Welcome to PhantomPilots.com

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

Wind farm signal interference

Discussion in 'Pro/Adv Discussion' started by pstockton, Jul 5, 2015.

  1. pstockton

    Joined:
    Jun 18, 2015
    Messages:
    28
    Likes Received:
    17
    Location:
    UK
    Took the P3 up to 400ft and had to fly 1500m to reach this distant wind farm

    ImageUploadedByTapatalk1436132690.252073.jpg

    I'd already flown past it and turned around to come back over the top of them as per the above photo.

    As I got over one in the middle of that shot I hovered and began to descend to get a nice close shot, we started getting weak image signal warnings so the live iPad feed became unreliable plus couldn't see the P3 at 1500m away.
    It then kept showing "No Signal" to the point where I couldn't control it enough so hit the RTH button on the RC and it came back to me safely.

    Couple of questions for any knowledgeable members please:

    1) had it been so bad that my RTH signal didn't reach the P3 at what point does it decide itself it has no signal and return itself???

    2) was it most likely all the huge metal structures of the 17 turbines I was in the middle of or do these things use a huge array of antennas to communicate which caused such a huge signal loss to the P3?

    All good fun and experience!!!
     
  2. anty45

    Joined:
    Jun 26, 2015
    Messages:
    8
    Likes Received:
    1
    1) if the p3 loses connection with the RC it returns home itself.
    2)I have no idea
     
  3. Meta4

    Meta4 Moderator
    Staff Member

    Joined:
    Jan 8, 2014
    Messages:
    7,708
    Likes Received:
    3,431
    [QUOTE="pstockton, post: 439922, member: 28431"
    As I got over one in the middle of that shot I hovered and began to descend to get a nice close shot, we started getting weak image signal warnings so the live iPad feed became unreliable plus couldn't see the P3 at 1500m away.
    It then kept showing "No Signal" to the point where I couldn't control it enough so hit the RTH button on the RC and it came back to me safely.

    1) had it been so bad that my RTH signal didn't reach the P3 at what point does it decide itself it has no signal and return itself???
    2) was it most likely all the huge metal structures of the 17 turbines I was in the middle of or do these things use a huge array of antennas to communicate which caused such a huge signal loss to the P3?[/QUOTE]
    1. As per the manual, the P3 will begin failsafe RTH if it loses control signal for more than 3 seconds.
    2. It's hard to tell from one incident if the wind farm was the cause. Maybe - and maybe something else.
    The No Signal message relates to the FPV video signal - not the control signal
    [​IMG]
     
  4. pstockton

    Joined:
    Jun 18, 2015
    Messages:
    28
    Likes Received:
    17
    Location:
    UK
    Thanks for the clarification - the "No Signal" is not as bad as it sounds at the time! ;)

    But, once out of sight and losing the FPV I've done the correct thing by initiating RTH I believe
     
  5. jcknows0

    Joined:
    Dec 21, 2014
    Messages:
    394
    Likes Received:
    81
    Location:
    Northern NJ
    I was flying from my house surrounded by trees but high enough to avoid them. At a certain point a half mile distance I could no longer see the p3 but my feed was fine. I stopped all pitch and it started to lose signal at same point. I used the map to turn it around and head back. Signal returned in a few seconds no problem. I would be worried if loss of video feed also meant control as RTH to me still seems like last resort. I would be worried about any electrically generating object as a lot of crashes seem related to that. Glad everything worked well for you in this instance.
     
  6. bobmyers

    Joined:
    May 10, 2015
    Messages:
    3,611
    Likes Received:
    866
    Location:
    San Antonio, TX
    The wind turbines are generating massive amounts of DC electrical current so I would assume that these areas have significant magnetic and electrical fields. There electro magnetic forces created as the turbines rotate as well as DC current. If you Line of Sight signal is crossing these magnetic fields, you may well be losing signal. I wouldn't be that brave and get to close to these and they may create a compass error that you would not be able to recover from. They do make great video.:)
     
  7. Chuck Young

    Joined:
    Jun 25, 2015
    Messages:
    621
    Likes Received:
    192
    Pretty sure that voltage would be AC and it is probably in the neighborhood of 5KV. Somewhere in the near vicinity will be some step up transformers to take that voltage in the neighborhood of 100KV. I have some resources I can check tomorrow and verify some of what I am assuming.
     
  8. horsepowerphoto

    Joined:
    Jan 22, 2014
    Messages:
    25
    Likes Received:
    4
    Location:
    P.E.I. Canada
    I recently flew about the same flight as you among the turbines and I didn't have any issues. Just about crapped my pants when I realized how close I was to a tower that I couldn't see on my iPad.
     
  9. bobmyers

    Joined:
    May 10, 2015
    Messages:
    3,611
    Likes Received:
    866
    Location:
    San Antonio, TX
    You are right about that-- got this off Google

    On large wind turbines (above 100-150 kW) the voltage (tension) generated by the turbine is usually 690 V three-phase alternating current (AC). The current is subsequently sent through a transformer next to the wind turbine (or inside the tower) to raise the voltage to somewhere between 10,000 and 30,000 volts, depending on the standard in the local electrical grid.
    Large manufacturers will supply both 50 Hz wind turbine models (for the electrical grids in most of the world) and 60 Hz models (for the electrical grid in America).

    Thanks for the correction:):) Still a huge source of electromagnetism spread over a large area.:D
     
  10. richardseguro

    Joined:
    Jun 30, 2015
    Messages:
    98
    Likes Received:
    27
    Wind farms can produce extreme electrical pollutants...many conditions as to where is built and how close to towns or residences will be a factor in building these towers with exposed collectors as oposed to not. Some may have better insulating properties than others.

    By the way...are you the guy who took off the bird from your backyard???...I saw your full video to the wind mills...Awesome!!

    Calm winds and good flying to you!
     
  11. johan

    Joined:
    Mar 8, 2015
    Messages:
    253
    Likes Received:
    131
    Location:
    Southwest Michigan
    The generators in the top of those turbines often contain large magnets. I would expect a fair bit of RFI/RMI to be given off in their immediate vicinity. I don't think I'd want to get too close to one with any drone I wanted to keep.
     
  12. emilewski

    Joined:
    Mar 26, 2015
    Messages:
    47
    Likes Received:
    13
    Location:
    Manchester, CT
    Thanks for the discussion. Flying around wind turbines was on my P3 to do wish, and I have now crossed it off...at least close to them. From a distance should be OK.
     
  13. Trumple

    Joined:
    May 19, 2015
    Messages:
    279
    Likes Received:
    73
    Location:
    UK
    Yes, wind turbines do reflect electromagnetic waves. Problems occur in static networks (e.g. TV broadcasting), too. Try not to get any wind turbines between you and the P3 because they do cast "electromagnetic shadows"

    Edit: as for the EM emissions from the turbines themselves: the frequencies they emit are far lower than the frequencies used by the P3 and shouldn't cause interference.
     
  14. pstockton

    Joined:
    Jun 18, 2015
    Messages:
    28
    Likes Received:
    17
    Location:
    UK
    It wasn't me from my backyard but that sounds like a cool video and a nice distance. Just over 1500m for this so 0.9 miles which is the furthest we've pushed it so far.

    Thank you for all the great replies on this thread - some fascinating information and all good experience.
     
  15. landmannnn

    Joined:
    Jan 18, 2015
    Messages:
    350
    Likes Received:
    62
    Location:
    Coventry and Limoges
    There are a couple of other factors ...

    The blades are pretty sophisticated, incorporating anti static, lightning conduction and deicing technology.
    Many wind farms use wireless systems to control each set, although wired is common enough.
     
  16. sergekouper

    Joined:
    Apr 20, 2014
    Messages:
    752
    Likes Received:
    128
    Location:
    London UK
    Been flying next to wind turbines and didn't have any problem... However, I wonder what is this big mast next to the house on the picture... The interference problem could be coming from it, unless it's just meteo sensors or something
     
  17. Dome

    Joined:
    Apr 24, 2015
    Messages:
    479
    Likes Received:
    96
    Location:
    Italy
    The electrical field around all the ac power line is directly proportional to the current flowing in it. The field is dangerous to p3 because can interfere not with the 2.4ghz but with electronics inside the board itself, compass and IMU. You can easily test this weird behavior also near underground or aerial high current distribution cables. They can break signals in 30mt radius very easily.
     
  18. Tron_X

    Joined:
    May 6, 2015
    Messages:
    154
    Likes Received:
    87
    Location:
    NH
    I was flying near a wind farm yesterday and noticed a directional antenna at the control station that was pointed toward the turbine array so I can concur with that suggestion. I imagine that type of data link is more likely to cause interference than typical EM radiation (2.4 / 5.8 Ghz) but I didn't get close enough to find out, the winds were too high for a comfortable mile long run. I did circle above the station to get a better look though, without any signs of signal loss. I'd probably be more worried about compass failure or drift near a large magnetic source like a turbine.