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I don't trust spark

SPark_South_Oz

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Apr 20, 2019
Messages
36
Loc
Adelaide, South Australia, Australia
OTG only eliminates Wifi between the RC and Smartphone. The drone is using Wifi for flight control and video downlink.
Indeed, I have noticed weak video on the ipad when flying the Spark, not too bad so far, but so far I've only flown it close, and only twice vs Mavic Pro a couple of hundred times.
I think it can have a place in my life, it's so small and quick to get in the air . . . but surprisingly noisy compared to the MP with 8331 props.
 

Tom Bennett

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Premium Pilot
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Feb 8, 2019
Messages
91
Age
66
Loc
Gilbert, AZ
I treat my Spark as a “selfy” drone. If I want or need to go farther out I fire up my MPP or M2P.
 

Nik Sinclair

Member
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Mar 6, 2019
Messages
7
Age
53
The truth is in the logs...
The logs stopped on 18th. Dunno why,,,I think it's either a duff spark or interaction between DJI go4 and NLD ,a spoiler from DJI or noise from the cities numerous bandwidth fillers,,,,got a tello to help the addiction,but really Nik get real,might go back to conventional choppers and fixed wing stuff ,at least your terminal flightsof death are down to your own stupidity or similar,,,,who know ,,,might even get a life and chase girls ,,,,,it is spring you know
 

Kenneth Jackson

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Jul 3, 2018
Messages
65
Age
56
Looks like my flight logs aren't there either. It makes me think the the dji app was glitching out. Maybe something on my phone? I don't know. I definitely don't trust the Spark like I did before.
The logs stopped on 18th. Dunno why,,,I think it's either a duff spark or interaction between DJI go4 and NLD ,a spoiler from DJI or noise from the cities numerous bandwidth fillers,,,,got a tello to help the addiction,but really Nik get real,might go back to conventional choppers and fixed wing stuff ,at least your terminal flightsof death are down to your own stupidity or similar,,,,who know ,,,might even get a life and chase girls ,,,,,it is spring you know
 

Nik Sinclair

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Mar 6, 2019
Messages
7
Age
53
I'm having trouble adapting to wifi, rather than the occusync like my Mavic Pro has.
I keep the Spark very close and LOS open.

Will probably get more experimental with distance, just not quite ready with the Spark as yet.



Nik, why didn't / wouldn't auto RTH work ?
No the rth was no go....reported GPS too weak to rth....like I said I could have 15 says and still report GPS too weak...clear skies.
 

Nik Sinclair

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Mar 6, 2019
Messages
7
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53
I had a recent incident where mid flight it lost GPS signal, went into atti mode, then updated the home point to some random place. I could control the spark just fine and was bringing it back to me. Before I got it back, it initiated low battery rth and began flying away to its new random home point which was in the opposite direction. I tried to cancel rth many times only to get the message that cancel rth failed. At this point the app and the drone are very stubborn and slow to react at all. I could barely control the Spark enough to get it to slowly come in my direction. Again trying to cancel rth and watching the app spaz out for several seconds and fail to cancel rth. If I let off of the sticks at all it would immediately continue to go into the opposite direction to who knows where.. After a long battle with it , I was able to get it low enough for me to grab it and flip it over. I fly all kinds of drones and have several years experience. No drone should ignore the pilots stick inputs. Don't trust a Spark! It's flawed automation will take control from you and any attempt to over ride it will be ignored. I suppose I should have hit the pause button and waited for the battery to go completely dead and it fall out of the sky. The Spark probably would have ignored pause also.
I have 185 flights but that 185th one was a failure and I don't trust the Spark.
Let's face it spark is an expensive entry !evel "photo" drone....but at the price it is it should be more secure in it's comms than it is...especially when half the owners have no skills for flying without all the tek.
 

Ophidia Snaketongue

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Dec 7, 2017
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108
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44
The Spark is a great little bird, but ironically it's actually harder to fly than its big brothers or sisters (are drones male or female?). The reason for this is that quite a bit of redundancy has been lost in order to reduce the price and size. Foremost of these is the compass. Unlike the Phantom and Mavic, it is very easy for the compass to suffer from interference, and when it does, it'll go into atti mode. Press RTH then, or have a low battery, and you've got a flyaway.

I'm afraid they are really not designed to fly over cities. Using wifi, there is too much interference, and there are too many steel structures or magnetic fields to fly a Spark without great risk of a flyaway.

If you understand its capabilities and don't fly it beyond its safe limits, it's a very reliable drone. I've done 60+ flights on mine and the only crash(es) I've had were entirely due to PIAI errors (Pilot Is An Idiot).

The Mavic and the Phantom, both of which I also fly, are far more suitable for more challenging conditions. I reach students how to fly drones, and my go-to model for that is the Phantom. It's rock solid and idiot-proof. The Mavic is for advanced students and learning about videography and the Spark...nobody touches my little Hoverbee. Only I am allowed to fly her :)

Which drone do I use the most? The Spark. My favourite recreational flying is in wild landscapes, and Hoverbee is perfect for that- light, easy to put in a backpack, and works seamlessly away from sources of interference.
 

Chuck Halfacre

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Join
Sep 30, 2018
Messages
60
Age
59
Loc
40 Miles out side of Las Vegas
I've been looking into a 2nd GPS that is small an don't interfere with the spark. That way if the spark does fly away because of a glitch with DJI's software I'll still be able to find the drone even if someone picks it up. I just need to remember to get one when I'm in town. If it's going to work I'm not sure but time will tell after I buy one?
 

Vader01

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Apr 2, 2019
Messages
27
Age
58
Indeed, I have noticed weak video on the ipad when flying the Spark, not too bad so far, but so far I've only flown it close, and only twice vs Mavic Pro a couple of hundred times.
I think it can have a place in my life, it's so small and quick to get in the air . . . but surprisingly noisy compared to the MP with 8331 props.
[/QUOTEI was having issues with the wifi link between my ipad and the controller that is why I use an OTG but I fly my Spark between 8000ft and over 10,000 ft during each battery flight with no issues. The times I did lose signal the Spark came back to the home point each time. I love my Spark and hope to upgrade to the Mavic Pro 2 later this year.
 

Andre Levite

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Premium Pilot
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Jun 18, 2018
Messages
1,497
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Treasure Coast of Florida
Web
how-to-spark.com
I think of the Spark as a "flying smart phone". They share incredible complexity, miniaturization and many of the same components: GPS, wifi, camera, processor, accelerometer, compass, operating system, etc.

But when my smartphone has a software crash it reboots without plummeting into the ground or flying away.

These issues aren't unique to the Spark. The MavicPilots Forum has the same reports several times every week.

I could only "trust" a drone that never has a hardware or software crash -- it doesn't exist (at least not in this price range).
 
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Decado

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Dec 27, 2018
Messages
40
Age
54
Loc
Queensland Australia
I think it's more a matter of how much you can trust yourself, your pre flight and your attention to detail than how much you can trust the Spark. If you don't trust the Spark then be prepared to have a rude awakening with the Mavic Air. It's a great little beast when it's flying butI have had more issues with my one Mavic Air than I have had with my 3 Sparks. The Air is off back to the repairer tomorrow .... again.

Regards
Ari
 
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Andre Levite

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Jun 18, 2018
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Treasure Coast of Florida
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how-to-spark.com
I think it's more a matter of how much you can trust yourself, your pre flight and your attention to detail than how much you can trust the Spark. If you don't trust the Spark then be prepared to have a rude awakening with the Mavic Air. It's a great little beast when it's flying butI have had more issues with my one Mavic Air than I have had with my 3 Sparks. The Air is off back to the repairer tomorrow .... again.

Regards
Ari
Yes. Of course I would almost always trust a human (myself) over a machine (drone). After all the pilot is making the decisions and the Spark can only follow instructions. The obvious exceptions is the autonomous flights and maneuvers -- they are remarkably reliable.

I'm trying to imagine a future drone with true Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning and 3-D mapping. It's a ways off but inevitable. Or has Space X already done that with the Falcon 9 rocket?!?
 
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Nik Sinclair

Member
Join
Mar 6, 2019
Messages
7
Age
53
The Spark is a great little bird, but ironically it's actually harder to fly than its big brothers or sisters (are drones male or female?). The reason for this is that quite a bit of redundancy has been lost in order to reduce the price and size. Foremost of these is the compass. Unlike the Phantom and Mavic, it is very easy for the compass to suffer from interference, and when it does, it'll go into atti mode. Press RTH then, or have a low battery, and you've got a flyaway.

I'm afraid they are really not designed to fly over cities. Using wifi, there is too much interference, and there are too many steel structures or magnetic fields to fly a Spark without great risk of a flyaway.

If you understand its capabilities and don't fly it beyond its safe limits, it's a very reliable drone. I've done 60+ flights on mine and the only crash(es) I've had were entirely due to PIAI errors (Pilot Is An Idiot).

The Mavic and the Phantom, both of which I also fly, are far more suitable for more challenging conditions. I reach students how to fly drones, and my go-to model for that is the Phantom. It's rock solid and idiot-proof. The Mavic is for advanced students and learning about videography and the Spark...nobody touches my little Hoverbee. Only I am allowed to fly her :)

Which drone do I use the most? The Spark. My favourite recreational flying is in wild landscapes, and Hoverbee is perfect for that- light, easy to put in a backpack, and works seamlessly away from sources of interference.
That information would have been most helpful before I purchased the little bigger ...now with owner or.....but I will hold to the fact that this is the first quad I have lost in 5 yrs...so something's wrong with DJI Tek or overambitious sales team
 
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Nik Sinclair

Member
Join
Mar 6, 2019
Messages
7
Age
53
OTG only eliminates Wifi between the RC and Smartphone. The drone is using Wifi for flight control and video downlink. I have noticed a considerable difference between flying in rural settings (where I usually fly) and urban settings. I am noticing/reading that the majority of issues exist when people are flying in wifi saturated areas, unless they are high enough to avoid all that noise (and legally speaking, in most countries, you cant avoid it if you stick to the max legal altitude). The other weakness is one compass, there is no redundancy if compass/GPS and IMU get out of sync... the potential for ATTI mode is greater than some more expensive DJI drones with dual systems and if you dont know what to do when it happens, you may lose your drone. That is why visual line of site VLOS is recommended. Flying fast , at great distances, and making erratic turns at speed also increase that risk if that compass/gps sync gets out of whack

So picking where you fly is going to be a factor on reliability. And, all drones have the potential to fly away. Go read some of the other "pilots" forums. Do a search.

Being as educated as possible and choosing your flight environment carefully is your best insurance.
Don't patronise....my expectations were obviously too hi for a 500£ toy
 

Sparksupersonic

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Oct 16, 2018
Messages
78
Age
53
Been flying drones for 4 years I thought a small drone with all the latest bells and whistles would be a practical solution for spontaneous flights.
It turns out the spark is way over engineered and has proved to be so over complex to be useful.
I live in a city and have flown numerous aircraft where and when I like.
I regard my own sensible flying to be safety enough.
Several times I had a near loss of aircraft due to unreasonable fly away
So along comes nfz on riding on an update and the result is can't fly local...so I get no limits for 35 usd and hope that fixes it...it does ...but not completely.
Loss of control on one occasion and frquent reports of weak GPS with 10 or more locks.
Plus it seems the basic accelerometers are less functional than with earlier non GPS drones...no GPS and inertial guidance is virtually non existent.
So conclude that I can't trust this quad not to disappear any day soon.
Anybody else had similar experience?
I had a Spark disconnect and flyaway after 3 months of use last Nov. DJI covered it under a warranty and replaced it with a new one.
I don’t know technology like a lot of people, particularly younger people do. I didn’t grow up with it. But I take the time to learn how to use something.
Only my opinion but I somewhat agree. Maybe they’re trying to pack too much into a small drone.
But I sometimes wonder about advances in technology itself, like with the latest tec in smartphones, seems they put it out before it’s ready, or even tested thoroughly enough.
Before I got the new Spark that dji replaced I bought 2 Mavic Pros, one of them a Platinum, and started flying the Platinum.
After flying the Platinum the Spark seems incredibly small. I finally activated it, thinking I’d still use it. But after flying the Mavic with its flight distances and times, I don’t see myself using the Spark much anymore.
The fly away was on Long Island in NY, population almost 8 million, so it’s a signal heavy place, and my Platinum acted oddly the one time I’ve flown it there.
Where my girlfriend lives is an odd place about signal. It’s an older wealthy village where they don’t want cell towers, so a lot of the neighborhoods are dead zones for cell service, yet the air seems saturated with other signals and interference.
So with the Platinum, I flew it at a harbor there, and the coastal wind must have been a lot stronger just a few hundred feet up and pushed it away from me, into the neighborhoods, and it literally didn’t have the power to get back.
So I had to jump in the truck, drive to my girlfriends close by, and get her to drive and chase it. Only I couldn’t use the corner maps because of the deadzones and could only guess where it was through the drone’s view.
It was eventually landing in a wooded, hilly neighborhood, but disconnected, and I couldn’t tell where.
My girlfriend said maybe you just shouldn’t buy anymore drones.
I was so pissed after the last time I flew there the Spark has flown away I just ss fk it, if it’s gone it’s gone I’ll just give up drones till the technology is better.
Fortunately back at her apt I cooled off and when I was able to get service on my phone through her apt wifi I was able to look at the flight record and see the location of where it last was.
Went there but no one was at the house it showed it at and it was fenced and wooded and it was night by then. I was skeptical it couldn’t have made the landing.
A neighbor gave me the guy’s phone number and I called the next day his kids found it the next day right on their back patio sitting perfectly. He said it landed about 8 feet from their pool.
So I got it back 100% as it took off, but never flying it there again.
I’ve never had any real problems with the Spark in the country where I fly most of the time, it goes into atti mode for a few seconds at a time, but that’s it. The platinum is flawless in the country.
I have a friend who flys s Spark on Long Island who has never had a problem. He’s even foolishly flown it from a rooftop restaurant high above Manhattan, so who knows.
 

hackmate

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Jan 29, 2019
Messages
1
Age
33
Never trust any machine. Always fly VLOS. Never fly if there are less than 10 satellites connected . Always check KP index and never fly >3 if you need flying BVLOS. I had atti mode once when KP was 6, but I was flying VLOS so I could control and came home manually. No other issues noticed. So, your experience is much different than mine. I am very happy of Spark capabilities. I own it since January 2019. Wanted to go for Mavic Air but it is as twice expensive (I dont care about 4k, slow motion or higher sport mode velocity).
 

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Ophidia Snaketongue

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Dec 7, 2017
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108
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44
That information would have been most helpful before I purchased the little bigger ...now with owner or.....but I will hold to the fact that this is the first quad I have lost in 5 yrs...so something's wrong with DJI Tek or overambitious sales team
Agreed. The DJI sales team do suggest that the Spark is idiot-proof and very easy to fly. Just like any drone, it has a learning curve. I do wonder how many people have a completely preventable flyaway in the first week of ownership.
 

JoostGT3

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Join
Nov 9, 2017
Messages
186
Loc
Netherlands
I think the "problem" lies with marketing;
The spark was marketed as a "can do it all by itself" selfie drone. This is not only utopia, it also gives the wrong message that you can give it to a brainless earthworm and it will still work.
The truth is that it is a very advanced machine, but that doesn't make it suitable for everyone... on the contrary, it lures you into a false security.
The result is that IF it doesn't know what to do, the "pilot" often doesn't either.

A side effect of the technical "advancedness" (sorry, is that a word?) -even though it was marketed as a selfie drone- the Spark also appeals to people who see it as a low-cost version of the phantom, so they will use it maybe over the limits of what it was intended for. At least this type of users will generally be aware of the functions and (im)possibilities, but I think this target group really caught DJI off-guard.
 

SlowSL

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Apr 26, 2019
Messages
10
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36
Loc
Bristol, IN
Only problem I've had was when a low battery RTH was triggered, and heading home into the wind. I was doing a range test, and knew there was going to be a problem returning, so I just wanted to get it as far as possible and move it next to the road so I can hop out of my car and grab it. I was 400ft. up, and the spark was crawling back, like barely moving against the wind, even though it's supposed to return at 22mph. I thought that was strange, as the winds were blowing pretty good, but not THAT hard. I tried to cancel the RTH, flip into sports mode, and descend while traversing diagonally to get close to the road, and get under the gusts. I wanted to move out of the middle of a field. Had plenty of battery to make it to a good landing spot, but it re-enable auto RTH shortly after I canceled, changing trajectory toward the home point, which was away from where I was trying to go. I spent a good 30 seconds fighting with it, it kept yawing wildly left and right even though I was pushing the stick forward. I'd try to yaw to get it back on track then it'd just overshoot the opposite direction. I gave up and just let it do its thing as I was getting no headway. After a short while of watching crawl home the battery had depleted enough that it landed right where it was, in the middle of the field. So 20 minutes later I find the last GPS lock with find my drone, aaaand it's nowhere to be found. I click to make sounds, but it had powered off by the time I made it out there. I walk all around for another 20 minutes without finding it. I thought for sure the GPS location was off. I went back to the cached video to maybe verify that that is in fact the area it went down..... and for some reason 0kb on the cached video. Luckily, I did end up finding it about 50ft. away from the last GPS location. It was very hard to see, as if it had landed and cleverly pulled some plants over top of it in order to hide from me. This field was about 1/2 mile wide by 1 mile long, with ankle high leaved plants, so it was like a needle in a hay stack. I'm very lucky I found it. It works very well, and I trust it for the most part, but anything can happen. My refrigerator, washer, and coffee maker have all had strange software hickups, I fear the day it happens to the spark and it decides to go home in the wrong direction.
 

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