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Course Lock --- first impressions

Discussion in 'Pro/Adv Discussion' started by Volkhard, Jul 30, 2015.

  1. Volkhard

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    Today I tried for the first time COURSE LOCK on my new P3P. While the manual is not giving too many clues one has to try to succeed (or crash). It has been an overcast day today at the beach here in Ecuador and lucky enough the wind was down to about 3 to 4 kt, therefore almost ideal conditions to try this new (to me) fly mode.
    Compass calibrated, IOC enabled, I used auto takeoff and took the bird up from there to a safe altitude.

    Aligning the Phantom parallel to the beach and having it above and in front of me (looking at the back) I switched the left toggle on the remote from P to F and confirmed the upcoming message on my screen in regard to setting the new orientation. After that I had to touch outside the window to make the pop-up disappear.
    The Phantom is stable but starts slightly drifting with the wind. There have been some mentioning in some posts suggesting Course Lock is GPS supported. I know now for sure (as I assumed before) with course lock we are flying without GPS stabilization/positioning.

    As I was prepared for it the drifting with the wind it did not come as a surprise. Lining myself up behind the Phantom for first trials of course lock was a good idea and makes it easy to check out the movements of the drone following my stick movements. I made a couple runs back and forth on my set course and adjusted as needed to set the Phantom back to windward as it was drifting. Getting a good feel for it I reduced altitude and did some flyby's at roof level of my house. As I was able to estimate how much the wind will offset during one run I was able to place the Phantom at a safe distance to windward. Panning the camera while flying down the course is a lot of fun and allows me to focus more on the camera to keep the object in the frame after I checked my flight path before hand.

    After 2 batteries were depleted to about 35% it was time for lunch. In the afternoon I put my new experience to work and did some video of my further testing. I might process the video a little and post it the next couple of days.

    As I was a little nervous and uncertain as I believe the manual is really not sufficient to put a novice at ease, I must say, my Phantom 3 Pro came through and did not disappoint. Setting up the mode was pretty easy, toggling back and forth between P-mode and F-mode without hick-ups or unwanted reactions of the Phantom was very reassuring. I am on 1.1.9 FW have disabled the vision positioning,and using a Samsung Galaxy Tab 8.4 pro.
     
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  2. RedHotPoker

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    Can't wait to see your awesome video captures...
    It must be awesome living down there. A very long ways from Alberta Canada.
    Be well, and record plenty. ;-)

    RedHotPoker
     
  3. Volkhard

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    I don't know about the awesome video. Have a lot to learn: First piloting the Phantom 3, next getting a feel for video capture (which is an art form in itself), and them learning the video editing software. I got Corel Video Studio X8 and just ordered a set of 6 filters from Polar Pro. I should be set with the right items but it is now up to me to use all the tools to create something worth looking at. I am sure it will be a while .....:)

    Living in Ecuador has it advantages, especially the weather. Temperature here at the coast is always between mid 70ies and mid 80ies and the difference in daylight from summer to winter is about 30 minutes.... Quite a contrast to your neck of the woods.
     
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  4. 4wd

    4wd

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    This seems an odd finding, course lock is familiar from the Vision Pus and is sometimes useful to pan while flying in a straight line, with the Plus and the P3 I'm sure mine is not drifting without GPS, that only happens in ATTI mode.
     
  5. RoyVa

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    I'd do a little more checking. I thought sure you could do c/l while in GPS mode.
     
  6. GadgetGuy

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    I am puzzled as well. Course lock, or "orientation lock" as the Pilot app calls it, should be using GPS to maintain position against the wind, while only resetting the nose direction of the aircraft to the nose orientation at the moment of activation, which is then used for flying forward and backwards along your "Cable Line, " while the camera can be rotated around to do a flyby of an object, or just look around, while flying using the set orientation lock.
     
  7. bbfpv

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    +1, it has to be GPS assisted. It would be disastrous if it weren't.
     
  8. ron_415

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    I've tested it out a few weeks ago and can confirm the drifting. It gave me quite a scare because I expected it to brake which did not happen and I quickly had to throw it back into P mode.
     
  9. Volkhard

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    I can just report my findings and the Phantom IS drifting with the wind. During my morning flight the wind was very light and the amount of drift was small. In the afternoon the wind picked up a little and I had more drift to leeward.
    Why would it be disastrous???
    Barometer is keeping track of altitude, other sensors of the IMU keeping it level and the compass is giving us the orientation. It is unfortunate that we need to guess because the manual is not giving us enough in depth information to be sure. There is much room for improvement for DJI to create a real manual.
    Flying in course lock is a safe and easy mode as long as the pilot is clear about the changed functionality of the stick input and is prepared for an amount if drift based on the wind conditions. It will be a big part of my future flying and I am looking forward to other advanced flight modes in the future.
     
  10. bbfpv

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    because this:
    It's easy enough to lose orientation in CL let alone also having to compensate for drift. Add beyond LOS to the mix, and you have yourself a disaster.
     
  11. Volkhard

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    "Cable Cam" or waypoint flying is GPS based but they are different modes, not available yet for the Phantom.
    Course lock is compass based. It looks on the surface like almost the same but it is not.

    I am looking forward to the day where we can fly to Position 1 and push a button to save this location. Fly to the next position, save it again and continue doing so. This creates waypoints out in the field without the need of doing it on maps. The big advantage would be actually flying the course to set the points, therefore knowing for sure nothing is in the way! I am sure this and other functionality will be added soon. At that time course lock will become less important.
     
  12. Volkhard

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    Naturally the pilot has to focus on his/her task and has to be prepared for the drift. Flying without LOS would not be advisable for obvious reasons. Of course it has to be used responsibly and WITHIN the intended scope of the function. But that is true for any function or mode on our craft.
     
  13. N017RW

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    Great job Volkhard.
    As you have seen and page 55 of the manual states, CL does not use GPS.
    I find it very clear.
     
  14. Volkhard

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    Thank you very much.
    Page 55 of the manual was the first clue for me to expect drift.but literally it says "doesn't require..." that could mean it uses GPS but will still function without as some have stated in other posts.
    That's what I mean with room for improvements for the manual. But DJI is not alone with that problem. Many technical manuals are written by "people in the know" and therefore are better suited for "peers" with a similar level of knowledge. For best results, they should be created by people from the outside who have to explore the item. The manual for my Sony DSRL is another example. First thing I did was buying the book for it. It explains things more in detail and pulls together all the underlying details.
    With the Phantom 3 being very stable and predictable I felt secure enough to try and being pleased with the result.
     
  15. GadgetGuy

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    Important to know. Thanks for the confirmation from the manual! Another good reason to RYFM! :rolleyes: Hopefully, our discussion has prevented a few avoidable accidents! Never try CL with a strong crosswind! Straight tailwinds or headwinds should be OK, but be ready to switch back to P-GPS if you have any troubles with orientation. No CL video is worth losing your flying aerial platform over!
     
  16. tvckz

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    I tried it today also. No drifting. Everything is smooth. A bit complicated at the beginning. You have to feel it. I downgraded yesterday to 1.1.9. Probably that is why I do not have any drifting issues now.
     
  17. Zerone

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    Manual V1.2 (2015/07) Page 56 is a bit clearer with regard to Course Lock. GPS=NO
     
  18. tvckz

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    But it shows satellites and green message GPS ON in app
     
  19. Zerone

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    I would expect the little satellite icon with the number of satellites available to be ON, but the green message GPS ON is a bit strange. I'm going to have to try it myself tomorrow to try and un-confuse myself. :confused:
     
  20. bbfpv

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    WTF? I've flown in CL a few times and never noticed any drift. I can't believe there was no wind each time I've flipped the switch...
     
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