Tag Archives: phantom 2 vision

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 Amazon.com. 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.

Photographing the December, 2013, NEFAR Launch From the Air

NEFAR Launch

Saturday’s NEFAR launch was plagued with high winds most of the day. I didn’t have any rockets ready to fly, but looked forward to capturing still photos and videos of the launches using my Phantom 2 Vision quadcopter. Unfortunately, the day began with high winds, gusting to 25 mph.  Together with the overcast skies, this limited the number of people who showed up for the launch and the number of rockets they flew.

The high winds made me nervous about flying the helicopter, so I started off slow. I powered up the ‘copter and flew it up to about 25 feet in altitude. I let it hover in place as was amazed at how well it help position in spite of the strong and variable wind.

Having built up some confidence, I flew the helicopter out into the range.  Because of the wind, I decided not to fly too low or too high. and I didn’t try to maneuver too much.  For the most part, I just put the helicopter in a position to record a launch and let it keep itself in place.

Between each rack of rockets launched, I landed and either let the helicopter idle to preserve battery life or I replaced the battery with one I had been charging. The wind made landings challenging. I tipped the Phantom on pretty much every landing and even flipped it completely over once. There was no damage to the Phantom, though.

After tipping the Phantom over on landing for about the twelfth time, I decided to practice landings for a few minutes.  I realized that I was using “CSC”  (moving the two control sticks simultaneously down and to the center) to force the motors to shut off immediately as I landed.  But, the Phantom was skewing a bit as the control sticks moved which was causing many of the tip-overs. When I shut the motors down by just holding the throttle down for a few seconds, the landings were more successful.

The stills and video I captured on Saturday aren’t as impressive as I had hoped.  The wind made the Phantom bounce around too much and few larger rockets were launched.  But, I managed to produce what I think is a pretty good video of the day’s fun.