10 October 2015

VIDEO: Modified Kit Arcade Orbit Cam Drone Test

Chopper hacks!

We recently reviewed - and very much liked - the Kit Arcade Orbit Cam Drone. A great drone for beginners to get started with, especially due to the included camera. But for those of us who might already have some experience with RC choppers like this, we discovered that the camera position was frustratingly low-angled. So, to quote the A-Team, we "modified the van". Here's what we did.

As we said in the review, this is a great starter quadcopter with an okay camera (you won't get much better on a sub-£70 chopper). However, if you have some experience flying this sort of thing, as we do, then the underside-mounted camera becomes all but useless in the original position. This is because, as a quadcopter surges forward, it naturally tips forwards too, causing a forward-mounted camera to see nothing but the passing ground.

That was the reason we wanted to modify the Orbit Cam Drone, to get the best possible footage from what we truly think is a great little chopper. To that end we unclipped the camera unit from the bottom of the chasis, unplugged the camera wire and rethreaded it to create some slack, removed all the excess plastic casing from around it, then mounted the lens on the front of the protective body using Sugru.

Here you can see how this left the camera's circuit board just floating loose. But, once the body was clipped back onto the main part of the quad, it sort of wedged securely into place, still allowing access to the SD card port and indicator lights.

As you can see from this side shot, the key thing here is that the camera lens is mounted angled upwards slightly. This is because, as the quadcopter tilts forwards while moving forwards, it will actually be pointing straight outwards. This means that although the blur of the spinning rotors will be in shot, the footage should be more exciting and more of a first-person view. Oh, and we also removed the LED lights and also the rotor guard, purely to reduce weight ever so slightly.

Here's what we captured:

We're quite pleased with that. The weird red lines at either side of the screen are the spinning rotor blades as expected, and we can imagine that if they were made from a transparent plastic you'd hardly even notice them. The footage is by far more interesting and exciting than the stuff we captured for the main review, and the forward view really shows off how well the Kit Arcade Orbit Cam Drone handles. Sure, it still isn't a brilliant picture, but being able to record anything from a chopper this cheap is great.

This simple mod is a great way to change your Orbit Cam Drone into a more advanced configuration, thus allowing you to keep and use it longer, even after you master the straight-out-of-the-box version. Give it a whirl.

Visit yourkit.co.uk/arcade

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