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F450 poor flight time
13148 38 2015-1-6
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George F
lvl.1

United Kingdom
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Hi guys, I've just made an F450 with the standard E300 kit. I've not made any mods except some diy prop guards for flying near buildings (using for architectural surveys & photos).

I've done a few test flights in the garden and have been disappointed with the poor flight time but i thought the cold might be affecting the battery and as i was taking off and landing i didn't have a good idea of the actual time so i came in and hovered the quad in the warm.

After 3 mins the red warning light started to flash and after 6 mins it would no longer accelerate upwards and landed itself.

I've plugged into the assistant and it says the battery is on 11.6V after the flight. I've got the voltage warnings set to 11.55 and 11.1 (as default).

I'm using the Turnigy 3300mah 3s 30-40c battery
Gains are as default : 125   125   120   130
                                 140   140

Does anyone have any thoughts on these flight times? Before i bought the quad and batteries i did some research that suggested i should be getting at least 12-15min flight times with this set up.


The main bit that confuses me is that it says there is still 11.6v left in the Lipo yet it wont even take off?

Please help!

2015-1-6
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DJI-Dboy
lvl.4

China
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Hi George,
6 minute is too short for a good quality 3300 mAh battery...
if the temperature is too low please warm up the battery to >0℃
If the voltage in assistant software has deviation with the value from a multimeter, please calibrate the battery in assistant SW.
And i think you could lower the value of first/second protection level. The detail you could seek from the battery supplier. For Li-Po do not lower than 10.5V
2015-1-6
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George F
lvl.1

United Kingdom
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I have a voltmeter on the way and should be with me in a few days so can check it then. Would a calibration error explain why it goes into auto land while it still says 11.6v in the assistant?

When i say it was cold it is probably 2-5℃ outside but the battery & quad had come from inside and turned on immediately. Also i got the same results flying it inside.

Is there anything else it could be?

Cheers
2015-1-7
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cfalcon420
lvl.1

United States
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I was having the same confusing issue and am getting only about 8min on a 3s 4000mah battery.  I purchased a voltage checker that plugs into the balance board while the battery is plugged into the F450.  I plugged it into the battery with the engines off and got a reading of 12.67v.  I held onto the F450 very tightly from the bottom and had someone power it up and max out the throttle.  The voltage immediately dropped to 12.1v when under a load.  When the throttle was backed down and the motors shut off the reading went back up to 12.59v.  When I plugged back into the Naza program it showed 12.5v and my voltmeter showed 12.591v.  I hope this little bit of info helps.
2015-1-7
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George F
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United Kingdom
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cfalcon420,  did that help increase the battery life? have you calibrated the battery as DJI-Dboy suggested?
I'm just interested to find out why the flight time is so poor. I've read on other forums that people withj the same quad and battery but with a GoPro and gimbal are getting 12-15 mins!
2015-1-8
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George F
lvl.1

United Kingdom
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ok so i now have a volt checker and the readings on the Naza assistant are consistent with the readings on the volt meter.

Ruling that out, what could it be?

Any help would be really appreciated as i need this to work!
2015-1-8
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George F
lvl.1

United Kingdom
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just gone out to do a test in the garden,
started with a full, warm battery.
turned on quad, let it find sattelites and did a compass calibration then took off.
after 2:10 the red flashing light came on and after 5:04 it landed and wouldn't take off again.

the volt checker reads 11.7v though while i was attempting to take off it went to 11.6. i'm getting 11.7V in the naza assistant too.

Can anyone suggest anything?
2015-1-8
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DJI-Dboy
lvl.4

China
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After 5:04 min, what is the voltage remained? 11.1V?
2015-1-8
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George F
lvl.1

United Kingdom
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After 5.04 the volt checker was reading 11.7. While it was on the ground attempting to take off it dropped to 11.6 but still above the 1st stage alarm voltage!
2015-1-9
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cfalcon420
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United States
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George F Posted at 2015-1-8 17:01
cfalcon420,  did that help increase the battery life? have you calibrated the battery as DJI-Dboy su ...

It didn't help my times at all.  I just now have a better understanding of the varying voltages and loaded and unloaded discharge rates.  Sorry
2015-1-9
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mark97564.email
Second Officer
Flight distance : 2067220 ft
United States
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Get a 4 cell battery 5000 mah set 1st stage to 14.1 and the 2nd stage to 13.8...  When the light blinks red fast get it landed...  I get 15 min fly time and 1 min to land and my charger puts about 4200mah back ini the battery.   My 4 cell also runs my 600mw vtx and cam and my led lights on all 4 arms..  3 cells work like crap...  The e300 motors need 11.5 volts loaded to spin fast enough for stable flight.. Less than 11.5 volts and the craft will yaw back and forth and could decend slightly uncontrollable.. E300 system needs this minimum voltage...  I run predator 4 cell 5000mah 45c packs and my favorite are my turnigy 4 cell 7200mah 40c packs.. They come in a hard pack from hobby king but I can get 20 min fly time.  I've also learned my f450 bone stock no vtx or anything will burn about 250mah per min and fully loaded about 300mah per min running a 4 cell..  When I ran my 3 cell 8000mah 35c pack when my f450 was stock would give me 23 min but as soon as my osd, fat shark cam and immersionrc 600mw vtx on it, it was enough weight to drop the voltage below 11.5volts and now my time went to 12 min and I had to land cuz it got hard to control, then when I charged the 3cell back up it only took about 3500mah..  So proof that with any weight added the 3 cells can't keep the voltage high enough for stable flight..  So run 4 cells with the e300 system people, the manual says 3 or 4 cell but it's an old manual for the old red motors..  Hobby king sells that turnigy 7200mah 4 cell for $60 and it outperforms all my other packs!  The nano tech suck, make sure you buy the plain old turnigy 4 cell and you will be happy.. I get 30 min on my f450 e300 motors when I run 2 of my predator 5000mah packs together in parallel

Happy flying!
2015-1-20
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George F
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United Kingdom
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that all sounds great but it doesnt explain why im getting 5 mins flight time and why it auto lands before it's reached the 1st level protection.

Just put my gopro on and the auto land kicked in after 59 seconds and after 1min 30 i couldn't take off or anything!
seriously , can anyone help with this problem meaning i can actually fly with my current batteries?
2015-1-21
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mark97564.email
Second Officer
Flight distance : 2067220 ft
United States
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Do what I said and if there is still an issue let us know, and your readings don't make since, there is typically a 1 volt drop when the copter runs than when it's on the ground not running, so it dropping .1 volts don't make any since..  If you get 11.7 volts in naza assistant then the copter is clearly not running so if u take it out and try to fly the voltage drops about a volt when the battery is loaded so now your at 10.7 volts, there is the problem.. You need 11.5 volts loaded to fly stable.... And if your running less than a 40c battery it won't hold its voltage as well..  3 cell 5000mah and what c rating?  And if the red light is flashing like u said in your first post then it did hit the first setting, measuring voltage when it's not hovering is useless it will read a volt higher..  
2015-1-22
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mark97564.email
Second Officer
Flight distance : 2067220 ft
United States
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http://www.hobbyking.com/hobbyki ... _Hardcase_Pack.html

1st level 14.1
2nd level 13.8

Your issue is your not taking into account that there is about a 1 volt drop when the motors are running and its trying to take off
2015-1-22
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George F
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United Kingdom
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mark97564.email Posted at 2015-1-22 19:40
http://www.hobbyking.com/hobbyking/store/__38502__Turnigy_7200mAh_4S_14_8V_40C_Hardcase_Pack.html

1 ...

I have a volt meter that i strap to the battery during test flights and it reads 11.7 while in the air just before it auto lands. it was on 12v in the air when the red light comes on
This is why im saying i dont understand the voltages because the volt meter says those numbers while flying!

1 min of flight time before the voltage warning starts does not make sense!
2015-1-22
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George F
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United Kingdom
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mark97564.email Posted at 2015-1-22 19:40
http://www.hobbyking.com/hobbyking/store/__38502__Turnigy_7200mAh_4S_14_8V_40C_Hardcase_Pack.html

1 ...

I have a volt meter that i strap to the battery during test flights and it reads 11.7 while in the air just before it auto lands. it was on 12v in the air when the red light comes on
This is why im saying i dont understand the voltages because the volt meter says those numbers while flying!

1 min of flight time before the voltage warning starts does not make sense!
2015-1-22
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George F
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United Kingdom
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mark97564.email Posted at 2015-1-22 19:29
Do what I said and if there is still an issue let us know, and your readings don't make since, there ...

I have a volt meter that i strap to the battery during test flights and it reads 11.7 while in the air just before it auto lands. it was on 12v in the air when the red light comes on
This is why im saying i dont understand the voltages because the volt meter says those numbers while flying!

1 min of flight time before the voltage warning starts does not make sense!
2015-1-22
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George F
lvl.1

United Kingdom
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and anyway that battery adds another 500g to the quad, that will push it over the 1.6kg recommended limit

I dont want to spend another $60, i may as well just sell what i have and buy a phantom.
Is there any advice OTHER than buying more batteries?
2015-1-22
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mark97564.email
Second Officer
Flight distance : 2067220 ft
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U will be happier with the flame wheel if you took my advice, but if you rather not then spend 100s on the phantom instead of a $60 battery and some settings, and my flame wheels are well over the recommended weight and fly fine... And I will tell you this if your not getting at least a .8 to 1 volt voltage drop while your flame wheel is hovering or taking off then your meter is bad...  Take the $60 chance and buy the battery and set your voltage settings like I told you and let's move on..  U need a 4 cell 7200 mah battery anyway if you want this thing to ever fly right and make you happy...  I been there, I messed with a 8000mah 3 cell and it was nothin but problems, short fly times, and I couldn't even use 4000mah of a 8000mah lipo cuz it flew like crap cuz the voltage dropped to low once the pack was less than half consumed...   And that was a 160 dollar top of the line 40c pack and I bought 2 at the time..  
2015-1-22
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mark97564.email
Second Officer
Flight distance : 2067220 ft
United States
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If you do exactly what I said and you still have a problem then you send me that turnigy 4 cell 7200mah battery and I will send you a $60 check! How's that?
2015-1-22
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mark97564.email
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Flight distance : 2067220 ft
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Look at your first post! 11.6 volts after it landed itself.. Subtract .8 volts from that and what do you get? 10.8 volts at least when it's loaded.. It lands at 11.1 volts you said it's set at..  I'm telling you how to be happy with your toy man, just listen to me..  I even said I would buy the battery from you if you did what I told you too and it didn't work....  Drop your voltage another .9 volts for a 3 cell by the way..  Then you will get a few more minutes of it flying like crap before it lands..  The settings for a 3 cell should be 11.2 first stage and 10.5 volts 2nd stage..  You have the settings a little to high for a 3 cell anyway..  But get the 4 cell like I said. I went thru this already and had no one to help me with a shortcut like this..

When you see I'm right make sure you come back here to thank me btw....
2015-1-23
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mark97564.email
Second Officer
Flight distance : 2067220 ft
United States
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I'm in Wisconsin. And I'm flying in 30 degree weather and 10 degree F temps and that 4 cell gives me 1 min less time than in summer but I keep them warm until I use them..
2015-1-23
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George F
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United Kingdom
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OK, thatnsk for all your help, I changed the settings to subtract 0.8 and im getting better times.
I've also just got a 5200MAh 10c battery and now get 25mins without a gopro and 20 with. Much more in line with what i was expecting plus they weigh the same as my current pack and only cost £18 (about $25).
Speed is a little slower but i want it for photos not speed so i dint mind!

Thanks again
2015-1-25
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mark97564.gmail
Second Officer
Flight distance : 2067220 ft
United States
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No problem, if your flying with a 3 cell you have to change the voltage settings how ever you need too in order to get 11.2 first stage and 10.5 volts 2nd stage on the far right column. And a 4 cell is for more than speed, you get better stability and ability to fly better and remain more stable in wind.  Buy at least 1 4 cell battery and fly it so you can experience better flight.  Not to mention if you ever get caught in a situation the 4 cell will be able to keep the craft in the air even fully discharged and that is due to the voltage not being able to drop below 10.5 volts...

I hope i helped you and sooner or later buy the battery i recommend..  even a 5000 mah 4 cell 35c will do..  ive tried a few different packs and once you do you will see what i mean..
2015-1-30
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scancom
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United Kingdom
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Hi, I'm new to quads (normally fly gas turbines) but bought a 450 with V2 Naza last week.
I used existing 2200 3S until I read this forum.
Everything Mark says is correct, I found a couple of 4000 4S lipo's and tried them out, flight time of 22 mins, timer set to 20 for safety, transformed the machine completely, more power, hell of a climb rate, only drawback is the props are obviously more noisy due to the extra weight but def the way to go!
2015-4-8
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arnoud.vanderba
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Romania
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I put my protection levels at 10,8 and 10,5
With 3s 3800mAh
And fly 15min
2015-5-1
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patersonward.ho
Banned

Australia
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Tip: the author has been banned or deleted automatically shield
2015-6-4
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DJI-Dave
Captain

United States
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arnoud.vanderba Posted at 2015-5-2 04:12
I put my protection levels at 10,8 and 10,5
With 3s 3800mAh
And fly 15min

Those are good levels.
2015-7-20
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DJI-Dave
Captain

United States
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patersonward.ho Posted at 2015-6-5 11:03
I have a F450 with E300 motors on 3S but running a 5400 65-130C battery and zero issues flying below ...

Also good levels.
2015-7-20
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Mark97564
Second Officer
Flight distance : 2067220 ft
United States
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3 cells can do ok if the c rating is high enough..  60c minimum with a 4000mah 3 cell pack and then the voltage won't sag too bad..  The 3 cell I used was 8000mah 30c and when half the pack was used the voltage would sag to 10.6 volts on a hover and that's with 4000 of the 8000mah left..  So if you have no payload 3 cell 4000mah with 20c will do fine but if you have payload like a 3 axis gimble then 20c won't cut it..  60 to 100c continuous will be needed so the voltage don't sag real bad..   It's best to just run a 4 cell..   The flight controller will have allot more rpm per motor to use then...  
2015-8-4
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DJI-Dave
Captain

United States
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Buying good quality lipos will make a difference also.
2015-8-12
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ejo60
lvl.1

Netherlands
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With 5000 mAh you can get 15 minutes safely out of a F450 that goes up to 1600 gram. Go to the voltage settings, they are sort of conservative in the factory setting. And adjust the loaded and unloaded limits until you got something you like, 10.5 V is really a minimum for 3S, 10.8 loaded is more on the safe side. But is all depends on the battery age and the voltage drop you will see.
2015-9-21
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ejo60
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Netherlands
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DJI-Dave Posted at 2015-7-21 03:50
Those are good levels.

Whether those are good levels depends on the age of the battery, check whether it gets hot after a flight is a good test, and measure the internal resistance.
2015-9-21
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DJI-Dave
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ejo60 Posted at 2015-9-22 13:28
Whether those are good levels depends on the age of the battery, check whether it gets hot after a ...

True. I usually replace my lipos  requently and only fly with good quality newer Lipos.  I don't have any old ones so that is my frame of reference, but you are 100% correct.
2015-9-22
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DJI-Dave
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ejo60 Posted at 2015-9-22 13:27
With 5000 mAh you can get 15 minutes safely out of a F450 that goes up to 1600 gram. Go to the volta ...

Good tip, I have always felt that the default levels are too conservative. I always change mine.
2015-9-22
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arnoldbillso
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George F Posted at 2015-1-25 22:40
OK, thatnsk for all your help, I changed the settings to subtract 0.8 and im getting better times.
...

What are your gains? Is it the 5200mah 10c multistar battery?
2015-11-30
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DJI-Dave
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United States
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Here is a post I wrote about gains.
Some info on gains...

The DJI recommended gains are a good starting point. If you are flying a new multirotor with no camera or gimbal they might be little too high. If you have a light disc loading (light weight multirotor) you might be over propped. When a set up is over propped with a light loading, it is hard to get the gains right in the sweet spot. Where it doesn't oscillate (gains too high) or wobble on decent. (gains too low). With a heavier disc loading (heavier multirotor) you have a wider variance of gain settings that the aircraft will fly well in. However keep in mind it will always wobble some on a fast descent, no matter what your gains are set at, because you are flying through your prop wash. It is better not to descend too fast or come down at an angle. Bottom line is you will always need to fine tune your gains.

The Atittude gains controll how the aircraft reacts to stick movements. High gains it will react fast, low gains it will react slow. The lower gains are like adding expo to a traditional transmitter. When gains are high it overreacts when the gains are low it underreacts.
Basic gains are how your multirotor levels itself, and the attitude gains are like stick scaling.
In the Naza software there's a loop, in short, there's two sets of values :
1 : how the multirotor really is, in position and angle
2 : how the multirotor should be,according to your stick inputs.
Basics gains controls how hard the multirotor will try to reach 2 from 1, by itself.
If the gain is too high, it's trying too hard, and will overshoot 2, so it comes back, once again too hard, overshoots again, and it's oscillating.
If the gain is too low, it's slow to move from 1 to 2 and will also overshoot 2 because it does not react fast enough to stop.

Your propellers size and pitch and weight of the aircraft will affect how you should set your gains. Also the altitude where you fly from can have an effect on how you set your gains.


So you can see there's a lot that goes into adjusting your gains.Carbon fiber props are going to need different gains than plastic props. Even if the propeller has the exact same pitch and diameter. And even making a small change like a different manufacture of the propeller can have dramatic results.
Every multirotor is going to be a little different and you will just have to tune it in as best as you can.

This is the order in which I tune my gains.

1) Tune pitch/roll together
2) Tune yaw
3) Tune vertical
4) Once Basic gains are dialed in, move on to Attitude gains.

This is a good order to follow when adjusting gains since there is not a direct correlation between yaw and vertical like there is with pitch and roll.

I feel gain adjustments should be done in Atti Mode, not GPS mode.
2015-12-8
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oguerrero157
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Flight distance : 2637 ft
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DJI-Dave Posted at 2015-12-8 18:47
Here is a post I wrote about gains.
Some info on gains...

Wow this is an old thread but Dave you hammered the response. I have the same issue and I have a quality pack 14.8 4s 5000mah 45c and 5 min at best. My 550 is loaded ( hd3d,go pro, 2.4 ground station, can-bus,  FPV rx, iosd, gimbal mount, 4 LED lights ) and I wish 10-15 min was going the be the worst. I keep reading this thread and have to assume my settings are off somewhere but Dave if you get to read this can you. Go a bit further into the settings and DEFINITELY the prop size. I have heard the 1038 was the way to go but I have had no luck locating anyone who might have a set of six. Is 10" the way to go? And if it is can you please let me know if 10" is a partial solution and  if you could please recommend one?  Thanks
2016-9-12
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DJI-Dave
Captain

United States
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oguerrero157@gm Posted at 2016-9-12 14:10
Wow this is an old thread but Dave you hammered the response. I have the same issue and I have a quality pack 14.8 4s 5000mah 45c and 5 min at best. My 550 is loaded ( hd3d,go pro, 2.4 ground station, can-bus,  FPV rx, iosd, gimbal mount, 4 LED lights ) and I wish 10-15 min was going the be the worst. I keep reading this thread and have to assume my settings are off somewhere but Dave if you get to read this can you. Go a bit further into the settings and DEFINITELY the prop size. I have heard the 1038 was the way to go but I have had no luck locating anyone who might have a set of six. Is 10" the way to go? And if it is can you please let me know if 10" is a partial solution and  if you could please recommend one?  Thanks

Sorry for late reply. I have been away for a long time.

Yes the best prop to use was the DJI 10x3.8they are hard to find though


Dave
2017-5-2
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