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It has finally happened, a fly away

Discussion in 'Phantom 2 Vision + Discussion' started by PeterW_R, Sep 12, 2015.

  1. PeterW_R

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    After over 200+ successful flights with my Phantom 2 Vision+ V1, I regret to inform that my precious phantom has been lost.


    I did nothing different at all, flying with the latest firmware, I managed to find a flat, clean, magnetically "neutral" ground in the middle of the natural park, I calibrated compass, waited until I got 7 satellites and a home point and lifted off.


    After emptying two batteries on what I believe would have been an awesome video, I went for the last pass using my third battery. When I was at about 200 meters from the home point and 60 meters in height, the satellite coverage dropped from 7+ satellites to just 4. The drone was still within visual distance but a mild wind was blowing, I knew the phantom was not flying in GPS mode so naturally I started adjusting heading to come back to the home point. Immediately afterwards, in just a few seconds, I lost signal of the video streaming.


    I then relied on the last streamed image and the radar data to estimate where was the drone "nose" pointing and did my best to execute a heading with the remote that would allow my phantom to come back, sadly, by the time I performed the operation the drone had drifted beyond my eyesight... I went full throttle in the direction I judged best and waited, and prayed... but it never came back.


    I checked the last know point of the phantom using find my drone but the drone was not there and the rest is history.


    Having said that, I know have a few questions for the community that won't give me back my drone but hopefully will help to put in light a few issues that I think will be of benefit to most pilots:


    1- How come I had 7+ satellites at 0 meters but the satellite count dropped to 4 at 60 meters height in the middle of the natural park, with no visible source of interference?


    2- I know the phantom 2 Vision + requires at least 6 satellites to operate in GPS mode and to come back to the home point, but in these emergency situations, when streaming is lost and the satellite count is still 4 to 5, how come there is no failsafe to automatically estimate a heading that would put the phantom within streaming range again? I'm not asking for milimetric precision here, but certainly a 4 to 5 satellite lock could do a much better job than my eyesight to estimate a heading at about 300 meters of distance. I know this is a new technology, but after so many firmware updates, a billion dollar company has not thought about that?


    3-What would you have done to prevent this from happening?



    Also, I'm aware that the latest phantom 3 incarnations use both GPS and GLONASS satellite network, that might prevent issues like this from happening, but after losing this phantom this way, I'll have a hard time buying a DJI product again...
     
    #1 PeterW_R, Sep 12, 2015
    Last edited: Sep 12, 2015
  2. robsquad

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    4mm gps puck and foil mod is very worthwhile
     
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  3. dirkclod

    dirkclod Moderator
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    Sure hate to hear you lost it Peter !
    A tracker is also worthwhile though of no help to you now .
     
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  4. yorlik

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    i feel your pain! so sorry.... you asked some questions; I will give my 2 cents in reply...

    1) don't know

    2) I totally agree: my little garmin can get location for me with as little as 3 sats; accuracy goes down, but lock non the less.

    3) Ah here, I have a comment: HOME LOCK. You had it I assume? S2? all the way down and you get HOME LOCK. Means EVEN WITHOUT GPS YOU COULD HAVE BROUGHT HER HOME!!!!! Look it up and make it your friend if you get another drone.
     
  5. MapMaker53

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    Home Lock is base on the preset GPS home point. Without a GPS signal telling the Phantom where it currently is in the sky, your bird has no way of knowing where Home Point is or how to get back to it. Home Point does not work in ATTI mode.

    Course Lock works on compass direction and will work without a satellite/GPS connection. That's why I always try to take off with my bird generally facing the direction my overall mission will be in -- so that if something goes wrong at a distance and I lose GPS and/or my wifi screen telemetry, I still have a way of flying left, right, forward, and back in general relative to the way I was facing when I took off. It wouldn't necessarily bring it back directly to me but, hopefully, I'd be able to bring it back close enough to begin hearing it in the sky and spotting it.

    But it's easy to be an armchair quarterback. I think most here would have easily been tripped up under the same situation, myself included. When things go wrong, there usually isn't much time to react.
     
    #5 MapMaker53, Sep 12, 2015
    Last edited: Sep 13, 2015
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  6. yorlik

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    mapmaker thank you for correcting me on home lock! My bad. sorry.

    I too always take off oriented so I can use Course lock if GPS goes; I always take off pointing North for this reason.

    As mapmaker says, the few seconds we have to try a recovery is often not enough in the heat of the moment. I am afraid in my confusion I would have tried course lock and watched it continue to go away. Hopefully reading these posts enough might help in the confusion.
     
  7. RoyVa

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    Peter it sounds as though you did everything correctly. The only bad tomthisnwas loosing signal. I believe if that had not happened also g with the low satellites you would have recovers. The two together low satellites and lost signal tell the quad to RTH but it's like being in a city you don't know and trying to find a street with no map. You just run amuck. And the same happens to the Phantom. No instructions for the onboard computer and its lost if no manual control is available. We all feal your pain. Hope you had a phone number listed on the quad so if a good and honest person finds it when it autoland said they will give you a call. If you look for it it a needed in a hay stack. Find my phantom is dependent on GPS location too so that is no working for this issue.
     
    PeterW_R likes this.
  8. digifot

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    It's very easy to sit in an armchair and say how to deal with a situation like this, but in the heat of the moment things are not so simple and the mind seems to seize up in panic. However, having said that, there are in theory two possible solutions. Firstly, if you still have telemetry reception showing the birds altitude and distance, you can briefly move the right stick in each direction whilst watching the screen to see which direction reduces the distance, you will then be able to bring the bird closer towards you. Failing this, the other and possibly better alternative is to switch to course lock. Course lock does not require GPS to work, it only requires that the compas was calibrated properly before take off. Simply turn to face the direction you were facing when you took off and the bird will then move in whichever direction you move the right hand stick (regardless of the direction it is pointed). Presumably you can very roughly determine the direction in which you last saw your bird (in relation to the direction you are facing) draw an imaginary line from there to your position and move the stick along that line i.e. if the last seen postion was in front and to your left, then move the stick back and to the right and the bird will then move in that direction, regardless of which direction it is facing. This may not bring the bird directly to you but it will bring it back closer and roughtly in your direction until it is close enough to hear or see, or recover video and or telemetry.
     
    #8 digifot, Sep 13, 2015
    Last edited: Sep 13, 2015
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  9. Jay_bird100

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    The same issue happened to me with my P3. I had it set for beginners mode and it should not have flew past 50m. As it past the 50m mark my remote kept saying out of range. I took off on foot pursuit and got control of it a mile away from the home point. I had to crash land it because it was trying to land on a busy road. When i got it back into my possession i was getting a error that said "gimbal overload". Glad i got it back but nervous about flying it again.

    Sorry to hear you could not retrieve your bird. Next time i go up i will have my number stamped on it.
     
  10. PeterW_R

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    Indeed, course lock could have been useful.
     
  11. Mako79

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    2) 3 sats is good to lock for position but not good enough to instruct it fly back autonomously. I think it uses 6+ to bump out erroneous gps data and makes sure the timing is perfect to the millionth, give or a take. In this case, DJI should have designed the system that when it has 6 or less but minimum of 3, to flash red on the radar where it "thinks" the phantom is and where it "thinks" home point is. You would then use the radar to fly it back via ATTI.

    3) home lock IOC does not work without the 6+ GPS acquisition.
     
  12. nynelyvz

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    Would Home Lock work if I fly to where I lose connection with the transmitter and it is out of site. I am thinking, no. Since it's out of range it wouldn't receive the S2 switch command. I guess the only alternative is RTH?
     
  13. SteveMann

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    When the battery goes low it will try to return home.
     
  14. nynelyvz

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    Would Home Lock work if I fly to where I lose connection with the transmitter and it is out of site. I am thinking, no. Since it's out of range it wouldn't receive the S2 switch command. I guess the only alternative is RTH?
     
  15. nynelyvz

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    Yes that I realize. More of a loss of signal question.
     
  16. phantomguy

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  17. RoyVa

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    The key is GPS. Have to have 6 satellites or more and maintain at least 6. If those are not there. Don't Fly! With out the proper satellites you will get a lot of drifting and the bird will definitely not know where it's home is. Without GPS lock there is not RTH or failsafe function. It's to easy to loose the birds LOS when she's up there among the birds. To be truthful I can even lose here over my head sometimes and have to check the radar. Also without GPS the Find my Phantom won't be operational. Yep gotta keep those satellites in play. Add the shielding if you must and if yours stay low there are improved GPS punks available on Amazon that are cheep. Always 6+ satellites and she'll come home. If not you be posting my Phantom flew away... Sooner than later.
     
  18. MapMaker53

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    Lost due to mechanical failure is called a "fly-away". Loss due to a mistake by the pilot is called a "give-away".
     
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  19. joeztavern

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    I had the same thing happen this weekend but thank goodness I didn't loose the camera view! But started out gps mode and lost it as it got in the air!
     
  20. PeterW_R

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    The problem is the UNEXPECTED loss of satellites out of the blue. My bird went from 6+ to 4 in mid flight, without prior notice and without any source of interference whatsoever.