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Typhoon H to Tornado upgrade - help please

TPL

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Evening,

I am a Typhoon H owner and in the main I have been very happy with it. The only thing I am craving is a better quality video.

I am starting my CAA course next and the plan was to upgrade to a high-spec UAV early next year. I love the look of the Tornado, but am also considering a move to the dark side and opt for the Inspire 1 with X5.

I have done as much research as possible on the Tornado, reading what little reviews are on the net at present. Today I spoke with someone who is potentially selling one with light use, the full kit, and he has offered it to me for £2500.

Obviously it is a massive chunk off the RRP, but for around that price I could also get a used Inspire 1 with X5 based on some eBay sales I have been following.

I am very tempted by the low price, but also worried that I will be paying what is a lot of money to me, and end up disappointed as it seems to have many teething problems at the moment.

Any advice will be much appreciated.

Cheers
 
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I own an H920. I'm w much in your situation, except I own one - so in my honest opinion, You should consider the following:

• The H920 was hyped like no tomorrow, unfortunately it landed belly first

• There are several problems with the H920, google it....videolag problems (extremely challenging in filming situation
where e.gl visual timing is of essence), poor range, gps-problems...it goes on...
I've personally had my share of problems, currently on it's way back from repair. I've also gotten personal messages
from pro users who in private shared horrible close-to-disaster situations related to GPS problems saying that they
just are afraid to trust it.

• For a "pro" platform, it has a lot of "amateur" sides to it..For example - the documentation... Also, there is no GUI for control,
operations check, sensor checks, adjustments, calibration and so forth.

• This is not a joke: It can't go higher than 120m... (this is the sort of thing you'd expect on Breeze and consumer stuff,
not $5-7000 "pro" equipment that in any way in most countries of the world requires extensive pro certificates and permits to fly...).
So even if You, as a professional, have all the clearances, permits and certificates in the world from authorities and flight towers - nope. Probably has to be a real pilot to get a free firmware, but who would know - as Yuneec has zero info on this.

• Development on the platform is at a standstill at best, and has been for a loooong time. Many believe it's a dead duck.
Latest rumour is that something will come. Oh, I forgot. We got the quick release for propellers the other day.

• Yuneec seems to focus on the consumer, perhaps they feel it's where they stand a chance. Especially DJI has stepped their game up recent year both in areas like support - but also in technology development BOTH in consumer AND the pro market. Mavic is of course a taste of things to come...developments like their OcuSync transmission technology is just plain impressive from both a range, lag- and transmission stability point of view and will find its way into Inspire 2 and Phantom 5... Massive third party support doesn't help their competition either. In the high end pro world, the Dji Matrice already rules the sky along with competition like
Freefly (Alta) and carries stuff like RED, ARRI and other professional cameras...

• Yuneecs overall communication with the "pro market" seems to be....basicly zero (and has been for a long time). It seems to be somewhat better
in countries where they have offices - like UK - where staff has a personal interest in it.

So, is it all bad? No. It's still delivers very high quality pictures with the CG04 or GH4. The overall pricepoint is relatively low.
The overall carbon fiber design is sturdy and elegant. It looks pro. The included Pro action grip is in daily production making me money - and it works well. It seems to fly well (I'm hoping mine will work as it's supposed when I get it back the next couple of days from repair in Germany...).

I guess the main feeling I for one have, to sum it it up: It could be really, really great.
Right now, it isn't.

Will it be? Maybe. I would wait a little longer if I were You. Would I jump on Inspire? No. It has it's share
of problems. And I'm pretty sure we'll see an Inspire 2 soon.
 
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TPL,
I recently purchased two Typhoon H Pros. I also have the $ Q500 4K (my 3rd). The flying characteristics themselves are not much different which makes me wonder if the Tornado's are either.

I haven't really conducted any G2 on the Tornado because I thought they were like $30K (maybe they were two years ago) but after seeing your post, I decided to browse the interweb. A few points (and really point number one addresses your question and most of the rest is me rambling to educate and hopefully get educated):

1. Amazon Prime is selling the Tornado H920 at $3,169.00 (& FREE Shipping) https://www.amazon.com/YUNEEC-YUNH920US-Tornado-Hexa-Copter-Transmitter/dp/B017P0EAZI. At the current exchange rate that's about $100 more than your current offer. Being brand new and having a 30 day money back guarantee from a reputable company is a no brainer!
2. I assumed the Tornado would support Waypoints but I thought I read somewhere that this was in question...I need to verify...that would be a deal breaker for me. And btw, I'm hoping the firmware that was just released helps with the accuracy because right now, with winds at 10-12 mph, it easily drift 30 ft from any given position...I had to rescue it the other day just as it started to do some tree trimming after it drifted from one of the designated waypoints!
3. I also find need to understand how much better the video...than the Typhoon H... The H shoots in 'near 4K' at 30 fps. Regardless, I'm shocked at the enormous price drop so this is well worth looking into.
4. I already plan to return the two H Pros for just the H (you were smart not to go for the Pro version)...that would save me the $1K extra I paid just for collision avoidance that seemed to be an awesome feature at first glance but I've found it to be useless for a couple of reasons:
A. According to the Yuneec tech I called, this only works in 'follow me' mode...I must add he seemed unsure but if true that would be the least likely scenario in which I would fly it into something.
B. The collision avoidance and sonar only works when it's pointed towards a potential obstruction. So even if this feature works in angle mode, the likelihood of crashing (at least for me) is when the drone is far enough away where I lose it's orientation (and that's not far as the lights don't help during the day). I've had enough experience crashing the Q500 and Q500K to know where my weakness' are. That and trying to fly in too tight of spaces because, let's face it, it's rather boring flying in a wide open field.
 
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Right after I posted my reply to TPL, I see Steve's review of the Tornado. So to Steve, thanks for the input...there's no use in doing any research, it sounds like the Tornado is junk. I think for $999, the Typhoon H is the way to go (not the the H pro).

Steve, if you don't mind...How are you making money with the 'steady grip'?

I've never even used mine but do plan on getting my commercial license to shoot aerial footage.
 
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TPL

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Wow, Steve, hat off to your sir for such a detailed response. Exactly what I was hoping for and even better from someone with firsthand experience.

I had read about the issues when I Google'd reviews, I guess I was just hoping that these were isolated incidents and the old chestnut of people pointing out their bad experiences, with those that are happy keeping quiet.

You have helped me make my mind up. It is very easy to get caught up trying to convince yourself that something is very worthwhile because you have a good deal on the table.

I will hold onto my trusty TH for the time being and see what comes along in the coming months.

Thanks again.
 

TPL

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Versenumber2, thank you also for your input, much appreciated.

With regards to the link you sent, that doesn't include the gimbal/camera or the steady grip. The whole bundle goes for just under £6000, hence £2500 seemed too good to be true.

The 4K 30fps footage from the TH isnt bad at all. I come from a photography background and so am maybe overcritical of IQ, but the GH4 (and CGO4) are way ahead in terms of video quality.
 
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Ok, 1st Steve I must commend you for providing NOT just an Opinion or Review But an Honest & what seems to sound like a mostly unbiased as you can be while owning one or the other manufacturer's drone. 2nd I do NOT OWN a Yuneec Tornado. I just wanted to add a few points hopefully they're helpful. If you go with a 6+ Rotor Drone you have a Redundancy System IE one motor fails it doesn't immediately fall from the skies, Which has a stronger & stronger possibility of turning into a REQUIREMENT for ALL drones flown in the world soon, I say this because if anyone else caught it on any news article about drones over the last 2 weeks you would've read about a "Professional" Private Drone pilot being hired to fly & take pictures & video at a large Running Event (Can't remember the location exactly at the moment) but he was flying as usual & then his drone had an engine failure causing it to fall from the sky & directly hit one of the Runners causing moderate Injury enough to need hospital care & be taken there via Ambulance! According to the Pilot statement his drone had to have been wirelessly hacked (IE obviously trying to protect himself from legal action). A few ways that this accident could have been prevented are; if the pilot would've choosen to film while the drone was off to the side of the runners instead of being directly over top, If the drone itself would've been a Hexa or Octa drone rather than a Quad so to supply some type of redundancy & (IF) it was in fact hacked he could have simply pre-scanned the immediate surrounding area with a simple free Phone app for other possibly interfering wireless signals. So in a Nutshell whether Amateur or Professional Drone you chose to buy in the end I'd highly suggest you choose one with at least 6 Motors because of the safety in redundancy it'll provide you & that it would suck to spend that much & even hear about a possibilities of the FAA imposing rules to Not allow 4 motor drones for Commercial or private use or both even if it doesn't happen for over a year after you purchase your drone.

Whenever you see someone selling anything always ask yourself WHY they are selling it?? Is it due to past issues or lack of features or what because if it's a perfectly good drone with NO problems why are they willing to sale it & why at whatever certain price, Are they upgrading to something better or better or getting out of drones all together? I believe the reason that the CGO4 with the Phillips Camera is much more expensive is because it is a true actual camera which more then likely has a much better sensor that can capture more light, provide more detail in photos etc. whereas the CGO3 with 4K is a great camera but to face the facts anyone that has even remote knowledge and ability with Electronics could probably buy & assemble all the parts to make the 4k Camera for around $50- $80 because it's only a Micro Chip with a decent sensor on it & then a lens on top of that, So your basically paying for the firmware & software in each camera but then take into account the quality of all the optics IE for full size camera's if you buy a lense with Carll Zeuss name on it then best bet that it will provide better optics by ie (clearer glass, less glass elements to between the object & sensor, & the way that each piece of glass is Perfectly shaped IE the Sphere shape of lens will most likely be better due to more advanced technology & much more experienced manufacturer in the camera business).

I apologize for the lengthy post but I tried to be as informative as possible. Thanks Tom C.
 
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Hi, again everyone.

I would also like to point something out. It's NOT junk, that is too harsh a conclusion. It's just not...finished it seems.
I'm looking forward to getting mine back now, and put it into work for our company (and me). I've modified/enhanced my
setup a lot now to resolve for instance video lag issues - but this requires knowledge of electronics and nerves to open up your $$$$ equipment and of course say goodbye to any warranty.

(Btw: @versenumber2 The Pro Action grip makes money because with the CG04 on it we've put into service
often as a second or backup camera on various productions and it does this quite well.)

Keep in mind that a lot of very, very capable professionals here and on other forums/facebook uses the H920 with good results
and is making them money doing high end shoots. Google that too!

The H920 has potentially a lot going for it against the main contender, the Inspire. The GH4 or the CG04 (with a GH4 inside) delivers excellent picture at this pricepoint, high bitrates (you must up to Inspire RAW to get that kind of bitrate on footage). As one user pointed out, the rotor redundancy is also a feature worth mentioning.

If the flaws and shortcomings was ironed out - it would be such a great package.

All this could easily change if Yuneec decides to put its mind and resources on it, and they may very well do that in the next month for all I know.

Would I buy it again, if I were in Your exact position? Maybe. But I would probably wait a little longer an see how things develop.
Of course, if coming firmware adresses the shortcomings one might see prices increase again on the "bargains" out there.
Worth considering.



Best of luck,

Steve
 
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TP, some really useful and honest comments above. This is my 2 cents and I'll keep it short

The only reason that I bought the H920 over the Inspire was down to rotor redundancy as I need this for my work. So, my suggestion is to ask yourself- what do you need it for and then work backwards to work out what is the minimum set up that you need?

The Inspire with a good sensor will give you an awful lot of capability and it's quick to pick up and use. Today, the ONLY advantage that the H920 gives you over the Inspire is rotor redundancy and the capability of using very good sensors (GH4, A7 etc) with it.

I really like flying the H920 and with GH4 the video and image quality is sublime- you won't get to this level with the Inspire sensors. But it seriously lacks in other areas- as mentioned above and the features like waypoints etc. BUT Yuneec have promised that they have been working hard on further H920 development... On the vine there's also another bird in the pipeline- the H920 v2?! Let's see.
 
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belive me when i say just wait im sure all will become clear soon
 
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belive me when i say just wait im sure all will become clear soon
That's what i heard the last four weeks.....

It was stated that at the end of october all would be clear after a multirotor show in the UK (last week october).... but still nothing was made clear.....
Don't get me wrong, i am verry content with my H920 but if BIG news is announced than i expact that it will be published.
If Yuneec does not change in this bad communication they are soon to be compared with the plexidrone developpers.....
 
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I am in the same boat, head hostage by a much needed firmware upgrade. Turtle/Rabbit is killing me!
 
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Hi TPL, I had purchased an Inspire 1 Pro and ended up sending it back for a variety of reasons. I recently started flying an H920/CGO4 combo so here are some initial thoughts comparing the two. Obviously, these are my opinions and YMMV.

My experiences in a nutshell:
The H920 has the edge in camera quality, flight time and motor redundancy (if that's important to you). DJI has a better app and video range, and the I1Pro transports a little easier than the H920. The H920 has a slight advantage for single operator video capture. Some additional details below . . .

Camera quality: So far I feel that the CGO4 is a better camera than the X5 for both stills and video - and a huge improvement over the CGO3 (on the Q900) in terms of image quality and dynamic range. I was unimpressed with the stock lens on the DJI X5 - it was not sharp wide open or fully stopped down, so you were limited to around f/8-f/11 to avoid soft images (a common complaint for the X5). The X5 also lacked an auto follow-focus which I think is important if you're a single operator shooting video (alternatively, you can set it focused at a hyperfocal setting, keep the subject distance fairly constant, or keep tapping the focus point). The CGO4 comes with a stock zoom lens that is acceptably sharp and flexible - though zooming is more of a convenience for composition as it is not smooth enough for use in video IMO.

Battery life: The I1 battery life (standard battery hauling an X5) felt very short . . . I recall about 10-12 minutes before landing with small reserves. Flight time of the H920+CGO4 is pretty nice - I consistently get 13-15 minutes on 2 batteries before the first warning (want to start thinking about landing). A third battery adds about 5 minutes, and it's nice to have the flexibility to fly with 2 or 3 batteries.

Batteries/Charging system: DJI's intelligent batteries are nicer to own and use - you get kind of spoiled with the simple press of the button to check approx remaining capacity and the simple charger system. (You can check the Yuneec batteries without removing them, but you need to open the battery compartment and plug the little battery status gizmo into each battery.) The Yuneec charging system is really rather crude and slow . . . lots of little cables to keep track of, multiple modes to choose from on the charger, and a loud, annoying, sing-song tone that I have not found a way to turn off (don't charge your batteries when anyone nearby is sleeping!). I haven't really tried it, but DJI's auto-discharge seems like a nice touch - in contrast, when I've put the H920 charged batteries into storage mode, it usually requires 2 rounds of discharge since the first one times-out. (Note, if you buy a Tornado used, check out the batteries carefully since they aren't 'intelligent.' A replacement set is about $275 US for a pair.)

Control Apps: The DJI Go app has some nice features over Yuneec - it is 1 tap to switch between stills and video, the little map inset with breadcrumbs can be very useful if you lose situational awareness or lose sight of the aircraft, there is a manual camera mode for stills AND video, and the app lets you review your stills/videos without removing the card or loading onto a computer. Not showstoppers by any stretch, but contributors to the overall feel that DJI has done a better job on some of the human factors aspects of their product.

Video range: it's usually the first thing to drop, and the CGO4 can only get 800-1000' away in the moderately dense suburban areas I've flown thus far. I don't want to fly it out of VLOS, but another 500' would have been nice.

Single operator video control: Compared to my Phantom 4, I found that creating single operator video with smooth panning + yawing more challenging with BOTH the I1Pro and the H920/CGO4. When the camera gimbal is in "Follow" mode (rotates with the aircraft), both seemed to have a delay in starting and then stopping the yaw - it makes sense that the gimbal tries to correct for motion, but it is kind of annoying that the software doesn't adjust slightly when the gimbal is in follow mode. Both kits also offer options to control camera rotation separately from the aircraft. On the I1Pro I could use one physical control for EITHER camera pitch or camera yaw, but NOT at the same time! The Yuneec controller has separate controls for the two functions - a little better, but still requires a bit of finger gymnastics to make it happen smoothly.

Transporting to/from the launch location: the H920 is a much bigger aircraft and takes longer to break down/set up - if you're launching any distance from your vehicle, you'll need to figure out how to haul the controller(s), batteries, unmounted CGO4 and misc accessories. And if you're walking any distance, the H920 can be a bit of a pain - especially if the props are still on (I can't wait for those quick releases to be released in the USA!). DJI did a nice job with their I1 gimbal attachment - you can take it off or put it on in a matter of seconds. In contrast, the CGO4 gimbal has 4 screws (that seem to take forever to loosen or tighten) and a cable that has to be threaded through the gimbal holes and attached to the H920. Again, not showstoppers, but can easily lead to the lazy mistake of trying to carry the CGO4 on the H920 over short walking distances . . . since the combo is fairly bulky and heavy it can be tempting to tilt the aircraft 90 degrees for easier carrying - which the gimbal really doesn't like!

Is the H920/CGO4 ideal? Not really (ironically, my Phantom 4 is still my 'go to' bird in many situations because of its portability, ease of use and ok quality results). Would I go back to the I1Pro? No. And I'm crossing my fingers that Yuneec will give the H920/CGO4 some attention to better realize the full potential that this neglected platform has.

My 2 cents - hopefully it provides you some useful tidbits in your decision process.
 
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TPL

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usauasdriver, many thanks for your detailed response, much appreciated.

It seems that the common feedback for the H920 is that is can be so much better, but still isn't there and there are no guarantees that it ever will be. Based on this I passed up on the deal I was offered, which still seems like a great package for £2500. But it is a big investment for me and as it stands, not one I am willing to gamble on.

Thanks again to everyone for their feedback, very helpful.

All the best, Tony
 
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Hi, again everyone.

I would also like to point something out. It's NOT junk, that is too harsh a conclusion. It's just not...finished it seems.
I'm looking forward to getting mine back now, and put it into work for our company (and me). I've modified/enhanced my
setup a lot now to resolve for instance video lag issues - but this requires knowledge of electronics and nerves to open up your $$$$ equipment and of course say goodbye to any warranty.

(Btw: @versenumber2 The Pro Action grip makes money because with the CG04 on it we've put into service
often as a second or backup camera on various productions and it does this quite well.)

Keep in mind that a lot of very, very capable professionals here and on other forums/facebook uses the H920 with good results
and is making them money doing high end shoots. Google that too!

The H920 has potentially a lot going for it against the main contender, the Inspire. The GH4 or the CG04 (with a GH4 inside) delivers excellent picture at this pricepoint, high bitrates (you must up to Inspire RAW to get that kind of bitrate on footage). As one user pointed out, the rotor redundancy is also a feature worth mentioning.

If the flaws and shortcomings was ironed out - it would be such a great package.

All this could easily change if Yuneec decides to put its mind and resources on it, and they may very well do that in the next month for all I know.

Would I buy it again, if I were in Your exact position? Maybe. But I would probably wait a little longer an see how things develop.
Of course, if coming firmware adresses the shortcomings one might see prices increase again on the "bargains" out there.
Worth considering.



Best of luck,

Steve
Cool...I didn't even know there was a CGO4. I'll have to research the specs from the 3+. Thanks!
 
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The CGO04 is a a full Panasonic GH4 4k mirrorless DSLR, just integrated in Yuneecs own encasing along with various Yuneec electronics to allow remote operation of the camera via the rc controller. The alternative is the GB603 gimbal, which allows you to mount your own Panasonic GH4 DSLR (or sony A7 line) into it. Of course, the advantage being able to take the camera off and use it like a normal handheld DSLR.

Here is a pic of my CGO4 mounted on the included proaction steadygrip for ground work.
The red/black cable twisted around the handle is of course not there originally (I pull power
off the gimbal to sometimes to power an 5.8ghz analog transmitter when mounted on the 920).

IMG_1674.JPG

Being a GH4 it delivers up to 100mbps 4k video, which even by todays standard still is pretty awesome, maybe only surpassed by Djis new X5s or it's predecessor X5r(aw). And being a DSLR you can switch between a selection of compatible micro fourthirds DSLR lenses. It comes stock with a 12-42 zoom lens which is reasonably good and zooming in flight can be convenient. When you compare footage between the CGO3x and CGO4, you'll see what you pay for... They are not in the same league.

I'd be happy to dropbox link some untouched sample CG04 footage here for you if you want.





Best,
Steve

Cool...I didn't even know there was a CGO4. I'll have to research the specs from the 3+. Thanks!
 
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I own an H920. I'm w much in your situation, except I own one - so in my honest opinion, You should consider the following:

• The H920 was hyped like no tomorrow, unfortunately it landed belly first

• There are several problems with the H920, google it....videolag problems (extremely challenging in filming situation
where e.gl visual timing is of essence), poor range, gps-problems...it goes on...
I've personally had my share of problems, currently on it's way back from repair. I've also gotten personal messages
from pro users who in private shared horrible close-to-disaster situations related to GPS problems saying that they
just are afraid to trust it.

• For a "pro" platform, it has a lot of "amateur" sides to it..For example - the documentation... Also, there is no GUI for control,
operations check, sensor checks, adjustments, calibration and so forth.

• This is not a joke: It can't go higher than 120m... (this is the sort of thing you'd expect on Breeze and consumer stuff,
not $5-7000 "pro" equipment that in any way in most countries of the world requires extensive pro certificates and permits to fly...).
So even if You, as a professional, have all the clearances, permits and certificates in the world from authorities and flight towers - nope. Probably has to be a real pilot to get a free firmware, but who would know - as Yuneec has zero info on this.

• Development on the platform is at a standstill at best, and has been for a loooong time. Many believe it's a dead duck.
Latest rumour is that something will come. Oh, I forgot. We got the quick release for propellers the other day.

• Yuneec seems to focus on the consumer, perhaps they feel it's where they stand a chance. Especially DJI has stepped their game up recent year both in areas like support - but also in technology development BOTH in consumer AND the pro market. Mavic is of course a taste of things to come...developments like their OcuSync transmission technology is just plain impressive from both a range, lag- and transmission stability point of view and will find its way into Inspire 2 and Phantom 5... Massive third party support doesn't help their competition either. In the high end pro world, the Dji Matrice already rules the sky along with competition like
Freefly (Alta) and carries stuff like RED, ARRI and other professional cameras...

• Yuneecs overall communication with the "pro market" seems to be....basicly zero (and has been for a long time). It seems to be somewhat better
in countries where they have offices - like UK - where staff has a personal interest in it.

So, is it all bad? No. It's still delivers very high quality pictures with the CG04 or GH4. The overall pricepoint is relatively low.
The overall carbon fiber design is sturdy and elegant. It looks pro. The included Pro action grip is in daily production making me money - and it works well. It seems to fly well (I'm hoping mine will work as it's supposed when I get it back the next couple of days from repair in Germany...).

I guess the main feeling I for one have, to sum it it up: It could be really, really great.
Right now, it isn't.

Will it be? Maybe. I would wait a little longer if I were You. Would I jump on Inspire? No. It has it's share
of problems. And I'm pretty sure we'll see an Inspire 2 soon.
Wait until CES2017 and you will be ammazed by what Yuneec is going to offer.
They will also modify the H firmware for the H920.
And a lot of more mods for both drones.
 
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I am an H owner, but I try to keep up on "Drone News".

I heard the Tornadoes are getting new processors, because there was an issue they were having with the other chip manufacturer. This chips caused some issues in a small amount of owners, and so when you read a not so glowing report about the Tornado, keep this in mind, that this may be one of the unlucky persons that had a faulty chip.

They are getting Intel Chips that are especially designed for drones, and that will allow for easier firmware upgrades, and features to be added to the sytems.

And the other good news I heard is that the older model Tornadoes can be upgraded to this chip, and apparently there will be some other hardware etc. options that will be available for Tornado V.1 owners.

So look in to that if you are wanting to get a Tornado, and especially if you are buying one 2nd hand.
 
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The problem @Tree, is there isnt any information as to when the upgrades will be available or if they will actually be available and at what cost. Yuneec communication here in the US is horrible!
 
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