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Range Extenders and Vegetation Penetration
3177 34 2016-8-10
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Cetaman
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Aloha,

     Recently, I bought a pair of inexpensive range extenders (Kinghard Radar Antenna Range Booster For DJI Phantom 3 Inspire 1 TX Signal Extender Amplifier).  They only cost $10 and $1 of that was shipping.  My reasoning was not for how far can I get the Phantom to fly out in the ocean.  I mean what is to see out there, just water!  My reasoning was to see if they would help penetrate the jungle better than stock antennas.  Where I live, we have jungle with paths that really amount to tunnels in the trees.  One challenge we try is to see if we can go through those tunnels.  It is good fun (if you succeed)!  Crashing, not so much.  The extenders were a cheap solution.


     So, I shot a video to demonstrate how these range extenders do indeed help penetrate the jungle. (Oh BTW, I fly a P4 in the video below.)  Now the video below is in 1080p from the 4K on the chip, but I used my new HeadPlay HD goggles (HDMI) for this flight and the 720p display was just as crisp as the 1080p video.  There was no jello, bars or other distortions you get when you loose a little of your 720p video signal.  Previously, I had to set the HD option to custom because the auto function had distortion and you could not reduce the bandwidth.  (I may have jumped the gun on that one and not let it work out its algorythms long enough.)  Anyway, I am real pleased with the test results.  IMHO, they are worth a shot.  I hope you enjoy the video.  Mahalo for watching!

Aloha and Drone On!


2016-8-10
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PhanFran
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Glad it worked for you ! They don't work at all for me. Just yesterday I did an other test with similar extenders through dense foliage. I got 71 % RC and 43 % HD connection value.
I did not change anything, the RC kept pointing at the AC very precisely, RC held by an other person. Then I removed the extenders and the values jumped immediately to 94 and 82 respectively.
That was about the 20th test I did with these and other kinds of 'cheap' range extenders. I've had it now. I threw all of them in the garbage can today.
2016-8-10
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DJI-Ken
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Very nice, what a great place to live and fly.
2016-8-10
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Cetaman
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PhanFran Posted at 2016-8-10 11:40
Glad it worked for you ! They don't work at all for me. Just yesterday I did an other test with simi ...

Aloha PhanFran,

     It occurs to me that I did not post any photos of my rig and the ways the extenders can be mounted.  I will get on that tomorrow because I am all tied up today.  Sorry to hear it is not working out for you.

Aloha and Drone On!
2016-8-10
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Cetaman
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DJI-Ken Posted at 2016-8-10 11:50
Very nice, what a great place to live and fly.

Aloha Ken,

     Mahalo for the kind words.  I will post some photos of my rig and various mountings tomorrow.  Today is too busy.  This is a discussion thread after all!

Aloha and Drone On!
2016-8-10
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DJI-Ken
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Cetaman Posted at 2016-8-11 06:01
Aloha Ken,

     Mahalo for the kind words.  I will post some photos of my rig and various mountin ...

Very nice, thanks.
2016-8-10
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DJI-Paladin
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Jungle explorer
2016-8-10
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Cetaman
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Aloha Paladin,

     And what fun it is!

Aloha and Drone On!
2016-8-11
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Cetaman
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PhanFran Posted at 2016-8-10 11:40
Glad it worked for you ! They don't work at all for me. Just yesterday I did an other test with simi ...

Aloha PhanFran,

     These are a few of the configurations I use to get good results with my range extenders.
The first is the Normal configuration;

Number 2, you can also just use one to get good coverage in close and good coverage at a much longer distance.

For three, This one can be used for good video in front and directly above.  You may not need the parabolic extender facing upward;

And four, there also is a possible difference of of forward angle to increase the vertical coverage at a distance.

   Hope this helps!

Aloha and Drone On!
Normal.jpg
BestBoth.jpg
HighLow.jpg
BroadForward.jpg
2016-8-11
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Cetaman
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Aloha Ken,

     Below is one configuration that I missed.  This one works very well without the parabola.  

Aloha and Drone On!
HighLow One.jpg
2016-8-13
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DJI-Ken
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Cetaman Posted at 2016-8-13 16:32
Aloha Ken,

     Below is one configuration that I missed.  This one works very well without the p ...

Nice, looks like you could also use one of these. I use them and they are great and have a lifetime warranty.
https://www.amazon.com/Perfect-I ... ambond+12+lightning
2016-8-13
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Cetaman
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DJI-Ken Posted at 2016-8-13 06:12
Nice, looks like you could also use one of these. I use them and they are great and have a lifetim ...

Aloha Ken,

     Yes, I would except that I am an Android.  Do you know if that coil of USB cable creates radio waves and therefore interference.  When I first powered my HDMI 15.6 inch auxiliary monitor off of a battery, I used a long, coiled USB (power only) cord and it gave no end of interference (I now use a much shorter USB cord).  Maybe I should test that idea by swapping out the much shorter P3P USB cable with this long one for my P4.  (That may explain the superior performance of my P3P transmitter over the P4 one.)  Any idea why the P4 got such a long USB cable?

Aloha and Drone On!
2016-8-13
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DJI-Ken Posted at 2016-8-13 12:12
Nice, looks like you could also use one of these. I use them and they are great and have a lifetim ...

I use that as well; I believe the shorter the cable the best performance and less interference potential.
2016-8-13
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Cetaman Posted at 2016-8-12 00:02
Aloha PhanFran,

     These are a few of the configurations I use to get good results with my range ...

I like the "bestboth" configuration (using a single) to maximize beam length, while keeping the other antenna as is, to maintain beam width closer up.

Have you tested that, and what are your feelings about it?
I have a pair too, the ones which have 2 slots, bottom and top of the antenna to keep it secured without any movement.
I just did one test the ther day and so far so good, but it was a short test flight. My video streaming was horrible though.
2016-8-13
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MD_Icarus Posted at 2016-8-14 07:06
I use that as well; I believe the shorter the cable the best performance and less interference pot ...

Yes for sure, they are great.
2016-8-13
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Cetaman
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MD_Icarus Posted at 2016-8-13 13:12
I like the "bestboth" configuration (using a single) to maximize beam length, while keeping the oth ...

Aloha Icarus,

     Oh yes, my first range extender was a single I built and I used aluminum tape as the reflector.  It worked great.  That was when I discovered the potential for jungle penetration.  Using it allowed penetration, not using it immediately afterward on the same flight at the same location caused loss of signal.  These tests were on the P3P.  When I came across the $10 Kinghards, I felt it was a no lose situation.  But, it took forever for them to get here.  But for $1 shipping, I lived with it!

     In my opinion, you need the independence at the top so you can use the different configurations.  The slot at the base holds the parabola aligned correctly.  It is also possible to slide the parabola up the antenna to get better tilt up for higher altitudes.  This allows both narrow, enhanced parabola signals and wider normal antenna signals off of the same antenna.  You could even cut off the top half of the parabola (they are cheap) for a half shaft extender to get the best of both in another configuration.  I am not done with this yet.

Aloha and Drone On!
2016-8-13
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Cetaman
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DJI-Ken Posted at 2016-8-13 06:12
Nice, looks like you could also use one of these. I use them and they are great and have a lifetim ...

Aloha Ken,

     I fixed my post and added another question.

Aloha and Drone On!
2016-8-13
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DJI-Ken
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MD_Icarus Posted at 2016-8-14 07:06
I use that as well; I believe the shorter the cable the best performance and less interference pot ...

It probably does, plus it looks cleaner.
2016-8-13
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DJI-Ken
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Cetaman Posted at 2016-8-14 06:37
Aloha Ken,

     Yes, I would except that I am an Android.  Do you know if that coil of USB cable c ...

If you have a longer P4 cable it's probably because you can update from the Assistant2 computer software so you have more length to reach wherever your computer is.
2016-8-13
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Cetaman
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DJI-Ken Posted at 2016-8-13 06:12
Nice, looks like you could also use one of these. I use them and they are great and have a lifetim ...

Aloha Ken,

     It is firm now.  I finally had a chance to test my short P3P USB cord on my P4 and there was a very significant improvement.  So now I will be using my Samsung Tab Pro and the short P3P USB cable when I go from one Phantom to the other, at least until I find another short micro USB data cable.  The video live feed was vastly improved but not to the level I get with the extenders.  This was also true of the P3P.  At least now I know what was causing the P4 problem.

     Now, I got to get back to PhanFran to see what Phantom he is using and if he is using a long USB cable.  This may solve his problem.  We can only hope.

Aloha and Drone On!
2016-8-15
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Cetaman
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PhanFran Posted at 2016-8-10 11:40
Glad it worked for you ! They don't work at all for me. Just yesterday I did an other test with simi ...

Aloha PhanFran,

     Well, I had a break-through today and it had nothing to do with range extenders.  Maybe this can help your problem.  I have been wondering why my live feed video was so bad with my P4 when my P3P worked so well.  After some of the comments with this thread, I finally decided to test my short P3P USB cord on my P4.  Wow, what a difference.  As you can see from the photos in this thread, I had my very long P4 cord wrapped all over the place and it was causing serious interference with my live feed.  When you coil cables and run current through them, you get radio signals.  Those signals interfere with the radio operations of our drones.  Could this be your problem?  It sure was mine.

     Now, I will be able to get even better performance out of my range extenders since I am able to cut out the interference of my very long P4 USB cable.  Hope this helps!

Aloha and Drone On!
2016-8-15
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DJI-Ken
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Cetaman Posted at 2016-8-16 14:28
Aloha Ken,

     It is firm now.  I finally had a chance to test my short P3P USB cord on my P4 an ...

That's good to hear, yes, with live video data going through the cable you need to have a good cable.
2016-8-16
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Cetaman Posted at 2016-8-16 02:48
Aloha PhanFran,

     Well, I had a break-through today and it had nothing to do with range extend ...

Unfortunately, I have some bad news:

I have been using the short cable since day 1 on my P4.  The video has deteriorated after the recent upgrades (firmware/app).  The weather is also hotter in NY now.  I think this issue is due to P4 and hotter temperatures.

I also flew missions with the single extender configuration but I keep getting DISCONNECTED at only 0.8 - 0.9 miles over the ocean at 200 feet altitude.  I was able to fly 2 miles before!!!

I think the video and Disconnect is a major issue which need to be addressed.

I talked with a Best Buy rep. and he told me that this is the major issue they are having and it is causing returns and client complaints.
2016-8-16
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Cetaman
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DJI-Ken Posted at 2016-8-16 04:51
That's good to hear, yes, with live video data going through the cable you need to have a good cab ...

Aloha Ken,

     The 3 foot cable I got from DJI with the P4 has thin insulation and excessive length (unless used to connect with the computer).  Coiling it creates radio interference and leaving it hang makes for safety issues.  I tried looking for the P3 (A & P) USB cables in the spare parts section of DJI Store and came up empty handed.  The only short cables I have are USB charging cables (bummer)  Any suggestions?

     Until I get another cable, I can always use the P3P cable with my P4.  I mean, hey, you can only fly one Phantom at a time!  Plus, I only have one Android device so the cable goes with the device.  BTW, did you know that the nVidia Shield K1 is sold out worldwide?

Aloha and Drone On!
2016-8-16
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Cetaman
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MD_Icarus Posted at 2016-8-16 05:30
Unfortunately, I have some bad news:

I have been using the short cable since day 1 on my P4.  The  ...

Aloha Icarus,

     Sorry to hear that.  I am sure DJI is working on it and I am sure they are hearing from BestBuy about it.  You could try an early morning flight to see if the temperature difference helps.  Otherwise, are there any new structures or projects going on in the flying area, any military ships within five miles?  Maybe you could post a photo or a short PAN video of the flying area when you get the disconnect message?

     My friend has a P3A that is bricked with a similar problem.  In his case it appears that his remote controller battery started failing and finally failed completely (will not even turn on at all).  Others on this Forum have made similar comments.  It looks like the first cell has a problem and eventually fails.  The DJI updates tried to deal with it and the last one had his RC not turn on.  This makes sense because the operator then returns the RC and the DJI crew replaces the battery and everything works again.  But, we cannot change-out the battery and I am sure DJI wants to see what is killing these battery cells so they can fix the problem.  We were going to test one of the Forum comments to run the RC battery down until the third light starts flashing but the upgrade shut down the RC.  You could try testing that lower battery level to see if it is the first cell problem.

     This would make sense for you if there is a temperature issue since the cell would fail more easily when it gets hot.  And a gradual loss of connectivity would match a failing cell.  Oh, and my friend had improved results when he used his range extenders - until it completely failed.  Hope this helps!

Aloha and Drone On!
2016-8-16
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Cetaman Posted at 2016-8-16 18:52
Aloha Icarus,

     Sorry to hear that.  I am sure DJI is working on it and I am sure they are hea ...

It's a tough one to figure out for sure, because there are too many potential causes. I have done a lot of testing to figure it out, but so far, it seems to me that the last firmware (which improved the altitude issue at hover) may play into these issues.  Maybe the hotter temperature we re having is also the issue.

But I am really concerned though about an issue a friend has experienced, and I will offer a link to my thread: Please offer your opinion:

Disconnected with No Recovery
2016-8-16
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Cetaman
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MD_Icarus Posted at 2016-8-16 15:09
It's a tough one to figure out for sure, because there are too many potential causes. I have done  ...

Aloha Icarus,

     It still looks like a battery issue to me as explained above.  If the primary cell is not able to provide enough power or somehow reduces the power of other cells, you are going to lose your connection.  But, the only way to test this is to run the RC down to the third light flashing and then fly it.  The one guy did it and it flew without problems.  Previously he was reporting your problem.

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2016-8-16
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DJI-Ken
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Cetaman Posted at 2016-8-17 06:09
Aloha Ken,

     The 3 foot cable I got from DJI with the P4 has thin insulation and excessive len ...

I just did a quick Google search and saw this.
https://www.amazon.com/dp/B017IJ ... RXNARCZRGJMM73GT055

Wow, I did not know it's sold out. There's lots of them used on Ebay.
2016-8-16
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Cetaman
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DJI-Ken Posted at 2016-8-16 19:04
I just did a quick Google search and saw this.
https://www.amazon.com/dp/B017IJG27K/ref=pd_lpo_sbs ...

Aloha Ken,

     When I was searching for a cable, I came across this type of micro plug but was concerned whether the reversible micro plug would work with the Phantom.  I liked the insulated cable to but was unsure about the plug.  So, you think the reversible plug works with the Phantom?  Actually the micro plug goes into my Samsung Galaxy Tab Pro.  Hmm.  Working on it!

Aloha and Drone On!
2016-8-16
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MD_Icarus
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This is supposed to be the top quality lightning cable:

Best Lightning cable


They even show a pic with the DJI RC
2016-8-17
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DJI-Ken
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Cetaman Posted at 2016-8-17 14:57
Aloha Ken,

     When I was searching for a cable, I came across this type of micro plug but was c ...

When I use my Android phone I use the cable the Phantom came with and let it hang. When I use my iPad I use the Cambond cable and it works perfect. I just did a quick Cambon USB Android cable and that's what came up, so not totally sure it works for you. You can buy then send it back if it doesn't work.
2016-8-17
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DJI-Ken
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MD_Icarus Posted at 2016-8-17 20:54
This is supposed to be the top quality lightning cable:

Best Lightning cable

I use the Cambond Lightning cable, He's looking for a Android cable.
2016-8-17
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Toorboy
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excellent video Cetaman i still cant get over how thick the jungle is man
2016-10-15
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DJI-Ken Posted at 2016-8-11 05:50
Very nice, what a great place to live and fly.

Very nice place to live
2016-11-12
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Cetacean
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Toorboy Posted at 2016-10-15 01:58
excellent video Cetaman i still cant get over how thick the jungle is man

Aloha Toorboy,

     Wow, I just came across this old post of yours!  Would you believe, I had to create my own music for the video to?  That was real hard!

     Looking forward to more of your videos.

Aloha and Drone On!
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