Mental

Extending the Range

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Hi all, I am a beginner, having struggled to learn on a Hubsan 107L, I have now acquired an MXJ X101. A very different bird. I know it's very much entry-level, so am not expecting too much from it but is it possible to extend the control range? 100 meters isn't much and I'd hate to see it just drift off into the distance!

Once I have managed a few flights - the weather here is not ideal for flying at the moment - I will upload some videos. Don't expect too much; it's only a 1mp camera.

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Hi @Mental, don't believe you can extend the range on this model without some serious tinkering. Can I ask, why do you need more than 100 meters? What's the use case? Definitely share some images / videos!

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Hi Alan, I don't think 100 meters is very much; our altitude limit in the UK is 400 feet but it would be easy to exceed 100 meters in level distance ... I proved that today! Sadly this bird is now awol. I had it under control up to about 50 feet, and decided to put some more altitude on  ... it started to climb and I leveled it off at about 100 feet ( I haven't had it long and was still getting the feel of it). I noticed the light wind was beginning to cause a bit of drift, so tried to get it back to go more upwind. No response. The controller lights still indicated it was bound but It just slowly sailed off into the distance, out of sight. I turned off the controller hoping to trigger the soft landing but nothing happened. I turned the controller back on and it signaled that it had re-acquired the quad but still no response to the controls. Lost the wi-fi signal a minute or so later. Have searched in the direction it went but found nothing so far.

I won't be replacing it with that model. I've seen others in the same price range claiming about 300 meters range ... if that can be believed :(

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Hmm. I don't think increasing your range is going to help you. I'd focus on mastering basic multirotor orientation in a safe, controlled, and non-windy environment.

Sorry to hear about your crash! Hope you find her :(

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OK, true I haven't exactly mastered it yet but this was the second flight of the day and the first went without a hitch, then ... this is the video recovered from my phone which shows some erratic movements from the start. I'll be out again looking for her in the morning, weather permitting. This was the first fine day in weeks!

Sorry - didn't realise it was that big - it's only 2 minutes long.

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OK. You are right, Alan, I'm no expert pilot. On returning to the scene this morning, I spotted the probable cause of the problem - I shouldn't have attempted to fly here; there is a large phone mast on the site! What an idiot.

After 20 minutes search, I recovered the drone and am now wiping the mud off. The on board camera recorded slightly better footage than my phone, right up to the crash ... and for several minutes beyond but I've edited that out. In some of the frames, the phone mast is clearly visible.

Now I have to work out how to judge distance better so that I know if I am going out of range ... any suggestions? I want to do aerial photography out here in the countryside and good altitude is sometimes needed for great views, also it's sometimes necessary to fly in from some distance away to view certain things.

Once I'm more capable as a pilot, I'll invest in a GoPro and get some better shots.

Andy

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Another point arises from my stupidity; For various reasons, I didn't recover the drone until 18 hours later. She was switched on for that entire time, as evidenced by a LOT of recorded video of grass. When I put the battery on charge, it just went on charging for hours and hours ... the green light never came on to indicate a full charge. I tried it anyway and although the quad lights came on, she was not able to bind with the controller. The battery is as good as dead. It's not swollen and didn't get hot when charging - although the charger did! Clearly, Lipos don't like to be run flat.

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@Mental, HIGHLY suggest that if you (or anyone else reading this thread) are going to continue to operate sUAS, that you become an expert in LiPo battery maintenance -- proper use, cell-balancing, storage, care, etc.

We cover this in an entire lecture in our UAV Boot Camp training course. It's an often overlooked part of being a strong, competent sUAS pilot.

Ever heard of a LiPo battery fire? Could EASILY happen if you don't know what you're doing :(

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@Mental Being able to tell distance visually with a UAV is an important skill but one that is incredibly hard to master, as there is a very obvious lack of perspective when looking at the sky as a background. Just like it is hard to tell if that 777 flying overhead is at 10000 or 20000 feet it can be quite hard to tell if your drone is at 50' or at 75' which can be the difference between clearing a tree top and going all george of the jungle on that same tree. With my students when i practice this i have them do a drill that involves moving the drone to a certain height and having another student attempt to guesstimate its height. this works if you have an altimeter read out like in the DJI go app, that will give you the altitude in a display. By doing this with practice you will find that your ability to gauge distance will become better and you will be able to better judge gaps, and distance to objects that would otherwise decimate your UAV.

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Thanks for that, RemotelyPossible!

OK, I have now given in to pressure and obtained (persuaded my partner to buy me) a Phantom 3 - only a Standard, but even so it is an incredible advance over the toys I've been struggling with up to now!

I have only taken it out twice so far, and will need to get a better monitor; my Samsung phone is almost invisible in bright daylight. I made a hood but is doesn't make a lot of difference. Any one know of a better one? The Standard has a smaller holder than the other Phantoms, and a phone is the best it can do :(

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