Category Archives: Quadcopters

Testing the Phantom 2 Vision “Control Signal Lost” Altitude Issues

At the NEFAR rocket launch last weekend, I had my Phantom 2 Vision quadcopter report “Control Signal Lost.” I found that it happened each time that I tried to increase the altitude above about 250 feet.  The control signal is supposed to function at up to 1000′ distance.

Today, I took the quadcopter to the local schoolyard to do some tests.  I flew the ‘copter about 20 feet in front of me and took it up to 250’ in altitude.  As I slowly tried to go higher, the “Control Signal Lost” message appeared.  It went away quickly though and I “yawed” the Phantom in a circle to confirm that I was still in command. But, being cautious, I then descended.

I repeated the experiment a couple of times and each time, at between 250 to 300 feet up, the signal went away, but only briefly.  Each time, I reduced the altitude just in case. In similar situations, I had the Phantom enter its “Return to Home” fail-safe mode a couple of times at the NEFAR launch. I tried repositioning the transmitter’s antenna, but it seemed to have little effect on the problem.

Next, I brought the Phantom down to about 100 feet in altitude.  I flew it about 500 feet away (the farthest I could go and stay over the grass field) and the signal lost message did not appear.

Finally, I positioned the Phantom about 200 feet away from me and I was able to take it up to 300 feet without any indication of signal lost.

It may only happen when the ‘copter is oriented in a certain direction relative to the transmitter. I didn’t think to test that.

I’ll watch for the problem in the future, but for now, I’m not too concerned. I am able to fly higher as long as the Phantom is far enough from me and I had no problem regaining control when it was lost.


Wirelessly Sharing the Phantom 2 Vision’s First-Person View

Netgear Push2TVRecently, we were using a Netgear Push2TV adapter at work to display the output from an Android tablet on a larger monitor for a demonstration. That got me thinking … “I wonder if it work work with the Phantom 2 Vision?”

I thought that it would be cool if the First-Person View (FPV) provided by the Vision’s smartphone app could be displayed on a TV so others could watch as I flew the quadcopter.

I did a little research and learned that my Moto X phone is compatible with the Push2TV. The Moto X supports “Miracast” which is the protocol used by the Push2TV to wirelessly mirror the phone’s display on the TV. Miracast is built on another protocol called “Wi-Fi Direct” which allows two devices to connect by Wi-Fi outside of a network. Wi-Fi Direct also allows the phone to connect to the Push2TV adapter at the same time as it is connected to a wireless network.

When the Push2TV arrived, I hooked it up through its HDMI connection to a small TV. It displayed a screen saying that it was ready to connect.  On the phone, selected “Settings => Display => Wireless Display” and wait while it scanned for a wireless display to connect to.  And I waited. And I waited. Eventually, I gave up.

That’s when I had a brilliant idea – read the instructions. Aha! It says to update the firmware. I downloaded the firmware file to the phone then pushed the button to change to the setup mode on the Push2TV. I connected the phone to the Push2TV adapter through a regular Wi-Fi connection. I opened the Chrome app and connected to the Push2TV box. It displayed a web page asking me to upload the firmware file.  I browsed for the file, selected it, and click the button.  After a few minutes, the Push2TV restarted with a different “ready to connect” screen.

I selected the wireless display option on the phone again and there it was … the Push2V appeared in the list of wireless displays.  I selected it and the phone’s screen showed up on the TV!

So, I fired up the Phantom 2 Vision. Danced a little to the start-up sounds, I connected the phone to the Phantom’s Wi-Fi feed. Then I fired up the DJI Vision App. And, it worked. The TV mirrored what I saw on the phone and the app controlled the Vision’s camera.

Last weekend, I took the TV and Push2TV adapter to a local rocket launch. I tried mirroring the Vision App on the TV while I flew the Phantom 2 Vision. Unfortunately, the inexpensive TV I had wasn’t very bright. Even sitting in our trailer under overcast skies, it was hard to see.  So, I didn’t spend too much time experimenting to see if mirroring the display affected the range of the Vision’s FPV. But, I did confirm that it works.


Adding a GPS Tracker to the Phantom 2 Vision


Looking for a reasonably-priced way to track my Phantom 2 Vision quadcopter if it decides to fly off, I recently ordered a “GSM/GPS/GPRS Tracker Device” from It’s a  small box that you plug a SIM card into.  You call the number associated with the SIM and the device texts its location back to you.  Some cell phone operators, such as AT&T, offer “per minute/per message” plans that should work great with it. Most GPS locators require you to pay a monthly subscription fee.

I’m planning to attach the tracker to the Phantom quadcopter.  If it gets lost, the tracker should help me find it. The tracker is small enough that I could also use it in some of my rockets to help recover one that happens to drift away from the launch site.