Update: Finally lost my spark - !!! FOUND IT !!!!

Discussion in 'General Discussions' started by CDS, Apr 13, 2018.

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  1. CDS

    CDS Member

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    Have been lurking here for a while, trying to learn a bit, and enjoying flying my Spark.

    I've been playing with Autopilot as an app, and really liked how it allows for some smooth shots.
    But I think maybe my novice skills finally won out. I was practicing with Autopilot's "cruise" mode, which manages the spark's yaw and gimbal tilt while you fly the other flight axes so it stays focused on a point while you fly around.

    May have had a wrong setting, but I lost visual sight of the drone as it passed around the corner of my house. When I turned the corner, I had could not see it, and then started getting GPS errors, Atti mode, etc. I attempted to RTH, no luck, intermittent visual signal, etc. Then I closed Autopilot, started DJI go, got an intermittent and choppy video feed. Attempted to recover and fly back, but finally fully lost signal. Here's the flight log. It seems to kick in after 9 minutes - I assume b/c that is when I switched to DJI Go from Autopilot

    DJI Flight Log Viewer - PhantomHelp.com

    The yaw errors I assume are something to do with Autopilot since it was controlling the yaw when I started the flight.

    Seems the last signal was at about 13% battery on the golf course.

    Anyone have any input of advice?
     
  2. DurhamPro

    DurhamPro Active Member

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    In the Dji app, go to top right menu and scroll down to “find my drone” if it was recording positions it may be able to point you in the right direction. Good Luck
     
  3. RaWine

    RaWine Well-Known Member

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    Well, you did remind me I wanted to do a trial run with the "Find my Drone" feature, before I have to use it.

    Find my drone apparently gives you coordinates which may be easier to use plugged directly in Google maps.

    Hope you find it. I plan to use autopilot, so I'm wary already.
     
  4. DurhamPro

    DurhamPro Active Member

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    I don't know if find my drone will work if running auto pilot but the original poster switched to Go4, hopefully it will help to locate the missing drone.
     
  5. msinger

    msinger Well-Known Member
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    Yaw errors commonly appear when the compass is being negatively affected by a magnetic metal object. That often happens when pilots take off near magnetic metal objects (like rebar in concrete sidewalks).

    If your remote controller disconnected at the end of your flight log, your Spark would have started landing 3 seconds later. Since it was drifting with the wind, you won't find it at the last location in the flight log. Try following this yellow line starting at the end of the red line:

    Location.jpg


    Your Spark was flying pretty low at the time (possibly lower than shown in the flight log since the elevation was changing), so it could have crashed into a tree along that path.
     
  6. RaWine

    RaWine Well-Known Member

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    SparkHelp,

    So, do you know if there is any failsafe method of dealing with Autopilot when something unexpected happens?

    I know some people complain RTH isn't dependable in Go4, but I've not had a problem with it the 5-6 times I had to use it. I just make sure home point is not a mile away from a previous use or something.
     
  7. CDS

    CDS Member

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    In Autopilot, if you slide the sport mode button to "on" it stops the program, drone hovers in place. That's of course if it has comm'n with the RC, and GPS lock. If it looses conn'x with the RC, it should also stop and hover. Seems I had the perfect storm of GPS issues (maybe caused by a conflict between compass, IMU and GPS which dropped it into atti mode), disconnect from the controller, and visual loss (just at the wrong time). At that point it was just drifting with the wind, so hitting the "sport mode" emergency approach wouldn't help since it had stopped the program anyway to due to RC disconnect. In hindsight, I should have tilted the gimbal down and landed as quickly as possible when it reconnected, then tracked it down using the log or find-my-drone.

    Hitting RTH in autopilot also halts the program, then the AC returns home autonomously. It's on the setting page. I've found Autopilot to be great for getting smooth "drive-by" shots I can't get manually. - this was a frustrating combination circumstances, combined with my novice "emergency situation" skills that caused it to drift before I could recover.
     
  8. CDS

    CDS Member

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    Appreciate the help! I'll take a look in that area and see if it had a guardian angel and landed safely.

    On the Yaw errors - it was flying fine for 8+ minutes before the issue. This was a DJI-care-replacement AC (that story is how I learned about the "dynamic home location" setting in autopilot!), so I'm wondering if there was something funky with it. I calibrated the compass, but had only flown it a few times.
     
  9. CDS

    CDS Member

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    upload_2018-4-15_8-57-8.png

    UNBELIEVABLE, it was right on the projected line!!! Red circle above. Literally just sitting there on the grass.

    And if it had gone another 20 feet it would have hit a pretty large tree.

    Looks like it just landed - no visible damage. A bit wet from some morning mist/dew. Letting it dry out before I fire it up and check everything out.

    Still in awe of these little machines ...

    Thanks again @sparkhelp for the projected map and the coaching!!!!
     
  10. Spark 317

    Spark 317 Well-Known Member

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    He's the answer man!:)
     
  11. Playthru

    Playthru Well-Known Member

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    That is so cool and there are some very smart people here who helped you.
     
  12. graywoulf

    graywoulf Active Member

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    I love a story with a happy ending. :) As much as some of the third party apps seem appealing, I think I will stick with DJI Go 4. At least until my DJI Care Refresh runs out. Seems to me also that many of the other apps don't support the Spark as well as a Mavic or Phantom.
     
  13. RaWine

    RaWine Well-Known Member

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    If it landed because of a critical low battery, you might want to charge it right away.
     
  14. MannyCAM2001

    MannyCAM2001 Well-Known Member

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    Finally! A movie where nobody dies at the end.
    Cheers
     
    Transplant likes this.
  15. Ted Schoenfelder

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    CDS:

    How close were you to the power station near Robson Industries when you started to lose the drone? Looks like there may have been some metal working factories in the vicinity too, either or both could result in drone yaw/compass errors. We don't have your whole flight track so it is difficult to know what led to the problem. The yaw error shows up immediately in the files you uploaded so it likely started much earlier in the flight? Be helpful to know when errors first started showing up and the proximity of the drone to that power station.

    In addition, I believe the manual says if you lose RC connection the drone initiates RTH in 3 seconds, however, due to the yaw related error and given your were in ATTI mode, the drone would not know its current location and therefore would not initiate a RTH because it would not know where "home" is. I believe the drone simply initiates an immediate landing once "critical battery" level is reached. Glad you were able to locate it with msinger's help and his extended trajectory on the map.
     
  16. graywoulf

    graywoulf Active Member

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    Power station? Factories? I must be missing something in the picture. All I see is houses and a golf course. o_O
     
  17. DurhamPro

    DurhamPro Active Member

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    Great news! Glad to hear that you found it.
     
  18. Ted Schoenfelder

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    Easy to see at the point DJI Go 4 app was turned on, over 9 minutes into flight:

    Lost Spark.jpg
     
  19. CDS

    CDS Member

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    OK, here's the log map from the earlier autopilot segment of the flight.

    About 9 minutes of testing out some autopilot settings, then it's quite obvious when it looses connx to the RC (Q) and goes into atti-mode. Perfect storm of loss of visual when it went around the side of the house (so no visual), and haywire on the remote. Have flown missions all around the house before, never an issue. It regains connx (at R), but then it drifts with the wind. You can see it's still a good distance from the power substation when this all is going on. This log/map is from Airdata - you can see when I quit Autopilot and switched to DJI Go4 and the .txt log picks up. If it would help to have the raw airdata log, I can try and figure out how to get that.

    Fence Authority is commercial but not "industrial". Lenape forged products is a forge, but not high-volume, mostly custom fabrication work.

    In thinking about it, if the same thing had happened in the DJI app, the AC behavior would have been the same I think. It lost GPS lock (and other yaw issues for some reason, maybe from the autopilot setting?), then was at the mercy of the prevailing wind, right when it lost RC connx. With no visual on the AC, my initial reaction should have been to spin the gimbal down, make sure I was clear as possible for landing, then set down, and use logs, find-drone, etc to locate. What if I didn't regain visual? Any other opinions? Just trying to think through how to react when things go sideways ...

    BTW, I am very grateful for all the help and good wishes. It was a great feeling just seeing the AC sitting on the grass, like it was wondering where the heck I was all this time while it was waiting for me! It wasn't really the $$ loss I avoided on my mind, but more "holy mackerel, that is soooo cool that it's right on the **** line!"


    upload_2018-4-15_20-20-10.png