New Guy! Looking for some help.

Discussion in 'X-Star / X-Star Premium' started by DroneWolf82, Nov 29, 2016.

  1. Well, I just sent back my P3A in order to buy the Autel X-Star Premium. From what I've read/heard, these are outstanding birds. In addition, I've continually read that Autel's customer service is far superior to DJI. That said, I do have a couple of questions. I'd truly appreciate your guys help.

    1. Have any of you switched over from DJI? If so, what do you like most/more about your X-Star/X-Star Premium?

    2. I see that the X-Star Premium is rated for 1.2 miles? What type of range are most of you getting with your birds? I'm used to Lightbridge, so this is the one area I'm curious on.

    Anything else you'd like to share with me, I'd truly appreciate! Thanks!
     
  2. About the only thing I can help with is #2. Keep the tips of the antennas pointed at the drone and hope for the best. Open country and 1.2 miles won't be an issue. Urban areas where interference will become a hindrance, then you'll notice a lack of distance.
     
  3. I switched from the P3A, and I have been pleased. There are both pros and cons to making the switch.

    Flying characterics: the X-Star is better. It handles strong winds well, including those that have made the P3A uncontrollable. It lands with more authority in those winds, and movement is quicker. In GPS mode, I think the P3A is a bit faster, but in ATTI mode, the X-Star catches up. The first time I wound it out in ATTI mode it felt more like my Walkera Runner that a P3A. It seems just a bit louder, which I actually like, since I can hear it farther away. It locks position in GPS mode well. It acts slightly differently at take off, but not worse or better.

    Camera and Video: the X-Star is better than the P3A, hands down. The colors are better, the detail is amazing. The FOV is different and takes getting use to, but there is no question it is superior.

    On the software side, DJI GO is more complete than Starlink. I miss the ability to review flight stats and replay flights. Admittedly, that is only important to folks like me who geek out on that stuff. The exposure lock on the P3A was a little easier for me to figure out than on the X-Star, but I think it is a learning thing. Controlling exposure with the right dial on the X-Star remote is awesome.

    On the flight control side, I have only two concerns, both related to RTH. When the AC determines that the battery level/distance from home is such that it must return to home "now" to make it back, it enters RTH mode. That is a good safeguard, and the P3A had it, too. However, the calculation is often wrong depending on the wind and the route flown. The P3A allows the pilot to cancel the return to home. That allows you to fly faster home and can avoid problems. The X-Star does not allow RTH to be cancelled, or rather, it allows it but then immediately starts RTH again. My story: I flew with the wind too far out and RTH initiated. However, the wind was such that the X-Star could only move at 8 mph and was drifting slowly west. There was no way it was going to make it back. Had I been able to cancel RTH, I would have flown harder and avoided the drift. I may have made it home, or at least close enough to make a decent landing. The end result was a decision to force land the AC in the desert and walk to it. It was a hard landing, a bounce, and a tip over. The result is one of the pros (see below).

    The other RTH issue is the inability to control elevation during RTH. I have used that a few times with the P3A, but you cannot control it with the X-Star.

    The good news is that neither of these is a deal breaker. Good planning and smart flying make these non-issues. For instance, when I had my emergency landing, I should have not flown with the wind out as far as I did, and I should have gone into ATTI mode and flown it back that way. The incident was my fault.

    The other good news, as evidenced by my hard landing referenced above, is the build quality. This is a durable bird. There was no damage to anything besides my props. Coming from a P3A with frame cracks from normal flight, this is a big relief. Another great positive is customer service. After my hard landing, I spent a lot of time with Autel on the phone, trading emails, and chatting. They are knowledgeable, helpful, and good to work with. They checked out my bird and had me back in the air in a reasonable amount of time. DJI, on the other hand, are borderline impossible to work with. Sure they fix problems, but it is a truly miserable experience.

    As for range: the Lightbridge is better. However, I always ask myself how far do I need to fly? Do I need 3.1 miles with the P3A or the 4.3 miles of the newer DJI birds. Probably not, especially since the farthest I have ever been able to see an AC is 2000 feet. I have noticed that the antenna setup combined with my normal remote posture had the signal pointing into the ground. When I change my posture, I get significantly better range.

    The X-Star remote is great. I was not sure how much I would use the LED screen, but I use it all the time. It fits my hands well, the buttons and dials are conveniently placed, and it holds a charge well. I like the grip on my tablet, and my DJI hood fits.

    All in all, I love the bird. I still have the P3A, and it gets flown occasionally. However, when I am pressed for time and I know I will only get a couple of flights in, the X-Star is in the air first.
     
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