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Mini 3 didn't come home... updates on drone recovery. Thanks all!

abruzzopat

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Never lost a drone before, but my new Mini 3 disappeared after losing communication. As you can see in the pic below, perfect flying conditions and excellent line of sight. I flew to the meadow in the mid-upper part of the photo. Drone was visible above the treeline, but once it was lower, I had a hard time seeing it and was using the RC to fly. At about 800m away I suddenly started getting a series of messages about loss of signal. Screen went to black and white and there was a message about returning to home. I just waited for the drone to return or for the signal to re-establish, but nothing more happened.

I'm a complete newbie when it comes to loss of drone. Anyone have a suggestion as to next steps? I guess I need to pull logs off the RC, but no idea how to do that. My friends and I will send out a search party, but "find my drone" doesn't seem to work because there is no connection. It will be a needle in a haystack.

Thanks in advance for any advice.

lost mini 3.JPG
 
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Meta4

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I guess I need to pull logs off the RC, but no idea how to do that.
Go to DJI Flight Log Viewer | Phantom Help
Follow the instructions there to upload your flight record from your phone or tablet.
That will give you a detailed report of the flight.
Come back and post a link to the report it gives you.
Or .. just post the txt file here.

btw ... it's premature to suggest that your drone "flew away" .
It would be more accurate to say that it didn't come home.
 

abruzzopat

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Go to DJI Flight Log Viewer | Phantom Help
Follow the instructions there to upload your flight record from your phone or tablet.
That will give you a detailed report of the flight.
Come back and post a link to the report it gives you.
Or .. just post the txt file here.

btw ... it's premature to suggest that your drone "flew away" .
It would be more accurate to say that it didn't come home.

Thanks. I changed the title per your suggestion. No phone or tablet involved... just the RC. But I will go over there and seek help.
 

GadgetGuy

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Thanks. I changed the title per your suggestion. No phone or tablet involved... just the RC. But I will go over there and seek help.
The quickest thing to do is to immediately take enlarged, zoomed in screenshots of the map of the last known location and not turn off the RC. However, go into Profile on the Fly app, and look up the last flight log, and play it to the end on the RC. That's where it is. Find that location. Look for any frames of reference among the trees, and the borders of the meadow. Compare the satellite view to the regular view. Take screen shots and compare that to a google map. Head to the meadow and retrieve it. FYI: never drop below the treeline into a meadow unless you intend to land. What was your Loss of Signal setting? What height is RTH set to? 400 feet is a minimum suggested value. It will have done what you told it to do, as you only lost signal. Loss of Signal should be set to RTH with advanced RTH turned OFF. That way is ascends straight up above the treeline when it loses signal, and you can regain signal, and cancel RTH. Good luck. Go find it in the meadow!
 

abruzzopat

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Ok, thanks again Meta4. I grabbed the logs from the controller. Here is the link to the report:


Also, here is a link to the cache of the last flight. Mini3 last flight cache from RC.mp4

After I cleared the tree in the meadow, I was heading toward the woods. I pushed the left stick up to gain altitude and clear these trees. That's when the errors started and the video ended. It seems from the logs like the drone started climbing and just kept climbing.

One thing to note: the log at 7m 2.5s says "Return to home canceled". I guarantee I never canceled RTH. In fact, after the errors started and signal was lost, I didn't do anything except watch and wait for signal and/or drone to return.

Thanks again!
 

abruzzopat

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The quickest thing to do is to immediately take enlarged, zoomed in screenshots of the map of the last known location and not turn off the RC. However, go into Profile on the Fly app, and look up the last flight log, and play it to the end on the RC. That's where it is. Find that location. Look for any frames of reference among the trees, and the borders of the meadow. Compare the satellite view to the regular view. Take screen shots and compare that to a google map. Head to the meadow and retrieve it. FYI: never drop below the treeline into a meadow unless you intend to land. What was your Loss of Signal setting? What height is RTH set to? 400 feet is a minimum suggested value. It will have done what you told it to do, as you only lost signal. Loss of Signal should be set to RTH with advanced RTH turned OFF. That way is ascends straight up above the treeline when it loses signal, and you can regain signal, and cancel RTH. Good luck. Go find it in the meadow!
Thanks! I never did drop below treeline of that meadow actually. In my earlier post, when I said treeline I really should have said horizon. It was just hard to see the drone from the deck I was standing on against the tree background.

I am embarrassed to say that I am not sure about the RTH settings were, except they should have been the default factory settings. It's a new drone and i did not change from the factory settings.
 

Meta4

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Ok, thanks again Meta4. I grabbed the logs from the controller. Here is the link to the report:


Also, here is a link to the cache of the last flight. Mini3 last flight cache from RC.mp4

After I cleared the tree in the meadow, I was heading toward the woods. I pushed the left stick up to gain altitude and clear these trees. That's when the errors started and the video ended. It seems from the logs like the drone started climbing and just kept climbing.

One thing to note: the log at 7m 2.5s says "Return to home canceled". I guarantee I never canceled RTH. In fact, after the errors started and signal was lost, I didn't do anything except watch and wait for signal and/or drone to return.

Thanks again!
The flight data helps eliminate some the possible causes.
You flew out from a hugh point over hower ground and the drone was 400 ft higher than the launch point, so there were no obstacles to block the RTH path.
Battery life was good for the return distance.
Wind was light and not enough to prevent the drone coming home.
Failsafe action was set to the default RTH.

You lost downlink at at 3:57.5 and the drone hovered, waiting for joystick input.
Eventually signal was lost about 1.5 minutes later and RTH initiated.
When signal was regained, the drone at 5:31.5 the drone was about 10 ft closer to home.
RTH looks like it was having obstacle avoidance issues and progress towards home stalled.
RTH cancelled after 1.5 minutes but left the drone hovering and signal was lost 0.5 minutes later.

The drone was hovering in almost calm conditions, but the last line of data is puzzling.
It shows the drone pitched forward at 12° and rolled to the right 26°.

Without that line of data, the drone should have initiated Failsafe RTH, but the would probably have had the same OA problem that stalled RTH earlier.

But the last data line, hints at a possible collision impact.
As the drone was hovering, that would have to be from a moving object colliding with the drone, possibly dislodging the battery, which would explain the loss of data from that point.
We don't have enough data to tell much more than that.

If the drone didn't crash, it would have attempted RTH, but if that failed again, on reaching critical low battery level, the drone would have autolanded.

The last location recorded was 36.10173 -82.09889 and if the drone fell. it should be close to that position, about 2950 feet out from the launch point.
 

GadgetGuy

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Thanks! I never did drop below treeline of that meadow actually. In my earlier post, when I said treeline I really should have said horizon. It was just hard to see the drone from the deck I was standing on against the tree background.

I am embarrassed to say that I am not sure about the RTH settings were, except they should have been the default factory settings. It's a new drone and i did not change from the factory settings.
You also need to change the maximum height to 1626‘ to make sure the drone can still ascend higher than 400' to regain signal, and set it higher than 400’ in that area. It appears you were right at the 400' default limit above your launch point, even though it was much lower above ground level, which is what really matters. I set my RTH to just above the height of the the tallest mountain around me when mountain climbing. It assures I can quickly regain signal above any possible intervening obstructions, should signal be lost because of inadvertently flying too low, or even behind the peak, while orbiting around it.
 
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Meta4

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Correction
In a hurry ... I read the flight path incorrectly.
You flew from a low point toward higher ground.
The drone was close to ground level and likely among trees and unable to get out of them.
That's likely why the RTH failed.
Still look in that same area.
 

GadgetGuy

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Correction
In a hurry ... I read the flight path incorrectly.
You flew from a low point toward higher ground.
The drone was close to ground level and likely among trees and unable to get out of them.
That's likely why the RTH failed.
Still look in that same area.
Yes, at 2:57 "Max altitude reached" doomed any possible RTH to get out of trouble above the tree line.
 
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abruzzopat

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The flight data helps eliminate some the possible causes.
You flew out from a hugh point over hower ground and the drone was 400 ft higher than the launch point, so there were no obstacles to block the RTH path.
Battery life was good for the return distance.
Wind was light and not enough to prevent the drone coming home.
Failsafe action was set to the default RTH.

You lost downlink at at 3:57.5 and the drone hovered, waiting for joystick input.
Eventually signal was lost about 1.5 minutes later and RTH initiated.
When signal was regained, the drone at 5:31.5 the drone was about 10 ft closer to home.
RTH looks like it was having obstacle avoidance issues and progress towards home stalled.
RTH cancelled after 1.5 minutes but left the drone hovering and signal was lost 0.5 minutes later.

The drone was hovering in almost calm conditions, but the last line of data is puzzling.
It shows the drone pitched forward at 12° and rolled to the right 26°.

Without that line of data, the drone should have initiated Failsafe RTH, but the would probably have had the same OA problem that stalled RTH earlier.

But the last data line, hints at a possible collision impact.
As the drone was hovering, that would have to be from a moving object colliding with the drone, possibly dislodging the battery, which would explain the loss of data from that point.
We don't have enough data to tell much more than that.

If the drone didn't crash, it would have attempted RTH, but if that failed again, on reaching critical low battery level, the drone would have autolanded.

The last location recorded was 36.10173 -82.09889 and if the drone fell. it should be close to that position, about 2950 feet out from the launch point.

Correction
In a hurry ... I read the flight path incorrectly.
You flew from a low point toward higher ground.
The drone was close to ground level and likely among trees and unable to get out of them.
That's likely why the RTH failed.
Still look in that same area.

Thanks. I drove to the road nearest that point and was unable to connect with the drone. That particular location is very steep terrain will be hard to reach. I guess a few things puzzle me:

1. Why did the drone lose signal to begin with? There is absolutely clear LOS to that point from where I was standing
2. Why did RTH cancel? I absolutely did not cancel RTH. That's the last thing I would have done. If OA was preventing it from returning, wouldn't it just hover and then land when the battery was near death?
3. As far as getting stuck in the trees, if you watch this video which is the last from the cache, you can see the trees are very dense. It would be near impossible to get "into" the trees and hover. The transmission ended as I was trying to pull up to avoid the trees to begin with. When connection was lost i let go of the sticks.

Video of last flight: Mini3 last flight cache from RC.mp4

Very frustrating, but thanks again for your help.
 
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GadgetGuy

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Thanks. I drove to the road nearest that point and was unable to connect with the drone. That particular location is very steep terrain will be hard to reach. I guess a few things puzzle me:

1. Why did the drone lose signal to begin with? There is absolutely clear LOS to that point from where I was standing
2. Why did RTH cancel? I absolutely did not cancel RTH. That's the last thing I would have done. If OA was preventing it from returning, wouldn't it just hover and then land when the battery was near death?
3. As far as getting stuck in the trees, if you watch this video which is the last from the cache, you can see the trees are very dense. It would be near impossible to get "into" the trees and hover. The transmission ended as I was trying to pull up to avoid the trees to begin with. When connection was lost i let go of the sticks.

Video of last flight: Mini3 last flight cache from RC.mp4

Very frustrating, but thanks again for your help.
You literally flew it into the "ground/trees." The battery was likely ejected in the crash, or shut itself off, after reaching 0%. Clear LOS cannot be maintained when you are flying below or into the highest tree in the tree line at any point in time. You also never changed the Maximum Altitude setting, which by default is 400'. It was already at Maximum Altitude at 2:57. You can see that it is consistently at 397+/- feet. It can't do an RTH if it is already at Max Altitude and surrounded by obstacles. After RTH got cancelled, you had enough intermittent control to run it into a tree branch it could not see or avoid. No way to pull up, as you were already at Maximum Altitude. See posts #11 and #13. It also has no upward obstacle detection, unlike the Mavic 3. You would have needed to immediately stop and turn around and fly back away from the trees, as though approaching an NFZ, to get out of this situation that you flew yourself into. Hopefully, you can find it, if you purchased DJI Care, as the deductible is much lower with the carcass in hand! DJI can also repair a recovered drone very cheaply, and they will send you a brand new one, instead of actually repairing your old one.
 
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Phantomrain.org

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Thanks. I drove to the road nearest that point and was unable to connect with the drone. That particular location is very steep terrain will be hard to reach. I guess a few things puzzle me:

1. Why did the drone lose signal to begin with? There is absolutely clear LOS to that point from where I was standing
2. Why did RTH cancel? I absolutely did not cancel RTH. That's the last thing I would have done. If OA was preventing it from returning, wouldn't it just hover and then land when the battery was near death?
3. As far as getting stuck in the trees, if you watch this video which is the last from the cache, you can see the trees are very dense. It would be near impossible to get "into" the trees and hover. The transmission ended as I was trying to pull up to avoid the trees to begin with. When connection was lost i let go of the sticks.

Video of last flight: Mini3 last flight cache from RC.mp4

Very frustrating, but thanks again for your help.
Well good chance your drone is in that tree high up.

My advice based on how the Mavic 3 reacted recently

The Drone could have been Beeping and flashing the entire time it was in the Tree without the controller being able to Tell you that.

This is why its always good to find as fast as possible , as I recently had to wait to dark to find my drone.

Phantomrain.org
Gear to fly in the Rain , Land on the Water .
 

GadgetGuy

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Well good chance your drone is in that tree high up.

My advice based on how the Mavic 3 reacted recently

The Drone could have been Beeping and flashing the entire time it was in the Tree without the controller being able to Tell you that.

This is why its always good to find as fast as possible , as I recently had to wait to dark to find my drone.

Phantomrain.org
Gear to fly in the Rain , Land on the Water .
Best to immediately grab the still powered up controller and a smart phone and drive to the last known location and see if you can reconnect anywhere nearby, if the battery is still inside the aircraft, and powered on. I recovered a P4P that way! I, too, had run it into a mountainside, except in the dark, when descending too quickly. I drove to the mountain top, and was actually able to reconnect, but could not safely reach it in the dark. Battery naturally died overnight. However, I returned at dawn with my other drone, and hovered it directly over the last known location in the scrub brush, while my wife crawled out on her hands and knees under the scrub brush, to the edge of the cliff, where I was hovering the drone, to locate and retrieve it! It was unscathed, and she survived! It was found just 3 feet from the edge of the sheer cliff, from which it would have been unrecoverable, had it landed over the ledge. If it doesn't return Home, it's your job to track it down and find it! No drone left behind! 🤣
 

abruzzopat

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You literally flew it into the "ground/trees." The battery was likely ejected in the crash, or shut itself off, after reaching 0%. Clear LOS cannot be maintained when you are flying below or into the highest tree in the tree line at any point in time. You also never changed the Maximum Altitude setting, which by default is 400'. It was already at Maximum Altitude at 2:57. You can see that it is consistently at 397+/- feet. It can't do an RTH if it is already at Max Altitude and surrounded by obstacles. After RTH got cancelled, you had enough intermittent control to run it into a tree branch it could not see or avoid. No way to pull up, as you were already at Maximum Altitude. See posts #11 and #13. It also has no upward obstacle detection, unlike the Mavic 3. You would have needed to immediately stop and turn around and fly back away from the trees, as though approaching an NFZ, to get out of this situation that you flew yourself into. Hopefully, you can find it, if you purchased DJI Care, as the deductible is much lower with the carcass in hand! DJI can also repair a recovered drone very cheaply, and they will send you a brand new one, instead of actually repairing your old one.
Thanks gadget. Just a couple of points/clarifications:

You literally flew it into the "ground/trees." The battery was likely ejected in the crash, or shut itself off, after reaching 0%.
I let go of the sticks when transmission was lost, and it seemed to hover for some time, so i don't think I directly flew it into the trees.

Clear LOS cannot be maintained when you are flying below or into the highest tree in the tree line at any point in time.
Agreed, but I never went below the tree line. It was always at clear line of sight. My initial comment was a poor choice of words. I was trying to say that the treeline BEHIND the craft made it hard for me to see the drone because of the busy visual background. The coordinates where it was hovering is in my LOS, albeit pretty far away and with a busy background.

You also never changed the Maximum Altitude setting, which by default is 400'. It was already at Maximum Altitude at 2:57. You can see that it is consistently at 397+/- feet. It can't do an RTH if it is already at Max Altitude and surrounded by obstacles. Definitely my bad on this, and probably the #1 reason I lost my drone. Also, flying out over a valley and then up, I should have paid more attention to my height above takeoff point.

After RTH got cancelled, you had enough intermittent control to run it into a tree branch it could not see or avoid. No way to pull up, as you were already at Maximum Altitude. See posts #11 and #13. It also has no upward obstacle detection, unlike the Mavic 3.
As soon as I lost transmission I released the sticks and never willingly applied any inputs after that which is why it was hovering. Possibly it was hovering very close to a tree and simply drifted into it... who knows.

You would have needed to immediately stop and turn around and fly back away from the trees, as though approaching an NFZ, to get out of this situation that you flew yourself into.
Agree again. I was hoping that the drone was safely hovering, and that by positioning myself differently or getting a bit closer I could reestablish connection. I should have backed straight out.

Hopefully, you can find it, if you purchased DJI Care, as the deductible is much lower with the carcass in hand! DJI can also repair a recovered drone very cheaply, and they will send you a brand new one, instead of actually repairing your old one.
Yep, thanks again. Sending a 2nd search party out today.
 
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Merrill277

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I can find my last position I flew my drone just by going to the DJI app, profiles, and find my drone. I know the drone is not there because I have it in my possession. But I can see the last place it flew with a direct line from my phone's location to the drone. I use my phone and in your case, your controller should do the same. Should work whether there is a connection or not, or the drone's battery is dead or not. At that point you can also click on it to get the last pictures taken by your drone to get a clue where it is. It may be possible that in your advanced settings, you were set to descend upon losing contact with the drone. Should always be set to RTH. A firmware update can change that so check it each time before you fly. The video will show how you crashed, like for example, you crash into a tree, or descend into a tree, brush or the ground etc. In any case, once you get to the drone using the find my drone feature, you should look in trees, brush etc. It can be up to maybe 20 yards away too. You'll know when you're close because the dot and triangle will go in circles around each other. Best of luck.
 

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