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Looses altitude in GPS mode

JayZ

New Member
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Apr 14, 2018
Messages
2
Age
40
I was at the beach trying to get a good shot. However, spark was unable to hold altitude and would drop on the sand (yes sand did get in the Gimbal. But I eventually got it cleaned). I already calibrated IMU and compass. GPS lock is 13+. The bottom sensors are clean. Also note that this is an intermittent issue. What could be the problem?
 

MartyTravelsTheWorld

Active Member
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Apr 12, 2018
Messages
42
Age
41
Occurred the drop shortly after take off? I encountered the same problem a few times now. DJI support has nothing to say about that. They didn't even reply once.

It might have something to do with uneven surfaces. Mine even did a dip into the ocean, but only the "landing gear" got wet. It pulled up again just in time. I had no control over altitude at all. That was shocking...

Since then I've factory reset my spark and re-installed the newest firmware. I have the feeling that it's better now...but you never know :)
 

graywoulf

Endeavor to Persevere
Premium Pilot
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Mar 30, 2018
Messages
1,349
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66
Loc
Millers Creek, NC
I hope mine never gets to where it loses altitude like that. Makes me wonder about how sensitive the Spark is to it's surroundings.
 

JayZ

New Member
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Apr 14, 2018
Messages
2
Age
40
Thanks Marty. I tested yhe spark again after a while and it is working again. I think it has something to do with high tension wires near where I was flying. The drone wouldn't get off the ground.

I will try to do the factory reset and see if it occurs again. Thanks
 

graywoulf

Endeavor to Persevere
Premium Pilot
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Mar 30, 2018
Messages
1,349
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Millers Creek, NC
Thanks Marty. I tested yhe spark again after a while and it is working again. I think it has something to do with high tension wires near where I was flying. The drone wouldn't get off the ground.

I will try to do the factory reset and see if it occurs again. Thanks
I can tell you that high tension wires do not cause interference with a Spark. I have them close to my house as well as a electrical sub station and a cell tower. I was worried about them at first but now I am not. Here is my proof of that statement.

 

Texas Gonzo

Well-Known Member
Join
Oct 4, 2017
Messages
76
Age
54
As this is the closest thread to the issue I'm suddenly seeing, I guess I'll knock here first...

The last couple of weeks, my spark has been acting very erratic altitude wise just after take off. Ie: if i initiate an auto take off, it'll rise a foot or so, then drop back down to the pad (which is a fiberglass basketball backboard with no metal, works great!). In a normal manual take off, I really have to lean on the up stick to keep it 6-10 ft off the ground. Trying to hover, it'll rise and fall several feet almost instantly. At the same time, the altitude display varies several feet as well.

Oddly, after I push it on up in sport mode and fly around some, it behaves like it should. When I return to land, it will hover perfectly, with no drift in any direction. I can go through 4 batteries after the initial weirdness with no further issues. It only seems to act up on the first launch, and when under 20 feet or so.

Obviously, I've done compass and IMU calibrations, about 3 or 4 times now, with no errors or weirdness on either procedure. I'm flying from the same area, so no changes there as far as interference or whatever. Also, I've had no crashes (ever), so damage can be ruled out as well.

Firmware wise, it is whining for an update. I'm not sure offhand which version I'm on, but it's last update was around October 2017. Other than this issue, I've had no problems with this lil bird at all... none with distance, flight characteristics, etc. Once in a while I have to reload Go4 a few times to get everything lag free, but I relate that more to the device and Go4 itself.

Btw, I do remember noticing this behavior one day when the spark seemed unusually hot after startup. When I say hot, I mean the exhaust air was "uncomfortable" even for my hands, and I'm a welder that's used to hot items. The outdoor temp wasn't that bad, maybe 90°. I've flown in hotter temps here in Texas, and never experienced any problems.

Anyway, this is bugging me bigtime, so any suggestions would be appreciated as always! Happy flying, and keep em colored side up yall!
 

Spark 317

Well known member with a Spark and a Mavic Air 2.
Premium Pilot
Join
Jul 10, 2017
Messages
5,013
Loc
Indiana, USA
As this is the closest thread to the issue I'm suddenly seeing, I guess I'll knock here first...

The last couple of weeks, my spark has been acting very erratic altitude wise just after take off. Ie: if i initiate an auto take off, it'll rise a foot or so, then drop back down to the pad (which is a fiberglass basketball backboard with no metal, works great!). In a normal manual take off, I really have to lean on the up stick to keep it 6-10 ft off the ground. Trying to hover, it'll rise and fall several feet almost instantly. At the same time, the altitude display varies several feet as well.

Oddly, after I push it on up in sport mode and fly around some, it behaves like it should. When I return to land, it will hover perfectly, with no drift in any direction. I can go through 4 batteries after the initial weirdness with no further issues. It only seems to act up on the first launch, and when under 20 feet or so.

Obviously, I've done compass and IMU calibrations, about 3 or 4 times now, with no errors or weirdness on either procedure. I'm flying from the same area, so no changes there as far as interference or whatever. Also, I've had no crashes (ever), so damage can be ruled out as well.

Firmware wise, it is whining for an update. I'm not sure offhand which version I'm on, but it's last update was around October 2017. Other than this issue, I've had no problems with this lil bird at all... none with distance, flight characteristics, etc. Once in a while I have to reload Go4 a few times to get everything lag free, but I relate that more to the device and Go4 itself.

Btw, I do remember noticing this behavior one day when the spark seemed unusually hot after startup. When I say hot, I mean the exhaust air was "uncomfortable" even for my hands, and I'm a welder that's used to hot items. The outdoor temp wasn't that bad, maybe 90°. I've flown in hotter temps here in Texas, and never experienced any problems.

Anyway, this is bugging me bigtime, so any suggestions would be appreciated as always! Happy flying, and keep em colored side up yall!


Just a wild guess, on your first flight, is the Spark removed from an air conditioned space and then introduced to the hot air?

You may have some condensation form on the VPS camera lens internally that would affect the flight until the Spark got acclimated to the environment and dry up the lens.

The first 20-25 feet of flight is usually VPS til GPS takes over.
If the camera can't see the ground, it may fly erratic.

My two cents.
 
Last edited:

Texas Gonzo

Well-Known Member
Join
Oct 4, 2017
Messages
76
Age
54
Condensation doesn't seem to be an issue here, though I can totally understand where it could have similar effects. I keep it in a really nice waterproof case, and my house AC is set between 80 and 82°, so no chance of condensation forming when the dew points are typically well below 65° here in central Texas. I always have a good GPS lock with 10+ sats in view.

Now, when I say this thing is acting erratic, I mean it's almost like power is fluctuating for a few milliseconds here and there. It'll drop a good foot instantly, making an auto takeoff impossible. The times I've initiated one lately, it'll rise a foot or so, then slam back down, try to rise again, then back down.

Its totally bizarre... again, I am seeing the altitude display fluctuate several feet when this occurs. Once I get it above 10 or 15 feet, it gets it's act together and flies like it should. Other than these minor thumps it takes trying to take off, it's never had a crash since day one. I have over 160 flights logged, along with ~200 miles total distance covered in 16+ hours of flight time on it. Until this started, it flew perfectly.

The vps lenses on the bottom are absolutely clean, no dust, condensation, etc. I guess the next step would be to let it update the firmware, but I really hate to put my faith in the latest batch of bugs. Being a former high-end copier tech, I've seen a lot of upgrades fail, or cause the most bizarre behavior ever. Imho, it's a crap shoot at best.

Thanks for the replies and brain-pickins yall! This is such an excellent group of folks, and really I'm glad yall are here. Peace and long life...
 

Texas Gonzo

Well-Known Member
Join
Oct 4, 2017
Messages
76
Age
54
Well, i guess my Spark issues are all moot now... it decided to become a statistic yesterday and made a break for the homeland. Yup, add me to the "fly away club" [emoji22].

On my 3rd flight for the day, it took off normally, no weirdness at all. After it got to ~30ft, i let off the sticks to change a couple of exposure settings, and it kept ascending! I'm pulling the left stick full back, and it's basically ignoring the input. Up, up, up "*atti mode*", up, up and away....

I did try a fast reboot on the controller, but never managed to re-establish a connection. Last I saw, it was heading west toward a lake about 4 miles away. I doubt there's much chance I'll see it again, but I'd sure love to see it plugged into dji's "diagnostic port" sideways (yeah, that one).

What really stinks is I don't even have a flight log for this event since the app glitched just after reporting atti mode. Atleast I still have my Phantom 3S... and it behaves itself most of the time. I hope no one else has this happen, but I wouldn't put money on it. DJI won't see another dollar from me, though I will miss my Spark a great deal.

Happy, safe flying all!!!
 
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Spark 317

Well known member with a Spark and a Mavic Air 2.
Premium Pilot
Join
Jul 10, 2017
Messages
5,013
Loc
Indiana, USA
At least I still have my Phantom 3S...

Hate to read about your loss. The Spark is a fun little drone when it behaves.

Plan a rescue mission along the route the wind was blowing with the P3, you might get lucky.
 

windryder

Well-Known Member
Join
Aug 16, 2018
Messages
90
Like I said before the Fly away club sucks. I'm afraid to fly mine after I had it go into ATTI mode and had no control at all. I have flown at least 8 of the cheap drones before I bought my Spark, so I know how to manually fly. It was just like you said I had no response from either stick luckily I got GPS connection within a couple of seconds and wasn't but 20 or so feet off the ground and was able to land it. I have searched the internet to see how many times this happens and was shocked to see the amount of time this has happened! Man so sorry for your loss! Did you have your contact info on the spark? Maybe someone will come across it and return it! It would be interesting to know how far it went and see if it was damaged. :(
 

lmel2005

Well-Known Member
Join
May 15, 2018
Messages
655
Age
64
Unfortunately, every DJI drone with GPS, is a sensitive and complicated device.

When we see some strange or erratic behaviour, we must land and try to resolve the situation.

Logs are usually informative enough, but they are difficult to explain for the most ordinary drone users. Maybe more experienced members here can help, or reporting the problem to DJI or a service center could resolve the issue.

Ignoring a "small" incident of strange behaviour, makes a fly away more possible during next takeoff. Ignoring it for a second time, is like pushing our drone away.
We should consider ourselves"lucky" if our drone gives us a sign, before it flies away, net is full of fly away stories, without any warning before.

Every time you have a problem, post your logs. I'm not a log expert, but some of us are, and we all must try to learn how to decode and explain basic malfunctions.

My 2 cents.
 

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