The New Normal?

3689572407?profile=originalA buddy of mine was walking around in San Mateo, CA (a city just south of San Francisco) and found this great sign... I only wish it said "Lost Drone" but this is still pretty good.  May you never need to post one of these.  If you want to see his instagram post

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  • Saw a lost poster near my house with text stating the craft could be in a neighborhood. All I was thinking was not good press

  • @R_Lefebvre, I should have worded my comment differently. It wasn't a firmware issue, it was a required firmware update to avoid a fly away. This was also in conjunction with some other basic things that users were not doing that was causing the quadcopter to fly away. Look at 4:22 in this video for an explanation regarding the firmware update:

  • Developer

    DJI should create Lost Drone templates so they can at least manage their brand experience. Maybe they could charge a buck if it was a nice enough poster. 

  • I can't say for certain, but I don't think that was the phantom radio itself - Anything plugged in via S-BUS or PPM goes into failsafe immediately.  Anything plugged in via PWM requires the receiver support failsafe, and many just go into a "hold last input" mode, only setting the throttle to a preset position.  A lot of people use this kind of setup with Naza boards, so DJI added a mode where identical inputs for 10 seconds result in a failsafe trigger.

    With a better receiver, you can set the flight mode channel to trigger the failsafe when the connection is lost, and it works very well (I've used it, intentionally and otherwise).

    You *do* have to set the thing to use the failsafe, and you also have to wait for it to record the home position on startup.  If you don't, it has no idea where to return home to.  I suspect John is right in that it's just novices and/or/ carelessness resulting in lost Phantoms.

  • That's exactly what I figured.  It's implausible.

    But what you're suggesting, that they instituted absolutely no Rx failsafe system, and the Rx just continues to output the last valid signal forever, is plausible.  I just don't know why anybody would do something like that in this day and age.  I haven't see that since the bad old 72MHz days.

  • Developer

    There is just no way 'random' EMI could spoof a modulated 2.4ghz signal, unless the receiver is so dumb that it considers any radio traffic as a valid signal even if it is not able to make any sense of it and update channel data.

  • I had seen the video from Colin Guinn that seems to be related to what you're saying John, but it's not quite what I got out of it.

    What I got out of the video, was that they were suggesting a random EMI would spoof the RC signal, and the system would see a fixed signal, telling it to fly off in some direction.  This didn't seem plausible at all, that random EMI could spoof the digital RC signal.

    But what you're suggesting... is at least plausible.  What you're saying is that EMI blocks the signal, and the Rx continues to output the last known good signal?  That's a totally different issue!  Shocking that they would ship a system with such a vulnerability, in this day and age.

    But, it would easily explain what appears to be a pretty high number of Phantom flyaways.

    However, it does not explain a number of incidences where non-Phantoms, equipped with Naza and another Tx/Rx system either flew away, or command lock-out.

  • Developer

    One issue I know of is that believe it or not, but the Phantom Radio has no fail-safe channel option if the radio link is lost. To work around this DJI had to do some wacky "enter RTH if there no stick movement for a certain duration" hack.

  • John, IMO, it's not quite that simple.  Plenty of people with plenty of experience also have problems with DJI.  The thing is, I think DJI's attitude seems to be like Apple.  Just ignore the problem, don't even admit it exists, and most sheeple will just believe the advertising hype.

    I mostly see the Phantom 1 and assume it is the firmware issue which has now been resolved...

    Which issue was resolved?

  • I still do not understand the reluctance to accept responsibility, and perform a simple act of placarding the aircraft with the owner's name & telephone number or email address or street address or some other identifier.

    A simple message such as: "This is a radio controlled aircraft. If found please contact: Drone Owner 111-222-3333"

    If the aircraft is on roof or in a tree, it would make no difference. It it is lost in the wilderness, it would make no difference. If it is lost in an urban area and lands in someone's garden, yard, or swimming pool, or on top of their new sports car, you will be embarrassed but probably should have not been flying there to begin with.

    There's an idea for a website feature: Aircraft Registry -- Sign up and fill in the details, get a 'MR#######' number for Multi-rotor, 'F#######' for Fixed Wing, 'H#######' for traditional heli, etc. Put that number and website information on the vehicle. If the finder goes to the website and enters the number, an email/text message is sent to the registrant. The registrant then decides if it is worth contacting the finder to retrieve the vehicle.

    We, as builders/flyers have to accept responsibility, and risk, for what we do with these vehicles.

    That, of course, is why I am an AMA member and have been since 1976.


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