Soon to be new owner phantom 3 advanced

Joined
Aug 14, 2016
Messages
1,075
Reaction score
169
Age
34
I ordered a phantom 3 advanced off of amazon and it should be here Wednesday. It was a bundle deal so I get the hard case backpack, extra battery, some prop gourds and a few other things. I've never flown a drone before and I'm worried I'm going to break it. I've been reading a lot on this forum since yesterday and decided I would make a thread asking everyone for tips or pointers. Any good advice for a newbie? Anything you guys think I should know before I do my first flight on Wednesday? Thank you in advanced
 

msinger

Approved Vendor
Joined
Oct 30, 2014
Messages
30,611
Reaction score
10,039
Location
Harrisburg, PA (US)
Joined
Aug 14, 2016
Messages
1,075
Reaction score
169
Age
34
Another thing I should mention is I have a galaxy s7 edge but I heard ios is better to use with the phantom. So I also ordered a iPad mini 2 which will be delivered before the drone.
 

msinger

Approved Vendor
Joined
Oct 30, 2014
Messages
30,611
Reaction score
10,039
Location
Harrisburg, PA (US)
DJI seems to favor Apple devices. However, Android devices work just as well if you're running a recommended device or a device that's close to the specs of a recommended device.
 
Joined
Aug 14, 2016
Messages
1,075
Reaction score
169
Age
34
DJI seems to favor Apple devices. However, Android devices work just as well if you're running a recommended device or a device that's close to the specs of a recommended device.
Don't you know or think my Samsung Galaxy S7 edge will work good? I'm worried about the Ipad mini 2 I have coming might not be ideal since it's only WiFi. I can turn on WiFi Hotspot from my s7 and connect the iPad mini 2 to it. Would that enable the iPad mini 2 to be able to use follow me and all features? Sorry for the rambling. I'm super excited and nervous!
 
Joined
Jun 3, 2016
Messages
385
Reaction score
126
Age
38
First of all, congratulations! The P3A is a fantastic machine and it's seriously addictive.

It's good to maintain a healthy fear, but seriously, a child could fly these. Just take it slow and don't get cocky after 5-10 flights; that's often when people crash! Learn what it can, and can't do. Plenty of great information here. If you're into photography/video (which I didn't care about at first but got into once I learned what a great tool this is and that I could actually take great photo/video), buy the Litchi app.

DEFINITELY read the manual and be really clear on how RTH works, how atti/GPS work and what their limitations are, etc. You don't want to learn on the fly :)

There are some great people here who are happy to help, so ask away. Have fun!
 
Joined
Jun 3, 2016
Messages
385
Reaction score
126
Age
38
I use an iPad mini 2 and it works *great*. Mine is also wifi only; you don't *have* to have internet on it, but it's nice to have it at least for a few seconds when you start so it will load the satellite view map so you can see where you are top-down. No issues with mini 2!
 
  • Like
Reactions: Falcon900
Joined
Aug 14, 2016
Messages
1,075
Reaction score
169
Age
34
First of all, congratulations! The P3A is a fantastic machine and it's seriously addictive.

It's good to maintain a healthy fear, but seriously, a child could fly these. Just take it slow and don't get cocky after 5-10 flights; that's often when people crash! Learn what it can, and can't do. Plenty of great information here. If you're into photography/video (which I didn't care about at first but got into once I learned what a great tool this is and that I could actually take great photo/video), buy the Litchi app.

DEFINITELY read the manual and be really clear on how RTH works, how atti/GPS work and what their limitations are, etc. You don't want to learn on the fly :)

There are some great people here who are happy to help, so ask away. Have fun!
Thank you!
 
Joined
Aug 14, 2016
Messages
1,075
Reaction score
169
Age
34
I use an iPad mini 2 and it works *great*. Mine is also wifi only; you don't *have* to have internet on it, but it's nice to have it at least for a few seconds when you start so it will load the satellite view map so you can see where you are top-down. No issues with mini 2!
Great! I was worried since I bought a refurbished iPad mini 2 just to use with the p3a. So using my iPad on my s7 WiFi Hotspot will work out perfect. Thank you!
 

msinger

Approved Vendor
Joined
Oct 30, 2014
Messages
30,611
Reaction score
10,039
Location
Harrisburg, PA (US)
Don't you know or think my Samsung Galaxy S7 edge will work good?
A lot of people report that the FPV lags in DJI GO. Your iPad Mini 2 should work well though. I own one and haven't had any trouble with it.

Would that enable the iPad mini 2 to be able to use follow me and all features?
You would need to attach an external GPS receiver (tethering won't share GPS data). You can find a list of commonly used GPS receivers here. Without GPS on your mobile device, the only other thing you won't be able to do is reset the home point to your current location after takeoff. You likely won't use those features often (if ever).
 
Joined
Aug 14, 2016
Messages
1,075
Reaction score
169
Age
34
A lot of people report that the FPV lags in DJI GO. Your iPad Mini 2 should work well though. I own one and haven't had any trouble with it.


You would need to attach an external GPS receiver (tethering won't share GPS data). You can find a list of commonly used GPS receivers here. Without GPS on your mobile device, the only other thing you won't be able to do is reset the home point to your current location after takeoff. You likely won't use those features often (if ever).
Alright. How crucial is it to have GPS on the device I will be using?
 

msinger

Approved Vendor
Joined
Oct 30, 2014
Messages
30,611
Reaction score
10,039
Location
Harrisburg, PA (US)
It's only needed if you want to be able to use Follow Me in DJI GO or reset the home point to your current location after takeoff. Neither are crucial features and most people probably never use them.
 
  • Like
Reactions: flySwampAirWI
Joined
Aug 14, 2016
Messages
1,075
Reaction score
169
Age
34
It's only needed if you want to be able to use Follow Me in DJI GO or reset the home point to your current location after takeoff. Neither are crucial features and most people probably never use them.
Ok. So I should be fine then. Thank you. You guys are awesome
 
  • Like
Reactions: flySwampAirWI
Joined
Jun 3, 2016
Messages
385
Reaction score
126
Age
38
Also, there's a very rudimentary simulator built into DJI GO - but you have to have the aircraft powered on in order to use it. Spend 15 or 20 minutes in it until you're comfortable - good investment. Also, put the whole aircraft in the fridge for 30 minutes before your IMU calibration - this allows it to "warm up" as part of its preflight boot much faster. Greater minds than I came up with and tested that and it's definitely a good thing.

Other important stuff:

Calibrate the compass *every* time you fly
You have to stop recording in order to take a photo
Use www.uavforecast.com to see when good flying conditions may be
Don't fly low and slow over your neighborhood or people will think you're spying on them :) best to maintain a low profile whenever you can - less trouble all around.
Set a good RTH height before you take off
I'll think of more things I wish I knew when I got mine as I think of them...

GPS - you *do not* need it on the device you're using. Not having it simply means you can't use the "Follow me" feature, which is really not much more than a novelty anyway. If you absolutely need that, buy a $100 external GPS for your ipad. But no need. Bird's got all the GPS you could want built into it, and that's how it records the home point.
 

msinger

Approved Vendor
Joined
Oct 30, 2014
Messages
30,611
Reaction score
10,039
Location
Harrisburg, PA (US)
Also, there's a very rudimentary simulator built into DJI GO - but you have to have the aircraft powered on in order to use it. Spend 15 or 20 minutes in it until you're comfortable - good investment. Also, put the whole aircraft in the fridge for 30 minutes before your IMU calibration - this allows it to "warm up" as part of its preflight boot much faster. Greater minds than I came up with and tested that and it's definitely a good thing.

Other important stuff:

Calibrate the compass *every* time you fly
You have to stop recording in order to take a photo
Use www.uavforecast.com to see when good flying conditions may be
Don't fly low and slow over your neighborhood or people will think you're spying on them :) best to maintain a low profile whenever you can - less trouble all around.
Set a good RTH height before you take off
I'll think of more things I wish I knew when I got mine as I think of them...

GPS - you *do not* need it on the device you're using. Not having it simply means you can't use the "Follow me" feature, which is really not much more than a novelty anyway. If you absolutely need that, buy a $100 external GPS for your ipad. But no need. Bird's got all the GPS you could want built into it, and that's how it records the home point.
And, don't forget... beware the trees :D
 
  • Like
Reactions: flySwampAirWI
Joined
Jun 3, 2016
Messages
385
Reaction score
126
Age
38
Ain't that the truth! And power lines - very hard to see in the FPV. Would be a good idea at first to go up to 150 feet or so, do a circle to ensure you're high above anything you could hit, and then stay at that altitude while you cut your teeth.
 

Oso

Premium Pilot
Joined
May 19, 2015
Messages
4,261
Reaction score
3,000
Location
Western US
> The quick start guide that comes with your Phantom is very limited. Be sure to download the latest user manual from the "DOWNLOADS" link for your model. Read the manual several times before you fly, and then a few more times after you've flown for the first time when it will make a bit more sense to you. Other than the user manual, the download pages also include other valuable information and downloads. [P3P Downloads Page] [P3A Downloads Page].
Note:
If you see the "For Your Attention" pop up from DJI telling you that the P3P or P3A is no longer in production, just close the pop up. If you don't see the links to manuals on the right side of that page, try these links: P3P User Manual - P3A User Manual

> Just because the app tells you that a FW (firmware) update is available, that doesn't mean you must do the update immediately. I strongly suggest that you check out and become comfortable with your P3 and what "normal" looks like before changing any FW on the RC (remote control) or the AC (aircraft). [See my reasons here, but like most things it's YOUR decision]
(Important Note: if your P3 comes with 1.5 on the AC, you should move from that version. 1.5+ is not 1.5. It is a later version than 1.5).

> While you are looking through the app screens, be sure write down which FW versions you have on your AC and your RC. Always do this before you make any changes. You'd be amazed how many people have no clue which versions they have and that makes it more difficult to troubleshoot in case you have issues.

> So many threads have started with, "It was working perfectly, then I changed [ FW, App, Settings, etc ] and now it doesn't work." It always seems to be right before a big job or a vacation. If it's working perfectly already, why risk making changes right before a critical need? Make an informed decision if waiting until after the critical need would be a more prudent time for you to make major changes.

> Important note: Make sure you understand the changes related to AC FW 1.11.20. It was released in July 2017 and introduced forced flight restrictions similar to beginner mode if you haven't "registered" your app with DJI. Click here for more info.

> If you've already done your research, already written down your current FW versions, already read the release notes and you've made an informed choice to update your FW, click here and follow those steps closely. [Release notes are here: P3P release notes and P3A release notes].

> If you choose to update your FW, use a house fan of some type to blow across the gimbal. This will help keep the gimbal main board cooler since it is known to overheat during updates. The P3P is more susceptible to overheating during updates than the P3A, but I use a fan with both. FYI - this tip about using a fan is also mentioned in the FW install instructions. [Note - also use a house fan if you are using the simulator which requires the AC to be powered on due to some settings stored only in the AC.]

> If you choose to update your FW, don't forget to check your settings after the update. Some settings may revert to default values. Also, some settings are stored on the P3 and not in the app so check settings while connected to your P3.

> The FW version on your AC does not have to be the same version number as the FW on your RC.

> AC FW 1.8 and RC FW 1.6 were released together with an encryption change. If you have one (or later), you must have the other (or later) or you will have issues. DJI also noted this in the release notes, but even so we have seen several people here who were not aware and inadvertently created an encryption mismatch.

> The firmware bin file for a P3P begins with P3X. The firmware bin file for a P3A begins with P3S. Using a "P3S" file name for the P3A firmware started before the Phantom Standard was released.

> DJI has historically maintained an archive of FW versions on their site even though they don't always show links to them. For archived FW versions directly from DJI, follow the links in this post.

> There are many outdated YouTube tutorial videos demonstrating old procedures, especially how to update FW. For example, using a USB stick to update your RC has not been the correct process for quite some time. That process was changed back in Q3 of 2015 with FW 1.3.2 for 300B/300C RCs and 1.4.1 for 300A RCs. Try to watch only the most recent videos you can find to avoid causing issues and frustration.

> DJI Assistant software is not compatible with the P3 series.

> On your mobile device, disable auto updating for the GO app. This way you can read about any changes or issues that may have been introduced in a new version and decide for yourself when or if to update the app. This is especially important with iOS devices since it is not as easy to revert to older app versions on iOS as it is on Android. [Note: DJI has recently started trying to force users to update to the latest app. You may see a message box appear telling you to update even if you have auto updates disabled.]

> For those of you in the US, use ONLY the official FAA web site to register. Don't be fooled by web sites that will charge you an extra fee to register. These sites are not affiliated with the FAA. Also, if you are a hobbyist you are registering yourself and not each individual drone. Once registered, you simply use the same registration number with all of your drones.

>
The motors on a P3 are slightly tilted by design to help with stability and to help avoid issues when descending.

> When Beginner Mode is enabled, the motors will not start without a good GPS lock. When Beginner Mode is disabled, the motors will start with no GPS lock but with no GPS lock you will be in ATTI mode so be ready for your AC to drift with the wind.

> Practice ATTI mode on a regular basis in a large open area so that you are familiar with that mode and have the skills needed when the time arises.

> Do not use the CSC to stop your motors once you've landed. CSC is known to cause flip overs. Only use left stick down for three seconds to stop your motors. (Note: Use CSC to stop your motors in an emergency, but know that if you are in the air it will cause your P3 to crash!).

> Keep in mind that if your P3 is sitting on the ground and you don't stop the motors, it may still try to level itself if the terrain is not flat or if the wind is blowing. This can lead to a tip over. If you are not intending to launch again immediately, it's safer to stop the motors if your P3 is on the ground.

> Full left stick down while descending will not stop your motors while in the air. (This is one of the most often asked questions).

> The video signal and the control signal are not the same. You can lose your FPV video but still have control. RTH is not triggered by losing only your video signal. If you see the green LED lit on your RC, you can still control your P3 even if you've lost the video feed. [If you are within range, you can even remove, reboot, or turn off your mobile device and still have control of your AC. Think about practicing this scenario. Edit - as noted above, the release of AC FW 1.11.20 in July 2017 introduced forced flight restrictions similar to beginner mode if you haven't "registered" your app with DJI. Click here for more info. Due to this change, if you've chosen to install FW 1.11.20 or later, you may be limited in distance if you try to fly without your mobile device.]

> Read this post for information about compass calibrations. It is an older post that was updated when the P3 was released. In a nutshell, you do not need to calibrate before every flight. Once you have a good calibration, just leave it alone. If you get compass errors, it normally does not mean you should re-calibrate. Just move to a less magnetically influenced area. Click here for info about a bad calibration and an interesting video demo. Personally, I rarely calibrate my compass, but I do check the mod values before every flight to be sure they are between 1400 and 1600. Before launch, you can also check that the heading indicator in the GO app map display is the same as what you can see visually when you look at your Phantom.

> Try the different RTH modes so that you know what to expect before the need arises.

> When RTH is initiated, the Phantom will not descend to your preset altitude if it is already above your preset RTH altitude. (This is one of the most often asked questions).

> If RTH is initiated when your P3 is within 20 meters of your set home point, your P3 will land in it's current location and will not return to the home point. This is by design, though most here question why this makes sense to DJI. The manual does note this, but many people miss it.

> The Phantom considers it's take off location to be zero altitude. It roughly calculates altitude changes by barometric pressure relative to the take-off location pressure. It is not aware of surrounding terrain or any elevation changes of the surrounding terrain. You must be aware. Not planning for elevation changes has been a common mistake during waypoint missions often causing impacts with trees or other obstacles.

> If you fly below your take off altitude, the app will simply show a negative altitude. If RTH is initiated while you are at a negative altitude, your P3 will still ascend to your preset RTH altitude above the original take-off altitude.

> Do not assume that the P3 will tighten your props automatically. Just loosely spinning on the props is not enough. The ESCs are designed with “active braking” to rapidly decelerate the motors. The resulting inertia may be enough to spin OFF a prop if you have not adequately tightened the props before flight. Check your props prior to every flight. Props can and have flown off during flight, so don't be the next crash victim who says, "I thought they were self tightening!"

> We routinely advise against using metal thread props on P3 model ACs due to the deceleration during active braking noted above. My suggestion is to stick with DJI brand props with nylon threads.

> Be careful how you orient your antennas. Check out this video for tips. Summary is that the antenna should be pointed up, roughly parallel to the legs on the bird's landing gear as much as possible, and with the wider (flat) side facing the AC. Do not point the RC antenna straight out unless the bird is directly overhead which by the way is not a good place for it to be. Note: The AC's legs contain it's antennas.

> The "Enable Max Distance" option in the app is used to set a distance limit. Leave this option disabled to fly the maximum distance. Only enable this option if you want to set a max distance limit of up to 500M. [Note - I've always thought this option was poorly named. I think "Enable Distance Limit" would be more intuitive.]

> Maps are not required to fly, though many find them useful. If you choose to use maps in the field, you will either need Internet access in the field, or cache the maps in advance.

> GPS satellites do not download map data!

> Your Phantom normally has its own GPS to know where home is located.

> Your P3's GPS module is attached inside of the top shell. When you pick up your P3 from the top, your hand will block the GPS signal. If it's connected, the app will let you know verbally and with an on screen warning. This is normal and all will be fine once you move your hand.

> Follow Me mode will not work if your mobile device does not have it's own GPS or is not connected to an external GPS device. Most Android devices already have internal GPS, so they are usually fine. With iPads, only the cellular versions have GPS and a data plan is NOT required. [Tethering an iPad does not transmit GPS data for Follow Me to function. Click here for more info on what to expect with different iPads / situations. Click here for a list of compatible Apple devices.]

> You have very little chance of recovering from a CSC (with a P3) while in flight even if you are at a high enough altitude and even if you have done it in the simulator. [If you try this, please do so away from people and please record it so we can see the crash.]

> Don't forget to remove the small piece of foam that is often behind the gimbal on new P3s. Many people have not noticed it. Leaving it on will cause shaky video and could damage your gimbal. One user didn't notice it for a full year!

> You only need to have 2 of the anti-drop pins (inside the white vibration dampeners) installed on the gimbal. Many people put loosely fitted plastic zip ties in the two holes that come empty when the P3 is new.

> Yes, P3S batteries will work with a P3P and P3A.
> No, a P3S RC will not work with a P3P or a P3A.

> The P34k model gimbal/camera is not compatible with a P3P or a P3A. Your P3P/P3A may be damaged if you try to use a P34k gimbal/camera. Sadly, several people have found this out the hard way. Here are more examples in a forum search. If you need to replace your P3P gimbal/camera or you just want to convert your P3A to a P3P, use only a P3P gimbal/camera.

>
Make sure that your battery is fully seated and locked into place before powering on your AC. We have had reports of batteries which were not fully seated actually sliding out enough to lose data and even lose power in some instances. [Most reports were the first couple of months after the P3 was released, but it is still a good habit to always check]. This potential for catastrophe was finally corrected with the P4P-V2 which has a sensor to detect a partially inserted battery, but the P3 models are still susceptible so please double check!

> Fully charge your batteries before going out to fly. Don't begin your day with partially charged batteries. Too many people have said, "I was only planning a short flight and thought it would be enough," followed by something like, "it went to critical and now I don't know where it landed," or "and then it landed in the lake."

> The battery button serves several purposes. Double press (press, release, press and hold) to power on the battery. Press once and release to check the current level of charge. Press once and hold for a full 5 seconds to check the remaining battery life.

> If the battery level is already above ~95% when you plug it in, charging will not begin. To top off above 95%, power the battery on (out of P3) before plugging it in to charge. Then it will charge to 100%.

> If you set your batteries to auto discharge after a certain number of days, they will only start to auto discharge on that day. It could then take 2-3 days for them to discharge down to ~65% after they start discharging. If you press the battery button at anytime, the battery will stop discharging and the day counter will be reset. Note that the battery will become slightly warm when it is auto discharging.

> If you plan to store your batteries for a while, click here for one example of how to do so safely.

> If you do an RC calibration, don't overlook the scroll wheels or the calibration will not complete. FYI - an RC calibration is often what cures a beeping RC.

> The camera lens cover / UV filter is often difficult to unscrew for removal. It's best to use a very light grip as you turn it. Many use a rubber band or a latex glove to assist, but still always keeping a very light grip. Others have had luck with the prop removal tool. I use a rubber band.

> In the GO app, the maximum flight altitude setting and the RTH altitude always show in meters and can't be changed to feet no matter what preference you set in the app. Keep this in mind when you are setting your altitudes prior to flight.

> If for some reason you need to reinstall the GO app, your flight records will be lost when you delete the app. If you want to save your flight records, sync to the DJI cloud first and then delete the app. Once you've reinstalled the app, sync again and your flight records will be restored.

> You can use the same GO app with multiple P3 drones even if they are different models.

> The P3 splits video files at ~4GB. There are no workarounds regardless of formatting as either FAT32 or exFAT. The P3 will still split video files at ~4GB even though the exFat format itself allows larger files.

> The media recorded on your mobile device is low resolution. Use only the media from your SD card if you want the highest quality.

> Many of us choose to use multiple lower density cards (16GB / 32GB for <4k -or- 32GB / 64GB for 4k) and switch them out with every battery change. This way, should the worst happen and you lose your AC you wont also lose a lot of work that could be on a larger card left in the AC through several battery changes.

> You can not take a still photo if you are currently recording video.

> If your FPV (and also pix/videos) are consistently dark (underexposed) or bright (overexposed), check to see that you haven't set the EV (exposure compensation) to something too negative or too positive. Try to keep it at -0- as much as possible.

> You can start up your P3 without props, but the motors will automatically shut down after a few seconds.

> Consider placing a small "If found" txt file on your SD card which could contain contact information.

> If you use prop guards, be careful with the screws. If they are too long, you can damage the motor. Many people have accidentally done this when they remove prop guards and then reinsert the longer screws which then damage the motor windings. People think that if they spin motors to check for free movement that all is good to go. In fact, the motor housing spins but the windings are static and the windings are what gets damaged.

> Consider the pros and cons of using a tracking device attached to your Phantom. Some commonly used devices are listed here. The dramatic drop in value of the P3 line may now make a tracker less attractive unless you plan to also use it with newer and more expensive drone models. You'll need to decide for yourself if the cost of a tracker is worth it to you. Full disclosure: I have never used a tracker myself.

> FCC or CE specs are automatically set based on your current GPS location as reported by your P3's GPS. This is not something you can change (officially) with a setting in the app or with a switch on your RC.

> Bookmark this post to locate it quickly at a later time.

>
Also, search the forum for the many other "any tips?" threads for more great info.

Good luck!

August 15, 2016 EDIT - Consolidated a few of my "any tips" posts from the past so that I can link to this one the next time someone asks.
 
Last edited:
Joined
Jun 3, 2016
Messages
385
Reaction score
126
Age
38
Definite truth. Also:

It's a good idea upon takeoff to climb about to chest level and let it hover for 10-20 seconds to confirm that it's stable and everything is working as it should.

Also, a lot of people (myself included) have decided that the physical risk of hand-catching is worth it vs. having it turn over upon landing. Know that the props *will* mess you up if you get caught by one! But I've not been particularly impressed by my ability to touch down flawlessly, so I usually hand-catch.

Be sure you have an SD card in before takeoff! And be sure you took the gimbal guard off.

And - balance your props! Get a DuBro prop balancer and the *separate* rod made for the P3 and balance your props, both the props and the hub, so they balance perfectly. Often DJI does a great job from the factory, but perfectly balanced props put minimal vibrational stress on every last part of the aircraft and supposedly allow max speed/maneuverability/etc. It's easy, the equipment is cheap, and you only have to do it once per prop. But order it now so it comes in in time! Can be done before the bird arrives. Some say it's not necessary but physics says it's a good idea and the old guard who have been flying props on RC since I was in diapers swear by it. Makes sense to anybody who's ever had a wheel out of balance on a vehicle.
 
  • Like
Reactions: flySwampAirWI
Joined
Apr 3, 2016
Messages
451
Reaction score
256
Location
Sacramento, CA
Another thing I should mention is I have a galaxy s7 edge but I heard ios is better to use with the phantom. So I also ordered a iPad mini 2 which will be delivered before the drone.
There was a time when DJI Pilot (now called GO) was better supported on ios devices. Not anymore.

Your mini 2 should do just fine, though.
 

New Threads

Forum statistics

Threads
134,153
Messages
1,388,324
Members
97,805
Latest member
Flit