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Tarot X8 Survey Drone Build Questions

Hey everyone. So we are in the middle of the research portion and wanted to throw out what we are trying to do and see if we are going anywhere in the correct direction with our hardware.

Currently we have been using Phantom 4 Pros/Advance units to help with our ground surveys. They have been working good for what we need, but they are just that, good. We like that they are easy to use, and were fairly cheap, but there was a LOT of be wanted as we started to research custom solutions.

Well since DJI has decided they are only going to keep making the RTK version we now need to find a new drone. We thought about buying all the 4 Pros and Advances we can find online, but that will only last us so long. We thought about going to an Inspire 1 or 2 but the cost to quality just dosent seem that great since the photo quality will only be slightly better. This is what lead to use deciding it was finally time we need to start to research building our own drones.

Currently our needs are as follows:
20-30 minute flight times
360 obstacle avoidance
Gimbal with A7R3
terrain following flight heights
autonomous as possible with little to no input from the operator other than taking off and landing
easily upgrade-able
easy to fix

With these needs we started to look around and came up with this list of parts:

Flight controller: CUAV V5+ w/ dual NEO v2 modules
Frame: Tarot X8-II
Motors: Tarot 4114 320kv
ESC: Hobby Wing XRotor 40A
Controller: FrSky X10S w/ TBS Crossfire TX
Receiver: TBS Crossfire Diversity RX
Batteries: Turnigy 20,000mah
360 Avoidance: RPLIDAR A2M8
Downward Avoidance: TFMini Plus
Gibal: One of the millions out there

Per the eCal site we are looking at about a all up weight of right at 10,050g (this is with is with 2 batteries and using an estimate of 2,150g for the gimbal and a7R3 camera) and a estimated flight time of around 30 minutes with a 85% discharge. So things look promising on paper.

So my question is what suggestions/recommendations do you all have for parts? Additionally please correct me if I am wrong but our ideal use case for this setup would be as follows. We get a call for a job and we know the estimate location of everything. We open mission planner cache a larger area than we need and head out to site. Once there we could go back into mission planner and create the flight path we need and then send this to the drone quite easily via the bluetooth connection from the laptop to the crossfire link on the. Is this correct?

We are planning on building two scaled down version just so we can dig our teeth into everything. Our plans are to build a small fpv drone and mess around with a CUAV nano. This will get us some experience with the flight controller and some tx/rx units as well as the controller. Then move up to a X6 Tarot unit where we can implement the 360 avoidance system and use a gopro gimbal and build just a scaled down version of the X8. This would allow us to mess around with Mission Planner to test flights out and start to make training documents for our pilots since they only have ever flow DJI. Then once we feel comfortable with that go all in with the X8.

I know this is a lot and I might have jumped around a few times but please feel free to ask any questions of throw out any suggestions. We are not set on any parts for any reason at all and would encourage recommendations.

hello @dtmcnamara , :grinning:

I am going in for a similar build for a simillar purpose as well.
Any updates on how your build is coming along ?

My planned configurations.
Flight controller: Pixhawk 4 or Cube With reach RS for RTK
Frame: Tarot X8-II
Motors: Emax 4114 340kv
ESC: NOT SURE 40A
Controller: FrSky Tarranis x9Dplus with X8r receiver
Batteries: Turnigy 20,000mah
360 Avoidance: Later upgrade
Downward Avoidance: later upgrade
Gibal: 3 axis gimbal which can take a Sony alpha for A7 camera for Photogrammetry and Aeria Photography as well.

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