Need DroneDeploy advice

Joined
Apr 1, 2018
Messages
42
Reaction score
5
Age
55
Hey gang, need some input on a DroneDeploy anomaly I ran into. I'm flying a Phantom 4 Pro V.2, less than a year old. Today's flight was brilliantly sunny skies, low wind, warm-ish temps. An ideal flying day except for one aspect, which was a KP index of 4, which I'm learning is a risky level to fly at. Don't know if that factored in, not real educated about the KP index. So I have a mapping mission that I've been flying for a year and I tried to fly it today. The drone would take off, fly to it's beginning point, then begin flying the route and snapping pictures, but today the drone would only fly a couple of feet forward and would only snap about two pictures, then it would stop and hover. I would bring it down, relaunch, same issue. I even went so far as to delete DroneDeploy from my controller and reinstall it. I flipped between manual and autonomous control a few times hoping to "shake it loos", I would force the drone backwards a bit and let it restart, I would fly the drone too far forward and let it restart. In all scenarios the drone would fly to where it last left off then just stop and hover. Anyone seen this before? DroneDeploy unfortunately doesn't want to be contacted so I can't ask them (at least I don't see how to contact them on their site). Can this be a KP index issue? My understanding is that KP index affects the GPS but this feels like something different. Oh, there were 16+ satellites too, so that was as expected. I've looked through the 4 logs from DroneDeploy (entered into Airdata) but I can find nothing useful there. And unfortunately after I moved on to other manual flight segments, some other problem cropped up and the drone was lost, so I can't get logs out of the drone. I am just hoping to learn about this "stop and hover" thing so I can combat it in the future.

Any advice?
 

Meta4

Premium Pilot
Joined
Jan 8, 2014
Messages
15,120
Reaction score
9,086
An ideal flying day except for one aspect, which was a KP index of 4, which I'm learning is a risky level to fly at
I'm not sure where you got that idea from.
K-index of 4 is quite normal and no problem atall.
You can safely fly under much higher K-index numbers.
DroneDeploy unfortunately doesn't want to be contacted so I can't ask them (at least I don't see how to contact them on their site).
DroneDeploy have a prettyy good forum for solving technical issues:
Can this be a KP index issue?
No ... the K-index even in big solar flare events still doesn't affect your drone flying to any identifiable extent.
If it did, it would just be to slightly extend the position error that's already part of using GPS.
It wouldn't have any effect on drone control.

the drone was lost, so I can't get logs out of the drone
The relevant flight data is stored in the phone or tablet used to fly the drone.
. I am just hoping to learn about this "stop and hover" thing so I can combat it in the future.
Without data, I can only offer a guess.
The most obvious thing to check would be obstacle avoidance.
Was OA enabled?
Was the drone heading towards a low, bright sun?
 
Joined
Mar 9, 2020
Messages
237
Reaction score
82
Age
72
Check if you have your camera set to take Raw+Jpeg.
Too much data to record.
Whoops, just noticed you lost the drone, so I don't know if the RC logs will show the camera setting. But try with your new drone to see if the behavior is the same.
 
Joined
Aug 7, 2016
Messages
1,478
Reaction score
908
The sun can stop the drone if flying directly to its direction, as Meta 4 said.
Sunlight that falls directly onto the sensor can stop the drone. Seems that the drone sensors "think" that there is an obstacle in front.
This happened several times to me. But I don't know if this was your issue.
 
Joined
Apr 1, 2018
Messages
42
Reaction score
5
Age
55
I'm not sure where you got that idea from.
K-index of 4 is quite normal and no problem atall.
You can safely fly under much higher K-index numbers.


DroneDeploy have a prettyy good forum for solving technical issues:

No ... the K-index even in big solar flare events still doesn't affect your drone flying to any identifiable extent.
If it did, it would just be to slightly extend the position error that's already part of using GPS.
It wouldn't have any effect on drone control.


The relevant flight data is stored in the phone or tablet used to fly the drone.

Without data, I can only offer a guess.
The most obvious thing to check would be obstacle avoidance.
Was OA enabled?
Was the drone heading towards a low, bright sun?
Meta4, wow. Thanks for all of the detail and your helpful answers. I learned about KP index from....where else...my magic internet box. Saw that the last couple days were going to be susceptible to higher than usual geomagnetic storms, and further I saw that my UAV Forecast app on my phone indicating that the index for Sunday was 4, so I just started looking and reading. Some source or another indicated that above 3 is troublesome, might make drone GPS lock harder. Like I said in my post, I'm not knowledgable in this category so was just asking. You set me straight there. Re DroneDeploy, I found their forum on my own and relayed my issue. No one had any advice, said others have reported this anomaly so DroneDeploy needs to address it if enough users chime in to say they are encountering the problem. Having said that...KUDOS TO YOU! I think you and Andy9 have the answer because I was definitely flying towards a low sun early in the morning! It never dawned on me. I went out today to try the DroneDeploy flight again before I read your answer...same result, stop and hover. Until I shifted gears and took the drone to a new starting spot which had it flying in the opposite direction with...you guessed it...the back towards the sun. This allowed it to keep flying apparently. And still I did not make the sun connection. I do not believe obstacle avoidance played a part as I was at 400' with nothing in the way. I usually fly with it off but can't swear it was set that way yesterday. It was definitely off today during both the failed flight and the successful flight.

Now having said all of that...I lost the drone yesterday after the DroneDeploy incident. Flying along manually taking pics, screen went black, aircraft disconnected message. Couldn't regain connection to the drone. This EXACT thing happened about a week and a half prior. Then, I got the aircraft disconnected message, screen went black, wasn't able to reconnect. I figured the drone either just kept on flying or else it crashed, wasn't sure which. After a big search I wrote it off, but 2 days later the work crew at the site found the drone like 1/8 of a mile from where it was when the disconnection came. This particular day I was flying DroneDeploy, and apparently it kept flying and landed itself when the battery got low. The images on the card showed that it was flying and snapping pics for the mapping mission still. This made no sense to me, I thought for sure it would have just stopped flying if it hadn't crashed, being that there was no input going to the drone. I went out and test flew the drone for several hours and could find no issues, so I put it back in service. Then it happened again yesterday. This time, like I said above, I was flying manually snapping pics, and when the disconnection came I remember catching sight of the triangle that represents the drone on the radar screen at the bottom left going haywire, like the drone was tumbling and falling. Of course the flight was over overgrown dense scrub and vegetation in an area where I'll never be able to access most of it. What I could access didn't turn up the drone during the search. You said the logs are in the controller and that I didn't need the drone, so would you be able to interpret the logs and further tell me how to find them? Thanks in advance.
 
Joined
Apr 1, 2018
Messages
42
Reaction score
5
Age
55
The sun can stop the drone if flying directly to its direction, as Meta 4 said.
Sunlight that falls directly onto the sensor can stop the drone. Seems that the drone sensors "think" that there is an obstacle in front.
This happened several times to me. But I don't know if this was your issue.
Thanks Andy9! You and Meta4 both nailed it I think. I was flying into the sun during all failed flights, which stopped the drone even with obstacle avoidance off. Reversing the drone and flying with back to the sun let it continue on as normal flight.
 
Joined
Apr 1, 2018
Messages
42
Reaction score
5
Age
55
Check if you have your camera set to take Raw+Jpeg.
Too much data to record.
Whoops, just noticed you lost the drone, so I don't know if the RC logs will show the camera setting. But try with your new drone to see if the behavior is the same.
Thanks ArnoldLeVine. I was definitely collecting images as .jpg, not .jpg+RAW. But you may have seen some other replies I just gave where we figured it must have been the bright sun shining right into the sensor. When I changed the flight route the drone was able to keep flying.
 

Members online

Forum statistics

Threads
142,157
Messages
1,461,105
Members
103,946
Latest member
xr2