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Why does loss of GPS/Compass cause a flyaway?
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5237 62 2017-7-20
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jetto black
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I have not personally experienced a true flyaway, but after reading this forum I'm too terrified to fly my Spark outdoors. I'm waiting for a firmware update before I fly again. I live a few miles outside a major NFZ and don't want to risk the Spark losing GPS and flying off randomly towards it.
I'm referring to cases where someone takes off, starts with a normal flight with no errors and good GPS signal, and then during the flight receives the dreaded compass error.  The Spark switches from GPS to Atti mode and then without any controller input flies away in a random direction at high speed, quickly going out of control range and often never to be found again.  (To be clear I'm not referring to newbie errors where someone took off without GPS lock or with a compass calibration error from the start.)


I can understand why loss of GPS or compass would result in the Spark switching to Atti mode and then failing to hold a steady position, maybe drifting a bit from where it was hovering, but there are too many reports of it suddenly flying off as if it is intentionally trying to go somewhere fast. This is total speculation on my part, but it's as if a bad GPS reading causes the Spark to think it jumped far away from the previous point, so it tries to return to the previous position at maximum speed, not realizing its current reported position is totally inaccurate.

Ideally there would never be a GPS or compass error to begin with and I hope DJI can address that, but at a minimum, when this situation does occur I hope they can do something to prevent the Spark from flying away at high speed.


2017-7-20
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hallmark007
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Most flyaways are pilot error, loosing gps is no ones fault either pilot or dji, but if one takes off without proper locked gps then you will need to be able to fly AC in Atti mode, this is not a huge deal and can be done by most.
Compass / gps problems, almost 90% of these are caused before AC gets off the ground, if you decide to launch from concrete (most common) it can have rebar in it causing interference in your compass also steel or any metal, your car is full of stuff which will cause interference to your compass.
When you put your AC on the ground you can check if your compass heading is correct by looking at the small red triangle left hand corner of your screen on your map. If it's heading is pointing in the same direction as your AC then you know taking off your compass is fine.

If you fly around or close to metal objects power lines steel roofs you also run the risk of getting compass interference.

https://forum.dji.com/forum.php? ... &fromuid=260008
2017-7-20
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PascalG
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I don't quite understand why a spark, or any drone, should loose gps when flying outdoors unless flying in a deep high rise environment. In some case gps accuracy my be degraded to  20 or 30' but that should be enough for a drone to be flyable

As to the compass, I there is a failure or interference why can't the drone fallback to a gps heading?
2017-7-20
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FatherXmas
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I had my very first fly away this evening, have flown the Spark a bunch, never had an issue. When I took off this particular time, had great GPS signal, connection between the RC and AC was strong, zero indication of any issues. Took off with 100% battery, flew around the property, same place I've flown a lot, no magnetic interference ever reported. The battery was at 35% and I was headed back to where I was going to land it. Without warning, it went into ATTI Mode and headed for the woods across the road. I hit the pause button and thank goodness, it worked. I ran around the house and it was hovering across the road at about 100 feet up. I flew it over to me and landed without a problem, scared the crap out of me. Several things I know for sure - there was no magnetic interference, no obstructions (I live way out in the boonies, closest neighbors are cows) and up until the time this happened, no indication of any errors.
2017-7-20
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Phuong Do
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FatherXmas Posted at 2017-7-20 19:38
I had my very first fly away this evening, have flown the Spark a bunch, never had an issue. When I took off this particular time, had great GPS signal, connection between the RC and AC was strong, zero indication of any issues. Took off with 100% battery, flew around the property, same place I've flown a lot, no magnetic interference ever reported. The battery was at 35% and I was headed back to where I was going to land it. Without warning, it went into ATTI Mode and headed for the woods across the road. I hit the pause button and thank goodness, it worked. I ran around the house and it was hovering across the road at about 100 feet up. I flew it over to me and landed without a problem, scared the crap out of me. Several things I know for sure - there was no magnetic interference, no obstructions (I live way out in the boonies, closest neighbors are cows) and up until the time this happened, no indication of any errors.

I don't know if it is advisable to fly at night or not? Another case on youtube showed that Spark behaved strangly at night:


2017-7-20
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hallmark007
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FatherXmas Posted at 2017-7-20 19:38
I had my very first fly away this evening, have flown the Spark a bunch, never had an issue. When I took off this particular time, had great GPS signal, connection between the RC and AC was strong, zero indication of any issues. Took off with 100% battery, flew around the property, same place I've flown a lot, no magnetic interference ever reported. The battery was at 35% and I was headed back to where I was going to land it. Without warning, it went into ATTI Mode and headed for the woods across the road. I hit the pause button and thank goodness, it worked. I ran around the house and it was hovering across the road at about 100 feet up. I flew it over to me and landed without a problem, scared the crap out of me. Several things I know for sure - there was no magnetic interference, no obstructions (I live way out in the boonies, closest neighbors are cows) and up until the time this happened, no indication of any errors.

That doesn't sound like compass problem, but gps, you could have lost it for a short time, it must have come back, because pause button will not work without gps, glad you avoided crash.
2017-7-21
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DJI Thor
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Thanks for bringing us the attention, let me make it short. When the GPS and compass are unavailable, the drone can not find the direction and the way to go back to the home point, thus the drone might fly away.
The user manual has mentioned this GPS丢失不能返航.jpg So it is always suggested flying in a good environment with good GPS signal, we also got a tutorial about the preflight checklist and flight environment selection for your reference:

Enjoy your day.
2017-7-21
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hallmark007
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Phuong Do Posted at 2017-7-20 23:41
I don't know if it is advisable to fly at night or not? Another case on youtube showed that Spark behaved strangly at night:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mbWRd562OSU&t=159s

That is a problem with VPS not being able to lock on to ground because of bad light, the actions of drone jumping up and down is directly related to vision sensors.
2017-7-21
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fans99d24711
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DJI Thor Posted at 2017-7-21 03:08
Thanks for bringing us the attention, let me make it short. When the GPS and compass are unavailable, the drone can not find the direction and the way to go back to the home point, thus the drone might fly away.
The user manual has mentioned this[view_image]So it is always suggested flying in a good environment with good GPS signal, we also got a tutorial about the preflight checklist and flight environment selection for your reference:https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w6Zf90zR378&list=PL8-vxWY64sBOmkQQJ2KWNL-uRBZsP43-r&index=11

Yes, but no where does it state that it will take off up and to the left or right at full throttle as many have experienced. Even with 9 or 10 GPS satellites showing green good signal and flying within the same geographic are of maybe 40m by 40m of open space.
2017-7-21
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PascalG
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I don't understand why gps  signal could be lost apparently so easily unless flying close to tall buildings or in really dense forest. Is the spark GPS receiver and antenna too weak?
2017-7-21
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hallmark007
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PascalG Posted at 2017-7-21 06:51
I don't understand why gps  signal could be lost apparently so easily unless flying close to tall buildings or in really dense forest. Is the spark GPS receiver and antenna too weak?

If receiver can't make contact with satellites then you are going to have weak or no signal, same as if you were in a basement. Tall buildings may have more of an effect on your radio signal blocking it out.
2017-7-21
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Adrian C
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check my new post please... http://forum.dji.com/forum.php?m ... D436%26typeid%3D436
2017-7-21
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RegDawg
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There are so many reports of this happening on the DJI Sparks Facebook page. I'm almost scared to fly it right now.
2017-7-21
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PascalG
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hallmark007 Posted at 2017-7-21 06:57
If receiver can't make contact with satellites then you are going to have weak or no signal, same as if you were in a basement. Tall buildings may have more of an effect on your radio signal blocking it out.

Yes I obviously understand that the drone needs to have a clear view of the satellite... my point is that I don't think I have ever lost gps signal whether on my phone, or theultiple GPS receiver i use almost daily.  For instance I use an anchor alarm app on my phone when anchored on the boat oven night and it has never lost reception even below deck.

That's why in open conditions I wonder if the gps problems   some seem to have experienced are not from a design flaw, or software. Or mayb heat build up in the antenna.
2017-7-21
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PascalG Posted at 2017-7-21 08:24
Yes I obviously understand that the drone needs to have a clear view of the satellite... my point is that I don't think I have ever lost gps signal whether on my phone, or theultiple GPS receiver i use almost daily.  For instance I use an anchor alarm app on my phone when anchored on the boat oven night and it has never lost reception even below deck.

That's why in open conditions I wonder if the gps problems   some seem to have experienced are not from a design flaw, or software. Or mayb heat build up in the antenna.

You will find phone gps are often unreliable certainly iOS there positioning is often behind time and accuracy is not always perfect, with these aircraft gps need to be very precise and obviously Spark does not have the type of receiver you might find in much more expensive drones, so it maybe a case of you get what you pay for.
2017-7-21
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Lian82
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Yesterday I flew to 20.30 local time.

In the air 30 mt the dorne shifted slightly I saw it from streaming video.
Under the drone I had fields of grapes.

I calibrated the drone badly.

I did the 360 horizontal calibration

Then asked for a second calibration but I put the drone in the wrong position.(i think)

On youtube put the drone with the face down.

I put the drone turned 90 degrees on the long side.
it's wrong?
IMG_2440.jpg

2017-7-21
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eylneb
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Phuong Do Posted at 2017-7-20 23:41
I don't know if it is advisable to fly at night or not? Another case on youtube showed that Spark behaved strangly at night:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mbWRd562OSU&t=159s

most of the time i fly at night due to matters at home... so far not much of a problem.

Anyway.. look under page 22 under Tripod mode .. read the one in the box.
2017-7-21
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eylneb
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PascalG Posted at 2017-7-21 08:24
Yes I obviously understand that the drone needs to have a clear view of the satellite... my point is that I don't think I have ever lost gps signal whether on my phone, or theultiple GPS receiver i use almost daily.  For instance I use an anchor alarm app on my phone when anchored on the boat oven night and it has never lost reception even below deck.

That's why in open conditions I wonder if the gps problems   some seem to have experienced are not from a design flaw, or software. Or mayb heat build up in the antenna.

mobile phones dont just rely on GPS to get actual coordinates..

it uses cell tower, gps & even wifi to get accurate readings....
2017-7-21
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eylneb
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Lian82 Posted at 2017-7-21 08:41
Yesterday I flew to 20.30 local time.

In the air 30 mt the dorne shifted slightly I saw it from streaming video.

manual page 50

https://dl.djicdn.com/downloads/ ... ser+Manual+V1.2.pdf
2017-7-21
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DJI Thor
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fans99d24711 Posted at 2017-7-21 06:36
Yes, but no where does it state that it will take off up and to the left or right at full throttle as many have experienced. Even with 9 or 10 GPS satellites showing green good signal and flying within the same geographic are of maybe 40m by 40m of open space.

If it always lost GPS signal in a plain place, I would suggest contacting to our support to start a data analysis first to see if there was a malfunction.
2017-7-23
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eylneb
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hallmark007 Posted at 2017-7-21 08:35
You will find phone gps are often unreliable certainly iOS there positioning is often behind time and accuracy is not always perfect, with these aircraft gps need to be very precise and obviously Spark does not have the type of receiver you might find in much more expensive drones, so it maybe a case of you get what you pay for.

just to add... comparing in terms of RTH precision landing spark, mavic & inspire.... Inspire did badly in terms of precision landing..


sorry can't verify myself... or maybe the youtuber did something wrong?
2017-7-23
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Flying Wolf_NOL
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hallmark007 Posted at 2017-7-21 08:35
You will find phone gps are often unreliable certainly iOS there positioning is often behind time and accuracy is not always perfect, with these aircraft gps need to be very precise and obviously Spark does not have the type of receiver you might find in much more expensive drones, so it maybe a case of you get what you pay for.

Wait a minute man.... I'm not trying to start anything with you, but are you saying;  "You only paid $500 - $700... so, it may not work as described."

I understand that 'sometimes' DJI gets blamed for things on this forum that are not really their fault, but to say 'you get what you pay for' indicates that this drone was built to be unreliable. Is that what you intended?

I watched all the advertisements and no where did I see them say... "'There's a good chance that this thing will just fly away or drop out of the sky. If you want one that won't, you should probably spend more money."

Come on dude...
2017-7-23
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quint7
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Flyaways have always been a problem with DJI drones. It's gotten better over the years to where it's generally user error a lot of the time. However, there does seem to be a significant issue with the Spark. There does seem to be a lot of weird flyaways being reported. Probably a flaw in the product; at that same time there are a ton, of new users who have been lured by the fake commercials of how easy it is to fly a drone, when it's a lot more complex. Truth is probably somewhere in the middle. This is why I would for sure buy refresh.
2017-7-23
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hallmark007
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Flying Wolf_NOL Posted at 2017-7-23 18:54
Wait a minute man.... I'm not trying to start anything with you, but are you saying;  "You only paid $500 - $700... so, it may not work as described."

I understand that 'sometimes' DJI gets blamed for things on this forum that are not really their fault, but to say 'you get what you pay for' indicates that this drone was built to be unreliable. Is that what you intended?

Sorry first off that was my bad, I read question wrong, I thought poster had said why would you lose gps while flying undercover of trees and tall buildings but he wrote (UNLESS)

So answer to the question should have been. Very seldom gps is lost except sometimes under heavy cloud cover or other unusual circumstances.

Most of what you see around here is when when spark goes into Atti mode is because of interference with compass or Imu heading, spark is designed when compass interference is bringing AC on a different heading to gps heading, gps basically has to give up and AC goes into Atti mode, most presume that gps is lost but that's not the problem, if compass heading is bringing AC on a different heading to gps which also effects Imu heading, the failsafe seems to be AC going into Atti mode.

I apologies for the misunderstanding and will let poster know.

Regarding you get what you pay for, I wasn't trying to say GPS receiver wasn't up to the task, but rather that if you purchase a bigger drone which has a much better GPS receiver obviously because of price and size. I do think spark receiver is up to the job and I haven't lost gps signal, but I know from testing with P4 pro I can pick up satellites much quicker on the ground , in the air they are about the same.
2017-7-24
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hallmark007
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Flying Wolf_NOL Posted at 2017-7-23 18:54
Wait a minute man.... I'm not trying to start anything with you, but are you saying;  "You only paid $500 - $700... so, it may not work as described."

I understand that 'sometimes' DJI gets blamed for things on this forum that are not really their fault, but to say 'you get what you pay for' indicates that this drone was built to be unreliable. Is that what you intended?


If you want to have a look at this log you will see what I mean. The link to log is below. And most of the cases around here are very similar, there are very few with just lost gps in fact I've seen none so far on spark forum.

There are many who take off with no gps lock which can also cause problems.

https://forum.dji.com/forum.php? ... &fromuid=260008
2017-7-24
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jh8
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DJI Thor Posted at 2017-7-21 03:08
Thanks for bringing us the attention, let me make it short. When the GPS and compass are unavailable, the drone can not find the direction and the way to go back to the home point, thus the drone might fly away.
The user manual has mentioned this[view_image]So it is always suggested flying in a good environment with good GPS signal, we also got a tutorial about the preflight checklist and flight environment selection for your reference:

Just wondering: what happens if RTH is pushed when there is no appropriate GPS reception? Is it disabled? Shouldn't it just hover and/or land instead, or at least wait a bit to see if it regains GPS reception? I hope it will not immediately fly off in a random direction?
2017-7-24
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Flying Wolf_NOL
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hallmark007 Posted at 2017-7-24 01:55
Sorry first off that was my bad, I read question wrong, I thought poster had said why would you lose gps while flying undercover of trees and tall buildings but he wrote (UNLESS)

So answer to the question should have been. Very seldom gps is lost except sometimes under heavy cloud cover or other unusual circumstances.

Well, I agree that a less expensive product will (understandably) use less expensive parts. A $1500 P4P can't and 'shouldn't' be compared to a $500 spark.  I understand your explanation.

Interestingly, my spark has not lost GPS (on the ground or in flight). In fact, it usually gets more sats. than my other UAV.   I do find that the compass is VERY sensitive. I've gotten compass errors with the spark in places where I did not with my other UAV.  I usually only have to move several feet away and the error clears up.  The other day, the red arrow on the 'radar' screen on the bottom left of the device screen was spinning while the AC was still on the ground. No red compass error, but I knew better than to lift off.  Moved several feet and it cleared up.   It's important to restart everything after selecting a new location to clear the compass error.   
2017-7-24
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Flying Wolf_NOL Posted at 2017-7-24 05:06
Well, I agree that a less expensive product will (understandably) use less expensive parts. A $1500 P4P can't and 'shouldn't' be compared to a $500 spark.  I understand your explanation.

Interestingly, my spark has not lost GPS (on the ground or in flight). In fact, it usually gets more sats. than my other UAV.   I do find that the compass is VERY sensitive. I've gotten compass errors with the spark in places where I did not with my other UAV.  I usually only have to move several feet away and the error clears up.  The other day, the red arrow on the 'radar' screen on the bottom left of the device screen was spinning while the AC was still on the ground. No red compass error, but I knew better than to lift off.  Moved several feet and it cleared up.   It's important to restart everything after selecting a new location to clear the compass error.

That seems to be a problem, sometimes you get warning to move location and sometimes none or some don't see the move warning, so I never take the chance of taking off without checking heading.

The problem of Sensitive compass could be an issue, some where convinced it was in the Mavic, a lot of stuff compacted in to very small space, I'm sure somebody will strip it down and try to seal wiring if this continues.
2017-7-24
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hallmark007 Posted at 2017-7-24 05:39
That seems to be a problem, sometimes you get warning to move location and sometimes none or some don't see the move warning, so I never take the chance of taking off without checking heading.

The problem of Sensitive compass could be an issue, some where convinced it was in the Mavic, a lot of stuff compacted in to very small space, I'm sure somebody will strip it down and try to seal wiring if this continues.

I'm not even saying that it's a 'problem' it's just how it is. If it is a problem, I don't know if it can be fixed with firmware or software.  It just really requires the user to be VERY careful.  If it is getting compass errors in flight (and not even reporting it on the device screen), that is certainly a huge problem.  I have not experienced that - yet.   Hopefully I won't.
2017-7-24
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If the copter cannot return to home point in case of GPS loss, that's one thing and pretty obvious. But that it takes off in high speed to some random direction is crazy, dangerous and totally unacceptable.
2017-7-25
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fans7666527f Posted at 2017-7-25 01:05
If the copter cannot return to home point in case of GPS loss, that's one thing and pretty obvious. But that it takes off in high speed to some random direction is crazy, dangerous and totally unacceptable.

And that DJI tries to sell us that this is normal behavior (see above) shows a total lack of responsibility. As someone wrote before, it would be normal if the copter hovers, maybe slowly drifts with the wind, or lands. But a rapid uncontrolled flyaway in such situation, and DJI says it's normal and not a bug? COME ON!!!
2017-7-25
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xtro
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If we lose the gps or if there is a compass problem, we should be able to switch immediately to ATTI, and the spark should stop or slowly derive I do not understand that one can not switch to ATTI And stop it, I have a 450 with a naza mv2 if I have a problem I switch to ATTI, it stops right away and I can take the hand
2017-7-25
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hallmark007
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fans7666527f Posted at 2017-7-25 01:05
If the copter cannot return to home point in case of GPS loss, that's one thing and pretty obvious. But that it takes off in high speed to some random direction is crazy, dangerous and totally unacceptable.

It doesn't take off at high speed, that's the speed the motors are running at but gps controls the hold on your AC, and the smallest touch on control sticks accentuates this, you could slow down the the motors but this will just cause AC to drop out of the sky.
2017-7-25
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Stormer
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Today experience with fly away - spark was hovering 50m above me (shoting photos) with 17 locked GPS satelites... Then message poped: "Magnetic Field Interference - Exit P-GPS Mode" .. jumped into Atti mode and flew to the left at fast speed - lost connection in few seconds because I was controling spark only by my phone (no RC)...  There were no metal things around - I was on meadow in the centre of park full of trees...  hopefully it flew away in direction where the ground is rising so in around 200m it hit the tree and felt down... In 30 minutes I was able to find spark with "Find my drone" feature... Spark has no damage and is fully working.... So no - fly aways are not pilot errors...
2017-7-25
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hallmark007
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Stormer Posted at 2017-7-25 03:27
Today experience with fly away - spark was hovering 50m above me (shoting photos) with 17 locked GPS satelites... Then message poped: "Magnetic Field Interference - Exit P-GPS Mode" .. jumped into Atti mode and flew to the left at fast speed - lost connection in few seconds because I was controling spark only by my phone (no RC)...  There were no metal things around - I was on meadow in the centre of park full of trees...  hopefully it flew away in direction where the ground is rising so in around 200m it hit the tree and felt down... In 30 minutes I was able to find spark with "Find my drone" feature... Spark has no damage and is fully working.... So no - fly aways are not pilot errors...

Can you upload your flight log to link below, you will get a better understanding of what might have happened. Just click on link below and follow instructions come back here and post your link to your log.

http://www.phantomhelp.com/LogViewer/Upload/
2017-7-25
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hallmark007
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xtro Posted at 2017-7-25 01:22
If we lose the gps or if there is a compass problem, we should be able to switch immediately to ATTI, and the spark should stop or slowly derive I do not understand that one can not switch to ATTI And stop it, I have a 450 with a naza mv2 if I have a problem I switch to ATTI, it stops right away and I can take the hand

How does your AC stop straight away when you switch to Atti mode? I have never seen or heard of this before.
All dji AC when they lose gps go automatically to Atti mode you don't need to switch anything, you can with phantoms inspire etc but it won't change anything you will still be in Atti mode, only difference is when you switch to Atti with a phantom it won't go back to gps mode automatically like Mavic or spark.

Probably the real need for Atti switch would be to practice with . But dji say no I don't know why.
2017-7-25
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xtro
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hallmark007 Posted at 2017-7-25 04:11
How does your AC stop straight away when you switch to Atti mode? I have never seen or heard of this before.
All dji AC when they lose gps go automatically to Atti mode you don't need to switch anything, you can with phantoms inspire etc but it won't change anything you will still be in Atti mode, only difference is when you switch to Atti with a phantom it won't go back to gps mode automatically like Mavic or spark.

I had 1 compass problem on my naza V2 (is that you know? https://www.dji.com/fr/naza-m-v2), My 450 left in flyaway, I switched to ATTI and it stopped its flyaway, I was able to take back the orders
I am an old french sorry for my poor english
2017-7-25
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xtro
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On the naza V2 the switching atti  / gps is done manually on the rc , If there was this possibility on the spark, it would avoid that it leaves
2017-7-25
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hallmark007
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xtro Posted at 2017-7-25 05:14
I had 1 compass problem on my naza V2 (is that you know? https://www.dji.com/fr/naza-m-v2), My 450 left in flyaway, I switched to ATTI and it stopped its flyaway, I was able to take back the orders
I am an old french sorry for my poor english

Switching to Atti won't stop flyaways, when your AC is in Atti mode it will move with the wind and propulsion of motors and propellers, it's in the hands of the pilot to stop AC from moving if pilot doesn't respond then AC will just flyaway. This was my point. With spark when gps is lost it will go into Atti mode automatically, if you have compass problem interference this will have effect on IMU and gps of spark and result it goes into Atti mode, this can happen very quickly and by the time pilot gets a chance to recover AC it's usually to late.
2017-7-25
Use props
xtro
lvl.4
Flight distance : 403451 ft
France
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hallmark007 Posted at 2017-7-25 05:28
Switching to Atti won't stop flyaways, when your AC is in Atti mode it will move with the wind and propulsion of motors and propellers, it's in the hands of the pilot to stop AC from moving if pilot doesn't respond then AC will just flyaway. This was my point. With spark when gps is lost it will go into Atti mode automatically, if you have compass problem interference this will have effect on IMU and gps of spark and result it goes into Atti mode, this can happen very quickly and by the time pilot gets a chance to recover AC it's usually to late.

Yes it moves with the wind, but it does not go away at high speed this is what I meant and the driver can take back the commands, precisely the problem is: what does the spark pass well in atti?
Since the pilots can no longer act on the rc
2017-7-25
Use props
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