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Looking for advice and help With my Spark
470 18 2018-9-14
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markc620
lvl.3
Flight distance : 25269 ft
United States
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Hi all, a little background about me. I’ve owned a handful of “toy” drones so up until spark I’ve only flown atti. After doing some research I decided to go with spark for my first “real” drone. I’ve owned them now for about 2 months. Now onto my concerns. This may be a little long so please bare with me.
My first spark did what I believed at the time a “flyaway” however after reading, watching and learning, it was more pilot error than flyaway. It lost compass signal, went into atti mode and I panicked after only having it for a week or so and spent valuable time hitting the rth rather than taking over and bringing it back home myself. That being said, DJI stepped up to the plate and replaced it almost immediately. Thank you DJI!
My second one came shortly after that incident and by then I had poured over all of DJI videos and user videos, read tons of threads on these forums and got myself a little education on the spark. After all of that here’s why I posted. It seems every time I fly my spark it will post “weak GPS signal” then I get a warning weak gps signal, in flight, working IMU encounters heading exception, please switch to atti mode if craft behaves erratically. Then the next warning was weak gps signal accuracy may be compromised please fly with caution, then I received compass error exit P-GPS Mode, it then switched to atti mode and I started flying it back home it then found its gps again and was fine. By this time it’s so annoying I just brought it back. During this flight I received 3 compass errors in a 7 minute flight. I never launch with less than 11 satellites, I had 12 on this launch and 17 in flight. I was in a wide open Farm field in the middle of no where.
This is just my last flight. This happens almost every time I fly spark. 9-10 for sure. I’ve made it through 1 battery pack once since receiving my second one with 0 errors.
Every flight before I fly I go through the steps of bringing it up to 8’ flying forward, backward side to side and yawing 2 feet just like the avoid flyaways states I should. I never launch without 11 or more satellites, I use an otg cable in airplane mode my controller antenna are set per DJI video.
So am I doing something wrong? Is this normal for spark? Do others have this problem every flight?
Please help, I’m ready to sell this thing. I don’t read about these problems in the Mavic forums.
Thanks so much for your time, I know this was long.
2018-9-14
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MarkMN
lvl.4
Flight distance : 77100 ft
United States
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Have you calibrated the compass and IMU?  The GPS errors are a bit deceiving in that they are generally not caused by lack of GPS reception, but by a disagreement between the compass and the IMU. When it doesn’t trust the compass, it can no longer use the GPS since it doesn’t know which way it’s facing. To get more details on exactly what’s going on you can upload your fligh log to phantomhelp and download the CSV file that you can open up and read with a spreadsheet program.
2018-9-14
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S.J
Captain
Flight distance : 322454 ft
Kuwait
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i have received and continue to receive nearly 10 to 20 times as compass errors yet my flight distance of 1 kilometer or more is accomplished successfully even by using the RTH function. These errors are quite normal on the SPARK as it has only 1 compass and 1 IMU on board unlike the other DJI drones.
2018-9-14
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Rustic17
Captain
Flight distance : 641755 ft
United States
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I have over 250 flights in US and Europe and 28 hours of flight time.  I have never gotten a compass error.  That said, I have never flown more than 500 meters from my home point (and that's really pushing VLOS).  Before takeoff, I make sure to check the aircraft symbol on the map to ensure the drone is pointing in the same direction as the arrow relative to the N indexer.  I don't use OTG...never have had a problem with iPhone and RC connection.  
2018-9-14
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markc620
lvl.3
Flight distance : 25269 ft
United States
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MarkMN Posted at 2018-9-14 17:01
Have you calibrated the compass and IMU?  The GPS errors are a bit deceiving in that they are generally not caused by lack of GPS reception, but by a disagreement between the compass and the IMU. When it doesn’t trust the compass, it can no longer use the GPS since it doesn’t know which way it’s facing. To get more details on exactly what’s going on you can upload your fligh log to phantomhelp and download the CSV file that you can open up and read with a spreadsheet program.

Thanks markmn, I have not calibrated the compass and imu since I received it as the “how to avoid flyaways” video states you should never calibrate compass unless prompted to. Thanks as well to your explanation as to why these warnings are popping up. I have a very busy weekend ahead so I will try and download the flight log early next week.
2018-9-14
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markc620
lvl.3
Flight distance : 25269 ft
United States
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S.J Posted at 2018-9-14 17:24
i have received and continue to receive nearly 10 to 20 times as compass errors yet my flight distance of 1 kilometer or more is accomplished successfully even by using the RTH function. These errors are quite normal on the SPARK as it has only 1 compass and 1 IMU on board unlike the other DJI drones.

Thanks for the reply S.J, that’s kind of what I thought.
2018-9-14
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Rustic17
Captain
Flight distance : 641755 ft
United States
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Be sure and look at the DJI videos on calibrating.  People are always messing up the IMU calibration by not realizing the drone is rotated in several different positions during the process.  And yes, even though you weren't getting any messages to calibrate, what you describe definitely warrants calibration.  
2018-9-14
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Rustic17
Captain
Flight distance : 641755 ft
United States
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The original post you read about not calibrating unless you get the message was for people who were needlessly calibrating before each flight or each time they flew somewhere different...like on vacation.  Once you get good calibrations on IMU and compass you're good...I haven't calibrated mine in months...and I've flown in Alaska and Europe and my home in Arizona since the last calibration.
2018-9-14
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markc620
lvl.3
Flight distance : 25269 ft
United States
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Rustic17 Posted at 2018-9-14 17:35
I have over 250 flights in US and Europe and 28 hours of flight time.  I have never gotten a compass error.  That said, I have never flown more than 500 meters from my home point (and that's really pushing VLOS).  Before takeoff, I make sure to check the aircraft symbol on the map to ensure the drone is pointing in the same direction as the arrow relative to the N indexer.  I don't use OTG...never have had a problem with iPhone and RC connection.

Thanks rustic. Honestly I’m so nervous about all of the errors I never fly it more than 150’ up And about the same in distance away. I’m always so nervous with it. Thanks again
2018-9-14
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markc620
lvl.3
Flight distance : 25269 ft
United States
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Rustic17 Posted at 2018-9-14 17:41
Be sure and look at the DJI videos on calibrating.  People are always messing up the IMU calibration by not realizing the drone is rotated in several different positions during the process.  And yes, even though you weren't getting any messages to calibrate, what you describe definitely warrants calibration.

Rustic17 thanks again, I just read your calibration response. I will in fact watch the calibration videos and recalibrate. Hopefully I can get this right and readily start enjoying my spark.
2018-9-14
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Nidge
First Officer

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markc620 Posted at 2018-9-14 17:54
Rustic17 thanks again, I just read your calibration response. I will in fact watch the calibration videos and recalibrate. Hopefully I can get this right and readily start enjoying my spark.

Were you flying in Sport Mode per chance?

Many of these similar reports have been when the user was in Sport Mode and in the posted flight logs there is evidence of some pretty aggressive manoeuvres. In such instances, and this is only a speculative hypothesis, the compass and GPS circuits produce conflicting data (the compass records an abrupt turn but the GPS data is still recording forward momentum) causing the CPU to revert to ATTI Mode until the compass and GPS data are in agreement once again.

As I say this is just hypothetical thought at the moment. It would be interesting to hear from an actual DJI engineer/designer on such matters rather than, and no disrespect meant, the first line DJI responders in this forum.

2018-9-15
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MarkMN
lvl.4
Flight distance : 77100 ft
United States
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Nidge Posted at 2018-9-15 00:47
Were you flying in Sport Mode per chance?

Many of these similar reports have been when the user was in Sport Mode and in the posted flight logs there is evidence of some pretty aggressive manoeuvres. In such instances, and this is only a speculative hypothesis, the compass and GPS circuits produce conflicting data (the compass records an abrupt turn but the GPS data is still recording forward momentum) causing the CPU to revert to ATTI Mode until the compass and GPS data are in agreement once again.

There is another hypothesis that the software is more tolerant of errors between the IMU and compass when in sport mode. So if you are getting multiple errors when flying, you will have better luck getting it back home if you switch to sport mode.
2018-9-15
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MarkMN
lvl.4
Flight distance : 77100 ft
United States
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markc620 Posted at 2018-9-14 17:37
Thanks markmn, I have not calibrated the compass and imu since I received it as the “how to avoid flyaways” video states you should never calibrate compass unless prompted to. Thanks as well to your explanation as to why these warnings are popping up. I have a very busy weekend ahead so I will try and download the flight log early next week.

On my very first flight with my Spark it asked me to do a compass calibration but I still had a number of errors and it briefly switched into atti mode. After that I did an IMU calibration and I’ve never seen a single error since (unless I’m flying in or too near a steel building, but then I expect it)
2018-9-15
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markc620
lvl.3
Flight distance : 25269 ft
United States
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Nidge Posted at 2018-9-15 00:47
Were you flying in Sport Mode per chance?

Many of these similar reports have been when the user was in Sport Mode and in the posted flight logs there is evidence of some pretty aggressive manoeuvres. In such instances, and this is only a speculative hypothesis, the compass and GPS circuits produce conflicting data (the compass records an abrupt turn but the GPS data is still recording forward momentum) causing the CPU to revert to ATTI Mode until the compass and GPS data are in agreement once again.

Thanks nidge, I’ve tried out sport mode a couple of times in very wide open environments. But only briefly. With all of the errors I get, the last thing I want is to go into atti with that type of speed and momentum. Much too much of a newb to deal with that extra stress! Again, thanks for taking the time to help.
2018-9-15
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markc620
lvl.3
Flight distance : 25269 ft
United States
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MarkMN Posted at 2018-9-15 01:22
On my very first flight with my Spark it asked me to do a compass calibration but I still had a number of errors and it briefly switched into atti mode. After that I did an IMU calibration and I’ve never seen a single error since (unless I’m flying in or too near a steel building, but then I expect it)

I plan on calibrating both the compass and imu on Monday. Between what you and rustic17 have said, I’m cautiously optimistic that this may make this a more enjoyable experience. Thanks for your advice.
2018-9-15
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Alex B.
Captain
Flight distance : 4622680 ft

Spain
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If calibrating will not stop live the issues, then in that case I guess that you have got a faulty spark.
It shouldn’t give compass errors in the middle of the fields! Mine doesn’t!

Fly safe all
Alex
2018-9-15
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DJI Gamora
Super Moderator

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Hi, thanks for reaching DJI Forum. We do appreciate bringing this concern and query to us. For more information about your DJI Spark, kindly refer to the link below. Thank you and have a safe flight always.


2018-9-15
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H. Arif - 6IX
First Officer
Flight distance : 258061 ft
Canada
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Please post your flight records here and sync them too. I hope the situation works out for you.
2018-9-15
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markc620
lvl.3
Flight distance : 25269 ft
United States
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Hi all, quick update to those helping me on this thread. I calibrated the IMU and compass this morning. I took spark into my backyard where I always encounter at least 2-3 compass errors per flight and made it the entire battery pack without a single error! I’m not saying it’s fixed for sure yet but I can say that an error free flight is completely rare for me. So, fingers crossed, maybe I can finally start enjoying this the way I intended! Just want to say thank you to everyone who took the time to respond and offer advice. It was very much appreciated!
2018-9-17
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