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Range

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by wbrownj, Oct 29, 2013.

  1. wbrownj

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    Hi all,

    I am just interested in how people deal with the range to which they feel safe to fly their Phantoms. Here are some of the sources of my confusion:

    The NAZA software has a range limit setting of 2Km (adjustable) but I have also seen posts saying that the effective safe range of the Tx is about 300-400 meters.

    Earlier today I was looking at some FPV footage on another thread in this forum and they seem to fly very long distances and over trees into other fields etc. I am guessing that they must have an IOSD or equivalent that shows them distance from home so they do not stray too far.

    So my questions are:

    1) On an un-modified Phantom 1 with the standard Tx and Rx, given a fairly open airspace (fields rather than buildings) how far is it safe to fly? Or put another way at what distance does the Tx signal start to degrade?

    2) In general, if you wanted to do FPV (5.8GHz), what sort of strength VTx (in mW) would you need in order to be in line with the distances described in question 1 above?

    Many thanks for your combined wisdom :)

    Jonathan
     
  2. Colombus

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    Location:
    Antibes, France
    Hi, based on my experience with the stock TX/RX you can reach around 500 meters with a clean LOS. You can find videos where people has reached a lot more but of course this depends on specific conditions.

    If you want to have the same reach with a vTX my experience was with immersion 250MW, it depends as well how you position the antenna to have a clear LOS.

    Currently I have a immersion 600MW vTX and I had to upgrade to a different TX/RX since my video was outperforming the control signal.

    Hope it helps.
     
  3. wbrownj

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    Many thanks Colombus that is really useful information.

    I have been thinking of fitting a Spektrum AR6200 Rx into the Phantom because I have a DX8 Tx that I use for my other craft and using a single Tx across multiple models would be good.

    J
     
  4. Colombus

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    That I think is a wise move. I had a Devo 8s and finally I decided to go for it and take out the stock RX. Being Devo TX not very well known, it was hard to find any info on the web but finally I managed.

    Now my range has improved. Something to keep in mind is to make sure that your failsafe option is working properly after you upgrade, when I complete my upgrade I switched off my TX and nothing happened on the Phantom, yellow flashing lights were not starting, meaning that RTH was not going to work (fortunately I've checked that on the ground). I had to go to the TX and set failsafe values to match with the value on my switch to activate RTH. Now this is working well.

    Have fun.

    M
     
  5. hurseyc

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    With my stock RX and TX I am able to get 1100-1200m.

    When I first got my FPV setup I flew out until I lost the feed then came back. Measured on Google Maps it was right about 1200m.

    I thought it was a fluke so I did the same thing yesterday but starting from the end point this time and coming back towards my house (where I started the other time). Made it around 1100m before I lost FPV. Turned around and came back.

    I have yet to have the Phantom go into RTH on it's own so I'm not sure what the actual range is.

    This is in a rural area with not many power lines and I start up high enough to basically have LOS the whole time.

    Note - 1st time was firmware 3.14, yesterday was 4.02.
     
  6. wbrownj

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    I really appreciate all the help. It is very useful to learn from other people's experience.

    Does anyone know what is the max power VTx I can have at 5.8Ghz without requiring any license or anything. I live in London England.

    Thanks again

    J
     
  7. wbrownj

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    I was just wondering if anyone can offer a link to a video or web page that steps you through this process. It would be a great help as I am not too savvy with such things :oops:

    Thanks in advance.

    J
     
  8. fizzviic

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    I am curious. What is the preoccupation with range? Is it something like "My pickup truck has bigger tires than yours"? Is there some sort of trophy of which I am unaware?

    I keep seeing posts regarding the need to fly to extreme distances or heights. What am I missing? I know that when George Leigh Mallory was asked about his obsession to conquer Mr. Everest, he simply said, "Because it is there!" I might point out he died in his last attempt 75 years ago and his body wasn't found until 1999.

    If there was a valid reason to risk a thousand buck (more or less) worth of gear I could understand it.

    Please enlighten me...
     
  9. martcerv

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    I like to test my setups range in fairly safe controlled flights, this way I know what I can easily expect in more adventurous flying later on that I like to do. Knowing what sort of range I get in clear los and behind some obstructions then makes it much easier to fly in more reasonable limits without needing to worry about losing radio or video. However this can still happen due to unforseen issues but practicing at the limits of range while expecting to maybe lose the radios makes it much less of a surprise if you ever happen to get control glitches or drop the video feed in general flying.

    If you have no idea what your range and battery life is then one day you may be flying along in fpv and lose video. This may come as a bit of a shock and it can happen very close due to radio interferance having already dealt with it a few times in the past I think I would handle it better then someone that has never done so. Also all my range tests have been done after thoroughly checking battery life and ensuring I use less then 2/3 of max battery to get back to me on longer flights. I may oush boundaries but I dont want to lose my setup and with well over 250 flights I have never not brought it home except on ocassions where I got a little too close to trees or the ground but those were calculated risks that went bad due to a misjudgment on my part.
     
  10. fizzviic

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    I can understand your reasoning martcerv. Due to age, the primary concern of mine is how far away I can SEE the bird and that is far far less than what it used to be and so much less than the range of my TX. As far as time is concerned, I have timed flights at various weights and degrees of raping and fairly extreme direction changes, speed, etc. so i have a simple kitchen timer velcroed to my TX.
     
  11. syotr

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    I recently did a range test with my phantom using stock radio and 600mw FPV transmitter. I flew up from my driveway, over a bunch of trees and out of sight over a field that I knew was nearly half a mile (by jogging along the roads.) At some point the FPV signal started to break up and I turned around and headed home. When I got back over my neighborhood, I could not see the Phantom and started to get concerned. The FPV camera was pointed down at about 45 degrees so it was hard to tell what was directly under the phantom. I could not hear it either. I switched to home lock and pulled back on the right stick while attempting to descend. It took a long time to come into view and finally arrived descending fast with red lights flashing. I was able to hover and catch by hand.
    Evidently, I was continuously ascending as I flew away, even though I thought I had leveled off, and I ended up much higher than I expected to be. The wide angle lens of the GoPro and tilt angle that it was set at made it difficult to tell the height from the FPV monitor. Looking at the area on Google Maps, I expect that I was at least 600 meters away as the crow (or Phantom) flies. I am sure the distance was much greater considering the altitude.
    I have not traveled beyond range of the remote or tested the RTH feature.
     
  12. wbrownj

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    Oh boy... I understand that one. I have pretty problematic eyes myself and so it is not really a case of 'mine is further away than yours'. I was asking more in the context of possibly trying FPV which would LET you fly further while still being able to see.
    The last thing you would want is a VTx that is still going strong as you fly out of the range of the phantom Tx.

    Hence my interest in range.

    J
     
  13. fizzviic

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    I am thinking along the same lines regarding an FPV, especially to see and frame the image I want.

    I was just getting tired of people posting (boasting maybe) about how far or how high they could fly their Phantom, other than "they can"!
     
  14. jonysan

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    Hi Syotr

    Interesting to read your message about gaining height when flying FPV. are you using the earlier non centralising throttle Tx, or the later version with the spring?
    With the earlier version I was giving the Phantom a bit of extra height at any time when I wasn't directly looking at it in the sky, figuring I'm not going to hit anything up there! with the later version I can set a height and nearly forget about it, although I still find coming back down takes longer than I thought
    I just found the spring loaded version, cut down on the roller coaster ride I was giving the Phantom.
    Better range using the standard Tx then we expected!
     
  15. miskatonic

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    Get an IOSD Mini and PMU. When you record a home point in the Phantom's GPS it will show up as a diamond in the display. All you have to do is turn the Phantom in the direction of the arrows and fly in the direction of the diamond. It will even show you distance to the home point.
     
  16. Driffill

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    I've been to much of a wuss to test out my range, but last weekend while I was recording footage for the car meet, I was looking out over the lake/dam wondering how far it was to the waters edge from where we were. I wanted to start the video with a shot of the phantom flying toward the park we had the meeting in, from out over water. I gave it a shot, but the second I lost LOS (trees) I freaked out a little and looked at the FPV monitor, then I noticed the slightest bit of static so I decided to turn back (I was scared lol). If I had done more testing like martcerv I probably would have had alot more confidence to travel out over the water.

    Turns out the waters edge was only ~450m from where I was standing, and I didn't even make it to the water! Footage was still ok tho :)
     
  17. wbrownj

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    I would be the same. We invest so much in these toys that the idea of losing/crashing/not being in control is truly frightening. And then your hands start to tremble which makes you tense which makes it worse.

    Mind you, when I flew helis it was worse because, in general, they are much more skittish.

    J
     
  18. martcerv

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    Hehe my eyesight sucks but is great with contact lenses ;) , playing lots of golf and getting used to following a golf ball at 300m away the phantom is a little easier to see then a ball. I fly with the screen so I can also maintain LOS and with the OSD I have a pretty good idea of where I am relative to me so picking it out even 100m up and 700m away is possible though its pretty small at that distance. Without contac lenses id be flying LOS not much outside of my own backyard. :lol:
     
  19. syotr

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    Jonysan,
    Yes I am using the older transmitter. This was my first long distance FPV flight. I have a lot to learn.
     
  20. fizzviic

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    I sure wish contact lenses would help. I used to fly (real stuff) with them and they were wonderful. Unfortunately now I have age-related cataracts and foggy lenses, so my next purchase for which I am now saving, is an artificial eyesight system, otherwise known by it's acronym - FPV! :lol: