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Urban UK Range disappointing
617 23 2019-11-19
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paulsusnet
lvl.3
United Kingdom
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When I take my mini into open fields I can hit 500 meters pretty comfortable, I'm happy enough with that even though it's advertised as 2km here in Europe.

Unfortunately when I try and fly in my local town near buildings I'm struggling to get 50-100 meters before the signal is dropping out and it becomes very difficult to fly. Of course I have line of sight and I'm doing it from the roof of a car park.

I still love the Mavic Mini, as a first time drone owner I've had a lot of fun. But considering most of my flying was going to be urban, the range has been a disappointing.

I have seen the American YouTubers getting 5k and stuff, but this is the European version.

I would like to hear from other people in the UK to see what kind of range they are getting?

I'm wondering how much better range I will get in the same situations with a more expensive drone using ocusync? I wouldn't want to upgrade, spend £1300 and not get a massive improvement.




2019-11-19
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Juliflash
Second Officer
Flight distance : 2923 ft

Spain
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duplicated answer sorry
2019-11-19
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Juliflash
Second Officer
Flight distance : 2923 ft

Spain
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For what I've heard and read, the mavic air and spark CE version have the same issue in urban areas, even people owning the Mavic Pro 1, Phantom 3 and so. Many use range extenders, no so much to extend but to boost and has less choppy video.

Somewhere somebody said that even his Mavic 2 Pro struggles over 500m in urban areas.
I have to test myself but for what I have seen, the range in EU is very poor.
I do hope they  can fix that in a firmware upgrade.
2019-11-19
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*DM*
First Officer
Flight distance : 496867 ft
United Kingdom
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Indeed. My M2P once struggled at 500m in a heavy built up area when I lost LOS. Other occasions, even in town, I have full signal but I try keeping to flying within the Law.

Dont forget, many folks doing these 'long distance records' are blatantly breaking the law so personally I would'nt give a s*** what they are claiming (nor feel sorry if they loose their toy).

Agree though that 100 meters for the Mini, even if it is Wifi, seems very short. My guess is that there was an unusual amount a lot of interference where you flew.
2019-11-20
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DAFlys
Captain
Flight distance : 711896 ft
United States
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At 500m I would think you would be struggling maintaining LOS of such a small drone.  But in built up areas with lots of wifi its not uncommon to get interference.
2019-11-20
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DJI Mindy
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Flight distance : 7 ft
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Hi paulsusnet, thanks for your feedback, may we verify under which frequency are you flying? Is it 2.4G or 5.8G?
2019-11-20
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Spud211
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United Kingdom
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HI,

Sounds normal to me - and roughly matches my experience

In an urban area, I can get 50-100m horizontal, and around 30-50m height with mine - on 5.8.  I have not and would not want to try 2.4 in such a built up area.
When I went out to the peak district this weekend I hit 500m and 50m using 5.8, and was able to go further when i swapped to 2.4G, however LOS becomes an issue at those distances so I stopped and flew back.

I wouldn't worry about range so much because we have to stick to the law.  Maintain LOS, don't fly over roads/people/buildings etc....There are so many absolute idiots who flout those laws and I have no time for any of them - its because of those idiots that we have to pay a fee every year and register to be allowed to fly.

RC quads/helis/planes et al are NOT meant to be flown in urban areas.  If that's what you bought it for I would return it...sorry
2019-11-20
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JodyB
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Flight distance : 28566 ft
United States
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Spud211 Posted at 11-20 05:38
HI,

Sounds normal to me - and roughly matches my experience

I think for everything there is a time and a place. General flying in urban areas, I don' think folks should be doing that just because. But in a situation like real estate vids/photos of a building or property to help sell it in a commercial setting I think would be fine, as long as it was done within the law.

Myself, I stick to country side flying for recreational flying and testing. For what I'm going to be using my MM for, if it will fly to the end of LOS for me, I'll be happy.
2019-11-20
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Spud211
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JodyB Posted at 11-20 05:53
I think for everything there is a time and a place. General flying in urban areas, I don' think folks should be doing that just because. But in a situation like real estate vids/photos of a building or property to help sell it in a commercial setting I think would be fine, as long as it was done within the law.

Myself, I stick to country side flying for recreational flying and testing. For what I'm going to be using my MM for, if it will fly to the end of LOS for me, I'll be happy.

You are right, but then the mini does a good job of this as the range is more than enough for urban real estate videos/pictures etc.  Not that i'd actually recommend doing professional work/photos with the mini -  thats what the pro models are for really.

The Mini can fly to LOS range in open areas, and to within sensible safe ranges in urban areas     That's all we need.
2019-11-20
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JodyB
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Spud211 Posted at 11-20 06:18
You are right, but then the mini does a good job of this as the range is more than enough for urban real estate videos/pictures etc.  Not that i'd actually recommend doing professional work/photos with the mini -  thats what the pro models are for really.

The Mini can fly to LOS range in open areas, and to within sensible safe ranges in urban areas     That's all we need.

I agree, that's all we need for sure.
2019-11-20
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Creative SparkZ
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Flight distance : 7070 ft
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Hi, I would counter that sentiment:
2019-11-20
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Creative SparkZ
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Hi, I would counter that sentiment: got my Mini the other day, took it out today, just for a quick compass calibration and flight check. Took it up to 80m and it lost connection to the remote. Completely. As a result, it started landing. Not RTH but landed straight there and then - probably because it was more or less just above me. But, frankly, 80meters is VERY disappointing. This was in a local nature reserve with the nearest urban buildings a cemetery about 200metres away. Hope this can be fixed, because frankly otherwise it's not useable.
2019-11-20
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Spud211
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Creative SparkZ Posted at 11-20 07:42
Hi, I would counter that sentiment: got my Mini the other day, took it out today, just for a quick compass calibration and flight check. Took it up to 80m and it lost connection to the remote. Completely. As a result, it started landing. Not RTH but landed straight there and then - probably because it was more or less just above me. But, frankly, 80meters is VERY disappointing. This was in a local nature reserve with the nearest urban buildings a cemetery about 200metres away. Hope this can be fixed, because frankly otherwise it's not useable.

Were you on 2.4 or 5G when you tried that?  Did you try with both to see if it makes a difference?

I definitely find 2.4G to be a better option when out of the city...
2019-11-20
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paulsusnet
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Spud211 Posted at 11-20 05:38
HI,

Sounds normal to me - and roughly matches my experience

I'm a local artist/photographer, I'm using the drone to mainly take photos of buildings. Away from people, away from houses, generally I do my work at night.

I'm very sensible, I always have LOS, I'm certainly not an "absolute idiot".

My gripe is when a drone is advertised to have a 2km range in Europe, that I would struggle with 50-100m regardless of the circumstances. Like someone else has mentioned on this post, that 50-100m might literally be up in a straight line above me to take a photo and I'm still having problems.

2019-11-20
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Creative SparkZ
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Spud211 Posted at 11-20 08:45
Were you on 2.4 or 5G when you tried that?  Did you try with both to see if it makes a difference?

I definitely find 2.4G to be a better option when out of the city...

Thank you for this tip.

I wasn't sure if I have a RC that allows me two switch or not (apparently there are two different types / models). Having check, I am delighted to note I can.

So, once the weather is a bit better, will try again, this time specifically on 2.4 to see if that helps.
Thank you!
2019-11-21
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Duncandonut
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Flight distance : 1833028 ft
United Kingdom
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I had the very same issues with my Spark. I was out in the middle of open fields with no buildings for at least 3/4 mile and I was only getting 50-100mtrs before loosing connection. It was one of the main reason I retired the Spark. Such a shame as the Spark was insanely fun to fly, especially in Sports mode.  I was looking at getting a Mavic Mini, but am staying clear of WiFi drones now.
2019-11-21
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hallmark007
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Ireland
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paulsusnet Posted at 11-20 22:49
I'm a local artist/photographer, I'm using the drone to mainly take photos of buildings. Away from people, away from houses, generally I do my work at night.

I'm very sensible, I always have LOS, I'm certainly not an "absolute idiot".

It very difficult to give help here, your just saying 50/100m is all you are getting, set up is important, device your using are you connected to 5.8 or 2.4 how are you lining up RC to craft antennas will be slightly different for 5.8 than 2.4 , you must also remember the environment your flying in , if interference is close to where your flying that’s where the interference will effect your drone , so simply looking around for anything that could interfere with your signal will help you realize what to expect .
2019-11-21
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Ice_2k
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Romania
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I find it pretty strange how happy some of you guys are with justifying performances that are so far away for the claimed specs. I understand that the 2km is "up to" and is the best case scenario but struggling at under 1/20 of that distance should not be acceptable.
2019-11-21
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hallmark007
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Ice_2k Posted at 11-21 05:53
I find it pretty strange how happy some of you guys are with justifying performances that are so far away for the claimed specs. I understand that the 2km is "up to" and is the best case scenario but struggling at under 1/20 of that distance should not be acceptable.

I think your talking about specific cases and not generally, but you have to remember why you lose signal.
For instance if a building was 20m away and you flew behind it (no signal) is this acceptable?
If you fly in an area of high WiFi usage IE 7oc of an evening over a housing estate what would you expect to happen to your signal ?
If you don’t have direct line of sight from RC to craft what do you expect from your signal ?

Something we know about this case is OP likes to fly around buildings, something your strongly advised not to do, and in many cases if you get the correct information you will find the reasons why and also some good information that will help you avoid loosing signal .
2019-11-21
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Ice_2k
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hallmark007 Posted at 11-21 06:19
I think your talking about specific cases and not generally, but you have to remember why you lose signal.
For instance if a building was 20m away and you flew behind it (no signal) is this acceptable?
If you fly in an area of high WiFi usage IE 7oc of an evening over a housing estate what would you expect to happen to your signal ?

I'm not trying to be absurd, it's obvious why going behind a building will break the connection. But when in an open city area and you can visually see a 20cm drone, you would expect your connection to also work, wouldn't you?...
The main issue is that the specs make you believe that the CE version has half the range of the FCC version (2km vs 4km), which I was happy with when I ordered it. But that is not the case. Because the FCC version achieves its 4km range on 5.8Ghz while the CE version has a very low 5.8 emitter and has to switch to 2.4Ghz to get the 2km max range, this actually translates into *way* less because 2.4 is pretty much useless where there's any interference around...
2019-11-21
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hallmark007
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Ice_2k Posted at 11-21 06:58
I'm not trying to be absurd, it's obvious why going behind a building will break the connection. But when in an open city area and you can visually see a 20cm drone, you would expect your connection to also work, wouldn't you?...
The main issue is that the specs make you believe that the CE version has half the range of the FCC version (2km vs 4km), which I was happy with when I ordered it. But that is not the case. Because the FCC version achieves its 4km range on 5.8Ghz while the CE version has a very low 5.8 emitter and has to switch to 2.4Ghz to get the 2km max range, this actually translates into *way* less because 2.4 is pretty much useless where there's any interference around...

The grass will always be greener on the other side, I’m not sure that 4K in the US is achievable 100% of the Time in fact I’d say it’s almost never achieved.

If as we have seen on this forum somebody has no problems getting above 430m in a big city and he has posted the video, then why are you having the problems, either there is something wrong with your craft , something seriously affecting your signal or you are not setting up your craft correctly, if the vast majority of users are not having great difficulty then it may not be the craft, I don’t believe there are better receivers in some units.

Maybe post a short video of the problems your having your set up and the environment your flying in, somebody may be able to pick up on something that might help .
Link to distance in urban area.
https://forum.dji.com/forum.php?mod=viewthread&tid=202042
2019-11-21
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Ice_2k
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I don't actually have mine yet, it's still waiting on my preorder...

I was looking at online range tests with the CE version, such as this one: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z3NjUPqt7Mw

Check 2m:35s and then 6m:15s. First time it's breaking up after 60m and the second time after like 20m. It does do a better job in an open park (4m:40s) so the issue is clearly interference. It's really frustrating when watching FCC reviews in a city area (from a high building) going to over 3km
2019-11-21
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Toedles
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Creative SparkZ Posted at 11-20 07:42
Hi, I would counter that sentiment: got my Mini the other day, took it out today, just for a quick compass calibration and flight check. Took it up to 80m and it lost connection to the remote. Completely. As a result, it started landing. Not RTH but landed straight there and then - probably because it was more or less just above me. But, frankly, 80meters is VERY disappointing. This was in a local nature reserve with the nearest urban buildings a cemetery about 200metres away. Hope this can be fixed, because frankly otherwise it's not useable.

That’s very disappointing...
2019-11-21
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JohnK48
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Any comments in general on how to test range in an urban area? Seems to be a number of problems:
(1) If you go more than a mile you have to cross a (usually busy) street.
(2) If you get far enough that communications suddenly drops off the RTH better be set up carefully.
(3) Seems like at least sometimes the RTH will just land (or hover) in place rather than actually return (GPS lost).
(4) Regulations say that you are not supposed to fly past line of sight - pretty hard for such a small drone with so much range.
(5) Not supposed to fly over people, which means picking something like a river or a park (that has few/no occupants).

Thus people testing over rivers is looking fairly wise, but maybe hanging close to a bank if you think there is a chance of going down.
2019-11-21
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