Solo vs P3P for mapping/autonomous

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I know this sounds like a post from 2015... But, since both of these models are still being used in 2020 and the landscape and offerings have changed since then, I thought I would look for some updated feedback.

I have an Autel Evo, a Solo (that has an mro gps and a Hero 4 Black with PeauPro 87 lens), and a Phantom 3 Pro. I also have a Typhoon G, which I need to sell, so if anyone wants a cheap but barely used backup to carry their gopro, pm me.

So most of my work is either real estate (houses and farmground sales) or miscellaneous commercial video production (commercials, some work for local news, promotional videos, etc.). I had made the Evo my primary drone for most stuff, largely for portability, but it also flies well and I've gotten good video and photos out of it, with the Solo as my backup and my primary drone for land sale video which I usually do autonomous flights through Solex. The Evo software for autonomous missions is way behind the competition.

As you may have seen in my other posts, the Solo had a bad cube and was down. On a recent project the Evo started having issues, so I bought a cheap used Phantom 3 Pro, and used Litchi to fly the parcels.

The Solo is fixed (thanks for the help) and the Evo is at Autel getting warranty repairs. The P3P worked great, and of course the range is awesome. But now moving forward I want to simplify and am wondering if I should sell the Solo or P3P, or if there is a compelling reason to keep both.

The way I see it, the P3P has better support from 3rd party software and hardware, and has far superior range, and a little better battery life. The Solo with OpenSolo 4 and the upgraded gps is more stable and probably a little better flying manually close to structures. While there is more software available to work with the P3P, the software available for Solo seems at least as good if not better. I probably feel a little more comfortable flying the Solo, but that's probably just because I havent flown the Phantom as much. I was very happy, however, with my fields that I flew with Litchi.

I also farm on the side, and I want to start doing NDVI scouting at least on my fields and maybe some spot checks for neighbors. So which is the better platform for me moving forward, in your opinion? Obviously neither is going to last forever and will have to be replaced, but as long as they're flying I don't need the latest greatest sensor for mapping and farmground sales. But if I were to say buy a Mapir camera for NDVI, should I get a Solo mount or a P3P mount? Anyone used both for mapping? If it helps, I'm thinking I will upload my mapping files to Maps Made Easy. I've tried playing around with Openmaps and the Evo, but my results have been sketchy. Thoughts?
 
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Not sure if helps the question, but part of my issue is that I'm planning to buy an NDVI camera. With a Mapir or Agrocam, the way I understand it, I need to use a special mount and try to get the angle right on the mount so the camera is pointed down while flying. I emailed Mapir and they said their cameras can't use the gimbal, but I previously thought that their cameras were based on an SJcam that was designed to fit in GoPro mounts, and it looks like the video-out is in the same spot, but I don't know. Those camera both geotag the photos, but I would have set them on timelapse because the drones can't trigger them without soldering on the Solo board which I don't want to do.

Peaupro sells modified GoPro Hero 4's for NDVI. If I go the second route, I can use the Solo gimbal and the Solo to trigger the pics, I would assume. I'm running Open Solo so I can use Solex to then geotag the photos.

The Mapir guy said the Solo was designed to carry the extra weight, but with the Phantom's longer battery life and the extra weight the flight times would be similar.
 
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I've just been on the "DIY building for fun" side of things the last couple years with Pixhawk FCs on home-built quads and hexes, but interested in learning to do some mapping / aerial photography as well now. Maybe their cameras fit in the Solo gimbal but just can't be operated from the app because they don't plug into the control part? I know in Mission Planner on a regular Pixhawk, you can setup MavLink to control some camera functions, but I don't know enough about the Solo yet to explain how to do it on these rigs. I'm sure it can be done since there's a Pixhawk 2 inside these.

Did you get anywhere with your camera comparisons yet? With the Hero 4 black being so old now, I almost hate to dump the money into a rectilinear lens for it, but that still might be the best option if we want to use the gimbal. If just 3D printing mounts to hang under the Solo, then we can probably use any camera it can lift.
 
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I've just been on the "DIY building for fun" side of things the last couple years with Pixhawk FCs on home-built quads and hexes, but interested in learning to do some mapping / aerial photography as well now. Maybe their cameras fit in the Solo gimbal but just can't be operated from the app because they don't plug into the control part? I know in Mission Planner on a regular Pixhawk, you can setup MavLink to control some camera functions, but I don't know enough about the Solo yet to explain how to do it on these rigs. I'm sure it can be done since there's a Pixhawk 2 inside these.

Did you get anywhere with your camera comparisons yet? With the Hero 4 black being so old now, I almost hate to dump the money into a rectilinear lens for it, but that still might be the best option if we want to use the gimbal. If just 3D printing mounts to hang under the Solo, then we can probably use any camera it can lift.
I have a Hero 4 Black with a non-fisheye lens already, but not converted for NDVI. My only reason to consider buying one is to be able to control it in the Solo gimbal, but that drone isn't getting any younger, and if I have to switch drones, I wouldn't have any way to geotag with the GoPro. Solex has a workaround to geotag pics with the Solo, but I don't know of any way to do that on a DJI. The Mapir and Agrocams have built in geotagging. As I type this, I think I've kind of decided that part I guess. It doesn't seem to make sense to purchase the camera for a Solo that could die any day. I've already had 2 IMUs fail, and I don't know if I want to keep fixing it.

If I get the Mapir or Agrocam I can buy a Solo mount and then if the Solo dies I can just buy a new mount for my Phantom.

Can you run Solex on your homebuilt copters?
 
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...doesn't seem to make sense to purchase the camera for a Solo that could die any day..
If I get the Mapir or Agrocam I can buy a Solo mount and then if the Solo dies I can just buy a new mount for my Phantom.

Can you run Solex on your homebuilt copters?
True enough on the age of the Solos for sure. One other way to look at it, is new rigs are inexpensive on Ebay, here or RCGroups - so it's not that big of a deal of you need to get one. More annoying / inconvenience at the current price point. Also, it looks like they are making new cubes - take the Orange cube with the upgraded F7 processor, RAM, etc - so there is an upgrade path to these if you desire it down the road.
The biggest drawback I'm slowly realizing after dropping a chunk of change to buy into multiple Solo rigs here, is the battery issue. I need to dig into that more, and can see myself being one of the DIY people that will help the community with this ticking time-bomb in the future. We've got to get a good system down that works well and is a simple upgrade/replacement when these batteries all go south. Just had a PM with another member who is working on a DIY solution there.

I'm sure Solex would run with some of the PIxhawk builds we have. At the moment we've got a hexacopter with the Pixhawk 2.1 Black Cube and another hex and quad both with original Pixhawks that I could try, maybe this weekend. I'll let you know if I get a chance on Saturday. I can't see why it wouldn't work.
 
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True enough on the age of the Solos for sure. One other way to look at it, is new rigs are inexpensive on Ebay, here or RCGroups - so it's not that big of a deal of you need to get one. More annoying / inconvenience at the current price point. Also, it looks like they are making new cubes - take the Orange cube with the upgraded F7 processor, RAM, etc - so there is an upgrade path to these if you desire it down the road.
The biggest drawback I'm slowly realizing after dropping a chunk of change to buy into multiple Solo rigs here, is the battery issue. I need to dig into that more, and can see myself being one of the DIY people that will help the community with this ticking time-bomb in the future. We've got to get a good system down that works well and is a simple upgrade/replacement when these batteries all go south. Just had a PM with another member who is working on a DIY solution there.

I'm sure Solex would run with some of the PIxhawk builds we have. At the moment we've got a hexacopter with the Pixhawk 2.1 Black Cube and another hex and quad both with original Pixhawks that I could try, maybe this weekend. I'll let you know if I get a chance on Saturday. I can't see why it wouldn't work.
Dont feel the need to try Solex on my account. I was just curious. Do you use some kind of app or mission planning software to fly them?

If my Solo dies or I decide to get rid of it, I've got 3 low hour used batteries, one iffy battery that 3DR sent me with my Solo after the first IMU issue, and one new one still in the box.
 

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