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Looking for tips and ideas for finding a horse with drone
754 20 2015-11-12
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Phantom Menace
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I have a P3P with all the standard equipment as well as 2 extra batteries and an extra charger. I do have an antenna booster on the transmitter from FPVLR, so I get pretty good range.

Are they any techniques, or tweaks, or other ideas I can use to help locate a horse that has been missing for about a week?

Is there a way to add a heat sensitive camera to the drone? I doubt I could see it live, but we could review the footage after and see if we find anything.

Aside from mapping out the area and flying grids, does anyone have any other helpful hints on things to try that might help us succeed?

Thank you!

2015-11-12
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JtrJr-UAV Pilot
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Menace,

I don't know anything about a heat seeking camera option. I have used my P3Pro to locate things. I use an Android device with Litchi. In Litchi you can preplanned Ground Station waypoint runs and save them to disk for later execution. You can sit at your kitchen table with an Internet connection and map out sectors that you want the bird to fly and dozens of waypoints.

If you stay within about a 3-3 1/2 miles (I've gone as far as 5.2 miles but wouldn't suggest going that far as it really stretches the battery) on your runs you can cover a great deal of ground without killing your batteries (provided you have good batteries).

Set up a half dozen different GS missions. Keep the altitude high enough to clear all obstacles. Hopefully you have multiple batteries. 3-4 would be ideal and an extra SD card. Once you have your half dozen runs preplanned, all batteries charged and you are ready to roll. Execute GS run 1. Upon return, swap batteries and SD card. Let someone else review the video you just captured while you execute GS run 2. Just keep repeating the process. You can cover a lot of ground in a relatively short period of time doing it this way.

If your video reviewer spots something you can immediately rerun the previous GS run. It's an arduous process but has worked for me in the past with my P3 and P2.  Hope that helps a little bit. Good luck on finding your horse. My wife has a few horses and would be devastated if she was in a similar situation. Let us know how you make out. Just curious, where are you located?

Jerry
2015-11-12
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Phantom Menace
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JtrJr-UAV Pilot Posted at 2015-11-12 10:45
Menace,

I don't know anything about a heat seeking camera option. I have used my P3Pro to locate th ...

It is a friend's horse, and I am located in Vermont. The area is relatively flat, so I have set a height of 150 feet. I have already been plotting Ground Station flights using Litchi (I have used that app since Alpha Testing) I have 5 'Grids' worked out already. I do have 3 batteries and 2 100Watt chargers. I also have 2 64gig SD cards, so I will use your suggestions there. We plan to spend most of the day, so as soon as each battery is spent, it will go on the charger. By the time we use up Battery two, Battery #1 will be close to charged. It should be ready to use again by the time we drain battery#3, and the cycle starts over.

Using Litchi, it tells me how long the mission will run. I am keeping it to 15 minutes or less to be sure I don't run out of battery power.

The problem is, several miles of area is heavily wooded. I am focusing on any clearings, rivers and ponds, and roads since it is very unlikely we will be able to see under the tree canopy. That is why I was hoping for some heat sensitive camera that might pick up the body of a horse even through the trees.

We are going on Sunday which has a low chance of rain. Up until then, we are pretty wet around here.

Thank you!

I am wide open to any other suggestions and ideas.
2015-11-12
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Phantom Menace
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Can anyone suggest an off-the-shelf power inverter I can buy that will have the current to charge 2 batteries using the 100watt DJI chargers at the same time, even if I have to clamp it directly to the car battery and leave the car running?

I don't have time to order online for this.

Thanks
2015-11-12
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JtrJr-UAV Pilot
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You probably already did this but Wife says to post on Facebook equestrian links. She says they'll blast it out to everyone in that area. I don't do Facebook so I don't know how this works. Wife is big time Dressage rider. If you want some help from her let me know. In a store on my phone right now so a bit hard to communicate.
2015-11-12
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JtrJr-UAV Pilot
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Phantom Menace Posted at 2015-11-12 13:29
Can anyone suggest an off-the-shelf power inverter I can buy that will have the current to charge 2  ...

Don't forget about a small portable generator you or one of your friends may have. They pretty small and efficient these days.
2015-11-12
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Phantom Menace
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JtrJr-UAV Pilot Posted at 2015-11-12 14:30
You probably already did this but Wife says to post on Facebook equestrian links. She says they'll b ...

Yes, I would appreciate any help I can get! I was just focusing on what I can do with the drone, but putting the word out through groups like that could be a great help! Please contact me at bob@sindyskinless.com for anything like this. I know it's a weird domain name, but it's legit.
2015-11-12
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JtrJr-UAV Pilot
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Phantom Menace Posted at 2015-11-12 13:44
Yes, I would appreciate any help I can get! I was just focusing on what I can do with the drone, b ...

Sent an email, let me know when you get it.

Jerry
2015-11-12
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Rebel
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2015-11-12
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aopisa
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I was asked to help with an aerial search for two missing horses recently. I flew around the last known sighting. While I was getting ready for another flight the equine rescue director got a call on her cell that the horses were found on a farm several miles away from my current location. I would not have seen them with the drone. It can't hurt to use the Phantom to look, but I agree that getting the word out is the best possible thing.

I am in VT too. At the time the leaves were on all the trees. Might be a bit easier now that they are down.
2015-11-12
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Phantom Menace
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Rebel Posted at 2015-11-12 16:44
If i found your horse facebook wouldnt be a help. Next time put your name and number on its halter ...

Good idea, but that's water under the bridge. It is also not my horse, it belongs to a freind and I am more interested in helping her find it than scolding her for not being so proactive.
2015-11-12
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JtrJr-UAV Pilot
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Phantom Menace Posted at 2015-11-12 18:27
Good idea, but that's water under the bridge. It is also not my horse, it belongs to a freind and  ...

Menace,

What's the latest? Sent an email and got no response. Wife and I are on standby awaiting further info.

Jerry
2015-11-12
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rodger
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I think your Wife's suggestion is the best bet! That Horse may be back in Texas by now.
2015-11-12
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JtrJr-UAV Pilot
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rodger Posted at 2015-11-12 19:55
I think your Wife's suggestion is the best bet! That Horse may be back in Texas by now.

Rodger,

This has been a bit funky really. Wife and I were heading out when I saw this call for help. I responded as soon as I saw it. We were shopping and running errands when a second note was posted. Wife and I headed to the car to try to help. She got on the equine sites to start putting the word out. I emailed Menace as asked for further info and got no reply. We kept the iPad and phones ready for further info while we continued with our errands. Never heard anything. We thought this kind of situation warranted some real attention. Since I haven't heard a thing from Menace, I guess I was wrong.

Jerry
2015-11-12
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Phantom Menace
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JtrJr-UAV Pilot Posted at 2015-11-12 19:58
Menace,

What's the latest? Sent an email and got no response. Wife and I are on standby awaiting  ...

I will contact you in the morning. It has been raining out here, No way for me to get the drone up and I have been finishing up other work, so I can assist this weekend. I appreciate your offer of help and will absolutely get back to you.
2015-11-12
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Rebel
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2015-11-12
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rodger
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JtrJr-UAV Pilot Posted at 2015-11-12 21:06
Rodger,

This has been a bit funky really. Wife and I were heading out when I saw this call for he ...

I would imagine that it was returned to it's home.
2015-11-13
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CaveDrone
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Rebel Posted at 2015-11-12 21:50
Man thats some weird stuff on the website. I think you should get a hotmail email address or somet ...

I like the site,  cool and funny.   Pretty complicated programming going on there.  I may look into for next halloween.
2015-11-13
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Rebel
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2015-11-13
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Phantom Menace
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I'm glad people like my other hobby (Halloween). I guess it isn't for everyone, however. Rebel doesn't seem to get it, but to each their own. As for this dilemma, no, the horse has not returned. Bloodhounds have been out more than once, all neighboring farms have been looking, Posters are out, Facebook is being utilized, and tomorrow we fly with the drone.


Edit...

I correct myself. Rebel seems to have warmed up to the idea since his (or her) first post.
2015-11-14
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Phantom Menace
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Spent the day yesterday looking for the horse, mostly on foot. I had pre-programmed 23 different search grids for the Phantom to fly (using Litchi) ahead of time over fields, sparse wooded areas, and streams and ponds. Unfortunately, due to my own error, I did not take into account that in one area when I flew from one field, over a stand of trees to an adjacent field, the second field was on a hill. A fairly substantial one. By the time the drone got to the opposite end of the second field, I had lost 60 or 70 feet of altitude as the ground rose up and my flight path brought it right into a tree instead of over it as planned. I didn't see it coming because at the same time, my RC disconnected. No video feed, no control. The control part didn't matter to the ground station mission since it was carrying out it's instructions on its own, but it prevented me from seeing how low it was, and even if I could see it line of sight, I couldn't tell it to return to home because of the RC signal loss. I don't know why it lost signal. It wasn't more than 3000 feet away, and I have a booster antenna from FPVLR on the RC which has worked great for me for months. I have gotten over 3 miles even in tough areas with that booster. There were a lot of power lines around, so that may account for it. I was also in a bit of a valley with a lot of tall trees.

In any case, it flew right into a tree and came down. It was easy to find because I knew the exact flight path it was on, so we just followed that from the last place we had a video signal.

Once I lost the signal, I wanted to just call it home, because I was nervous not being able to see what it was doing, but with no connection to the bird, the return to home or switching flight modes didn't have an effect. It didn't auto return with loss of signal because it was in F mode and was executing a ground station mission.

So except for the unexpected disconnection, the drone did everything it was told to do perfectly. If only Google Maps told you elevations as well, I would have set higher altitudes over the second field.

Damage included three props, the Gimbal mount, (but not the gimbal or camera remarkably) one of the cables that goes from the case to the gimbal, and several cracks in the case. As far as I know, that's it. Less than $100.00 in parts, and I will do the repair myself. I have yet to test all the systems, so I am relying on visual inspection at this time. I don't want to power it back up until I have opened it up and replaced cables and such.

We continued on foot to inspect several other fields looking for the horse, but turned up nothing. We couldn't cover the same area by foot, but we didn't waste the day. Also, there are a lot of hunters in the area. They have all been notified through groups, and individually of the missing hose and are on the lookout. They may be the best chance to find the animal. They have eyes out in the woods and fields more than anyone else and would certainly notice if a lone horse were walking around.

We still hope for a positive outcome, but it's been a long time now.

Thank you for your suggestions.
2015-11-16
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