Tiny Quadcopter With Remote Control Drone Capability 

Let’s face it…all of us want the very best drone at the very best price.  However, we can not have the best of both worlds, that is, unless we have an unlimited bank account.

Remote control drones come in all shapes, sizes, quality, and prices.  Let’s consider some of the low-end models along with some of the very best in a follow up blog.

Keep in  mind that if you are just getting started with your drone, consider the less expensive type to practice with.  Crashes can completely wipe out your purchase.

If you choose to fly it over water…it may go for a swim.  Over highways…well…you get the picture.

Low End Drones

Many web sites will often times only give you the top end drone as a choice.  However, there are many, many low end types to choose from.

The Syma X1 usually runs about $40 or so.  If you do a bit of research, you’ll not find too many buyers that have complaints.  In fact, most everyone loves these drones.

Stability and agility while in flight makes these quadcopters super fun for the beginner and expert alike.

It has the 2.4GHz technology which allows more than one to fly at a time while you control them.  Much longer distance control with very little power usage is a real plus.

Once you get a handle on the Syma X1, you’ll want to try it out by flying two of them at the same time…or even more!

Need to know.  When you first get your X1,  do this first.  Power it on but make sure the remote is in the OFF position.  Set it on a level surface, then, and only then, turn on  your remote and wait for the beeping to stop.  Now you are ready to fly.

Have a bit more $$$ to spend?  Then why not consider the Syma X5C for around $60 ?  Not only will you get a great starter type drone, but you’ll get an HD camera along with a 2GB micro SD card.

Another plus for the X5C is the no need to register it with the FAA.  Through the new FAA laws, which require any drones weighing more than 250 grams to be registered, the X5C is exempt.  It’s weight is less, therefore it can be flown as soon as you get it.

Simple to operate indoor or out.  This little guy even flies during light breezes which can cripple other units.  You may want to purchase an extra battery (or 2 or 3) because of the rather short fly time which is about 7 minutes or so.

With around a 100 minute charge time, having several charged batteries on hand, you’ll be an expert in no time with very little “down time” fly time.  🙂

Now don’t sell the Helix X4 short either.  For about $70 and up, you’ll get a stunt flier.  Twists, turns, backflips, rolls and more.  All with the touch of a button or flip of a switch.

Gyroscopic stabilizers keep this baby level during flight and in far-reaching distance control.

Though this little unit is great for indoor practice, it does not do well out of doors.  Seems that even the slightest of breezes will destabilize it.  Otherwise, it’s great to get a feel for control, especially for the beginner.

Though the above 3 mentioned are exceptionally well put together, my choice would be the Hubsan X4 for about $50 and up.  

For a tiny unit, it feels right at home for the novice flyer.  The X4 is only about six inches square with its controller being a bit larger.  However, as you hold the controller, you’ll see that you can get (almost) instant control for the beginner.

Simply charge the batteries and install.  Place the SD card in it’s slot and turn on the remote.  Be sure though, that the throttle is OFF otherwise your controller and quadcopter will not “read” each other and the sync will not occur.

Be sure to read instructions first.

Super Fun quadcopter

Super Fun quadcopter comes in small packages too

This little guy flies like a real helicopter.  Get set to have hours of enjoyment.

Now, on the other hand, there are many more expensive types to choose from.  Let’s take a look at them also.

Before we do though, consider a totally new type of quadcopter or drone.  It’s the Lily.

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Written by :  Tom McDaniel

Tiny drone

Tiny drones are fun too!  See where you can take it…

With joystick in hand, controlling your drone now seems to come very natural.  No longer do you need to be overly concerned with questions as : what is a remote control drone?  Why?  Armed with the below knowledge, you are now in full control!

We have covered five of the most popular types of drones already.  However, we need a brief overview of each of them in order to make an informed choice.

(ARF – BNF – RTF explained here)

They are;

DJI Phantom 3 advanced quadcopter drone bumble (extra battery)

3DR Solo drone quadcopter

Blade 350 QX3 AP combo RTF C-Go2

UDI 818A  HD+RC quadcopter with HD camera

Holy Stone F181 RC quadcopter with HD camera RTF

  DJI Phantom 3 Advanced Quadcopter  

For the average consumer, you can say the Phantom 3 would be “head and shoulders” above the rest of the pack.  It’s performance, control, and reliability make it an excellent choice.  High tech features make this quadcopter easy to fly.

However, keep in mind that though this is simple to fly, it will take a bit of time to learn how.  Seems that the instructions that come with this little unit could be simplified.

But even so, it is one of the top selling quadcopters on the market today.

3DR Solo Quadcopter

Like seeing where your quadcopter is and what it sees?  Super easy to fly and follow manufacturers instructions.  If you have ever used a joystick, then this will feel right at home in your hands.

With just a push of a button, you’ll be in full control with any of its command features.  From take off to landing or even stopping mid-flight, you’ll find the button for each.

How about recording as you go?  Perhaps snap a photo?  All available on this little guy.

Have a spacial screen you want to use?  You’ll be able to connect 3DR Solo to almost any screen.

I am concerned though, with how short the battery life is while in use.  Seems that you may want to purchase at least, one or two more along with a good quick-charge, charger.

Blade 350 QX3 AP RTF

Stability is peace of mind to every operator.  This 350 Blade has it all.  Within minutes of setup, you can be flying this quadcopter along with high definition video.

It’s internal ‘smart mode’ makes it so simple to get started.  It also has a ‘return home’ feature, but it seems that it can be improved on.

Though small in size, it’s performance seems to almost equal those more expensive quadcopters.

UDI 818A  HD+RC  HD camera

Excellent starter quadcopter!  This baby has the return home function, strong battery and even and extra battery that come with it.

One thing though, this quadcopter does not fly very well in windy weather.  If you can get it out on calm days, you’ll have a blast!

Holy Stone F181 RC Drone HD Camera RTF

Concerned about damage?  Not sure of your flying abilities?  The Holy Stone F181 is ideal for beginners.  Not super expensive, but can stand up to most crashes.

Put this drone through its paces with acrobatic precision.  Simple, easy to fly and holds up to all but the solid wall impacts.

Great if you are new to flying.  It gives you a real basic understanding of drones and how they fly, giving you that needed confidence to move up to more sophisticated designs.

All without breaking the bank account.   Drawbacks are a rather short 7 to 10 minute battery life.  That is plenty of time though, to work through the basics several times.

Flips, right, left, backwards, forwards or even a continuous roll is right at your fingertips.

Everyone wants to know which drone is right for them and the cost up front.

Unlike many of the hoverboards, drones can surprisingly hold up to crashes and not start fires or explode.

The Most Bang For Your Buck

We’ll continue educating you about your drone purchase and give you the very best information.  After all, these drones can last many years to come.  There are the wildly popular low-end models and the higher priced, better quality models.

Wide open spaces are best for flying.

Remember too, that not everyone is “thrilled” to have a flying machine going through the neighborhood.

Be sure an leave a comment below and share this information.

Written by Tom McDaniel

Quality Hoverboard with Smart Technology

Quality Hoverboard with Smart Technology

With the explosion of the hoverboard in popularity, everyone wants to know what is the best hoverboard to buy.  But, we need to be honest with ourselves here.  Are we wanting to go cheap?  Or are we wanting the top of the line?

Better yet, the MOR (middle of the road) is usually the best hoverboard to buy.  So how do we tell which is best?  Here are some guidelines to keep in mind when considering the purchase of a hoverboard.

What Should We Be Looking For Before A Purchase

First of all, remember this…you really do get what you pay for.  All of us by now have heard of the exploding hoverboards.  Mostly purchased from or sent from China.

It’s often times, the lithium batteries that are not well made that usually causes fires, explosions and other problems.  So don’t settle on the cheapest hoverboard you can lay your hands on.

Literally thousands of these cheaply made “knock-offs” are filling many folks thirst for a hoverboard.  How do you identify these models?

Often you can recognize these “fake” hoverboards by the box it is packed in.  Inspect it carefully.  Is it written in bad English instructions on the side of the box?  What about instructions that are inside?

Does it say something like:  “Smart Balance” or perhaps “Smart Balance Wheels” or even “Smart Balance Board?”  If so, I would recommend to look it over VERY CAREFULLY.  More than likely, it could be one of the many fake hoverboards that are coming into the country.

These boards usually run in the $100 dollar range.  Some a little more, some a little bit less.  Just be aware.

Also, be aware that in some places here in the U.S. these highly popular “personal people movers” are illegal.  You may want to check with local law enforcement officials before the purchase of a hoverboard.

If you happen to live in New York City, these boards are illegal.  Results for riding one in the city limits, officials will give you a warning ticket the first time, then a $50.00 fine if repeated.

Here in Seattle, you may want to also check with local ordinances before you purchase.  Since the now famous Segway and electric style bicycles, have been accepted locally, you may be pleased to find out the laws here in the Seattle area are very reasonable.

Do I Need A “Premium” Hoverboard

The opposite of the cheap and dangerous fake hoverboards is the ‘premium’ style.  Why so?

When hoverboards first hit the market, many brand name boards offered features like GPS for global tracking, others had the keybob style of remote turn-on and turn-off features.  A few even had built in Bluetooth speakers and “headlights.”

Were they better?  No, not really, but they certainly gave a person “bragging rights” about their board!

What About Distance And Speed?

Recognize quality when you see it.

Recognize quality when you see it.

The distance a hoverboard can travel and its speed is also something that we need to consider before our purchase.  As I have mentioned in an earlier blog on hoverboards, most will travel at a top speed of about 6 mph.

However, there are some of the premium models that will travel up to about 12 mph.  Distances vary also.

For the average consumer you will be paying somewhere in the neighborhood of $400. or more for a hoverboard.  Remember what I’ve said earlier…you get what you pay for.  In this case, only the hoverboards that meet or exceed U.S. safety standards will be featured on the Amazon website.

Some premium boards can travel (on smooth surfaces) between 13 and 17 miles which is quite impressive especially when compared to the standard hoverboard of about 12-14 miles.

NOTE :  Read my first blog and see what the early model premium hoverboards cost.

What Else Should I Consider Before A Purchase?

Above are just a few of the things to consider before purchasing a hoverboard.

It is also vital to know a bit about the following also.

Is a hoverboard water resistance when riding in wet or rainy weather?

What is the weight limit that can be imposed on these boards?

Exactly how are they put together and does wheel size make a difference?

Smooth surfaces are ideal, but are there hoverboards that can travel on grass, over a carpet or rug?

What about a rough roadway? Can a hoverboard transverse these?

Do you know the difference between an “AirWheel” and a hoverboard?

Hoverboard wheel size of 6.5 inches vs. 11 inches.  Which should you consider and why?

And finally, what is your budget and how much will you or a family member be using the hoverboard?

Is it for Personal transportation or just recreation for the kids?

I will address all of the above in the following pages.

Written by :  Tom McDaniel SHARE this site.

Images by:maguzz,gumtree

What is a hoverboard? Are they dangerous?

What is a hoverboard?    Are they dangerous?                    YouTube image

With the huge demand for a reasonably priced  quality hoverboard, many are choosing to opt. in for the cheaper, less expensive hoverboards that have been linked to house fires, exploding batteries, and even catching fire while riding them.

Don’t let that deter you from a purchase.  Just be aware of the dangers of a cheap hoverboard when you make your purchase, many of which are found on eBay for around $100 more or less.

So when we ask the question:  what is a hoverboard, we are really wanting to know how we can get what we pay for.   In my previous blog I explained that a good quality hoverboard will set you back some 1500 to 2000 dollars.

However, you can still enjoy a quality hoverboard for much less than that.  On the other hand, don’t settle on ‘cheap’ because of the potential dangers as mentioned above.

All U.S. airlines have banned hoverboards to be transported onto their flights.  Why?  Mainly it’s because of the cheaply made Chinese batteries that they carry.  So one of the very first things you look for in a hoverboard is a brand name battery pack.

Some trust worthy batteries are SONY and PANASONIC to name two.  If you are not familiar with a certain battery name brand, you would more than likely be better off not purchasing that particular hoverboard.

Note the following video…now…give it a chance to load and watch it through.  Especially the part about the cheap hoverboards from eBay.   Cheap does not always mean the best deal in the long run.

Here is the video:

Do They Hover?

Actually what most folks are thinking of when it comes to a hoverboard, in reality it is a very low profiled, wheeled scooter that is powered by batteries.

But…there are some great innovations taking place that may catch your interest,  though at the present time, most are still in the infancy stage of development.  Just wait a couple of years and see the huge leap in technology and  hoverboard design and capabilities.


Though the low profile wheeled scooter (a.k.a. hoverboard) is similar in design to the skateboard, they are very different when it comes to gaining your balance and control.

It will take time to master these nifty little “toys” so when the “real  McCoy” hoverboard is available that actually floats over the ground, we will already know how to balance ourselves and control them.

Amazon has deleted all their sales of hoverboards that are linked to the Chinese markets.  Not only were they found to be inferior and dangerous, but they would break  apart rather easily.  Amazon has, once more, done needed “housecleaning” in their company to safeguard their customers and their name.

So, if you are interested in these, then don’t hesitate to purchase one.  Again, I would suggest that you find one on Amazon because of the huge variety in prices  and quality, plus the added safety of buyer protection that Amazon is now famous for.

Keep in mind though, you do get what you pay for.  Don’t go cheap.  Usually it is always best to purchase something that is MOR  (middle of the road).  Not the most expensive, but definitely not the cheap one either.

What Most Folks Expect Regarding A Hoverboard

Check out the below video.  You’ll see that the technology has come a long way since the 1985 movie “Back To The Future 2” with the introduction of the hoverboard.

If that really “blows your hair back” then you’ll also enjoy this video.  Though these hoverboards are currently limited to metal surfaces and/or metal strips in the surface, they do give us food for thought for future innovations.  See the video below.  🙂

The Self Propelled Skate Board

Just because the market is now going wild for the hoverboard (a.k.a. scooter) do not totally rule out the skateboard that so many have come to love and appreciate.

But just like technology in everything else, it has been improved on and electrified.  This self propelled board has really come a long way.

Though many skateboarders can not afford these, others will choose to save up in order to purchase one and be the first on the block to have this  “really cool toy.”

On the other hand, if you are one of those who grew up with skateboards and know your kids will enjoy this sport also, then you’ve got to check out a different type of electric board, which by the way, is more affordable for the up and coming family guys and gals.

What to look for in your purchase of a hoverboard.

Written by :  Tom McDaniel Be sure to Share this

Woodland Park Zoo Entrance

Woodland Park Zoo Entrance


To answer the question of : what is Woodland Park Zoo, you really need to see it.  This unique zoo is one of the best in the country.  Plenty of room for the animals with wide open spaces.  Walking through the broad paths, is a real pleasure.

The first time I visited Woodland Park Zoo was when I was just a little boy in the Bellevue grade school system.  For a few weeks, our teacher (Mrs. Bennett) sent out permission slips for the parents to sign and bring back the zoo entrance fee for all of us kids.

After several weeks all the permission slips and fees were in.  Onto the school bus we went.   All of us recall entering the zoo grounds through the Woodland Park Zoo gates and immediately realizing that this was almost like a “strange new world” of wild animals.

BoBo the gorilla was one of the main attractions of the zoo.  Sadly though, he is no longer with us.  🙁

Tiger at the zoo

Tiger at the zoo…Taking a “cat nap”

Where Is The Woodland Park Zoo Located

The zoo is easily found.  You can either grab  a local Seattle map and look up the address or just plug it into your GPS.

Zoo Address :

5500 Phinney Avenue North, Seattle, Washington 98103

or you can give them a call at  206-548-2500…

ask for directions, time they are open, and prices of entrance fees…or…you can just read a bit further down and find it for yourself.

By the way, while you are in the area, be sure and take a trip around the Green Lake walking path.

After your walk, why not stop over at Beth’s Cafe for one of their great breakfast, lunch or afternoon snacks.  You’ll love it…



Woodland Park Zoo Hours

Since the zoo is open pretty much every day (except Christmas, Dec. 25), you can count on just arriving at one of their many gates, and entering the zoo.

Jan. 1 through Apr. 30 the hours are 9:30 am till 4:00 pm.  However, since no one else is allowed into the grounds after 4:00 pm, don’t be alarmed that you’ll be locked into the grounds.  The gates for exiting the zoo grounds will stay open till 5:00 pm.

From May 1 through Sep. 30  the hours change a bit.  They are 9:30 am  to 6:00 pm every day.  The zoo grounds stay open till 7:00 pm.

What Is The Cost Of Entrance

At the time of this writing, the entrance fees are $19.95 for adults of 13-64 years of age.

Children from 3-12 years of age is $12.25

Then those little ones under the age of 3 are free.

Don’t forget to ask for the 65 and older discount or the disabled discount.

Another feature that the Woodland Park Zoo has is the yearly pass.  Adults are $49.00 ,  Children (3-18) are $17.00 and then the Flex Guests are $67.00.  If you enjoy the zoo, then be sure and take advantage of these great pass prices!

W.P.Z. Map

Woodland Park Zoo Map – Click For Larger Size

How About The City Pass

Don’t like waiting in lines?  Only going to be in Seattle for a short while?  Then the city pass is for you.  Plus you can cut off an additional 47% of the cost.

You not only get access to the Woodland Park Zoo, but also the Space Needle, the Seattle Aquarium, Argosy Cruises Seattle Harbor Tour, along with either  the Pacific Science Center…or…The Museum of Flight.

Give the zoo folks a call at the number above and find out all the details.

How Did The Zoo Get Started

The Seattle area is know to be a unique location in itself.  However, it is also known to be conservation oriented, especially when it come to a clean city and animal husbandry.

Guy Phinney (1852 – 1893) had a 179 acre estate that was named Woodland Park Estate.  He was a lover of wild exotic animals which he would, from time to time, have brought into this estate.

It included deer, black bear and even African ostriches.

Watch for ferocious animals !

Watch for ferocious animals !

At his death in 1893, this property sat in limbo until the city of Seattle purchased it from his widow in 1899.    From there, it became part of the municipal parks system and was now under the supervision of the Dept. of Parks and Recreation.

The zoo began to develop slowly.  The Lion House was added, then the Beaver Pool.

However, in 1932, there arose a huge uproar by city dwellers.  Though trying hard, they were destined  to lose the battle at stopping the 6-lane highway (Aurora Avenue) from cutting directly through the center of the park (zoo) causing a separation of the zoo from the lower part of the park on the eastern side.

Why this road system?  In the 1930’s jobs were scarce and times were hard.  City officials could keep a large workforce busy and foresee future growth of the city.

Finally, after WW II, the Woodland Park Zoo got a real financial boost.  Some three quarters of a million dollars (in 1948) and then another four million dollars (in 1968) allowed zoo officials the opportunity to have more natural habitats incorporated into the zoo.


Zebra and Friends

The Lowland Gorilla exhibit was one of the first to reflect this zoological conservation for “as close to a natural habitat” as could be replicated in a city surroundings.

Lowland Gorilla taking a break from Junior

Lowland Gorilla taking a break from Junior

Mom and Junior at play

Mom and Junior at play

Don't Forget Me Too !

Don’t Forget Me Too !

The Woodland Park Zoo Today

The Zoo today has one of the very best, if not the absolute best, reputation for excellence found throughout the entire United States zoo system.   It’s education to all visitors and it’s exhibits are second to none.

The 1,100 plus animals that currently live at the Woodland Park Zoo bring in more than one million visitors from around the world to view this amazing zoo.

Tropical Rainforest Building At The Woodland Park Zoo

Tropical Rainforest Building At The Woodland Park Zoo

How about you?  Have you been to the Woodland Park Zoo?  Leave me your comments below about your enjoyment of this greatly appreciated animal exhibit.

Written by :   Tom McDaniel Share this site