Welcome to PhantomPilots.com

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

Quick Thoughts if your getting started with GS

Discussion in 'DJI Ground Station' started by Buckaye, Jan 19, 2015.

  1. Buckaye

    Joined:
    Aug 24, 2014
    Messages:
    1,557
    Likes Received:
    420
    Location:
    Orlando
    Hey there -

    I just thought I would jot some quick tips for those just starting with (or thinking about getting) the DJI groundstation (GS) - I have the ipad version and fly it on my Phantom 2 Non-vision wih HD3D gimbal and Gopro 3+

    1. I didn't find this particularly clear in the instructions - but you MUST have your regular controller ON to connect to the GS. The GS doesn't replace your controller.
    2. Some people will shut off their controller once the GS had loaded the mission to the Phantom and it starts to fly. I do not. I prefer to keep my controller ON so I can quickly take control of the Phantom should I realize something about the waypoint course I selected is not ideal.
    3. If you need to take control of the Phantom switching S1 to Atti will interrupt the mission - once you have control, you can flip back to GPS and manually fly it and even still use the Go Home button on the GS.
    4. LOSING CONNECTION between the GS and the Phantom is NOT A DISASTER - It happens. The Phantom does not need constant connection with the GS to continue its mission because all the info is loaded into the Phantom before the flight. Basically once the Phantom is in flight - it just pings the Ipad with flight data... and it doesn't get upset if the ipad doesn't answer (unlike your significant other) Don't panic, the GS will either find the signal again on it's own... or of you're really impatient - you can use the search for controller function. It's frustrating to be sure - and lots of people (including myself) feel that it looses connection more often than it should... but just know that it is not a panic situation.
    5. WAIT for home to be established - (this is true when not flying with the GS - but on the GS there is no excuse because home will show up on the map when it's established!) - you can change the home-point with the GS app which is convenient.
    6. You CAN let the Phantom take off and land via the GS. Recognize that Home is within a 10 meter radius of the homepoint... so unless you are in a paved parking lot - you might want to grab control of the Phantom and land it yourself. But... I have let it land - it works.
    7. I suggest creating a start and end waypoint close to your launching point and set the altitude you want for both. I like to get it to a safe height and then head to the first "real" waypoint - just a preference. What I like about the last waypoint over my head is, I can either choose to press go home, or take control and land.
    8. Battery - The GS doesn't consider your Battery or the wind. So remember - on long flights the wind may affect your ability to return home... keep that in mind.

    I hope this helps - feel free to tell me if I messed up anywhere... but this is stuff I have read or discovered on my own using the GS for the past 6 months.

    EDIT: after a little debate - I am going to go and double check my info on altitude before I re-post it - I cut it out here to ensure I am not inadvertently providing incorrect info. As I said - just trying to help and if someone sees errors - feel free to chime in.
     
  2. JTBernier

    Joined:
    Dec 2, 2014
    Messages:
    22
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Alpharetta, GA
    All excellent tips! I especially endorse the idea of the start and end waypoints being close to HomePoint. The other thing to note, at least it's my experience, is when creating missions, the default appears to be to Loop the mission. Fine if that's what you want, but it could get your heart pumping if you're expecting it to stop and hover on the last waypoint.

    Also, when it completes the mission, flying to the last waypoint (unless you're in Loop), the Phantom will just hover. You can't program it to auto land. You'd have to do that through the GS app or manually take control. I prefer manual landings for the reasons Buckaye pointed out.
     
  3. Buckaye

    Joined:
    Aug 24, 2014
    Messages:
    1,557
    Likes Received:
    420
    Location:
    Orlando
    Thanks!

    Yes - looping is the default... and I switch that off in most flights. Not sure of the reason they made this the default.. it feels like you'd want to have to set that :)
     
  4. DanGC

    Joined:
    Jan 1, 2015
    Messages:
    6
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Gold Coast, Australia
    Thanks for posting this up. I haven't used GS yet but was wondering about the altitude settings when setting waypoints.

    So just to clarify, the actual distance to ground at any said waypoint is irrelevant, it just relies on actual altitude (height from sealevel)?

    For example, I am 400m above sea level and want to fly into a canyon 200m deep but stay above my homepoint height, as long as each waypoint is over 400m Altitude the Phantom will not drop?

    I hope that question is clear :/
     
  5. JTBernier

    Joined:
    Dec 2, 2014
    Messages:
    22
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Alpharetta, GA

    Altitude is always height above Home Point. Home Point is always 0m altitude. Everything else is relative to that. So if at the rim of the canyon you initialize your Phantom (power up and establish Home Point) and fly 10m above HP and out over the canyon, your altitude is still 10m.
     
  6. DanGC

    Joined:
    Jan 1, 2015
    Messages:
    6
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Gold Coast, Australia
    Certainly not picking on the OP but are these points are incorrect?

    I wouldn't want to stuff up the waypoint heights as that could be catastrophic :shock:


    8. ALTITUDE #1- Altitude is set when the Phantom establishes home - and THAT altitude is the reference point for which all other altitudes are measured. So- say your Phantom says "YO - I am 20 feet up" when it is sitting at the home point... if you program 30 feet as your first waypoint... the Phantom will rise 10 ft (not 30).

    10. ALTITUDE #3 - Remember that whole "altitude is set at it's home point and it uses that altitude as it's reference point" thing?? Yeah... so that means if you are flying at a mountain... the Phantom doesn't care or know. You need to adjust the height of the waypoint to ensure it will clear the mountain in relationship to your starting altitude. So if you're at 100 ft to start... and the mountain is 350 feet higher than your starting point... you need to program 450 ft (100+350) to get to the top... plus any buffer you'd like to add.

    11. ALTITUDE #4 - I have NOT tested this... because I live in Florida and anything lower than me is in the ocean :) But I have read many people state that you can take off from an elevated position and fly lower than your start point by entering a negative value for altitude (again... your starting point is the reference) and it will fly down into a valley. The important part is to remember to bring it back to higher than your starting point to get it to safely return. so if you start at 100 feet... you can fly it off a cliff and set a waypoint at -50 ft and it will drop down into a valley... but when you return you want to make sure you ADD the height needed to keep it high enough for the return (so if 100 is the height on the ground... something like 150 ft as a way point for your return... that way it's 50 ft above you when it comes back) SOMEBODY TELL ME IF i AM WRONG ON THIS - AS I SAID I HAVE NOT BEEN ABLE TO VERIFY.
     
  7. Buckaye

    Joined:
    Aug 24, 2014
    Messages:
    1,557
    Likes Received:
    420
    Location:
    Orlando
    I'm going to go double check these points... as now I am questioning my memory of what I've seen/experienced. In fact - I'll pull the altitude stuff down until I verify...
     
  8. DanGC

    Joined:
    Jan 1, 2015
    Messages:
    6
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Gold Coast, Australia
    No worries Buckaye, can anyone else comment/verify exactly how this works?
     
  9. JTBernier

    Joined:
    Dec 2, 2014
    Messages:
    22
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Alpharetta, GA
    My experience (empirical) is this: When you power up the Phantom and let it establish Home Point (fast blinking green lights), that elevation becomes 0 (zero) altitude. All subsequent altitudes are reported RELATIVE to Home Point. The Phantom barometric pressure to calculated altitude.

    What I have not tested is what happens to the altitude measurement if you establish a new Home Point in flight - in other words, you fly out to a point and hover and perform three or four quick switches of SW2. My presumption is that it would establish that altitude as zero and everything subsequent is relative to that. But as I said, I've never tested it since the only time I reset the Home Point in flight was to test the function itself. I've never had a need to do it during a normal flight.

    So all that being said, if the actual elevation of Home Point is 300m AMSL, and at takeoff you fly the Phantom to an altitude of 30m above Home Point, your altitude AMSL is 330m. If you move laterally out, say 100m, over a canyon where the floor below the Phantom is 200m AMSL, the Phantom still reports it's altitude as being 30m - despite the fact that it is actually 130m above ground and still 330m AMSL.

    My practice is to look at terrain maps so that I'm familiar with the approximate changes in ground elevations relative to my take off point (which is always my Home Point). Something else I'll do if maps aren't readily available is to fly straight up, watching my video, until I can see all potential obstacles are below my horizon. If the trees and such are below my horizon, then my altitude above Home Point is a safe altitude for my waypoint settings.
     
  10. DanGC

    Joined:
    Jan 1, 2015
    Messages:
    6
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Gold Coast, Australia
    Ok, thanks for the info.

    I'll test this out in slightly safer spots than the canyon before I fly there.

    If by chance I have a crash in the canyon there will be no chance of retrieval, that's why I want to make sure I know what I'm doing first! haha
     
  11. amorrison

    Joined:
    Sep 20, 2014
    Messages:
    32
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Atlanta, GA
    One more point (from personal experience) -if you lose GPS lock in the middle of the flight nothing works, not go-home, not home lock, and the mission stops. The bird just wanders around as it hunts for direction. Make sure you have a good satellite count, and a stable one. If it re-acquires a good count it will continue with the mission.