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Does changing controller antenna improve the range?

Discussion in 'Phantom 2 Discussion' started by terrylowe, Dec 8, 2014.

  1. terrylowe

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    Sorry if this has been covered before. Not finding it on search.

    I have the phantom 2 NON-vision and standard controller. I recently changed to a boscam monitor with antenna upgrades on the monitor and on my AVL58 transmitter and am getting great video at 1km. :D

    Changing antennas helped so much on my FPV that I started wondering about changing antennas on my controller. There are youtube videos about doing this and it looks pretty easy to do including power boosters, etc. I may do it, but don't want to do it unless it definitely helps with the radio controller range.

    So with that said, does changing out the antenna and or adding a power booster on the remote control unit improve range in your experience? How could you tell.....just fly it away until it loses connection and returns to home? :eek:
     
  2. CityZen

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    Yes, and yes (based on reading others' posts; not my own experience).
     
  3. SteveMann

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    Yes, a gain antenna on the controller is better than the stock antenna. Be warned that you have to be really careful removing the glue that DJI uses to anchor the antenna connector. I managed to destroy one, but thankfully I found a replacement on eBay for $25.

    Now I have a photo model for a PCB I am developing that will provide a variable yaw rate control. It will be a plug & play modification with no soldering required.
     
  4. LuRoyale

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    Had the same problem a while back when I changed my first one. I had to buy a brand new Radio because I could not find the replacement part, would you mind linking it here for future "just incase's" lol :roll:

     
  5. ianwood

    ianwood Taco Wrangler
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    The stock radios are really good. Exactly how far are you trying to go?
     
  6. lake_flyer

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    My idea.
    I already hit 2000m without any control issue. I read that some folks even took it to almost 3 km with the stock transmitter and antenna.

    With much more expensive transmitters like Taranis or even Spectrum some people complain they only get 1500m or less (ok, stock antenna, but still), go figure........

    Edit:

    And the P2 indeed goes into failsafe when the connection is lost, exactly the same as switching off the transmitter. But if you take it out to that limit, be sure to fly upwind and come back downwind. Even then you might lose it because it can go really far and it might not be able to get home because of a depleted battery. Keep a safe margin for the return back. Regard also the time to descend (with 1.8m/s). Coming down from 300m takes a good couple of minutes.
     
  7. terrylowe

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    What I was hoping for is not necessarily distance, but a little more confidence if the bird dips down behind a tree top momentarily. My FPV will whites out when that happens and I am immediately trying to go up to regain LOS. So far my stock controller has done well, but I was thinking a little more juice wouldn't hurt. Also, I sorta like doing that kind of stuff.
    So I ordered up the parts and will see how it goes.

    What is the easiest way to test the antenna gain? I don't really want to fly the bird as far away as possible because of what lake_flyer said about keeping a safe margin for return. I am thinking of setting the bird down in an open area and getting a homelock. Then drive away with the controller until it loses connection and goes into failsafe mode.
     
  8. SteveMann

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    I did an anecdotal test after I changed the antenna to make sure it was connected.
    I took off the props and sat the Phantom on a stool in my driveway. Then I took a walk with the controller. Every few seconds I would tilt the camera up and down to verify I still had control. I got to about 300 meters when I lost the video signal, and still had camera tilt control. If the SMA mod was bad, I would not have gotten far from the Phantom before losing control. Why props off? Because I wasn't there and I didn't want the motors to start up to do an RTH when I reached the limits of the controller.

    I did not do the same test with the stock antenna and I should have.

    When the weather cooperates, I will repeat the test, but I will put a smartphone in front of my camera (mine because it has large display) and take the controller and my wife's phone for a longer walk. I will write down the time (displayed on my wife's smartphone) when I command a camera tilt and where I am located. When I get back I will get the video from the GoPro and look for the last time the camera tilt responds.

    Of course, in the air the range would be better, but the ground level range would tell me two things. First, the worst-case obstructed range and second, a baseline to compare other antennas. I can do that now that I have the SMA mod on my transmitter.
     
  9. terrylowe

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    Thanks Steve
     
  10. jason

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    Did everyone miss the point of this discussion or am i wrong? Terrylowe wasn't trying to increase the range of his controller but the range of his FPV (transmitter/receiver range). Myself I use a Black Pearl diversity RX and AVL58 TX see the photos whether or this setup increases my FVP range really isn't a problem for me. I'm videography so most of the footage i take is within 100 yards or so
     

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  11. graves14

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    I think us non-visioners lucked out a bit, having our control at 2.4 GHz versus the vision. I think they have a far more difficult time going the distance with obstructions. I have to friends with Vision+ and their range sucks. They can of course be on par with us with better antennas, but I digress.

    I personally have not updated my TX antenna yet just because I have yet to exceed the range of the stock TX. 2KM was no problem. I'm more concerned about losing the video feed, since having a totally blind bird 2+KM out is frigging scary. Hell, having a bird 2KM out is frigging scary!

    Plus, I'm currently at 5.8 GHz on my video and at those far distances getting behind a tree is very unforgiving. Until I go to 1.3 GHz I'm sticking with the stock TX to keep me from tempting 2+KM.
     
  12. terrylowe

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    I watched a youtube video or two about changing out the antenna on the controller, so I should be an expert now. Apparently the HARDEST part is removing the glue.....as everyone is saying. I used a sharp knife and gently scraped away the glue. AND I scraped away an important connection on the board. So DON'T scrape the glue off as shown on some of the youtube videos. Instead, pick it off.

    I managed to micro-solder the connection back in place and am flying today.
     

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  13. RobertMfromLI

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    Looking forward to that!!! :) :) :) :)
     
  14. terrylowe

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    Well, starting to answer my own question. I just tested this one. http://www.ebay.com/itm/311199187283?_trksid=p2060778.m2749.l2649&ssPageName=STRK:MEBIDX:IT, Part Mini 2.4G 2W Power Amplifier Module for DJI Phantom Vision FPV.

    It is hard to get a good line of sight where I live. I plugged in the antenna and drove 1.8 miles away and it would not communicate with my quad (I had a visual though). I then plugged the booster in line and was able to immediately control the quad. However there was more interference in the FPV using the booster.

    If I can find a location longer than 1.8 miles, I will test it and get more details about how far the stock antenna reaches, then the longer antenna, then the power booster antenna.