Sprites are only available direct from Ascent AeroSystems.Q: What are Sprite’s different flight modes?
Sprite™ uses a well-proven, powerful open source autopilot that includes a full complement of autonomous flight modes, including waypoint-to-waypoint navigation, position hold, altitude hold, circle, return-to-home and follow-me options. It’s also got advanced modes like "Survey", where the perimeter of an area can be traced and the software will automatically compute the best flight path to cover it. Sprite is fully compatible with Mission Planner™, DronePlanner™ and Tower™ ground station software. Like most UAS vehicles, Sprite™ can also be flown in real time using the included conventional transmitter.
Q: Is Sprite™ waterproof?
Most of Sprite's critical components are sealed against operations in rain and from unexpected contact with shallow water. The camera and the gimbal, however, are not. Other imaging systems will become available in the near future.
Q: Does Sprite™ float?
No, it does not.
Q: Is Sprite™ compatible with iOS?
Unfortunately, iOS support is not available for the APM autopilot, but there are a wide variety of relatively inexpensive Android devices available that not only serve as a ground station, but also a USB-enabled device that's a great place to store all of the amazing photos and video you're going to take with Sprite™.
Q: How long can Sprite™ fly?
Using a standard 14.8v battery with 3,700mAh capacity, Sprite™ has been averaging about 12 minutes in hover at an altitude of 6 feet (out of ground effect). Batteries are relatively inexpensive and compact, and they take just a few seconds to swap out.
Q: Can larger batteries be used?
We don't use a proprietary battery in Sprite™, so you can use any rectangular 14.8v LiPo with a standard XT60 plug. You will be limited by the dimensions of the battery compartment, however. The battery we offer is 130 x 43 x 30mm. We will eventually be developing compartments with different dimensions to accommodate different (longer) batteries.
Q: What is the airframe made out of?
Sprite’s airframe is constructed mostly of injection molded ABS, a tough plastic that’s ideal for the kind of rugged environments most UAVs need to operate in. Other components are made of aluminum, steel and carbon fiber.
Q: Does Sprite have landing gear?
Yes. The included landing gear can be attached to the Main Module without any tools. Its tripod design keeps the legs out of the camera image for most camera tilt angles. You should use the landing gear for all operations until you're thoroughly familiar with Sprite's operating characteristics. Always follow the instructions provided in the Operating Guide.
Q: Does Sprite™ include lights for night flight?
An LED accessory will be made available as an add-on after the initial Sprites are shipped. It fits between the Main Module and the Payload Module, and can be “stacked” with other accessories.Q: Will I be able to control Sprite™ via a smartphone?
Through the new Tower™ software, the flight control system offers autonomous flight modes using any compatible Android device.Q: How does the GoPro™-compatible gimbal work?
A gimbal stabilizes the image of the camera when the airframe is moving. Motion in all three axes, pitch (up/down), roll (left/right) and yaw (side-to-side) is dampened by gyroscopic sensors and brushless motors.
Q: Can I use a different camera with Sprite™, other than a GoPro™?
While Sprite™ can certainly handle the weight of most comparable action cameras, it's actually the gimbal that determines compatibility. Gimbals are very sensitive to the weight and weight distribution of the cameras they're designed to carry, and the attachment mechanism is designed around the physical dimensions. We will be making additional Payload Module adapters available so that Sprite™ can accommodate other popular camera models.
Q: What frequencies are the radio and telemetry link?
The telemetry link is available in both 433MHz and 915MHz. The transmitter for conventional, real-time flight control is a 2.4GHz system that is the standard just about everywhere.
Q: Have you considered sensors in the airframe to detect objects to avoid any collisions while in auto flight?
Absolutely. Sprite’s modular design will allow you to easily add any number of additional payload modules, including obstacle avoidance sensors. We’re working on a number of accessories, and we’re going to be introducing a hardware development kit (HDK) to allow other manufacturers to develop solutions that will work with Sprite™.
Q: Which telemetry frequency I should choose?
In the United States you should choose 915MHz for the telemetry. If you’re in another country, the short answer is...it depends. There are many, many resources available on the internet that can provide some guidance. If you're having trouble finding out for sure, we’d encourage you to reach out to a local hobby shop, model aircraft flying club, or check your country’s communications regulator website.
Q: What power output I should select for the FPV transmitter?
In the United States, an amateur radio operator’s permit is required to operate FPV equipment of any output power. (Do not let this deter you! It's no big deal at all to get.) To maximize your range and signal clarity we’d recommend the 600mW option. If you are located in another country, our recommendation is the same as it is for the telemetry frequency. There are many, many resources available on the internet that can provide some guidance, and we’d encourage you to reach out to a local hobby shop, model aircraft flying club, or check your country’s communications regulator. If you still aren’t able to find the information you’re looking for, we’d suggest that you do not select the FPV option. All Sprites have the necessary wiring, and it's relatively simple to add the equipment later.
Q: Can I get any other power outputs?
The only two we offer are 25mW and 600mW, which satisfy just about all of the limitations out there. If your country requires less than 25mW, we'd suggest you either get the 25mW and swap it out on your own (easy, see above), or don't get the FPV option.
Q: Is the real-time FPV video HD?
No, it is not. While your GoPro is going to be recording in whatever resolution you set it (even 4K), the signal that goes through the video transmitter has between 400 and 480 lines of horizontal resolution. HD streaming requires a tremendous amount of bandwidth to stream without any delay ("latency"), and even a few milliseconds of lag can make a vehicle very difficult to control in real time. As the technology becomes available in a physical dimension that works with Sprite, we'll offer it as an upgrade.Q: Where can I buy a Sprite?
Sprites are only available direct from Ascent AeroSystems.