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Field Demo of a GPS tracker
2330 20 2019-12-20
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djordan2
Second Officer
Flight distance : 79291 ft
United States
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Hi all,

I just completed a Youtube video on the Whistle Go Explore GPS tracker.  It is advertised for pets.  But I put mine on my Phantom 3 Pro and made a field demonstration on how it works if you should have a fly-away or lose your drone.  I think it works better than any of the others on the market.  Go have a  look.



2019-12-20
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solentlife
First Officer
Flight distance : 1087530 ft
Czechia
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Nice ... but bit pricey for me ...
2019-12-21
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djordan2
Second Officer
Flight distance : 79291 ft
United States
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solentlife Posted at 12-21 02:36
Nice ... but bit pricey for me ...

I know there is a cost.  I also did a review on the Whistle 3 GPS Pet Tracker last year.  The purchase price on it was only about $80.00.  The Go is about $129.00 or less with discounts. There is another Whistle tracker with a cost in between the 3 and the Go.  The only differecences between the Whistle 3 and the Whistle Go explore is the Ping time and battery life.  The 3 uses 3G AT&T networks, while the Go uses 4G.  The ping time on the 3 is 1 minute, while the Go is 15 seconds.  Battery life is also very much improved on the Go.  The 3 is about 6 days in Monitoring mode, and the Go is about 20 days in Monitoring.  Both will use more battery when in Tracking Mode.  The online subscription cost is about the same for both.  It's somewhere around $100.00 per year.
2019-12-21
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solentlife
First Officer
Flight distance : 1087530 ft
Czechia
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We are lucky in Latvia that 2G is still available on some networks, even though all are now 4G  - so the cheap $20 - $40 GSM Trackers using PaYG SIM cards work fine.The second benefit of that is that the Tracking App on Android and IOS is free. No subscription.
2019-12-21
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DJI Gamora
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Hi, thanks for sharing this video that you had provided for us. Thank you for your continued support!
2019-12-21
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djordan2
Second Officer
Flight distance : 79291 ft
United States
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Something I keep forgetting to do when I land in the dirt like this is raise the camera to the horizontal position. When it is pointing directly down, there is a chance of landing on a small rock and damaging the lens.
2019-12-23
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solentlife
First Officer
Flight distance : 1087530 ft
Czechia
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If you land on a small rock - reckon you could damage camera whichever way its pointing ... but agree that lens down is lower !
2019-12-23
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djordan2
Second Officer
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United States
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solentlife Posted at 12-23 07:27
If you land on a small rock - reckon you could damage camera whichever way its pointing ... but agree that lens down is lower !

This time, when I landed in the first test spot, I had no control.  I lost contact and control at about 6 feet AGL.  It was landing on its own from that point on.  Two things I learned on this flight.  One, the camera keep recording when you lost signal and contact.  And two,  the  Auto-land  command override the Return to home.  I had long suspected both were true, but never tested it.
2019-12-23
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Mark The Droner
First Officer
Flight distance : 2917 ft
United States
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I'd like to make a few comments - this is mostly for the new folks who have only been flying for a couple years.

FPV will always disconnect before the control signal, with the exception of their being a problem with the control signal system.  This means, your app will disconnect and you will have a useless screen, all indications are that you have a complete disconnect, but unbeknownst to the relatively new pilot, your controller will actually still be connected and you will still have full control of the aircraft, even though the drone pilot is effectively flying blind.   A close study of the log will often give a clue to confirm this.  Hence, there will be no RTH because there is no control signal disconnection.  

IMO, all the current GPS trackers, for lack of a better word, suck.  I think the best one right now is Trackimo, but it's grossly inferior to what we had starting in 2014 through summer 2017.  We had a GPS tracking system which tracked our drones LIVE via 3G cell tower / internet connections.  Telemetry was updated TWICE per second, (as opposed to once per minute0 and it was FAST, and included all the good stuff we like to know during a live flight such as flight voltage remaining, speed, satellites, altitude, distance from home, running GPS location, etc., and of course the running the time and date.   We could literally fly our drones with no FPV or telemetry connection by simply using the FLYTREX tracking app.  And the cell service fee was only $3/month.  

This means, in theory, there was no such thing as a range limit.  In theory, we could fly from the east coast of the USA to the west coast of the USA without losing the Flytrex live tracking connection.  The only limitation was the availability of a cell tower.  

When the world-class GPS tracking company - FLYTREX - decided to change their mission and abruptly shut off their live tracking servers in August 2017, I figured somebody would step in and fill the void.  After all, the tech is already available and has been available for years!  And yet, nothing much has happened.  These trackers such as Trackimo (one update per minute with extremely sketchy connections and a server which cannot handle its traffic and shuts down and stays shut down for hours at unpredictable times) are not much more than a joke.  

Over two years now and nobody has even made a small attempt to step in and fill the void left by Flytrex.  

http://x.flytrex.com/challenges/distance/phantom-3-professional/
2019-12-23
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solentlife
First Officer
Flight distance : 1087530 ft
Latvia
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The likes of the RF-V16 GSM TRacker give 'unlimited' range through use of GSM service - but of course if 2G is not available where you are - its no use.

3G Mobile trackers are now available and have been for a while, but are much more expensive than the 2G versions ... why ?

Marks post about shut down of services - I can only think that with so many free apps available working through the mobile phone service - it makes paid services difficult to maintain.

A while back - I ran various tests on lost model finders on an RC Forum - looking for an effective and least expensive solution. I ran through Keyfinders, Lost Model alarms and GSM tags ......

Interesting that Keyfinders although usually Bluetooth - with BT4 - the range was near 150m , but of course you relied on being able to hear the BEEP to find it. They proved OK though if you had a rough idea of where the model went down. No need for Phone service, as long as your phone supported BT4.

The Lost model alarms of course are louder - but are dependent on being connected to the RX to trigger on loss of signal or lack of action. Not much use to DJI gear.

GSM Tags - these are the better for DJI gear but of course all depends on GSM service you have. Too many are 2G based. Second many have magnetic bases and that has to be removed - not always possible.
Nearly all these have free APPS for Android / IOS and will relay an approx position via Google Map coords back to your phone.
3G versions are becoming more available ...... but of course higher priced. With 3G - care must be taken - as many are WCDMA and not SIM card - that means you may have to have it programmed ..

I never tested the Paid App items - I'm a cheapskate and to be honest with all the free APP capable stuff out there -- Why pay ?  
2019-12-24
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Mark The Droner
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Flight distance : 2917 ft
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To be clear, Flytrex was free.  One only had to buy the device.  He could then set up an independent cell service account for the device - the cheapest was $3/month.  Solentlife - I remember seeing you on Flytrex.  ;-)  
2019-12-24
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solentlife
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Mark The Droner Posted at 12-24 03:41
To be clear, Flytrex was free.  One only had to buy the device.  He could then set up an independent cell service account for the device - the cheapest was $3/month.  Solentlife - I remember seeing you on Flytrex.  ;-)

Was I ???

Blimey ..... don't remember actually.One I use now is "Reachfar".......

I do still have an old GSM device - maybe that used the Flytrex ? But I haven't used it for ages - reckon by now battery would be dead. I stopped when I couldn't top up the PAYG sim in it ...
2019-12-24
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Mark The Droner
First Officer
Flight distance : 2917 ft
United States
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solentlife Posted at 12-24 03:49
Was I ???

Blimey ..... don't remember actually.One I use now is "Reachfar".......

You messaged me on there about a 400' drop I had with an aftermarket battery.  
2019-12-24
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solentlife
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Czechia
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Mark The Droner Posted at 12-24 03:59
You messaged me on there about a 400' drop I had with an aftermarket battery.

You have a good memory ... I recall something about a 400ft drop ... but other than that ??

2019-12-24
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Mark The Droner
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solentlife Posted at 12-24 04:21
You have a good memory ... I recall something about a 400ft drop ... but other than that ??

There was also a discussion in the forum - your position was aftermarkets were just as good as OEM.   My position was aftermarket's weren't to be trusted.  My flytrex page showing the drop was the evidence.  As I recall, after about six minutes of flight, the data showed my battery suddenly went to exactly 11.1 volts per the log which is the nominal charge of a P2 battery.   It just stuck there are 11.100 volts for about 20 secs as the AC flew normally, then the log ended and the AC was found at that GPS position 400' down on the ground in some woods.  It must have hit some tree branches on the way down as the shell wasn't too bad.  Still - I had to replace the camera/gimbal unit.  
2019-12-24
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solentlife
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Czechia
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There have been many discussions about batterys ... and I do support that many aftermarket work just the same as OEM .... many others report same as well. What I find strange is the battery dropping to 11.1V like that ... your sequence of events were very strange.

I don't suggest that EVERY aftermarket is good - that's a bit of generalised unfair ...

This is a thread about Lost Model FInders ... so maybe we'll leave it there ?
2019-12-24
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DAFlys
Captain
Flight distance : 312090263 ft
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United Kingdom
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Great demo.  thanks for posting.
2019-12-24
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djordan2
Second Officer
Flight distance : 79291 ft
United States
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  First let me say that I am not sponsored by Whistle.  Here is a little more information about the Whistle Go Explore tracker.  It is primarily a pet tracker.  I've been using the older 3G model for two years.  I never thought about putting it on the Phantom.  Battery life on the 3G model, which is still available, is about 5 or 6 days.  It pings the pet (drone) every 60 seconds in Tracking mode.  It works off of cell towers and tracks the owner (pilot) using Google Maps.  In the app, you can see where it is, and where you are in relation to the device.  It is accurate to within 10 feet.  The cost of the device was about $80.00 two years ago when I bought it.  Here is a link to a Youtube review I did on it over a year ago. At that time I was only using it on my dog.

  

The new unit is a Whistle Go Explore.  It works basically the same way but has some improvements.  The unit cost is around $120.00.  I don't remember what the online service costs, but it was over $100.00.  This Go unit works on 4G AT&T towers.  The range is basically anywhere in the U.S. as long as you have cell service.  Battery life is about 20 days in Standby mode, and about 15 days in Tracking mode.  I leave mine on my dog and run him in the desert three times per week in Tracking mode.  The Ping time is 15 seconds.  So you have a position accurate to within 10 feet every 15 seconds.  It even has a small beacon light on the device that can be activated from the app for locating the dog (drone) at night.  The app stores the track also.

I am not familiar with any other tracker.  But I do have a neighbor who has a Trackimo on his Phantom 3 Pro.  When I demonstrated the Whistle  Go Explore to him he was amazed and said that it was far better than the Trackimo.  His words...not mine!  Don't chew me out Trackimo owners!  I have no experience with the Trackimo at all.

There is a middle of the road version of the Whistle Go that is basically in between the Go Explore and the older Whistle 3.  The cost is  under $100.00, but I have no experience with it.  All I know about it is that it doesn't have a beacon light and the battery life is only about 12 days.  The app for all of them is free.  I can not imagine needing any other feature on a tracker that what the Whistle Go Explore can provide.

Edited:  I just checked and found the 1 year subscription rate is $95.40.  The two year rate is $166.80.  The Whistle 3 (older 1 mnute ping time) cost is $89.00.  The Go version is $99.00, and the Go explore is $129.00.  A tipical drone would not need more than just the Whistle 3 ($89.00) unit.

2019-12-24
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Bashy
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Flight distance : 2354357 ft
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Luxembourg
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For the UK, i think perhaps Vodaphone is a reasonable option, 2  quid a month, ive seen the V multi  version at £25 before now

https://www.vodafone.co.uk/mobile/V-by-Vodafone
2019-12-24
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djordan2
Second Officer
Flight distance : 79291 ft
United States
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Bashy Posted at 12-24 18:26
For the UK, i think perhaps Vodaphone is a reasonable option, 2  quid a month, ive seen the V multi  version at £25 before now

https://www.vodafone.co.uk/mobile/V-by-Vodafone

The two of them sound very similar.
2019-12-24
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mirandaright87hotmail.com
lvl.4

Spain
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I have the Whistle. It's one of the best dog activity trackers, I really love it. I purchased it for the GPS peace of mind, if my boy ever got out, I would be able to find him at the push of a button. The activity monitor is a plus. Gives me an activity report everyday that shows how many hours he sleeps, low & high activity. You set an activity rate he should hit everyday (ie - how many minutes/hours of high activity) & it shows you if he hit his mark everyday.
2021-2-5
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