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Professional Significant Decrease In Range

Discussion in 'Phantom 3 Help' started by tcope, Aug 17, 2016.

  1. tcope

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    I've seen a lot of discussion about this for the Standard but not the Advance or Professional.

    I have always been able to get 8000' video range. However, around 2 firmware updates ago my video range has been reduced to 2000 at best. The video starts to drop out there just pixilates to where I can't fly any further. If I turn the drone I might get another 100' but not much more. Last weekend I took it out to an area where there was no wifi or cell service. Same thing... 2000' distance. I can't imagine anything that would cause this other then a bad firmware update. I don't see that an IMU calibration would make a difference but I'll do it anyway. Are other people having this same issue? Is this widespread?

    I read another thread where the person removed the VPS module and removed and plugged back in the antenna wires. I'll try this as well. Thanks
     
  2. flpholt

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    that sucks sounds like firmware problem
     
  3. captainmilehigh

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    I tend to agree @flpholt. When I went to FW 1.6.80 on my P3S my distance greatly decreased. So I went back to the 1.5.70 and the flight distance went back to average. Then I added the Itelite DBS that many recommended (like you) and get at least 2 miles on a good day. I think hell will freeze over before I update the firmware again.




    Sent from my iPad using PhantomPilots
     
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  4. flpholt

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    I never due them anymore just ignore message
     
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  5. tcope

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    Did an IMU calibration and that did not help. Here is a quick video of the issue that I threw together:

     
  6. tcope

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    I've tried a few things. I went out in the mountains, about 20 miles away from anything. So no radio interference. I used a 32GB card (something like 60Mbs) and downgraded the firmware to xxx. I got out to 7200' which is much better than I was getting and around my best flights of 8000. I then upgraded to the latest firmware and flew out to 7200'. Again, good. I then used a 64GB card and it flew to about 7000'. I'd consider that the same.

    The only other thing I did was open the VPS system and wiggle the antenna connections. I don't think that changed anything.

    I flew the P3 today in a local park and got to 3700' before the RC signal dropped and it started RTH. I few my P4 out and got around the same distance. I've flown to 6000' in this area with my P3 in the past. I then flew my P4 out again and switched to Auto channel mode. I had been on custom and using channel 20 which showed nothing. I also angled the antenna about 30 degrees away from the P4. I got better signal doing this. Then the signal got good no matter what way I pointed the antenna and I few out to about 6000'.

    Here is what I think _might_ have happened. If you use auto channel mode will it change channels as needed? If so, perhaps it changed to a better channel. I was hovering for about 30 seconds before the signal went back to perfect.
     
  7. Dronason

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    Channel auto/custom affect only the video feedback. There is no control for the remote control and telemetry feedback, it is always "auto".
    Usually what affect the most remote control signal are tree/vegetation or anything making you not seeing the P3. Sometimes moving a few feet laterally can improve or making the P3 going a little left or right to restore the "visual" link, at least for radio waves.
     
  8. Christoph559

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    Same here my distance is cut in half with the newest FW. Not to mention the problems I have with no image transmission and sd card woes after update
     
  9. tcope

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    Makes sense that it's video only. When the RC drops completely I still have 100% signal on video. This does not seem right. The video above shows this and it's what always happens now. Before I'd get artifacting/pixilation in the video that would increase before the RC signal dropped. Now it's pretty much perfect video and then RC drops to nothing.

    The antenna at pointed up, at 90 degrees to the Phantom. I've even tried them at many other angles (and an offset to the side of about 30 degrees appears to give the best results). The controller is fully charged as well. I'm flying in places where I've been able to get 6000' and only get 3700' now. I've tried this with the P3 as well as a P4 with the same results (so I don't think it's the aircraft hardware).

    As I got to 6000' yesterday, I got to 7000' in the mountains and because I've not seen too many other people complain about the same limitations, I don't know what it is.

    I gave it some thought today. There is a freq range on the RC so I'm thinking it probably can change channels automatically? I wonder if the firmware might control that. Perhaps that is screwed up.

    I think my only choice is to call DJI and let them know of the issue. However, I have a feeling Id be wasting my breath.
     
  10. tcope

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    It seems to me like an obvious problem when the video sign can be at full bars and I'm losing RC connection completely.
     
  11. Dronason

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    They are different firmware, are you using same Remote Control for both of them ?
    From the video, where you staying behind the big tree ? There was also a series of tree on the right at some distance. Vegetation like to absorb such micro waves, especially if they have humidity in or over them. This can change according to season and weather. Maybe they were in the path between RC and the P3. That can give completely random effect. A day it is ok and another day after a rain or high increase in humidity, the vegetation will absorb a lot more.
    As you get the expected range in the mountain it should not be the P3 itself.
     
  12. tcope

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    No, different RC's for each. The RC's that came with each of them respective.

    No tress or anything between me and the drone. If I could see 3700' (or 6000') I would have been able to see the Phantom with normal sight. I flew yesterday at 400'.

    Humidity is always the same, around 20%. I've also tried this in several different locations. If I could normally fly to 8000' and it was reduced to 6000, I'd be perfectly fine. But to have the RC drop signal at 2700-3000'? That is just crazy. My P2v with boosted Wifi flies almost that far. Also, the video is 100% when the RC signal drops.
     
  13. Dronason

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    It is true that it is uncommon. Usually you loose first the video and later the RC connection, but the opposite can happen. In such case what can be done is:
    - Increase altitude (what you have done)
    - Try to move your self in order to have a "virtual" (it is too fare) view to the P3
    - Try to the P3 to rotate so its antenna orientation change. It can also improve this "line of sight".
     
  14. tcope

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    I've done all of those things. I have more video from yesterday but have not downloaded and edited it yet. Once I was at 3700' and the RC signal started to drop I rotated the aircraft to all angles (and paused). Nothing changed the terrible signal. I then turned the RC at several different angles to the aircraft. When I was at 30 degree the signal shot up to 100%. I then started to fly it further. While doing this I turned the RC back at the aircraft and all different directions. The signal stayed at 100%. I then got to 6000' or so before I lost signal again. This is why I thought perhaps the channel changed while I was paused and the signal got better. But I'd think that would happen within a few seconds, not 30-60 seconds. I'm going to do some more testing but almost every time I've only been able to get to 2700' or so. I also don't see why I'd get to 2700' and then the next flight, exactly the same, I manage to get to 6000'.
     
  15. Dronason

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    Maybe somebody plays with a big 30W Wifi amplifier to control his drone in the surrounding. When you read some threads on this forum you can be surprise.
    Also sometimes small change in position make just the path to the P3 more direct, especially when there are tree in the area.
    Can you try to start from a place where you will be sure to have a ligne of sight between you P3 and the drone?
     
  16. tcope

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  17. tcope

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    So this past weekend I drove out on the Pony Express Trail in Utah to get away from any possible interference. I drove up a bluff that was about 70' high. This area has _nothing_ in it except ATVs and people shooting guns (there is no shortage of others of these). I'd say I was about 20 miles away from even the smallest of towns.

    20150829_151657.jpg

    Flew the P4 out first. I got some strange glitches in the video a couple of times. It just flicked off and then on for a second but neither signal dropped below the full bars. I flew out to 14,000'. I could have gone further but I did not see the need. I then flew the P3 in the same location. I got out to 8200' and the controller signal started to drop. I've only ever been out to 8000' before so this was the furthest I had flown.

    I was _very_ pleased with both flights. However, I'm still a little puzzled about my flights elsewhere. I can only think it was radio interference that was causing the issue. However, one of the places I flew was about 17 miles from any city:

    upload_2016-8-29_9-57-12.png

    I can't imagine that there would be any interference at that location.
     
  18. Dronason

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    If you would have the possibility to swap your RC (P3 <> P4) for a test that could give some indication.
    You can also try to downgrade your P3 to the version same or older than the one you observed a difference and see if you will retrieve the range you expect.
    By the way, what model of RC do you have? There are GL-300A, GL-300B and GL-300C model.