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Range check and slow video feed.
885 30 2018-5-28
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maxheadroom
Second Officer
Flight distance : 669865 ft
United Kingdom
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Hi all,

I have been flying the Spark now for a good few months and love it. The only thing that drives me nuts is the short range and then the video drop outs and laggy video feed.

What I have
DJI Spark with the latest firmware installed.
Remote controllers connected via wifi to my iPhone X with the latest software for the phone and the DJI app.

For example this afternoon I was putting together the last bits of a vlog and want to do a nice slow pan of the near by river. So I parked up behind some trees but still line of sight. I took off and flew over the trees and keeping eye contact with the drone as I know it does not like going far. I wanted to do a smooth pan but the lag of the live feed down to the phone made it almost unusable. This was not even a 100ft (30m) from me. Even coming in to take a video of the car it was dropping out the signal and struggling to keep a feed going. This is not the only place it happens allot. This was in a field and I had no power lines close to me. This is such a great drone for quick setup and fly but if I cannot get smoother feed and distance then it needs to go, I will have to get the Mavic out for the shots.

Any tips or ideas I can try on the setting side in the app please let me know. It would be much appreciated.

Max
2018-5-28
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DJI Tony
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Sorry to read on this, however, may I ask what are the troubleshooting you've done so far and did you encounter any error message during your flight?
2018-5-28
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maxheadroom
Second Officer
Flight distance : 669865 ft
United Kingdom
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DJI Tony Posted at 2018-5-28 14:33
Sorry to read on this, however, may I ask what are the troubleshooting you've done so far and did you encounter any error message during your flight?

Hi Tony,

I have done a few things to make sure its not something wrong with my setup.

I have removed and reinstalled the app. But then the app works perfect with my Mavic pro
I have done the basic calibration of the drone but I did not think thats going to do anything.

I did think its my apple watch that was causing the interference but I fly with my watch in flight mode to rule that out. The channels are all set to auto and its connecting on 5.8. I did a flight where I took off and went strait up in the garden and at 250ft the video feed started being laggy. I move the gimbal up and it just dont refresh so you get this motion where the gimbal is facing upright but the app is playing catch up.

If there are a few setting I can try it would be much appreciated.

Max
2018-5-29
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S-e-ven
Captain
Flight distance : 5817516 ft
Thailand
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My idea would be to try a cable for a test!
2018-5-29
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maxheadroom
Second Officer
Flight distance : 669865 ft
United Kingdom
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S-e-ven Posted at 2018-5-29 01:36
My idea would be to try a cable for a test!

Is the OTG cable now working as I have one but not tried it as it was not suppose to be working?

Max
2018-5-29
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S-e-ven
Captain
Flight distance : 5817516 ft
Thailand
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It is on iOS allready  working for some Go4 versions
2018-5-29
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maxheadroom
Second Officer
Flight distance : 669865 ft
United Kingdom
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S-e-ven Posted at 2018-5-29 02:04
It is on iOS allready  working for some Go4 versions

How do you mean some Go4 versions? On iOS if you on the latest version its a bit of a pain to go to a specific older version and for me I want to run the current version and it should work. I am more for getting the shot than spending hours trying to make the software work with the equipment.

Currently on Ver 4.2.16

Max
2018-5-29
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S-e-ven
Captain
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maxheadroom Posted at 2018-5-29 02:57
How do you mean some Go4 versions? On iOS if you on the latest version its a bit of a pain to go to a specific older version and for me I want to run the current version and it should work. I am more for getting the shot than spending hours trying to make the software work with the equipment.

Currently on Ver 4.2.16

I mean that on iOS, the OTG was just for only a short periode of time not available. (2 versions, methinks, if I remember that right. On android it was from mid November to april!)
And is back on for quiet some time ("for some Go4 Versions: ;-)
The actual versions are good to otg, afaik.
Even if iOS fans seem to think, that isn't needed!

Why not just trying that?
You have a cable, you wrote.
So what is the problem to check it out?

2018-5-29
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maxheadroom
Second Officer
Flight distance : 669865 ft
United Kingdom
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S-e-ven Posted at 2018-5-29 03:08
I mean that on iOS, the OTG was just for only a short periode of time not available. (2 versions, methinks, if I remember that right. On android it was from mid November to april!)
And is back on for quiet some time ("for some Go4 Versions: ;-)
The actual versions are good to otg, afaik.

I will give it a bash this evening and supply some feedback. I was hoping that there are some other bits I can try on the app that might help it out.

Cheers for the feedback.

Max
2018-5-29
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DJI Tony
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maxheadroom Posted at 2018-5-29 00:53
Hi Tony,

I have done a few things to make sure its not something wrong with my setup.

Thank you for providing the information, try to download our DJI Assistant 2 then restore factory defaults then refresh the firmware and please re-link your remote controller to your aircraft after you done with this DJI Assistant 2. Kindly see the link below to download our DJI Assistant 2.
https://www.dji.com/spark/info#downloads
2018-5-29
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IceBox-Murdock
Second Officer
Flight distance : 43845 ft
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United States
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Yeah! The reason I don't fly my spark that much. Its really annoying. I was going to fly my spark yesterday but it asked me to do compass calibration. Didn't get to fly it. Lagging, calibration failed no matter what I do. I turned off all the bluetooth around me, still wasn't able to fly. I will be selling it soon.
2018-5-29
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maxheadroom
Second Officer
Flight distance : 669865 ft
United Kingdom
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DJI Tony Posted at 2018-5-29 07:35
Thank you for providing the information, try to download our DJI Assistant 2 then restore factory defaults then refresh the firmware and please re-link your remote controller to your aircraft after you done with this DJI Assistant 2. Kindly see the link below to download our DJI Assistant 2.
https://www.dji.com/spark/info#downloads

Hi Tony, I will try this tonight and let you know in the morning.

Many thanks for the tips

Max
2018-5-29
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maxheadroom
Second Officer
Flight distance : 669865 ft
United Kingdom
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DJI Tony Posted at 2018-5-29 07:35
Thank you for providing the information, try to download our DJI Assistant 2 then restore factory defaults then refresh the firmware and please re-link your remote controller to your aircraft after you done with this DJI Assistant 2. Kindly see the link below to download our DJI Assistant 2.
https://www.dji.com/spark/info#downloads

Some feedback after the following,

Reset spark - restart
Firmware spark - restart
Calibrate compass - completed
Re-pair controller - completed without problems

Flight seems better but then again at around 130ft it started doing the same. Lag in updating the feed down to my iPhone X.

Another test I did just because I bought the cables some time ago was the OTG to iPhone cable. Power on controller and plug in phone. This just kept on saying the controller not connected. I replugged the OTG cable and that then brought up the screen and everything looked normal. I did a 5 min flight and its almost day and night difference in the quality of the feed to my phone. I also did a 300ft flight away from me but in eye contact and it worked smooth. Only had a quick drop as I turned towards me but it reconnected and I was on my way.

I dont know what the official feedback is about the use of the OTG cable but it seems to work better.

Max
2018-5-29
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Joller79 DK
First Officer
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maxheadroom Posted at 2018-5-29 10:06
Some feedback after the following,

Reset spark - restart

Ifly onlywith phone(iphone6) no RC. I get about 80-90 meters/240-270feet before dropput
I tried this weekend to use a xiaomi wifi repeater(2.4 ghz) and fot out to 330meters/1000feet no problem whatsoever
2018-5-29
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RGMGFitness
Captain
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maxheadroom Posted at 2018-5-29 10:06
Some feedback after the following,

Reset spark - restart

Quick questions which I always ask because things are different within the USA and outside the USA.  What country are you in?  I've been flying the SPARK without issue but I'm in the USA and I do NOT use the OTG cable.  So, what I experience could be completely different from someone outside the USA.

Last I heard was people OUTSIDE THE USA were  (and had to) use the OTG cable to get better video quality and reduce lag.  

This seems to be an ongoing issue when troubleshooting.  Different countries have different issues especially when it comes to distance and ranges.  Also, I'm not using the iPhone X either so can't speak to that.  
2018-5-29
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DJI Tony
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maxheadroom Posted at 2018-5-29 10:06
Some feedback after the following,

Reset spark - restart

Can you please try to reset the camera settings in the DJI GO 4 and please reformat the SD card (ensure that the file inside is saved before reformatting the SD card)
2018-5-29
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maxheadroom
Second Officer
Flight distance : 669865 ft
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DJI Tony Posted at 2018-5-29 10:42
Can you please try to reset the camera settings in the DJI GO 4 and please reformat the SD card (ensure that the file inside is saved before reformatting the SD card)

Started raining so will do the reset tomorrow and test.

I am in the UK for the ones that asked.

Max
2018-5-29
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DJI Tony
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maxheadroom Posted at 2018-5-29 11:36
Started raining so will do the reset tomorrow and test.

I am in the UK for the ones that asked.

Just let us know if the issue will occur, please try different location as well and check if we are getting enough GPS signal.
2018-5-29
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maxheadroom
Second Officer
Flight distance : 669865 ft
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DJI Tony Posted at 2018-5-29 11:42
Just let us know if the issue will occur, please try different location as well and check if we are getting enough GPS signal.

Will do, I always fly with full gps signal strength 11 and higher.

Max
2018-5-29
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LEES69
lvl.2
United Kingdom
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I'm looking at this myself due to very poor range on both iphone and LGG3, really does seem that the CE mode (which I think we are forced to use in the UK/EU?) is frankly crap compared to the FCC (I think) version? Why do we have to suffer such a poor signal, and why does the OTG cable solve it?!!?? Surely if it's the connection between RC and Phone it's 2 inches away!

Lee

2018-5-29
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Kaiku
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Hi, I live in the U.S and I frequently have this issue. Is there any way to manually switch flight modes.
2018-5-29
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maxheadroom
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DJI Tony Posted at 2018-5-29 11:42
Just let us know if the issue will occur, please try different location as well and check if we are getting enough GPS signal.

Update.

The reset of the camera and format of the card did make the flight much smoother but at 150ft high and 200ft far it started dropping out. This is all line of sight and in full GPS mode. Definitely better. But still with the cable its much quicker refresh. Also at 150-200ft I only have one bar on the 5.8 signal strength.  

Max
2018-5-30
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KurtVD
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Flight distance : 365299 ft
Switzerland
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maxheadroom Posted at 2018-5-30 11:03
Update.

The reset of the camera and format of the card did make the flight much smoother but at 150ft high and 200ft far it started dropping out. This is all line of sight and in full GPS mode. Definitely better. But still with the cable its much quicker refresh. Also at 150-200ft I only have one bar on the 5.8 signal strength.  

If you find a good channel on the 2.4 GHz band, select it and connect your iPhone with the cable to the RC  (as you did before). I always fly on 2.4 GHz and with the cable, and that way I usually get quite a good connection and range. Sometimes I have to change the channel, but most of the time, since I fly away from houses, I can leave it on the same channel. Also, disable WiFi and Bluetooth and your iPhone, they can interfere with the signal as well.

It's normal that sometimes your iPhone doesn't connect to the RC at the first attempt, just remove the cable and connect it again, until it connects.
2018-5-30
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KurtVD
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Flight distance : 365299 ft
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Did you give it a try the way I described in the post above? Is it better now?
Just this afternoon, I was flying at the lake (Cable connection to the RC, WiFi and Bluetooth OFF, 2.4 GHz), and at 1000m out, the transmission started having ‘hiccups’, but it was still very reactive to RC inputs. I came back to about 900-950m out, and had a perfect transmission again. This is in Switzerland, eg a CE regulated country, with an unmodded Spark.
2018-6-1
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maxheadroom
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Flight distance : 669865 ft
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KurtVD Posted at 2018-6-1 11:51
Did you give it a try the way I described in the post above? Is it better now?
Just this afternoon, I was flying at the lake (Cable connection to the RC, WiFi and Bluetooth OFF, 2.4 GHz), and at 1000m out, the transmission started having ‘hiccups’, but it was still very reactive to RC inputs. I came back to about 900-950m out, and had a perfect transmission again. This is in Switzerland, eg a CE regulated country, with an unmodded Spark.

Ok some feedback. I just tried the following

- bluetooth = off
- wifi = off
- OTG cable from the controller to the iPhone X = connected
- latest DJI go app started
- started drone and found a 2.4 channel that showed stable
- 8 min flight distance 500ft away and 300ft high and it was almost spot on.

Thank you for the help and ideas.  I am busy charging and will test with another flight a bit later.

Max
2018-6-2
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KurtVD
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500 ft is only like 150 meters, right? You should get at least about 500 meters of good range, eg 1500 feet, if you have good conditions (countryside, no or few trees)
2018-6-2
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maxheadroom
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KurtVD Posted at 2018-6-2 11:20
500 ft is only like 150 meters, right? You should get at least about 500 meters of good range, eg 1500 feet, if you have good conditions (countryside, no or few trees)

I will test again tomorrow and see. Want to go and find a bit more open space. But its much better with those settings.

Max
2018-6-2
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KurtVD
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There is also something weird going on, sometimes the range is horrible for no apparent reason: Yesterday evening I was flying at the lake - I go there all the time - and I just couldn’t get a good image transmission, even at 10 feet away. There are no houses nearby, and normally I get a range of up to 1 km from this point. I changed channels, restarted everything, no effect. As soon as I took off, the image transmission cut out and I got something like one new image per 30 seconds. The RC connection was stable though, so I flew in circles for about 10 minutes, as far as I could without losing sight of it, and it never lost connection, it was “just” the image transmission.
After that I took my other drone (also WiFi), and had no problem whatsoever, got the same range as usual.
That has happened to me several times, that I had serious transmission problems, at places where I was sure it should be better (because I was there before and after).
2018-6-3
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maxheadroom
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KurtVD Posted at 2018-6-3 23:45
There is also something weird going on, sometimes the range is horrible for no apparent reason: Yesterday evening I was flying at the lake - I go there all the time - and I just couldn’t get a good image transmission, even at 10 feet away. There are no houses nearby, and normally I get a range of up to 1 km from this point. I changed channels, restarted everything, no effect. As soon as I took off, the image transmission cut out and I got something like one new image per 30 seconds. The RC connection was stable though, so I flew in circles for about 10 minutes, as far as I could without losing sight of it, and it never lost connection, it was “just” the image transmission.
After that I took my other drone (also WiFi), and had no problem whatsoever, got the same range as usual.
That has happened to me several times, that I had serious transmission problems, at places where I was sure it should be better (because I was there before and after).

Its weird as I also fly from the same area all the time. But with the info you gave me the few flights I did was so much better. I will have to try the local field and see how far I can push it. Will keep you posted.

We also lived in Switzerland for a your. Loved it. Based in Dietikon.

Have a good evening
2018-6-4
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LEES69
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Just to update my situation, just did a test flight in FCC mode and didn't have any real video glitch issues at all, didn't fly far, but much better than early flights I did!
2018-6-5
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KurtVD
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maxheadroom Posted at 2018-6-4 11:14
Its weird as I also fly from the same area all the time. But with the info you gave me the few flights I did was so much better. I will have to try the local field and see how far I can push it. Will keep you posted.

We also lived in Switzerland for a your. Loved it. Based in Dietikon.

Really, you liked living in Dietikon? ;) I guess there must be nice places there as well, but it's definitely one of the less attractive regions in Switzerlands (except economically, of course, I guess you had a job in Zürich or nearby).

As for the transmission problems, if I had at least 500 m of "solid" range every time I went out flying, I would be quite happy, but the problem really is that it's a little bit unpredictable. One day everything's great, the next you can't even take off before the video starts cutting out. At these short distances, it's hard to believe that the weather could have an influence, but I don't know anything about that. What I do know, is that my other drone, the Bebop 2, which also uses WiFi, never has these "bad hair days". I usually have both of them in my car, so I can compare directly, under the exact same conditions.
2018-6-7
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