a little longer for them to get everything perfect. I guess we can only wait and see.
     
  7. Ozkan Erden

    Ozkan Erden Distributor

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    I think Freefly is falling behind the release dates on other products also; including Wedge and MIMIC :(
     
  8. John Sciarrino

    John Sciarrino New Member

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    I'm pretty excited about the Alta but in my opinion there is always the ups and downs on everything. Whenever something is built fully integrated it makes it harder to trouble shoot or fix anything that might go wrong. That's why I have never purchased a RTF rig from my first 650 all the way to my current 1100. I know my rigs inside and out. So, with the Alta you have to pretty much hope it works and then send it off for repairs if there are any issues. However when you have a company like Freefly you know they have worked out all the bugs and their systems are so well designed. I remember almost two years of fooling with Alex Mos 2 and 3 axis boards until I finally bit the bullet and bought a Movi M10 and now I get steady and smooth video all day long. But then there are the limitations whereas you have to stick with everything proprietary, no tweaking and modifying to your liking. The same thing with the Alta, it is what it is and it is not very easy, or wise, to change anything or customize.

    That being said, if I continue to do video (the market is getting pretty saturated down here in SW Florida) and I am still able to get my price point I will probably pick one of these up to add to my arsenal of rigs.
     
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  9. Danielle de Leon

    Danielle de Leon New Member

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    It's mentioned that FFS stuck with the hex because they wanted to use larger props, but that doesn't make sense from an engineering standpoint. They would be able to use larger props if they just extended the booms out. Then they would be able to upgrade to an Octo! The only reason I can imagine that would deter FFS from making a octo would be the footprint when folded or limitations with the Synapse... Thoughts?
     
  10. John Sciarrino

    John Sciarrino New Member

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    Danielle, are you bringing the old debate of redundancy whereas an 8 motor rig will be easier to land if one motor goes out?
    It is always pointed out that it is very rare for a motor to fail and usually if one is going there are tell tale signs, if you check them on a regular basis. I am still undecided on what side I think is correct, however I started out and still fly hexas.
     
  11. Danielle de Leon

    Danielle de Leon New Member

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    In the video posted back in April by FFS, it looks like there are some sleek, silver, rectangular looking vibration dampeners used when mounting the MoVI on the bottom (seen @ 00:30 and 01:15). These vibration dampeners are not on the ALTA in the footage with the top-mount being used... Therefore, I'm assuming you will have to remove/unscrew SOMETHING when switching from the bottom to top mount, and vice versa.

    It looks as if they have a cheese plate mounted onto the MoVI through the Toad In The Hole , which will then be mounted through the proprietary vibration dampeners (as apposed to the TITH system used for the top-mount) as a unit; meaning the TITH cheese plate is pulled away from the base of the ALTA with these silver vibration dampeners.

    Ideas and observations?
     
  12. Danielle de Leon

    Danielle de Leon New Member

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    My intention wasn't to discuss redundancy factors, but more so max payload.

    You can lift more with an octo than you can with a hex
     
  13. Fabien Deregel

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    Hi Danielle,

    in order to explain you what the " Synapse" is able to do, just check these very " old" screenshots of the ground station of the Synapse " Ancestor" i did test fly for a while. Check also the listing of the recorded logs and see how many motors were already supported on this " old" version. I deleted some part on the screen ( terminal) containing confidential informations.
    Shall you have an octo or an hex, no matters, only matters that you put the right motors, ESC and propellers matching your payload, they will both survive one motor loss.. If you loose 2 motors in flight, either your maintenance is just not what it should be, either you did hit something in flight and here, only " luck" does matter :)

    Thing with the Hexacopter, is that you can fold it much easier than an Octo :)))) And you can have same lift if you have the right motors and props, then most very big rigs use onto but in Coaxial ( which makes you lose a bit of efficiency but very god behavior in the wind if mixers well tuned, but has less redundancy than an hex in case of one motor loss..)

    Listing of what was in the logs at that time.., and screenshot attached ( Moderators: please delete if anything causing problem, but should be alright as i removed the confidential infos.) :

    Accel K1,0.0015
    Accel K2,3.00
    Accel Mode Accel D,0
    Accel Mode Accel I,100
    Accel Mode Accel P,40
    Accel Mode Velocity P,30
    Accelerometer Filter,15
    Airframe Levelling,0
    Airframe Type,6
    Alarm Voltage,3.4
    Attitude Accuracy,3.0
    Attitude Mode,1
    Auto Declination,0
    Auto Declination K,4
    Auto Magnetometer Offset,0
    Auto Magnetometer Offset K,10
    Auto-land Descent Rate,-0.8
    Baro Accel Comp,0
    Baro Accel K1,5.0
    Baro Angle Comp,0
    Baro Height K3,0.050
    Baro Velocity K2,0.013
    Camera Pan Smoothing,20
    Camera Rate,25
    Camera Roll Smoothing,20
    Camera Tilt Smoothing,20
    Ceiling,100
    Cells,0
    Climb Accel I,150
    Climb Accel P,6
    Climb Attitude Authority,80
    Climb Rate P,25
    Command Mode,0
    Control Force,20.0
    Coordinated Turns,0
    D Term,6.0
    Debug 0,1
    Debug 1,0
    Debug 2,0
    Debug 3,0
    Declination,0
    Descent Attitude Authority,30
    Dual Handset,0
    Friction,10.0
    GPS Accel K1,0.0300
    GPS Accel K2,0.050
    GPS Height Correction,0
    GPS Position K4,0.200
    GPS Velocity Filter,4
    GPS Velocity K3,0.200
    Gyro Filter,15
    Hacc Threshold,7.0
    Heading Hold P,100
    Heading Lock Window,35
    Height Hold P,80
    Height Hold Window,70
    Height Mode,2
    Hover Throttle,6.3
    Idle Motor,3.5
    IMU X Offset,0.000
    IMU Y Offset,0.000
    IMU Z Offset,0.000
    Inertia,0.5
    Land Voltage,3.2
    LOS Auto-Land Delay,10
    Magnet K1,0.0100
    Magnet K2,2.00
    Manual Motor 1,0 Manual Motor 2,0 Manual Motor 3,0 Manual Motor 4,0 Manual Motor 5,0 Manual Motor 6,0 Manual Motor 7,0 Manual Motor 8,0
    Manual Pan,1500
    Manual Roll,1500
    Manual Shutter,1500
    Manual Tilt,1500
    Map Aux,0
    Map Cam Pan,0
    Map Cam Tilt,0
    Map Mode,5
    Map Pitch,-3
    Map Roll,-2
    Map Shutter,6
    Map Throttle,1
    Map Yaw,4
    Max Climb Rate,3.0
    Max GPS Angle,30
    Max GPS Speed,3.0
    Max Motor,11.0
    Max Pitch/Roll Angle,45
    Max Pitch/Roll Rate,200
    Max Servo Pan,2000
    Max Servo Roll,2000
    Max Servo Tilt,2000
    Max Yaw Rate,200
    Maximum g,0.4
    Min PWM,23
    Min Servo Pan,1000
    Min Servo Roll,1000
    Min Servo Tilt,1000
    Minimum Sats,6
    Mixer Filter,10
    Next Picture Delay,5.0
    Pan Offset,0
    Pan Scale,-11.0
    Pan Tilt Mode,0
    Pilot Mode,0
    Pitch Trim,0.0
    Pitch/Roll Angle P,60
    Pitch/roll Expo,40
    Pitch/Roll Rate I,100
    Pitch/Roll Rate P,60
    Position Accuracy,1.0
    Position Control Mode,0
    Position Hold P,80
    Position Hold Window,50
    Position Mode,2
    PWM Update Frequency,450
    Radio Type,1
    Range,500
    RC Averaging,0
    RC LSB,0
    Relocate Enabled,0
    Roll Offset,0
    Roll Scale,-11.0
    Roll Trim,0.0
    Safe Height,15
    Self Levelling Rate,50
    Shutter Depress,1400
    Shutter Duration,0.5
    Shutter Press,1600
    Throttle Cut,1125
    Throttle Expo,30
    Throttle Scale,70
    Thrust Linearization,1
    Tilt Offset,0
    Tilt Scale,-11.0
    Vel Mode Velocity I,0
    Vel Mode Velocity P,40
    BT base addr B0,0
    BT base addr B1,0
    BT base addr B2,0
    BT base addr B3,0
    BT base addr B4,0
    BT base addr B5,0
    BT base addr B6,0
    BT base addr B7,0
    BT enable,0
    Yaw Authority,20
    Yaw Mode,1
    Yaw Polarity,1
    Yaw Rate I,150
    Yaw Rate P,100


    Best regards,
    fabien
     

    Attached Files:

  14. Danielle de Leon

    Danielle de Leon New Member

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    That is awesome Fabien! Thank you so much for sharing!

    I sure wish they would sell this as a stand-alone FC...
     
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  15. Steve Maller

    Steve Maller UAV Grief Counselor

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    So impressed that there's not just 1 debug variable but 4.
    That shows that these guys really considered everything in the Synapse design.
    :rolleyes:

    #sarcasm
     
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  16. Fabien Deregel

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    Hi, these are not the logs ( i did write logs sorry for this) but " just" the basic configuration parameters list. Logs are pretty.. very complete also.... :)
    I can't show the other screens of settings as some contain confidential parameters explaining how powerful the unit is...
    Personally, i would have called this flight controller " Prophecy" because of it's "' predictive" abilities (just my 2 cents here..)... :)))
    Best regards,
    fabien
     
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  17. Andy Johnson-Laird

    Andy Johnson-Laird Administrator
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    Oh, I dunno, having four separate levels of detail for debug information is pretty consistent with some modern code that I've seen.

    Andy.
     
  18. Fabien Deregel

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    HI, these were beta and development firmwares at that time, and i'm pretty sure you would get nuts if you saw some of the parameters variables in the " deep" settings... I sure did get some severe headaches to adjust some of them lol !
    Best regards,
    Fabien
     
  19. Steve Maller

    Steve Maller UAV Grief Counselor

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    More details about the ALTA from a recent Instagram video post:

    The ALTA features 2 quick release silicon rubber battery straps and integrated battery end stops to allow for fast battery exchange. The battery tray can accommodate battery packs up to 240 x 180 x 80 mm The team at Freefly sweats the details, so that you can spend more time in the air creating content.....and making your clients smile #FreeflyALTA #Prolevel #FreeflyTECH #FreeflySynapse

    https://instagram.com/p/4zQvEpP_EU
     
  20. Steve Maller

    Steve Maller UAV Grief Counselor

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    The other interesting thing I noticed in the video that answers a few questions is that it appears the ALTA's top plate has vibration isolators already installed, meaning that maybe it'll be easier that we might have thought to swap the MōVI to the top of the copter. But that remains to be seen I guess.

    Screen Shot 2015-07-06 at 11.56.10 AM.jpg
     

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