We’ve had some scorching weather over the last few days and although I went across to Malbec to look at 24ZN’s charging problem it was too hot to spend very much time even in the shade in the barn and I didn’t solve it. It was cooler this morning so I went over again and this time got the problem sorted. I suspected that the multi-connector was again the culprit but this time I was wrong. When the battery initially went flat at Dreux on my flight down from the UK I’d found that an in-line spade connector had disconnected itself and after I’d reconnected it, I’d forgotten about it.

But I shouldn’t have. It had become disconnected because it was under strain from having been cable-tied too tightly and when I checked it again this morning it had separated once more. It didn’t take long to clean up both it and its pair that emerge from the stator charging coils and then reconnect and re-cable tie both of them and when I started the engine I was immediately rewarded with a large swing towards + on the aircraft’s ammeter. So job done, and if I’d had some tools with me I could have solved the problem immediately when it arose at Dreux and thus avoided all the hassle and delays at Blois and Le Blanc. A salutary lesson not to be forgotten for long flights in the future.

Here are some shots that I took of 24ZN after I’d done the job. Wim and Sophie’s granddaughter is visiting again this week and she always likes to go for a flight so I think that maybe now its battery charging problem is sorted, I might take her in 24ZN for a change. Mind you, I desperately need to get some air under my Savannah’s wings which has been standing for far too long in the hangar while I’ve been preoccupied with 24ZN and the sale of my much loved old Weedhopper but before I can do that it needs to have yet another thorough clean, which I don’t fancy doing while it’s so hot. Would you believe, we’re expecting 40 degrees Celsius, or even slightly higher, towards the latter part of the coming week.

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Now a change of subject, to my new Fimi X8 SE 2020 quadcopter that I received the day after I returned in 24ZN from the UK and is turning out to be a seriously impressive piece of kit. I’ve posted below a series of images lifted from videos that I’ve shot with it. I must emphasise that although the Fimi is capable of superb 4K videos and still images, these were all lifted as screen-grabs from videos that were shot in 2.7K (1080P) 30 frames/sec format so are nowhere near what the Fimi is actually capable of.

The village of Fanlac is located about 3.3km as the crow flies to the north-east of my house and the following shot was taken as I flew the Fimi towards it. Unbeknown to me, between my house and it there’s a beautiful little walled chateau in a dip that I didn’t know about. Google Earth tells me that the chateau is 2.6km from my house.

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There’s a track that I’ve driven in my Kia and ridden on my bike that runs from north of Le Bos over the hilltops and eventually down to the road between Fanlac and Thonac. I didn’t realise until I eventually recognised the buildings that I was looking at that I was flying the Fimi over that track. The buildings in the next shot are on that track and are 2.3km from my house.

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The next shot is looking back towards where I live.

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This is looking vaguely from above my house towards the east of Rouffignac.

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This is looking from above my house in the direction of Plazac, which isn’t visible because it’s in the valley between the hills.

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To the south-west of my house are located Les Étangs de Fongran, a group of three small ponds in the wooded valley between the hills. The two larger lakes are at a distance of 2.2km from my house.

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This farm, which is 2.3km from my house, is on the track that runs down from Le Bos to the Fanlac-Thonac road. The track runs between the buildings through the farmyard.

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This is the track as it winds its way up towards Le Bos.

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Here’s another shot looking back towards where I live.

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This is a shot taken towards where I live from the direction of Le Bos.

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And to end with, a couple of similar shots taken with my Hubsan Zino. They were taken in 4K 30 frames/sec format and I’ve lightened them a bit, but otherwise not edited them, to make them more similar to the shots taken with the Fimi.

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So where am I now? I have to say, that I love the rich(er?) colours created by the Hubsan but I’m already being persuaded by (a) the Fimi’s greater range (8km compared to the Zino’s 1km) and (b) its longer battery life. The Fimi is rated with a 35 minute battery life which is something like 10 minutes and even more in practise, more than for the Zino. So far I’ve only taken the Fimi to 25 minutes so as to maintain a safety reserve but the extra time already feels considerable.

I can’t legally use all of the Fimi’s range in France (flights must be kept to line-of-sight so the maximum is a kilometre or so) but as I’ve already found, its extra sensitivity is a powerful insurance policy. I’ve only had one disconnection with the Fimi when I was testing it flying at distance behind trees while in comparison, when I shot the video from which I lifted the last two Zino shots above, I experienced a disconnection at only just over 460 metres. That’s quite some difference.

So much as I love my Zino, what should I do? I doubt that I’ll do enough drone flying to justify keeping both quadcopters so maybe I’ll consider selling the Zino on while it’s still in ‘as new’ condition. I haven’t decided yet but it’s certainly something that I’ll have to seriously think about. Another consideration is that the Fimi batteries also charge more quickly than the Zino’s and if I dispose of the latter and buy another Fimi battery from some of the proceeds (I already have two) that will surely give me more video time than I’m ever likely to need.

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