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P3S range : impact of trees?

Discussion in 'Standard/4k Discussion' started by julien92, Apr 10, 2016.

  1. julien92

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    Hi all,

    I just want to share my personnal experience as regards the range of my P3S, and the factors that could influence on it, and more precisely : trees.

    I've noticed that when flying on a very opened area, like a field, with absolutely no tree at proximity, I can reach the best range possible : approximately 400m long/150m high, which is what mostly P3S owners get (I just can't understand how several P3S owners manage to go much further in CE mode (like 1000m or so), but that's an other question ;)

    But when flying in an opened area bordered by trees (like in a wood, where there is a little area without trees but just simply grass), my range will radically be redcued : I never manage to go further than approximately only 120m long, and 80m high, which is a bit annoying.

    It's a bit as if the trees would "absorb" the wifi signal and reduce its strength...

    Of course, the range we can obtain can vary a lot from one place to another, depending of possible interferences, power lines, close proximity of cities and so on.

    But as regards my case, I think both areas seems to be the same : far away from city, no power lines, etc... so equal as regards the interferences... the ONLY difference I can imagine between both areas is the presence of the trees.

    Is that particular impact of trees something you've also noticed about the range?

    According to my personnal experience, that seems obvious. But I'd like to know if I'm the only one, or if other pilots have encountered the same behaviour and conclusion :)

    Thanks a lot for your feedback!

    Regards,
    Julien
     
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  2. LuvMyTJ

    LuvMyTJ ADMINISTRATOR
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    It is a pleasure to welcome you to the Phantom Pilots forum. I hope that you will take advantage of the benefits that come with membership and that you will be able to use the forum for the exchange of innovative ideas and as a resource for current developments in Phantom quadcopter’s.

    I was able to go 4000' so far with my P3S. Others have gone 6000' and up to 10,000'. There seems to be large differences to the P3S line.

    Trees will definitely shorten your range as they absorb radio frequencies, and pine & cypress trees are the worst. In the 1960's Motorola discovered that the pine tree needles were absorbing the r.f. When the system had been installed in the winter the "sap" was not a factor in the needles. However, as spring approached the needles started absorbing the r.f. The result was that as the sap "rose" the r.f. got more and more attenuated. So avoid trees, buildings or anything that will block LOS to your aircraft.
     
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  3. CaptainDrone798

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    DJI has put out info on this in the past. Basicly wifi is affected by objects the signal can't pass through (buildings, boulders, hills, etc) and objects that contain moisture (trees, leaves, tall grass, etc).
     
  4. SamNetwork

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    The best way to extend your range with or without trees is using a windsurfer range extender. You can make one for about 5¢.
    I'll send you a link on how to make one if you like.
     
  5. julien92

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    Thanks a lots LuvMyTJ and CaptainDrone798 for your quick answers.
    That point is VERY interesting and I would like to understand it a bit more.

    I'm sorry if my following question will seem a bit "stupid" but I just would like to fully understand that type of situation.
    It is clear that if there are some trees between the RC and the drone, the strengh of the wifi signal will be reduced. Of course, the more obstacles the signal go through, the more the signal is attenuated. That seems obvious.
    But in my case, I'm describing a situation where there is NO obstacles bewteen the drone and me.
    To describe it schematically, let's say I find myself in the bottom of a circle of a radius of 40-50m, where the trees are that circle. And the drone is flying in front of me, that means into that circle. That means I have trees just behind me (but these are not in the direct way to the drone), and other at distance of 80-100m, just under the drone that is flying above, at 70-80m.
    Trees do never represent a direct obstacle between the drone and me.

    So just to understand : in that situation, does the wifi signal also get absorbed by the trees, even if they are not in the way beween the RC and the drone?

    SamNetwork : thanks for your anwser. As regards the windsurfer, I already thought about it, but am just wondering about one point : I think the windsurfer only extends the range of the antenna. And this antenna is only used for controlling the drone. Whereas in my case, I always first loose the video signal, but still keep the control of the drone. So I think, adding a windsurfer will not help me, if I'm correct.
    But thanks a lot anyway!! :)

    Regards,
    Julien
     
  6. SamNetwork

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    Well, unless there are trees blocking your LOS with the drone, there should be minimal interference, HOWEVER, the WIFi operates on a 2.4GHZ frequency, which is a very turbulent frequency. Microwaves, cell tower, 2-way radios and other RF-emitting devices can interfere with your RC's and Quad's 2.4GHZ video downlink signals. A windsurfer WILL help the range of both your Controlling signals (5.6GHZ) and WiFi Video Downlink (2.4GHZ) signals. I recommend you make one. At 5¢ apiece, you really cannot go wrong.
     
  7. SamNetwork

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    Now, if you lose sight with your Phantom, flipping S1 3 times up and down will initiate a Failsafe RTH, and if you flip S2 up and down 3 times you will initiate Smart RTH.
    Refer to the manual for more info.
    Go to PG 11-14 for more RTH Info.
    Go to PG 23 for more S1/S2 Info.
     
  8. LuvMyTJ

    LuvMyTJ ADMINISTRATOR
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    The P3S is different from the P3A/P. A windsurfer would only help the control side (a P3S only has one external antenna). The FPV is handled by 2 internal panels. That is why many people go with the DBS panel antenna as it moves all antennas to the outside.
     
  9. SamNetwork

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    Yeah, that kinda stinks that the FPV is internal. LOL I see why the P3A/P3Ps have better controllers. But a windsurfer is still recommended...as long as you don't cover the internal FPV antennas.

    I see you are an AMA member! So am I! ;):cool:

    The best way to avoid trees is maxing out your altitude. Gives you the best reception as really nothing would be in your way unless you were in the California Redwood forests or somethin'.
     
  10. julien92

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    Seems theorically clear. But in my case, due to the fact there are trees around, the max altitude I could reach was 70-80m.
    In an area without trees around, I manage to get more than 150m high (did it just a few hours ago ;)
     
  11. SamNetwork

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    Interesting...can't wait to get a P3S!
     
  12. SamNetwork

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    LOL, I still don't have the $$$ tho. :D
     
  13. AgnotGT

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    Until I read your post I only worried about hitting them or loss of connection behind them.

    Nothing I can add about distance, no wide open space yet, but I have concern about getting out of the LOS. Most I have ventured so far is about 550ft (167m) out and 360ft (110m) high. Here at home I would like to explore outside of my narrow LOS window; but still worried..... Trees? What trees.

    No control or video loss so far. I don't have GPS until I reach & hover @ 75ft or so.

    Trees 1.JPG

    .
     
  14. captainmilehigh

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    My backyard is similar to AgnotGT, maybe not as thick. I too am staying LOS while feeling out the characteristics of my P3S around mostly pines and oaks.


    Sent from my iPad using PhantomPilots mobile app
     
  15. Sabalon

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    Manual says the S1 is used to regain control of the craft during a failsafe, not to trigger a failsafe. I don't think there is a difference between failsafe RTH and Smart RTH, other than one is triggered by signal loss and the other is manually initiated.
     
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  16. SamNetwork

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    Well, S2 is the recommended RTH option.
     
  17. Squirrel!

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    Honestly, 1500' is nothing. I have trees all around and I regularly get 2000-3000 feet with my P3s, no mods what-so-ever. Except the Inspire tablet mount. My best distance was just slightly over 5000 feet.
     
  18. captainmilehigh

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    That's good to know Squirrel. But, I think I'll stay in LOS until I'm used to it around here in the woods (home). I'd hate to lose this P3S to a pine tree. Thanks for the tip.


    Sent from my iPad using PhantomPilots mobile app
     
  19. Squirrel!

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    Absolutely. I kept mine on 'Beginner' for the 1st 2 weeks I had mine. I too have the same fear of trees. You need to set the RTH altitude to higher than the trees. Then you have way less worry. The biggest thing to watch is battery power, to make sure you don't wait too long to bring her home...and this goes equally for line of sight flying.

    I do not regularly fly beyond line of sight. But to check the capabilities, in order to know what it can and cannot do, you have to push the envelope a bit. Every good pilot should know his machines capabilities, in my honest opinion.
     
  20. SamNetwork

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    If you were filming near a hill and your RTH took you past the hill would it crash it into the hill?