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SPARK + RC in EUROPE GUIDE: Signal loss + Disconnects
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18808 41 2017-7-12
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Bobesh
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I've seen many threads doing the same, so I wanted to do the recap as I'm affected by this as well, and hopefully some resolution.Unfortunately, there is still no official guide/word from DJI, and that's why I'm writing this "guide."

Many users have issues flying Spark with RC, having signal loss and disconnects less than 100m away. Although there are some people, who are having those problems outside of Europe (The US mostly); Which is what I want to cover here.

The second major issue with Spark is overheating on 2nd battery, disconnecting and landing on the spot because of it. I had this issue couple times but seems to be related to the actual weather as it was boiling outside (35°C+). When the weather was a bit colder, I did not encounter this issue at all. But I won't be covering this issue here.




So the first topic is the Spark / RC / regulations related.

Before I dive into technical details - here are couple things you can try that should mostly solve your problems.

  • Factory reset Spark
  • Turn on the Spark
  • Connected Spark to PC/Mac and refresh the latest firmware trough DJI Assistant 2
  • Reset RC (hold RC power for 9 seconds)
  • Remove/Ignore wifi for your RC on your phone
  • Delete and re-install DJI GO4 App
  • Pair RC to Spark (follow the guide in DJI GO4 App)
  • Once connected - change connection to 2.4G instead of 5.8G


It is important to mention that to switch to 2.4G you need to click the channel after clicking 2.4G. Otherwise, you will be stuck with 5.8G.


On multiple occasions, this leads to wifi disappearance. In this case, use OTG cable and connect up the phone after you switch to 2.4G.

Important Note: If you just connect the OTG cable before changing the settings, it will be set to AUTO and will dynamically switch between 2.4G and 5.8G - which does not solve the problem.

These are the steps that should resolve the majority of the issues. If you happen to have issues with pairing, make sure you have the controller right next to the Spark. It might take up to 30 sec before it links. In case it does not link, try to contact DJI Support - there are multiple occurrences of faulty Remote Controllers.

Now to the sad stuff.

Spark's proposal is a drone that can fly up to 2km away. But for Europe (and some other parts of the world) it is 500m, which is something people forgot many times. I want to put some clarity on this one.

I went trough the documentation and found one very significant piece of information related to Transmitter Power.

Transmitter Power (EIRP)
2.4 GHz FCC: ≤26 dbm, CE: ≤18 dBm, SRRC: ≤18 dBm
5.8 GHz FCC: ≤28 dbm , CE:≤14 dBm, SRRC: ≤26 dBm



CE is the piece of information associated with transmitter power used for the controller in Europe. As you can see, in other regions 5.8G have higher power than 2.4G which results to amazing results as can be seen below.

Max Transmission Distance (Unobstructed, free of interference)
2.4 GHz FCC: 1.2 mi (2 km), CE: 0.31 mi (0.5 km), SRRC: 0.31 mi (0.5 km)
5.8 GHz FCC: 1.2 mi (2 km), CE: 0.19 mi (0.3 km), SRRC: 0.75 mi (1.2 km)


But unfortunately for CE region, it has a way lower power output which results to "up to 300m" when using 5.8G, and "up to 500m" when using 2.4G. That is very important to have in mind. Spark is by default set to 5.8G which is a problem for a majority of users in Europe.

Spark won't fly in most of the cases that far, but if you switch to 2.4G it helps a lot.




The second topic is antenna setup/positioning.

A lot of Spark owners are completely new to drones (including me). And position their antennas wrongly. Now, to be honest, I did it badly too as it was not clear from the manual. But I found this old DJI Support video which explains everything related to the antennas, and if you follow the safe practices, you should be okay.

YT Video:





The last topic is the actual phone/tablet you are using.

If you stick to "approved" list of devices, you should be good to go. What I found out tho is that DJI GO4 App is way better & more reliable on iOS than on Android. I was flying with Nexus 5X (which is Android and not approved device), while it worked most of the time, it did not work all the time. The app was crashing; the phone was overheating etc. etc.; When I switched to my old iPad Mini 2, no issues, no overheating - nothing. So if you have some iOS device laying around - try to use it, it might help as well.




Did this actually helped me?

When I did all the steps with the firmware refresh, switching to 2.4G and using the iPad Mini. I solved most of my issues. Now in the heart of Europe, I was able to fly over 300m away before the disconnect, but for such a small device it is more than enough. For me, it was more about making sure Spark can be at a reasonable distance with a rock-solid connection, and this was the solution for me.




Hopefully, this will help, and if it did, please upvote this post so more people can see it.



2017-7-12
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tecnophone
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Congratulations!
A very useful post.
2017-7-12
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Bobesh
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tecnophone Posted at 2017-7-12 03:47
Congratulations!
A very useful post.

Thanks I'm really trying to help other Spark owners here.
2017-7-12
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Bobesh
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I forgot to mention one step, and that is Calibration of IMU and Compass.

You can do both of them on the aircraft status view. It is important to do this every time you change location, never mind that the Compass is saying that everything is fine.

Although this is not strictly related to the issues, it is beneficial and will improve aircraft performance.
2017-7-12
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Snowboada
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Austria
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thx very much!
2017-7-12
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fans1e71c6dd
lvl.3
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Ireland
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Well done.that's a great post very helpful.thanks!
2017-7-12
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Bobesh
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fans1e71c6dd Posted at 2017-7-12 06:29
Well done.that's a great post very helpful.thanks!

Thank you
2017-7-13
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fansa2d40202
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    Factory reset Spark
    Turn on the Spark
    Connected Spark to PC/Mac and refresh the latest firmware trough DJI Assistant 2
    Reset RC (hold RC power for 9 seconds)
    Remove/Ignore wifi for your RC on your phone
    Delete and re-install DJI GO4 App
    Pair RC to Spark (follow the guide in DJI GO4 App)
    Once connected - change connection to 2.4G instead of 5.8G



How do i change the connection if i don't have my phone connected?
2017-7-13
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Bobesh
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fansa2d40202 Posted at 2017-7-13 12:13
Factory reset Spark
    Turn on the Spark
    Connected Spark to PC/Mac and refresh the latest firmware trough DJI Assistant 2

You need to connect to RC trough WiFi, then when you can see "what drone sees," tap the 5.8G on the top. That will get you to connection setup, where you tap 2.4G and then tap the best channel under it (not the graph, just the numbers under the graph). It will most likely make wifi to disappear, and you need to connect trough OTG cable.
2017-7-13
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tedder
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Can you post screenshots of the 2.4/5.8 config switch? Not seeing it.
2017-7-13
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eylneb
Second Officer
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Tap either on 5.8 or 2.4 to switch
IMG_7322.PNG
2017-7-14
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LeChuck71
Second Officer
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Germany
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See detailed procedure on how to change to 2.4GHz in combination with RC & OTG cable
http://forum.dji.com/thread-104427-1-1.html
2017-7-14
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JProcter
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Thanks for the info. I did everything on your list, the only thing thats made any difference (but a significant one) is changing the frequency from 5.8 to 2.4. Im not sure if the rest of it made any difference but changing the frequency certainly did. Easily reached around the 300m mark with a fairly stable connection, as opposed to a rough 100m without OTG and rough 200m with OTG, now its a ok 300m without OTG, which is just fine with me. I guess something is clashing with the 5.8 spectrum, my apple watch possibly, certainly turning off the bluetooth on the phone helps on 5.8, doesn't make any difference on the 2.4 though, as you'd expect i guess. Ive also got a microwave broadband antenna on the side of my house, not sure on the frequency it works on though. Ive also not been anywhere else with the spark.
2017-7-17
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Lian82
Second Officer
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Italy
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How to reset the spark to factory?
2017-7-17
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Bobesh
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JProcter Posted at 2017-7-17 07:09
Thanks for the info. I did everything on your list, the only thing thats made any difference (but a significant one) is changing the frequency from 5.8 to 2.4. Im not sure if the rest of it made any difference but changing the frequency certainly did. Easily reached around the 300m mark with a fairly stable connection, as opposed to a rough 100m without OTG and rough 200m with OTG, now its a ok 300m without OTG, which is just fine with me. I guess something is clashing with the 5.8 spectrum, my apple watch possibly, certainly turning off the bluetooth on the phone helps on 5.8, doesn't make any difference on the 2.4 though, as you'd expect i guess. Ive also got a microwave broadband antenna on the side of my house, not sure on the frequency it works on though. Ive also not been anywhere else with the spark.

Hi,

Most of the things (reset etc.) are related to the issue, not range. The 5.8G vs. 2.4G difference is only because of different power outputs. In simple words - 5.8G is underpowered in Europe

I'm glad it helped.
2017-7-17
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Bobesh
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Lian82 Posted at 2017-7-17 14:54
How to reset the spark to factory?

I was doing it from DJI Assisant 2 desktop application. You can refresh firmware there as well.
2017-7-17
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ali86
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Lian82 Posted at 2017-7-17 14:54
How to reset the spark to factory?

Turn on the AC, after the AC is boot up....hold the power button (at the battery) for 9 sec (until you hear 3 beeps)
2017-7-17
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Lian82
Second Officer
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Okay man Tnks...

I try yesterday 5.8ghz 155mt lost connection video(only). Second battery use otg 2.4ghz with my iphone..no problem 200mt.
But the Wi-Fi icon does not show the signal ... it's obscured as it does not take anything ... but of course it's not true ... on Android does not happen.
2017-7-18
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Bobesh
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Lian82 Posted at 2017-7-18 08:03
Okay man Tnks...

I try yesterday 5.8ghz 155mt lost connection video(only). Second battery use otg 2.4ghz with my iphone..no problem 200mt.

I'm glad it worked for you
2017-7-19
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Bobesh
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I've been flying with the beta RC firmware and I must say it improved the signal. When flying with 2.4G I did not have any issues (considering the 500m top range for Europe).

Today I got an email about another beta RC firmware. I'll keep you posted how it goes.
2017-7-19
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Bobesh
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So apparently DJI is working on official support for OTG cable as mentioned in this post, which is great news.

Also, official Spark OTG cable is sort-of available on DJI Store: https://store.dji.com/product/dj ... ?from=menu_products
2017-7-20
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taimingkoh
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So, flying Spark with OTG to RC is also limited at 500m because the frequency from the RC is 2.4Ghz?
2017-7-24
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Bobesh
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taimingkoh Posted at 2017-7-24 07:07
So, flying Spark with OTG to RC is also limited at 500m because the frequency from the RC is 2.4Ghz?

Yes - it is all related to CE radio power output regulations
2017-7-24
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Efrommel13
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do we need to do it everytime we start on the drone and controller?
2017-7-24
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Bobesh
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Efrommel13 Posted at 2017-7-24 10:15
do we need to do it everytime we start on the drone and controller?

So far yes. Even with the latest app and firmware
2017-7-27
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Bobesh
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I have to confirm that with latest RC + AC firmwares - my issues are gone. I don't have to use OTG cable, everything is amazing. Just make sure to update all batteries via DJI Assistant 2. In order to do that, just plug-in the battery to Spark and connect Spark to your PC/Mac.
2017-7-30
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StarFishUK
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Bobesh Posted at 2017-7-30 23:47
I have to confirm that with latest RC + AC firmwares - my issues are gone. I don't have to use OTG cable, everything is amazing. Just make sure to update all batteries via DJI Assistant 2. In order to do that, just plug-in the battery to Spark and connect Spark to your PC/Mac.

Firstly - thanks. This is a massively useful thread.

I am using an Android device and I think the 2.4 / 5.8 thing seems to be different between Android and iOS. Is this the case? If so perhaps your guide above could include a comment or two on this.

When you say "my issues are gone" what issues are you describing? My problems are not huge - I am disappointed with the range, but the tips you have posted here certainly help a lot. Following on from that the only issue I have is having to faff about with WiFi every time I power it up or change a battery to force it into 2.4Ghz. If I forget it becomes apparent when I get to about 100M at which point I have to fly back, land, faff about and set off again with a half drained battery.

2017-7-31
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polguixe
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Great post!

Do you know if all the RC controllers are equal or it depends on which area are sold? Does the RC controller adjust the power based on the area or is fixed setting?

How do you know that in OTG the maximum distance is 500m? I thought that with OTG the RC will try to maximize the connection and hence it will increase the maximum distance.
2017-7-31
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Matioupi
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polguixe Posted at 2017-7-31 04:45
Great post!

Do you know if all the RC controllers are equal or it depends on which area are sold? Does the RC controller adjust the power based on the area or is fixed setting?

I can't answer your question about RC hardware being different from one location to another.

My guess would be that it's rather software implemented as it is in wireless routers.

By the way, if it's software restriction, that would be nice if DJI let the user explicitely choose the contry area / power regulation he want's to comply with (in the very same way my Wireless router let me set it to Haiti or Canada even if i'm not living there). At time being, this choice is done automatically (probably based on cellular ntwork info or GPS)

As for the 500m limit in OTG, this is not true. I fly with an OTG cable and I've been up to 870 m (5.8Ghz in EU, without any mods). With my hardware, in 5.8GHz (i'm not able tu use 2.4GHz on a convenient way so far du to bug in Spark) the link is very solid up to 500 - 600m and it's less stable over that figure.
2017-7-31
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Szwedu
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Matioupi Posted at 2017-7-31 06:21
I can't answer your question about RC hardware being different from one location to another.

My guess would be that it's rather software implemented as it is in wireless routers.

you get 870m on CE 5.8 ghz?  Were its rated 300m (14dbm)
I bet you have a diesel car and you do 100km per 3 liters...
Same abstraction in my opinion .
2017-7-31
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Matioupi
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Szwedu Posted at 2017-7-31 10:21
you get 870m on CE 5.8 ghz?  Were its rated 300m (14dbm)
I bet you have a diesel car and you do 100km per 3 liters...
Same abstraction in my opinion .

http://app.airdata.com/main?share=tUSxCP

and yes, its with 5.8 GHz (or at list DJI Go displays so) and no additionnal accesories of any kind.

as for my diesel car, it's more between 5 and 6 liter per 100 km (model from 2016)

regards
2017-7-31
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Lian82
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I have today exceeded my previous record (563mt) I came to 793,7mt I still signal .. I'm too afraid to go further .. I'm back

I send screenshots to a friend (also him with DJI Spark) after an hour I get a 1028mt screenshot: C
Both reached in 2.4ghz otg.
damn!!He overtook me!!
2017-7-31
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agipaok
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I think it works for me also! . I want to try to the same spot I had problems! But to a new position not any d/c (not far enough) but farther then previous flights!!! Thank you very much!!!
2017-8-2
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MFbxl
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Thanks for the topic !!
2017-8-2
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Bobesh
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polguixe Posted at 2017-7-31 04:45
Great post!

Do you know if all the RC controllers are equal or it depends on which area are sold? Does the RC controller adjust the power based on the area or is fixed setting?

RC + AC radio power output is set dynamically based on location. In other words - factory builds only 1 type of Spark (if I don't count the color, which is just a panel added on top) and one type of remote. Then when you get into the app, it asks you if you want to change the Region - which changes the output power.
2017-8-2
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Bobesh
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polguixe Posted at 2017-7-31 04:45
Great post!

Do you know if all the RC controllers are equal or it depends on which area are sold? Does the RC controller adjust the power based on the area or is fixed setting?

Related to other question, using OTG or not does not directly impact the range, but you remove one layer of possible interference. Most of the interference issues were solved with latest firmwares (RC+AC) for me. My "record" range is way over stated numbers in the manual currently, so I'm very happy with the results.
2017-8-2
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Montfrooij
Captain
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Thanks a lot for this info!
Very helpful.
2017-8-20
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Webdrone
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France
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Just got back from the USA and big difference in range wit CE power !

Thing is 2.4Ghz is extremely poor with my Spark+RC, lags, tears, plain horrible, regardless of the distance, very strange but someone above mentioned a bug, would be interested in more details ? Thanks !
2017-8-20
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Arenji
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Thanks for this thread. After the latest update I had hoped this would be improved but I tested it today and RC/AC wifi still resets to 5.8ghz every time the Spark is powered on.

Also the RC wifi still disappears as soon as I switch the RC/AC to 2.4ghz. I assume this is because switching the Spark wifi to 2.4ghz forces the controller to 5.8ghz on one of those frequencies that EU phones can't see?

Also, with the OTG cable connected, why on earth does the option to change AC/RC WiFi disappear? It means we have to connect via WiFi, change to 2.4, then connect again via cable, every time we fly! So annoying, especially since the drone is otherwise quite brilliant.

Anyway, just wanted to say this thread is really helpful, and it's so frustrating that what must be a simple firmware fix has still not been forthcoming. Maybe DJI simply don't test their stuff in the EU.
2017-8-22
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fans86f84c8b
New
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Hi Bobesh,

Isn't OTG cable NOT RECOMMENDED BY DJI?
2017-9-13
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