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ActionDroneUSA AD1

A compact, foldable, FPVing, GoPro filming machine! The ActionDrone USA - AD1

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Introduction

ActionDroneUSA AD1
ActionDroneUSA AD1
A professional frame for large payloads
Frame Thickness::1.5mm (Carbon or Fiber Glass, FG Reviewed)
Boom Thickness:16mm
Clamps:16mm round tube clamps & motor mounts
Gimbal:2 axis brushless gimbal in the front designed for GoPro3 only (comes with 2 brushless motors, control board & IMU installed) plug and play.
Gimbal Motors:GM2208-80 x2
Total Weight:About 1830g (included GoPro, GPS & 4S 5000mah)
Frame Opened:Length: 435mm, wide: 530mm, height: 105mm
Frame Folded:(without props): length: 510mm, wide: 185mm, height: 105mm
More InformationActionDroneUSA

Undoubtedly the GoPro Hero 3/3+ is one of the most popular aerial cameras on the planet. And there are so many frame options to choose from when putting a GoPro into the air it can be quite a task to pick one. From the RTF Phantom type quads to custom made quads and hexacopters that are works of art. But when it comes to a easily transportable, foldable, professional, easily FPVable rig that can produce jello-free, pro level video, the available options narrow slightly. At this high level of expectations the trick is to find a frame that will excel in all of those categories. After doing quite a bit of research on the available professional FPV/GoPro style frames I narrowed my list down to just a few frames. After a little more research I made a decision that out of the three frames I liked, the ActionDrone AD1 stood out! The looks and functionally just spoke to me in a way the others did not and I knew I had to have the AD1. A few emails with the guys at ActionDroneUSA and I knew they were the right company to deal with. The guys were very informed, knew their product and were based here in the USA, my mind was made up, an AD1 was ordered.

Out of the Box

Depending on how the AD1 is ordered will depend on what is sent. I chose the AD1 Fiberglass frame (in theory less FPV interference) T-Motor 780KV motors, T-Motor 10/3.3 props and the available Emax 4 in 1 25amp ESC. Everything was securely boxed up and arrived without incident. All the frame parts were wrapped, and all the screws, boom blocks and other small bits were all bagged in a long sectioned tube bag. ActionDrone actually includes a few spare screws and nuts and even an extra Plexiglass Lens cover. Very nice additions.

Assembly

I did not take too many assembly pictures as ActionDroneUSA did an excellent job writing the manual. The digital manual includes detailed pictures and clear assembly instructions that truly make assembly a breeze. Also the Emax 4 into 1 ESC cleans up the whole wiring system of this quad.

I highly recommend the Emax 4/1 ESC unit if you decide on this frame. it works great and after looking at the design of the AD1 frame, I think the guys from ActionDrone USA designed the frame with the Emax ESC in mind. Also, it’s a SimonK version and very smooth.

Features

The AD1 was designed with a plan in mind. To make a folding, compact, FPV’able rig that is easily transported in a case. And the AD1 accomplishes this!

Folding Frame

The Ad1 folds down very nicely into a compact unit by simply loosening 4 bolts and pushing the arms in towards the body. Once folded the rigs footprints is greatly reduced and the rig can be tucked away. ActionDroneUSA actually offers a custom fit Pelican case that allows you to easy store and transport your AD1 pretty much anywhere. This includes airlines!

Vibration Dampened included 2-Axis Gimbal

Another feature of the AD1 is the fact that you can get some really nice GoPro footage with this rig. The included 2-Axis gimbal comes pre-tuned out of the box and works flawlessly. Just insert your GoPro3 or 3+ into the gimbals cage, secure with rubber bands and you are ready to go. The gimbal has a clear plexiglas lens cover to help protect your GoPro’s lens, and ActionDroneUSA even includes an extra lens cover just in case! As I said the gimbal is plug and play and it works extremely well. besides holding horizon, the tilt and roll is also controllable via RC by a simple connection to an available channel. I just used the tilt function so I could point the camera 90 deg down.

Another nice feature of the AD1’s gimbal is that it is completely isolated from the main frame of the rig by four very soft gimbal vibration dampeners. These four are actually eight pieces of material. Two half circles that create a full circle when installed on the retention rings. This makes them very easy to insert. The material is very soft and yet holds the gimbal in place. The dampeners feel almost like a 20 shore Sorbathane type material, and they truly dampen any high frequency vibrations the rig may be experiencing. NOTE: Yes the gimbal has vibration dampening, but you will still want to make sure you use balanced props and motors as no amount of dampening can cover up unbalanced props and motors!

FPV Camera Holder

The AD1 is set up to FPV. I personally chose the Fiberglass version as it is widely known that carbon fiber can cause interference with wireless video signals. On the top plate, installed from the factory is a mount to mount a wide variety of your typical FPV cameras. In my case, my order for such a camera was lost in the mail and i wanted to get this review going so i used a RCLogger HD Pro cam I had that also can be used as an FPV cam. It added a little weight to my rig, but the T-Motors ActiondroneUSA suggest have more than enough power to pick up the difference.

Rear Battery Mount

The AD1 has ample room for most size 4S Lipos i the back area. I found that anywhere from 3500 - 6000mAh 4S packs fit perfectly and just need a little adjusting back and forth depending on the weight. My favorite packs were my 6000mAh packs as I liked the flight time of 12 minutes and I actually think the little extra bit of weight smooths out the rig for doing AV work. This if course is my personal opinion and others may find they like a different set up. I’m just saying the AD1 can handle it all.

Simple and Effective Landing Skids

The AD1 uses some very simple yet effective landing skids. The front are made of metal and support the weight of the AD1 with no issues. The rear feet are carbon and besides doing their job add a little style to an already great looking rig.

Frame Vibration Dampening

Besides the gimbal vibration dampening mentioned above, the boom blocks that hold the round carbon booms have a milled out area where a rubber O-ring is inserted. This does two things, 1) It helps keep the boom blocks from slipping off of 0 degrees and 2) it adds a level of minor vibration dampening. That together with the gimbal dampening really lets you get nice clean video!

AD1 Assembled and Ready for Action

Flying

As cool looking as the AD1 is, the real question is how does the AD1 fly?! The quick answer... Great! Obviously with any multirotor, the rig will only fly as well as your flight control will allow. So take your time tuning what ever flight control you are going to use. A properly tuned FC can make all the difference. And in this case the SuperX is a great match for the AD1.The AD1/SuperX combo is stable, smooth and holds attitude perfectly allowing the pilot to have a very nice FPV experience. If you are flying the AD1 LOS (line of sight) I would suggest adding some LED’s for orientation as once the rig is in motion it can get small quick. I highly recommend the suggested ESC and motor/prop combo ActionDrone USA offers with the AD1 as the power is perfect, the efficiency is nice and the whole package works very well together.

I have been enjoying the AD1 so much that it has become my “go to” GoPro rig. Funny enough, right before I received the AD1 I had just built up a “normal” style quad with a Zenmuse GoPro gimbal and since flying the AD1 for the first time I have not used the "normal quad" one single time! The AD1’s gimbal works so well and the rig flies so smoothly on the SuperX that I have become completely comfortable with it and have grown to trust it. It’s really that good.

I eventually hope to change out the FPV camera for something a bit lighter (although the RC logger HD pro works just fine) and possibly change the 2.4RX to a UHF module so I can start to get into more long range FPV flying. No matter what though, I can see the AD1 being a part of my multirotor stable for quite a long time!

Flight Pictures and video

AD1 Recap and Flying Video!

RCGroups.com Reviews The ActionDrone USA - AD1 (10 min 47 sec)

Pros and Cons

I should have a list here but honestly the AD1 rocks! Basically it’s all good. The parts all fit, the instructions are clear and the rig flies great! So basically there are no cons. But if I have to nit-pick and If I HAD to pick one thing that isn’t perfect I’d say the front landing gear are made of metal. They work great but if you by chance set the AD1 on your wife’s vintage wooden dinner table, the landing gear could potentially leave a few scratches, which may not be a good thing. Not that I had this happen or anything.

(PS: Home Depot sells some sweet "color matching" wood markers designed to make scratches go away... just sayin)

Last edited by Sleepyc; Mar 19, 2014 at 03:53 PM..

Discussion

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Old Mar 24, 2014, 11:15 PM
Joined Oct 2013
287 Posts
hahaha sorry about your wife's table ! Thanks for the review!
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Old Mar 24, 2014, 11:20 PM
Team metal head crash tester
awdspider's Avatar
United States, TX, Forney
Joined Jan 2006
1,724 Posts
Love this frame, Have since I first saw it. When I build a rig of this type, this will be the one.

Good job AD1 and you too sleepy!
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Old Mar 24, 2014, 11:26 PM
Joined Oct 2013
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Quote:
Originally Posted by awdspider View Post
Love this frame, Have since I first saw it. When I build a rig of this type, this will be the one.

Good job AD1 and you too sleepy!
When you are ready we will be here for you.
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Old Mar 24, 2014, 11:35 PM
Team metal head crash tester
awdspider's Avatar
United States, TX, Forney
Joined Jan 2006
1,724 Posts
Good, I'm hoping it will be this summer
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Old Mar 25, 2014, 10:52 AM
It got away...
United States, CO, Boulder
Joined Feb 2013
1,296 Posts
Can I buy the frame only?

Looks like the frame I've been looking for!
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Old Mar 25, 2014, 10:54 AM
Multirotor News Contributor
Sleepyc's Avatar
United States, OH, Aurora
Joined Aug 2006
742 Posts
Yes you can buy the frame only, it’s posted on the ActionDrone USA Site.
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Old Mar 25, 2014, 11:03 AM
It got away...
United States, CO, Boulder
Joined Feb 2013
1,296 Posts
Does it have room for 12" props? (Last question for now)
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Old Mar 25, 2014, 11:07 AM
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Yes it does.
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Old Mar 25, 2014, 04:15 PM
It got away...
United States, CO, Boulder
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ActionDrone View Post
Yes it does.


Can't wait until i have some extra cash!!!

This is perfect.
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Old Mar 25, 2014, 04:37 PM
Joined Oct 2013
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We're here for you
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Old Mar 25, 2014, 07:33 PM
DFC~ We Do Flyin' Right
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USA, GA, Atlanta
Joined Nov 2008
13,780 Posts
looks very nice
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Old Mar 25, 2014, 11:40 PM
My RC builds in my profile.
daign's Avatar
United States, CA, Los Angeles
Joined Feb 2011
2,528 Posts
fantastic product and on my list as my primary fpv quad.
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Old Mar 26, 2014, 12:30 AM
Joined Oct 2013
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Thank you Thank you.
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Old Mar 27, 2014, 11:09 AM
Multirotor News Contributor
Sleepyc's Avatar
United States, OH, Aurora
Joined Aug 2006
742 Posts
Got some more flights on this rig.. This guy is awesome. I am so enjoying it.
Can’t wait to see what ActionDrone has next up their sleeves!
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