To all three, I don’t think so. But an aid to overcoming sun-blindness? Possibly. While I was flying the Zino yesterday I found that when the sun came out I could hardly see anything on my mobile phone. It’s something that other drone pilots complain about on YouTube but it hardly troubled me while I was flying my little Eachine E16. The reason was that although its ‘declared’ range was 200 metres, anything much above 80 or 90, and sometimes before even, its video signal just fell over and you were flying it ‘blind’ as far as the phone app was concerned, or in reality ‘by eye’.

This doesn’t apply for the Zino. Its range is 1000 metres and I’ve found as I’ve gradually increased the range of flights that I do with it, now to just over 300 metres, that at that distance you can hardly see it, let alone fly it by eye. So being able to see the phone app is essential as otherwise you’d have no idea where you were or what the drone was doing and could easily end up crashing into something. But flying it at that distance is no problem as I’ve found that the FPV (video) signal is rock solid, making it relatively easy to do so – so long as you can see the phone app.

The way I’ve tried to overcome the problem is by making a ‘shroud’ for my mobile phone out of an old cardboard cornflakes box. The endeavour wasn’t helped by having to rescue the box from my recycling having already folded it up to reduce its volume, but the result isn’t too bad as you can see from the following pictures. The first two were my initial ‘prototype’.

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When I took it outside, I found that it shielded my phone from the sunlight by quite a bit, but not enough to be of any real use. So I then came up with the idea of adding a shielding piece across its top to provide more shade.

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It actually works pretty well. I used it when I did my first 300+ metre range flight and could see the screen the whole time, not always perfectly but certainly well enough to have complete control of the drone. I even did my first ‘special mode’ flight with it in place – an orbit around a post that carries a power line in the field opposite my house – that involved putting my fingers inside it and tapping the screen to set it up, activate it and stop it, so I was very pleased about that.

What it now needs is to be painted matt black inside and out, so I’ll have to look in my workshop to see if I have anything suitable and if not, I’ll have to get a spray can from Bricojem in Rouffignac. The other thing I’m pleased about is that although the Fimi controller when it arrives grips the phone differently, it’ll also work with that. So maybe not a classic design – let’s just say more ‘utilitarian’, perhaps 😉

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