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Newbie Mambo FPV Questions

The Parrot Mambo minidrone is full of surprises! Whether you equip it with the Cannon or the Grabber, it'll turn the sky into an amazing playground.
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JClarkW
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Newbie Mambo FPV Questions

Post by JClarkW » 31 Dec 2018, 00:37

Please indulge some newbie questions. I just got a Mambo FPV for Christmas. I don't currently have a smartphone, but I do have an (old) IPad. Although I'm reasonably computer savvy, I've never used a drone.

Main Question: I was hoping for a comprehensive user manual, but I can't find it on the Parrot site. The "quick start guide" in the box is cryptic and leaves many questions unanswered. Is there anything better?

Some detail questions raised by the quick start guide and by initial flights with the Flypad:

1) Why can't I connect the IPad to the Mambo with Freeflight Mini? It says "Your device doesn't support Bluetooth Low Energy." What devices will?
2) Will the Mambo support the "MiniDrones3" battery/charger combo as stated on the Parrot site? The Mambo comes with a 660mAH battery, but the "MiniDrones3" says it's 1550 mAH. Should give more flying time if it works?!
3) Without the HD video camera attachment, can I access the down-looking camera? How?
4) The specs say the device has an "ultrasound sensor," a "pressure sensor," and a "camera sensor." When and how are these devices used? Do the 3 different flight modes use or ignore various combinations of them?
5) Does the Wi-Fi connection (MAMBO_XXXX) support only the HD video camera, or can it also be used to control the Mambo? If the latter, how?
6) In addition to the Freeflight Mini app, is there software for a real computer (laptop, etc.) to control the Mambo or access its features/settings?

Obviously I'm just scratching the surface here. At this point (no connection to Freeflight Mini) I can't even change the flight modes. Any and all input would be greatly appreciated! -- JClarkW

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Re: Newbie Mambo FPV Questions

Post by AR.Tommy » 31 Dec 2018, 07:54

JClarkW wrote:
31 Dec 2018, 00:37
1) Why can't I connect the IPad to the Mambo with Freeflight Mini? It says "Your device doesn't support Bluetooth Low Energy." What devices will?
Hello and welcome. Do you know your iPad modell? As far as I know only the first 2 iPads did not have Blue Tooth 4.0 (aka low energy). Which means everything since iPad 3 and above and also iPhone 4S and above should be fine.
JClarkW wrote:
31 Dec 2018, 00:37
2) Will the Mambo support the "MiniDrones3" battery/charger combo as stated on the Parrot site? The Mambo comes with a 660mAH battery, but the "MiniDrones3" says it's 1550 mAH. Should give more flying time if it works?!
Any link for this? Because https://www.parrot.com/us/spareparts/mi ... inidrones3 is a 550 mAH battery. Maybe the comma is confusing but "...1 USB-micro USB cable and 1,550mAH LiPo battery..." means "...1 USB-micro USB cable and 1x550mAH LiPo battery ..."
JClarkW wrote:
31 Dec 2018, 00:37
3) Without the HD video camera attachment, can I access the down-looking camera? How?
You can take only photos like with the other mini drones. There is no live stream. (bottom camera is to hold the position, please see next answer)
JClarkW wrote:
31 Dec 2018, 00:37
4) The specs say the device has an "ultrasound sensor," a "pressure sensor," and a "camera sensor." When and how are these devices used? Do the 3 different flight modes use or ignore various combinations of them?
No, these sensors are used automatically for flying. The bottom camera for example is mainly to hold the position, the ultrasound sensor to hold the height in low altitude and the pressure sensor to hold the height in greater altitudes.
JClarkW wrote:
31 Dec 2018, 00:37
5) Does the Wi-Fi connection (MAMBO_XXXX) support only the HD video camera, or can it also be used to control the Mambo? If the latter, how?
The wifi connection is only for the camera. Control of the mini drone is always via Bluetooth.
JClarkW wrote:
31 Dec 2018, 00:37
6) In addition to the Freeflight Mini app, is there software for a real computer (laptop, etc.) to control the Mambo or access its features/settings?
Yes there are usually different apps for all kinds of devices. I did a few myself but they are not yet compatible to the FPV camera of the Mambo. You should check compatibility if you are looking in the App Store or other sites.
http://www.digitalsirup.com

Sweet and delicious apps for your drones.

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Re: Newbie Mambo FPV Questions

Post by Dirk_ANAFI » 31 Dec 2018, 12:18

A few additions:

1.) If you have an older tablet without bluetooth (BT), but with Wifi, there would be 2 possibilities to fly Mambo FPV:
- A. Use a Flypad to control Mambo and a tablet for FPV.
- B. Without Flypad you could use the penultimate FF Mini version, which doesn't force BT to be activated.

5.) The latest version of FF Mini only starts, if BT is switched on.
But: If you are on the HUD after tapping FLY with Mambo FPV, then you can deactivate BT with your phone settings. And surprise: there is still a lifestream and Mambo FPV can be controlled by the phone (all with Wifi).

6.) You can code (write software programs) for Mambo with PC/Laptop with TYNKER.

My 2 cent

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Re: Newbie Mambo FPV Questions

Post by JClarkW » 01 Jan 2019, 00:29

Thanks a lot for the very complete answers. Just a few details I don't fully understand:

0) You missed this first question, although I'm guessing the answer is no: "Main Question: I was hoping for a comprehensive user manual, but I can't find it on the Parrot site. The "quick start guide" in the box is cryptic and leaves many questions unanswered. Is there anything better?"
AR.Tommy wrote:
31 Dec 2018, 07:54
JClarkW wrote:
31 Dec 2018, 00:37
1) Why can't I connect the IPad to the Mambo with Freeflight Mini? It says "Your device doesn't support Bluetooth Low Energy." What devices will?
Hello and welcome. Do you know your iPad modell? As far as I know only the first 2 iPads did not have Blue Tooth 4.0 (aka low energy). Which means everything since iPad 3 and above and also iPhone 4S and above should be fine.
The IPad is a model A1396. I guess it's just too old. I don't want to shell out for a new IPhone. Can you suggest what is the cheapest "smartphone" that will work properly with Freeflight Mini and "Cockpitglasses?" (I would hypothetically use just the USB, Wi-Fi, and display capabilities for this application, without subscribing to a cellphone account -- I carry a dumb flip-phone for cellular -- but maybe that's short-sighted.)
AR.Tommy wrote:
31 Dec 2018, 07:54
JClarkW wrote:
31 Dec 2018, 00:37
3) Without the HD video camera attachment, can I access the down-looking camera? How?
You can take only photos like with the other mini drones. There is no live stream. (bottom camera is to hold the position, please see next answer)
Got it. For what it may be worth to anyone else: The on-line "tutorials" say you can take a picture with this camera if the FPV camera is unplugged and (with the Flypad only) you press the R1 button. This works, and the photos can be found (through the USB port under the volume Parrot_Mini\Mambo\Media on a Windows computer) on the internal storage.
AR.Tommy wrote:
31 Dec 2018, 07:54
JClarkW wrote:
31 Dec 2018, 00:37
4) The specs say the device has an "ultrasound sensor," a "pressure sensor," and a "camera sensor." When and how are these devices used? Do the 3 different flight modes use or ignore various combinations of them?
No, these sensors are used automatically for flying. The bottom camera for example is mainly to hold the position, the ultrasound sensor to hold the height in low altitude and the pressure sensor to hold the height in greater altitudes.
More about this would be greatly appreciated. The online "tutorials" refer to three "flight modes":

a) "Joystick mode" is the default and the only one I can reach without FreeFlight Mini. It's pretty self-explanatory, though its behavior is somewhat peculiar when traversing surfaces with "topography." I guess the ultrasound sensor is trying to do terrain following? It also seems to avoid vertical structures taller than the flight level -- not clear why. It's also not clear that there is a mode (or other means) to turn this feature off, but see (c) below.

b) "Drift mode" is supposed to disable "horizontal stabilization." I guess this means to ignore the down-pointing camera input?

c) "Racing mode" gets the most ambiguous (incorrect?) description: "In this mode, the horizontal stabilization is disabled. If you push the throttle and let go of the controls, Parrot Mambo FPV continues to rise. On the other hand, you always benefit from horizontal flight assistance." I think they must mean that both horizontal and vertical stabilization are disabled. Correct? What, then is the meaning of "horizontal flight assistance?"
AR.Tommy wrote:
31 Dec 2018, 07:54
JClarkW wrote:
31 Dec 2018, 00:37
6) In addition to the Freeflight Mini app, is there software for a real computer (laptop, etc.) to control the Mambo or access its features/settings?
Yes there are usually different apps for all kinds of devices. I did a few myself but they are not yet compatible to the FPV camera of the Mambo. You should check compatibility if you are looking in the App Store or other sites.
Can you refer me to a library of available software for the Mambo? (Forget the FPV camera. I use Windows 7 on a laptop, although I realize nothing running under Windows is really real-time capable.) I'm guessing that your writing your own software means there is information somewhere about the hardware features and capabilities of this drone...

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Re: Newbie Mambo FPV Questions

Post by JClarkW » 01 Jan 2019, 00:43

And thanks to you too! (And Happy New Year to All!)
Again a few follow-ups:
Dirk_ANAFI wrote:
31 Dec 2018, 12:18
A few additions:

1.) If you have an older tablet without bluetooth (BT), but with Wifi, there would be 2 possibilities to fly Mambo FPV:
- A. Use a Flypad to control Mambo and a tablet for FPV.
Can you be a bit more explicit here? Are you saying to forget FreeFlight Mini and connect the ancient IPad directly to the FPV camera (wi-fi is MAMBO_XXXX or some such)? I'm not sure how then to display the video image on the tablet...
Dirk_ANAFI wrote:
31 Dec 2018, 12:18
6.) You can code (write software programs) for Mambo with PC/Laptop with TYNKER.
This is tantalizing. I'll have to Google TYNKER, but this implies some knowledge base of Mambo hardware and capabilities, which I would love to read into. Can you refer me to a source?

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Re: Newbie Mambo FPV Questions

Post by Dirk_ANAFI » 01 Jan 2019, 12:04

Wow, many detailled questions! I need a coffee! ;)

0) There is no better user manual, as far as I know.
On the old Parrot forum pages there was a so called "knowledge base" with many informations. But this is all gone now. I copied most of those infos, but that's too much to post here. But if you have certain questions on single aspects, I would post the fitting parts of the knowledge base here.

1) It should be possible to have Freeflight Mini running on your tablet and controlling the drone with Skypad. But I didn't test it. I could also test only with Android.

6) You can read about Mambo and Tynker here:
https://www.parrot.com/global/minidrone ... mambo-code
Infos about Mambo's "hardware and capabilities": what are you interested in?

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Re: Newbie Mambo FPV Questions

Post by JClarkW » 01 Jan 2019, 19:55

Dirk_ANAFI wrote:
01 Jan 2019, 12:04
Wow, many detailled questions! I need a coffee! ;)

1) It should be possible to have Freeflight Mini running on your tablet and controlling the drone with Skypad. But I didn't test it. I could also test only with Android.
I guess I missed something. You are suggesting to use the FreeFlight Mini software for the FPV, not a direct connection wi-fi connection from the tablet to the camera. You implied that an earlier version of FreeFlight Mini would run without a bluetooth connection, thereby allowing wi-fi-only connection to the Mambo FPV and, presumably, simultaneous flight control with the Flypad. My first problem is that I don't know how to obtain earlier versions of the app, nor even to determine what version I've installed on the IPad.
Dirk_ANAFI wrote:
01 Jan 2019, 12:04
6) You can read about Mambo and Tynker here:
https://www.parrot.com/global/minidrone ... mambo-code
Infos about Mambo's "hardware and capabilities": what are you interested in?
General curiosity mainly, but I'm interested specifically in how the onboard sensors (inertial package, down-looking camera, down-looking ultrasound, and pressure are all I've heard about) are used and, potentially, how to control them. This brings back the whole question of "flight modes," what they actually do, and how to potentially modify them. (I mentioned one problem I'm having controlling where the Mambo goes because (presumably from the ultrasound) it responds in unpredictable ways to the "topography.")

Regarding programming with Tynker, I got only as far as seeing that Parrot offers a package deal with a Mambo (which I already have) and subscription to some kind of video training (which I don't want -- I'm a "big boy" and want direct access to the programming system). The site also mentions that programming can be done on other platforms such as "computers and tablets." Typically for Parrot, no details or explanations are offered... -- JClarkW

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Re: Newbie Mambo FPV Questions

Post by Dirk_ANAFI » 01 Jan 2019, 21:03

JClarkW,

it has become seldom, that someone reads posts exactly like you do. Complement.
My English is not always precise, because I'm not native English.

But you are right:
Starting the thread you said you have an older iPad perhaps without BT and no other smartphone to use.
If you want to use this iPad with Mambo FPV, you could try to connect it to Mambo FPV with Wifi. Try this first with the actual FF Mini version.
I have only Android tablets and phones, so you have to try by yourself on iOS.
If not possible (because FF Mini demands BT), then you can try the penultimate version. This is possible in the Android world,- don't know whether you can install elder app versions in iOS. Find out!

Tynker:
You can download this app for iOS or Android without buying the package from Parrot.
Download and start programming with this graphic surface.
There are also other programming languages for coding with Mambo: GOBOT, Python, Scratch, Swift Playground ...

Flight Modes:
With Mambo there are 2 flight modes: Video and Sport.
In Settings go to "Piloting" and scroll down to "Mode". You'll find the 2 modes and you can modify the parameters belonging to each mode.

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Re: Newbie Mambo FPV Questions

Post by JClarkW » 02 Jan 2019, 00:03

Dirk_ANAFI wrote:
01 Jan 2019, 21:03
Flight Modes:
With Mambo there are 2 flight modes: Video and Sport.
In Settings go to "Piloting" and scroll down to "Mode". You'll find the 2 modes and you can modify the parameters belonging to each mode.
I borrowed an iPhone to try out FreeFlight Mini. The setting I'm looking at is called "Piloting style" (at least under iOS), and there are three choices (normal, drift, and racing), as quoted earlier from the Parrot Web site.

Anyhow I tried putting it in "Drift" and played around a bit, but I couldn't keep the Mambo under control -- drifts off one way or another, leading to several indoor crashes. (Previous flights with Flypad only had stayed in a fixed horizontal position when I let go of the controls at low altitude.) Putting it back into "Normal" style no longer helps, nor can I control it when flying from just the Flypad. It seems to have lost horizontal stabilization through the down-looking camera. Any suggestions? -- JClarkW

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Re: Newbie Mambo FPV Questions

Post by Dirk_ANAFI » 02 Jan 2019, 07:19

I was talking about the flight modes.
The two flight modes Video and Sport determine how fast the Mambo moves. You can switch between these 2 modes with a box on the HUD at the lower left corner of the display. As I said, you can modify these modes in settings to satisfy your needs of 2 "speed variants".
The 3 "Piloting Styles" are a way to modify the influence of Mambo's AI:
- Normal: AI helps you stabilizing all axis
- Drift: AI cuts off horizontal stabilisation
- Race: AI cuts off all stabilization (you are alone with your piloting abilities)

Normally you can switch back to "Normal" in settings of the app.
If you have no smartphone to do so, try to reset the drone.

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Re: Newbie Mambo FPV Questions

Post by AR.Tommy » 02 Jan 2019, 07:28

Also know: usually settings are stored on the drone itself. (there are a only few apps that are using own profiles) This means you have to deactivate drift mode (or whatever setting) even if you switch apps / controllers.
http://www.digitalsirup.com

Sweet and delicious apps for your drones.

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Re: Newbie Mambo FPV Questions

Post by JClarkW » 04 Jan 2019, 07:53

Dirk_ANAFI wrote:
01 Jan 2019, 21:03
Starting the thread you said you have an older iPad perhaps without BT and no other smartphone to use.
If you want to use this iPad with Mambo FPV, you could try to connect it to Mambo FPV with Wifi. Try this first with the actual FF Mini version.
I have only Android tablets and phones, so you have to try by yourself on iOS.
If not possible (because FF Mini demands BT), then you can try the penultimate version. This is possible in the Android world,- don't know whether you can install elder app versions in iOS. Find out!
Dirk -- To close the loop on this, it appears that it is not possible in the iOS world to download and install an earlier version of an app; only the current version seems to be available through the App Store. During my telephone conversation with Parrot support, I asked the tech about this and was told that they cannot supply an earlier version of FreeFlight Mini directly and that it is not possible to connect to the FPV camera without also having a BT connection. Maybe with Android but not with iOS... -- JClarkW

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Re: Newbie Mambo FPV Questions

Post by Dirk_ANAFI » 04 Jan 2019, 07:57

Things are getting clearer ... 👍

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