Parrot Bebop Drone And Skycontroller: HD Video Eye In The Sky

Initial Impressions

Unboxing and initial assembly of the Parrot Bebop Drone and Skycontroller kit is easy and straight forward.  Everything is contained in one large, handled box that can be used to tote everything around.  The drone comes almost fully assembled; all that you need to do is charge the batteries and attach them to the drone itself and to the Skycontroller kit.  Battery installation is tricky for both the drone and the Skycontroller, however, due to the tab configurations on the devices. And during testing, we found it took almost an hour to charge the batteries when fully depleted.

When we initially tried connecting the battery to the Bebop drone, we couldn't find the wires to actually connect the battery. There is a cavity inside the drone, and the wiring actually slipped all the inside during shipping. We couldn't pull them out with our fingers, but were able to dislodge them with a pencil, pull them upward, and ultimately connect the battery. Thankfully, the wiring hasn't slipped all the way inside the unit since.

There is also a minor annoyance with the battery installation process.  There are four notches on the drone's spine that the battery pack is meant to slide into.  We found it was quite easy to misalign the notches on one side, which would result in the battery pack sitting askew.  This slight misalignment would certainly affect navigation and stability, so make sure you get all four notches perfectly engaged before fastening the Velcro strap that helps hold the battery in place.  The unsettling thing here is that the notches allow the battery to disengage from the back of the drone by about a quarter inch with minimal force.  I found on a couple of occasions that even when I thought I had engaged the small Velcro strap tightly, that the battery had slipped back about a quarter inch after a full flight.

parrot bebop notch align

The issues I saw with the battery installation weren't isolated.  Many others have complained about the lack of a secure fit for the battery on the drone, so with some luck Parrot will incorporate a more secure solution in the next revision.  Not only does the battery on the drone lack a foolproof, tight fit, but the battery on the Skycontroller actually flipped right out on me on several occasions. This battery connection bothered me even more than the one on the drone because even if the drone battery slips back, it never really moves more than several millimeters and certainly does not end up dangling from its connection cable like the Skycontroller’s battery would.  Parrot needs to incorporate the same type of Velcro strap on the Skycontroller as well to keep the battery securely in place at all times.

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