Let me tell you a little about the nice-looking Eachine E520S GPS WIFI FPV With 4K/1080P HD Camera Quadcopter which recently arrived for me from Banggood – I WAS going to save this for the summer in Spain but as Banggood have a sale on right now I figured you might want to know about this. And now I’ve added three VERY short videos further down.
My drone is a basic model with 1080P camera (they also have a 4K camera version) and there is an optional carry bag and other extras. I’m just happy that I now have something that doesn’t seem to take major skills to operate.
The overall plan is…where we live in Spain there is a vast amount of countryside with few trees and even fewer animals or people so I can learn all about piloting this thing without smashing it or damaging anyone.
However, being me I just could not wait. My first attempts in our Northumberland front garden proved interesting as I was in such a rush to get this device up and running, I hit our garage wall – no harm done thankfully.
My very first attempt at using a drone was a couple of years ago, a little pocket device, no stability – hard to use – it was so unstable, I didn’t even blog it. By contrast, the E520S, once started up, needs only a nudge UP of one control to have it sit there at eye level without any effort.
The unit has it’s own GPS receiver and handles one-button return, headless mode, “follow me”, altitude-hold and more. With a 4K camera this would be great for taking videos of our lake without actually having to get wet. At this early stage I’ve yet to understand every mode of operation but finally I cracked the streaming camera and APP-based control – simply point the phone’s WIFI to the access point automatically provided by the drone.
The remote controls are easy and there are IOS and Android APPs to help you capture video and stills. The Eachine E520S comes with 3 rechargeable batteries (the remote uses 4 AAA batteries).
With 5G WiFi (claimed 150-250m range) I’ve been REALLY looking forward to this – ffirstly, a little info and some photos of my first flights (Wright Brothers style) as we have the slight hurdle of actually getting to Spain to overcome thanks to the pandemic – but the Ferry is looking promising. By the time I took the drone out into the street for a brief low-height spin, I’d mastered the controls but I really want to give it a good run and that meant finding a large unpopulated area given the potential for damage in the hands of a novice.
The tilt on the camera is manual (what do you want for £80) and the drone comes complete with safety guards around the folding blades (detachable for transporting). Initially I screwed up so many times, those safety guards have proven to be worth their weight in gold.
You can, of course, store videos on an SD card (not supplied but dirt cheap from Amazon etc. for a decent Sandisk or Samsung, up to 32GB can be used). My first attempt at taking high altitude video failed as I simply formatted the SD card and that was it. The drone LOOKED like it was recording, but on later trying to play back the video on my PC I ended up with error messages and no files. I started again with a 32GB freshly formatted SD card and 3 folders – Photo, tmp and Video.
Batteries take a couple of hours to charge using the supplied USB lead – you may recall I wrote about the monster RavPower Powerhouse battery pack a little while ago – that now has a proper job for the summer – it’s coming with me into the hills to keep my drone batteries charged up – the batteries are 1200maH each.
The drone comes complete with spare props and a screwdriver so you’re ready for anything. It is probably a good idea to take a spare set of alkaline AAA batteries for the remote control if you’re off on a long trip (though after a week of testing, mine are still showing full capacity) – oh and make sure your phone is charged.
Bit by bit I pushed the envelope a little further in the back garden which faces a field. I ran the unit up to 6 metres or so off the ground for several minutes to gain some confidence then decided that giving the batteries a proper charge might be a good thing to do.
After my first attempt to fly the device at low-level I went into the deep end and sent it out over the farmer’s field behind our house – far higher than you see in the photos above and far further away. All good stuff but I had no idea there was one-metre+ high dense growth in the field.
The drone was doing just nicely when all of a sudden it started to drop and eventually landed in the field, I still can’t account for that – not a flat battery. It should return home if out of range and I heard no local beep to indicate battery failure (advice from drone wizards welcome). So we spent the next half hour in very hot sun (I know, unusual for the Northeast of England) searching for my new toy.
No harm done (other than my ego). Next morning I streamed the shots above while experimenting at controlling the 248gm E520S from my mobile phone.
At the weekend we headed off to see our friends at Lemmington Hall with a view to capturing some aerial photography of the place on SD. Of course I’d not done my research and it turns out either I’d not formatted the SD properly or not created the right folders – SO an entire day’s shooting was lost. The next morning having realised my mistake I decided to have a peak at our flat roofs to see if I could spot any problems as we’re about to get some work done on them and I HATE climbing up on ladders.
And finally my second attempt at a very short video of Lemmington Hall – everything worked – shame about the weather this time around.