Action Drone AD-1


Action Drone AD-1

Build notes and review


I purchased my AD-1 as a kit off of the Action Drone Website, meaning I would need to assemble everything. When I have the time I prefer this as it will get you very familiar with the workings of the whole machine. I got the full kit, motors, 4-in-1 ESC, props etc. Everything except the NAZA controller, which I already had.

Everything comes boxed and packaged nicely - my only comment is that the Tiger carbon props come overly packed with velvet lined individual prop bags... which I do not foresee ever using again and will probably get thrown away. I'd rather they pack these in bubble wrap and save everyone the $$.

Hints and tips for building: When installing the motors and o-rings, be sure to install THREE (3!) o-rings on the long, rear arms, or you will have to remove the motors and wires to install the third o-ring for the landing gear clamp - this was omitted in the instructions, but luckily I read ALL the instructions before I started ;-)

NOTES: When installing the split motor mount blocks on the o-rings, the spacing is 13mm between the blocks (23mm bolt to bolt), not 15mm as per the instructions. ALSO when you put the washers on the pivoting and sliding bolts for the arm pivot area be sure to face the rounded side of the washer toward the carbon plate... or you will scratch the crap out of it and it will not fold/un-fold smoothly (ask me how I know!)

I opted for the 4/1 ESC unit for a potentially cleaner install. The Tiger motors have very long leads, and no soldering needed - just do a general layout with everything in place, cut to length and then strip the ends and screw the wire clamp screws tight. My only issue with this is if you get a motor going in the wrong direction it's a bit more fuss than just unplugging your typical ESC wires. I totally lucked out and for the first time ever I got all motors going the right way on the first shot! One thing about mounting the 4/1 ESC the way I did is that the battery wires did not have to be lengthened. I would prefer longer battery wires so I could mount the ESC's in the recommended orientation without soldering on a length of wire, then the battery plug.

The layout of the control wiring took me a long time - I had not seen any good photos of the control wire layout but once figured out there was plenty of room for: NAZA w/GPS, NAZA hub, Receiver, DJI Mini iOSD and OMWAY video Downlink (review on that soon as well!). With my layout the battery must be installed on the bottom.

The mounting/vibration dampening system works well - VIDEO FROM THIS GIMBAL IS JELLO FREE  HERE is one of my latest video with the 11" Tiger props.

I started out with 3S-5000MAh batteries as I used the on my DJI Hexa as well. Yes it will fly, but was way sluggish so I went with 4S and all is good. I would not recommend using 3S, just not enough RPM with these torquie motors. With a 5100MAH 4S battery I'm getting about 13 "safe" minutes of flight.

My AUW (all up weight) is 1950 grams, and that is including both the 4S 5100mAh main battery and a 3S 850MAh battery for the gimbal as pictured in the top photo. This machine flys very well. I am not a "pro" multicopter flyer, but I will say this "spider" layout is a lot easier to keep orientation than a standard Quad or Hex. UPDATE: I have since reconfigured my wiring harness and now I'm using just the main battery to power everything including the gimbal - new flying weight is 1890 grams.

NAZA gain settings have been on discussion on the RCG forums and although the stock/factory NAZA V2 settings (recommended by AD) are adequate, I found bumping the Yaw up a bit got rid of some "yaw waggle" I was experiencing. SO.... currently my NAZA settings are: Pitch: 125, Roll: 125, Yaw 120, Altitude: 100. Atti are both set at 125.

- great deal for the price - carbon frame AND gimbal for $460!?
- Jello free video - their isolation system definitely works.
- Light, strong and stiff
- Excellent quality construction, except minor items above.
- Folding - I love it, very smooth, yet holds open well
- "Spider" design, better for orientation and camera view clearance

- Gimbal does not provide power to camera UPDATE: Now comes with a servo type wire lead to power the GoPro - but be sure you supply the proper amps at 5v recommended by GoPro.
- Top clear plexiglass cover is too flimsy, especially if you want to add a second downlink specific camera, UPDATE: now available in fiberglass and carbon fiber.
- Front landing gear prone to twisting - the separate legs should be made into one piece or just add the same landing gear to the front arms that are on the rear arms.
- The isolating grommets for the gimbal are a pain to install and will tear if you are not careful

BOTTOM LINE: Highly recommended - 9 out of 10. The ease of build, streanght and foldability.... and customer service all add up to a great machine. HERE is some raw video with the off brand 11" props, the stock 10" props was absolutely jello free.