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Inspire 1 Video - Weak Signal @ <1KM, Clear LOS, No Interference

Discussion in 'Inspire 1 Help' started by tcom-frazzled, Aug 7, 2015.

  1. tcom-frazzled

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    I'm looking for some advice on how to troubleshoot a range issue on my inspire 1. I've had it for a week and I'm jealous of the folks posting these flights that are 2K+ because I can't even get half of that with mine.

    Some background:
    My primary flight area is a rural farm. I'm piloting from a clear hilltop field out over a 1500 acre tract of corn fields, flying at just under 400ft AGL. While flying, I am facing the aircraft with the remote held up, antennas pointing straight up and parallel to one another, all batteries fully charged. I have an old iPhone 5S with only the DJI app installed, a new iPhone 6, and an android tablet. All three show the same behavior. When I received the inspire, the firmware was outdated. I flew it on that firmware, the latest 1.2, and now 1.3 and all three versions behave the same.

    Now that all the background is on the table, here's the problem. Even with a clear line of sight to the aircraft and no interference on any channels, 2000-2500 ft is the absolute maximum range before video cuts out. Yep, that's feet, not meters. Even more puzzling is how sharp the dropoff is at the edge of coverage. It goes from full signal to nothing in less than 100ft, losing video but still showing full strength for RC control.

    I've tried just about everything I can think of and can't come up with anything else to try. I've checked all of the antenna connections on the aircraft, made sure the antenna cables aren't pinched or bent too tightly anywhere. Any thoughts?

    From what I read in the DJI literature, I was expecting at least 2KM under these conditions and I've seen countless postings of people getting an order of magnitude better range than what I'm seeing.
     
    #1 tcom-frazzled, Aug 7, 2015
    Last edited: Aug 7, 2015
  2. Machoman

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    In which country?
     
  3. tcom-frazzled

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    I guess that would be helpful. :)
    United States
     
  4. Machoman

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    Then its strange there should be no restrictions there. I am still suspicious that DJI Software somehow executed hidden EU country limits but that should not affect US.
     
  5. tcom-frazzled

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    You think it might have tx power limited to EU standards? Wonder if there is any way to check that. Flight data?
     
  6. FangsCPO

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    You stated rural farm lands.........any chance they are using electrical fences to keep the herd in check and that's causing an interference??
     
  7. tcom-frazzled

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    No fences. Nothing but corn.
     
  8. tcom-frazzled

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    I'll also mention that this is the longest range I get. I've flown over other no populated, wooded areas and the distance goes down further, into the 1600 ft range when video starts to drop out.
     
  9. Tom Sanderson

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    Any further news with your issue? Have you contacted DJI yet or received any other advice? My Inspire has the same problem as you - really bad range.
     
  10. The Editor

    The Editor Moderator
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    Have you tried flying 'through' the interference/drop off? It maybe just the Lightbridge System changing channels at that distance.
    It's not like anologue FPV where you see a gradual drop off and noise increase, with the digital feed it is quite an abrupt cut off. This can occur though at the sort of distances you are talking about and usually can be flown through.
     
  11. Tom Sanderson

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    I'm in the same boat as tcomm and also considered just trying to fly through it to see if it's just switching channels or whatever. My concern is if it actually isn't just finding a new channel, I'll lose complete control and then have to "trust" that the Inspire will perform a correct RTF instead of flying away.
     
  12. The Editor

    The Editor Moderator
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    Understand your concern but, you will know pretty quickly if the video feed is going to return or not (within 3-5 seconds) and you will still have your telemetry feed giving you control link signal strength and positional data via the map.
    You would be able to orientate the AC back towards the home point and follow the straight line on the map back to your position. During that time your video feed would return.
     
  13. m00se

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    An obvious trick when range testing, Dont ever change the heading, point it and fly forward, then when its time to come back, just pull back.............. even if the compass has some small issues and doesnt fly completly straight, it will likely be better than trying to estimate the heading to come home on based on the map......
    another good trick if you have video is to look directly at the floor, then you can easily estimate a 180 degree turn if you need to........
     
    Tom Sanderson likes this.
  14. tcom-frazzled

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    I haven't had a chance to contact DJI about it, but another weekend of flying prompted me to try a few more things. The one that puzzles me most is that adding another 100 ft to the altitude resulted in a range increase that I cannot explain. At 500 AGL, I was able to go out about another 1000 ft before it would cut out (~3500 ft). I had clear line of sight in both instances and both flights were straight out and back across the same path.
     
  15. tcom-frazzled

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    I did a few more flights this evening and much to my surprise, I was out well over 6000ft with perfect signal quality. I came back from that distance due to battery level, rather than signal issues. Sadly, I don't have a definitive answer as to what made the difference, as I had several cascaded changes since my last flight.

    1, Clean reinstall of DJI go for Android
    2. RC upgraded to 1.4.0.1 (prompted by the DJI Go App)
    3. Flight at dusk when it was just dark enough to make it easy to visually verify line of sight

    Time of day shouldn't matter, but I'm throwing it in there just to cover all the bases. I won't claim that any of this was the "fix" as I have no empirical proof and only one flight at that range. The only thing I can think is that something in the 1.4.0.1 FW that got installed by the new DJI Go app for android might have corrected something.

    Anyone else notice a change in the signal quality/range after going to DJI Go 2.0.1 published through the play store and the subsequent 1.4.0.1 RC update that is installed from within the DJI Go App?
     
  16. Scotflieger

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    As you are based in the States, you have the option to set the video channel to auto or manual. If you have a nearby wifi on the same or a close channel it cause be interfering. Either try selecting auto or choosing another manual channel.