after running some initial tests between my solo and phantom 3 pro, I've noticed that the phantom 3 has far more range than the solo.
Does anyone have any simple solutions that have been effective at achieving greater distance with an overall better signal?
Perhaps a simple antenna change? I'm not looking to mod my transmitter in anyway such as implementing (soldering ect...) amps or such, but rather just a simply effective and basic solution.
I should note that I'm not looking to go several miles, but rather just gain at the very least the range of which my phantom 3.
I'm pretty sure there have been solutions that have already been tested, so in order to make sure I make the best choice, I'm definitely open to any and all suggestions.
Thanks in advance!
The Solo uses the WiFi protocol, which is sensitive to other nearby WiFi signals for flight control, the DJI uses a different protocol (similar to other RC FHSS systems) for flight control.
First you need survey the WiFi 'landscape' in your area to be sure there are no strong WiFi signals that can cause issues for you. Doing this once I even found that my friends automobile had a previously unknown WiFi hotspot in it! Imagine what could happen if someone drove up to you or near your Solo while you were trying to operate it? ;)
With this being said, many are having very good luck with the FPVLR antennas on the Solo Controller to increase their range. https://fpvlr.com/store/product-category/solo/ I don't own a set of these antenna's yet, but if I ever buy a set, this would be the one I would consider at this time.
Others have tweaked the WiFi parameters in the Solo and in the Controller and claim extended range, especially when used in combination with the FPVLR antenna.
I've tried a number of things, with results ranging from "meh" to "wow" (emphasis on the small "w").
With the stock antennae, things work fairly well. Proximity to any vegetation seems to interfere with the video signal. Ever since the latest software update (app and Solo firmware) I get severe pixellation and freezing video if trees are nearby (less than ~70 feet away). Getting it up in the air helps somewhat. Max distance I've achieved with the stock antennae was 2100 feet or so. I still had a connection, and the copter didn't RTL at that range. So I could have gone farther.
I made a couple of metallic "reflector dish" devices out of cardboard. Probably because I'm not an RF engineer, they didn't make a noticeable difference.
I got an ALFA directional wi-fi antenna yesterday, and it really seemed to help the video issue. The frame rate is higher, and the pixellation isn't as bad. I flew out to 2400 feet over a soybean field. The strange thing is that this field was out in the country, with only a few houses nearby. Every time I would fly out across the field, the video would be fine until I reached the middle. Then it would freeze for about 5 seconds, become pixellated, then come back to normal until I turned around at the far end. I guess it could be a stray wifi signal from a house 300 yards or so away. I reproduced the exact issue 4 times.
There's a guy named Nolan Ramsmeyer who has a company that attaches IR cameras to Solos and flies them over fields to do crop surveys. He has found a set of stronger wi-fi cards that fit into the Solo and TX. That's what I'm planning to try next. It's not as if I need to fly a mile away, but if I could, I probably would.
Solo uses wifi for flight control? Seriously? How resistant to interference is it? Where I live (and I suspect any 'burbs) are saturated with wifi, probably every house has multiple sources.
The Solo has a stated range of <1KM or "up to 1/2 a mile" in 3DR lit
The P3P has a stated range of 2KM or 1.2 miles.
While it may be possible to extend the range and reliability of Solo, I think you are asking for too much for it to be at least as good as your P3P in this regard. If you can get even 2,000 feet at various angles with decent control and FPV you are doing well.
Going further is tempting fate anyway, IMHO, especially in a machine which is modified and has aftermarket antennas which may have a narrower beam, etc.
it depends what you want to do with it.
If its just for personal use, a directional antenna may be fine as a good low cost option.
If you are hoping for a more professional platform, I would upgrade the internal WiFi cards to more powerful 800mW units.
Its more work but it will make the Solo far more solid and reliable which is what is needed for pro use.
Thanks for the replies folks, sorry I did not notice them until just now,
I was hoping for a simple antenna solution for the transmitter such as the @Rich B mentioned,
which is said to get up to 2.5 miles (I do not need near this range but a strong 2km would be nice), but it seems rather bulky (I'm still undecided on them).
I also came across a youtube video of an individual testing another alpha 10dbs panel over the ocean up to 1.5 miles, but I don't think the exact type of panel was not clearly stated.
I do realize Solo uses wifi as many have stated, and most of my use of Solo is away from all towns/cities/built up areas, ect...with maybe a single home nearby for several km and in some cases also a small garage, but all locations are usually isolated from most interference (most places in fact don't even have cell phone reception).
I have considered the Wifi card option, but I do not want to alter the design in anyway,
So would there be a set of cards that are far more powerful that wouldn't have any major changes to power draw and would fit "plug n play" within the current system replacing the current "factory" cards?
I have had good luck with the 'hostapd.conf' file edit MOD which increases the number of Wi-Fi channels the Solo Link uses. The hostapd.conf file resides on both the Controller and Solo. All you have to do is edit a few lines of code and save them.
After the software mod my Solo has been out to ~3,500 feet at around 200 ft AGL with Solo barely visible over the tree tops in my local park, with 3 bars left before I commanded a RTH due to battery level, and that is with stock antenna's.
No hardware modifications nor aftermarket antenna's.
Some claim choppy video after the mod, but I have had no issues.
3DR software updates will wipe out the hostapd.conf files and you will have to re-edit the files. If you need a link or instructions on how-to, let me know.
Hi Chip Luck -- can you email me the instruction? firstname.lastname@example.org
I'm not sure if this is valid after last update. I have not had the chance to test it yet after update due to the windy weather here. You might ask at the forum though.
What type of RC receiver does the solor use?
Solo doesn't use any type RC receiver, it uses fairly standard WiFi cards for control.
I would love to see if someone could provide a mod to the Solo to allow use of an RC transmitter/receiver for flight controls. IMHO this would be much more robust than the current WiFi protocol being used.
I sold a customer Immersion RC 2.4 ghz panel antennas to use with the solo, as an experiment in increasing its range. He came back with picture evidence to prove that he was able to push it out over 2km with those antennas.