Why you must not use Singapore Hobby for any DJI repairs.

Rant/ Complain post. Scroll all the way down for TLDR version.

4 April – Logged case to DJI
5 April – DJI revert to contact Singapore Hobby
19 April 2018 – We send in the Mavic Pro to Singapore Hobby and got a qutation on 19 April.

Repair cost $593.60 paid to via paypal sales@singahobby.com Replacement/Repair :
Damping Board:$20
Back Right Leg $101
Front Right Leg $110
Back left leg:$101
Top shell $14.30
middle shell $28.70
front sensor $138.60
Camera Ribbon:$80.00
$120 labour charges

27 April 2018 – Told Singapore hobby to cancel after they told us that have to collect $150 AFTER the repair. The upfront $150 is for “diagnostics and evaluation” only. WTF?!
28 April 2018 – Singapore Hobby called that the $150 AFTER repair is wrong. Will not be collected. Inform them to go ahead….#BMOML – biggest mistake of my life.
29 April 2018 – Car Free Sunday, Singapore Hobby was involved. If too busy shouldn’t accept our mavic for repairs!
8 May 2018 – Asked for update
9 May 2018 – Replied, still repairing…end of the week should be done. To wait.
21 May 2018 – Ask for update again…no reply.
23 May 2018 – Ask for update to the previous update if any.
25 May 2018 – Singapore Hobby replied informing high voloume of repairs.
31 May 2018 – Ask for update again, got a reply that it is ready for collection soon as they are doing test flight. ***Note they mention they did test flight.***
1 June 2018 – The repair completed.. That’s 6 weeks.
6 June 2018 – Collected from Singapore Hobby. When we receive it, the transmitter has no sound and the Mavic Pro has a forward right sensor error. Emailed immedaitely to Singapore Hobby with screenshots.
12 June 2018. – send it back
21 June 2018 – Send a chaser email on and giving up hope that i’ll be getting it back anytime soon.
25 June 2018 – Took the initial request to DJI and continue the original request requesting them to look into their Singapore partner, Singapore Hobby. It’s really bad and DJI took over.
3 July 2018 – Singahobby send the mavic pro to DJI, below screenshot shows it is showing up. Case logged and accepted as CAS-1972819-N6Q2S0

10 July 2018 – Received at DJI, same day quoted. Quote sent to Singapore Hobby. oh god…more waiting.

13 July 2018 – Asked DJI why quote delayed for 3 days and still not paid.
14 July 2018 – DJI replied “We hope that your dealer can provide the latest update of the repair case as they are in contact of our facility with this.” My dealer is useless…I can only lan lan siao siao wait.
16 July 2018 – Singapore Hobby sent a quotation on the repair charges. This is DJI quoted plus maybe or maybe not, their markup. Funny how DJI still found things to repair after Singapore Hobby has “repaired” it? Shouldn’t their repair certification be revoked? Replied them the same, that if there’s still things to repair, what did you do? I paid you for?

18 July 2018 – Emailed DJI on update.
19 July 2018 – Singapore Hobby reply that they need to inform me the charges BEFORE DJI can proceed with repair. Whatever that means. Replied asking if DJI is proceeding or not.
19 July 2018 – James Russell from DJI revert with a copy and paste reply “We regret to inform you that we are not able to provide more details regarding the case you checked. Because it was reported by the dealer.

We only can provide case information to the original reporter in consideration of safety and privacy protection.”

…send the whole above to DJI repeating the whole case form beginning till now ALL OVER AGAIN. Case original reported was ME and me all along. Wtf are you talking about?! CAS-1972819-N6Q2S0 is the new case ID, it is tied to Singapore Hobby because they send it to you! Your system has tied it to them, while we paid them, they didnt fix, DJI takes over and I’m still screwed.

23 July 2018 – Ronald Yong from Singapore Hobby replied to DJI’s logged case that he happen to be in DJI China as well, for training. Asked to meet up with the support James from DJI to resolve this.

25 July 2018 – Replied Singapore Hobby to sort it out with DJI.

26 July 2018 – Nothing is done, no update. Open a case with Paypal trying to get back the original money paid on 19 April 2018.

30 July 2018 – Singapore replied PayPal resolution saying the repair is for…(we direct quote) transmitter only! So the quoted $310.30 is for repairing the transmitter? Then why did they send the whole mavic pro back? Or did they send the whole mavic back since one of the front vision sensor has error.

1 Aug 2018 – Singapore Hobby replied the 25 July email that he “may” be able to check with his manager on the status. Well done, 1 week read 1 email and ok, you slowly may check…we have given up anyway.

3 Aug 2018 – Ronald from Singapore Hobby replied in Paypal Resolution Centre. We called and spoke to him and agree to pay 50% of the 2nd quote of $105.15, well, since we do not ask for a on the spot demo, we see how it may seem that we took it out the shop, to be fair, anything could have happened to it. It’s been 4 months to the day, we just want this over and done with Singapore Hobby.

6 Aug 2018 – Payment received by DJI and repair in progress. Another few days wasted.

13 Aug 2018 – Repaired and was returned to Singapore Hobby today. We waited.

17 Aug 2018 – No fucking response as usual. Send chaser email and waited again. Slow response. Receive but can’t call or email to tell me after all the big fucking hoo-ha with them. This should have been put on piority. That’s the way bussiness is done at Singapore Hobby. Fucked-UP!

20 Aug 2018 – Received call from Singapore Hobby. Meet tomorrow 12.30pm Hong Lim Park to test.

21 Aug 2018 – Met, Tested. Collected. Left.

Dji took only 8 days once payment is received. If not for wasting a few months at Singapore Hobby. We won’t be tangled in this garbage.

Comparing a similar case we log concurrently with DJI.

Smiliar case we log ( CAS-1830023-xxxx)

23 May 2018 – case logged via email.
24 May 2018 – Case accepted with case log number received from DJI Nicole.
7 June 2018 – DJI Received with email acknowledgement.
28 June 2018 – Delay by us on sending out due to newborn at home. Sent via SF Express
29 June 2018 – At DJI
7 June 2018 – Quotation for repaired received,
8 June 2018 – Payment made.
13 June 2018 – Informed it is repaired and on the way back
15 June 2018 – Informed by Roly Fang that there is a slight delay due to updating of shipping system and the Dragon Boat Festival.
22 June 2018 – Received the DJI Mavic Pro.

The above is delayed and yet it is still faster than what we have sent to Singapore Hobby!

Their contacts, they have some other domain names but if you see this address and contact, be afraid…be very afraid:

150 South Bridge Road
#B1-23 Fook Hai Building
Singapore 058727

Opening hours:
10:30am to 7:00pm Mondays to Fridays
10:30am to 6:00pm Saturdays
CLOSED on Sundays and Public Holidays

Call us at (65) 6532 1993
Email us at sales@singahobby.com
Fax us at (65) 6535 7866
DJI themselves are a mess. When you log a case, whenever you spread out your response and then carry on the replies, it’s as if it’s a brand new case. Having to repeat and their standard reply “We understand your frustration and hope to resolved it.” Oh stupid. Solve it already! Then we go round and round all over again! Paypal resolution is the fastest and easiest way to make vendors wake up since behind the scene, I believe it will cause issues on payment and receiving of funds. They will surely reply.
We need alternatives in Singapore. Old school hobby shops need to die.

TLDR version

TLDR – Singapore Hobby took 2 months to repair our mavic pro. Complained to dji who took over the case. Don’t use Singapore hobby. Go direct to DJI.

Antennas – Dont be Sally.

Have you wonder why at times, your DJI drone just dont fly as far as your friend’s? You get video interferences when you friend’s Mavic Pro just flys perfectly ok? On the same day, at the same location?

Are you setting up your antennas on the DJI Mavic or for the matter any DJI drones crossed or facing on another?

Check out Sally. She’s the drone girl who loves taking pictures, pictures of her flying a drone that is.

Then this…

ok, photo op or not, taking pics of you enjoying flying has to be realistic. See all her antennas “placement”. It’s a simple rule of folding them and have it face the drone. You’ll get far (pun) better range.

Dont take our word for it. Download any DJI manual, you’ll see this section.

So the next time you setup your antenna, do that both standing setup. Not cross, not have it parallel to the ground (unless you’re flying directly overhead all the time) and remember, dont be like Sally.

NParks didn’t say where you can fly.

Some got really happy when they saw the list published by NParks on parks that has no drones allowed sign. Does that mean other parks not listed can fly? Dont be stupid …Why i say NParks list is useless. There are a total of 69 parks listed on nparks website. www.nparks.gov.sg

The list they provide has 20 listed. Does it mean you can fly at the other 49? Of course not! Because places like Changi Beach park is a no brainer. It’s in the direct path of landing planes and you won’t be able to start your DJI drones anyway as it is a DJI No Fly Zone. I was free ,  i made a google worksheet. Will do a proper post later on my website http://bit.ly/NParksdrones

NParks shouldn’t have release a list of parks with no sign. They should have been straight forward and release a list of parks where we can fly. We can understand there is no such list as:

  • They do not want to be liable if there’s accidents to park go-ers who do not fly drones but are there to enjoy the park.
  • Then don’t have any list to begin with. CAAS has clear rules and the law is clear. Keep your drone in line of sight, keep it below 200 ft, do not fly within 5km of airports.

We took the DJI Mavic Air out

After unboxing, we really didn’t like the charger… nor the battery. Since the Phantom 3 to Phantom 4, the Inspire 1 to Inspire 2 and maybe the Mavic Pro to the Maciv Pro 2, the batteries have always been redesigned. Nothing is usable after an upgrade. Upgrading your DSLR from a Canon 60D to 70D or upwards to a 6D, 7D or 5DMK2 or MK3 do not require you to change the battery. It all uses the same LP-E6.

Come on DJI. It’s something that’s adding costs to users who upgrade. Reasons of profit or trying to squeeze it into a newly designed body of the drone are simply too expensive for end-users.

We didn’t like the charger either. It has to unfold, batteies stand vertical. The cube charger for the Mavic was better.


the mavic cube charger.
The new mavic air charger where the battery have to stand.

Option of the transmitter stick to be removed is good for those longer haul transport/ trip. Careful of dropping them onto grass in the field. A pair of spare is provided but we’ve installed it and has never removed it since.

Wind

It doesn’t handle wind well. Simple as that. We saw it drifting as we were flying near waters and usually what the Mavic Pro can handle, the Air could not. It wasn’t even huge gust of wind to begin with but we have trouble bring it back, lowered it to behind some trees and flew back behind trees.

Asteroid Mode

It is cool but if you were to get the Mavic Air to do one thing, this is about it.

Can you do car chase with it?

In 1 word. Yes, albeit a slow car.

Conclude

It’s small, it’s compact so you have to know the battery life is affected. The Mavic Pro seems to still have hit the balance better of weight vs flight time.

The build quality isn’t fantastic but you pay for what you get. It feels plastic and not as sturdy. We don’t think it’s meant to replace the Mavic Pro. It sits squarely between the Spark and Mavic Pro. Distance wasn’t great but we hit 1.8km easily before getting video signal lost but when back at our regaulr flying field, we can’t manage anything more than 400 meters.

We did some slow 8 to 12 meters/ Sec, car chases shots at 4K. Front and back obstacle avoidance is a great feature. If you don’t own one yet, get a Mavic Air, if not go for the Mavic Pro. By real commercial work, don’t get Mavic anything, look at the Phantom 4 or the Phantom 4 Pro.

The DJI Mavic Air, Mavic Pro, Phantom 4 and Phantom 4 Pro are available from Camera Rental Centre at a limit rental price. Check them out.

3D Mapping with DroneDeploy and Alitzure

Published 29 Sept 2017.
Updated 4 Oct 2017.

We took Dronedeploy (DD) and Altizure (AZ) out for a spin. Unlocking the world of 3D mapping with drones. It’s fun seeing the pictures turned into 3D Models of buildings and structures we took.

Please note we only emphasis on doing 3D Models of structures, not agriculture monitoring or agriculture mapping.

Each has their own way of taking the pics and are fully autonomous. So warning!

Always make sure you survey out the location before you attempt to map an area or building. Note the highest structure around the area you are mapping and make sure you clear the height.

Maps

DroneDeploy uses a map service we are unfamiliar with. In Singapore, there are so many areas that has clouds, incomplete buildings or showing that it’s a construction site. Some building or areas has been around for at least 2 years. That’s how old the maps are.

Altizure uses, simply, Google Maps.  It is preferred and it’s something we are already familiar with for daily use. So no figuring out required.

Flight Planning

DD Flight planning need to be given a thumbs up. You can pre plan a flight on your PC via a web browser then continue working on it while on your Android phone when commuting home then edit it further when you are at the field on your iPad before the actual flight. It syncs across all devices so long you log in to the same account. It is a no brainer….so we thought.

AZ do not have this. All pre planned maps are saved within the device you are using in and only the device you first created it in only. It’s wierd why such a basic function is not implemented (yet?). We could be doing a site survey and doing pre planning but if we forgot to bring the device we have used on flight day, you will have to redo the whole planning and hopefully you remember all the settings, area, height required etc…. the client requested.

3D Output

Straight to the point. Altizure win hands down. Their engine stitches better and is not as picky or restrictive.  DD only allows 500 images for structures. Boo! AZ allows you to stitch then add more pics later still!

So we went back and took close to 700 images. The output was great!

Embedding/ Displaying

AZ allows you to showoff your 3D Model by embedding it on a webpage like the above. DD do not have this option.

Market Place

Only DD has this option. They integrate other services into their marketplace where you can chose to say, do a 3D Print of the 3D Model you have create via Whiteclouds. You can of course download the 3D Model file from AZ and go to Whiteclouds and have it printed of course, you will need to buy 1 Diamond (see pricing below) to download the 3D file.

Pricing

It can be confusing but we prefer AZ as we may not get assignment often for 3D Mapping and AZ allows us to get 1 x “Diamond” to get the project over and done with.

 

DD offers no such one off payment plan. Only monthly or yearly payments. You do get 5 free project, per month.

Overall, we prefer AZ over DD.

This is another DJI Spark post

The DJI Spark has been covered quite a bit by many many reviewers. Here’s our favourite ones. Here and here.

But of course, nothing beats trying it out ourselves.

Intro
While flying the Spark, you must first and foremost understand, this is not a photography or videography drone like the DJI Phantom or even the DJI Mavic. The Spark is in the selfie range of drones. It can’t do shots like:

Or fly out to sea and take this:

Or video chases like

Or “Fly Away Shots”:

 

Camera

Image and video at full resolution are: 12 megapixel/3968 x 2976/, 1080p/ 30 fps videos.

Photography and videography with the Spark is so-so. You’re better off finding a high point, climb it and take a pic with your handphone. You’ll save more time. Gentle breeze causes it to moves around quite a bit. It’s very hard to track subjects when using the transmitter, if that’s what you are taking videos of.

Can you get shots like the above? yes you can. It won’t be easy considering battery life, it’s size that it moves around in gentle breeze… and it may not have the range needed to go where you want it to.

Resolution

  • Note the resolution is already quite low and it’s lower if you do not have a SD card, the photos will be saved to your phone at 1024 x 768 and videos will be 1280 x 720
  • The resolution drops to 1440 x 1080 or 1.5 Megapixel, no not a typo it is 1.5 (instead of 12 megapixel/3968 x 2976) when you are in Gesture Mode.

Compare –

Spark Image | EXIF Only

Phantom 4 Image

Sports Mode
Kinda useless when the camera can’t keep up. You get tilted videos the second you need to change directions. Useful for getting back to landing point, quicker. Normal non sports mode is slow.

Range
The spark transmitter connects to your phone via wifi and the usual RC channels 2.4ghz or 5.8ghz to the Spark. We used 5.8ghz, we managed to fly 300 meters and it’s really pushing it. It keep dropping video while we have full control of the Spark but if you can’t compose shots, it’s as good as useless to us.

On the way back to land from 300 meters, at 105 meters, we tried flying over trees to take some shots, RC link lost, video feed lost. Only trees and leaves made us lost connection.

GESTURES
TL;DR version – DO NOT USE IT.

But we’re very sure, people won’t listen till they try it. So try it in a big field with no obstacles.

It worked half the time. We get 50/50 success rates. First don’t do this indoors, it’s so unpredictable but of course, we had to try.  We thought it’s the lighting, so a sunny bright day, we went flying the Spark and tested it again.

During 1 take-off indoors, the spark refuses to land on our palm and keep moving around ever so slightly. We had the transmitter on at all times so we took over using the transmitter and landed in manually.

Sometimes it takes off after double tapping the battery button, the camera scans up and down for a face, most times it does not and goes back to waiting. When it works, gesture controls will make your arm ache trying to get it to obey your palm. Waving at it worked once from the 5 times we tried it. Y arms to bring it back and land worked when waving worked. At all times, the transmitter can be used to take over the Spark to manual flying. You’ll have to land the sparky with the transmitter once you fly it around for a while.

Battery/ Flight Time
15 mins. A mixture of sports mode and normal flying but mostly, we get around 10 mins playing with gesture mode and a little manual flying. Landing and taking off again and again tends to drain battery quicker.

The transmitter now connects to your phone via wifi and not cable, then the transmitter to the drone with the 2.4 or 5.8ghz RC connection. So your phone batt is constantly drained.

Conclude
As a selfie drone, this is quite fun to have. Small and dandy, easy to bring around. For shots like the below, 30 to 50 meters, it’s not bad to remember a holiday, a trip.

Taking selfie from a height of 5 to 10 meters showing the surrounding with you and your loved ones, not too bad but could be easier to setup a tripod or place your camera on a ledge or in a tree.

Filename – DJI_0005.JPG – Exif here.

Low altitude flying on grass fields is quite fun, we can imagine using this on a calm day flying over padi or tea leaves fields. See video below.

BUT, If you want to take some shots of a building from 50 meters height, do not use this.

The DJI Spark is available for rental at Camera Rental Centre Singapore. Check them out.

 

Red Wild Willy 2

We got around to rebuild another Wild Willy and this round, with quite some hop ups. We call them mods but the community call them hop up so well, we have to go with the lingo. #lol

When unsure. Build 2. #wildwilly2 #wildwilly #tamiya #hobbyking #frsky #taranis

A photo posted by RC itcow (@rcitcow) on

Order 1 more set from Hobbyking. Didn’t get the pre-built set from RCMart as we just love building it. Hope it wasn’t our building that caused all the problem. Week of 23 Jan 2017. 2nd set arrived from Hobbyking. Decided to change to lipo! 2S seems to work fine. 1

22 Jan 2017 – Ordered the hop ups from Asiatees. Going to love the red…i hope.

asiatees

and these from rcmart.

rcmart

Feb 2017 – Colors. Preparing…

Colors #tamiya #wildwilly2 #wildwilly2 #frsky #taranis

A photo posted by RC itcow (@rcitcow) on

Our RC Build, non flying Instagram account.