Repurposing old P4P batteries....

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Hey doods!

So as my drone company moves forward, my hardware and software are also moving forward. I now use UgCS in conjunction with a Matrice 300 RTK for mapping. UgCS runs on a PC in the Windows environment. It requires a network connection to the Android-based remote control, which is also running UgCS. During training, it was recommended to use a smart phone as a hotspot. But I find a couple problems with that:

1) I don't have a smart phone (I still use a flip phone - which I love).
2) The smart phone connection is not very robust. When connected to my business partner's smart phone, we lost connection multiple times within the span of a single flight.
3) Many of our mapping locations are beyond cell service. So we absolutely, 100%, positively must be able to operate autonomously - completely independent of Internet access.
4) I have about 1,000 routers laying around my house (okay...that may be an exaggeration).

Since all we need is a LAN (and not a WAN), I decided I would break out an old router to connect my PC (laptop) to the M300 RC. The problem, of course, is that a router requires AC power. Now, to be clear, on longer jobs we plan on having access to AC power via a generator (we have to charge batteries, after all). But for smaller jobs, we need to be able to run on battery power. Since my router is a simple 12VDC device, I decided to repurpose one of my older P4P batteries (which has over 80 flights on it). This has worked perfectly. I haven't tested how long the P4P battery will power the router for, but by my estimate it seems I can get well over an hour out of it. And when I say "well over," I believe I can get 2 or 3 hours out of it. Since I have about a half-dozen semi-retired P4P batteries, having enough battery for the entire day should be a piece of cake.

1665336697207.jpeg


I know some of you are going to say, "Why not just use the car battery?" Several reasons:

1) Most modern cars require the ignition to be on for a power port (cigarette lighter) to work.
2) I don't wish to run cables to the inside of the vehicle or to the battery (we mostly work from the bed of a truck or the back of my Mini Cooper).
3) On occasion we have to "hike in" to a high launch point that we can't reach with a vehicle.

Coming up....

I've got a 24" 1200 nit monitor on the way. I plan on powering that off of my old Inspire 1 batteries. Like my P4P, I have at least 1/2 dozen semi-retired Inspire 1 batteries. The new monitor is due to show up tomorrow. I imagine a 1200 nit monitor probably draws a lot of current. But the good news is that it has a brightness knob that will make it very easy to conserve battery by simply turning down the brightness.

Good times.

Discuss.

UPDATE: After running this router for 6 hours and 10 minutes on the same P4P battery, the 4th LED just started blinking. This means the battery still has 80%-90% power left. Naturally, I think it will draw a little more current while actually performing routing duties, but that increase should be negligible. I'll buy a case for it tomorrow so it's all self contained. Because it draws so little current, I can just grab a 60% charged battery off the shelf (storage capacity) and go with that. No need to specifically charge a battery just for the router. At any given time I have a dozen 60% charged batteries on the shelf. Once on the jobsite, just power up and go. One less thing to worry about.

SECOND UPDATE: After running over night (a total of 17 hours), the third LED is now blinking. Safe to say using old P4P batteries works perfectly.

D
 
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Thanks for sharing it gives me and others alternative's that we might not have thought of
 
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AC/DC inverter hooked to any automotive battery, incl your vehicle will run your system and recharge your flight batteries. The car becomes the generator or charger.
 
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2) The smart phone connection is not very robust. When connected to my business partner's smart phone, we lost connection multiple times within the span of a single flight.
Any chance you tried putting the phone in airplane mode? Just a shot in the dark.
 
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Any chance you tried putting the phone in airplane mode? Just a shot in the dark.
In Airplane mode it wouldn't connect in the first place. If your suggestion is that my business partner picked up his phone, swiped down and accidentally selected "Airplane Mode," that would be a hard "no" on that one.

I believe the problem may have been text messages coming in. Also, it seems if he put it in his pocket, we would lose conection.. At any rate, I deemed it unreliable. The router is much better way to go.

D
 
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In Airplane mode it wouldn't connect in the first place. If your suggestion is that my business partner picked up his phone, swiped down and accidentally selected "Airplane Mode," that would be a hard "no" on that one.

I believe the problem may have been text messages coming in. Also, it seems if he put it in his pocket, we would lose conection.. At any rate, I deemed it unreliable. The router is much better way to go.

D
WIFI connection is still available in airplane mode. This method is the only reliable connection on the Tellos. It does prevent phone calls and text messages.
 
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Hey doods!

So as my drone company moves forward, my hardware and software are also moving forward. I now use UgCS in conjunction with a Matrice 300 RTK for mapping. UgCS runs on a PC in the Windows environment. It requires a network connection to the Android-based remote control, which is also running UgCS. During training, it was recommended to use a smart phone as a hotspot. But I find a couple problems with that:

1) I don't have a smart phone (I still use a flip phone - which I love).
2) The smart phone connection is not very robust. When connected to my business partner's smart phone, we lost connection multiple times within the span of a single flight.
3) Many of our mapping locations are beyond cell service. So we absolutely, 100%, positively must be able to operate autonomously - completely independent of Internet access.
4) I have about 1,000 routers laying around my house (okay...that may be an exaggeration).

Since all we need is a LAN (and not a WAN), I decided I would break out an old router to connect my PC (laptop) to the M300 RC. The problem, of course, is that a router requires AC power. Now, to be clear, on longer jobs we plan on having access to AC power via a generator (we have to charge batteries, after all).
Hey Harley
Curious about your new setup. What camera/lenses are you running on the on the M300?
What kind of photo/video specs/resolution?
Looking at the DJI site & see the 2 different cameras. Amazing capabilities, but actual resolution doesn't seem to be better than the P4 Pro. I'd guess the sensors are way better though.
Do you do any of the Infrared or thermal stuff?
Just curious. It's such a huge leap in tech and expense than the arena that I work in....
 
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Hey Harley
Curious about your new setup. What camera/lenses are you running on the on the M300?
I'm doing LiDAR mapping. The camera is used for colorization only. So the camera is actually attached to the LiDAR unit. If memory serves, it's essentially a Sony A7 in a completely different form factor.

UPDATE: Okay...just got confirmation that the camera is a Sony A600.



What kind of photo/video specs/resolution?
We don't take video. I believe the photos are standard 24 megapixel photos.




Looking at the DJI site & see the 2 different cameras.
It sounds like you're looking into the cinematography end of things. I'm strictly doing LiDAR mapping with the M300 RTK. And honestly, we're not doing RTK. We're doing PPK, which doesn't utilize the drone's RTK function.




Amazing capabilities, but actual resolution doesn't seem to be better than the P4 Pro.
Correct. At least for the camera we have. We're only using the camera for colorization. The LiDAR data is used to create the point cloud.




I'd guess the sensors are way better though.
Sorry bud. Can't help you. Once I know the camera spec's all share them. But because we're using the camera for colorization only, none of the spec's were of real concern.




Do you do any of the Infrared or thermal stuff?
No sir.



Just curious. It's such a huge leap in tech and expense than the arena that I work in....
Indeed. While I can't speak on the cinematography side of things, I CAN say that after roughly 10 jobs I can attest to the M300 robustness. It's a very solid, well-engineered platform. I haven't had to hack it yet (due to erroneous DJI geofencing issues), and hopefully I won't have to. Time will tell...

D
 
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