Welcome to PhantomPilots.com

Sign up for a weekly email of the latest drone news & information

  1. GadgetGuy

    Joined:
    Jun 18, 2015
    Messages:
    4,446
    Likes Received:
    1,294
    GadgetGuy's First Flight Impressions of the P4

    My P4 arrived from China this morning at 9:12am. Having already purchased a dedicated iPad Mini 2 the night before, and installed the latest P4 supporting DJI GO app, and the 32 channel hack, I was ready to go. Battery and transmitter charging took several hours. After Activation, updating all firmware updates to the RC and aircraft took another hour, but was much easier, as I never touched my computer or the Mini SD card. All updates were done through the iPad Mini2, connected via WiFi, and the included USB cables in the package. The P4 definitely looks cool, and the shiny white finish on all components is very Apple-ish, matching my white iPad Mini 2. The built-in metal Inspire table holder on the RC was a nice touch. All my P3P RC's have one purchased separately for $30 more. The updates went smoothly, with clear progress bars and prompts from within the DJI GO. After topping off the battery, I was ready for my first flight around 3:15pm. Before that, I noticed that the full screen map zoom and navigation could only be accomplished through first touching the compass icon in the lower left. Otherwise, the map zoom and movement was unresponsive. Minor, but important to know. I also went through all the menus and customized my settings. One caused a problem. I had dumbed down the gimbal control to such a degree that it would not move. After pairing with another RC, I figured out which setting was the problem, and repaired with the original RC. I was ready for launch with a fully charged battery. I had previously turned off all Obstacle Avoidance, as I didn't want to waste battery power on a feature I don't need. I have never run into anything in front of me. That's what FPV is for!

    Video bit rate was set to the lowest setting of 4Mbs, and video recording on the iPad was turned off, as that is what I always use, and it maximizes video stability.

    After being promised up to a 3.1 mile range, and a 28 minute flight time with the new larger battery, I was hoping I wouldn't need an RC mod and external batteries, like I do on my P3P's to achieve long range and video stability. To be fair, having already determined that the P4 GL300C RC had 20% less power than the original P3P GL300A, and the P4 aircraft also had 20% less power output for video than the original P3P WM323 model's 0.746 Watts, I was skeptical, but hopeful that pulling the gimbal inside might have improved video signal, minimizing the antenna blocking.

    With the 32 Channel Hack set to channel 30, and a full windsurfer, I flew directly west over the same area I have flown for the last 9 months with my P3P's at the same altitude of 300 feet AGL. At 6,700 feet away, I lost both video and RC control. The RTH was set at 250 meters because I live and fly next to a small mountain that is 320 meters ASL, and launch from 80 meters ASL. Even the RTH elevation set to 250 meters was insufficient to recover signal or video, until the aircraft was within 5,000 feet of the Home Point.

    With my original stock WM323 P3P and stock GL300A controller, with the same windsurfer and the same Channel Hack set to Channel 30, I can fly out 3 miles in the same direction at the same altitude before losing any video stability.

    After recovering from the 3 minute signal loss, I continued to fly within the control and FPV range of well under 5,000 feet, while experimenting with Sport Mode. With a 10 mph breeze, upwind, the P4 in Sport Mode reached 35mph into the wind, and 50 mph downwind, but the props were always in the video at a 90° gimbal elevation both times. In P Mode, I flew at 35 mph into the same wind and 40 mph downwind, on the same course, with no props in the frame.

    Despite having Smart Return to Home toggled OFF, I was informed at 35% remaining battery that I needed to return home, even though I was less than 2,000 feet away. I cancelled, and continued flying.

    I ultimately landed at 17% remaining battery, with a total flight time of 16:14 minutes, having flown 30,000 feet total.

    To say I am disappointed with DJI's gross misrepresentations of the P4’s capabilities is an understatement.
    16 minute flight time, not 28 minutes.
    1.27 miles, not 3.1 miles.
    Sport Mode is barely faster than P Mode.
    This P4 is going back to DJI.
    My existing stock unmodded P3P's already run circles around this dumbed down P4, which can't deliver FPV past 1 mile with any reliability under ideal conditions, and whose battery is just shorter and fatter, not really larger.
    YMMV.

    See also: GadgetGuy's Second P4 Flight Impressions
    and : GadgetGuy's Final P4 Flight
    and: GadgetGuy's P4 Refund From DJI
     
    #1 GadgetGuy, Mar 19, 2016
    Last edited: Apr 2, 2016
  2. John Locke

    Joined:
    Jun 26, 2015
    Messages:
    2,893
    Likes Received:
    1,085
    Location:
    Yorba Linda, CA
    I'm experiencing the same disappointment. Thanks for the report, I thought my P4 might be uniquely flawed, but it doesn't appear I'm alone. It appears DJIs statement "P4 uses an enhanced lightbridge" is false. More like "detuned lightbridge". Anyone that has flown P3P before will likely do what you're doing, returning it.
     
    #2 John Locke, Mar 19, 2016
    Last edited: Mar 19, 2016
  3. Fplvert

    Joined:
    May 28, 2014
    Messages:
    1,559
    Likes Received:
    708
    Location:
    Southern Idaho USA
    image.gif

    Although it sounds like you put the bird to the test, I like your review BTW, I don't think you could get the full battery potential on the first few charges.

    The range is always of interest and your results are disappointing.:(
     
    dirkclod and GadgetGuy like this.
  4. GadgetGuy

    Joined:
    Jun 18, 2015
    Messages:
    4,446
    Likes Received:
    1,294
    I'm reading the same thing over and over again from others, too!
    Sad, but predictable, from the 20% power reduction in RC output and the 20% power reduction in video output from the aircraft, over the original W323 P3P.
    This is exactly the same issue I ran into in replacing my W323 with a W323A P3P: 18% less video power output, ruining all long range video flying that the W323 accomplished with ease at low elevations! I really like the P4 look, and the other ease of updates through the app, but crippling my range and video feed on an aerial platform is a deal breaker. The battery is sadly no improvement over the P3 either.
     
    #4 GadgetGuy, Mar 19, 2016
    Last edited: Mar 19, 2016
    Bocephus-73 likes this.
  5. Bocephus-73

    Joined:
    Mar 22, 2015
    Messages:
    160
    Likes Received:
    63
    Man, this is a real pisser --- I had high hopes for the P4 to be a long-range machine but it appears to be a weak upgrade from the Mighty P3.

    Shame on you, DJI --- charging $1400 for a POS --- but I guess all those noobs need that Obstacle Avoidance, huh? :mad:
     
    westlightaerial likes this.
  6. GadgetGuy

    Joined:
    Jun 18, 2015
    Messages:
    4,446
    Likes Received:
    1,294
    While perusing the "P4 Disclaimer and Safety Guidelines" during the battery charging and various updates today, I ran accross these P4 nuggets:

    Flight Modes:

    If you intend to switch to modes that disable GPS assistance (e.g., Atti mode), you are required to accept the prompted disclaimer to enable this function. If this function is enabled, you further understand and agree that data including but not limited to flight telemetry data and function records could be uploaded to and maintained on a DJI designated server.

    Firmware Updates:


    "Firmware upgrade notifications will prompt you to proceed with an update immediately or to update the firmware within 3 days. If you choose to ignore the current firmware update, you are required to accept the disclaimer. You further understand and agree that the data including but not limited to flight telemetry data and user selection records may be uploaded to and maintained on a DJI-designated server"

    Altitude Limit:

    2) If you intend to fly above the default altitude limit [400 feet], you are required to accept the prompted disclaimer to enable the new altitude limit. If a new altitude limit is set, you further understand and agree that the data including but not limited to flight telemetry data and altitude limit changes could be uploaded to and maintained on a DJI-designated server"

    ====> DJI is now Big Brother for the FAA! :eek:
    If you ever fly in Atti mode, ever need to fly more than 400 feet above your launch point, or ever want to not install a future update, DJI will put you on an FAA Watchlist, and record all your telemetry and user data!

    ========

    This other one is also a little scary if you ever happen to fly over water and ever lose signal, with VPS is enabled, or you just forgot to shut it off:

    VPS:

    6. In the event of a signal loss of the remote controller's signal, the aircraft will hover for 8 seconds and then auto-land, if it is in "P" mode. :eek:

    What???:confused:
     
    #6 GadgetGuy, Mar 19, 2016
    Last edited: Mar 19, 2016
    stulpin300m likes this.
  7. GadgetGuy

    Joined:
    Jun 18, 2015
    Messages:
    4,446
    Likes Received:
    1,294
    Cool dog gif! :cool:
    I'll give them the benefit of the doubt and assume it would be 20 minutes at best. I get 30 minutes out of my "new motor" P3P currently, with a battery mod. If I have to add a battery mod to the streamlined P4, I might as well stick with the P3P's. They are mature and spectacular! Maybe they don't look as pretty as the P4, but all anyone ever sees are the stellar aerial videos they put out anyway, 90% of which could never be shot on a P4 because of the limited 1 mile video range!:rolleyes:
     
    Bocephus-73 likes this.
  8. Dacon Productions

    Joined:
    Jan 5, 2016
    Messages:
    592
    Likes Received:
    268
    Location:
    Gilbert, Arizona
    To be fair, having already determined that the P4 GL300C RC had 20% less power than the original P3P GL300A, and the P4 aircraft also had 20% less power output for video than the original P3P WM323 model's 0.746 Watts.
    ..........................
    I thought the new RC GL300C has the most Tx power output. If this is the case, which RC out of the A B C has the most Tx Watt output?
     
  9. GadgetGuy

    Joined:
    Jun 18, 2015
    Messages:
    4,446
    Likes Received:
    1,294
    Both the A and B units have the most, but that's only half the equation.

    The newest GL300C is the worst of all in terms of power output.
    GL300A and GL300B are the same at 0.38 watts*
    GL300C is only 0.303 watts, or 20% less.

    P4 aircraft video output power is only 0.598 watts, 20% less than 0.746 watts of the W323 P3P.
    More control range is of no use, if it isn't fully supported by stable FPV video from the aircraft.
    You will always lose video before you lose control.
    You can't fly blind.


    *Note: Power outputs specified on the FCC ID# documents for the GL300A and GL300B have a misplaced decimal point. They are not 0.038 watts!
     
    #9 GadgetGuy, Mar 19, 2016
    Last edited: Mar 19, 2016
  10. Meta4

    Meta4 Moderator
    Staff Member

    Joined:
    Jan 8, 2014
    Messages:
    7,694
    Likes Received:
    3,424
    Good review and interesting stuff.
    With Sport mode, I guess the temptation is to dash around at high speed.
    I'd be interested to see how much difference it makes to stay out of sport mode and use GPS mode with object avoidance switched off.
    What would the battery life be like then?
     
  11. chris digata

    Joined:
    Aug 14, 2014
    Messages:
    147
    Likes Received:
    20
    These things dont affect us in the Uk that much but I will be keeping the P4 but also will be Keeping the P3 which im sure will still be flown lots
     
  12. GadgetGuy

    Joined:
    Jun 18, 2015
    Messages:
    4,446
    Likes Received:
    1,294
    Thanks! That's essentially the mode I was in, except for the brief time testing the Sport mode speed. I had object avoidance off the whole time, and was mostly in P mode, to offer the best comparison to the P3P, for which I have plenty of data.
     
  13. GadgetGuy

    Joined:
    Jun 18, 2015
    Messages:
    4,446
    Likes Received:
    1,294
    The problem for me is that even with a P4 battery mod to boost real flight time to 30 minutes, the video power output from the aircraft is still too weak to support the full control range of the FPVLR v2 controller mod with boosters. It's really a shame. It's such a pretty bird. I want to justify keeping it, but I truly can't. I'm spoiled rotten! The original W323 P3P is just so much better for long range video, with mature battery mods that deliver 27-30 minute flight times and a 5+ mile range for video and still photography as low as 50 feet at that distance!
     
  14. Dacon Productions

    Joined:
    Jan 5, 2016
    Messages:
    592
    Likes Received:
    268
    Location:
    Gilbert, Arizona
    Is this true for the Inspire's RC models GL658C? I remember reading somewhere that model GL658C has almost 1W output power compared to A and B models.
     
  15. GadgetGuy

    Joined:
    Jun 18, 2015
    Messages:
    4,446
    Likes Received:
    1,294
    If you can get the FCC ID# on the aircraft or off the box, you can look that FCC ID# up on the FCC database to find the power output of any device.
    Here's an example for the original W323 P3P:
    FCC ID SS3-WM3231503 by SZ DJI TECHNOLOGY CO., LTD for Phantom 3 Professional
     
  16. Dacon Productions

    Joined:
    Jan 5, 2016
    Messages:
    592
    Likes Received:
    268
    Location:
    Gilbert, Arizona
  17. GadgetGuy

    Joined:
    Jun 18, 2015
    Messages:
    4,446
    Likes Received:
    1,294
    Here you go:
    FCC ID SS3-WM6101510 by SZ DJI TECHNOLOGY CO., LTD for DJI Inspire 1 V2.0
    .931 Watts is substantially more than any of the P3P controllers (0.380 or .303 watts), but still far less than an RC mod to your P3P RC like the FPVLR v2 with 3.0A boosters.
    Give it a try, but if the aircraft has crappy video output like the W323A or W 323B, it won't help much, from my experience.
     
  18. Dacon Productions

    Joined:
    Jan 5, 2016
    Messages:
    592
    Likes Received:
    268
    Location:
    Gilbert, Arizona
  19. Dacon Productions

    Joined:
    Jan 5, 2016
    Messages:
    592
    Likes Received:
    268
    Location:
    Gilbert, Arizona
    ...
    Stock P3P, a few times I flew out 3 miles (6 round trip) and no video interruption.
     
    GadgetGuy and Bocephus-73 like this.
  20. ringolong

    Joined:
    Feb 13, 2016
    Messages:
    233
    Likes Received:
    76
    Location:
    TN

    You have the one with most stock distance.

    Nice Review!

    I have noticed that the video is choppy too in all of the youtube/posted ones I have seen which worries me more than anything. (I hope they are all shooting in 4k/24fps mode)

    The p4 distance is a little disappointing, but no worries for me since I was going to be using a range modded inspire radio with HDMI output. Plus I don't feel comfortable flying out more than a mile anyway.