Whats the lo-down on the ALTA!

Discussion in 'ALTA' started by Dave Herman, Sep 4, 2015.

  1. Dave Herman

    Dave Herman New Member

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    So, been thinking about getting the alta for a while now, but have been waiting to get an overall impression of what people think about this copter.


    So from all the ALTA owners out there:

    What are the best and worst bits of the ALTA?

    DAVE

    http://cineflite.com
     
  2. Steve Maller

    Steve Maller UAV Grief Counselor

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    There are numerous threads already here in the forum.
    There are not very many of them out there yet, so there aren't thousands of people chiming in.
    That, and many who have received them are too busy flying them and working with them to write on the forum (or aren't even acive members).
     
  3. Gary Haynes

    Gary Haynes Administrator
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    Having flown with the Synapse during testing the Synapse just flies really well. Most profound thing that impresses me is how quiet it is. Firefly's new ESC's and Prop combination almost makes it stealth like. Out 50ft and it is a whisper.
     
  4. Dave King

    Dave King Well-Known Member

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    Too bad no way point flying. That's missing a huge industry for mapping and surveying.
     
  5. Steve Maller

    Steve Maller UAV Grief Counselor

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    Dave, I don't think Freefly care that much about that market. Truth is that market is going to be dominated by small, cheap, mostly autonomous machines flying with small, high-res still cameras and other sensors. It's a really different design center. The ALTA is less a robot as an extension of a skilled operator (or two, or three).
     
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  6. Dave King

    Dave King Well-Known Member

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    Thats a real shame (actually a tragedy IMO) because its going to be a huge market in the US soon and we need highly precise copters that can stay on course in strong wind and be very precise with waypoints. The small cheap machines you talk about are not going to hold well in wind, not water resistant and can't do way point flying very precisely. Plus they don't have the ability to fly a real camera. All of these lighter drones have 1/3 of the resolution the 5D's and I know several guys flying phantom 2's and they have to fly very high to get the necessary GSD and the resolution on their pictures is higher. I am starting to do mapping jobs for an engineering firm because they can't get the results with a small copter that I can with a 5D. In fact many mapping professionals are chomping at the bit for a 50 MP camera.

    Personally I want a nice durable product that can fly a 5D or better for the future. But we are all at the mercy of MK ESC's and less precise GPS.

    From a business standpoint survey and mapping pays much more per hour and in Canada a lot of serious professionals are doing mapping and surveying with large copters using 5D's. As more exemptions come out, more people will be looking seriously at mapping and surveying. I think you will see more people doing this than video production in the future.

    My take on this is that if we now have a LEXUS that can take video production to a new level why not incorporate these features? If MK can do waypoints very well imagine what Freefly could do?
     
  7. Steve Maller

    Steve Maller UAV Grief Counselor

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    Dave, don't you think a fixed wing aircraft is better suited to doing surveying? Sure, they're not as stable and obviously can't turn on a dime, but they can fly considerably longer, and software can correct small variances in course, etc.

    But if you want to do this with a multirotor, personally, I think a surveying-optimized copter is not a bad idea, either. But here's my ideal design for that:

    1) endurance-optimized quad-rotor airframe (very light)
    2) efficiency-type motors and props (think 120kV and 20" props)
    3) open-source flight control (APM/pixhawk) that can be addressed through an API for expandability and can run pre-programmed routes semi-autonomously
    4) downward-looking stabilization system (2 axis?) capable of utilizing small high-megapixel still cameras (such as the 21mp Sony RX100 III)

    I'm imagining a system like this could fly for at least 30-45 minutes, and cover a considerable amount of ground. You could easily tap into the GPS system of the Pixhawk to trigger and tag photos. So this is why I don't think the ALTA is the right copter for this work. It actually won't do any of this, and it cost 4-5x what this one would cost to build.
     
  8. Dave King

    Dave King Well-Known Member

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    Would a fixed wing be able to lift a 5D? How you even mount that? I myself would rather fly multirotors and theres several others out there that prefer that as well. In many types of land you have limited visibility with tall trees and I personally feel more comfortable doing shorter 300 meter by 300 meter sections. You can easily add chunks of these 300X300 meter sections into Pix4 for one large project. If you are doing 300X300 meter sections its not necessary to have anything lighter. Also the FAA wants you to do everything line of site with a visual observer and I think anything going out farther than 300X300 meters is pushing line of site.
     
  9. Charlie Cushing

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    I'm curious what the biggest difference between the ALTA with Synapse and a MK Cinestar 8, how do the electronics compare? More user friendly? Flys better?
     
  10. Dave King

    Dave King Well-Known Member

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    It's like going from a 1988 Ford Escort to a 2016 C7 Corvette. :D
     
  11. Charlie Cushing

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    How do the flight characteristics compare? I don't love MK, has taken a lot of trial and error to get it to fly how I like it and my DJI 550 still flys better. But I've gotten used to it.
     
  12. Dave King

    Dave King Well-Known Member

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    I don't have the Alta but know several people that do. They agree that its much smoother and you can fly straight as an arrow. You can also go up and down much smoother and straighter. It's very tunable to how you like it to fly. Position hold is much improved as well. As far as reliability only time will tell.
     
  13. Gary Haynes

    Gary Haynes Administrator
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    Bit biased but Synapse is smoooth. Position hold is typically with a half foot even in wind with reasonable sats in view. With the Height and Velocity clamps being an adjustable feature you can finely tune how fast up/down and flight speed. While there are a lot of tuning parameters other than adjusting the hover throttle for your load most folks can fly out of the box.

    Add to the FC the motor/esc combo and it once it is away from you has a negligible noise level, nothing like any heavy setup I have ever flown.
     
  14. Steve Maller

    Steve Maller UAV Grief Counselor

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    With all due respect to Holger and the MK products, the Synapse is using much more modern tech. And the flight controller is only part of it. Having considerable power overhead, a system where the prop wash cools the ESCs (they're directly beneath the motors), that's designed from the ground up for the platform in which it's installed, that's bad weather tolerant (MK can be torched by one stray drop of water), etc...

    I do own an ALTA, and so far it's been a revelation.
     
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  15. Cody Hanthorn

    Cody Hanthorn Member

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    I think forward thinking and always changing evolving is a must in the industry. When I build a computer its made to handle pretty much anything you throw at it, but it still cannot do everything like a purpose built machine. I think FF may carry a little of the DJI 'play in my sandbox use my toys' mentality. I think you are right in that FF does not care of this segment. They are heavily grounded in aerial media and cinema. FF's empire and its hardware to me scream smooth nice shots. They are happy to promote systems to evolve this use further. A friend of mine is using pixihawk on a system for search and rescue applications. Maybe we could say a multitool does not exist. We can have a GH4 with a nice prime glass for video or we can have a alpha 7, 6D etc for better pictures, but we cannot have both in one camera....at least from what I have seen without breaking the bank.
     
  16. Howard Dapp

    Howard Dapp Active Member

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    What kv are Alta's motors? Or is this super duper top secret info?
     
  17. Gary Haynes

    Gary Haynes Administrator
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    384 kv. Specs in the manual.
     
  18. Steve Maller

    Steve Maller UAV Grief Counselor

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    Another analogy is that of prime vs. zoom lenses.
    On the one side you have convenience and cost, and on the other side you have quality.
    You can't have both. :rolleyes:
     
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  19. Andy Johnson-Laird

    Andy Johnson-Laird Administrator
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    The Universe is like a valley between two mountain peaks -- you can be on one Peak of Performance or the other, but usually you live in the Valley of Compromise. Seems to apply to all technologies and facets of life.

    I mean, you could have a certain presidential candidate's hair or his intelligence, but not both.
    Hmmm. OK. Bad analogy. Assumes facts not in evidence. :rolleyes:

    Andy
     

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