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Passing on my P3S owners experience from box to modifications.. t...
701 6 2017-2-7
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solentlife
Captain
Flight distance : 1087530 ft
Switzerland
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This is a story of my ownership of the P3S from DJI and how I overcame initial difficulties and range limitations. I hope it can help any others who are struggling or wanting to extract more from their P3S. I also hope it helps new people to NOT crash or damage their precious model.

So here goes :

The plain description of what I did with my P3S

Having been involved in models of literally any description for over 50 years, free flight, Control Line and RC on ground, water and in air. With last 10 years or so Multi-Rotors included. I decided it was time to move into the 'Camera carrying' models of DJI.

I wanted the P4 but its cost was out of proportion with my expected use. I looked at the P3 range and being a hobbyist - the Standard fit the bill.

During the wait for its arrival - I studied as many Youtube videos as I could ... I downloaded manuals and read them through to be familiar as possible when it arrived.

The box arrived - I paid the duties etc. and it was mine.

Being an RC modeller - I was first of all intrigued by the battery system and flight systems.
I had an Android Phone that looked good to work with this model.

All charged up ... check out and then calibrate.

All went fine and I noted that there was no indication of which FW was loaded. The APP I used was 3.0.1

Flight went OK but range was less than I expected. I averaged about 300 - 400m on control, but Video was so unreliable - I was ranging from 0 to 100m before failed.

This put me on my quest to find solutions. I am not one to just give up and send back an article - and anyway sending back to Banggood was an option I chose not to do.

This is where I started to have thoughts that my P3S may have been already 'played' with on FW. I went back online to find out about FW issues and advice. I downloaded 1.5.8 but just could not get it to upload to the machine. Every time I did - all connection RC and AC failed. I tried every trick and method I could find online. Nothing worked. The only FW that would load up eventually was 1.07.009 BETA ... and I had idea that this model had been loaded with it before I received it. It was the only explanation I could come up with.

I reset all calibrations, reset everything and went flight testing again. Same results. As long as I stayed within 100 - 200m I was usually fine with Screen Video stopping occasionally. But control was solid. I knew I was lucky that I was experienced in flying Multi-Rotors without the DJI extra aids .. so flight was without crashes.

I now started my hunt for solutions.

First I tried the Windsurfer and I had immediate improvement of control distance with 600 - 700m averaging. But video was still failing well before that. With RTH and other functions built in - enabled me to confidently exceed video distance.

I returned to online and checking all options for modifications. My intention was to increase the video range and consolidate control - both to a steady 1000m.
Reports on the Argtec and DBS systems were compared not only in performance, but also in price and convenience of fitting.
Decision was made to fit the Argtec system and then further modifications to increase later.

The Argtec kit was easily fitted making sure that antenna connections were well made.

Another decision was to install Icarus Software to boost the 2.4Ghz video power from the 16dbi to 27dbi.

Both additions to my P3S gave immediate increase of both video and control range. Regular range experienced was over 1600m with video exceeding 2500m easily. Occasional flights showed range of over 2400m for control.

Things were very good and I was experiencing steady reliable use of my P3S. Then the situation changed with RTH problems and also reduced range. This was because of both FW and Go App updates.
First of all the Go App updated to 3.1.2 and immedaitely RTH and video feed suffered serious problems. Home position would be anything up to 1000m wrong, the video feed could freeze or delay in display to such extent that any attempts at FPV were unreliable. The other issue was the reduced range with the latest 1.8.10 FW. A combination of Go and FW resulted in range tests of barely over 1000m, often down to 800m, with maximum found around the 1500m.
Rolling back Go to 2.9.1 cured the video problems and RTH. Rolling back FW to 1.07.009 gave me back reasonable range back in the 1800m arena.
Further testing has produced a reliable combination of Go 3.0.1 with FW 1.8.10 with regular distances about the 1500 to 1800m arena.

Development of more additions is in progress and will be added to this narrative as available.

Additions as following steps to show effects and give people options to choose :

1. Double height Windsurfer behind the taller ARGTEC 5.8Ghz antenna to see if focusing the Control RF can help. Range may hit over 2500m reliably.

2. Unboosted 14Dbi plate antenna for 5.8Ghz and see the range. Expected range to be over 2500m

3. 5.8Ghz power booster to bring it to 2W. This will need a power supply of about 6V such as a 2S LiFe pack. The unit connects between the RF output and the antenna. Range to be over 3500m.

4. 2.4Ghz power booster with auto Receive / Transmit switching increasing to 2W. This also powered from the 2S LiFe pack. This also connects between the RF output and the antenna. It is expected that only one antenna will be sufficient to boost and gain then over 3500m range.

The problem that will become more relevant as the range increases - the actual flight time and distance flown will limit the overall increase. Safe overall flight time of 21mins will be taken as maximum.

This thread will be added to as tests continue. The purpose in the end to enable others to choose what they think suits them.

PLEASE NOTE THAT ALL TESTS ARE CONDUCTED WITH ANDROID TABLET : Nexus 7 Vers 2 16Gb

This tablet was chosen as recc'd by DJI list and also that it is middle of the road in price, power and performance. I did not want to use a high power unit that could mask or affect results.

Nigel

2017-2-7
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DaveH_au
lvl.2

Australia
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Hi Nigel,
My children & I have enjoyed your test videos. I have watched them all with interest as to which combination you would get best results from. The kids were more interested in the scenery.

Digressing from the technical side of your tests, we have been amazed at the frozen river!  The first videos we could see the white surface and could clearly see it was frozen.. In the last video we assumed the river had thawed as it was more clear than before. Until you circled around and dropped down to fly over what we had thought were "black birds" on the surface, only to realise they were people on top of the ice. We concluded they looked like they had holes through the ice and were fishing?
My boys love fishing and think having a jetty in your back yard is "Cool".

We have never seen a frozen river or lake.  I can not remember a winters day here that was below 5deg C. I haven't even worn a long sleeve shirt or jacket to work for at least 10 years!

Currently most days are around 32 -34 deg C. Around 93F.

I have settled with Firmware 1.8.10 and Android App 3.0.1.

Again, Thanks for your efforts.
Regards
Dave

2017-2-7
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MerlinL14
First Officer
Flight distance : 2858 ft
United Kingdom
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Looks like you have carried out more tests and posted the unbiased results than any of the DJI reps Nigel. Thanks you have been a fountain of knowledge. Had any of my RC models suffered the same degree of issues over the same period as has the P3S I would have burned them at the field and left this hobby a long time ago. Unless things change drastically with support, and any support is better than the total lack we are subject to at present, then my next video my just be me setting fire to this DJI trash.
2017-2-7
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solentlife
Captain
Flight distance : 1087530 ft
Switzerland
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Hi "DaveH_au" ....

Yes the Ice is amazing and it actually does go crystal clear at times. You can actually see fish swimming under and the water flow.
As winter progresses - the average thickness can be as much as 40 - 50cms ... for an average man to walk on ice needs at least 4cms of clean unflawed ice as a minimum.

Ice hole fishing is a popular hobby in Baltics ... USA / Canada has it as well. Before the authorities clamped down on the 'businesses' that got into it - we would have literally hundreds out there camped on the ice with tents and even BBQ's. Oil lamps at night etc.

My house has 14200 sq.m (about 3.5 acres) of land with the private boat channel ... so its ideal !! I just wish I didn't have so many trees as it stops me flying my other models. The river leads to the Baltic and I sail my larger yacht to Sweden for holidays sometimes.

OK ... back to my Phantom ...

The model is a very good flyer but let down obviously by the control and video system chosen. So I hope my videos and tests can help others achieve at least moderate success with it. In all reality - we should really buy Advanced or Pro versions but human nature is to buy the budget version and then pep it up to get more out of it.

I will never 'burn' my P3S ... it will always have place in my hangar. But then again - I am lucky that I have managed to get it to fly further than many others achieve.

Lets see what the next round of tests give us ...

I will be compiling a Battery 'story' as well once that series of tests has concluded.

Cheers and thanks for support.

Nigel
2017-2-7
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solentlife
Captain
Flight distance : 1087530 ft
Switzerland
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I will be travelling for next 2 weeks - sadly work has to take over at times ... but I will be logging in and updating when I can.

Nigel
2017-2-7
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RADROCKET
lvl.4
Flight distance : 1110827 ft
United States
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Thanks For That. Will definitely keep this in my favorites.
2017-2-8
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solentlife
Captain
Flight distance : 1087530 ft
United States
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I will be looking at other aspects of the P3S use once these two topics have run their course ...

Nigel
2017-2-9
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