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The Poster Child for a GPS Tracker

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by BuzzBuzzZoomZoom, Nov 8, 2014.

  1. BuzzBuzzZoomZoom

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    Whew! My GPS Tracker paid for itself today. What a day.

    I went to a new place, at the juncture of two rivers, with a gorgeous Line of Sight in all directions to have some fun and to check out my ranges before my Stage 4 gets here on Monday. (Yay FPVLR!)

    I went out with two batteries before this run, I was getting about 1700-1800 feet until the 2.4 and the 5.8 were cutting out almost simultaneously...RTH worked fine, and she'd come puttering back like normal. Life was good!

    Until!

    I went to go across to the other shore at the beginning of my third battery...I was paying attention to my distance...1800...1900...2000...wow! (Great for stock...no booster app) Oh, trees...maybe, need some altitude just in case...video static, cuts off. I throttle up and give right lateral inputs to try and stay from above a house, and clear the trees. I flip the failsafe. I hear from my location that the buzz changes to a more measured tone, so I was happy, it had gone into failsafe fine. Then 10 seconds later...no buzz. Ummmm. Nothing...the seconds pass. I am freaked out.

    I wait maybe 2 minutes out of sheer hope that maybe I went deaf or something. I check the "Find my Phantom" in the app...the location it shows is on the water. My heart drops.

    I pop open my GPS tracker that I installed on a leg of the bird, and the fix showed it supposedly in the yard of the house across the river. Thank goodness for that, or I'd of assumed the "Find my Phantom" was right and it was lost in the water.

    I put the location in my car GPS, and the drive to get there was nearly an hour!!! Ugh.
    So, I ended up driving there, freaked out the whole time...it was in the exact spot that the GPS Tracker has said it was...within 1 foot or less. I couldn't be more happy.

    So...this is my "HOORAY FOR GPS TRACKERS" thread. For what it's worth, mine is a Trackimo...but I'm sure any other brand of tracker would have done fine in this situation also...so I'd rather tout a tracker generically, than specifically the Trackimo.

    It appears the P2V+ DID go into failsafe and started heading back, but it just auto-landed shortly after. It wasn't the battery...I'd just taken off, and the battery was still at 50% an hour later when I got to it, sitting in standby mode without the engines running.
    I'm going to assume that the satellite count dropped to below 6 on the way back, and it forgot where home was...so it executed the land at location feature.

    Here's the video...is that about what it looks like happened? (Loss of gps sats leading to autoland)
    http://youtu.be/4V57gN31sSA

    Lessons learned? No more going out of 5.8 or 2.4 range on purpose. I'm grounding myself until I get the Stage 4 installed, so I can be confident I can keep control at all times via FPV. Like my video shows, you never know when you may lose gps sats. (It was very clear, and I was at 10-ish sats when I took off with that battery)
     
  2. saltire

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    Glad you got it back but i thought it should have stored your home point and still returned home irrespective if you lost sats !.
     
  3. BuzzBuzzZoomZoom

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    If it loses sats on a RTH, it doesn't know where IT is, so it lands in place.
     
  4. MikeON

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    It sounds like you may have the same early autolanding issue others have had. Mine recently started to autoland with 43% battery remaining just above some 100' trees. The warning sound was playing and I noticed altitude going down. I realized what was happening in time to over-ride it and bring to a safe landing. It was about 300' from home point. I called DJI - they said send it in. Just got it back with a new battery and a few other fixes. Haven't tried it since due to weather. Early this year I was having the same issue with the same battery.
     
  5. fitzloff

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    Which gps tracker was this?
     
  6. fastsmiles

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    Wow, really lucky to stay on dry land. Hve you slown with the same battery since?
     
  7. tgreenstone

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  8. BuzzBuzzZoomZoom

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    No, I'm grounding myself until the stage 4 comes in. I don't have any compunctions about flying with that battery, though. It was still recording video after the hour it took to get to it and had about 50 percent battery power left so I don't think the battery was the issue at all.
     
  9. tgreenstone

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    Besides it saving you this time, how are you liking the tracimo? I see it's $100 with 1 yr sub and $5 a month after. Worth it? How do you have it mounted?

    Thanks!
     
  10. MadMitch88

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    Great story about the recovery of your bird. However, after you install the FPVLR Stage 4 kit you're going to discover that you'll need something more robust for your tracking needs than Trackimo.

    For my Phantom Vision+ I have pretty much all the same amps and antennas from FPVLR as the Stage 4 kit, with the exception of the 5.8 long-range antenna in which I'm using a +14dB panel/patch antenna instead of a helical. Once you get beyond 2,000 ft, the Phantom is an invisible speck in the sky and you have to navigate it by FPV and recognizing the landscape. However, flying over a landscape at 200-300 ft. AGL can get really confusing if you don't know it very well, and even more so if it's cloudy and can't use the position of the sun to help you. I fly my P2V+ a lot in Ohio and once I stare at the FPV screen all I see is endless flat cornfields in every direction and it becomes very murky about which direction I'm flying.

    Therefore, you'll most likely be abandoning a "periodic" GPS tracker like the Trackimo in favor of a real-time tracker like the Flytrex Live 3G. I have the 2G version of Flytrex Live and it works well for long-range flying, as long as it's in a good 2G service area for transmitting the GPS coordinates to the cell towers and also good 3G/4G service so my Samsung tablet can track my bird on Google Maps satellite view. I've had problems with the 2G Flytrex losing connection during a flight so it's pretty much useless once that happens, which is why I suggest you invest in the 3G version which should get much better reliable service in the U.S. Also, 2G service is being phased out by all major wireless carriers in the U.S. by the end of 2015. The upfront cost of Flytrex Live is more than Trackimo, but after that it's actually cheaper --- buy a SIM card from H2O Wireless and they have a 90-day data plan that only costs $10 !! The Flytrex Live transmits very little data and you'll most likely never exceed the data allotment per 90 days unless you fly 20+ missions a day or some crazy number like that. Plus, you can always power off the Flytrex Live or remove the SIM card for those times you just want to fly short-range and dont need the tracking capabilities, and therefore won't be wasting data on your plan.

    After you install all the Stage 4 amps and antennas, you'll be flying a lot father than visual range and you'll need a good tracker to help you navigate in the skies responsibly and safely. The Flytrex Live 3G is the answer to all your prayers and it will become your best long-range friend. :p
     
  11. MikeON

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    That's the point exactly. Many people have had their Phantoms give the battery alarm warnings and start to autoland, when in fact the battery had as much as 60% capacity remaining. Here are a few of the threads on this topic:

    viewtopic.php?f=7&t=19767
    viewtopic.php?f=7&t=23593&start=10#p218293
     
  12. BuzzBuzzZoomZoom

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    Oh, like I said, it already paid for itself! I just have it mounted to the leg without an antenna or the compass with 3 zip ties.
     
  13. samd012

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    Do you think it is possible that with the newer firmwares now it calculated not enough battery to get back with its limited RTH speed so it landed? I ask because it looks like it pointed back towards home and then landed.
    Glad it worked out for you!!!!
     
  14. MadMitch88

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    Flying "responsibly and safely" is obviously a subjective term in the eye of the beholder. One man's "responsible flying" is another's "reckless endangerment". :D

    For the money and capabilities, there is NOTHING that currently beats the Flytrex Live 3G for real-time tracking of a "beyond LOS" flight mission. Using a periodic GPS tracker like Trackimo or TK-102B just can't compete with the "moving red dot on Google Maps" that Flytrex can offer the long-distance Phantom pilot. I will put my system up against anyones! :mrgreen:
     
  15. PsychopathRC

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    Whilst what you do looks like fun, I couldn't do it. I haven't flown my Phantom more then 400 feet away yet lol.
     
  16. MadMitch88

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    Most Phantom noobs are understandably scared about flying their expensive machines out past 500 ft. or so. I was like that the first month I owned my P2V+.

    But trust me --- you WILL get the hunger to take it out further and further to explore new horizons! That is simply the nature of man. I guarantee within a few months, you'll be whipping out the credit card and spending over $500 to get the biggest, baddest booster amps and antennas over at FPVLR in order to fly your bird WAYYYY out there. :p


    [youtube]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ckTG7y_6IpM[/youtube]
     
  17. MadMitch88

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    Well yeah, of course it won't show air traffic. Although in 10 or 20 years when millions of civilian drones are in the air sharing the skies with manned aircraft --- it almost seems like Congress is going to have to mandate some kind of air traffic system that shows EVERYTHING moving in the airspace (above 50 ft. AGL) and make that monitoring system available to anyone, right?

    The biggest advantage of Flytrex Live is that the "moving red dot" can at least give you directional information if you don't have an OSD system that displays current heading. To me, that's a lot more responsible long-distance flying than just buzzing around and hoping you can orient yourself based on what's showing on the FPV screen. Trust me, I've tried flying long-distance here in Ohio using only the FPV screen and it all just looks like one gigantic cornfield in all directions and I get so confused and scared about where my beloved Phantom is !! :mrgreen:
     
  18. MadMitch88

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    Sadly, here in Cleveland --- most people are raised to be "cornfed flakes" --- but they are Browns fans and not a proud Steelers fan like me! :mrgreen:


    [youtube]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Pz-UMKcu6XU[/youtube]
     
  19. djczing

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    If you have a PV2+, the radar is very useful when manual-flying at distance, for the purpose of orienteation.

    Of course, when you lose video/telemetry its a brick, like everything else.
     
  20. Suwaneeguy

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    Hey buzz, good one.
    If you had ground station and Ipad/Iphone, you'd have known where the bird was precisely.
    I can't say for sure as I've had not yet had the experience, but I believe with ground station, a loss of satellites would probably put it in RTH mode and do so.
    As the waypoints are already fixed in memory.
    Anyone know for sure if that is the case?