3D Robotics

Solo is compatible with Tower!


We’ve heard a lot of users wondering if Tower’s advanced functionality—waypoints, flight modes, autonomy, parameters, etc.—would be accessible via Solo.

We’re happy to officially say YES: Tower is available to advanced users interested in advanced mission planning, but novice and experienced pilots alike will find the assisted flight features in the Solo App more than suitable for their needs. Solo is compatible with Tower due to the fact that it runs on the same autopilot system (the Pixhawk 2) as many other 3DR legacy products.

We don’t recommend beginners use Tower, Mission Planner or APM Planner with Solo. But due to the fact that Solo runs APM, advanced users can use any of the MAVLink-based desktop ground station programs (Mission Planner on Windows, APM Planner on Mac OSX) to do more sophisticated mission planning, including autonomous missions. Please be aware that these apps are designed for expert users who want to explore some of the more advanced and experimental applications of our platform.

Remember: Always fly safely within your skill level. Only advanced users should adjust parameters using Tower. Adjusting parameters and attempting experimental flight techniques may change vehicle stabilization and result in a crash – read these suggestions before flying with Tower. Any crash or damage caused by user-adjusted parameters will be considered user error and may not be covered by Solo’s warranty.

We hope this clears any confusion about Tower’s compatibility with Solo. Thanks, and happy flying!

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  • What's the bottom line with using Tower/MP; does it void the warranty using it or only if operator error? What specific parameter changes would be considered verboten? Which ones are ok?

    I really like flying missions and not having that option as standard kind of bothers me, but if Solo is compatible with Tower/MP, that is a game changer for whether I keep it or not.

    • 3D Robotics

      Solo is officially compatible with Tower/MP, and simply using those programs doesn’t void Solo’s warranty. However, if you adjust flight parameters or experiment with other flight techniques you do so at your own risk: Any resultant crashes it will be considered user error, which isn’t covered by the Solo warranty. We don’t have a list of approved parameter changes — so have fun, but always be mindful of the adjustments you’re making.

    • Thanks Roger.

      A parameter that I would say is a must to be changed is the RTL altitude. 50' (I believe is default and not adjustable) just isn't high enough. Where I was flying yesterday there are trees that if RTL was engaged the Solo could have crashed into them. At a distance it is difficult to judge positions and heights, so 50' is asking for trouble. I normally use 100' minimum. I think 45 meters is default for Pixhawk. For example, for normal flying GCS FS I normally use RTL, depending on the type of flying, terrain etc. If just testing in a wide open field, I prefer land.

      That is a very narrow specific flight parameter setting which should not void the warranty in my opinion. I also don't use current altitude for RTL (parameter setting 0) for the same reason.

      Another parameter for GCS FS is when flying a mission I prefer to be set for 'continue mission', the reason being there may be an obstacle too high if the copter attempts to fly a straight line back to home which again  default 50' RTL altitude rears its ugly head.

      I think, and believe other experienced flyers would agree, there should be a list of approved parameter changes, or options built in the controller's advanced features. To say it is user error when those example parameters are altered and have no relation to the crash/flyaway would frost my cookies to say the least. 

      I like the Solo because it is very portable and good for my intended use (when the gimbal is available) as a compact video solution that's easy to use, but am getting a bit nervous spending a lot of money for a copter that has severely limited flight parameter options that I routinely change according to the flight plan conditions.

      Just my 2c

    • 3D Robotics

      Thanks, DG! And of course we’ll look into your suggestions, most of which are already at least in discussion here.

      But to be perfectly clear about the warranty, the key word in my above comment would be “resultant.” If, in Tower/MP, you make a change to parameters or experiment with flight techniques, etc., which change Solo’s flight behavior and result in a crash or damage, we would classify that as user error and the warranty would not cover it. We can see in the logs whether your adjustments affected flight behavior and led to the crash. For instance, if the ONLY adjustment you made in Tower was changing the RTL height, but Solo had an unrelated GPS glitch without your ever engaging RTL, then it should be quite clear in the logs that your changes had nothing to do with the crash. A case like that, where the Tower parameter changes were totally irrelevant to Solo’s flight behavior, would not be user error.

    • So, if you, for example, simply changed the RTL height, and then used RTL, but then had the unrelated GPS glitch, you would deny the warranty claim?  Your scenario discusses the GPS glitch WITHOUT ever engaging the RTL...but not an "unrelated" GPS glitch WITH RTL engaged.  How could the GPS glitch be blamed simply on the fact you activated RTL?  Sure sounds like that is what you are suggesting.  I fail to see a simple change in altitude to play ANY part with the possible exception that by adding in some extra feet, if the battery simply then did not have enough "oomph" to last out those extra couple of feet.  Am I reading too much into this or did your scenario simply not consider all possible things that might be in play?

    • 3D Robotics

      @Rob: Haha, yes, perhaps reading a little too far into this. But thanks for helping me clarify. The above scenario was rendered simple and unambiguous in order to clearly address DG’s concern about whether the Solo warranty would still apply in an incident unrelated to param changes. We can of course see clearly from the logs whether param changes led to a crash in any number of hypothetical scenarios. Thanks again!

    • Thank you very much for that clarification.

  • Thank you Roger (and 3DR)...I have been with 3DR since the Iris developer model introduction and consider myself "capable" but not "proficient".  I never had trouble using Tower with my Iris, but really never made changes to other than the more routine settings, such as RTH altitude, fences and other fairly innocuous settings.  I would love to be able to do similarly with my Solo, but have held off while waiting for an official stand on 3DRs part.  Thank you for providing this.  My RTH altitude is now changed to 45m from the default 15m (just not high enough for my comfort in our area with fairly tall trees being common.  I will proceed cautiously from this point forward, as I did with my Iris...slow and methodical is my MO.

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