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Sports mode battery consumption
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GT2022
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This post was originally in product use and care section however, after advice that I should post it here, perhaps some further comments can be made?

Hello all,

I am new to drone flying and I hope this question hasn't been asked  before (yes, I did a search of the forum and found nothing). A few  Youtube videos suggest that the poster chooses to fly quickly (Sport  mode) to the area where he/she wants to take some photos/video footage.  Then they switch to normal or even cine before RTH again using Sport  mode. My question is that notwithstanding some of these posters  suggesting Sport mode can get you back quicker and it may save your  drone from failing to make it back, to me, a higher acceleration  normally entails higher "fuel" consumption. Any comments on this would  be welcome.

2022-12-21
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CloudVisual
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Sports mode can get you back quicker, but this will cause the voltage to drop lower if flying at higher speed than Normal will allow. If you're flying at very low battery levels, you could cause a cell to fail. I believe that DJI now have output power limiting in some scenarios, which prevents the motors drawing too much current in these situations.

Personally, I would recommend just flying back in normal flight mode. The higher current draw from Sport mode might make the drone enter RTH mode early if it feels that the battery has dropped too far due to a lowered voltage.
2022-12-21
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TonyPHX
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Just like driving a car.  Go heavy on the pedal and watch the needle drop faster.
2022-12-21
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Johnny_J
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TonyPHX Posted at 12-21 06:55
Just like driving a car.  Go heavy on the pedal and watch the needle drop faster.

Exactly! The faster you fly you will cause more friction from air, bearings etc  and more heat in the wires hence motor efficiency will be less.

The faster you go you must supply more fuel for each 100 meters or so to pay for the greater losses in efficiency.
2022-12-21
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Sean-bumble-bee
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Aside from the above, also remember that wind has an influence too. 'Best speed' quite a complicated thing.
Best thing to do is fly conservatively and aim to be safe at least, or over the homepoint, with battery to spare. You don't really want to be flying home up wind especially from distance and over water etc.
Push the limits and at some point you will lose and that may cost you the drone or worse.
2022-12-21
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Sean-bumble-bee Posted at 12-21 07:13
Aside from the above, also remember that wind has an inflence too. 'Best speed' quite a complicated thing.
Best thing to do is fly conservatively and aim to be safe at least, or over the homepoint, with battery to spare. You don't really want to be flying home up wind especially from distance and over water etc.
Push the limits and at some point you will lose and that may cost you the drone or worse.

Sean-bumble-bee wrote: "Aside from the above, also remember that wind has an inflence too"

Strange that you cannot read. "from the above"  I wrote "The faster you fly you will cause more friction from air, bearings etc"
Also, what does
inflence mean?
2022-12-21
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Sean-bumble-bee
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Johnny_J Posted at 12-21 07:38
Sean-bumble-bee wrote: "Aside from the above, also remember that wind has an inflence too"

Strange that you cannot read. "from the above"  I wrote "The faster you fly you will cause more friction from air, bearings etc"

Have you got nothing batter to do with your time than look for inconsequential typos?
If you actually laoked at the time stamps you wauld see that my post was pasted 3 or 4 minute after your post (I think my maths is correct but I am sure 'teacher' will correct it ) whoch meant I typing my post as you posted your.....so I did not see you post.

But well done for making such a valauble contribution to the thread with post #8,

BTW were the typos in this post deliberate or accidental ?
2022-12-21
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Sean-bumble-bee Posted at 12-21 07:57
Have you got nothing batter to do with your time than look for inconsequential typos?
If you actually laoked at the time stamps you wauld see that my post was pasted 3 or 4 minute after your post (I think my maths is correct but I am sure 'teacher' will correct it ) whoch meant I typing my post as you posted your.....so I did not see you post.

2022-12-21
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Sean-bumble-bee Posted at 12-21 07:57
Have you got nothing batter to do with your time than look for inconsequential typos?
If you actually laoked at the time stamps you wauld see that my post was pasted 3 or 4 minute after your post (I think my maths is correct but I am sure 'teacher' will correct it ) whoch meant I typing my post as you posted your.....so I did not see you post.

"batter" does not get a squiggle! Yet I'm not violent as you obviously think! (or "think" )
2022-12-21
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TonyPHX
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Agreed with Sean.  Wind can very much kick your batteries a&& very quickly.
2022-12-21
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Sean-bumble-bee
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Actually I wis tinking of fish & chip batter. Harry Ramsden's used to make some good batter, I don't know if they still do but this is the lost tine I will respand to u in this therad.
2022-12-21
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TonyPHX Posted at 12-21 08:35
Agreed with Sean.  Wind can very much kick your batteries a&& very quickly.

Yes, wind, air, like I said!
2022-12-21
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neoborg
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Don't get me wrong, Sports mode is at it's best when flying with the wind, especially if you're in a rush to get some shots before you run out of light.  But it is completely the wrong mode to get your drone back, especially if your battery is low.

To get your drone back as safely as possible, use Cine mode.  This should use the least amount of power, resulting in far longer flight times and should also result in you getting your drone back.  If the wind is causing the drone to struggle, for example if you're flying back home against the wind, then use Normal mode.  But be ready to use Cine mode when you get low battery warnings, as this is the best way to squeeze the most distance from the battery.

I won't lie, flying back slowly can be frustrating, especially if you're getting battery warnings, the controller is beeping and the app constantly nagging you to automatically return to home.  Just get your altitude reasonably low (I find 30m works nicely in the areas I fly in) to minimise wind resistance, set the controller to Cine mode and breath slowly.

Good luck!
2022-12-21
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Labroides
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Your best speed to cover the most distance is full speed in Normal Mode.
Sport Mode burns the battery faster and is less economical.

The actual reason isn't what has been argued about above, but you don't need to understand it.
2022-12-21
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GT2022
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Labroides Posted at 12-21 12:42
Your best speed to cover the most distance is full speed in Normal Mode.
Sport Mode burns the battery faster and is less economical.

Thanks everyone for your feedback. I should reiterate that at least one video on Youtube tells a story where the poster found that due to a very strong wind he had to "endure" a slow return (possibly because as has been suggested in this thread, programming by DJI now limits the battery use in some situations). That poster argued that he would have preferred to be able to go the last 800 feet (I think he said) quickly rather than dawdling and he further suggested that he likely would have got back home with more battery to spare if he wasn't system compelled to the slower speed. It seems to me that (and hopefully I won't ever get in that situation) if it happens to me, I will just be patient and not try and switch to Sport which itself seems overall to be a negative procedure in these circumstances. So I think the bottom line seems to be by consensus here at least, Sport does burn through batteries and that aligns with the car analogy mentioned here.
Is there a way to mark the thread "resolved" or does this forum simply leave threads open?
2022-12-21
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No Original Thought
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One other thing to remember here... Sport mode is not just faster, it is more powerful.

So, if you are struggling to make headway due to wind - either making very, very slow progress or even going backwards, then the extra power that sport mode gives you might be able to overcome that wind.

I had this exact situation where fluke winds were preventing the drone from heading back to me in normal mode. I could have sat in normal mode until the battery drained fully and lost the drone. Yes, I would have got more flight time by staying in normal mode, but I would have lost the drone in the river.

Sport mode for less than 2 minutes brought it safely home.

Note, however, I was not running on a low battery. In normal mode I had about 10 minutes left, but with the drone not moving (in fact going backwards at times) that 10 minutes meant nothing. Flipping to sport mode dropped the battery to about 6 minutes IIRC, but it took less than 2 to get home and on the ground so all was good.
2022-12-21
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No Original Thought Posted at 12-21 15:02
One other thing to remember here... Sport mode is not just faster, it is more powerful.

So, if you are struggling to make headway due to wind - either making very, very slow progress or even going backwards, then the extra power that sport mode gives you might be able to overcome that wind.

Yes, No Original Thought, I expect your experience fairly closely aligns with that Youtube poster's situation. He bemoaned the crawl back but in his situation, I think the algorithms of the (now) program must have cut in because he was compelled to crawl back and this also points to (I think) he may have been unlike you, running on low battery. I suppose what it really amounts to in the end is get back home with a sensible margin of error and if you have extra batteries, land and change the battery. Even if you only have the onboard battery, it seems to me the sensible thing on  very windy days is to stay out of the sky
2022-12-21
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Labroides Posted at 12-21 12:42
Your best speed to cover the most distance is full speed in Normal Mode.
Sport Mode burns the battery faster and is less economical.

If you are referring to my post, then I'm sorry if you felt my post was argumentative as this wasn't my intention at all.  What I posted are from my own (admittedly limited) findings and perhaps I should have mentioned that in my post.

Having read some more posts in this thread, I do agree that more power can indeed be helpful and this can be achieved by selecting Normal mode when struggling against the wind.
2022-12-22
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GT2022 Posted at 12-21 15:10
Yes, No Original Thought, I expect your experience fairly closely aligns with that Youtube poster's situation. He bemoaned the crawl back but in his situation, I think the algorithms of the (now) program must have cut in because he was compelled to crawl back and this also points to (I think) he may have been unlike you, running on low battery. I suppose what it really amounts to in the end is get back home with a sensible margin of error and if you have extra batteries, land and change the battery. Even if you only have the onboard battery, it seems to me the sensible thing on  very windy days is to stay out of the sky

GT2022, just out of curiosity did this youtuber also comment on the wisdom of their flying distance downwind such that they had to return against a strong headwind?
Not long after the release of the Mavic 3 someone posted a youtube of an LONG distance, Mavic 3 flight downwind, over salt water, where, from memory, they ignored/prevented the low battery RTH (which might have been with the battery in the 60%'s ) and flew further away.
As soon as they started to head home it became obvious that they were in trouble.
They ended up having to land on a island and then hire a boat and crew to go and rescue the drone.
2022-12-22
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Sean-bumble-bee Posted at 12-22 06:26
GT2022, just out of curiosity did this youtuber also comment on the wisdom of their flying distance downwind such that they had to return against a strong headwind?
Not long after the release of the Mavic 3 someone posted a youtube of an LONG distance, Mavic 3 flight downwind, over salt water, where, from memory, they ignored/prevented the low battery RTH (which might have been with the battery in the 60%'s ) and flew further away.
As soon as they started to head home it became obvious that they were in trouble.

THAT is awesome, and I would like to see that video.  I will search it up, but if anyone has it, please post the salt-water rescue.  : )
2022-12-22
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Sean-bumble-bee
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It was somewhere tropical, like Thailand etc.......I think.
EDIT
Found it, low battery RTH warning at 77%


The guy might be a poster on here or Mavic Pilots, his face seems familiar.

2022-12-22
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Dirty Bird
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The most efficient mode is flying in Normal mode with full forward stick.  This will get you the most mile per amp, the flying equivalent of miles per gallon.  Sport Mode is faster, and it can be a lifesaver if flying against a stout wind, but it is like driving with your foot to the floor.  Sport Mode is inefficient.

Also note that RTH speed equals full forward stick in Normal mode, regardless of which flight mode is selected.  During RTH you can apply full forward stick, which will increase forward speed beyond mormal RTH mode.  Like Sport Mode, this is less efficient than just allowing the drime to RTH on its own.

2022-12-22
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Dirty Bird Posted at 12-22 13:20
The most efficient mode is flying in Normal mode with full forward stick.  This will get you the most mile per amp, the flying equivalent of miles per gallon.  Sport Mode is faster, and it can be a lifesaver if flying against a stout wind, but it is like driving with your foot to the floor.  Sport Mode is inefficient.

Also note that RTH speed equals full forward stick in Normal mode, regardless of which flight mode is selected.  During RTH you can apply full forward stick, which will increase forward speed beyond mormal RTH mode.  Like Sport Mode, this is less efficient than just allowing the drime to RTH on its own.

I agree with one exception. My Air 2S RTH at 25 mph, full stick Normal is 32 mph.
2022-12-22
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Mobilehomer Posted at 12-22 13:26
I agree with one exception. My Air 2S RTH at 25 mph, full stick Normal is 32 mph.
Could be that RTH is programmed to use the most efficient speed which could be less than Normal mode's to speed.

The PoH for 'real' aircraft give various best performance speeds - best climb, best glide, max climb etc - though these would be pretty useless to know in a drone's case as you are not controlling the attitude of the drive to achieve a particular speed, at least not directly on most drones.

(Incidentally, my auto correct kept changing 'speed" to 'shed'... Odd substitution!)
2022-12-22
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No Original Thought Posted at 12-22 14:27
Could be that RTH is programmed to use the most efficient speed which could be less than Normal mode's to speed.

The PoH for 'real' aircraft give various best performance speeds - best climb, best glide, max climb etc - though these would be pretty useless to know in a drone's case as you are not controlling the attitude of the drive to achieve a particular speed, at least not directly on most drones.

Couldn't resist this pun NOT, when you write
"...Incidentally, my auto correct kept .... speed to shed"...
Maybe you were just shedding speed
2022-12-22
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Sean-bumble-bee Posted at 12-22 06:26
GT2022, just out of curiosity did this youtuber also comment on the wisdom of their flying distance downwind such that they had to return against a strong headwind?
Not long after the release of the Mavic 3 someone posted a youtube of an LONG distance, Mavic 3 flight downwind, over salt water, where, from memory, they ignored/prevented the low battery RTH (which might have been with the battery in the 60%'s ) and flew further away.
As soon as they started to head home it became obvious that they were in trouble.

I've tried to find that particular vid Sean, but can't seem to locate it. No, I don't believe any "wisdom" thoughts were expressed and the poster seemed just a little annoyed with what he said was a crawl back to home in that last 800 or so feet of travel.
From the forum posts to this thread, I think it best to err on the side of caution and give yourself plenty of leeway to account for wind and other contingencies that may arise on the return journey.
2022-12-22
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Zoooom
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When you are doing speed benchmarking, you always have to be aware of the camera angle in the gimbal. Camera at 0 degrees mysteriously lowers speed, and can give you the impression that there's wind, or something is failing. Also, straight down 85-90 alters speed. The maximum flight time speed that DJI uses, is caused by CINE mode, with camera at 0.

If you are in a desperate situation, you have to make sure the camera is between 20 and 70 degrees. The bulk of the drone's power is "wasted" by trying to keep it up, rather than going anywhere. In a heavy wind, headway situation, you may find yourself going at 4m/s in N mode. If you are 1.5km away, this will take 375 seconds, but in sport mode, you might go at 10m/s, or take 150 seconds. In this situation it may be a good bet to go in sport mode, at least for a while, as you also drop height. As the drone gets closer, you can breathe a sigh of relief, confident that you can find it, if it falls. But always check that camera angle, before making a decision.
2022-12-22
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Labroides
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Zoooom Posted at 12-22 19:29
When you are doing speed benchmarking, you always have to be aware of the camera angle in the gimbal. Camera at 0 degrees mysteriously lowers speed, and can give you the impression that there's wind, or something is failing. Also, straight down 85-90 alters speed. The maximum flight time speed that DJI uses, is caused by CINE mode, with camera at 0.

If you are in a desperate situation, you have to make sure the camera is between 20 and 70 degrees. The bulk of the drone's power is "wasted" by trying to keep it up, rather than going anywhere. In a heavy wind, headway situation, you may find yourself going at 4m/s in N mode. If you are 1.5km away, this will take 375 seconds, but in sport mode, you might go at 10m/s, or take 150 seconds. In this situation it may be a good bet to go in sport mode, at least for a while, as you also drop height. As the drone gets closer, you can breathe a sigh of relief, confident that you can find it, if it falls. But always check that camera angle, before making a decision.

Camera at 0 degrees mysteriously lowers speed, and can give you the impression that there's wind, or something is failing.
Are you certain about this?
It's certainly not true for other DJI models.
Just checked flight data from earlier this week with a Mavic 3 and with the camera at 0° it the top speed is the same as what's in the specs.
2022-12-22
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Labroides Posted at 12-22 20:07
Camera at 0 degrees mysteriously lowers speed, and can give you the impression that there's wind, or something is failing.
Are you certain about this?
It's certainly not true for other DJI models.

I have no mini 2 anymore, but I got caught with the 0 degree peculiarity a few times, and thought the drone was faulty. I put it into sport mode, and the problem would go away, because sport would jolt the gimbal off 0, during stopping.

I found out about it in CINE mode later, after doing flight time tests.

I have a 3 Pro, now, and 0 degrees makes no difference.
2022-12-22
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Zoooom Posted at 12-22 22:05
I have no mini 2 anymore, but I got caught with the 0 degree peculiarity a few times, and thought the drone was faulty. I put it into sport mode, and the problem would go away, because sport would jolt the gimbal off 0, during stopping.

I found out about it in CINE mode later, after doing flight time tests.

Hello Zooom,
This is interesting isn't it. I mean, assuming what you've said is indeed correct for the Mini 2 at least, it suggests there's something with the gimbal alignment, profile or programming doesn't it? However, if that were to be the case then surely similar products like the 3 would exhibit the same phenomenon. I think it raises more questions than answers so others will likely chime in in due course.
2022-12-22
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Mobilehomer Posted at 12-22 13:26
I agree with one exception. My Air 2S RTH at 25 mph, full stick Normal is 32 mph.

You are correct.  The ~23 mph optimum applies to the Mini 2/3 (~17 for the Mini 1).  I have never owned an Air 2S, but early OA models limited N-mode (aka P-Mode) forward speed to ~22.4 mph with OA enabled, which is why I generally disable OA.   OA speeds improved with the Mavic 2 & beyond.  The Mini 2 & 3 run about 22.x mph with full forward stick in N-mode & for those birds that seems to be the sweet spot for efficiency.  For the P3/P4 series & original Mavic Pro I suggest ~30 mph for best efficiency.    The latest Mavic/Air series my guess is full forward in N-mode would be the best choice.  Sport mode is always going to eat up the battery & should be used only when you have plenty of power available, or to overcome strong wind.
2022-12-23
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Sean-bumble-bee
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have no mini 2 anymore, but I got caught with the 0 degree peculiarity a few times, and thought the drone was faulty. .......

Do you by any chance still have the logs for the flights where this occurred? If so could you identify them and would you consider posting them here?
I am aware-of / have-read-of the problem when the camera is pointing straight down, I don't remember if I have experienced it with a Mini 2 and I have seen it with either a Mavic Mini or a Mini 2 but I have no recollection of either being speed  limited with the gimbal at 0deg.
Any idea of the maximum speed the drone was limited to? I can search my logs based on that aside from checking the 'high' speed ones.
2022-12-23
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Dirty Bird Posted at 12-23 08:48
You are correct.  The ~23 mph optimum applies to the Mini 2/3 (~17 for the Mini 1).  I have never owned an Air 2S, but early OA models limited N-mode (aka P-Mode) forward speed to ~22.4 mph with OA enabled, which is why I generally disable OA.   OA speeds improved with the Mavic 2 & beyond.  The Mini 2 & 3 run about 22.x mph with full forward stick in N-mode & for those birds that seems to be the sweet spot for efficiency.  For the P3/P4 series & original Mavic Pro I suggest ~30 mph for best efficiency.    The latest Mavic/Air series my guess is full forward in N-mode would be the best choice.  Sport mode is always going to eat up the battery & should be used only when you have plenty of power available, or to overcome strong wind.

The 25 mph is OA on or off.
2022-12-23
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Mobilehomer Posted at 12-23 09:35
The 25 mph is OA on or off.

EDIT:  Sorry I misunderstood your response.  DJI must believe 25 mph is the best speed to get an Air 2S home safely.  Odd as I recall that bird maxes out at 42-43 mph top speed.
2022-12-23
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Sean-bumble-bee Posted at 12-23 09:34
have no mini 2 anymore, but I got caught with the 0 degree peculiarity a few times, and thought the drone was faulty. .......

Do you by any chance still have the logs for the flights where this occurred? If so could you identify them and would you consider posting them here?

https://www.phantomhelp.com/logviewer/005NZ9SMYREQYZDCJO14/#

I think the drone max speed with gimbal 0, was 8m/s, or 17.9mph in the log viewer.


I think I got lucky and found one. I drive the drone east at 3:44 and maybe I'm perplexed by the lack of speed, so I try other directions and reverse. At 5:18 the mysterious 17.6mph speed turns up again. Then I go into sport mode at 5:37, so that's the end of that.


2022-12-23
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Sean-bumble-bee
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Zoooom Posted at 12-23 18:04
https://www.phantomhelp.com/logviewer/005NZ9SMYREQYZDCJO14/#

I think the drone max speed with gimbal 0, was 8m/s, or 17.9mph in the log viewer.

Cheers Zoom. I'll have a look later today.
2022-12-24
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Zoooom Posted at 12-22 19:29
..... Camera at 0 degrees mysteriously lowers speed, and can give you the impression that there's wind, or something is failing.

You might have stumbled on to something here.
I have a program that scans every line of the csv's of my flight logs.
I adjusted it to look for every line, of the Mini 2 flight logs csv's, where the elevator is near maximum, >= "1550", (the range from full reverse to full forward is 364 to 1684), whilst the gimbal was near 0deg, ±5deg.
It found 3110 lines in 39 sections of flights in which that happened whilst the drone was in P-GPS mode, all with the gimbal at a reported 0deg. Some sections are only a few lines long so the drone would have only a few tenths of a second to try to reach the 'commanded' speed.

Of those 39 section,
1109 lines showed speeds greater than 7m/s ('max' negative pitch -22.9deg),
389 lines in 12 sections show speeds exceeding 8m/s and only
37 lines, in 5 sections show speeds exceeding 9m/s.  

One section, 10 lines, had screwy speeds and may have been decelerating from sports mode, I will need to check.
Of the lines showing speeds between 8m/s and 9m/s the most negative pitch shown is -22.6deg with a lot being between -10 and -3.8, two lines show positive pitches so I assume they were braking or error.
The manual states that the max pitch in normal mode it 25 deg.
2022-12-24
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Labroides
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Sean-bumble-bee Posted at 12-24 16:25
You might have stumbled on to something here.
I have a program that scans every line of the csv's of my Mini 2 flight logs.
I adjusted it to look for every line where the elevator is near maximum, >= "1550", (the range from full reverse to full forward is 364 to 1684), whilst the gimbal was near 0deg, ±5deg.

You might have stumbled on to something here.
Assuming that it had anything to do with the gimbal pitch being 0° would be a mistake.
2022-12-24
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Sean-bumble-bee
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Assuming that it had anything to do with the gimbal pitch being 0° would be a mistake.
OK, then why don't you suggest a way in which this could be investigated?

I did consider that the speed could be wind limited but there are, IMO, too many logs where the speed 'maxes out' to just under 8m/s for it to be a coinicidence. I am on the wrong computer at the moment to check the "section" count.
Besides which, if it was wind being wind limited then surely the drone's pitch should be 'maxed out'? In no recorded instance was the pitch 'greater' than -22.9°, with the limited in the manual stated to be 25°.
I could look for angles of gimbal tilt outside ±5°.



2022-12-24
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Zoooom
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I was "fascinated" by the coincidence that cine mode gimbal 0 made my drone go at 4.6m/s, which is pretty close to the speed DJI use for benchmarking the maximum flight time.
2022-12-25
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