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Preventing compass errors mid-flight

Discussion in 'Pro/Adv Discussion' started by bohdud, Sep 29, 2016.

  1. bohdud

    Sep 15, 2016
    Likes Received:
    I've heard that the biggest cause of loss of control of a drone (apart from high winds) is compass error. I've also seen a number of videos where the drone does not report a compass error at takeoff, but obviously not all compass errors can be detected, and a subsequent problem happens during flight.

    Would taking off from a cardboard box or other non-metallic surface about 0.5-1m above the ground help prevent some fairly common compass errors? Are there other good practices beyond following a pre-flight checklist and staying away from obvious metal objects that can prevent hidden compass errors causing problems while in the air?

    Keen to hear everyone's thoughts!
  2. Meta4

    Meta4 Moderator
    Staff Member

    Jan 8, 2014
    Likes Received:
    It's easy to get the wrong impression reading of some users problems and imagining that the majority of users are having similar problems.
    The compass in a Phantom is usually very reliable and trouble-free.
    I have seen a few cases lately of Phantoms with troublesome compasses and they had to go back for replacement.
    But most users would never see a compass error at all.
    The only times I've seen a compass error is when I've purposely put the Phantom on a car roof or manhole cover for demonstration purposes.
    As long as you don't calibrate the compass in a bad area and you don't try to launch from a car roof, or on reinforced concrete etc, you'll probably never see one either.

    btw ... A compass error doesn't mean there is a problem with the compass.
    It's usually a perfectly good compass telling you that it has detected a problem with the local magnetic environment, usually due to a lot of steel nearby.
    In this case, you should not recalibrate the compass there simply simply moving to a magnetically clean area is the solution.
    bohdud likes this.
  3. alokbhargava

    Sep 28, 2015
    Likes Received:
    San Francisco, CA
    My guess is that most of the problems start after it lands hard or goes through a crash. Any connector getting loose will create problem at any time during the flights. Electronics usually have a long life if operated in correct ambient conditions. Other elements that can cause problems are motors, ESC , props and batteries. Key to success would be maintenance and correct operations.

    Keep checking calibrations once a while will keep things fit and give you long good experience.

    Sent from my iPhone using PhantomPilots
    bohdud likes this.
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