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Lost connection, RTH worked. How to reconnect?

Chips

Active Member
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Sep 2, 2017
Messages
39
Age
64
Today was the first time I lost connection to the Spark and fortunately, I had set RTH as the mode to automatically start if the signal was lost. It was a relief to hear it overhead and it descended to eye level, hovered, and I grabbed it and turned it over to shut the motors down.

I can't understand why the connection was lost because I was in flat countryside and LOS was as good as it gets. I had seen a lake in the distance and was flying towards it when I realised that the battery was down to 50% and I don't like to take risks, so I pressed RTH. Then suddenly, the connection was gone and I was really worried. I figured it would still be somewhere up there as there was still battery and hoped it would RTH automatically. It had been about 400 metres/1,300 ft away from Home Point and 1,500 ft/456 metres up. We don't have restrictions here and I was in a very open area that is away from any airways.

I do get occasional weak video transmission messages but they come and go and I believe they do not affect the control connection. I also watch the signal strength indicator and it was 3 bars at the furthest point. The flight data doesn't seem to show any lapse from takeoff to landing so nothing to learn from there. I could download the flight log to look but for now, I am not doing so. I came home and sent the Spark up again to check if anything would happen but it flew ok.

I am just wondering, for those who have lost connection and managed to reconnect, what did you do? I tried to switch the RC off and then back on, restarted my tablet and GO4 and nothing worked. I have once lost a connection with my Mavic Pro but managed to reconnect by restarting everything.
 

Spark 317

Well known member with a Spark and a Mavic Air 2.
Premium Pilot
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Jul 10, 2017
Messages
4,899
Loc
Indiana, USA
I've lost connection before but it always reconnected when it got close and everything was fine.

Was the remote sufficiently charged?
A low battery in the remote may cause it not to reconnect?

If you initiated the RTH, it must have been connected for it to receive the command but if it did it on it's own, it probably wasn't.

It's worth looking at the flight log to see what happened.
 

Chips

Active Member
Join
Sep 2, 2017
Messages
39
Age
64
I've lost connection before but it always reconnected when it got close and everything was fine.

Was the remote sufficiently charged?
A low battery in the remote may cause it not to reconnect?

If you initiated the RTH, it must have been connected for it to receive the command but if it did it on it's own, it probably wasn't.

It's worth looking at the flight log to see what happened.
Thanks for your comments.

The RC was still fully charged as it was the second flight of the day. I usually charge to 100% before I go out flying and all lights were on. I would never fly if it was one light left.

I remember it was connected when I RTH and I was watching it as it turned around and then suddenly, the connection disappeared. So it got that last command and I also recall now that I tried pressing the RTH button again and got the message COMMAND TIMED OUT. But it would have been on its way home either following the last command or automatically doing so on loss of signal.
 

Heckmaniac

Well-Known Member
Join
Sep 15, 2018
Messages
227
Age
54
Mine sometimes loses connection when I hit RTH. Thinking it's because the antenna in the drone is located in the back, when it turns to come home it may disconnect, but as Spark 317 mentioned, mine will reconnect within a few seconds of that happening as it gets closer.
 

Mr Geek

Well-Known Member
Join
Jan 2, 2019
Messages
77
Age
67
I have found that the Spark will reconnect on it's own and is very persistent in trying. Once it loses communication and begins RTH It won't cancel RTH mode unless you manually cancel or take over control of it yourself. Many times when flying low to the ground and then descending down over a ridge, with the drone on the far side from the controller, it is very easy to lose signal especially if you lose line of sight between them. This happens even when the drone is relatively close.

In those situations, when automatic RTH begins due to loss of signal I will hold the ascend/descend stick up (ascend) to do two things. One is IF you want to continue flying then you will want to cancel RTH when communication is restored and one way to cancel RTH mode is to simply take control of the drone by moving the sticks, in this case holding the UP stick up. The second reason is so the first command the drone hears upon reconnecting is to ascend in elevation, away from the ground/obstacles, as well as improve signal propagation between it and the controller.
 

Chips

Active Member
Join
Sep 2, 2017
Messages
39
Age
64
I have found that the Spark will reconnect on it's own and is very persistent in trying. Once it loses communication and begins RTH It won't cancel RTH mode unless you manually cancel or take over control of it yourself. Many times when flying low to the ground and then descending down over a ridge, with the drone on the far side from the controller, it is very easy to lose signal especially if you lose line of sight between them. This happens even when the drone is relatively close.

In those situations, when automatic RTH begins due to loss of signal I will hold the ascend/descend stick up (ascend) to do two things. One is IF you want to continue flying then you will want to cancel RTH when communication is restored and one way to cancel RTH mode is to simply take control of the drone by moving the sticks, in this case holding the UP stick up. The second reason is so the first command the drone hears upon reconnecting is to ascend in elevation, away from the ground/obstacles, as well as improve signal propagation between it and the controller.

Very good tips, thank you. Will keep them in mind. I have occasional signal loss but have come to feel assured that RTH will bring the drone home. Only thing is to not push the limits on battery life so that there's enough to fly back and descend.
 

Mr Geek

Well-Known Member
Join
Jan 2, 2019
Messages
77
Age
67
Very good tips, thank you. Will keep them in mind. I have occasional signal loss but have come to feel assured that RTH will bring the drone home. Only thing is to not push the limits on battery life so that there's enough to fly back and descend.
Yes I should have stressed that not doing anything, hands off controller, is by far safest course of action when auto RTH kicks in. The Spark is pretty darn smart taking into account the considerable data it monitors for when to initiate RTH and how best to get back home. The scenario I was describing was cancelling RTH when batteries are in good shape and user wants to continue flying. Have fun!
 
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