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Nearly lost Phantom 2, expectations and advise?

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by macheung, Feb 2, 2014.

  1. macheung

    Dec 10, 2013
    Likes Received:
    Want to describe my experience so far with the Black Pearl on a Phantom 2 with IRC 600mW and feels a little underwhelmed with the results. Perhaps the folks here can set my expectations straight or offer some advise to improve things.

    I almost lost my Phantom 2 today and it saved itself using RTH when it went out of video range sooner than I expect and then drifted out of radio range with the wind.

    Phantom 2
    IRC 600mW on Channel 3
    Tx Antenna Spironet Omin V2 SMA, mounted at the rear pointed down with bend in antenna stock
    Black Pearl receiver & monitor, 2 x Spironet Omni V2 RP-SMA (one pointed 45 degree forward, another pointing up), Band F Channel 3

    -3C with 10-20km/h winds
    Suburbia neighborhood

    I had the Phantom and monitor for almost 2 months but due to antenna mismatch issues, RP vs SMA, RHCP vs LHCP didn't get it going under recently.

    Today, I went to my neighborhood part and did a flight. It took off fine and flew nicely around the area and I decided to take it off further. I was flying it downwind with LOS about 400m away at altitude of 50m and the video started to breakup. I turned it around to face me and the video completely cut out (signal blocked by gimbal?). I then turned the craft so it facing away from me to regain video (barely) and then increased altitude to about 80m to get better LOS. I was flying ATTI all this time and the craft drifted another maybe 200-300m downwind away from me while I was struggling with the video (must be winder at 80m up high). At that point, video became real iffy again so I flipped to GPS mode to hold position to reduce drift. From the iOSD display, I noticed that the craft wasn't very responsive and the artificial horizon is tilling left and right up to 30-40 degrees in an unnatural way. That is about the last thing I saw before the display went to all static... I flipped it on fail safe mode and prepared to kiss the $1.5k setup good bye...

    Thinking it is still in the air somewhere down range, I hope in my truck and drove, hoping to pick up a video signal. A km or so down the road, the monitor flickered on with the P2 in GHome mode, slowly making its way back at about 5m/s (is it always that slow or is it the wind?). Luckily, it still had about 65% battery left when I lost contact and it amazingly when right back to the spot and landed with about 40% battery remaining with me standing right by watching (yes, I was littering chasing the thing from the ground). This is my first and only "test" of the RTH fail-safe. It is pretty much a do or die situation for the P2.

    When I went home and looked at the video, it looks like the winds carried it far away before RTH was activated, up to about 1.4km

    Timeline of critical events
    Video break facing away around 400m LOS
    Video total lost facing me well before 400m LOS to craft
    Video total lost facing away at 700m LOS
    RC TX control lost somewhere after 700m cant really tell, but control was iffy at 700m
    RTH kicked in around 1400m down range and returned to land successful

    For the experts here:
    Is this what I should have expected, and the next step is to get direction antenna and maybe WiFi booster to add a measure of safety?
    Or... that I am doing something wrong with the setup and it should do a lot better than what I am getting. Does channel selection matter? Is my equipment defective in any way? How do I test it out? Note that I heard tried a mismatch CP antenna set earlier (RHCP TX + LHCP RX) and the result isn't much worse, leading me to think that something is wrong, but then again, I don't much experience in LR FPV at all so I can't really tell.

    Any experience or advise would be appreciated.
  2. Big Ben

    Jan 17, 2014
    Likes Received:
    Seriously? :roll: You are going to deny us the pleasure of watching that video? :cool:

    No, no, no, no, nooooo.... :geek: you won't get away with this that easily. :mrgreen:

    Vids or it didn't happen. :D
  3. rfernandez

    Jan 20, 2014
    Likes Received:
    While we wait for the video of your demise, I posted my story with pictures cause the video sits at the bottom of the cruise line channel in 70 foot water along with the P2V otherwise we would have been able to figure out what caused the flyaway.
    Now always perform a preflight checklist to include the batteries in the transmitter. (You'd Be surprised how many people for get that important detail.) Never wait for the red light and sound to tell you have a dead battery, When in doubt change them out.