Get more from your Mavic
The largest Mavic community in the world
Join Us Now

Strong Remote Controller Interference

FlyingHevy

Active Member
Joined
Feb 7, 2020
Messages
28
Reactions
34
Age
53
Location
Glenville, NY
Visit site
Hi everyone,

I was flying back in August in RI along the shore of Narraganset Bay and a little bit out over the bay itself. After checking maps for restrictions, etc., and not seeing any, I finally decided to try to fly this bird farther away than I have at any time before then. It's hard locally to go any real distance and keep VLOS, and where I live (at my house) I have a 100' ceiling because of a local Air National Guard base/local airport (I have an area-wide authorization, but the height's the issue at home).

So I'm psyched. It's over water, but I didn't plan to cruise the surface, just wanted to get out to the Lighthouse (Hog Island Shore Light), do a circle, and fly back. Looks like it's around 1km out, so that should be okay, right? Nowhere near range, and still within sight. A good test flight.

Off I go. Everything looks good. I fly it out and once I'm at the distance I want, I set it up to do a loop around. Partway through the loop, I get a message on the controller (I'm looking at the phone at this point). If I was asked to swear, I would say a message quickly popped up saying "Restricted zone" (or something similar), but the txt log doesn't support that. At 4 minutes 3.1 seconds, the text log shows a message of "Strong Remote Controller Interference." It recovered after 5.2 seconds. Shortly thereafter I hit hit return home; it oriented, waited a beat, and came home.

I have two questions:

1) Is there anything I can do to work with these kinds of errors? This scared me. A lot. I don't want to lose this thing, but I really feel like I missed a chance for even cooler video than I got. I'd like to not freak out if it happens again, maybe correct, and just restart the loop. Not sure I'll ever be that cool, though.

2) While getting this post ready, I searched for the mobile device DAT files. Not there. Like, not even a folder for them with the name that's listed in the log retrieval guide. What's up with that? Shouldn't there at least be a folder for the dat files?

TXT file is on phantomhelp: DJI Flight Log Viewer - PhantomHelp.com

The relevant video segment is here:

Appreciate any thoughts folks have.

Also, I posted this here and not in flyaways because, well, it didn't fly away. Mods feel free to move.
 

SmilingOgre

Well-Known Member
Premium Pilot
Joined
Sep 11, 2020
Messages
314
Reactions
369
Age
66
Location
U.S.A.
Visit site
The strong interference thing is a real boogie man IMHO. What you did is about the best I know. Try to get it home and or away from the interference. In a extreme case turn off the controller and hope the drone comes home per lack of any connection? I'm more commiserating here with you than offering any advice. I've had it happen and it's very unsettling. It's obvious that an airport has a ton of RF activity going on and who knows all the possible effects from that. In St. Ignes they had a circulating microwave/radar dish that would make my car radio beep every time it came around.
 

new2mavic

Well-Known Member
Joined
Dec 5, 2019
Messages
551
Reactions
357
Location
Hong Kong
Visit site
1) Is there anything I can do to work with these kinds of errors?

You got the interference message because you do not have VLOS to the drone. When it happened, the drone was just 15 m up and 1.1 km out. There is a very high chance that the house in front of you blocked the signal.

1603081338107.png

From the view of the drone :

1603082624388.png


2) While getting this post ready, I searched for the mobile device DAT files. Not there. Like, not even a folder for them with the name that's listed in the log retrieval guide. What's up with that? Shouldn't there at least be a folder for the dat files?

The folder should be there but it may be empty because of various reasons. For my M2P, the controller model is RC1B which is known to be unable to provide data to the phone for creating the .DAT file. RC1A does not have such issue. May be you can try updating the firmware ( drone and controller ) and the GO app.
 
Last edited:
  • Like
Reactions: SmilingOgre

FlyingHevy

Active Member
Joined
Feb 7, 2020
Messages
28
Reactions
34
Age
53
Location
Glenville, NY
Visit site
The strong interference thing is a real boogie man IMHO. What you did is about the best I know. Try to get it home and or away from the interference. In a extreme case turn off the controller and hope the drone comes home per lack of any connection? I'm more commiserating here with you than offering any advice. I've had it happen and it's very unsettling. It's obvious that an airport has a ton of RF activity going on and who knows all the possible effects from that. In St. Ignes they had a circulating microwave/radar dish that would make my car radio beep every time it came around.

Thanks, it's good to hear this is a thing and that maybe the right response was to give up on the shot at that point. Thanks for the extra advice about the controller, I'll keep that in mind in case it happens again.


You got the interference message because you do not have VLOS to the drone. When it happened, the drone was just 15 m up and 1.1 km out. There is a very high chance that the house in front of you blocked the signal.

View attachment 115336

From the view of the drone :

View attachment 115337
Nope, I launched and landed from the spot you've marked, but once it was up I flew it over the little building there (it's an old trolley car that's been turned into a vacation home, so it's not even 15' tall) and "walked it" down to the shore, which is where I was standing for the flight (actually down on the rocky shore). I had direct VLOS the entire time and could even see it when it lost contact. The only time I lost it was when I hit "return home" and it started doing its own thing, but we picked it back up pretty quickly.

The folder should be there but it may be empty because of various reasons. For my M2P, the controller model is RC1B which is known to be unable to provide data to the phone for creating the .DAT file. RC1A does not have such issue. May be you can try updating the firmware ( drone and controller ) and the GO app.

That's it, then, because I too have the RC1B but had not heard of that issue. At least I don't need to go through and do a bunch of reinstallations, etc. hoping to get it to show up! Disappointing not to be able to get at that data, but thinking of replacing it is something for another day! Thanks for your help!
 

new2mavic

Well-Known Member
Joined
Dec 5, 2019
Messages
551
Reactions
357
Location
Hong Kong
Visit site
... I was standing for the flight (actually down on the rocky shore). I had direct VLOS the entire time and could even see it when it lost contact. ...

Then either the radio units of the craft / controller has got some problems or there was indeed strong interference on the controller side. E.g. may be there was some high-power WiFi equipment in the nearby houses ? Suggest to test again at some remote places that are interference free.
 

slup

Well-Known Member
Joined
Oct 18, 2019
Messages
1,433
Reactions
1,687
Age
53
Location
Sweden
Visit site
... Is there anything I can do to work with these kinds of errors? This scared me. A lot.

Well, can't really see this short disconnect as anything alarming ... it can happen & it will happen again, even though the M2 have Occusync communication it's not totally immune to WiFi disturbance .

As the log event are stating that it was "strong Remote Controller interference" the interference most probably was around where you stood, not at the M2 present location.

Looking at the log we see some connection glitches both before & after the main 5sec disconnect ... at that time the M2 was rotating in it's side towards where you stood, side position to the RC is nearly always worse connection wise than front or rear. So you probably was standing in a spot with WiFi interference & when the M2 turned it's side to you then it lost the connection out there. You can install apps on your phone to check this off before you go airborne.

This is normally nothing to be scared of, with proper knowledge on how the RTH functionality works & a proper pre-flight check of RTH heights, failsafe actions & wind speeds/directions the worst that can happen is that the M2 aborts & initiate the failsafe action due to a lost RC connection. I urge you to visit an empty location free of obstacles & test off all RTH functionality so you know how it works & by that get confidence. Turning off the remote with the AC airborne is a thrilling experience, but a good one to create confidence around what happens when you loose connection during a flight. Just read through the full downloadable user manual regarding all about RTH & failsafe actions before.

You can here below see the moment when the disconnect happens at 243sec ... the green graph shows the downlink connection quality, note how it gets disturbed both before & after the total 5sec disconnect. In fact all white banding in the background color is shorter total disconnects.

(Click on the chart to make it larger)
1603277957696.png
 

FlyingHevy

Active Member
Joined
Feb 7, 2020
Messages
28
Reactions
34
Age
53
Location
Glenville, NY
Visit site
Thanks, @new2mavic and @slup. I didn't notice of these posts, so didn't see them until now, but I appreciate the additional thoughts and advice. And yes, getting to a farm or other clear area would be ideal for running a couple of failsafes/RTH to gain confidence and is definitely something I should do! Thanks again!
 

iaincaradoc

Photographer, weather geek, network engineer
Premium Pilot
Joined
Jun 19, 2020
Messages
469
Reactions
738
Age
49
Location
Scottsdale, Arizona
Site
www.photographybanned.com
Then either the radio units of the craft / controller has got some problems or there was indeed strong interference on the controller side. E.g. may be there was some high-power WiFi equipment in the nearby houses ? Suggest to test again at some remote places that are interference free.
That'd be my bet. A number of seaside residences are installing highly directional WiFi AP so they don't lose connection to their network when they walk down to the shoreline. And most of them have absolutely no idea how much RF splatter they're generating.