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Mavic Mini issue sustaining altitude at high elevation ?
5334 23 2019-10-31
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Nfbarreto
Second Officer
Flight distance : 779839 ft
Portugal
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Hello,

After losing my Mavic Air this summer (pilot error, nothing wrong with the drone, flew too low in a lake, a ended-up going underwater ...), I've been considering another small drone. I would either get the Mavic Air again (was pretty happy with it), or might consider the Mavic Mini as I didn't use a lot of the autofeatures in the Air and always filmed in 2.7k anyway.

However, after watching the video below yesterday, where it seems the Mavic Mini had some issues sustaining altitude and power flying in what it seems to be a mountain region at about 7300ft (~2200 m), I went to check the specs and compared them with the Mavic Air.

The max service ceiling above sea level for these two drones are:


  • Mavic Mini: 3000m
  • Mavic Air: 5000m



So, does this effectivelly mean the Mavic Mini won't be able to sustain itself in the air at high altitudes ? I.e., if I'm in a mountain region (2000-2500 is not uncommon) will I have a hard time flying the mini ?


Check out the video below, starting at 6min:36s for what seems to be an issue with sustaining altitude and power at high elevation.


2019-10-31
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Montfrooij
Captain
Flight distance : 1934931 ft
Netherlands
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Yeah, I noticed that too.
2019-10-31
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GoldenSun
First Officer
Poland
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I'd say it's very risky so if you decide to buy one make sure you have nerves of steel first!
2019-10-31
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DAFlys
Captain
Flight distance : 1202936 ft
United Kingdom
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7000ft in about 2000 meters so Id say no good for you if you want to fly at 2500 meters.
2019-10-31
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Riumaan
lvl.1
Flight distance : 63189 ft
Maldives
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hey I just went for my first flight outdoors but the altitude was limited. It says something about gps. any solutions? its my first drone.
2020-1-7
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Geebax
Captain
Australia
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"So, does this effectivelly mean the Mavic Mini won't be able to sustain itself in the air at high altitudes ? I.e., if I'm in a mountain region (2000-2500 is not uncommon) will I have a hard time flying the mini ?"

I would say definitely. The Mini has difficulty flying in winds and would certainly have problems at higher altitudes. If fact, if you want to fly in the mountains a lot, I would buy a Phantom 4PV2.
2020-1-7
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Sigmo
Second Officer
United States
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Something that is frustrating is that PotatoJet (the reviewer who made that video) had two videos about the Mini posted a while back that talked more about and showed more about the high elevation issues.

In the first one, he ran into the problem of the Mini dropping down intermittently while trying to fly up there in the mountains.  The video you posted, which apparently has replaced that first video, showed more footage of the Mini dropping down and touching the ground as he was trying to fly in the mountains.  The new video has a lot of that edited out and more other footage, etc.

The second video he had up said that he worked with DJI, and DJI gave him improved propellers AND a firmware upgrade.  Between those two things, he was able to fly while up at over 10,000 feet on a mountain in Hawaii.  He now has a replacement video for THAT one, too, and while he talks about being able to fly at that elevation, he includes almost none of the video of him doing so like was in the original video.

So for some reason, he's removed both of those first videos and now replaced them with differently edited versions.  This, of course, seems quite suspicious.

I live at about 5150 feet elevation.  When I got my Mini Fly More Combo kit, I found that with the propeller guards in place, it could only fly for around 12 minutes before the batteries were exhausted.  It also gave me some error messages about a lack of power even though I was only hovering or flying at a slow walking speed.

This made me wonder if I'd gotten the "old style" props that the reviewer had said came with his drone at first.  After all, I'd like to have whatever the latest, and presumably better for high elevation props are.  Now that we've been talking about this on this forum, coincidentally both of the videos that addressed this have been taken down and now replaced, it seems.

I can't say why this has happened, but it seems a little too coincidental.

Anyhow, the thinking is that DJI has updated the propeller design and also addressed these issues in the firmware.

But, supposedly you're not supposed to use the prop guards at any elevation over 1500 meters.  And this makes sense because they add a bit of weight, and if the Mini is already struggling at higher elevations, that extra weight will obviously be an issue.

Some people on this forum have said that swapping out all of the propellers for new ones out of the packages included in their Fly More kits made a big difference, and eliminated the problems with the drone dropping.

I have just installed all new blades on my Mini, but have not had a chance to test this thoroughly, so I can't make any claims one way or the other about what effect this has had. Further, I have no way to know if my Mini did or did not come with the "old style" blades OR even if the new ones I installed are any different.  If they are different, the change is very subtle.  But they do have different numbers molded into them.

I do know that like the spare batteries, replacement prop blades are not available anywhere for immediate delivery.  The DJI site says 10 to 15 days to ship.  I have some on order, but there's been no indication of when they'll ship to me.

So to add to the utter uselessness of my comments, I will also say that because of the constant high winds here, I have only had two small opportunities to fly outdoors.  And neither of those chances have happened since I put the new blades on OR since I installed the very latest (1.0.4) firmware.

BUT, the first time I was able to fly outside, was a small break in the wind from around midnight to about 3am.  So I did go to a local park that had been decorated with lots of Christmas lights, and I flew there without the prop guards, and didn't find any problems.  This was at around 5200 to 5300 feet of elevation.

I didn't go nuts because it was the first time I was ever able to fly outdoors.  It was cold (around 25 degrees F) but the wind was quite calm.  I flew for over 15 minutes, and by the time the battery was low, I was done, anyhow because my fingers were frozen.  

The only other chance I had to fly outside was actually in the daylight.  I found no problems this time either, and because it was daylight, I got more bold, and flew at 100 feet or slightly more high, and flew a lot farther from me as well.  This was also a fine flight in my opinion, with the Mini doing nothing strange except that for some reason, it wouldn't fly more than a certain distance from me.  I don't think I had the distance limit set so close, but it was like running into an invisible wall at a certain distance out.  Probably my fault somehow, and it was still a fun flight going as far as I'd really dare, anyhow.

Some other folks on here have said (on a similar thread I started a while back) that they've flown with no problems at around 7200 feet where they are.

So I think the little Mini is capable of flying OK at these higher elevations.  BUT, as has been said, they really are more limited in elevation, speed, and ability to fight wind compared to a lot of DJI's other drones.  So while the Mini is an amazing device for as small and light as it is, there certainly are tradeoffs.  And among them are it's low thrust.

Would I buy one again?  I'm not sure.  It was cheaper than the alternatives I've considered.  But its "wimpiness" has been somewhat of an issue for me at 5150 feet with a lot of windy days.  But it was less than half the price of the drones that I figure would perform better.

I'm hoping that when we get some non-windy weather here, I can fly it more and will get my money's worth out of it.  But for better high elevation power, I have to say that a Mavic 2 or one of the new Skydio 2s might be what I'd choose now.  Double or more the money, but perhaps more useful for those of us at higher elevations or in windier locations.

At sea level, on a calm day?  I think the Mini is probably an amazing value.

I'd like to hear more from others with Minis at high elevations.  I'm hoping I'll end up loving mine.  But the wind will have to stop before I can fly it enough to get much of a feel for it.
2020-1-8
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InspektorGadjet
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Spain
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Sigmo Posted at 1-8 00:25
Something that is frustrating is that PotatoJet (the reviewer who made that video) had two videos about the Mini posted a while back that talked more about and showed more about the high elevation issues.

In the first one, he ran into the problem of the Mini dropping down intermittently while trying to fly up there in the mountains.  The video you posted, which apparently has replaced that first video, showed more footage of the Mini dropping down and touching the ground as he was trying to fly in the mountains.  The new video has a lot of that edited out and more other footage, etc.

Wow long and detailed answer Read the whole thing lol
Yes the mini has lost altitude or dropped a few times on me, but is hard to replicate.
I still love the mini for what it is and delivers, but for sure I see it as a VLOS device and for missions that are not so far. Easy to transport and great flight time, for me this was a drone to initiate myself, and for that is awesome, for sure Ill be looking in to mavic 2 for the future, but then I will have so much more confidence and be less scared of smashing 2000euros in to a tree or building.
2020-1-8
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Sigmo
Second Officer
United States
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InspektorGadjet Posted at 1-8 10:32
Wow long and detailed answer  Read the whole thing lol
Yes the mini has lost altitude or dropped a few times on me, but is hard to replicate.
I still love the mini for what it is and delivers, but for sure I see it as a VLOS device and for missions that are not so far. Easy to transport and great flight time, for me this was a drone to initiate myself, and for that is awesome, for sure Ill be looking in to mavic 2 for the future, but then I will have so much more confidence and be less scared of smashing 2000euros in to a tree or building.

That's the same with me.  I've been thinking of getting a drone for some time now, and when the Mini showed up, I couldn't resist for the price.

Mine seems to fly fine as long as I don't have the prop guards in place, and flies fairly well with them mounted.  But it does struggle, of course.  But the elevation here IS above the 1500 meter cut-off, so I can't complain about that.

It just points out that this little thing is sort of on the "hairy edge" of being able to carry itself at my elevation, and thus, I'll need to be extra careful because there's almost no margin for lift or power.

That may well help me to learn even faster, since it'll be more unforgiving.  But a lot of the videos on YouTube are misleading.

I'd love to see more high elevation tests and evaluations.

I saw one last night where the guy was flying in fairly brisk winds, and was trying it with various gadgets attached to test the "payload" capabilities.  But the guy never said what the elevation was where he was doing the testing, so it was somewhat useless data.

I'd love to see tests of payload and wind-fighting carried out at various elevations.  Any volunteers?
2020-1-8
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InspektorGadjet
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Spain
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Sigmo Posted at 1-8 14:39
That's the same with me.  I've been thinking of getting a drone for some time now, and when the Mini showed up, I couldn't resist for the price.

Mine seems to fly fine as long as I don't have the prop guards in place, and flies fairly well with them mounted.  But it does struggle, of course.  But the elevation here IS above the 1500 meter cut-off, so I can't complain about that.

There was a test in YouTube by "Tardicio" a south american guy but audio is in Spanish.
I live at 600-850 meters but I would guess that is not the issue here.
2020-1-9
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JM.REYES
First Officer
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Spain
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There are videos on YouTube that you can see, where this drone is flown at more than 2000 meters, being a safe and correct flight. Although always, you will have to perform the correct checks and tests, before performing each flight. The videos in outube are very good as information, but each drone and each person are different, I mean you put all your attention and knowledge, DON'T TRUST 100% OF YOUTUBE VIDEOS.
2020-1-9
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Nfbarreto
Second Officer
Flight distance : 779839 ft
Portugal
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After my original post and the video I shared here, I noticed that the same youtuber shot another video stating that DJI looked at his issues sustaining altitude and provided feedback that production units (he was using a pre-production unit) solved this issue with a redesigned set of propellers and updates to the firmware.

In his new video (posted at the end of 2019) he flies in Hawaii at ~3000 meters, right at the specs limit without issues.

So, altought I don't have a Mavic Mini yet, it seems this might have been resolved already. However, anyone getting this drone needs to be aware that this little thing can't fly in as high altitudes as the other drones in DJI's product line.

See video below:

2020-1-9
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Nfbarreto
Second Officer
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Portugal
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Riumaan Posted at 1-7 21:53
hey I just went for my first flight outdoors but the altitude was limited. It says something about gps. any solutions? its my first drone.

You may just need to give it 1 min or so to acquire GPS signal (don't lift off before the app states the home point has been set, otherwise the drone won't return to where you are in case of signal loss). It can take anywhere from almost instantly to 1 min for this to work depending on location.

Depending on the location it may take sometime for the drone to have enough GPS satellites in view to be able to determine it's position (I forget how many are required). If you're having this message, try changing to an outdoors location with good GPS reception. As an example, if you're trying to fly in a city street, with tall buildings all around you, it may be more difficult to get good GPS signals.
2020-1-9
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joose48
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Bolivia
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Hey, I live at 4000 meters above sea level, (El Alto, La Paz Bolivia), I've been able to fly the P3 pro and P4 pro for without any problems. What do you guys think about the mavic mini in this situation?
2020-1-16
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Fotoyoyo
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Taiwan
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I just want to chip in since I found this thread on Google.  I just flew the Mavic Mini at 3310m above sea level no problem.  I was able to get 3 full-battery flights (long hike without any charging capability) and the flight times were all 17 minutes at both 2980m (take off elevation and plus 152m altitude) and 3310m (plus 202m altitude).  I got get the high altitude warning but just clicked OK to accept the blah blah blah risks from the app.  At 2980m below the tree line I basically flew LOS, and once it opened up at 3310 I was flying first person and the Mavic Mini handled very well.  I did try to take off at another high wind place and the Mavic Mini visibly wobbled so bad I landed it right away.

In summary, take your usual precautions and you will be fine.  Warm your batteries before flying.
2020-2-16
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jacgandreshotm
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Flight distance : 624386 ft
Colombia
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i live on Bogota, Colombia, we are about 2.700 mts (8.100 fts) over sea level and my mini doesn't have the power to flight, a sent it to USA support and they "changed" a back motor, but the error persist (Not Enough Force/ESC Error) and the mini collapse
2020-4-2
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m80116
Captain
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Italy
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I've always thought that should I ever need to repeatably fly at high altitudes I might modify some dismissed propeller, heating it up and freezing it down again several times and altering the impacting angle of the blade, the several heat cycles should help releases stress tensions from the material and cement the final position. I deemed the safest point to intervene would be near the mounting block. I suppose they might work fine for high altitude but they could end up causing unexpected behaviors at lower and I am not sure about the health and durability of the modified propellers.
2020-4-2
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Labroides
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jacgandreshotm Posted at 4-2 07:27
i live on Bogota, Colombia, we are about 2.700 mts (8.100 fts) over sea level and my mini doesn't have the power to flight, a sent it to USA support and they "changed" a back motor, but the error persist (Not Enough Force/ESC Error) and the mini collapse

i live on Bogota, Colombia, we are about 2.700 mts (8.100 fts) over sea level and my mini doesn't have the power to flight
The Mavic Mini is a weak, underpowered toy.
The specs for the Mini say: Maximum Takeoff Altitude   3000 m
Given the trouble the Mini has performing properly at sea level, it's not going to be a good choice flying in Bogota.
All the other DJI drones would have no problem up there though, just not the Mini.
2020-4-2
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Riumaan
lvl.1
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Maldives
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Nfbarreto@gmail.com Posted at 1-9 03:11
You may just need to give it 1 min or so to acquire GPS signal (don't lift off before the app states the home point has been set, otherwise the drone won't return to where you are in case of signal loss). It can take anywhere from almost instantly to 1 min for this to work depending on location.

Depending on the location it may take sometime for the drone to have enough GPS satellites in view to be able to determine it's position (I forget how many are required). If you're having this message, try changing to an outdoors location with good GPS reception. As an example, if you're trying to fly in a city street, with tall buildings all around you, it may be more difficult to get good GPS signals.

Thee is a lot of trees in my area (Maldives)
I just connect the drone and give it 1 or 2 minutes to get gps signal and I have managed to almost take it to one end of the island
2020-7-16
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djiuser_Q8gC5WWeNB19
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United States
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I was flying my Mavic Mini at an altitude of about 1700 meters and it started to lose altitude on its own and would recover on its own then, ultimately, crash.  My brother then flew his Mavic Mini under the same conditions and had no issues.  Mine was purchased in November 2019 updated to version .0500 and his was purchased in March 2020 and he's never updated anything.
What are my options?
2020-10-5
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K6CCC
First Officer
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Next Sunday I expect to fly my Mini at Mammoth Mtn in California which is right about 3,000 meters.  I have no expectations of going very far or high for the video I will be shooting.  Based on this thread, I will fly very conservatively.  I will report back on how well it performs.
2020-10-5
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videoeditman
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djiuser_Q8gC5WWeNB19 Posted at 10-5 10:26
I was flying my Mavic Mini at an altitude of about 1700 meters and it started to lose altitude on its own and would recover on its own then, ultimately, crash.  My brother then flew his Mavic Mini under the same conditions and had no issues.  Mine was purchased in November 2019 updated to version .0500 and his was purchased in March 2020 and he's never updated anything.
What are my options?

Could be the wind currents at that height, it might not have anything to do with age of firmware/hardware. Do you check the wind at altitude before takeoff? I'm not sure how accurate the apps would be in the mountains!
2020-10-5
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K6CCC
First Officer
Flight distance : 633094 ft
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As I posted two weeks ago, last Sunday I was flying my Mini at right about 9,000 feet - which of course a little under 3,000 meters.  It flew just fine.  Also ended up being the flight that I got closest to running out of battery ever.  Got down to about 20 seconds left according to the app.  OK, I was not being reckless with that.  The Mini was shooting video of the arrival and photo session at the end of a 5 day bicycle ride.  While waiting for the last photograph, the Mini was hovering about 20 feet from me at about 15 feet over a parking lot, so I could land at any time.  Kept saying to the assembled mass to hurry up as I was about out of battery.  Got in the last photo, and immediately descending for the landing.
2020-10-18
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Donut
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United States
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Very good for information. TY
2020-10-19
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