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Mini 3 First blush- Kind of an odd duck

vindibona1

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First... BOOdos (reverse of kudos) to FedEx who had a deliveryman drive my drone around (once within 8' of my home's front entrance) for 3 days falsely claiming to have made TWO attempted deliveries. It was a fiasco. I've never encountered such a communication lobotomized company as I did with FedEx.

I've unboxed the Mini 3 w/RC Pro controller and the Flymore plus kit with the extended batteries. Compared to the Mini 1 FMC you don't get a whole lot for your $250. ND filters? No. Wall charger? Not even. Really? FMC= 2 batteries, charging bank, props and a bag. Nada mas.

The Mini 3 drone itself is a huge departure from the other Minis. It's stripped weight is 249 grams. I guess they had to chop off the legs so they could put sensors in and the legs sort of fold opposite of the other Minis. It's nearly a belly dragger. I don't see how you wouldn't have to own leg extensions even if you don't always use them. The gimbal is REALLY close to the ground if you don't use extentions. This was a challenge to add strobes to the front arms- but I figured it out.

The RC Pro controller is interesting. I recall when the RC-N1 came out replacing the Mavic 2's controller everyone was so happy that the phone went above the sticks. Well, below the "below-the-sticks" monitor is back. I never minded at all. The RC Pro feels lighter than the RC-N1. I'm glad that DJI brought back some of the features of the Mavic 2 controller, though no 5D button. It actually feels pretty good in the hand.

HAVING MADE MY FIRST IN-FLIGHT TESTS THE ONE THING I CAN SAY IS THAT THE Mini3 WITH THE RC-PRO HAS MUCH FINER CONTROL THAN THE MINI 2, with the standard controller. Is it the bird, the controller or a combination? It was really the RC Pro controller that caused me to buy the Mini 3. In pictures you can see that the movement of the right and left controls have a completely different mechanism than the balls on the RC-N1. The response, only adjusting for yaw rate and smoothness is much more linearly progressive. It feels like the RC Pro sticks have a longer "throw". It was pretty comfortable out of the box after the yaw adjustments. The only odd thing is that the sticks themselves attach to these tiny threaded stubs. I found the sticks a little hard to remove from the back of the controller and hold onto. For $250 DJI couldn't have included a spare set of sticks? I know I'm going to lose one in the grass at some point.

The monitor on the RC Pro is very crisp, but as some have reported not as bright as one might like, but not terrible. What I like about the system is that it can be fast to deploy. I like turning on the controller, then the drone, waiting for sats and then off we go. The longest part of the setup on my other drones is hooking up the phone/tablet with the wires. It's too bad that the RC Pro doesn't have any way to hook up a phone or tablet which would be needed for VR/FPV as my Mini 2 and Mavic 2 have. My Mini 2's RC-N1 will be useful in this regard with the Mini 3 (and DroneMask). So I won't be selling my Mini 2 at least for some time.

The hover angle of the Mini 3 was stranger than my other drones. It sort of has a "nose-up" attitude. At first I thought it might be caused by the "skid-like" leg extensions, but when I removed the legs it did the same thing. I've got two strobes on the front arms and one on the back, so the difference in balance would only be 16 grams. I hadn't paid attention to any of the videos in regard to hover attitude.

Strobes? That was the challenge. The front arms rotate inward when folding as opposed to straight back. The answer? Elastic bands. I can leave the strobes on the arms and just have to rotate them on the arms 90° when folding it all up. The strobes can stay on and take about 10 seconds to change position. I didn't think there was quite enough room to add velcro to the arms when folded and I'd have to fumble with the strobes every time. This way it's super simple. I'll take photos later. So I have two red Viflys on the front arms. I figured out that I'd have to put a strip of female velcro on the back of each battery so I could just stick a green strobe on before launching. I'm not sure yet if I'm going to mount a clear bottom strobe on the drone's chassis or on the leg extensions. Probably the extension for sure. BTW... The folding extension weighs 18 grams. I've got another extension setup coming tomorrow with that straps onto the Mini 3. I'll reserve judgement until after I try it. Drone Valley recommended this style, so I thought I'd give it a try. I'll keep the one I like the best. Speed, storage and weight will determine which I will keep. So far the little FMC bag works as a lot of accessories (like cables and tablet holders etc) aren't needed. The challenge was to find a way to also carry the folded leg extensions in the FMC bag. I'm working on fashioning one of the hard cases I have for the Mini 3. I've got two other Apache 2800's carrying/storing other stuff that could find an alternative place. If I can get my hands on some decent PU foam...

So that's it for my first blush review. I'm sure the images will be fine. I just flew from my doorstep to check it out before becoming more adventurous. It's too bad FedEx kept me waiting ALL weekend (plus yesterday, Monday) as my Mini 3 traveled within 2 miles of my home all weekend as the weather was perfect to get some footage on a project I've been working one. Perhaps one day I'll share the extended FedEx saga.
 
I wanted to share my (current) strobe strategy for my Mini 3. Unlike my Mini 2 the front arms do not go straight back, but fold under, opposite of the way the Mini 2's arms fold. When I'm flying totally with eyes on the drone I want to know which way it's oriented. Knowing the orientation of a plain gray blob in the sky is impossible visually once out a few hundred feet. But two red strobes in front and a single green one in the rear (actually not mounted to the batteries via velcro) helps me know what direction my drone will go when I push on the sticks.

I have mounted two Vifly strobes, programmed for red on the front arms via elastic hair bands. The benefit of the hair bands is that it allows me to move the strobes to the another side of the arms for folding. They can then stay on the drone for packing and storage and only takes a second or two to reposition. I've have very good luck with the bands with my all my strobes, including the FH ARC V's- except that on my other drones the strobes can stay in the front-most position. On one drone I think I have them mounted with both velcro and hairbands, having lost two ARC V's with velcro alone :(. The hair bands cost about $2.50 for 300 so cheap to change out as they stretch and age.


1657718744401.png1657718777422.png1657718811344.png
 
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The RC Pro controller is interesting. I recall when the RC-N1 came out replacing the Mavic 2's controller everyone was so happy that the phone went above the sticks. Well, below the "below-the-sticks" monitor is back. I never minded at all. The RC Pro feels lighter than the RC-N1. I'm glad that DJI brought back some of the features of the Mavic 2 controller, though no 5D button. It actually feels pretty good in the hand.
I will be reluctant to buy any controller that puts the screen below the sticks, unless that screen is Super Nova Bright, like 1500+ nits.

I have zero tolerance for looking at a screen that is significantly washed out by the glare of direct sunlight. With the RC-N1, which I use for my Mini-2s, I was able to find a sunshade that works pretty well. For the Mini-1 and the Mini-SE controllers, with the screen below the sticks, I can't imagine how you could design a sunshade that would be effective, without interfering with the convenience of accessing the sticks.

The DJI FPV, of course, has no such problems.

In the regular aviation world, there's a fairly well -defined specification for "Sunlight Readable". If there was a screen that could meet that spec, I wouldn't care where it was relative to the sticks.

It just depends on what's important to you.
 
I will be reluctant to buy any controller that puts the screen below the sticks, unless that screen is Super Nova Bright, like 1500+ nits.

I have zero tolerance for looking at a screen that is significantly washed out by the glare of direct sunlight. With the RC-N1, which I use for my Mini-2s, I was able to find a sunshade that works pretty well. For the Mini-1 and the Mini-SE controllers, with the screen below the sticks, I can't imagine how you could design a sunshade that would be effective, without interfering with the convenience of accessing the sticks.

The DJI FPV, of course, has no such problems.

In the regular aviation world, there's a fairly well -defined specification for "Sunlight Readable". If there was a screen that could meet that spec, I wouldn't care where it was relative to the sticks.

It just depends on what's important to you.
Lots of good comments to bounce off of CR.
1) I was never bothered by the lower screen in my Mini 1 or my Mavic 2 Pro. If you're experienced, as I know you are, you don't look at your hands anyway. Lifting a light controller another 4 inches to put the phone/tablet in view is a minute adjustment. I had to get used to the balance of my Mini 2's controller with the phone or tablet up on top, especially the tablet. So personal preference prevails. If the majority of people at DJI thought a screen on top of the controls was a good idea, why did they put it below on all of their smart controllers?

2) Sunshade... A good question. I just looked at my RC Pro and yes, I could build a sunshade, but it wouldn't just be around the screen, but mostly at the top of the controller itself, above the wheels. I could construct one out of cardboard and black gaffers tape and I have an idea in mind so it could be secured with velcro without interrupting access to any controls. I don't suspect a screen shade will be commercially available for the RC pro... but it can be done. In this moment I don't see myself doing it, but I pretty much know how I'd approach it.

As a side note, there isn't a suitably sized sunshade yet for the iPad Mini 6. The IP6 is just slightly larger than it's predecessors. I had to modify the screen shade I already had to bend slightly farther out and cut out areas of it where I needed access for the connecting cable(s). Back in the day, as a professional photographer I often had to come up with and make my own creations for what I needed. One day ask me about my home made custom camera bracket (which I have adapted for my DSLR's) or vignetters and bellows shades.

PHOTOGRAPHY IS 80+% PRE PLANNING AND PROBLEM SOLVING. How do you think us old timers successfully shot weddings with medium format film cameras (with no auto focus, no in-camera metering, no auto wind, no preview or histogram or auto anything)???? We sure didn't fire off 2000 shots at a wedding :0.
 
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The hover angle of the Mini 3 was stranger than my other drones. It sort of has a "nose-up" attitude. At first I thought it might be caused by the "skid-like" leg extensions, but when I removed the legs it did the same thing. I've got two strobes on the front arms and one on the back, so the difference in balance would only be 16 grams. I hadn't paid attention to any of the videos in regard to hover attitude.
It doesn't matter how you balance the drone, the props provide force in one direction only. Any attitude change means lateral movement. The only thing a weight balance will do is make props on one side work harder to keep the very same attitude.
 
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It doesn't matter how you balance the drone, the props provide force in one direction only. Any attitude change means lateral movement. The only thing a weight balance will do is make props on one side work harder to keep the very same attitude.
It makes sense. I don't think it makes any difference like you said. I just thought it odd to see the nose up while hovering. When landing, the landing gear was the skid type like you see on helos. The back touched first and the drone moved forward a few inches until the front touched down as well.

Again, I thought the Mini 3 flew smoother than the Mini 2 by a fair amount. I'm sure it has to do with the design of the new RC Pro controller which no longer has the "balls" but separate up-down/left right "barrels" (?) like you see with FPV RC controllers. Unfortunately last night I got some sort of gimbal glitches which I wrote up in a different thread. Here is a link to the video if you're interested in seeing the problem and perhaps offering a solution.
Mini 3 Glitches and possibly low light jello
 
It makes sense. I don't think it makes any difference like you said. I just thought it odd to see the nose up while hovering. When landing, the landing gear was the skid type like you see on helos. The back touched first and the drone moved forward a few inches until the front touched down as well.
I too noticed that while landed flat, it has slightly different attitude than flat hover, but I don't think of it as an issue. I think the main two reasons for this "nose up" hover attitudes are: 1) actually flat when flying forward (or at least less tilted). Less drag in forward motion. 2) Better for keeping camera angled up when flying forward as well. Anyone notice how far "down" can the gimbal turn? It allows only 90 in software, but if you hold your drone in hand, tilt camera all the way down and then rotate the drone nose up, you will see how much can the drone be tilted up while still looking straight down, its insane.

That video of yours, That looks to me like the drone was in big sidewind. The drone tilted to the side so much the gimbal couldn't keep it level. If there were no wind at all, tho, I have no idea, but doesn't look like controller issue to me. The second part look as if the gimbal is vibrating? Perhaps the gyro of the gimbal is not properly secured?
 
@MaximusCZ It could be a side wind, but it wasn't very windy. You can see the trees down below and very little movement. Gimbal vibrating? Maybe, but the footage just before the glitches everything was crisp and clear. Then glitches followed by jello. Perhaps I threw it into focus lock and it was out of focus?

I think one issue that I have is that with 3 drones, two with C1/C2 buttons with different programming options I am cannot remember the functions of any of the buttons. I'll have to do some more testing and studying this drone and its features and settings. Most of the time I flew and filmed manually without any automated stuff, except for a few Litchi missions. But 3rd party apps will have to wait until the SDK comes out on the Mini 3.

I have to say, the smoothness and precision of the Mini 3 over the Mini 2 is noticeable. It must be the RC Pro controller, but maybe not. At some point I'll bind my RC-N1 controller to it and see if if it is the controller itself. I'm betting on the RC Pro controller being the smoothness factor. But we'll see.
 
Lots of good comments to bounce off of CR.
1) I was never bothered by the lower screen in my Mini 1 or my Mavic 2 Pro. If you're experienced, as I know you are, you don't look at your hands anyway. Lifting a light controller another 4 inches to put the phone/tablet in view is a minute adjustment. I had to get used to the balance of my Mini 2's controller with the phone or tablet up on top, especially the tablet. So personal preference prevails. If the majority of people at DJI thought a screen on top of the controls was a good idea, why did they put it below on all of their smart controllers?

2) Sunshade... A good question. I just looked at my RC Pro and yes, I could build a sunshade, but it wouldn't just be around the screen, but mostly at the top of the controller itself, above the wheels. I could construct one out of cardboard and black gaffers tape and I have an idea in mind so it could be secured with velcro without interrupting access to any controls. I don't suspect a screen shade will be commercially available for the RC pro... but it can be done. In this moment I don't see myself doing it, but I pretty much know how I'd approach it.

As a side note, there isn't a suitably sized sunshade yet for the iPad Mini 6. The IP6 is just slightly larger than it's predecessors. I had to modify the screen shade I already had to bend slightly farther out and cut out areas of it where I needed access for the connecting cable(s). Back in the day, as a professional photographer I often had to come up with and make my own creations for what I needed. One day ask me about my home made custom camera bracket (which I have adapted for my DSLR's) or vignetters and bellows shades.

PHOTOGRAPHY IS 80+% PRE PLANNING AND PROBLEM SOLVING. How do you think us old timers successfully shot weddings with medium format film cameras (with no auto focus, no in-camera metering, no auto wind, no preview or histogram or auto anything)???? We sure didn't fire off 2000 shots at a wedding :0.
1) You're right, I don't look at my hands at all when I fly. But I look at the screen not quite constantly, and if the image is washed out by glare from the sun, I just hate it.

2) Ahh, but *I'm* a klutz, so that's not an option that I have! I bought one (cheap) shade that said it was for the Mini-SE, but it was totally useless. I'd be very interested if anyone knows about a commercially produced sunshade that actually works on the -1 and -SE.

:cool:
 
1) You're right, I don't look at my hands at all when I fly. But I look at the screen not quite constantly, and if the image is washed out by glare from the sun, I just hate it.

2) Ahh, but *I'm* a klutz, so that's not an option that I have! I bought one (cheap) shade that said it was for the Mini-SE, but it was totally useless. I'd be very interested if anyone knows about a commercially produced sunshade that actually works on the -1 and -SE.

:cool:
Here is a link to the screenshade that I bought to go with my Mini 1 and iPhone 6sPlus. There are multiple sizes listed that would correspond to the appropriate phone. I really liked the "button" on the older iPhones and don't need, or really like the candy bar aspect ratio of the newer phones. Trying to swipe up while attached to a drone controller is really annoying. I hope the link helps. I did actually build a shade extension, but don't recall using it but once or twice. But it worked well. It just took too much time to add to the screen shade which was added to the phone which took time to install in the controller.

Screenshade for Mini 1
 
Here is a link to the screenshade that I bought to go with my Mini 1 and iPhone 6sPlus. There are multiple sizes listed that would correspond to the appropriate phone. I really liked the "button" on the older iPhones and don't need, or really like the candy bar aspect ratio of the newer phones. Trying to swipe up while attached to a drone controller is really annoying. I hope the link helps. I did actually build a shade extension, but don't recall using it but once or twice. But it worked well. It just took too much time to add to the screen shade which was added to the phone which took time to install in the controller.

Screenshade for Mini 1
That's the one I bought. I couldn't get it to do any good to save my soul.

I have a Samsung Galaxy S20 Note, but I don't know how that compares to the iPhone.

This is the one I bought for the Mini-2, which works well:


Note that it's more of an enclosure, than just some loose shades. That's what I need, and I can't even see who one would do that with a screen below the sticks, in a way that doesn't interfere with using the sticks.

Apparently nobody else can either, because I sure haven't seen one!

Thx!
 
That's the one I bought. I couldn't get it to do any good to save my soul.

I have a Samsung Galaxy S20 Note, but I don't know how that compares to the iPhone.

This is the one I bought for the Mini-2, which works well:


Note that it's more of an enclosure, than just some loose shades. That's what I need, and I can't even see who one would do that with a screen below the sticks, in a way that doesn't interfere with using the sticks.

Apparently nobody else can either, because I sure haven't seen one!

Thx!
I wonder if that one could be modified for the RC Pro?
 
I wonder if that one could be modified for the RC Pro?
I don't see how, with the screen below the sticks on the RC Pro.

But if anyone figures it out, it might point to ways to do it for the Mini-1 and -SE.

I'm warming up to the notion of a "Poor Man's FPV" for the -1 and -SE. The idea would be that the phone would be attached to/enclosed in a hood, with a longer cable back to the RC. The phone wouldn't be physically connected to the RC, except by the cable.

A hood like this designed for the Mini-2 would likely work for the -1 and -SE as well.

Has anyone seen such a thing? I'd rather pay a little more for something with a better design, than get something cheap that sort of works. The objective is to completely shield the screen from external light.

Thx.
 
I don't see how, with the screen below the sticks on the RC Pro.

But if anyone figures it out, it might point to ways to do it for the Mini-1 and -SE.

I'm warming up to the notion of a "Poor Man's FPV" for the -1 and -SE. The idea would be that the phone would be attached to/enclosed in a hood, with a longer cable back to the RC. The phone wouldn't be physically connected to the RC, except by the cable.

A hood like this designed for the Mini-2 would likely work for the -1 and -SE as well.

Has anyone seen such a thing? I'd rather pay a little more for something with a better design, than get something cheap that sort of works. The objective is to completely shield the screen from external light.

Thx.
DroneMask.com Vindibona1 has one, I've asked how he likes it but no reply. Talk to him.
 
I would imagine a cheaper option for some sort of compatible goggles would be something like this:


If you have to do anything on the screen while wearing them, you would have an issue...

DroneMask.com Vindibona1 has one, I've asked how he likes it but no reply. Talk to him.
 
I would imagine a cheaper option for some sort of compatible goggles would be something like this:


If you have to do anything on the screen while wearing them, you would have an issue...
Now THAT'S more what I had in mind! I asked whether or not the Galaxy S20 Note will fit inside these goggles, so we'll see what they say.

What's the type of port that connects to the RCs for the Mini-1 and the Mini-SE? I'd need a longer cable to run from that port, to the USB C on my phone. Do any of you know how easy or difficult it is to get those cables?

So the plan would be, I'd put the phone in these goggles, run the extended cable from the phone to the RC, and fly using the RC the same way that I do with the FPV.

Not as elegant as the wireless solution in the FPV, but if it works, it would be a VAST improvement over the current state of affairs.

Thx!!

1657835017062.png
 
I don't think the optics of a $25 hood vs the Drone Mask is even comparable, but curious what the $25 lens actually is. In fact I'm very curious about this. Seems like Duct taping your phone into a shoe box and rig a hoodie up to keep the light out will be just as effective?
 
I don't think the optics of a $25 hood vs the Drone Mask is even comparable, but curious what the $25 lens actually is. In fact I'm very curious about this. Seems like Duct taping your phone into a shoe box and rig a hoodie up to keep the light out will be just as effective?
That's a pretty good description of an unacceptable solution!

Why do you suggest that this, is that? I'm not looking for any elaborate electronics or processing. I just want to keep the light away from the screen.

If my phone fits in this device, it looks like it should do that...

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