Why I always keep a hacked drone with me...

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Hey doods!

After traveling 90 minutes through the mountains (95 miles) and then spending 20 minutes setting up to shoot, I got this:

1648221403749.png


For this mission I had decided to use my "spare" P4P (Obsidian), which is not hacked (didn't think it needed to be for this mission). This mission was more than 5 miles from the closest airport, which is Class D. No hospitals. No helipads. The only NOTAM was a wind turbine warning; "OBST WIND TURBINE FARM WI AN AREA DEFINED AS 4.94NM RADIUS OF 352514N1121613W (9.2NM NNW CMR) 6575FT (400FT AGL) NOT LGTD 2203240647-2204242359EST"

I simply traded out the Obsidian for my white P4P (which HAS been hacked), and finished my missions.

I see why guys get so frustrated with DJI products. This wasn't even DJI software. Time to hack the Obsidian. That's on my plate for today.

D
 
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We should be the ones to decide and take the responsibility for our decisions.
Agreed. At the very least I would like to see a more comprehensive error message. MapPilot is a slave the DJI SDK's, so I assume that that is the message DJI passes on to any software using their SDK. The impact that NOT flying that mission would have on my life and the lives of all the others involved with this survey job would've been very profound. As you can see from the photo, the client laid out GCP's at their great expense. Plus 3 hours on the road for me and the crew who laid out the GCP's. Plus no invoice for no work done. Plus a hit to my reliability reputation and on and on. Thank GOD I hack my drones.


I can see if we sanctions China for what ever reason, our drones would be shut down.
Yep...I imagine so. Fortunately, I don't count on any Chinese infrastructure to actually fly my drones. And the only thing I use the DJI app for is to clear the MicroSD card, check the WiFi situation, and monitor battery performance. All these tasks are done "off the grid."

D
 
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Would this contract-saving hack have been courtesy of No Limit Drones? Enquiring minds demand to know.
 
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+1 HarleyDude. I always carry two P4P's to a job. One with NLD to remove the handcuffs. I fly by the regs; I just don't want to have fritz around with DJI to get my job done when I already have FAA satisfied and sometimes a call-before-launch to the ATC when required in a waiver, which makes DJI unlock even more complicated. NoLimitDronez is my friend.
 
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Agreed. At the very least I would like to see a more comprehensive error message. MapPilot is a slave the DJI SDK's, so I assume that that is the message DJI passes on to any software using their SDK. The impact that NOT flying that mission would have on my life and the lives of all the others involved with this survey job would've been very profound. As you can see from the photo, the client laid out GCP's at their great expense. Plus 3 hours on the road for me and the crew who laid out the GCP's. Plus no invoice for no work done. Plus a hit to my reliability reputation and on and on. Thank GOD I hack my drones.



Yep...I imagine so. Fortunately, I don't count on any Chinese infrastructure to actually fly my drones. And the only thing I use the DJI app for is to clear the MicroSD card, check the WiFi situation, and monitor battery performance. All these tasks are done "off the grid."

D
Same here. DJI Go is a no-go area for me unless I'm modifying camera settings and such. Litchi is God's gift to drone-kind, and I would never go against nature by trusting any other sacrilegious platform to fly my drones.
 
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Which hack system are you using?
There is a hack for the Assistant-2 software that opens up options to edit the P4P's firmware. It's been years since I did it, but the gist is that you modify a line of code in the Assistant software that opens up options on the Assistant-2's Welcome screen. Then, on the welcome screen you modify one of the Start-up parameters that reveals the hidden "Parameter" options. "Parameters" is what the user uses to modify the firmware (parameters). From there things get dangerous because if you're not careful, obviously you can do some damage that may either directly brick your drone OR will make it fly erratically and cause it to crash. There wasn't a lot of documentation available a few years ago, so my modifications were trial and error, which was VERY time consuming.

I'm fortunate that my girlfriend lives close to Class D airspace, AND I have a friend who works at that airport who allows me to test my drone right there on site. He allowed me to spend a few hours one night in one of the hangers with my laptop modifying parameters, test flying, modifying, test flying, etc. I was never able to unlock Intelligent Flight Modes within 1 mile of Class B, C or D airspace, but I can MANUALLY fly the drone anywhere, and the Intelligent Flight Modes that are normally disabled within a FOUR mile radius have been narrowed down to just a ONE mile radius. As long as I'm more than 1 mile from Class B, C or D airspace, I can use Intelligent Flight Modes.

These hacks have saved our bacon on many jobs. My business partner and I had a 1600 acre job within eyeshot of a military base. Our mapping job took us right up to the Eastern border of our local military base. Of course, we had full permission with the caveat to not fly inside the military base property. We were able to take aerial photos right up to the bleeding edge of the base's property. Without the hack, we would have all these permissions, but not the Chinese company DJI's permission. Oh the irony. Anyway, we essentially have mapped all over the Southwest unimpeded when most guys wouldn't have even been able to spin up their motors. THIS is my "job security."

D
 
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There is a hack for the Assistant-2 software that opens up options to edit the P4P's firmware. It's been years since I did it, but the gist is that you modify a line of code in the Assistant software that opens up options on the Assistant-2's Welcome screen. Then, on the welcome screen you modify one of the Start-up parameters that reveals the hidden "Parameter" options. "Parameters" is what the user uses to modify the firmware (parameters). From there things get dangerous because if you're not careful, obviously you can do some damage that may either directly brick your drone OR will make it fly erratically and cause it to crash. There wasn't a lot of documentation available a few years ago, so my modifications were trial and error, which was VERY time consuming.

I'm fortunate that my girlfriend lives close to Class D airspace, AND I have a friend who works at that airport who allows me to test my drone right there on site. He allowed me to spend a few hours one night in one of the hangers with my laptop modifying parameters, test flying, modifying, test flying, etc. I was never able to unlock Intelligent Flight Modes within 1 mile of Class B, C or D airspace, but I can MANUALLY fly the drone anywhere, and the Intelligent Flight Modes that are normally disabled within a FOUR mile radius have been narrowed down to just a ONE mile radius. As long as I'm more than 1 mile from Class B, C or D airspace, I can use Intelligent Flight Modes.

These hacks have saved our bacon on many jobs. My business partner and I had a 1600 acre job within eyeshot of a military base. Our mapping job took us right up to the Eastern border of our local military base. Of course, we had full permission with the caveat to not fly inside the military base property. We were able to take aerial photos right up to the bleeding edge of the base's property. Without the hack, we would have all these permissions, but not the Chinese company DJI's permission. Oh the irony. Anyway, we essentially have mapped all over the Southwest unimpeded when most guys wouldn't have even been able to spin up their motors. THIS is my "job security."

D
Wow! Hours to do it. My mind at this point in time would lock and then the drone would brick.
 
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Limitations only come with updates (if you bought the drone five years ago, and not crashed it). LOL.
I have one Phantom P4P just that kind. I haven't updated it since 2017. Tell me what benefit could I get with all those updates?
But I fly in a very responsible manner. And there are much less responsible drone flyers in the world or should I say absolutely unresponsible. And that's why DJI did that.
 
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Limitations only come with updates (if you bought the drone five years ago, and not crashed it). LOL.
I have one Phantom P4P just that kind. I haven't updated it since 2017. Tell me what benefit could I get with all those updates?
But I fly in a very responsible manner. And there are much less responsible drone flyers in the world or should I say absolutely unresponsible. And that's why DJI did that.

My sentiments exactly. If it works, then don't "fix" it with unsolicited updates. I regard those updates with the same suspicion that I would view door-to-door encyclopedia salesmen. I don't need them and I resent being asked repeatedly to accept them. This is the primary reason I use Litchi and not DJI Go. Rant over.
 
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There is a hack for the Assistant-2 software that opens up options to edit the P4P's firmware. It's been years since I did it, but the gist is that you modify a line of code in the Assistant software that opens up options on the Assistant-2's Welcome screen. Then, on the welcome screen you modify one of the Start-up parameters that reveals the hidden "Parameter" options. "Parameters" is what the user uses to modify the firmware (parameters). From there things get dangerous because if you're not careful, obviously you can do some damage that may either directly brick your drone OR will make it fly erratically and cause it to crash. There wasn't a lot of documentation available a few years ago, so my modifications were trial and error, which was VERY time consuming.

I'm fortunate that my girlfriend lives close to Class D airspace, AND I have a friend who works at that airport who allows me to test my drone right there on site. He allowed me to spend a few hours one night in one of the hangers with my laptop modifying parameters, test flying, modifying, test flying, etc. I was never able to unlock Intelligent Flight Modes within 1 mile of Class B, C or D airspace, but I can MANUALLY fly the drone anywhere, and the Intelligent Flight Modes that are normally disabled within a FOUR mile radius have been narrowed down to just a ONE mile radius. As long as I'm more than 1 mile from Class B, C or D airspace, I can use Intelligent Flight Modes.

These hacks have saved our bacon on many jobs. My business partner and I had a 1600 acre job within eyeshot of a military base. Our mapping job took us right up to the Eastern border of our local military base. Of course, we had full permission with the caveat to not fly inside the military base property. We were able to take aerial photos right up to the bleeding edge of the base's property. Without the hack, we would have all these permissions, but not the Chinese company DJI's permission. Oh the irony. Anyway, we essentially have mapped all over the Southwest unimpeded when most guys wouldn't have even been able to spin up their motors. THIS is my "job security."

D

If you don't mind me asking, is there a reason why you chose not to buy a canned hacking package such as No Limit Drones, which seems to be the industry standard going by all the honorable mentions I see in this and other forums? The route you've taken sounds very complicated and frought with risk.

I've been toying with the idea of subscribing to NLD, but seeing as I reside way out in the sticks of a Third World country where drone laws are non-existent, and the nearest airport is 50 miles away, I might not actually need such a hack for my usual flights in this area. All the same, I love the concept of not being restrained by Big Brother during my drone flying adventures.
 

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