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  1. #1
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    Default Helicopter camera for roof inspections?

    This helicopter camera the AR Drone, is controlled by an iPhone or iPad. Battery life is better than 15 minutes, but then it crashes.
    The propellers guards are flimsy styrofoam, so they won't last long.

    But it's got potential, I think.
    Somebody here could try this.

    Reviews: Parrot AR.Drone Wi-Fi Quadricopter for iPhone, iPod touch + iPad | iLounge

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    John Kogel, RHI, BC HI Lic #47455
    www.allsafehome.ca

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Helicopter camera for roof inspections?

    Excellent choice for roofs, chimneys upper areas of walls. Better in my opinion then camera pole mounted devices.


  3. #3
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    Default Re: Helicopter camera for roof inspections?

    Yeah, I've been looking at those and while it has two onboard cameras, I still don't know if you are able to capture and save any images for report insertion.

    Then there's always the risk of crashing it up top of a 3-storey roof and loosing a $300 copter.

    I also wonder how the thing would fly in light drizzle or rain.

    Does anyone use one of these on inspections ?

    Joe Klampfer RHI
    www.myinspection.ca
    Pacific Home Inspections

  4. #4
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    Default Re: Helicopter camera for roof inspections?

    Quote Originally Posted by Joe Klampfer View Post
    Yeah, I've been looking at those and while it has two onboard cameras, I still don't know if you are able to capture and save any images for report insertion.

    Then there's always the risk of crashing it up top of a 3-storey roof and loosing a $300 copter.

    I also wonder how the thing would fly in light drizzle or rain.

    Does anyone use one of these on inspections ?
    I get the impression you need to save the video on your iPad or iPhone. Then you would edit out a few pics for your report.

    They are pretty new on the market, but I did find this website.
    AR Drone - Reviews, FAQ, videos and prices!
    where they said this, in kind of poor lingo:

    "Outdoor flight: That isn’t the AR Drone strongest suit. To begin with, it won’t fly more than 15 feet (because of the range of the ultrasonic sensor I guess). Additionally, the position hold really only is effective when there is no wind flow. Should the wind picks up, the AR Drone starts to lean and shakes, and also the optical flow camera will lose it’s lock. Often meaning it really drifts, maybe it is going to scoot off in a random course after having a blowing wind strong gust.
    Though should there be no wind, you are able to fly as far as the wi-fi connection will allow you to. We have successfully tried up to 100 feet." Which is it, 15 ft or 100? Is he talking 15 ft in elevation?

    Yep, it's going to wind up on the roof of a condo one day, just out of range of your iPhone.

    Oh yeah, they are sold at Brookfields in the US for $299.99. In Canada of course we pay more, $349.99 at Best Buy.

    John Kogel, RHI, BC HI Lic #47455
    www.allsafehome.ca

  5. #5
    Bill Miller's Avatar
    Bill Miller Guest

    Default Re: Helicopter camera for roof inspections?

    I have the ardrone, it takes great pix. Would like to use to keep me on the ground.
    However the FAA takes a dim view for commercial use. In time that may change as more large companies push for their use in delivery.


  6. #6
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    Default Re: Helicopter camera for roof inspections?

    I was looking at that model the other day. What quality is the video? Price is right it was $369 cdn.

    Parrot AR.Drone - Best Buy Canada


  7. #7

    Default Re: Helicopter camera for roof inspections?

    We got one with that exact purpose in mind. The issue is that, unless it is absolutely dead calm, it's very difficult to control. It ended up not being a workable solution for roofs.

    Welmoed Sisson
    Inspections by Bob, LLC, Boyds, MD
    "Given sufficient thrust, pigs fly just fine."

  8. #8
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    Default Re: Helicopter camera for roof inspections?

    I bought one of these. But currently its out of commission. It got away from me and trimmed my Oak tree. Makes a great tree trimmer.

    Turbo Ace Matrix Feature Highlights - YouTube


  9. #9
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    Default Re: Helicopter camera for roof inspections?

    Would like to hear about the pole camera and if anyone on this forum is using same and any comments you may have good or bad.

    Thanks.


  10. #10
    Bill Miller's Avatar
    Bill Miller Guest

    Default Re: Helicopter camera for roof inspections?

    I have taken great still pix with the ardrone of my tile roof. I don't use video. With practice can be done in 8_12 MPH wind.


  11. #11
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    Default Re: Helicopter camera for roof inspections?

    Brian

    Care to post one or two picts of a roof taken by the Ardrone?

    Thanks


  12. #12
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    Default Re: Helicopter camera for roof inspections?

    Raymond, sorry to hear you crashed your chopper. That looks like a high end unit. I believe the technology is improving and it has a lot of potential, not just for home inspection, but for quad copter fishing. Now that has got me interested.

    I have packed the paint pole/camera tripod around for 6 or 7 years now. It has been my ace in the hole quite a few times for getting a view of flat roofs. I prefer to get as high as I can with the ladder and then use the 12' pole. A 24' pole is a brute to handle with even a small camera on the end of it.

    I still think a helium zeppilin on a tether is the way to go, but can't be bothered to build it for HI. Fishing, maybe, but I'll be needing a bigger balloon for halibut.

    John Kogel, RHI, BC HI Lic #47455
    www.allsafehome.ca

  13. #13
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    Default Re: Helicopter camera for roof inspections?

    John,

    This may be just what you are looking for.

    Lakemaid Beer Drone Delivery - YouTube


  14. #14
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    Default Re: Helicopter camera for roof inspections?

    My friend has one.....lame
    IMHO

    The MAZZA INSPECTION GROUP
    www.mazzainspections.com
    Level III Thermo-picture-taker-er...er

  15. #15
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    Default Re: Helicopter camera for roof inspections?

    For determining the condition of shingles, nothing will ever be better than getting your face 12" away from the roof surface. I think we're a long way from doing it reliably with a remotely controlled camera.

    I say, get on the roof. If you can't, punt to someone who can.


  16. #16
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    Default Re: Helicopter camera for roof inspections?

    Yes the blades are carbon fibre. Thanks.


  17. #17

    Default Re: Helicopter camera for roof inspections?

    Well I have been playing with our AR drone 2.0. It is MUCH batter than the 1.0 I got last year and promptly crashed because it was not stable.

    Some observations.
    I got a refurb one because I am cheap, and two, I wanted to see what would break after use (abuse)...

    The AR drone has Battery problems big time. Most of the time it is the Charger, so I got a REAL RC charger and an adapter plate that will take the AR batteries. Now it charges and balances the batteries each time, faster than stock.

    Next, the AR drone has lots of tiny (really tiny) parts. And they come off easy. Props are held on by tiny "c" clips about the size of an eyeglass screw. The Shafts wear FAST and are brittle. So I got a mess of spare parts and upgrades. Nice part is they are $20 for a whole mess of them. (banggood.com Tmart.com amazon.com others) Parts can arive, even from china, in about 4 days)

    Oh yes, back to the battery, get some of the 1800mah ones. 1800 is the sweet spot of extra life but not too heavy.

    Still learning and getting flight time BEFORE I take it up on a roof where I could loose it if I do something wrong. Its drizzling today, so no flight time...

    The Video from the drone is reasonable, but not really HD (720hd with a cheap lens) but it will eventually let me look at chimneys and roof that I wouldn't get even close to otherwise...

    As others have written, no wind, rain or trees please...so I still have my pole and binoculars as well. Not ready to spend $1200 for a pro version (yet) but this will let me learn. If I crash it, lose it, break it, its "only" $300.

    The outdoor shell weighs less, so you get a few more minutes flight time, and has less wind profile, BUT I want the prop protection...

    I will try to post some pictures when I can, or a link to some videos....


  18. #18

    Default Re: Helicopter camera for roof inspections?

    Oh, the STOCK AR rotors are -NOT- carbon fiber. You can get Carbon Fiber ones but the reviews have been uniformly poor. More noise, more vibration, not as stable and less flight time.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z9zJQNpBC6Q

    Good thing to follow is this channel as it has lots of reviews, mods, tips and more....

    ARDroneShow.com - Parrot Drones Worldwide Shop


  19. #19
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    Default Re: Helicopter camera for roof inspections?

    I've given up on mine. Will be selling it.

    Transport Canada will be getting tough on non recreational users. If its used to inspect roofs et ceteras Transport Canada considers it a commercial endeavour and you must file a flight plan and have insurance.

    I have settled for a camera pole.

    Thanks for the info links.


  20. #20

    Default Re: Helicopter camera for roof inspections?

    The FAA is also thinking about something... but there are no hints as to what...

    I am not sure a Smartphone controlled drone at 50' is the same as an autonomous drone at 250' but I am sure there will be strong discussions...

    But for now it is my yard, my neighbors yard, and the park learning...

    If it needs constant care (like real helicopters do) before and after every flight and can't be used in weather, wind, around trees, and, and, and, it will quickly be put aside (thats why I only spent a little $$)

    Not sure either if it makes sense to buy a $1600 quadcopter to look at roofs on $400 townhouse inspections either, they definitely won't pay extra for it.... maybe on the McMansions...


  21. #21
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    Default Re: Helicopter camera for roof inspections?

    Last edited by Steven Turetsky; 10-10-2014 at 09:07 PM.
    Steven Turetsky, UID #16000002314
    homeinspectionsnewyork.com
    eifsinspectionsnewyork.com

  22. #22
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    Default Re: Helicopter camera for roof inspections?

    Quote Originally Posted by Bob Sisson View Post
    Not sure either if it makes sense to buy a $1600 quadcopter to look at roofs on $400 townhouse inspections either, they definitely won't pay extra for it.... maybe on the McMansions...
    While I'm sure there would be times where a separate fee was involved, I would probably build it into my fee and use it as much as possible. I would consider giving a video of the entire property (if possible) as a gift to all of my clients.

    Steven Turetsky, UID #16000002314
    homeinspectionsnewyork.com
    eifsinspectionsnewyork.com

  23. #23

    Default Re: Helicopter camera for roof inspections?

    I use a DJI Phantom with a Gimbal that keeps the GoPRO Hero 3 perfectly level no matter how bad it moves. The GoPRO is HD quality and I use video and photos in my reports. I have also installed a tilt feature that allows the camera to tilt face down if I wish for that view.

    I am selling it to egt a newer model so if anyone is interested it is $750.00. It is the Quad, extra set of blades, [2] batteries, controller, charger and case.

    You can email me at proviewpro@gmail.com

    - - - Updated - - -

    I use a DJI Phantom with a Gimbal that keeps the GoPRO Hero 3 perfectly level no matter how bad it moves. The GoPRO is HD quality and I use video and photos in my reports. I have also installed a tilt feature that allows the camera to tilt face down if I wish for that view.

    I am selling it to egt a newer model so if anyone is interested it is $750.00. It is the Quad, extra set of blades, [2] batteries, controller, charger and case.

    You can email me at proviewpro@gmail.com

    - - - Updated - - -

    I use a DJI Phantom with a Gimbal that keeps the GoPRO Hero 3 perfectly level no matter how bad it moves. The GoPRO is HD quality and I use video and photos in my reports. I have also installed a tilt feature that allows the camera to tilt face down if I wish for that view.

    I am selling it to egt a newer model so if anyone is interested it is $750.00. It is the Quad, extra set of blades, [2] batteries, controller, charger and case.

    You can email me at proviewpro@gmail.com


  24. #24

    Default Re: Helicopter camera for roof inspections?

    I use a DJI Phantom with a Gimbal that keeps the GoPRO Hero 3 perfectly level no matter how bad it moves. The GoPRO is HD quality and I use video and photos in my reports. I have also installed a tilt feature that allows the camera to tilt face down if I wish for that view.

    I am selling it to get a newer model so if anyone is interested it is $750.00. It is the Quad, extra set of blades, [2] batteries, controller, charger and case.

    You can email me at proviewpro@gmail.com


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