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spark compass error, magnetic field .

peterwo2e

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Sep 16, 2019
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14
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61
hi.
anybody knows what to do in the event the spark drone or any drone should go to compass error because of some kind of magnetic interference? i heard horror stories of run away drones that would not respond to the RC control. what do you do to bring the bird back to you. or purposely crash if possible so at least you have something to turn in. will the bird regain signal? how would you guys handle this?
 

WingmanGoose

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Sep 12, 2019
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10
New guy here, but I’ve had my fair share of compass and IMU issues so I’ll chime in.

I’ve learned through my errors that prevention is key. Properly calibrating the IMU when the Spark is cold will be prevent the worst issue while flying, which is IMU errors and messages. Then, calibrate the compass in an area away from metal or power lines. Finally, only fly with a remote, your device in airplane mode with an OTG cable, don’t take off from metal containing objects, and stay away from high power power lines. Doing these things will eliminate 98% of problems while flying.

The flight glitches I’ve had after following these rules are usually just momentary glitches and will correct itself before you even notice any flying errors. If you do get an error, start flying towards home in case the error sticks around.

IMHO, fly always are a result of much more than just a compass error. It might display it as a compass error but it’s deeper than that. If you start to loose remote control inputs, best bet is to activate return to home in case you lose complete manual control. There’s a chance it may get the RTH activation signal even if you’ve already lost complete manual control. You can always cancel RTH if things improve to the point that you can manually take over again. RTH is much better than aiming for a tree or building, although aiming for a tree would be better than having a fly away towards a large group of people, airport, or somewhere else that safety would be an obvious issue.

Reality is that if you still have controls to manually crash, RTH should be still functional. We (me included) just have a bad habit of not wanting to press RTH or not remembering it’s there.
 

pmshop

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Oct 6, 2017
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Just commenting on the issue of "having to crash to have something to turn in".
DJI has turned away from that policy a little bit in the recent months.
They do this when there is clear evidence to them in the flight log that it was their fault.
There have been warrant replacement connected to YAW error fly-aways, water crashes without recovery reports out here.

So do your best to bring it home.
But if you cannot recover it, continue to file a case with the flight record.
 

RotorWash

Well-Known Member
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Jul 18, 2019
Messages
236
Age
53
Loc
Prince Edward Island, Canada
hi.
anybody knows what to do in the event the spark drone or any drone should go to compass error because of some kind of magnetic interference? i heard horror stories of run away drones that would not respond to the RC control. what do you do to bring the bird back to you. or purposely crash if possible so at least you have something to turn in. will the bird regain signal? how would you guys handle this?
This seems to be a common concern among new Spark owners and with all the videos online talking about it it's not hard to understand why. From what I've read and watched, there seems to be two main types of flyaways and both are not confined to just the Spark.

First and by far the most common is when the craft drops GPS positioning and reverts to ATTI mode (if flying the Spark above 10m) which is usually proceeded by a notification of a compass error which may be due to some form of magnetic interference. Most times the craft will regain GPS positioning in a few seconds and be able to hover in place but if it doesn't and there is any amount of wind the craft will quickly drift off making the situation look like the AC is purposely flying away itself. It's not and it's up to the pilot to fly the craft back with stick control which you will still have in most of these type situations. If the craft flies out of RC range and loses connection, it can still return to the HP on its own if GPS positioning returns at some point and enough battery power remains.

Keep in mind that winds are always higher at altitude than ground level so many don't even realize that wind is a factor. Also, a lot of new pilots are not familiar with ATTI mode so they're unable to control the craft properly or make the situation worse by pushing the wrong way on the sticks. To the uninitiated, this looks and feels like the bird grew a brain and flew off on its own. BTW, pressing the RTH button while in ATTI mode won't help you as the craft is not using GPS for positioning which is needed to help find the HP. If the craft goes back into GPS mode at some point during the flight then the RTH function will work properly.

The second type of flyaway seems a bit more mysterious and much more rare. There may be no errors pop up on the GO4 app and stick control doesn't appear to respond even with the RC still connected. The craft may fly away very quickly as well even though winds are low. For a recent example, check out this video by Don Joyce with his Mavic.

The cause of such flyaways seems unclear from what I've seen on the topic so far. However I would say that anytime you have a technology that is composed of firmware, software and hardware there is always a chance of an unexpected error happening. I think it's a testament to DJI that it happens as rarely as it does. But when it does it can be a very scary experience for the pilot. That's why it's always so important to fly within the rules and to take precautions when and where you fly and to get to know your aircraft as much as you can. You're in the right place to do that! 👍 Here's also a good guide to feast on: Prevent a Crash or Flyaway with Your DJI Drone (The Complete Guide).
 
Last edited:

peterwo2e

Member
Join
Sep 16, 2019
Messages
14
Age
61
This seems to be a common concern among new Spark owners and with all the videos online talking about it it's not hard to understand why. From what I've read and watched, there seems to be two main types of flyaways and both are not confined to just the Spark.

First and by far the most common is when the craft drops GPS positioning and reverts to ATTI mode (if flying the Spark above 10m) which is usually proceeded by a notification of a compass error which may be due to some form of magnetic interference. Most times the craft will regain GPS positioning in a few seconds and be able to hover in place but if it doesn't and there is any amount of wind the craft will quickly drift off making the situation look like the AC is purposely flying away itself. It's not and it's up to the pilot to fly the craft back with stick control which you will still have in most of these type situations. If the craft flies out of RC range and loses connection, it can still return to the HP on its own if GPS positioning returns at some point and enough battery power remains.

Keep in mind that winds are always higher at altitude than ground level so many don't even realize that wind is a factor. Also, a lot of new pilots are not familiar with ATTI mode so they're unable to control the craft properly or make the situation worse by pushing the wrong way on the sticks. To the uninitiated, this looks and feels like the bird grew a brain and flew off on its own. BTW, pressing the RTH button while in ATTI mode won't help you as the craft is not using GPS for positioning which is needed to help find the HP. If the craft goes back into GPS mode at some point during the flight then the RTH function will work properly.

The second type of flyaway seems a bit more mysterious and much more rare. There may be no errors pop up on the GO4 app and stick control doesn't appear to respond even with the RC still connected. The craft may fly away very quickly as well even though winds are low. For a recent example, check out this video by Don Joyce with his Mavic.

The cause of such flyaways seems unclear from what I've seen on the topic so far. However I would say that anytime you have a technology that is composed of firmware, software and hardware there is always a chance of an unexpected error happening. I think it's a testament to DJI that it happens as rarely as it does. But when it does it can be a very scary experience for the pilot. That's why it's always so important to fly within the rules and to take precautions when and where you fly and to get to know your aircraft as much as you can. You're in the right place to do that! 👍 Here's also a good guide to feast on: Prevent a Crash or Flyaway with Your DJI Drone (The Complete Guide).
thanks. it did regain GPS but by then i had to change my underwear.
 

Tentoes

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Jun 5, 2019
Messages
253
Loc
Oklahoma USA
A couple times, mine has mysteriously said, "Poor GPS signal" and switched to atti mode while like 30 meters up and a hundred out. Both times, she regained gps within a few seconds. This is out in open country miles from anything.

I wonder if I did something like fly between two microwave communication towers.
 
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RotorWash

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Jul 18, 2019
Messages
236
Age
53
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Prince Edward Island, Canada
A couple times, mine has mysteriously said, "Poor GPS signal" and switched to atti mode while like 30 meters up and a hundred out. Both times, she regained gps within a few seconds. This is out in open country miles from anything.

I wonder if I did something like fly between two microwave communication towers.
Were you in Sport mode at the time and/or was it windy at 30m? Not that you would need to be to have it drop to ATTI but the Spark seems more susceptible to do so in those scenarios. For the first month I had my Spark I could get it to drop to ATTI pretty much at will by whipping it around in Sport mode. A third and very slow compass cal reduced the problem from 90% occurrence to around 5% for me. When the issue was prevalent ATTI was always preceded by yaw errors in the log. It's as though the onboard CPU couldn't handle the data fast enough if there was any "slippage" while in flight. Yet a compass cal did improve it by a lot so I dunno, maybe it's just super sensitive.

Thought I'd mention this as other new pilots may run into the same issue. No doubt you're already aware and in your case it may have been some form of interference. I've got 730km on this bird and never had it drop GPS while in P-Mode and in the open and I've flown around all sorts of electrical fields and have had no issues in that regard but Murphy’s law is always applicable.
 

Tentoes

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Join
Jun 5, 2019
Messages
253
Loc
Oklahoma USA
Were you in Sport mode at the time and/or was it windy at 30m? Not that you would need to be to have it drop to ATTI but the Spark seems more susceptible to do so in those scenarios. For the first month I had my Spark I could get it to drop to ATTI pretty much at will by whipping it around in Sport mode. A third and very slow compass cal reduced the problem from 90% occurrence to around 5% for me. When the issue was prevalent ATTI was always preceded by yaw errors in the log. It's as though the onboard CPU couldn't handle the data fast enough if there was any "slippage" while in flight. Yet a compass cal did improve it by a lot so I dunno, maybe it's just super sensitive.

Thought I'd mention this as other new pilots may run into the same issue. No doubt you're already aware and in your case it may have been some form of interference. I've got 730km on this bird and never had it drop GPS while in P-Mode and in the open and I've flown around all sorts of electrical fields and have had no issues in that regard but Murphy’s law is always applicable.
Nope. I usually stay out of sport mode. Just shooting. It was also very calm, though it might not have been a hundred feet up. Spark was flying smoothly and flat, not fighting to hold position. I haven't tried going back to those spots to see if it would happen again.
 

Spark 317

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Premium Pilot
Join
Jul 10, 2017
Messages
3,635
Loc
Indiana, USA
I wonder if I did something like fly between two microwave communication towers
I use to fly last year at a location that had a phenomenon spot in the air.

The Spark would lose connection with the remote less than a 1/4 mile out, initiating a RTH every time.

It didn't matter if I used the parabolic reflectors or the OTG cable on three different devices.

I did multiple flights and tested different theories and figured there must be a band of frequencies passing between two repeaters located far from my vision.
 

RotorWash

Well-Known Member
Join
Jul 18, 2019
Messages
236
Age
53
Loc
Prince Edward Island, Canada
I use to fly last year at a location that had a phenomenon spot in the air.

The Spark would lose connection with the remote less than a 1/4 mile out, initiating a RTH every time.

It didn't matter if I used the parabolic reflectors or the OTG cable on three different devices.

I did multiple flights and tested different theories and figured there must be a band of frequencies passing between two repeaters located far from my vision.
Got the same thing here in a field nearby my house. Same spot each time, 2 cell towers in my case about 2mi away but it has never affected my Spark thankfully.
 

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