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Maximize distance on remaining battery?
546 19 2018-12-29
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OneDoesNotSimply
First Officer
Flight distance : 662644 ft
United States
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I am wondering what strategy is best for maximizing the distance travelled on the remaining battery life.

I am thinking that the following would be effective:

1) Sports mode, but keep the motor power used (as seen in the radar circle view) at around 60%
2) If flying back in a head wind (don't get into this situation to begin with!) try veering left then right like a boat tacking the wind Tacking in Sailing
3) Keep the drone low as surface drag reduces wind speeds at low altitude (be careful not to lose signal/hit something though)
4) Turn off camera recording as this would save power with CPU load
5) Being in Sports mode also turns off sensors which might reduce CPU Load
6) Fight auto land (if over water or trees) by pushing up on the throttle.

Do these sound accurate, any other suggestions? I am wondering especially what the most efficient speed for distance on remaining battery is for the MA.

I was thinking about this as I had to use some of these techniques to get my Mavic Air back after a recent...err...miscalculation
2018-12-29
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AlansDronePics
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1, see DJI mac flight time speed in still air. This is optimum. Generally slightly less than full power in non sport mode.
2, tacking is not the answer.  Direct is best.
2018-12-31
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AlansDronePics
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1, see DJI mac flight time speed in still air. This is optimum. Generally slightly less than full power in non sport mode.
2, tacking is not the answer.  Direct is best.
3, 4, 5, 6. All yes.
2018-12-31
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OneDoesNotSimply
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AlansDronePics Posted at 12-31 06:40
1, see DJI mac flight time speed in still air. This is optimum. Generally slightly less than full power in non sport mode.
2, tacking is not the answer.  Direct is best.
3, 4, 5, 6. All yes.

Thank you. I am still not sold on your 1. The max time in the air does not necessarily mean the max distance covered. For example I could fly at 17 mph for 10 minutes and go 2.8 miles or maybe I could go 30 mph which reduces my battery life, but I could still go 3.5 miles in 7 minutes.

Not saying those numbers are real, but I think they illustrate what I am trying to say.

It would be interesting to plot battery life at different speeds and also overlay distance traveled for each of those speeds.
Edit: Then again DJI chooses around 17 mph for automatic RTH so maybe that is the best speed for covering the most distance on remaining battery life.
2018-12-31
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HereForTheBeer
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i traveled 2-3 minutes on 0% power saving my drone, and traveled 3KM on 30% with a small head wind and landed with no remaining power..0%..  so you have a small buffer for emergencies.  

direct line straight back to you is best method unless you for sure know you wont make it and need to land the aircraft and go pick it up.. tacking around wont help that only makes your line longer or increase flight time and not worth any power maybe saving if even saving it..

disabling camera/sensors may make some differences but ill be honest, i haven't noticed any real differences.  either disabling these things arent really disabling them or they are that efficient that makes no true difference.  i only recommend disabling obstacle avoidance at most for returning home, because the sun can trigger OA and stall its progress out.. or slow it down..same with rain and snow building up on the sensors..

avoid sport mode if possible because as i mentioned i dont think sensors are that big of a drain... trigger RTH and hold forward stick fully up if have to.. that increase speed without being a huge drain on battery.. (25-30mph)  not worth sport mode's huge extra drain unless you have no choice.
2018-12-31
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OneDoesNotSimply
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Good idea with the RTH and stick forward doing that increases your speed while keeping it reasonable. Just as important is that the RTH will take the shortest straight line back to you - I know it is easy to accidentally put in some small yaw or roll when flying manually and veer slightly.
2018-12-31
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nixuspix
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Good advises mates. Thank You a lot and Happy New Year to everyone
2018-12-31
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HereForTheBeer
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OneDoesNotSimply Posted at 12-31 08:22
Good idea with the RTH and stick forward doing that increases your speed while keeping it reasonable. Just as important is that the RTH will take the shortest straight line back to you - I know it is easy to accidentally put in some small yaw or roll when flying manually and veer slightly.

yep!  that's what i do when im "dangerously low"
2018-12-31
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TC KABREW
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if i turn sport on on low battery and im over a tree it would try to land and get stuck? any advise for then
2018-12-31
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OneDoesNotSimply
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TC KABREW Posted at 12-31 15:28
if i turn sport on on low battery and im over a tree it would try to land and get stuck? any advise for then

If you are already above the tree and it tries to auto land, keep pushing up on the throttle (left stick in Mode 2). Pushing up will override the descent and allow you to steer.
2018-12-31
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TC KABREW
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OneDoesNotSimply Posted at 12-31 16:01
If you are already above the tree and it tries to auto land, keep pushing up on the throttle (left stick in Mode 2). Pushing up will override the descent and allow you to steer.

if it drops to 0% when i am doing that what will happen?  would it just drop?
2018-12-31
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OneDoesNotSimply
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TC KABREW Posted at 12-31 16:04
if it drops to 0% when i am doing that what will happen?  would it just drop?

Should keep flying. I have been at zero percent when landing a few times. If you really want to know, then practice it for real - fly around a field then when it gets low bring it close and hover until it tries to auto land, then force up on the left stick and see how it behaves.
As an earlier commenter stated, even at 0% there is some reserve, but it could drop at any time after that, but he said he got 3 minutes, I have gotten an extra minute or so and made it back to land after flying over the ocean.

Don't push it too far though as you could damage the battery.
2018-12-31
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TC KABREW
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OneDoesNotSimply Posted at 12-31 16:07
Should keep flying. I have been at zero percent when landing a few times. If you really want to know, then practice it for real - fly around a field then when it gets low bring it close and hover until it tries to auto land, then force up on the left stick and see how it behaves.
As an earlier commenter stated, even at 0% there is some reserve, but it could drop at any time after that, but he said he got 3 minutes, I have gotten an extra minute or so and made it back to land after flying over the ocean.

ok thank you, ill test it at a low hight.
2018-12-31
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AlansDronePics
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OneDoesNotSimply Posted at 2018-12-31 08:16
Thank you. I am still not sold on your 1. The max time in the air does not necessarily mean the max distance covered. For example I could fly at 17 mph for 10 minutes and go 2.8 miles or maybe I could go 30 mph which reduces my battery life, but I could still go 3.5 miles in 7 minutes.

Not saying those numbers are real, but I think they illustrate what I am trying to say.

My point was simply that is the optimum flight time for battery life.
If a flight takes you into unsafe distance for the available battery life, that is the pilots choice.
I prefer to treat 30% of battery capacity as the time to get the Mavic Pro on the ground. My drone needs are simple photography, so challenging flights seldom crop up.
Here is a link to the longest flight distance I have ever taken.  
It took a week of planning and advice from here before making it. OK, I play safe, but I haven't crashed or lost any of my drones.
Boring perhaps, but flying a drone is not like running your laptop flat. Nothing harmful or expensive will happen with a laptop, it isn't the same risk with a drone in flight.
By the way, Read up on expert sites about  LiPo batteries and you will find you have greatly reduced the life of your battery by running down to 0%
2019-1-2
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quaddron3
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What is the ideal flight speed with no wind condition to maximize efficiency? Is the standard return to home speed optimized for battery efficiency? And what speed is that?
2019-1-4
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AlansDronePics
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quaddron3 Posted at 1-4 16:27
What is the ideal flight speed with no wind condition to maximize efficiency? Is the standard return to home speed optimized for battery efficiency? And what speed is that?

See DJIs sales spec for speed to get best flight duration. Varies by drone model.
2019-1-5
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Skeeter Honey
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AlansDronePics Posted at 1-2 11:23
My point was simply that is the optimum flight time for battery life.
If a flight takes you into unsafe distance for the available battery life, that is the pilots choice.
I prefer to treat 30% of battery capacity as the time to get the Mavic Pro on the ground. My drone needs are simple photography, so challenging flights seldom crop up.

That's pretty cool!

Not sure I understand (yet) the allure of range testing though...especially over water  Yeah, I know that's better for signal strength, but still.
2019-1-5
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AlansDronePics
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Skeeter Honey Posted at 1-5 10:02
That's pretty cool!

Not sure I understand (yet) the allure of range testing though...especially over water  Yeah, I know that's better for signal strength, but still.

Hi Skeeter, for me there is no attraction to range testing. I was actually searching for the remains of an elusive wreck. The islanders knew there was one, but had never seen it, because it is practically inaccessible because of very fast tidal flow and hidden rocks. I remember being on a fast cruiser heading into the current at full throttle and making no progress. The water passes over rocks like a weir with several feet difference in level.
The wreck was actually hard to find and as you might have seen, rather disappointing with so little left.
When I sent the Mavic out, I did say goodbye because I never expected it to return. It did though.
That was in the good old days when firmware issues hadn't been invented by DJI to increase drone sales. Ha ha.
2019-1-5
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Skeeter Honey
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AlansDronePics Posted at 1-5 10:58
Hi Skeeter, for me there is no attraction to range testing. I was actually searching for the remains of an elusive wreck. The islanders knew there was one, but had never seen it, because it is practically inaccessible because of very fast tidal flow and hidden rocks. I remember being on a fast cruiser heading into the current at full throttle and making no progress. The water passes over rocks like a weir with several feet difference in level.
The wreck was actually hard to find and as you might have seen, rather disappointing with so little left.
When I sent the Mavic out, I did say goodbye because I never expected it to return. It did though.

I didn't phrase my comment very well.

Yes, It's clear you have an objective vice performing a "range test," and your venture is certainly a worthy one.  The distance, however, is range/endurance test territory which I doubt I'd ever feel comfortable venturing into.

I'm glad folks like you do it though!  It helps me know where the limits are so that I don't push them!
2019-1-5
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AlansDronePics
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Tips of you should have to fly further than line of sight.
Fly out against the wind, so the trip back will use less power.
Leave the battery set at 30% so you have a safe reserve. It harms the battery and shortens its life if you drop below it.
Remember, when the drone says it is time to head home, don't ignore it. It makes a simple tim and distance from home calculation and does not allow for wind .
If you find the drone wants to land, set the 30% to a much lower figure, even 0%, during the return flight . That will delay a forced landing by drone. However, it could then just drop from the sky.
Always have an alternative landing site worked out before a very long flight and keep as low as terrain permits. If it falls, better from a low height into bushes than hard ground or trees.
2019-1-6
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