So after working hard at this and being very active on the forum I finally have a flyable drone! I wanted to share my experience and findings with others so that you hopefully have a steeper learning curve.
1) Start with the durable quad design: I modified the design a bit to provide more headroom for the battery by doubling up the 1x1s on that battery base. I also added two 1x4s flanking the 2x4 at the bottom in give it a more stable base which also helps with arming calibration.
2) MOST IMPORTANT LESSON LEARNED!!: Make sure your drone is on a VERY level surface prior to arming the drone!!! I used the iPhone level app to find the right surface as I live in an old house and most of the floors are not level. You can arm the drone, wait a few seconds then move it to where you want to fly it.
3) Upgrade your firmware to 1.4. Makes the drone much more responsive.
4) After arming the drone, slowly spin the rotors to check everything out. I have saved myself a number of crashes this way by making sure that all my rotors are spinning and everything is connect ed properly. The motors also don't do well going from a complete stop to full speed.
5) Take off from a slightly elevated surface. This helps with ground interference.
6) Slowly and smoothly increase power until lift off.
7) Make small adjustments to controls. If you are going too high, slowly back off lift. If you are drifting, give it a touch of pitch. Normally I crash due to overcorrections.
8) Try to land on a soft surface.
9) This is primarily an indoor drone. You are likely to loose pieces outdoors.
10) Crashing and learning is part of the experience you are paying for. I see this drone as primarily a STEM teaching tool for my kids and me! If you want an easy, out of the box experience for the least amount of money and a camera this drone is not for you.
11) Have fun and enjoy the journey! If you get frustrated put it away for the night and start again tomorrow. The journey is worth it!
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