These days, there’s a drone to suit every ability and every budget, from basic toy drones like the H36 mini drone to the obstacle-avoiding DJI Phantom 4 Pro. But do you know the difference between a quadcopter, a hexacopter and an octocopter, besides the number of rotors they each have?
A quadcopter is an entry-level drone and the most popular type of consumer camera drone on the market. The four-propeller design is cheap to make and offers stability and speed that most consumers are looking for. Larger and more expensive drones are powerful enough to carry small payloads, such as a GoPro or action camera including a gimbal.
Camera drones such as the DJI Phantom 4 Pro and the 3D Robotics Solo offer a solid professional level, introduction to UAV flying. The DJI Phantom 4 Pro has obstacle avoidance sensors in five directions giving the pilot extra safety features other drones do not have. The DJI Phantom 4 Pro also has Tap-Fly, gesture, tripod, waypoint, follow me, active track and beginner flight modes giving the pilot more control than ever before. It has a flight time of 30 minutes and a range of 7 kilometres
Image: The Cheerson CX10
You should always begin at the start with much simpler, cheaper mini drone like the Cheerson CX10 or the H36 mini drone. Learning how to fly AND how to crash is very very important. Then work your way up to a more advanced entry level drone like the Syma X6G camera drone, before looking at DJI Phantom 4 Pro.
Hexacopters are a step up, both in terms of price and performance. With six propellers, they don’t just offer more lifting power, but greater stability. They can carry larger payloads making them ideal drones for aerial photography and industrial inspection given their ability to carry high tech cameras.
There’s also the safety aspect to consider. With six propellers, a hexacopter can still remain airborne if one or even two of its rotors should fail. Hexacopters are bigger and more expensive than quadcopters, while the improved power puts a greater strain on the battery. So while a UAV like the Yuneec Typhoon H can reach speeds of up to 43.5mph and carry 250g of extra weight, flight times tend to average out slightly less than the DJI Phantom Pro 4 at around 20-25 minutes.
As you might have guessed, an Octocopter with out-do hexacopter for performance. Thanks to its extra rotors, it can provide better stability (even in windy conditions) and can carry a heavier payload. Like the hexacopter, a good octocopter should still be able to fly even if several of a couple of its rotors fail.
The extra power and agility of these top-of-the-line drones makes them ideal for aerial imaging, industrial inspection, surveying, mapping and monitoring. Octocopters tend to carry heavier payloads due to more sophisticated camera equipment being used which gives an average flight time between 12-22 minutes.
Ultimately, in a battle between these multicopters, there’s no clear winner. Quadcopters are ideal UAVs for beginners, hexacopters make a great semi-pro/hobbyist choice, while octocopters offer a fantastic aerial platform for professional videography, photography and remote inspection applications.
Whatever drone you fly or intend to buy, the truth is there is a drone for everyone’s ability and requirements and in 2017, we are just at the beginning of this amazing and fun technology.
This article will examine the gyroscope and exactly what is the difference in the number of axis. The truth is there are not really 6 axis in a 6 axis gyroscope, it is just 3 axis with 2 types of sensors.
What is a gyro?
A gyro is an electronic device that senses angular velocity. Vibration sensors are used to detect angular velocity from the Coriolis force applied to a vibrating element. They are also known as angular velocity sensors or rate sensors.
The devices that make use of this technology include; aircraft, race cars, motor boats, robots, video games, radio controlled toys, digital cameras and the most common use for the gyro is in your smartphone. These sensors provide stability and direction by sensing motion caused by vibrations. There are many applications of gyro sensors. In navigation systems, it can be used to sense angular velocity produced by the sensor’s movements. These angles are detected through an integration operation by a CPU. You are able to read them using an application. The use of gyros is widespread and even can be applied in athletics to determine a runner’s motion capability. Quadcopters primarily used a 3 axis gyro but the introduction of 6 axis gyros made them more stable.
How gyros work
When your device rotates in a certain direction, the gyro sensors sense the motion on the drive arm. When the gyro rotates, the Coriolis force will act on the drive arm to produce a vertical vibration. This triggers the stationary part to bend making the sensing arm detect motion. The angular velocity is therefore determined by the motion of sensing arms. It is then converted and emitted as an electric signal.
Vibrations caused by external factors can also be sensed by the gyro. It senses the vibrations then transmits the data to a CPU. The vibrations are converted into electric signals that can be read by the computer. The remote operator can correct the orientation or balance of his/her object. This is also used in cameras for correcting shaky footage (electronic image stabilisation) and also is how your quadcopter can counteract wind and other interference.
3 axis Vs 6 axis gyros
The main difference between a 3 axis and 6 axis gyro is that the latter has 3 accelerometers in addition to the three standard orientation sensors. The pitch, yaw and roll sensors will navigate your 3-axis copter well but the added feature makes the 6 axis more resistant to altitude displacement.
The accelerometers compensate for any unwanted acceleration or simply movement in the three dimensions. This ensures the quadcopter can fly freely without interference by wind, going too high or falling to the ground. Any user learning to operate remote aircraft can easily make sharp turns by applying the rudder and roll features in the 6 axis too.
The other advantage of a 6 axis quadcopter is that combining the six sensors can detect both unusual attitude and a fall. By centralising the pitch controls and applying throttle, the 6 axis quad comes to a stable hover. This will help bring it to desired height if it’s flying too high or reposition it to an upright position if it’s flying facing an opposite side like upside down. Even if your quad tumbles while reducing altitude, you just have to increase the throttle before it touches down to make it stable. (I’m sure we have all done that before). I hope this overview has helped your knowledge of the term 6 axis gyro and you now are more informed on a key term and functions of your multirotor.
I began my career as a builder and progressed through to the owner of Mojo NZ Ltd. The first drone I owned is to this day lodged in a tree on the West Coast of the South Island of New Zealand. We now provide drones to all industries from toys to racing drones to professional camera drones. This blog is a look at ourselves and the industry in general.