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custom unlocking help

RBrotzman

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Joined
Sep 21, 2023
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Age
63
Location
Harlingen, TX
Need to fly near an airport in an authorization zone. Can't seem to get drone to unlock. I'm flying an Air2S, using the Smart Controller. I don't have internet access out in the field, so I used Aloft from my office computer to get LAANC authorization, then went to the DJI Flysafe website to enter a request for a custom unlock. Filled in the blanks on the form, and uploaded a PDF of the authorization I received from Aloft. After a few minutes, the status showed "accepted" but that's the point where I'm lost as to next step.

How do I get the Smart Controller and the aircraft to know that I've been approved for unlocking when I don't have any internet access out at the site? I called tech support, and they told me to turn on the controller and aircraft, go into the "fly" app, hit the 3 dots in the upper right corner of the screen, scroll down to "Unlock GEO Zone", then hit "import to aircraft." I did all that while I was in the office where my controller could access the office wi-fi, and got a message that the import to aircraft was successful, but when I went out to the site, the controller/aircraft were still saying I was in an authorization zone, and my only options were "cancel" or "unlock." If I hit "unlock" it tells me an internet connection (which I don't have out in the field) is required.

I thought by doing everything I described above while I was in the office, that the controller and aircraft had already been told this location was unlocked and that they would store that in some memory so that they would know when I got out to the site that it's supposed to be unlocked.

What step am I missing, or what am I doing wrong?
 
i know you said no internet access, but do you have cell service at the site? If so, use your phone's hot spot.
 
Need to fly near an airport in an authorization zone. Can't seem to get drone to unlock. I'm flying an Air2S, using the Smart Controller. I don't have internet access out in the field, so I used Aloft from my office computer to get LAANC authorization, then went to the DJI Flysafe website to enter a request for a custom unlock. Filled in the blanks on the form, and uploaded a PDF of the authorization I received from Aloft. After a few minutes, the status showed "accepted" but that's the point where I'm lost as to next step.

How do I get the Smart Controller and the aircraft to know that I've been approved for unlocking when I don't have any internet access out at the site? I called tech support, and they told me to turn on the controller and aircraft, go into the "fly" app, hit the 3 dots in the upper right corner of the screen, scroll down to "Unlock GEO Zone", then hit "import to aircraft." I did all that while I was in the office where my controller could access the office wi-fi, and got a message that the import to aircraft was successful, but when I went out to the site, the controller/aircraft were still saying I was in an authorization zone, and my only options were "cancel" or "unlock." If I hit "unlock" it tells me an internet connection (which I don't have out in the field) is required.

I thought by doing everything I described above while I was in the office, that the controller and aircraft had already been told this location was unlocked and that they would store that in some memory so that they would know when I got out to the site that it's supposed to be unlocked.

What step am I missing, or what am I doing wrong?
It sounds like you are doing everything right. I was going to suggest you do it under wifi and then it should stick, but you’ve tried that. When you see the authorization in the app, do you import it into the aircraft and do you then click on aircraft to see it there? Once imported it should stay on a Mavic for instance. On my inspire 2 I have dual batteries so I got swap the batteries in the field so I don’t lose the imported license. Can you get your phone to connect. I know this can be a pain, too. It seems that connecting with an iphone has never been easy, made more for android, but that is my other workaround, network access out on location through my phone. Also, be sure to log out of your DJI account on your aircraft and log back in. Last time they did a firmware upgrade I got logged out of a custom unlock near an airport and that was the fix, log out, log back in. Good luck.
 
i know you said no internet access, but do you have cell service at the site? If so, use your phone's hot spot.
I have an inexpensive rate plan for my cell phone. I get unlimited talk, text, and data, but the plan does not allow my phone to be used as a hot spot. There have been a few times I've thought I had everything updated, only to get out in the field and discover that the drone won't fly because it thinks the GPS or something else needs updating, and I end up having to go back to the office to update, and then back out to the field. I'm thinking about upgrading my cell plan to allow it to be used as a hot spot to alleviate this issue. Will depend on how much that rate plan upgrade costs.
 
It sounds like you are doing everything right. I was going to suggest you do it under wifi and then it should stick, but you’ve tried that. When you see the authorization in the app, do you import it into the aircraft and do you then click on aircraft to see it there? Once imported it should stay on a Mavic for instance. On my inspire 2 I have dual batteries so I got swap the batteries in the field so I don’t lose the imported license. Can you get your phone to connect. I know this can be a pain, too. It seems that connecting with an iphone has never been easy, made more for android, but that is my other workaround, network access out on location through my phone. Also, be sure to log out of your DJI account on your aircraft and log back in. Last time they did a firmware upgrade I got logged out of a custom unlock near an airport and that was the fix, log out, log back in. Good luck.
My inexpensive rate plan doesn't allow me to use my Android phone as a hot spot. May have to upgrade to a more expensive plan that allows it because there have been times where I've discovered that (without me doing anything), my controller has gotten logged out, which puts some severe limitations on how high or how far the drone will fly until I get to internet service to log back in. On occasion, I've also found (only after I'm out in the field) that the drone or controller wants an update before flying.

With regard to the unlocking, I finally got it to work. Tech support didn't tell me that there are still a couple of steps on the controller, even after you get the message that the unlock license has been successfullly imported to the aircraft. Don't remember the exact details, but you switch to another screen and then it gives you check boxes that you check to say you promise to abide by the limitations of the unlock authorization and to fly safely. Sure would be nice if there was a manual or a video that details all the steps, because it's not exactly intuitive. Anyway, I finally did stumble across the missing steps and got 'er done.
 
I had a similar problem with my Mavic 2 Pro. When you get to the screen that says “import to aircraft “ do what it says then change tabs to Aircraft and refresh the current unlock license. I have to repeat in the field occasionally. Once the license is downloaded to the controller you no longer need internet or cell service. Try that and see if it helps.
RAC
 
Can be frustrating the first couple of times. Best bet is to do it at home when you have internet access and follow the directions (a list of PDFs; choose the one for your app) on the appropriate pdf. You will have to have the controller and drone on when doing the unlock. Once in the field just activate the unlock on controller and fly. The app may still ask you to accept all responsabilty, etc. etc. Good luck.
 
My inexpensive rate plan doesn't allow me to use my Android phone as a hot spot. May have to upgrade to a more expensive plan that allows it because there have been times where I've discovered that (without me doing anything), my controller has gotten logged out, which puts some severe limitations on how high or how far the drone will fly until I get to internet service to log back in. On occasion, I've also found (only after I'm out in the field) that the drone or controller wants an update before flying.

With regard to the unlocking, I finally got it to work. Tech support didn't tell me that there are still a couple of steps on the controller, even after you get the message that the unlock license has been successfullly imported to the aircraft. Don't remember the exact details, but you switch to another screen and then it gives you check boxes that you check to say you promise to abide by the limitations of the unlock authorization and to fly safely. Sure would be nice if there was a manual or a video that details all the steps, because it's not exactly intuitive. Anyway, I finally did stumble across the missing steps and got 'er done.
Sounds like the only sure shot solution. Last time this happened to me in the field it took me 20 minutes to get my cell phone to connect. I’m not sure why this is such an issue with these remotes. I was 3 hours from home so I really needed for my phone to work and finally it did, but not a fun way to fly, always worrying about an unlock not working. I’d spend those extra bucks on your cell plan for peace of mind.
 
I had a similar problem with my Mavic 2 Pro. When you get to the screen that says “import to aircraft “ do what it says then change tabs to Aircraft and refresh the current unlock license. I have to repeat in the field occasionally. Once the license is downloaded to the controller you no longer need internet or cell service. Try that and see if it helps.
RAC
Yes, I stumbled across that on my 3rd attempt to fly my drone at the site. Too bad that step about switching to an aircraft tab after you get the confirmation that the license has been imported to the aircraft wasn't mentioned by tech support, nor have I seen any reference to any of those steps in any videos on the DJI flysafe website, or in any other documentation about custom unlocking. They really need to do much better and not leave it up to customers to just stumble across it after multiple unsuccessful attempts at unlocking.
 
Yes, I know what you mean. So often critical steps get left out in tutorials that should show every little step. It's frustrating for sure. Hopefully things go better for you after this.
 
My inexpensive rate plan doesn't allow me to use my Android phone as a hot spot. May have to upgrade to a more expensive plan that allows it because there have been times where I've discovered that (without me doing anything), my controller has gotten logged out, which puts some severe limitations on how high or how far the drone will fly until I get to internet service to log back in. On occasion, I've also found (only after I'm out in the field) that the drone or controller wants an update before flying.

With regard to the unlocking, I finally got it to work. Tech support didn't tell me that there are still a couple of steps on the controller, even after you get the message that the unlock license has been successfullly imported to the aircraft. Don't remember the exact details, but you switch to another screen and then it gives you check boxes that you check to say you promise to abide by the limitations of the unlock authorization and to fly safely. Sure would be nice if there was a manual or a video that details all the steps, because it's not exactly intuitive. Anyway, I finally did stumble across the missing steps and got 'er done.
I agree with this. I had the exact same issue while on-site standing with customer...embarrassing! You are missing a step on your controller. Sorry I can't be more specific without having it in front of me, but most definitely you are missing the final step. Take your time and pay close attention to your screen and you'll find the missing page/step.
 
Yes, I've had this happen to me once on a job. Very embarrassing and that's what led me to hacking DJI firmware so that it cannot control my drone. As a Part 107 pilot, I follow ALL F.A.A. rules and regulations and get pre-approval to fly in restricted airspace but I WON'T be stopped by China while operating in the United States. Never a problem since...just sayin'.
 
Yes, I've had this happen to me once on a job. Very embarrassing and that's what led me to hacking DJI firmware so that it cannot control my drone. As a Part 107 pilot, I follow ALL F.A.A. rules and regulations and get pre-approval to fly in restricted airspace but I WON'T be stopped by China while operating in the United States. Never a problem since...just sayin'.
I like your approach!
 
This happened to me 2days ago with my Mavic 3 and the RC Pro controller.
Found out on the job I was closer to Midway Airport than I’d realized I would be, tried to do a custom Unlock. Got the LAANC approval immediately for 100’.
Then seemed like the DJI Unlock uploaded fine. But when I activated I got a map screen showing my custom unlock circle- but was stuck there. Couldn’t see camera view, start motors or do anything.

Found out from customer support showing screenshots that there’s a On/off switch on that page near bottom of the macp view- that was impossible for me to get to on the RC Pro. I couldn’t scroll the screen down to get to it, only slide the map around.

Wasted 40 min on this with client there.
Finally redid a Zone- Self-unlock, still having to shut down & startup a few times to get it to work. I didn’t need a Red zone waiver, just an Authorization zone unlock.

Hugely frustrating and ridiculously complicated when I had the LAANC authorization in less than a minute.
Never had that much trouble doing this in 9 yrs flying…
 
I agree with this. I had the exact same issue while on-site standing with customer...embarrassing! You are missing a step on your controller. Sorry I can't be more specific without having it in front of me, but most definitely you are missing the final step. Take your time and pay close attention to your screen and you'll find the missing page/step.
Hey R. Cowan- what’s the missing step?
Had this kind of problem w/M3 & an RC Pro the other day.
 
This happened to me 2days ago with my Mavic 3 and the RC Pro controller.
Found out on the job I was closer to Midway Airport than I’d realized I would be, tried to do a custom Unlock. Got the LAANC approval immediately for 100’.
Then seemed like the DJI Unlock uploaded fine. But when I activated I got a map screen showing my custom unlock circle- but was stuck there. Couldn’t see camera view, start motors or do anything.

Found out from customer support showing screenshots that there’s a On/off switch on that page near bottom of the macp view- that was impossible for me to get to on the RC Pro. I couldn’t scroll the screen down to get to it, only slide the map around.

Wasted 40 min on this with client there.
Finally redid a Zone- Self-unlock, still having to shut down & startup a few times to get it to work. I didn’t need a Red zone waiver, just an Authorization zone unlock.

Hugely frustrating and ridiculously complicated when I had the LAANC authorization in less than a minute.
Never had that much trouble doing this in 9 yrs flying…

Yes I can confirm this to be an issue as I could not get to the bottom of the Scroll to hit the button, so Im wondering if there is a way to change the Font Size quickly on the DJI Pro Controller. I will look into that latter today.

Phantomrain.org
Gear to fly in the Rain. Land on the Water.
 
Yes I can confirm this to be an issue as I could not get to the bottom of the Scroll to hit the button, so Im wondering if there is a way to change the Font Size quickly on the DJI Pro Controller. I will look into that latter today.

Phantomrain.org
Gear to fly in the Rain. Land on the Water.
Great. Appreciated!!
 
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Hey R. Cowan- what’s the missing step?
Had this kind of problem w/M3 & an RC Pro the other day.
jephoto, Since I've only encountered this issue once about 4 months ago, I can't pull it up on the controller now to answer your question. However, I'm waiting for FAA waiver for another zero grid flight that I expect to complete the end of this week. I will be able at that time to determine that last step ad will share on this thread once I do.
 
Thanks. The area I was in wasn't a red zone. Just an Altitude Blue zone. I prob didn't need a custom unlock. I was eventually able to clear that and do a Self-unlock for the zone. But I need to know what to do when I actually DO need a custom unlock or a waiver.

But it was a drag getting stuck in the Custom Unlock page and unable to do anything other than restart. There has to be an easier way on the $1200 Pro controller.
 
Yes I can confirm this to be an issue as I could not get to the bottom of the Scroll to hit the button, so Im wondering if there is a way to change the Font Size quickly on the DJI Pro Controller. I will look into that latter today.

Phantomrain.org
Gear to fly in the Rain. Land on the Water.
I’ve been in contact with DJI support on this issue. He says it this time. There’s no way to change the font or page size on the RC pro. But he has referred it to their engineers and let them know of our problems.
From my particular issue that I had last week, I really didn’t need a custom unlock. All I needed was to do a self unlock of a blue zone. Which I was able to do.
And now, thanks to the suggestion from someone else here on the page I asked him to give me a one-year unlock of the authorization zones around both Midway and O’Hare airport. Which they did for me. So now I have to test how well that works. But it does appear that I was able to upload that license to my Mavic three while at home.
It will be nice not to have to do that every time I need to fly within the authorization zones.
 

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