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Confirmed cases of power line interference?

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by efoote77, Jan 11, 2015.

  1. efoote77

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    Does anyone out there have any firsthand experience with flying near heavy-duty power lines and experiencing any sort of interference?
     
  2. eyecon82

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    I saw a video of some guy coming within feet of those really huge powerlines and nothing happened at all
     
  3. npalen

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    I got too close and the bird did a couple flips, dropped a few feet and went from GPS to ATTI mode. Seriously? Well I actually hit the power line causing the above to happen. It was a very windy day and I struggled to gain control and get back to the ground for a rather tumultuous landing. No serious damage. Not sure whether it was the impact or the electrical interference that caused the loss of GPS. Maybe a little of each? :) P.S. That was my first and hopefully last PL encounter.
     
  4. phenom3030

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  5. NorthernObserver

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  6. PhantomFanatic

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    I wouldn't recommend it, but since your drone isn't grounded, it won't produce a huge visible shock. I would not fly between the wires as it may produce a very nasty phase to phase shock. You will probably see tremendous fireworks and you will lose your Phantom and you will be fined, much more than what your Phantom cost.

    As having spent my career at a large electrical utility, it is fool's play to fly near any power line. The 12KV lines that provide distribution voltage to homes, through a step-down pole mounted transformer, is most likely what you will be flying around. Be VERY careful as if you land where the connections to the transformer is and also next to the fuse, they can and do electrocute squirrels. So, if your drone lands there, there will be major fireworks and the fuse may blow.

    This is not like the old household fuses. When this one blows, it can be heard several miles away. Just, please, stay away from all power lines.

    I have to put this out there. A guy drove his car into an electrical pole. Wires fell down and there was tremendous arcing of the broken lines. He saw them arc, fall silent, arc again, etc. This was a 12KV breaker (the size of a walk in closet space) with its recloser doing its job.

    Once all the arcing stopped, he got out of his car. He then leaned back against his car while talking to the police officer. What he didn't know was that one of our Division Operator's was about to do his job, in that scenario. His job was to remotely close that 12KV breaker to see if it would "hold."

    The current went through the power lines down onto his car and through him to ground. He was instantly killed. This is the same kind of lines that you see near your homes, if you have overhead distribution lines. The operator was a close friend of mine. He was tormented for years over this death. He left a wife and kids.

    Please do not play at seeing how close you can get to power lines. People who would do that would run and hide after your neighborhood loses power and employees have to be called out to get YOUR power back on. If there is anything left of your Phantom, our security department will do everything in their power to find you and fine you in addition to compensating the power company for the trouble you caused. A neighbor may rely on life support equipment, requiring power. You may end up carrying the burden of killing someone with fool's play.
     
  7. npalen

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    Very interesting. Thanks for posting.
    Edit: I'm referring to the video.
     
  8. PhantomFanatic

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    You're welcome.
     
  9. TimmyG94

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    I was flying my P2 Vision+ on my Gramp's farm back in October and had a really tough time getting my compass calibrated after 3 or 4 attempts. Then I looked up and saw 370kV power lines running about 100 feet overhead. So I walked about 150 yards away from the towers and my compass calibrated on the first try.

    I can't really comment on any effects that might occur when flying very close to power lines, but I can say that trying to calibrate your compass near them is a bad idea.
     
  10. eyecon82

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    this video pretty much debunks the "power lines cause flyaways" myth

    these are the biggest, baddest powerlines out there and it handled it just fine

    http://youtu.be/aumejyqCMDE

    Edit: NOT MY VIDEO and i think it was pretty reckless incase the quad did hit the powerlines and blew them up.....it would be thousands of dollars in damage, if not more.
     
  11. Khudson7

    Khudson7 Guest

    I had read that some power line companies are using drones for power line inspections. That is what this video looks like to me.
     
  12. Buckaye

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    I'm not sure I have heard anyone say powerlines cause flyaways (per se) - That said, Power lines are KNOWN to produce electromagnetic fields. Based on the following - those fields tend to be below the lines: http://www.emfs.info/sources/overhead/

    In any case - if these lines produce electromagnetic fields - there is a chance those fields could interfere with the compass and cause the Phantom to lose track of it's correct orientation which could cause an issue with navigation. Maybe not a lot... but enough to drift into a tower or wire? Perhaps. And with $1500.00 to $2000.00 of equipment flying up there... why take that chance? (Not to mention the damage you could cause to the power system... which I imagine would make you liable for repair costs).

    The bottom line is (no pun intended) - you can choose to ignore this as a possibility and take the risk...but why?
     
  13. ianwood

    ianwood Taco Wrangler
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    As stated, in immediate proximity, there is an EMI risk. If you switch to ATTI mode and you should be OK. Better yet, unless you're job is inspecting power lines, best to stay >50ft away in the first place.
     
  14. SteveMann

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    "Blew them up" is a bit sensationalist and practically impossible. Just hitting one wire is not going to do anything but damage the drone. How do you think birds get away with sitting on power lines? Even if a drone could somehow cause a short-circuit, all that would happen is a fuse upstream would blow.

    BTW - OT
    When these fuses blow, they blow with gusto. There's an explosive charge in them to force them to swing down away from the feeder lines which have 7200 volts on them and can easily arc through a few inches of air.

    [​IMG]
     
  15. justin00

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    Have flown under 2 very small power lines that crossed (as in not the giant ones) but just ones in a street..they didnt have any fancy equipment..just the wires... was in a park actually.. anyways I had FPV freezes/interferance.. only happened in the spot the 2 lines crossed.. have flown close to other larger ones and no issues...

    Best advice is probs not to venture to near them... just incase.. why risk it..
     
  16. PhantomFanatic

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    Steve, I don't know if you read what I wrote on page 1. I did state that since the drone isn't grounded, hitting one phase won't cause a major problem.

    But, a bird does not have the length of a Phantom. A Phantom can indeed cause a phase to phase short, especially on distribution lines, which phase to phase is normally 12KV. Phase to ground is 7.2KV as you stated.

    Squirrels often cause these fuses to blow as around the pole mounted transformer, the phases are close together. The transformer is the large grey, round object. The fuse is the rod hanging down with a metal ring on its end. This fus has been opened manually. The distribution folks use a long fiberglass stick that has a metal piece that goes into that ring and the fuse can be opened, killing power to the homes feed by that transformer.

    The 'thingy' with the rings, is a ceramic insulator. When a fuse blows, there is a part that hangs out, which indicates it was blown. Notice the two grey large PVC caps. This is there to prevent squirrels from making the fuse blow. A crew has to be sent out to determine the problem. They have get into a bucket, on a bucket truck to replace the fuse.

    If your Phantom lands between two phases, not downstream from the fuse, another fuse upstream will not blow as there isn't one. The protection comes from a very large breaker. (Think 8' high and a 5' wide cabinet. The actual breaker for those phases, is about 5 to 6 feet in diameter.

    Over current and differential relays will sense the extra current and the breaker will trip, cutting power to the distribution line. If a phase to ground or a phase to phase 'short' occurs, the over current relay will trip. These are not standard relays. they are about 8" wide and 10" tall, with very elaborate functions that have to be set by an engineer, such as myself.

    Consider your Phantom causes this and a breaker trips instead of a fuse blowing. If after hours, the on-call Transmission Center engineer will be called out. Perhaps me. I drive to the substation and after checking for squirrels, snakes, a regulator problem etc., then using a fiberglass pole, I will manually disconnect that 12KV breaker.

    A distribution crew is called out after I report that the problem is downstream. The crew drives and walks the entire distribution lines in search of a problem, ranging from animals, trees, tree branches, kids throwing metal chains across the phases or your Phantom. To remove it, they have to switch that sesction of line off, then they install ground wires that clamp to the phases. Why? Because electricity can be induced into the lines, when the lines run near energized lines. Also, because our slogan is safety first.

    Another factors are generators. If not hooked up with relays that separate the generators output to the wires going to your electrical box, then the pole mounted transformer will work in reverse. Your 115VAC will be transformed to either 7.2KV or 12KV determining on how you wired it.

    Men have been killed by generators, or if they are lucky they will lose an arm and/or legs if they are lucky. Through such tragedies, safey procedures are added. The lawsuit by my electrical company and the family will make you broke, forever.

    Once the problem has been eliminated, I will connect the breaker and after radio contact and I determine that everyone is clear, I will close the breaker. I didn't get paid for being called out in the middle of the night. I was also called out if an entire town or towns were without power. I had to make the decision whether to re-energize a $250,000 or $1, 000,000 transformer. If I made the wrong decision, the company would be ou that money.

    Allow me one more look back into my career. I went to work on a computerized system that allowed remote control over all devices, alarms and stays of all devices, as in open or closed. When leaving, I walked up to a regulator (8 feet high and maybe 5' in diameter.) and I put my hand on it. I did so because the maintenance crew replaced it a week ago. It wasn't running hot, so I locked the gate and left.

    The dive store, which I taught SCUBA diving from, was nearby. I stopped in to see how many students had signed up. Immediately, I was paged. I called and and I was told the substation that I just left, was on fire. I drove there, got past the police and the fire department was at work. What happened is that regulator, that I touched, literally blew up.

    It had to happen within a mi ute of my leaving. These are full of oil, as a dielectric and a cooling agent. The regulator exploded and the oil ignited. I was one minute away from death, if that long. This was my first brush with death. The second time is another long boring story. I came even closer to death.

    What I tried to say is to simply stay away from all electric wires. I hope that I made that point as I want to prevent deaths and lawsuits against my friends here. Can I get an amen??
     
  17. NorthernObserver

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    RE: http://youtu.be/aumejyqCMDE

    Relax everyone, my 1.5 kg phantom would have done nothing to those 115KVAC, 230KVAC, and 500 kVDC lines. I recorded these without FPV. You may want to stay away from 500 kVAC, it can make a racket on the RF band. Landing on a transformer or around bushings and other hot gear is a bad idea, as it might flash over.

    Here's a 500 kVDC deadend tower. Way too windy conditions, but I drove quite the distance to get the shot.

    http://youtu.be/mmJ_UWeGaAg