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Lessons learned when I lost GPS compass control yesterday

Mokuluanui

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Yesterday I was flying my Karma when she told me that she had compass interference, then Karma lost GPS control. That night, I composed this video that might help others to avoid this from happening and what to do if or when it happens again. By the way, this is not unique to the Karma, I have had this problem with other drones as well:
 

Shon

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One thing I recommend is to make sure the drone camera is oriented away from you when landing. I've seen too many folks crash their drones by accident, pressing the control stick in the wrong direction.

I've flown the Karma on several occasions without GPS. In fact...one of the first times (Second time I flew it)... I Just bypassed the GPS connection because I was a noob and didn't realize how important it was. I was trying to get a quick shot of my hotel balcony and was surrounded by tall buildings with wifi interference and a pretty obscured view of the sky. The drone was drifting only slightly as there was a limited breeze due to the protection of the building. I honestly didn't know any better.. I thought that was just how the drone was. I almost hit a tree... The drone was brand new to me...so I really didn't know any better...fortunately...it was a quick photo shoot, and I was able to land without further incident.

Later (third time), I tried taking off from a beach that was incredibly breezy and I almost hit another tree... fortunately, I avoided the sand and the tree only by sticking a very rough landing on some grass nearby. One of my props flew off and landed more than 100 feet away near a pool area...things could have been so much worse! I thought I had done my homework... I did more digging to try and figure out what I was doing wrong... and eventually figured out just how important the GPS connection is...and what horrible locations I was choosing to fly. I later went down to the same beach armed with new knowledge, and it was like a night and day difference flying the drone.

One of the other times I lost GPS, I was on a short dock and had limited connectivity. I launched the drone, and almost immediately lost GPS. It was windy and the drone was drifting all over the place, and very hard to control. I only had about a three foot section to set it down... I was pretty nervous. The drone eventually regained GPS connection while still in the air and I was able to fly it and land it without further incident.
 

Mokuluanui

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Great reply
One thing I recommend is to make sure the drone camera is oriented away from you when landing. I've seen too many folks crash their drones by accident, pressing the control stick in the wrong direction.

I've flown the Karma on several occasions without GPS. In fact...one of the first times (Second time I flew it)... I Just bypassed the GPS connection because I was a noob and didn't realize how important it was. I was trying to get a quick shot of my hotel balcony and was surrounded by tall buildings with wifi interference and a pretty obscured view of the sky. The drone was drifting only slightly as there was a limited breeze due to the protection of the building. I honestly didn't know any better.. I thought that was just how the drone was. I almost hit a tree... The drone was brand new to me...so I really didn't know any better...fortunately...it was a quick photo shoot, and I was able to land without further incident.

Later (third time), I tried taking off from a beach that was incredibly breezy and I almost hit another tree... fortunately, I avoided the sand and the tree only by sticking a very rough landing on some grass nearby. One of my props flew off and landed more than 100 feet away near a pool area...things could have been so much worse! I thought I had done my homework... I did more digging to try and figure out what I was doing wrong... and eventually figured out just how important the GPS connection is...and what horrible locations I was choosing to fly. I later went down to the same beach armed with new knowledge, and it was like a night and day difference flying the drone.

One of the other times I lost GPS, I was on a short dock and had limited connectivity. I launched the drone, and almost immediately lost GPS. It was windy and the drone was drifting all over the place, and very hard to control. I only had about a three foot section to set it down... I was pretty nervous. The drone eventually regained GPS connection while still in the air and I was able to fly it and land it without further incident.
Great reply, thanks for taking the time to share your experiences. One of the points in the video is to practice with a "toy" or "Cheap" drone. I have two drones in that class, one is the Drocon X708 W and the other is the JJR/C Taichi. Both in the toy class. The Drocon is a drone that has no GPS, but it has a camera, I have used this drone the most to train myself how to fly. I have crashed it many times and it keeps on flying, sometimes from about 100 ft high. Very durable drone that will teach you to fly without GPS, that's critical since all drones have GPS interference at one time or another and you need to be able to fly it unassisted. Your point about always flying the drone facing away from you is well taken, but depending on the shot that you want, that may not be possible, you need to be able to fly with the quad facing in all directions, letting your eye/hand coordination to control the quad. That's where both the Drocon and the Taichi come into play. With the Taichi, I can fly this drone inside my office without damaging anything, it's small enough and it has prop guards that prevents it from causing any damage. The advantage of flying inside is that it isn't subject to the environment or climate, you can fly even if it is raining, windy, snowing or hailing outside, no restrictions. You can do it daily to increase your skill level, the more hours you fly, the more skillful you become. One more thing about the Drocon, while the camera isn't very good, it can train you to fly by display. It's an addiction isn't it?

Just wanted to add that while a lot of the DJI fan boys like to brag about Obstacle Avoidance Sensors and how the Karma doesn't have any, the Drocon doesn't have any OAS as well so it is a good drone to practice for the Karma, but the Taichi has these sensors, amazingly, for a drone that is under $50! I never use them but you see how much the DJI fan boys are paying for this Newb feature.
 
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