Phantom 3 std help

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Hey fellow pilots ! I am a Spark owner and am on the Spark pilots forum. However, I love flying and recently noticed a Phantom 3 std for sale on craigslist for $150 and am looking for more insight into this model. From the pics the bird looks like its in good shape, even comes in the original box. I am hoping to learn more about this model if any of you can provide some insight it would be greatly appreciated. The first thing ive read of concern is that these birds have a pretty terrible range, like 1/2 a mile. Ive had my spark well over a mile out with no mods of any kind. The other thing is that I do like to use litchi for waypoint flights. I presume that if I was using Litchi I could go much farther than the rc range of the phantom, just like with my spark. I am also wondering about possible aftermarket mods as well as software hacks. I use no limit dronez on my spark and love it ! No altitude limit and I can send it at over 45mph ! Thanks for any insight into the phantom 3
 
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The P3S was my first choice and still fly with it more often than my P3P.

1) 1/2 mile range is about right under most conditions. If you're looking for long range (with full control), the P3S is not for you.

2) Litchi works fine for long range.

3) Mods are available in the form of range boosters/extenders. Argtek, Itelite, are two that come to mind. There's also a copper parabolic extender from various manufacturers. These all give pretty good results.

4) Software "hacks" are never discussed on this platform. Such discussions violate community standards and as such are not allowed.
 
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I have both a Spark and a P3S. I fly both regularly. The Spark is a newer and more advanced drone than the P3S. It has a better and more stable WiFi connection and can use an OTG cable which the P3S can not. I can get about 500m on my P3S with a good connection and usually with the help of a windsurfer. I do not fly my drones BVLOS but I do know that my P3S will usually lose connection at about the max of my VLOS range or sooner.

As LarBear said Litchi will extend your range beyond signal range.

The only real advantages of the P3S over the Spark are the longer battery life, stronger wind resistance, and the ability to shoot RAW photos and 2.7K video.

I don't see the purpose of doing aftermarket mods/hacks on the P3S for minimal gain in signal range. I would think it would be more practical and cost effective to purchase either a P3A, a P3P or a standard P4 than putting money into a P3S. All those other models come with Lightbridge which has better signal quality and range built in rather than trying to boost a P3S. I love my P3S, but modding it to get better signal range is just not worth it.

Chris
 
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ianzone

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I'm p3 owner aswell and mine had the bad range from new,I just got cheap argtec triple antenna now,goes ok,,I never push the range nowadays,to many risks beyond line of sight that could happen,,anyway I not your dad but do be careful,,p3s is not a long range drone full stop,some fly off into the sunset and some wont leave the block,,the Joy's of wifi,,,my p4 has modified remote aswell but its mainly to have image and trouble free flights,,I always give my drone a pat when it's been busy,would hate to lose ,,,as 2 the NLD is playing with fire,dont get burned if you know what I mean,,again the p3s you find might turn out to be a good one,
Make sure it works before you buy ,,nice and cheap though
Take care
 
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Litchi brings the best out of my P3S and it is a good complimentary combination. I wholeheartedly agree with the other comments the reiterate that If you're looking for long range (with full control), the P3S is not for you.
 
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I have both a Spark and a P3S. I fly both regularly. The Spark is a newer and more advanced drone than the P3S. It has a better and more stable WiFi connection and can use an OTG cable which the P3S can not. I can get about 500m on my P3S with a good connection and usually with the help of a windsurfer. I do not fly my drones BVLOS but I do know that my P3S will usually lose connection at about the max of my VLOS range or sooner.

As LarBear said Litchi will extend your range beyond signal range.

The only real advantages of the P3S over the Spark are the longer battery life, stronger wind resistance, and the ability to shoot RAW photos and 2.7K video.

I don't see the purpose of doing aftermarket mods/hacks on the P3S for minimal gain in signal range. I would think it would be more practical and cost effective to purchase either a P3A, a P3P or a standard P4 than putting money into a P3S. All those other models come with Lightbridge which has better signal quality and range built in rather than trying to boost a P3S. I love my P3S, but modding it to get better signal range is just not worth it.

Chris
Because the WP missions do not requre any signal from the RC if the mission was written on Litchi.
 
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Because the WP missions do not requre any signal from the RC if the mission was written on Litchi.
I realize that, but the OP is talking about modding a P3S to get better range. All I am saying is that he might be better off buying a drone that already has better range rather than trying to squeeze more range out of a P3S.

Chris
 
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Then a Mavic 1 series is the minimum. Better a M2 series with CE 4 Km or FCC 10 Km of signal range.
 
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Thanks for all of the replys here, I appreciate all of the feedback.

So I went ahead and bought it. It happened to be snowing when I met the seller to check it out. so he didnt want to test/demo fly it beforehand. He had also forgot to charge the remote. It looked like it hadnt seen too much action and was in the original box. The kid that was selling it to me said he had not flown it many times. He bought it for skiing, but said that the battery hated cold conditions, also its not very mobile for that sort of activity, not to mention that drone use is prohibited at all of the ski resorts around here. I did a quick test of the battery and noted it had near 100 percent life left. Everything looked good and lightly used so I paid him $160 and took it home.

After getting it home I charged up the RC, cleaned up the bird thoroughly, as it was pretty grimy. I decided to take it for a quick rip just to see how and if everything worked ok. For the sake of launching quickly I used litchi , I later realized that I could not fly this bird with the go4 app I use for my spark and hadnt installed the correct dji app. Litchi worked just fine, I didnt notice any problems with telemetry or function and I like the way it handles. Really smooth action. Range seemed totally decent, I was actually impressed at how clear the signal was at well over 1000 ft out. I love how long the battery seems to last. I eventually installed the dji app and flew with that. Although I like that it doesnt have the black and white lines that I get with litchi and hate, I didnt enjoy it as much.

I also noticed with both apps when I went to land the bird didnt slow down its decent as it approached the ground, this puzzled me a bit, I just chalked it up the p3s not having sensors. I managed to ease it down form both the first 2 flights.

Then today I decided to take it up for another flight. I tried using dji initially but it didnt go well. At first it wouldnt let me take off because it said the battery needed to warm up, then once it finally let me launch, I started getting warnings. It kept saying battery voltage was critically low when I was still at 55%. It was trying to land as I was flying over the river behind my apartment, I just kept pushin up on the stick and got it back home. I decided to see how litchi would behave and re launched with that. Once again, no issues during flight other than those annoying black and white lines. But once again, when I attempted to land, the drone did not slow down as it approached the ground. I managed to avoid it crashing each time, but this has me concerned. I need to try to auto land it instead of manual, but this dosnt seem right. I am hoping someone on here possibly has some insight into this. I have not updated the firmware yet, not sure if that would matter with this issue.
Could it possibly be a issue with the IMU ?
 
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I did check the battery log with airdata. It looked like one cell in the battery might have a problem, it showed a total of 9 charges, after my first 2 flights with it
 
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Thanks for all of the replys here, I appreciate all of the feedback.

So I went ahead and bought it. It happened to be snowing when I met the seller to check it out. so he didnt want to test/demo fly it beforehand. He had also forgot to charge the remote. It looked like it hadnt seen too much action and was in the original box. The kid that was selling it to me said he had not flown it many times. He bought it for skiing, but said that the battery hated cold conditions, also its not very mobile for that sort of activity, not to mention that drone use is prohibited at all of the ski resorts around here. I did a quick test of the battery and noted it had near 100 percent life left. Everything looked good and lightly used so I paid him $160 and took it home.

After getting it home I charged up the RC, cleaned up the bird thoroughly, as it was pretty grimy. I decided to take it for a quick rip just to see how and if everything worked ok. For the sake of launching quickly I used litchi , I later realized that I could not fly this bird with the go4 app I use for my spark and hadnt installed the correct dji app. Litchi worked just fine, I didnt notice any problems with telemetry or function and I like the way it handles. Really smooth action. Range seemed totally decent, I was actually impressed at how clear the signal was at well over 1000 ft out. I love how long the battery seems to last. I eventually installed the dji app and flew with that. Although I like that it doesnt have the black and white lines that I get with litchi and hate, I didnt enjoy it as much.

I also noticed with both apps when I went to land the bird didnt slow down its decent as it approached the ground, this puzzled me a bit, I just chalked it up the p3s not having sensors. I managed to ease it down form both the first 2 flights.

Then today I decided to take it up for another flight. I tried using dji initially but it didnt go well. At first it wouldnt let me take off because it said the battery needed to warm up, then once it finally let me launch, I started getting warnings. It kept saying battery voltage was critically low when I was still at 55%. It was trying to land as I was flying over the river behind my apartment, I just kept pushin up on the stick and got it back home. I decided to see how litchi would behave and re launched with that. Once again, no issues during flight other than those annoying black and white lines. But once again, when I attempted to land, the drone did not slow down as it approached the ground. I managed to avoid it crashing each time, but this has me concerned. I need to try to auto land it instead of manual, but this dosnt seem right. I am hoping someone on here possibly has some insight into this. I have not updated the firmware yet, not sure if that would matter with this issue.
Could it possibly be a issue with the IMU ?
The landing behaviour you are experiencing is likely due to the P3S not having the landing sensors like the Spark has. It can move around quite a bit especially if there is a bit of a breeze. Practice coming down slowly or use auto-land. If you turn off the Sparks landing sensors in Litchi you will likely notice similar behaviour with your Spark.

With regard to the battery, if you are flying in cold weather, make sure the battery is warmed before you insert it in the drone and then take off and hover a bit so that it can warm up before flying off. I fly in cold weather all the time and my batteries perform the same as they do in warm weather. I keep them warm in my pockets and only insert them when I am ready to power up. Also, only use fully charged batteries especially if flying in cold temps.

Good luck with your new P3S.

Chris
 
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The landing behaviour you are experiencing is likely due to the P3S not having the landing sensors like the Spark has. It can move around quite a bit especially if there is a bit of a breeze. Practice coming down slowly or use auto-land. If you turn off the Sparks landing sensors in Litchi you will likely notice similar behaviour with your Spark.

With regard to the battery, if you are flying in cold weather, make sure the battery is warmed before you insert it in the drone and then take off and hover a bit so that it can warm up before flying off. I fly in cold weather all the time and my batteries perform the same as they do in warm weather. I keep them warm in my pockets and only insert them when I am ready to power up. Also, only use fully charged batteries especially if flying in cold temps.

Good luck with your new P3S.

Chris
Thank you for the tips ! I did try to let her down slowly but it just doesnt do the same slow down as the spark. Cant wait to play with it more. Gotta get her a case, and maybe a second battery !
 
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Thanks for all of the replys here, I appreciate all of the feedback.

So I went ahead and bought it. It happened to be snowing when I met the seller to check it out. so he didnt want to test/demo fly it beforehand. He had also forgot to charge the remote. It looked like it hadnt seen too much action and was in the original box. The kid that was selling it to me said he had not flown it many times. He bought it for skiing, but said that the battery hated cold conditions, also its not very mobile for that sort of activity, not to mention that drone use is prohibited at all of the ski resorts around here. I did a quick test of the battery and noted it had near 100 percent life left. Everything looked good and lightly used so I paid him $160 and took it home.

After getting it home I charged up the RC, cleaned up the bird thoroughly, as it was pretty grimy. I decided to take it for a quick rip just to see how and if everything worked ok. For the sake of launching quickly I used litchi , I later realized that I could not fly this bird with the go4 app I use for my spark and hadnt installed the correct dji app. Litchi worked just fine, I didnt notice any problems with telemetry or function and I like the way it handles. Really smooth action. Range seemed totally decent, I was actually impressed at how clear the signal was at well over 1000 ft out. I love how long the battery seems to last. I eventually installed the dji app and flew with that. Although I like that it doesnt have the black and white lines that I get with litchi and hate, I didnt enjoy it as much.

I also noticed with both apps when I went to land the bird didnt slow down its decent as it approached the ground, this puzzled me a bit, I just chalked it up the p3s not having sensors. I managed to ease it down form both the first 2 flights.

Then today I decided to take it up for another flight. I tried using dji initially but it didnt go well. At first it wouldnt let me take off because it said the battery needed to warm up, then once it finally let me launch, I started getting warnings. It kept saying battery voltage was critically low when I was still at 55%. It was trying to land as I was flying over the river behind my apartment, I just kept pushin up on the stick and got it back home. I decided to see how litchi would behave and re launched with that. Once again, no issues during flight other than those annoying black and white lines. But once again, when I attempted to land, the drone did not slow down as it approached the ground. I managed to avoid it crashing each time, but this has me concerned. I need to try to auto land it instead of manual, but this dosnt seem right. I am hoping someone on here possibly has some insight into this. I have not updated the firmware yet, not sure if that would matter with this issue.
Could it possibly be a issue with the IMU ?
Not sure what you're seeing with the black and white lines. Could those be zebras indicating over-exposure from the camera? Be sure the camera is set up to auto for now and see if the lines go away. If the camera happens to be set to manual, you'll want to speed up your shutter speed to lower the exposure.

I've never experienced what you described during landing. The auto land will tell. I'm wondering if the controller sticks need to be adjusted. There is a way to do this in the app. I've always been happy with the default settings but take a look to ensure the previous owner didn't try messing with them.

Lastly, replace that battery. At the very least run it down a few times and see if that cell doesn't correct itself. These batteries can go wonky if not stored properly. Keep it away from the river. When the battery hits critical level, it will try to return to home. If it doesn't think it can make it, it will land wherever it is to avoid falling out of the sky like a brick.

The P3S is an excellent machine. A real work horse. Hopefully you'll get the kinks worked out soon.
 
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Not sure what you're seeing with the black and white lines. Could those be zebras indicating over-exposure from the camera? Be sure the camera is set up to auto for now and see if the lines go away. If the camera happens to be set to manual, you'll want to speed up your shutter speed to lower the exposure.

I've never experienced what you described during landing. The auto land will tell. I'm wondering if the controller sticks need to be adjusted. There is a way to do this in the app. I've always been happy with the default settings but take a look to ensure the previous owner didn't try messing with them.

Lastly, replace that battery. At the very least run it down a few times and see if that cell doesn't correct itself. These batteries can go wonky if not stored properly. Keep it away from the river. When the battery hits critical level, it will try to return to home. If it doesn't think it can make it, it will land wherever it is to avoid falling out of the sky like a brick.

The P3S is an excellent machine. A real work horse. Hopefully you'll get the kinks worked out soon.
Thank you very much for the help. I will check the settings in litchi.

The landing thing is a bit vexing, I dont think its me. Even when I tried landing from hovering only a few feet off the ground it still comes down with no intention of slowing before it hits the ground. Only time Ive ever seen this it was with my spark when I had the vps turned off in litchi, that was an easy fix, just went in and toggled it back on. The dji app doesnt have this option, and if it was accidentally enabled on the p3 I dont think it would do anything since the p3 doesnt have those sensors.

I will check to see if there are any settings that I can change in the dji app. I am curious if it could be a IMU problem.

I will also try to run the battery down a few times and see if that cell corrects. It looks like it will cost around $60 to get a replacement battery. Does anyone have a favorite aftermarket brand ? Also looking to get a case that wont break the bank. Nothing crazy, just somewhere to keep it besides the original box.

Might try a quick litchi mission today just to see how she does. I think Im really going to enjoy this bird !
Thanks again !
 
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Thank you very much for the help. I will check the settings in litchi.

The landing thing is a bit vexing, I dont think its me. Even when I tried landing from hovering only a few feet off the ground it still comes down with no intention of slowing before it hits the ground. Only time Ive ever seen this it was with my spark when I had the vps turned off in litchi, that was an easy fix, just went in and toggled it back on. The dji app doesnt have this option, and if it was accidentally enabled on the p3 I dont think it would do anything since the p3 doesnt have those sensors.

I will check to see if there are any settings that I can change in the dji app. I am curious if it could be a IMU problem.

I will also try to run the battery down a few times and see if that cell corrects. It looks like it will cost around $60 to get a replacement battery. Does anyone have a favorite aftermarket brand ? Also looking to get a case that wont break the bank. Nothing crazy, just somewhere to keep it besides the original box.

Might try a quick litchi mission today just to see how she does. I think Im really going to enjoy this bird !
Thanks again !
So if you give the left stick even the slightest push down it descends too fast?
 
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So if you give the left stick even the slightest push down it descends too fast?
Returning from 6-mile round trip Litchi missions, my Phantom3S does descend faster when the battery charge remaining has fallen below 30%. Anticipating that brisk rate of descent, I throttle up to ensure a controlled descent and smooth landing.
 
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Thank you very much for the help. I will check the settings in litchi.

The landing thing is a bit vexing, I dont think its me. Even when I tried landing from hovering only a few feet off the ground it still comes down with no intention of slowing before it hits the ground. Only time Ive ever seen this it was with my spark when I had the vps turned off in litchi, that was an easy fix, just went in and toggled it back on. The dji app doesnt have this option, and if it was accidentally enabled on the p3 I dont think it would do anything since the p3 doesnt have those sensors.

I will check to see if there are any settings that I can change in the dji app. I am curious if it could be a IMU problem.

I will also try to run the battery down a few times and see if that cell corrects. It looks like it will cost around $60 to get a replacement battery. Does anyone have a favorite aftermarket brand ? Also looking to get a case that wont break the bank. Nothing crazy, just somewhere to keep it besides the original box.

Might try a quick litchi mission today just to see how she does. I think Im really going to enjoy this bird !
Thanks again !
I'm no expert, but I think if you were having an IMU problem you either would not be able to take off or you would see other problems in flight. You can check your IMU status in the GO app in the sensors section - can't remember off hand the exact menu location - but you can run a check on the IMU to see if there are any errors. If this check comes out ok then I think your IMU is ok.

With regard to battery recommendations, I have 3 PowerExtra batteries and one FlyHi battery - all purchased from Amazon.ca. I prefer the PowerExtra batteries. The 3 I have, have been flawless and all have well over a 100 charge cycles on them. They look and perform just like the original DJI one. The only minor quibble is that the LED lights on them are not as bright and is hard to see in bright sunlight. The FlyHi battery works fine and is my newest battery but lately I have been getting the occasional cell broken error on cold weather flights so I am watching and monitoring this battery carefully. My recommendation is to purchase from a vendor that has a good return policy like Amazon in case you get a defective battery. I did have to return a PowerExtra battery to Amazon before I got the FlyHi battery because I was constantly getting major cell deviations, so make sure you can return it if its not performing well as the prices of P3 batteries are going up as they are becoming harder to find.

Black lines in Litchi are likely zebra lines like @LarBear360 said indicating overexposed areas. You can turn that setting off if you want.

I also agree with LarBear - the P3S is an excellent machine and is often overlooked because it doesn't have all the fancy tech, but with 3rd party software it can do amazing things.

Chris
 
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Thanks again. I did check the imu and perform a calibration, however it still does the same thing when landing. First time I just left that stick locked into the down position, as anticipated it came in way too hot, I popped it out of that just before it bounced hard on the landing gear. I took it off again and used the auto land. Although it came down slowly it still did a small bounce on landing. I tried in both the dji app and in litchi and both times it exhibited the same issue. The lack of zebra lines was nice, especially using vr googles in fpv mode in litchi. But I need to figure out this issue. I have heard that something can get stuck in the imu sensor. It can be replaced but Ive read that it is often fixed by removing it and hitting it on a hard surface. I did a bunch of youtube and google research. Hoping there is another possible cause to this, its definitely not normal.
 
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Im also curious if you guys prefer to use android or ios to fly ?
So far with the spark ,I have been using a iphone 6, which I only use for flying. It works really well, but the display is small and of course the battery is ****. I have used my personal phone which is a moto g5. It is pretty poor, crashes all the time mid flight, terrible latency, more warnings and errors, always seems like a bad idea and usually is. So far I have only flown the Phantom with ios, no problems so far with either litchi or dji, but it seemed a bit more buggy in dji. I have heard that dji drones fly better with android. I am considering getting a tablet for a better image view during flight. What do yall like ?
 
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Thanks again. I did check the imu and perform a calibration, however it still does the same thing when landing. First time I just left that stick locked into the down position, as anticipated it came in way too hot, I popped it out of that just before it bounced hard on the landing gear. I took it off again and used the auto land. Although it came down slowly it still did a small bounce on landing. I tried in both the dji app and in litchi and both times it exhibited the same issue. The lack of zebra lines was nice, especially using vr googles in fpv mode in litchi. But I need to figure out this issue. I have heard that something can get stuck in the imu sensor. It can be replaced but Ive read that it is often fixed by removing it and hitting it on a hard surface. I did a bunch of youtube and google research. Hoping there is another possible cause to this, its definitely not normal.
Just to be clear....you're pulling the stick all the way down? As far as it can go? You don't need much to bring it down.

A little bounce upon landing is not unusual.
 
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