Quick rundown of changes.
APM flight controller. welcome to full-featured flight control options.
Beefier battery, providing a solid 20 minute of flight time. Nice.
3S 5000mah battery for long flight times. NICE. (but expensive)
leg extentions for gimbals. Nice.
Body have been improved for better strenght.
Bo's QUICK START GUIDE for the QR x350PRO - Click to download -
Walkera original manual for QR x350PRO - Click to download -
Bo's step by step build video for the Walkera QR x350PRO
FIRST TIME USER - First Flight instructions
BIG BIG change, Walkera ditched their first generation GPS flight controller and went open-source. Welcome a APM ArdruCopter controller under the hood.
If you are not familiar with APM you may be wondering what is cool about this? Just like that you get a controller that is equal to the DJI NAZA, it can do ALL the tricks in the book, including advanced waypoint navigation, and a bunch of inteliget orientation flight moves, so you can program and fly waypoint based missions with auto-take-off and landing.
** taking advantage of the advanced modes in the APM require taking the time to understand the APM system.
Learn more about APM here http://copter.ardupilot.com
DYIdrone have made a exelent tutorial for setting up the APM mission planner, please realize if you mess with the mission planner and settings of the quad, it is no longer "original" so there is potential for creating problems here. Be careful, and make tweaks one step at a time.
I am excited about the APM controller, the one in the 350pro come preloaded from Walkera and works very well. you can upgrade it with the latest versions of arducopter and go wild if you like, however it works out of the box.
** As far as I know, Walkera is the fist "volume" manufacture of multi-rotors to adobt a opensourse flight-controller.
Personally, I think this was a smart, and appropiate move, Walkeras first gen GPS quad, the x350 suffered from a somewhat underwhelming flight-controller, this was very noticable in the competition with the first-generation Phantom, after all, DJI had already been making the NAZA for a couple of years before they made the phantom quad, Im sure DJI had hoped Walkera would continue making incremental improvements to their first generation flight-controller and continue to deliver a under-dog flight-controller. With the move to APM, Walkera have stepped up the game big time, they already build a nice quad, the x350pro is a big improvement on almost every detail compared to the orignal x350, and with the new APM flight controller the x350PRO really have stepped up, you can chose to use it as programmed from the factory, or you can unlock all kinds of cool flight modes, there is even advanced way-point flying mode with auto start and land available in the APM controller system. With this flight controller, users do not have to look envious at the NAZA, they have the same amount of abilities and probably more, in a equallty competent flight controller.
Back to the x350PRO... as the pictures clearly show, the x350 is a good deal more pregnant than the orignal x350. but that is OK because the space is being used to house a monster 3S 5000mah battery, the new battery will keep you in the air closer to 20 minutes.
I tested this with the 3S battery included in the kit, and got roughly 19 minutes from the naked x350 and 15-16 with the G-2D gimbal and iLook.
The x350PRO come with two sets of propellers, these are new 9 inch props from walkera, which are improved designs over the 2013 props, I found them to be in need of a quick balancing, but once balanced the quad flew smoothly and quietly with the new props. importantly, after 15 minutes of flight with GoPro and the gimbal, the motors were not overly hot.
A lot of people are eager to replace the stock props with expensive carbonfiber props, but to be perfectly honest, I did not see a significant increaste in performance over the stock props, and I like that plastic props break easier than carbon fiber, in case you do hit something. better to replace a prop than getting a deep cut.
Walkera recommend flying the quad in manual mode for lift-off. I second that. my typically flight goes like this; plug battery, wait for double-blink to confirm solid GPS lock, take-off in manual, flip to GPS for hold, fly and land in GPS. the manual feels like stabilized mode and is very predictable, and I often fly the entire flight in manual.
The manual mode show Walkera's history of making RC helicopters, and the x350pro is more "floaty" in manual, than most quads, this is great for video as the quad by default move smoothly, particularly if you are gentle on the sticks.
GPS mode.. this is the week point. and honestly un-excusable, because the APM controller is world-class quality and there is no excuse for not rocking with this controller. yet Walkera have not yet managed to setup the x350pro perfectly with the APM. Seriously walkera, this is like selling Mustang cars tuned to perform like a honda civic.
Using the GPS mode, the GPS mode is assigned to the MIX key on the Walkera radios, key pushed up is in the "0" position, this is manual, move the key down one click to the middle position for GPS hold. always have the throttle stick in the MIDDLE position when you click into the GPS hold mode.
Once in GPS-hold you can FLY the quad while in GPS-hold, moving the sticks will move the quad exactly as it do in manual, only difference is that once you let go of the sticks, the quad will stay where you leave it. NOTE it will not return to where you first put it into GPS mode.
RTH = Return to home, Yes it works great. Walkera call it "one button go home" - it does what its supposed to do. Nothing more to say.
IMPORTANT: when flipping between Manual / GPS / RTH modes. it is critical to remember to ALWAYS center the throttle stick to roughly 50% power before switching.
Switching out of RTH mode with the throttle stick low can easily cause a crash.