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Why doesn't DJI make some aircraft bind & fly?
632 16 2018-10-18
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cameracollector
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Perhaps this has been asked before, but I couldn't find any posts on it.

I've been flying multicopters since way before the consumer based RTF units like the Phantom hit the market, and I still have 2 DJI based Flamewheels and one multi-vii based quadcopter. I fly all three of these as well as my big aerial photography / video plane from the same controller, which allows me to customize settings for each.

I understand and get how proprietary the DJI controllers are as they relate to their aircraft, but don't fully understand why there is no option to purchase just an aircraft without the controller. For example if I wanted to add another Phantom 4 to the one I have as a spare, why not just get the aircraft and bind it to my existing radio/controller?

Also, could they not make a general controller that was applicable to 2 or more of their aircraft? For example I'd like to get a Spark for close in tree flying, but I don't want to fly with a tablet or phone and don't want to shell out the $150 extra for the controller. How nice it would be if I could just bind it to my existing P4 controller and start flying.

Just a thought..  
2018-10-18
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Mark The Droner
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I'm not a super expert or anything, but in the old days it was easy because the system was a simple one way control signal.  You link the AC to the controller.  The controller doesn't get linked to anything.  How could it?  It's effectively blind.  So you could and still can link multiple drones to one controller.  For example, I could link six Phantom 2 Visions and eight Phantom 2 vision Pluses to one controller's control signal.  The controller doesn't know it is controlling fourteen different ACs, and the AC doesn't know the controller can control thirteen other drones.  It's just a simple one way signal.  You can even fly several ACs at once provided you have enough open space.  You can still do that today.

But when you start adding wifi, it gets complicated because it's a two way signal by design.  And there's a check.  So each of the two devices is linked.  That makes it much more complicated.

And then of course there's lightbridge, which we speculate is a very clever hybrid of wifi, but which isn't going to work with a wifi system.  

And occusync, which isn't going to work with lightbridge... or wifi... and so on and so forth...

You could still use one controller for several ACs, but it takes a little work.  Each time you wanted to fly with a different drone, you would have to link it before that particular flight, and that action would "unlink" it from the AC it was linked to previously.  But, of course, there is the compatibility issue when you start trying to mix controllers and different types of ACs such as a Spark and Inspire, etc.  That can't be done and I think the reasons are obvious - their are often different signal types among the different ACs and the capabilities are different too.  

2018-10-18
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cameracollector
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Mark The Droner Posted at 2018-10-18 14:07
I'm not a super expert or anything, but in the old days it was easy because the system was a simple one way control signal.  You link the AC to the controller.  The controller doesn't get linked to anything.  How could it?  It's effectively blind.  So you could and still can link multiple drones to one controller.  For example, I could link six Phantom 2 Visions and eight Phantom 2 vision Pluses to one controller's control signal.  The controller doesn't know it is controlling fourteen different ACs, and the AC doesn't know the controller can control thirteen other drones.  It's just a simple one way signal.  

But when you start adding wifi, it gets complicated because it's a two way signal by design.  And there's a check.  So each of the two devices is linked.  That makes it much more complicated.

Good points, the only two way link I have to my aircraft with the old radios is my FPV, which is totally separate.  However some radios / receivers did have add on's that allowed for some telemetry to be sent back to the radio, like battery %, signal strength etc.  I haven't used them in so long now I can't remember how it worked exactly but there can be two way communication with old systems.

But your point that using light bridge may not make binding to other aircraft possible, my knowledge in that area is limited.  Also I thought it was possible to bind / connect your P4 radio to another AC - you must be able to because you would essentially be doing that if you had to replace the controller.

Like you said though with different models the incompatibilities between models might be too much, but I'm thinking they could still offer aircraft for sale without having to buy the controller as long as the model was the same, for example if I bought another Phantom 4 same model as the one I have.

update - looking at the DJI site under accessories, it appears you are able to buy the aircraft without the remote controller - so perhaps my last question is moot :-) But I do wonder if for example, the Phantom 4 advanced or pro would bind to my Phantom 4 controller
2018-10-18
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Mark The Droner
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I can almost see msinger's answer before he posts it.  The P4 controller won't work with the other P4s, but they will work with the P3A/Ps.  I know this only because I've seen msinger post this at least a dozen times.  

2018-10-18
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Cetacean
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cameracollector Posted at 2018-10-18 14:29
Good points, the only two way link I have to my aircraft with the old radios is my FPV, which is totally separate.  However some radios / receivers did have add on's that allowed for some telemetry to be sent back to the radio, like battery %, signal strength etc.  I haven't used them in so long now I can't remember how it worked exactly but there can be two way communication with old systems.

But your point that using light bridge may not make binding to other aircraft possible, my knowledge in that area is limited.  Also I thought it was possible to bind / connect your P4 radio to another AC - you must be able to because you would essentially be doing that if you had to replace the controller.

Aloha CC,

     Good to see you looked in the Phantom Accessories of the DJI Store and that Mark is helping you a lot with your concerns (he is right about msinger).  There are major limitations in the consumer drones area.  Some Mavics, and I thought the Spark, can be flown with just a phone or tablet.  Have you covered that?

     For the more commercial drones, look into the Cendence Remote Controller  Very expensive, but works with a number of DJI drones.  The SDK developers get to have a field day with DJI products so it is not like DJI does not do as you ask, they just do it for the advanced products.

     Hope this helps!

Aloha and Drone On!
2018-10-19
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cameracollector
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Cetacean Posted at 2018-10-19 01:20
Aloha CC,

     Good to see you looked in the Phantom Accessories of the DJI Store and that Mark is helping you a lot with your concerns (he is right about msinger).  There are major limitations in the consumer drones area.  Some Mavics, and I thought the Spark, can be flown with just a phone or tablet.  Have you covered that?

Thanks - not sure about the Mavic but yes the Spark can be flown with a tablet or phone, but I prefer to have control sticks in hand and the feel of a controller.  

I know when the first Phantoms came out there were folks in the RC hobby taking the receivers out and replacing them with their own so they could use the radios they were used to, but when DJI came out with the video feeds one was pretty well resigned to using their radios.
2018-10-19
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Cetacean
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cameracollector Posted at 2018-10-19 07:34
Thanks - not sure about the Mavic but yes the Spark can be flown with a tablet or phone, but I prefer to have control sticks in hand and the feel of a controller.  

I know when the first Phantoms came out there were folks in the RC hobby taking the receivers out and replacing them with their own so they could use the radios they were used to, but when DJI came out with the video feeds one was pretty well resigned to using their radios.

Aloha CC,

     Very true.  Personally, I like the feel of sticks in my fingers to.  I have not bought the Tello yet, but if I do I will get the controller to ($35).

Aloha and Drone On!
2018-10-19
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Gastonix73
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Hi, it's not answering to the question at all, but I'm not able to create a new thread ...
I'd like to know if it's possible to bind a phantom 3 with a mavic pro 2 controller, or a spectrum controller.

Thanks you for your help.
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2019-2-28
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Geebax
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Gastonix73 Posted at 2-28 10:22
Hi, it's not answering to the question at all, but I'm not able to create a new thread ...
I'd like to know if it's possible to bind a phantom 3 with a mavic pro 2 controller, or a spectrum controller.

No, it is not possible. They use totally different controllers.
2019-2-28
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Gastonix73
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Geebax Posted at 2-28 13:21
No, it is not possible. They use totally different controllers.

Okay thank you very much !
2019-3-1
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solentlife
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Surely the first thing to sort is what OP actually means by Bind and Fly ...

Many RC models of all descriptions are described in various forms but leaving aside the Kit, ARTF, RTF labels ... we have 3 basic forms when  it comes to the control :

You fit everything and decide what protocol radio system to use.

Plug and Fly - where all but the Rx is fitted and again you have choice of radio protocol to use.

Bind and Fly - which is a term used by Horizon Hobby to describe a line of models that all you need do is bind the models already installed Rx and gear to a SpektrumTx.

In reality ... DJI does in effect provide a BnF format because you can buy a replacement Controller and 'bind' to your AC. Of course the controller cannot be just any that you choose,  it has to be suitable for the AC  you have.

If OP is talking about Plug and Fly - then to be honest I can never see DJI accepting such format as that immediately loosens the safety control that DJI feel they need to exercise. Can you imagine the media if someone has to program a DJI and then goes wrong ?
What protocol ? FAAST, ACAAST, FlySky, DSMX, Devo .......

That's my humble opinion on it ..... I think the DJI approach by providing basically a Bind and Fly Controller suited to the model AC is about the only realistic avenue.
2019-3-1
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RedHotPoker
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At least DJI allow us to fly several models with one rc, and all that takes to work, is to bind them. Each time you switch.

I have several other brand models that are BNF and that system works great too, where you can have several models linked to one Spektrum controller.
It only takes going through a short menu to choose those other models stored within the memory. Certainly DJI could implement a similar system in the future.


I understand the necessity of keeping it with DJI Controller, but there are much better RC devices than those that DJI provide. & A second device with a built in screen isn’t necessary.

Further, Bells and whistles don’t improve piloting skills.

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2019-3-1
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solentlife
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Is the DJI RC that bad ?

I have currently :

JR
Futaba
FlySky
Radiolink
9X
9XR
Devo

and of course P3 Std and P3P RC's ....

The DJI RC's do feel and look toy like compared to such as a JR ... 9XR etc. - I think given that the DJI gear is intended for just about anyone to fly literally out of box - it does its job well. It has to combine todays 'Smartphone' brigade with the Stick users. It has to give control and camera command options without creating a Science degree.

I think any other way is going to be a difficult exercise. DJI is not the only one to go this route ... Yuneec .... Syma .... and many others ...
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RedHotPoker
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I had early interest in DJI drones, but thought the radio looked too simplified and basic.
Unbeknownst to me, the rc held a smart phone or device which then increased its over all appeal.

I think that the missing screen like most RC’s have, was what held me back with previous iterations.
Not until I attended a DJI First Pilot show, did I realize the quality of their models and that the RC really was good enough.


RedHotPoker
2019-3-1
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cameracollector
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solentlife Posted at 3-1 07:36
Surely the first thing to sort is what OP actually means by Bind and Fly ...

Many RC models of all descriptions are described in various forms but leaving aside the Kit, ARTF, RTF labels ... we have 3 basic forms when  it comes to the control :

You are correct, it was more or less what I meant by bind and fly.  For example, I just bought a P4 advanced, I already have a P4. Since the aircraft and its features, other than the improved camera on P4A,_are identical, it would have been nice to just been able to pick up the aircraft and use my existing radio. However since unlike my Futaba I use with my Flamewheel quadcopters, I would not be able to simply pick which of the aircraft I want to fly from a list, choose it and fly. I'd have to re-bind the model every time.

I understand that I can do this now, as I think my older P4 will bind to the P4A radio, but here I am with two radios anyway.  I guess I should have been more specific, that it would be nice if DJI made a radio capable of flying all or most of their aircraft, where you could pick from a list of all the models you have , but now that I have thought about is some more I see it would be impossible because of the technology differences between like say, the P4A and P4 Pro.
2019-3-2
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solentlife
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That's the problem .... how to cover the techno - but still keeping the overall control aspect suitable for the 'non RC' brigade.

It is obvious that 'cameracollector' comes from an RC background as do some others and myself. We have the luxury today of choosing from a menu which model to fly on a single Tx. Unlike the old days of FM / AM radios where we  had to manually trim models after flight if we wanted to have more than one on a TX.

Can you imagine having a system like er9x with DJI ? I think the forums would be flooded with 'How do I do this .... ' The mind boggles !

Good question though.
2019-3-2
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cameracollector
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solentlife Posted at 3-2 07:44
That's the problem .... how to cover the techno - but still keeping the overall control aspect suitable for the 'non RC' brigade.

It is obvious that 'cameracollector' comes from an RC background as do some others and myself. We have the luxury today of choosing from a menu which model to fly on a single Tx. Unlike the old days of FM / AM radios where we  had to manually trim models after flight if we wanted to have more than one on a TX.

Correct - I have Futaba 9C Super that I use for my home built 80" fixed wing made for aerial video, my Stryker, 2 DJI Flamewheels and  multi-wii based quadcopter.  I fly the fixed wing aircraft with 72 Mhz FM receivers and the multi-copters with 2.4 Ghz receivers.

I can see the issues arising with the non RC crowd though, which I suspect makes up a substantial percentage of the DJI user base.
2019-3-2
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