Welcome Mavic Pilot!
Jump in and join our free DJI Mavic community today!
Sign up

Mavic Pro 2 Zoom - North Pole

Jack AD

New Member
Joined
Aug 10, 2019
Messages
2
Reaction score
1
Age
28
Location
France
Good day everybody,

I plan a micro cruise trip to Svalbard beginning of June this year and subsequently have a lot of questions about my bird. I read a few things here and there on temperature limit but I struggle to find all the information I need. I would appreciate if the community could help me on this one. Before I start, I would like to clarify one detail: I know the conditions are tough and there is a likelihood that I lose the drone (no GPS, cold, wind...). I accept this situation, will fly anyway, and what I am trying to do is to establish odds of those things happening depending on the conditions and hardware I purchase or keep. I am willing to buy additional hardware if it can lower the risk. Another point: I flew quite a lot with this drone but never really understood the underlying mecanisms, and I might ask beginner questions. I only want to learn more.

1) First, temperature: As far as I understand, the lower limit is 32°F (0°C) for the bird itself and the batteries, but I also read that as long as the drone itself is kept in a warm place - the cabin of the boat will be at around 68°F (20°C) - it can be flown for a short period of time even below this lower limit. I don't know how long, though. The reason for this is that it damages the batteries if they are kept in a cold place for too long, but they are supposed to hold if they are warm and just fly in a very cold place for a few minutes since flying warms they up as well. As I already flew at a temperature above the higher limit without visible problems, I was wondering if it was reasonable to try flying at a lower temparature than the lower limit.
> Do you agree with this? Any feedback of previous experiences?

2) What worries me more is that I fly the MP2 Zoom with the controller and my phone, and as much as it did not happen to me yet that my iPhone 7 Plus stops working because of the cold, it happened to me several times with my iPhone SE under 0°C. Worse, there is no GPS to help you fly in the North Pole, it's all in manual, and the RTH does not work. I would simply lose the bird AND the video.
> Do you have any advice or feedback on this? Should I go for an independant smart controller that works without a phone? If yes, what is the temperature lower limit on it?

3) Considering the risk to lose the bird, I would like to make sure I am getting the video even if the drone goes down. I would be so sad to be able to shoot a great video of a polar bear, whales, walruses or even a glacier, and lose it with the drone. The drone is "just" a way to shoot marvellous videos, I can accept to lose it in that sense, but what a shame if the video goes down with it...
> Is there a way for me to actually record the video while the bird is flying instead of having to wait for it to return and transfer the video from the bird to a phone or computer?

4) As I will have a spotter with binoculars with me at all time, I would be happy to try long range flights (glaciers can be very wide, and polar bear/whales can be seen from a long distance). As such, considering no RTH can be activated, I would like to make sure that the likelihood of losing signal gets as low as possible.
> What should I consider?
- Can I fly at 2.4 GHz with the MP2?
- Should I/Can I change antennas on the controller (or get a new controller)? Directional array rather than omnidirectictional one?
- Should I buy a ground station?

5) High light conditions: there will be light 24/7 there, and I suppose that it's not that easy to shoot with very high luminosity. I already have some filters (ND 4, 8, 16, 32).
> Is there anything else I should consider buying or doing?
> How should I use the filters there?

Any other tips you would like to give me? Or feedback you would like to give?

Thank you very much for your help,
Jack AD
 
  • Like
Reactions: Dronage

rangemaster728

Well-Known Member
Joined
Sep 22, 2017
Messages
398
Reaction score
303
Location
NW Oregon
As far as the batteries are concerned you might want to consider using Mavic 2 Enterprise batteries...they operate to -10C and are self-heating. They are compatible with the Mavic 2 Pro/Zoom:



Another consideration might be strobes to make the aircraft easier to see at a distance...some of us here use Firehouse Technology Arc II strobes, which greatly increase the ability to keep the drone in visual range:


They can be attached to the aircraft by 3M Dual Lock fasteners, or by some 3D printed holders...

 
Last edited:

sar104

Dic mihi solum facta, domina.
Premium Pilot
Joined
May 27, 2017
Messages
9,290
Reaction score
10,669
Location
Los Alamos, NM
Your biggest problem is going to be the compass. At that location, 79° N, the inclination of the earth's magnetic field is 83° - i.e. it is nearly vertical. The horizontal component of the field that the IMU needs to determine north is only around 10% of the total field strength. That's likely to cause sensor fusion errors, and the only reliable mode to operate in may be ATTI.
 

MaviDr

Member
Joined
Jan 10, 2020
Messages
5
Reaction score
2
Age
47
Location
Upstate NY
to sar104 comment - you might want to use your drone in true north feature. Also - my mavic pro enterprise batteries have never let me down in really cold conditions but the camera will fog over or become iced so bring terry clothes and q-tips for cleaning them... As for your phone get a mavic pro holder and put your plus in a thermo box for that type of phone otto box sellse those i believe


 
  • Like
Reactions: Obsidian Sereniti

Brockrock

Well-Known Member
Joined
May 5, 2019
Messages
127
Reaction score
132
Location
New England
If you look at page 56 of the M2 User Manual - under Flight > Flight Environment Requirements - notice bullet #6: The Mavic 2 cannot use GPS within the polar regions. Use the Downward Vision System when flying in such locations.

I recall this being discussed years ago in the Phantom Pilots Forum when a member posted about an issue he had while flying near one of the Poles. I don't recall now if he lost his UAV.

Between that limitation, and the probable compass issues you would have in that environment - as mentioned above by @sar104 - you would definitely want to be comfortable with ATTI Mode. Very comfortable, in fact. Most folks who say they are comfortable with ATTI Mode - including myself - take off in P Mode, switch to ATTI Mode while flying around, and then it's back to P Mode for the landing. You would very likely be doing it all in ATTI Mode.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Gindra

sar104

Dic mihi solum facta, domina.
Premium Pilot
Joined
May 27, 2017
Messages
9,290
Reaction score
10,669
Location
Los Alamos, NM
If you look at page 56 of the M2 User Manual - under Flight > Flight Environment Requirements - notice bullet #6: The Mavic 2 cannot use GPS within the polar regions. Use the Downward Vision System when flying in such locations.

I recall this being discussed years ago in the Phantom Pilots Forum when a member posted about an issue he had while flying near one of the Poles. I don't recall now if he lost his UAV.

Between that limitation, and the probable compass issues you would have in that environment - as mentioned above by @sar104 - you would definitely want to be comfortable with ATTI Mode. Very comfortable, in fact. Most folks who say they are comfortable with ATTI Mode - including myself - take off in P Mode, switch to ATTI Mode while flying around, and then it's back to P Mode for the landing. You would very likely be doing it all in ATTI Mode.
This is still over 10° south of the pole but it will have reduced GNSS coverage, with maybe only 10 or 12 available.
 

Brockrock

Well-Known Member
Joined
May 5, 2019
Messages
127
Reaction score
132
Location
New England
This is still over 10° south of the pole but it will have reduced GNSS coverage, with maybe only 10 or 12 available.
Yes, just enough to give one that feeling that everything is A-OK, and then suddenly, it isn't...

IMO, maintaining VLOS with the copter in this environment would be an absolute must at all times. All it would take would be a very brief Live View disconnect outside of VLOS, coupled with minimal position confidence, and you could likely not see the copter again. Of course, binoculars can be of assistance with this, but at that moment of signal loss, things would happen fast, and the binocular view can be very disorienting. Strobes - as mentioned above by @rangemaster728 - could also be useful in order to increase VLOS, but not by a lot during the all day, day.

OP, poke around this Post if you haven't already - Mavic 2 Atti mode It discusses a method of altering your flight mode switch on the M2 Remote to allow for selecting ATTI Mode. I chose to change Tripode Mode to ATTI Mode, since Tripod Mode can be otherwise selected via DJI Go4. You may want to consider this, and then do some lengthy practice sessions prior. I think flying there is very feasible if you are well prepared for the possibility of zero position hold.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Mrclaude and sar104

Camino Ken

I fugere solum ad utendum
Premium Pilot
Joined
Dec 12, 2019
Messages
196
Reaction score
216
Age
68
Location
Camino, CA
Good day everybody,

I plan a micro cruise trip to Svalbard beginning of June this year and subsequently have a lot of questions about my bird. I read a few things here and there on temperature limit but I struggle to find all the information I need. I would appreciate if the community could help me on this one. Before I start, I would like to clarify one detail: I know the conditions are tough and there is a likelihood that I lose the drone (no GPS, cold, wind...). I accept this situation, will fly anyway, and what I am trying to do is to establish odds of those things happening depending on the conditions and hardware I purchase or keep. I am willing to buy additional hardware if it can lower the risk. Another point: I flew quite a lot with this drone but never really understood the underlying mecanisms, and I might ask beginner questions. I only want to learn more.

1) First, temperature: As far as I understand, the lower limit is 32°F (0°C) for the bird itself and the batteries, but I also read that as long as the drone itself is kept in a warm place - the cabin of the boat will be at around 68°F (20°C) - it can be flown for a short period of time even below this lower limit. I don't know how long, though. The reason for this is that it damages the batteries if they are kept in a cold place for too long, but they are supposed to hold if they are warm and just fly in a very cold place for a few minutes since flying warms they up as well. As I already flew at a temperature above the higher limit without visible problems, I was wondering if it was reasonable to try flying at a lower temparature than the lower limit.
> Do you agree with this? Any feedback of previous experiences?

2) What worries me more is that I fly the MP2 Zoom with the controller and my phone, and as much as it did not happen to me yet that my iPhone 7 Plus stops working because of the cold, it happened to me several times with my iPhone SE under 0°C. Worse, there is no GPS to help you fly in the North Pole, it's all in manual, and the RTH does not work. I would simply lose the bird AND the video.
> Do you have any advice or feedback on this? Should I go for an independant smart controller that works without a phone? If yes, what is the temperature lower limit on it?

3) Considering the risk to lose the bird, I would like to make sure I am getting the video even if the drone goes down. I would be so sad to be able to shoot a great video of a polar bear, whales, walruses or even a glacier, and lose it with the drone. The drone is "just" a way to shoot marvellous videos, I can accept to lose it in that sense, but what a shame if the video goes down with it...
> Is there a way for me to actually record the video while the bird is flying instead of having to wait for it to return and transfer the video from the bird to a phone or computer?

4) As I will have a spotter with binoculars with me at all time, I would be happy to try long range flights (glaciers can be very wide, and polar bear/whales can be seen from a long distance). As such, considering no RTH can be activated, I would like to make sure that the likelihood of losing signal gets as low as possible.
> What should I consider?
- Can I fly at 2.4 GHz with the MP2?
- Should I/Can I change antennas on the controller (or get a new controller)? Directional array rather than omnidirectictional one?
- Should I buy a ground station?

5) High light conditions: there will be light 24/7 there, and I suppose that it's not that easy to shoot with very high luminosity. I already have some filters (ND 4, 8, 16, 32).
> Is there anything else I should consider buying or doing?
> How should I use the filters there?

Any other tips you would like to give me? Or feedback you would like to give?

Thank you very much for your help,
Jack AD
Just an FYI, the M2 manual lists the low temperature operating point as -10C (14F).
 

Gindra

Well-Known Member
Premium Pilot
Joined
Jun 11, 2019
Messages
131
Reaction score
160
Age
70
Location
Oregon, USA
The Smart Controller specs indicate an operating temp of -4 degrees F.

It also has a micro sd card port so you can save your video/photos to that as well as to the onboard sd card on the M2. Resolution won't be as good though.
 

Dave Maine

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jan 27, 2018
Messages
335
Reaction score
198
Age
76
As far as video is concerned, the best highest resolution video stays with the drone’s sd card. The tablet version is only a low resolution proxy - better than nothing but only slightly.
 

jonthecourier

Well-Known Member
Joined
Mar 21, 2019
Messages
73
Reaction score
31
Hi. If you find Firehouse strobes a little expensive have a look at Flytron strobes they are very bright and not so pricey.
 

PHZ

Well-Known Member
Joined
Oct 15, 2018
Messages
58
Reaction score
27
Age
69
You may want to consider another platform, such as an Inspire 2. It is rated for lower temps (0 degrees F), carries two batteries with built in pre-warmers, is easier to see at a distance, and can easily be set into atti mode with no mods.
I fly both platforms in MN all winter and for your situation, I would prefer an I2, no hesitation.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Brockrock

HoozierDroneDaddy

Well-Known Member
Joined
Mar 12, 2017
Messages
351
Reaction score
168
Age
67
I have flown several commercial jobs in -20f. Prep is key. Also there are some special mittens designed to encompass your controller and hands with the antennas sticking out the front. You could also put some hand warmers inside to keep them warm. Depending on the vessel you are in it may be possible to fly from inside the bridge or other outlining room with windows. Launch and step inside. It would be like flying from inside a warm parked vehicle.
I am sitting in a vehicle doing surveillance and on my phone now so I cant look up the mittens. Someone here may know of them and where to get them.
The ARC II strobes are extremely bright and you can see them well beyond vlos of the bird. I have a white one mounted on one end and red on the other. This way you can tell the direction of the bird even when its out of site.

As for ATTI. Program your switch so you can toggle it as neccessary as mentioned above. Then PRACTICE as much as you can so your VERY GOOD with it.

Last minute thought. Purchase a Getterback recovery system. It will activate when the drone hits the water keeping afloat so you can recover it, depending on if the vessell will pursue it or use a smaller craft for recovery.
The drone may or may not be restored but the sd can be dried out and your video recovered.
 
Last edited:

HoozierDroneDaddy

Well-Known Member
Joined
Mar 12, 2017
Messages
351
Reaction score
168
Age
67
You may want to consider another platform, such as an Inspire 2. It is rated for lower temps (0 degrees F), carries two batteries with built in pre-warmers, is easier to see at a distance, and can easily be set into atti mode with no mods.
I fly both platforms in MN all winter and for your situation, I would prefer an I2, no hesitation.
I would normally agree. However with a high probability that he may not get it back and his limited experience in the extreme environment, and on most likely and all metal vessel. IMO I would rather invest $1200 vs $3500 plus depending on options and camera. The M2 will get him excellent video at a lower cost should it go down.
 

JAW

Did I Just Back Into That Tree?
Premium Pilot
Joined
Jan 4, 2019
Messages
738
Reaction score
490
Age
72
Location
Coastal NC Up to Long Island
".........you would definitely want to be comfortable with ATTI Mode. Very comfortable, in fact. Most folks who say they are comfortable with ATTI Mode - including myself - take off in P Mode, switch to ATTI Mode while flying around, and then it's back to P Mode for the landing. You would very likely be doing it all in ATTI Mode."

This brought a smile to my face as a lot of us learned to fly when even ATTI mode was a pipe dream.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Pietros

Jack AD

New Member
Joined
Aug 10, 2019
Messages
2
Reaction score
1
Age
28
Location
France
Good day all,

Thank you very much to all of you for your contribution to my project and for your detailed answers. I will try to summarize:

1) Temperature for:
- the drone: the lower limit is 14°C (-10°C). It might be better using an Inspire 2, but given the price of this one, I may want to keep the Mavic 2 so that I don't lose an additional 2k).​
- the controller:​
> the Smart controller is given for a lower limit of -4°F (-20°C).​
> It might be a better idea than an iPhone or iPad, especially because those would likely die in no time at this temperature (although it seems iPads are better than iPods), or switch to safe mode.​
>The controller can be encompassed within a specially designed mitten that would help with low temperatures. Any idea where to get those (at least a good one with feedbacks from the community)?
- the batteries:​
> I can buy Mavic Enterprise batteries that self-heat.​
> I also received a private message from user Phantomrain.org claiming that because the wetsuit seals the battery and power button air tight, it increases the temperature of the battery by 8-10°C, as well as reduces the risk of moisture deteriorating the batteries. What do you think of this (134 USD including shipping)?

2) Getting the video even if the drone goes down:
- Smart controller would enable the video to be saved at the same time on the controller, although the resolution would be lesser.​
Do you have any info on this? Let's say if the drone shoots a FHD video, what would be the result on the smart controller's, specifically?

3) Long range flights:
- ATTI: It is very likely that the compass will get lost at this location, meaning that the drone should always be flown in ATTI mode, including take-off and landing. I will need a lot of practice to make sure things go as planned. There is even a way to have it as a shortcut on the controller. What is specifically so complicated on ATTI mode? Why espcially take off and landings?
- Because a loss of sight on the drone and a short live view disconnection could cause a definitive loss of the drone, it seems less risky to keep it in VLOS at all time.​
- That said, thanks to strobes (Firehouse, Flytron), it can be seen from way further and might be flown from a distance. A good idea would be to attach two strobes of different colors to be able to differentiate the front from the back of the drone.​
- I can buy a Getterback recovery system to get the drone/video back (that said the drone might not be usable anymore). Any thought on this?


So far, I am thinking of the self-heating batteries with a smart controller with mittens and white/red strobes. Any thought on this first working theory?

Additional questions: what about the use of filters with the light conditions? Do you think the filters I have are sufficient (ND 4, 8, 16, 32)?


Thank you very much again!
Jack AD
 

Brockrock

Well-Known Member
Joined
May 5, 2019
Messages
127
Reaction score
132
Location
New England
What is specifically so complicated on ATTI mode? Why espcially take off and landings?
In ATTI Mode, the copter will only maintain its attitude and altitude - meaning it will stay upright, and it will maintain its height. It will not maintain its place in space though, meaning that any wind influence will cause it to drift in the direction of this wind. ATTI Mode is a flight mode that the copter will automatically switch into if it is unable to properly negotiate its position due to a compass failure and/or GPS signal loss. Where you plan to fly, you will probably run into both of these limitations.

In earlier DJI UAV models, you could manually select ATTI Mode if you wished, and it was nice for smooth drifting video shots with hands off the remote. Hands off in P or S Modes, and the copter will instantly put on the breaks and then come to a stop where it is.

It is one thing to fly around in ATTI Mode well above obstacles with the copter in sight, but it is another thing to do so - especially in moderate to high winds - when the copter is near anything that it could hit, or out of visual sight. Takeoffs and landings would be the biggest challenge, but with practice, you could become a pro. It just takes a lot more stick inputs on your part - and often, quick, subtle inputs - but in time, it would become second nature.

IMO, this is the biggest challenge you would encounter, and as such, I suggested you take a look at that ATTI Mode thread above and see about modifying your remote in order to manually select ATTI Mode now for training purposes. It's a great mode, and in a GPS environment with no magnetic interference, you can just switch back to P or S Mode if you feel like you are losing control in ATTI, and the copter with lock back into its position hold. Where you plan to fly up north though, ATTI could be all you have.
 

Brockrock

Well-Known Member
Joined
May 5, 2019
Messages
127
Reaction score
132
Location
New England
How cold are we potentially talking up there in June? The copter is capable of operation well into the single digits (F), and some have flown with no issues into the negative digits F. The issue is really the battery, and if you are able to launch with a battery pre warmed to around 60F, you will have no issues. Once battery drain begins as the copter lifts off, it begins creating its own heat. You would then want to watch battery voltage closely, and yes, you will probably get less flight time in a cold environment versus a warm one, but it shouldn't be drastic. Plan on 15 minute flights at first and feel it out. You will probably get more.