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Pucker factor...

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Hey doods!

I had an interesting flight last week. It's funny what a house of cards this job is. I forget ONE thing!

So as some of you may know, I fly a construction progress job every week. At the moment I have 2 clients that I fly every other week. I stagger the jobs, so I end up flying every week. Both of these clients are in WiFi saturation zones. I use a combination of understanding and scanning the WiFi environment to find open channels. Often times I find zero of 32 channels open. So then it becomes a matter of choosing the "least closed" channel, if that makes sense. To illustrate my point, here are some screenshots of the histogram for the jobsite in question:

1695135523969.png

1695135687700.png

There are fleeting moments when channels are Stable. But for the most part channels are Unstable 95% of the time.

For this particular job, I have always selected either channel 12 or occasionally channel 11. The problem is that when running the analysis, I can't have those channels selected because the bar becomes blue.

1695135870392.png

Green = Stable and Red = Unstable. So I have to switch to another channel if I want to see what channel 12 is doing. I do this every week before I fly without fail.

Last week's job started like any other. I ran the WiFi analysis and decided on channel 12. Unfortunately, for the first time since I've been flying drones, I FORGOT to switch to channel 12. Instead, I was on Channel 21.

Right away I noticed that I was getting more video interference than usual. While greater than normal, I was still getting video feed. So I didn't think too much about it. I finished my first POI mission without incident. The same can't be said for the strafe "top down" shot. 3/4 through the mission my Inspire 1 froze in the sky.

For clarification, the software I use becomes the flight controller. So if signal degrades too much, the software will disconnect and then I have to fly manually back to the first waypoint and then start the mission over. So when the Inspire 1 stopped in the sky, I wasn't overly concerned...until I was. I "disconnected" the mission and move the joy sticks. Nothing. I had an FPV image on my iPad. And I could tilt the camera up and down. I could also stop and start the recording. But I couldn't move the drone. With about 55% battery left, she sat there hovering in the sky.

Another thing that was completely out of character for me was to not monitor the signal strength. Every time I fly in these WiFi hotspots I check signal strength every couple seconds. I don't know what was on my mind that day, but I didn't check the signal strength one time. Crazy.

As you can imagine, I sort of started to panic, but not really. I knew with 55% battery I had a few minutes to figure things out. I moved closer to the drone's location to no avail. It was odd that I could move the camera and the image was stable, but I could not ascend or descend or yaw or move forward or sideways or anything. So I decided to reboot the controller. The controller reconnected with the Inspire 1 exactly as it had before. So, for what I believe is the first time in my entire career, I hit the RTH button. This worked! The Inspire 1 started making her way home. Once close enough, I threw her in ATTI mode and took over the landing.

But what had gone wrong?

As it turns out I had forgotten to set the controller to channel 12. She was on channel 21, which was as unstable as the remaining 30 channels (not including channel 12). This is a first for me. You can bet that will never happen again.

In retrospect, I wonder if putting her in ATTI mode in the first place might have helped? I kind of doubt it. I see no reason why, but it was just something I didn't think to try in the throws of near panic.

I guess my point is that we have a very fragile Tx/Rx relationship with our drones - especially the older ones. DJI's newest WiFi technology seems to be much, much more rock solid than these legacy models. But I like the Inspire 1 and she gets the job done every week, so I will continue to use her. In contrast, the Tx/Rx on my business partner's M300 is FAR more stable.

Talk about a bit of a pucker factor...

Discuss.

D
 
Last edited:
Hey doods!

I had an interesting flight last week. It's funny what a house of cards this job is. I forget ONE thing!

So as some of you may know, I fly a construction progress job every week. At the moment I have 2 clients that I fly every other week. I stagger the jobs, so I end up flying every week. Both of these clients are in WiFi saturation zones. I use a combination of understanding and scanning the WiFi environment to find open channels. Often times I find zero of 32 channels open. So then it becomes a matter of choosing the "least closed" channel, if that makes sense. To illustrate my point, here are some screenshots of the histogram for the jobsite in question:

View attachment 34000

View attachment 34001

There are fleeting moments when channels are Stable. But for the most part channels are Unstable 95% of the time.

For this particular job, I have always selected either channel 12 or occasionally channel 11. The problem is that when running the analysis, I can't have those channels selected because the bar becomes blue.

View attachment 34002

Green = Stable and Red = Unstable. So I have to switch to another channel if I want to see what channel 12 is doing. I do this every week before I fly without fail.

Last week's job started like any other. I ran the WiFi analysis and decided on channel 12. Unfortunately, for the first time since I've been flying drones, I FORGOT to switch to channel 12. Instead, I was on Channel 21.

Right away I noticed that I was getting more video interference than usual. While greater than normal, I was still getting video feed. So I didn't think too much about it. I finished my first POI mission without incident. The same can't be said for the strafe "top down" shot. 3/4 through the mission my Inspire 1 froze in the sky.

For clarification, the software I use becomes the flight controller. So if signal degrades too much, the software will disconnect and then I have to fly manually back to the first waypoint and then start the mission over. So when the Inspire 1 stopped in the sky, I wasn't overly concerned...until I was. I "disconnected" the mission and move the joy sticks. Nothing. I had an FPV image on my iPad. And I could tilt the camera up and down. I could also stop and start the recording. But I couldn't move the drone. With about 55% battery left, she sat there hovering in the sky.

Another thing that was completely out of character for me was to not monitor the signal strength. Every time I fly in these WiFi hotspots I check signal strength every couple seconds. I don't know what was on my mind that day, but I didn't check the signal strength one time. Crazy.

As you can imagine, I sort of started to panic, but not really. I knew with 55% battery I had a few minutes to figure things out. I moved closer to the drone's location to no avail. It was odd that I could move the camera and the image was stable, but I could not ascend or descend or yaw or move forward or sideways or anything. So I decided to reboot the controller. The controller reconnected with the Inspire 1 exactly as it had before. So, for what I believe is the first time in my entire career, I hit the RTH button. This worked! The Inspire 1 started making her way home. Once close enough, I threw her in ATTI mode and took over the landing.

But what had gone wrong?

As it turns out I had forgotten to set the controller to channel 12. She was on channel 21, which was as unstable as the remaining 30 channels (not including channel 12). This is a first for me. You can bet that will never happen again.

In retrospect, I wonder if putting her in ATTI mode in the first place might have helped? I kind of doubt it. I see no reason why, but it was just something I didn't think to try in the throws of near panic.

I guess my point is that we have a very fragile Tx/Rx relationship with our drones - especially the older ones. DJI's newest WiFi technology seems to be much, much more rock solid than these legacy models. But I like the Inspire 1 and she gets the job done every week, so I will continue to use her. In contrast, the Tx/Rx on my business partner's M300 is FAR more stable.

Talk about a bit of a pucker factor...

Discuss.

D
Thanks for the post-mortem. I don't have much experience in wifi saturated zones so I don't have much to add, but I also wonder about ATTI mode and whether that would have helped. Is your default behavior for signal loss to hover or RTH? I'm guessing hover based on your description, but just curious about your preference.
 
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Hey doods!

I had an interesting flight last week. It's funny what a house of cards this job is. I forget ONE thing!

So as some of you may know, I fly a construction progress job every week. At the moment I have 2 clients that I fly every other week. I stagger the jobs, so I end up flying every week. Both of these clients are in WiFi saturation zones. I use a combination of understanding and scanning the WiFi environment to find open channels. Often times I find zero of 32 channels open. So then it becomes a matter of choosing the "least closed" channel, if that makes sense. To illustrate my point, here are some screenshots of the histogram for the jobsite in question:

View attachment 34000

View attachment 34001

There are fleeting moments when channels are Stable. But for the most part channels are Unstable 95% of the time.

For this particular job, I have always selected either channel 12 or occasionally channel 11. The problem is that when running the analysis, I can't have those channels selected because the bar becomes blue.

View attachment 34002

Green = Stable and Red = Unstable. So I have to switch to another channel if I want to see what channel 12 is doing. I do this every week before I fly without fail.

Last week's job started like any other. I ran the WiFi analysis and decided on channel 12. Unfortunately, for the first time since I've been flying drones, I FORGOT to switch to channel 12. Instead, I was on Channel 21.

Right away I noticed that I was getting more video interference than usual. While greater than normal, I was still getting video feed. So I didn't think too much about it. I finished my first POI mission without incident. The same can't be said for the strafe "top down" shot. 3/4 through the mission my Inspire 1 froze in the sky.

For clarification, the software I use becomes the flight controller. So if signal degrades too much, the software will disconnect and then I have to fly manually back to the first waypoint and then start the mission over. So when the Inspire 1 stopped in the sky, I wasn't overly concerned...until I was. I "disconnected" the mission and move the joy sticks. Nothing. I had an FPV image on my iPad. And I could tilt the camera up and down. I could also stop and start the recording. But I couldn't move the drone. With about 55% battery left, she sat there hovering in the sky.

Another thing that was completely out of character for me was to not monitor the signal strength. Every time I fly in these WiFi hotspots I check signal strength every couple seconds. I don't know what was on my mind that day, but I didn't check the signal strength one time. Crazy.

As you can imagine, I sort of started to panic, but not really. I knew with 55% battery I had a few minutes to figure things out. I moved closer to the drone's location to no avail. It was odd that I could move the camera and the image was stable, but I could not ascend or descend or yaw or move forward or sideways or anything. So I decided to reboot the controller. The controller reconnected with the Inspire 1 exactly as it had before. So, for what I believe is the first time in my entire career, I hit the RTH button. This worked! The Inspire 1 started making her way home. Once close enough, I threw her in ATTI mode and took over the landing.

But what had gone wrong?

As it turns out I had forgotten to set the controller to channel 12. She was on channel 21, which was as unstable as the remaining 30 channels (not including channel 12). This is a first for me. You can bet that will never happen again.

In retrospect, I wonder if putting her in ATTI mode in the first place might have helped? I kind of doubt it. I see no reason why, but it was just something I didn't think to try in the throws of near panic.

I guess my point is that we have a very fragile Tx/Rx relationship with our drones - especially the older ones. DJI's newest WiFi technology seems to be much, much more rock solid than these legacy models. But I like the Inspire 1 and she gets the job done every week, so I will continue to use her. In contrast, the Tx/Rx on my business partner's M300 is FAR more stable.

Talk about a bit of a pucker factor...

Discuss.

D
Hi there, great story. I have the I1 Pro with a X5 and a Zenmuse XT for roof scans as I have a home inspection biz. I need to get better at reviewing the Wifi traffic prior to flying. Can I ask which program you use to fly the I1 ? So far I don’t really do much but random pictures/vids for reports but it’s hard to understand which program will still work with the legacy drones like the I1
Any advice on a basic program that is either free or lower cost ? I just want to do basic mapping. Thanks so much
 
Hi there, great story. I have the I1 Pro with a X5 and a Zenmuse XT for roof scans as I have a home inspection biz. I need to get better at reviewing the Wifi traffic prior to flying. Can I ask which program you use to fly the I1 ? So far I don’t really do much but random pictures/vids for reports but it’s hard to understand which program will still work with the legacy drones like the I1
Any advice on a basic program that is either free or lower cost ? I just want to do basic mapping. Thanks so much
My personal preferences are:

Litchi (low $$) for repeating the same photo and video shots - i.e., same position and camera angle every time you fly the site. It's not really a good app for mapping specifically, but for programmed/automated flight it's hard to beat.

DroneDeploy app (free) for setting up and executing mapping missions. The app is free. You don't have to pay anything or use their data processing service to use the DroneDeploy app, but you do need to create an account.

There are other apps from Pix4D, MapsMadeEasy, DJI Ground Station Pro (GSP) that are usable also, but DD is my go-to these days.
 
Thanks for the post-mortem. I don't have much experience in wifi saturated zones so I don't have much to add, but I also wonder about ATTI mode and whether that would have helped. Is your default behavior for signal loss to hover or RTH? I'm guessing hover based on your description, but just curious about your preference.
Hover. But I'm rethinking that choice.

D
 
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My personal preferences are:

Litchi (low $$) for repeating the same photo and video shots - i.e., same position and camera angle every time you fly the site. It's not really a good app for mapping specifically, but for programmed/automated flight it's hard to beat.

DroneDeploy app (free) for setting up and executing mapping missions. The app is free. You don't have to pay anything or use their data processing service to use the DroneDeploy app, but you do need to create an account.

There are other apps from Pix4D, MapsMadeEasy, DJI Ground Station Pro (GSP) that are usable also, but DD is my go-to these days.
Great, truly appreciate the help.
 
Hi there, great story. I have the I1 Pro with a X5 and a Zenmuse XT for roof scans as I have a home inspection biz. I need to get better at reviewing the Wifi traffic prior to flying. Can I ask which program you use to fly the I1 ?
I use the Go App for flying by stick and Autopilot for waypoint flying.



So far I don’t really do much but random pictures/vids for reports but it’s hard to understand which program will still work with the legacy drones like the I1
Autopilot works well. But I don't think you can get it any more. Also, without warning it randomly quit sync'ing missions across iPads. I guess they just shut the server down with nary a notice or warning of any kind to paying customers. Like everybody else, they wanted to force their clients into a monthly fee format. I hate that format, so I continue to use legacy programs that I paid for.



Any advice on a basic program that is either free or lower cost ? I just want to do basic mapping. Thanks so much
I had to pay for Autopilot. And I believe it is no longer available. I also used MapPilot (pay version), which is another program I paid for that just randomly stopped working (stopped connecting to SRTM servers for terrain awareness) and abandoned its customers in favor of a RENTING their program out.

I miss the days when you could purchase programs. Now you can only rent them.

D
 
Last edited:
Hover. But I'm rethinking that choice.

D

Other than some specialized situations I think RTH is a significantly better option than hover in place. Assuming GPS reception is still good at least then it will attempt to make its way back home and closer to you to hopefully regain control. And if GPS reception is bad, it's a wash since it won't truly hover in place anyway.

It is interesting you still had gimbal and camera control. I do wish you had tried ATTI- just out of pure curiosity!
 
Other than some specialized situations I think RTH is a significantly better option than hover in place. Assuming GPS reception is still good at least then it will attempt to make its way back home and closer to you to hopefully regain control. And if GPS reception is bad, it's a wash since it won't truly hover in place anyway.
Agreed.



It is interesting you still had gimbal and camera control. I do wish you had tried ATTI- just out of pure curiosity!
Well, if it ever comes up....<:^0

D
 
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