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Wifi signal dropping after 4 months use

Discussion in 'Phantom 2 Vision + Discussion' started by Chicago1, May 10, 2015.

  1. Chicago1

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    I see this is becoming a "hot" topic. I have been flying for about 4 months - no issues. However, I recently updated the firmware and slowly but surely, my wifi range started to get really bad. Sometimes dropping at 200 ft. or 500 ft. - never getting any decent range anymore. What has happened? It just keeps dropping the wifi signal - flying in all the same places where I always got 1,500 + feet - Phantom 2 Vision + (Version 3).
     
    #1 Chicago1, May 10, 2015
    Last edited: May 11, 2015
  2. RoyVa

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    Don't let the software updat throw you off track. This sounds like it is strictly a hardware issue. A slow drop in range over a period of time even a short period is an indicator of a slow failure. The only way to know for sure is to try another known good component. If you do t have that option then a test of the unit you have is needed and that involves DJI and support if your still under warranty. If not see if you can locates friendly pilot in you are that is willing to test his wifi with your unit. You need to know if it's the wifi extender or the quads wifi that has the issue.
     
  3. BlackTracer

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    There is a long history of failing of failed wifi modules inside the shell. All the v2 units are poorly heat sinked inside the module from the factory. This has caused numerous failures due to overheated chips. If caught and remedied in time, the unfailed units can be DIY repaired pretty easily and saved from a future death. Search for threads discussing this and there are also good youtube videos outlining the fix. As for the v3 units, they have a modified wifi module case from the factory. It has lots of ventilation holes. Don't know if they also heatsinked them better at the factory. Taking one apart is the only way to tell. Either way, since yours is not totally failed, it is worth your while to do the heat sinking properly and see if it makes a difference.

    Do you have a v3 or v2?
     
  4. Chicago1

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    Thanks for your input. I have a Phantom 2 Vision + (V3).
     
  5. Chicago1

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    I think I have my answer. After 6 months and hundreds of flights, new owners can anticipate wifi issues due to heat/engineering issues inside the "shell".
     
  6. cjmwales

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    I have the same problem, although it gets progressively worse during a flight. I can still receive telemetry, however. I've ordered a new WiFi unit and I'll be doing the heatsink paste mod on it before swapping it with the original.
     
  7. BlackTracer

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    Excellent idea!!!!
     
  8. Chicago1

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    UPDATE: Today I spoke with someone who has 60+ Phantoms (all his) many work great - many are for repair parts. The point is that this guy fixes anything that has to do with a Phantom. Here is his take. As you know by now, the wifi module runs hot and then gets hotter - use sparingly - not just sitting on the ground turned on! He has sold 6 wifi modules in the last month. He said DJI says the Phantom 3 has an upgraded "cooling" system which amounts to nothing more than the original unit with holes drilled in the top cover for cooling. What an upgrade! Any added heat dissipation is good; however, this part, like all, has an MTBF. You can prolong it's life; however, ultimately it will fail (after "x" number of heat cycles). Boy have I been educated on the wifi module and range extender. If you are starting to lose range, the wifi module will get worse until it totally fails.
     
  9. ronbo

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    I have only several hours on my P2V3 but noticed the camera video going black and/or becoming distorted, mostly when sitting on a table although it's occurred while flying.
    I've been following the heating issue with the WiFi module and it occurred to me the module wasn't designed for no airflow. The module needs cooling from flying.
    So I've ordered a WiFi module and arctic paste to swap out. It'll be interesting to open the old module and check for adequate thermal paste.
     
  10. cjmwales

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    It will work. Mine has been perfect since I did it :)
     
  11. RichWest

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    Curious, what has been your typical ambient temps while flying lately?
     
  12. cjmwales

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    My initial test flights post swap (I upgraded the heat paste in the new module before fitting) were at 17 degrees celsius, but cooling to 14. I ran three entire packs through during those test flights, which were basically going to max control range and back again. I'd lose the control signal before the video feed :)

    Since then, I've put another 2 hours on it in temps ranging from 12 to 18 degrees c. Today was 14 degrees, and the FPV has been so dependable I even leaned on it to get me back to base today from 1000 ft out following a loss of GPS mid-flight, by picking an obvious visual reference point - a massive red beach flag - to aim at.

    We're having an unusually cool May here in the UK, temps are forecast to increase in the next few weeks so that will be the true test.
     
  13. RichWest

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    @cjmwales, thanks for the info on temps. I've been waiting on temps to rise to see if the heat sink mod (thermal compound) was a permanent fix for the majority and then how the V3 module was performing.

    I've had two days of flights above 90F and so far everything seems to be working great. I've done a lot to reduce the heat load to the wifi module and for the record this is the original module. Just recently I mod'd the P2 body to enlarge the vents. This has helped in my opinion, but again time will tell.

    Don't laugh, it is working, but here's a picture of my modified module:
     

    Attached Files:

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  14. cjmwales

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    Very holy :)
     
  15. cjmwales

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    Update: I was having a proper thrash around demonstrating the Phantom to my Dad today. I ran for 35 minutes in 24 degree C heat with barely any dropout, and the dropout that did occur was probably due to not having the wifi booster pointed in the right direction.

    It seems to be holding up.
     
  16. RichWest

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    Had to drop my reso. down to 15fps this weekend, we had light winds and above 90F. So the free-holies not workie 100% at max reso. Just too many variables to why it works and then doesn't. Bottom line it does work, but with some added latency worst case.

    @cjmwales, I hope yours continues to work as intended. Around August I'll swap locations with you...80% humidity and 99F here...
     
  17. Mako79

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    I've owned 3 wifi modules - 2 x P2VP V2 and 1 x perforated P2VP V3.
    The original V2 was app boosted and had video transferred via the wifi whilst the phantom idled without props spinning. From day 1, this wifi module did NOT do 640*480@30fps. I have always flown with 640*480@15fps and gotten max 600m. It died before the artic silver fix was found. Symptoms will be the black out on connection and FPV loss after taking a photo. You will drop resolution and one day it will only connect for a second or 2 and die. Conclusive test is to freeze the wifi module, It will last a minute or 2 and die.

    The replacement module was a used V2 module that did 640*480fps@30fps. I did the preventative measure fix and this did 640*480@30fps @ 600m easily. To prevent failures, only do app boost if you need to and NEVER transfer large files over the wifi. Just take the SD card out and copy it (its quicker too). This is now my backup module.

    I was able to recently salvage a perforated V3 that dented from a crash. I opened it up and found DJI was still using the same minimal white useless paste. They have not improved the heat dissipation in any way except by drilling holes. I did the artic silver mod preventative fix mod and I get similar results at 640*480@30fps @ 600m and im sure it can go further.

    Jeremy (burbark I think) is on this forum and the fix is below.
     
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  18. cjmwales

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    That was the case with my brand new V2 module too. two pathetic blobs of some white paste that looked like the left overs from a cookie mixture bowl. A bit naff really for something that's listed at 160 quid new (luckily I only paid 110!).

    Sound advice. I run a Macbook Air which doesn't have a card reader though, so I power up the Phantom & connect to the camera via USB instead. It's pretty rapid and helps to discharge the battery too, although my dog can't stand the turned-on noise it makes!