Winter - don't waste the opportunity - suggestions to solve cold issues ...

Joined
Oct 14, 2016
Messages
4,239
Reaction score
1,953
Age
65
Location
UK Brit living Latvia
For those in the North - winter is tapping on the door and many people start to think about shelving their Phantom / Mavic etc. but why ?

Yes its cold ... yes the old tootsies and fingers can feel a bit crisp at times - but some of the best flights are in winter with stunning 'picture post card' shots waiting for you.

OK - this is not so much a 'video' thread - but more a suggestion on ways to make winter flights more possible. I am a Brit that moved to Baltics / Russia in the 90's, and I don't have to tell you - it can get pretty cold here. My house is in Ventspils on the west coast of Latvia and during winter we have dropped to below -25C at times, but average through winter is about -10C.... so these are my ways to survive in such temps :

First is YOU .... how to survive the cold ? FEET need to be in good insulated footwear. Nothing worse than cold, wet feet ! The 'locals' have an old fashioned solution - Horsehair boots ! Seriously ... boots made out of tightly compressed / woven horsehair. But lets be more modern and suggest good hiking boots with nice thick Rubber soles. I have a pair that have a fur lining inside as well. I can be out there all dayu and feet are warm as 'toast'.
Second are your ears ... the hat with flaps is ideal ... the Russian Schaptka is the bees knees but the real ones are expensive. A woollie hat is needed that at least pulls down over the ears but you can still hear.
Third of course are the hands and fingers. Some people like the shooting gloves with half fingers ... fine. But I think better is to think in terms of main warmth of hands is your pockets and secondary for flying are thin touch screen gloves. The idea being that hands are warm from pocket / car and you only need maximum 30mins with gloves.

I haven't mentioned coats etc. - I think that goes without saying !!

Ok - so we've dealt with YOU and you are warm as can be ... the real deal is to make sure your model is sorted for such weather. There are four main items to consider.

1. IMU warm up initialisation tme
2. Battery temperature
3. Take - off and landing
4. Touch screen vs controller buttons

>1. The IMU has a reference temperature set when you calibrate it. So if you calibrate that IMU in +20C weather - then the IMU will want to warm up before it alloows you to fly. I'm sure many of you have had "Warming up" in top line of your screen ... Well using that fact - gives you the solution. calibrate the IMU when out in the cold ! I did mine at -5C and then when I was flying in colder - I finally calibrated at -10C. Now I have literally instant initialisation of IMU in winter. No wasted time ..

>2. Battery temperature. There are many ways to get round this. Inside pocket of jacket ... under the arm ... in {icnic Bag with pocket wramer ... or you can do as I have - Hobby King has a dedicated LiPo warmer bag that runs of any 12V source

Turnigy Programmable Lipo Battery Warmer Bag (12v DC)

33990.jpg


User settable temperature etc. You can have that out of the car with you running of NiMh / old LiPo ... anything with 12V.

>3. Take off and landing ... there's no need to start hand catching or playing silly b's ... all you need is a heavy piece of carpet ... I have one that is cut to fit in my Phantom bag ... heavy enough to not blow away with prop blast ... All I do is lay it on the snow / grass etc. - and that's it. Yes you should practice landing on it as its a bit smaller area than most people use to land ... but its good to learn anyway !

>4. Touch screens do not like the cold. They are designed for short intermittet use in the cold ... not to sit out for 10 - 20mins or so .. so they get hit or miss in operation. that's when the controller buttons / wheels are best.

That pretty well covers it for what you can do - I am well aware that others have other ways and I only suggest the above as what I found works for me.

All I can say now - is don't put that model away - go out and shoot some brilliant winter scenes ...

Just to show that its not only drones that can have fun ... here's a winter get together of the club I am part of ...


........ back to my Scotch and Ginger !
 
Joined
Oct 14, 2016
Messages
4,239
Reaction score
1,953
Age
65
Location
UK Brit living Latvia
Just an example of one of my videos (I know I am not good at it or editing) but maybe it just gives an idea of whats out there ...

 
  • Like
Reactions: Greybush and OOO

Florida Drone Supply

Approved Vendor
Joined
Dec 8, 2016
Messages
608
Reaction score
273
Location
Southwest Florida
Just wanted to rub it in that we can't relate here in Florida. If anyone is looking to escape the cold, come see us in Sunny Southwest Florida!
 
  • Like
Reactions: FL_Mike and MTO
Joined
Oct 14, 2016
Messages
4,239
Reaction score
1,953
Age
65
Location
UK Brit living Latvia
Don't think bad ... I'm looking forward to buying my Greek Island Villa to retire to !!

Florida ? I don't speak Spanish !! :D
 
  • Like
Reactions: MTO
Joined
Aug 17, 2014
Messages
1,464
Reaction score
696
Location
Long Island, NY
Great tips, solentlife. I might add one more. It might be a good idea to apply some orange florescent tape to the motor arms for winter flying when flying a Phantom model. If it goes down unexpectedly, that white hull on a snowy landscape could be a bit difficult to spot.
 
Joined
Oct 14, 2016
Messages
4,239
Reaction score
1,953
Age
65
Location
UK Brit living Latvia
Great tips, solentlife. I might add one more. It might be a good idea to apply some orange florescent tape to the motor arms for winter flying when flying a Phantom model. If it goes down unexpectedly, that white hull on a snowy landscape could be a bit difficult to spot.

True ...
 
Joined
Apr 8, 2019
Messages
21
Reaction score
16
Age
44
Tapping at the door? She's already here in the Toronto area. It was -17C yesterday. It looks like a snow globe outside. ☃️
...and I couldn't be happier. I have been waiting for this all summer.

As an outdoors enthusiast who actually prefers the winter, let me add to your suggestions.
Thermal underwear. (Long johns) mine are a nice merino wool. Keeps me toasty warm in the chilly weather.

Mittens are better than gloves, but you don't get the finger freedom you need to control a drone, so I am on the hunt for a pair of wool "smokers gloves" the fingerless gloves with the mitten flap to cover the ends of your fingers when you don't need the movement freedom. Preferably ones where the ring and pinkie fingers are still together. Really only the index finger and thumb need free movement.

You may have already noticed that I am a big fan of wool. It keeps you warm without overheating and getting all sweaty.
 
  • Like
Reactions: MaxE1955!
Joined
Oct 14, 2016
Messages
4,239
Reaction score
1,953
Age
65
Location
UK Brit living Latvia
Rod - you most likely as an outdoor person know this already ... REAL fur / wool is far better than any synthetic in keeping us warm.

Baltic winters over last years have really been haywire. Its as if the crap winters of UK have moved in here ... its not until quite late ... january / feb now that winter really hits us.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Rod MacPherson
Joined
Apr 8, 2019
Messages
21
Reaction score
16
Age
44
For sure. Wool comes off a sheep, or maybe a goat, alpaca or llamma. Not from a plastics manufacturer.
Synthetics are better than cotton though. Cotton just absorbs sweat and holds it close to you making you cold again.
 
  • Like
Reactions: OOO
Joined
Oct 14, 2016
Messages
4,239
Reaction score
1,953
Age
65
Location
UK Brit living Latvia
I know some will not like this ... but living amongst Russians .... you soon find out the difference of a real fur coat to a faux / synthetic job ...
 
Joined
Jan 27, 2019
Messages
89
Reaction score
39
Age
71
Hey Florida your not rubbing it in, your missing out. Don't get me wrong Florida is a nice place to visit, but living there is like eating bacon for 3 meals a day 7 days a week 365 day a year it taste good but you get tired of the same old thing. I'll take the four seasons. Maybe I'll stop by if I'm ever in the neighborhood.
 
  • Like
Reactions: bdooley
Joined
Apr 4, 2017
Messages
693
Reaction score
333
Location
Barrie, ON Canada
I’ve been out almost daily since we started getting snow last week. Coldest so far this season was yesterday. When I went out it was -11C but earlier in the day it was -17C.

I usually put some hand warmers in my gloves and warm my hands up in them between flights. Did have some thin device friendly gloves but lost one of them yesterday and since then we have got more snow so it will be hard to find 😫.

Here’s a shot from yesterday with my Spark:

C3B08866-4263-4EFC-9AD5-34AD78335171.jpeg


And one from today with my P3S:

1312AB05-B422-4324-AD7E-B03536725345.jpeg


Can’t wait for the lake to freeze over so I can get my snowmobile out. Often winter allows more places to be accessible.

Enjoy winter!

Chris
 

PhantomWetSuits

Approved Vendor
Joined
Jun 3, 2017
Messages
1,294
Reaction score
806
Age
56
I would suggest one of the Phantom Wet Suits as they seal the battery up and help with moisture / rain and snow. They also provide a nice non slip Grip to hand catch the drone.

The battery stays 6 to 8 degrees warmer and your Phantom is fully protected.
If you have the Plus controller than you can fly in some artic conditions.

Phantomrain.org
Extreme Gear for Extreme conditions.
flying your Phantom.
 
Joined
Oct 14, 2016
Messages
4,239
Reaction score
1,953
Age
65
Location
UK Brit living Latvia
There's absolutely no need for anything extra if sensibly used.

In fact the only part of the model that is at risk is the camera / gimbal if you land into snow .. but as long as you don't try to 'move' the camera / gimbal when its in the snow ... and once picked up - air it well to dry - all should be fine.

The batterys used in our models generate their own heat and being inside a 'box' ... the model .... that heat is more than sufficient to operate at good temperature level. The important part is to have the battery warm when inserted into the model and if you have calibrated the IMU for cold weather - you will take-off with warm battery.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Chrislaf
Joined
Sep 6, 2018
Messages
1,373
Reaction score
818
Age
54
Location
Canada
@solentlife is quite correct and his advice is spot on. Living in Canada myself, I often fly in freezing conditions. No way I'll retire my bird for half the year every year and winter offers some amazing photographic opportunities. Other than keeping yourself warm, the main concerns are the same as flying anytime of year: batteries and props are the two most CRUCIAL parts of your aircraft. This applies even more so in cold weather. Plastic becomes brittle in cold weather so be sure to use undamaged/uncrashed props and avoid sudden harsh movements so as to not overstress them when cold and brittle. And always use a fully charged, warm, and known trustworthy battery. I've flown my P3P in weather as cold as -31C with no issues at all. Happy winter flying everyone!
 
Joined
Apr 15, 2017
Messages
39
Reaction score
4
Age
60
@solentlife Thanks for these tips. What bettery tempersture are you looking for before taking off? I usually wait till it is above 20C and even better 25C as I have had a bad experience with using a cold battery and the drone losing height with no inputs. I am now much more careful about warming batteries...
 
Joined
Oct 14, 2016
Messages
4,239
Reaction score
1,953
Age
65
Location
UK Brit living Latvia
@solentlife Thanks for these tips. What bettery tempersture are you looking for before taking off? I usually wait till it is above 20C and even better 25C as I have had a bad experience with using a cold battery and the drone losing height with no inputs. I am now much more careful about warming batteries...

I don't actually look for a set temperature. As long as when I hold it - it feels 'not cold' - then I'm good to go. If you have your batterys able to benefit from warmth in the car when driving ... then that's usually enough. I don't like being cold in the car !!

My LiPo warmer sack is set for 25C ... lowest temp on the settings. That way a common mid size 3S LiPo powers it for ages.
 
Joined
Apr 15, 2017
Messages
39
Reaction score
4
Age
60
I have also 'flown' with cold batteries when the battery was not warm enough but I remove the props and start the engines and just leave the drone chuntering away on the ground with no inputs till the battery temperature reaches 25C then shut down and quickly add props and you are good to go. Suprisingly this does not use up too much battery power but still it would be better to start with warm batteries but in an emergency this works. I am not sure what harm it does the battery but feel that if it not asked to work hard then it is a gentler way to warm up than hovering with props on a few feet off the ground. The reason I remove props (apart from being safer) is there is no cold air being blown down onto the battery compartment which I feel must inhibit warming...
 
Joined
Sep 19, 2019
Messages
57
Reaction score
33
Age
53
Thanks for the tips. I've been itching to get out and fly to see the scenery.
 

New Threads

Members online

Forum statistics

Threads
140,607
Messages
1,449,254
Members
102,410
Latest member
Droning Dave Iorwerth