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Broken Connection to P2V on Ascent?

Discussion in 'Phantom 2 Vision Discussion' started by Jezabel, Jan 31, 2014.

  1. Jezabel

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    I'm new here and have appreciated all of the ideas/solutions as I am a new P2V owner. Have only a couple of flight tests in my backyard and today went out to a larger field since the temperatures are more reasonable (27 degrees F) and there is little wind. All upgrades have been made and all batteries fully charged for this field test.

    The iPhone WIFI connected and the DJI App showed full connection bars/ 10 satellites, fully charged battery etc and the Extender is pointing to the P2V. Upon ascent of no more that @20 feet, the iPhone shows "broken connection" on my screen. I brought back the phantom and turned off and started the entire process again. Reconnected to P2V and everything ready for take-off. Again, the "broken connection" showed after ascending a short distance. The Extender is not blocked and pointing up where the P2V was.

    I am wondering if the cold has any effect on the connection?

    I am planning on deleting and reinstalling the DJI App to see if that has any effect.

    Ideas on what I should do next?

    Jezabel
     
  2. Pull_Up

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    Double-check your phone is not trying to access other networks because it can't find the internet via the Phantom network;
    Double-check you have connected to the range extender network, not the camera (SSID should be "Phantom_xxxxxx");
    Double-check that the extender is fully charged and is showing normal indicator lights (green and flashing away merrily to itself;
    Delete the app, reboot phone, reinstall the app;
     
  3. Jezabel

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    The App showed the Phantom address and the Extender was working fine while on the ground. Everything was as I would expect for flight. It just disconnected when it lifted off just a few feet.

    I just deleted and reinstalled the App and rebooted phone. Since I don't have a second battery yet (it is coming today) I am in the process of recharging everything before I can go out to this field for another test. Today is my best chance since we are expecting 4" of snow tomorrow and more on Sunday.... So I am hoping that reinstalling the App will do the trick. I've been waiting patiently for the weather to break from sub-zero temps and high gusty winds to be able to test my P2V in a larger field and today is my first opportunity since getting the P2V mid-January.

    Thanks for your response.... Oh, and all of your "how-to" videos as well as your YouTube review. I appreciate all of your explanations since I am a novice.

    Jezabel
     
  4. Pull_Up

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    I doubt it is the app, but good to clear everything out anyway. If you're definitely connecting to the range extender and not the camera then the issue is going to be with those two. You could try rebinding the range extender and the camera, but to be honest if it's working without a problem on the ground then it's unlikely to be a binding issue either... I'm sure someone will be along soon with the nugget of info that I've forgotten!
     
  5. Tripnman

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    Doubtful that this is it but just to rule it out... Are you putting your iPhone in airplane mode (keeping wi-fi on) and also turning on "Do Not Disturb"? I also set mine to not connect to wi-fi networks automatically to keep it from jumping if it detects a stronger signal nearby.

    Another test - since you indicate the problem doesn't happen while on the ground, try initiating everything then walking backwards away from the aircraft to see if the connection breaks with distance while not in flight. Do this with and without the motors idling. This could help isolate if it is a signal range problem (pointing to an issue with the phone, the extender or the camera antenna) or perhaps some interference that only occurs when the aircraft systems are under load in flight.
     
  6. Jezabel

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    Still losing connection between iPhone and P2V.

    I put all settings on iPhone per suggestions (airplane, do not disturb, do not join other networks,etc). I checked the connection indoors and had no problem. Went to backyard, established connections, flew to 66 feet, took a picture and video and no problems. Being successful with that test, I went back to the large field to do the test for connections. Everything established connections (Phantom-XXXX in App, extender "merrily blinking",etc), went up and "broken connection" showed within 20 - 30 feet of rise.

    Brought it back down and turned off. Re-established connections and then walked with my back to P2V and lost connections around 7 paces ( @ 38 feet). Went back to P2V and reestablished connections and flew up again with lost connection again. Turned off everything and cycled through again. Established connections, and walked with back and lost connection in 2 paces ( 11 feet). Turned off again, re-established connections, walked out and back with connection. Tried to fly again, and lost connections within 30 feet.

    I was worried to let idle and try the "walking backwards" test having read about someone having a "failsafe fly up" in another post (I believe it was suggested that the stick needed to be used within ten seconds and/or the P2V thinks it needs to go back????). So, I did not do that one test.

    I wonder if there is anything to do with the cold and the iPhone. I read that the minimum optimal temperature for iPhone 5 is 32 degrees F. I was in a 28 degree with slight wind environment (and lots of snow on the ground). However, I use exercise pads on top of the snow to keep the camera and props clean of snow. I do not think that this pad has anything to do with the connection since I used this in my backyard as well.

    Or is it the extender? I know that the extender seems to discharge overnight and it takes a long time to charge. I noted that others experienced this as well so I did not worry about it since it DOES charge to green and I have only gone out when it was fully charged.

    More thoughts on what I should try next?
     
  7. Pull_Up

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    The problem's unlikely to be your phone - you wouldn't get the intermittent contact if it was. The range extender takes a good 4 hours to charge the first time, shorter going on unless you let it run right down. It could be worth using a portable USB power pack if you have one to see if giving the extender some juice whilst you are using it gives you more range.

    You seem to have more range in your yard than in the clear field. Is there anything nearby that could account for interference? Do you have another flight area you could try in case it's the location you've chosen rather than the equipment?
     
  8. Tripnman

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    I'm with Pull-Up on this one. Do you see that giant dish antenna in your flying field that is labeled "Ginormous 5.8Ghz Wi-Fi Spewing Drone Killer" with a fence around it and armed guards? That's probably the culprit. Seriously though - I'm at a loss and it's time for bigger brains to take over. It does sound like it might be environmental interference at your second location. Try a third as PU suggested.

    You also mention the extender battery drawing down overnight. Is that true? I always re-charge after each flight and it has good for two batteries worth of flying the following evening. Perhaps I should start charging before flight rather than after?
     
  9. Jezabel

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    Interestingly, my backyard is nearly enclosed with trees...with a slight opening for the liftoff. And, our garage and house have metal siding. And there is a small solar installation and electrical support inside the garage. So I was not anticipating a good signal in my backyard.

    My test field is the middle of a soccer field. I have walked right to the middle and away from the parking lot (since I was worried about rebar in the pavement,etc). I believe that this field was once a farm field but many, many years ago. There is no visible cell tower closely. It is surrounded by residential area. There is a man-made sledding hill that is @ one soccer field length away and I suppose that there could be all kinds of things in the fill that they used to make this. But, that does not seem plausible since it is pretty far from the field that I used to test this.

    When the iPhone and the P2V are connected, it is a full-strength connection in any of the places. It just suddenly loses the connection in my field testing area when it is about 30 feet away.

    I was careful to fully charge the extender the first and every time since before use. But I do notice that if it is unplugged overnight that it seems as though it discharges a lot since it takes a long time to recharge. I don't have a portable USB power pack but I believe we have an inverter that can work with a motorcycle battery. It would be one more thing to haul though so I am not sure that I can manage that in the snow and cold,etc.

    I guess I need to find another spot for a test so that I can rule out any interference between the iPhone and the PV2. I do know that the PV2 maintained the controller connection because I was able to fly the P2V even when the connection was broken between the iPhone and the P2V.

    My iPhone has never had any problems connecting with WiFi anywhere so my only thought was if the cold effected it somehow.... but I see others reporting flying in cold temperatures so I guess that is not the answer.

    Boy, I really am not sure what to do next except to recharge everything and try a new location.
     
  10. Pull_Up

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    Yes, the phone only needs to connect to the range extender, which in turn does the business with the aircraft. If you had a phone-to-extender problem, you wouldn't get the network and wouldn't see the video stream. Thinking more about this the problem seems to be extender-to-aircraft. This could be a bad extender (internals or battery), bad camera unit or environmental interference affecting the 2.4GHz transmissions. If you've got one of those wifi analyzer apps on your phone it would be interesting to see if that shows a lot of wifi networks crowding for space in that area.

    The extender does take along time to charge because it's limited as to what current it can draw for some reason. Even if you stuck big amps in to it it would still charge to a crawl. However mine can go 3 or four flights before seeing the orange low battery warning. I tend to charge it up overnight if the forecast looks good for the following day. I've also got a 14000mAh USB battery pack in my flight case with a 1 amp usb out and a 2 amp usb out. If I really messed up before coming out I can run both the phone and the extender at the same time with that! Only had to use it once in anger, though - that was because I'd forgotten to top off my phone before leaving the house and I still had another battery I wanted to fly through. Saved stopping that trip early and coming home.
     
  11. iResq

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    I think there is probably something under that field! Can you try another area? Can you try another phone?
     
  12. jimre

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    Here's a longshot - double-check the camera's switch position. Make sure it's all the way over the right in Wi-Fi mode. I had my switch once stuck about half-way between On & Wi-Fi - would work for a while then lose connection.

    Seems I had accidentally bumped this switch at some point - probably grabbing it with my hand to keep from tipping over on the car seat, before I got my carrying case.
     
  13. Jezabel

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    Nope. Not the switch. I thought that was initially the problem and checked it many times.

    Decided to go back to my backyard and used a new P2V battery (that came earlier today and I charged it up fully along with everything else). I had no problems what-so-ever and had no "connection broken" messages and a full flying practice session. Everything worked, pictures and videos captured. Should I be suspicious of my P2V battery that it came with?

    Still not sure what to make of the problem I had in the soccer field. I suppose they used some sort of fill but I really think that is unlikely since it was agricultural fields prior. I suppose I could rule out the original P2V battery by returning to the field and see if the same thing happened.... but that feels exhausting....right now....

    Now that I have had a less frustrating experience (sort of like getting back on the bike after a crash)...I will try to find another location that perhaps is not a sports field but more of a natural setting.... that is not close to a cell tower,etc. I guess I could experiment with both of my batteries there to see if there is any problem with the original battery.
     
  14. Pull_Up

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    If you put the original battery in and connect up to the Assistant software it should give you some info on that battery. Although I can't think why a bad battery would allow the quad to spin up and fly but break the wifi connection at 30ft. Odd.
     
  15. Jezabel

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    Since the weather is bringing us 5 inches of snow tomorrow and some more on Sunday, doing something inside like hooking up the Assistant software might be one more step to this mystery. What will I be looking for in the Assistant Software?

    If the weather gets better next week, I will return to the same field with both batteries and see if the problem continues with both.

    I will also look for another field to try them out as well.
     
  16. jimre

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    Look in the Phantom Assistant software to see the battery status. Check whether all 3 cells are nearly the same voltage. If one cell is higher or lower than the others, that can be a problem.
     
  17. El Rey

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    On a related subject, would your home country have anything to do with reception.

    For example, are commercial satellites tasked to track 3rd world countries less than others?

    Or the Australian outback?
     
  18. EyeUpHigh

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    Don't worry about flyaway / unexpected return to home, the problem doesn't seem to be in your R/C channel. Keep in mind that you have two, essentially separate, radio connections going on between you and the Phantom Vision. One is the 5.8GHz radio control channel between the controller and the Phantom platform. As long as the back arm LED's on the Phantom are blinking green you have a communications link and full flight control over the craft so it's not going to switch to RTH mode (not that doing so would be a bad thing...)

    The second channel is the 2.4GHz Wi-Fi channel(s) which includes a link between the range extender and the Phantom's camera, the other being a link between the range extender and your phone. Losing that link means you lose real-time telemetry and video but the craft will stay up in the air. When the connection breaks at 20 feet, does your phone still show you're connected to the "Phantom_1xxxx" Wi-Fi network? If so, the problem's likely the link from the repeater to the FC200 camera. If the phone isn't connected to the "Phantom_1xxxx" network, then it's either the phone or the repeater. (Either way, don't worry, your drone will patiently hover at 20 feet while you diagnose the problem)
     
  19. Jezabel

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    Thank you for the reassurance of not experiencing a RTH while the craft is hovering since I trying to follow procedures to always establish the slow blinking green light to make sure I've established the home point via satellite connection. Whew!

    Oddly, sometimes when I got the message of "broken connection" the P2V link was still green and linked on my iPhone and sometimes it was not linked. It was not consistently linked or not linked when I got the "broken connection" screen. So, I do not know what that might mean for diagnosing the problem?

    Per suggestions here, I will check on the battery status in the software assistant to see if there is any hint there. It was weird that when I used the new battery (fully charged) in my backyard I had no issues at all. Could be a hint.
     
  20. rotordan

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    Keep in mind that the connection for the flight controls is totally separate as has been pointed out.

    Suggestions:

    To diagnose phone<->extender problems try anonther phone if available. Check if the phone is always connected to the "Phantom_" network. Also keep the phone close to the extender. We have had trouble when the spotter with the phone walked a couple of yards away from the pilot, especially when he was behind the pilot.

    To diagnose camera<->extender problems increase the distance in a controlled way. If you are uncomfortable doing it in the air, just leave the aircraft on the ground and walk away. We found that pointing the flat part of the extender exactly at the aircraft increases range. So if you fly high, tilt it up and vice versa. Besides checking the rocker switch on the cam, also check/reseat the plug in the back of the cam.

    To diagnose interference go to another field and try it there. Also a 2.4GHz WiFi finder can show some of it. It will not show all. For that you need a spectrum analyser like the WiSpy; but that is overkill unless you happen to have one lying around anyway.

    Good luck.