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Weak Signal, returning to launch location.


New Member
Sep 3, 2018
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Fully charged batteries all around, no power lines. 50’ up and 100’ away, weak signal.
3rd flight and almost lost the drone.
First off, perfect line of sight. Absolutely nothing between the controller and the drone. Secondly, it returned to a spot over 20’ away from the launch location with less than a foot of clearance between the drone and obstructions like a table and chairs and deck railing. 10 feet more off and it would have landed in the canals, in salt water. And... I had no control. Joysticks had no effect on the drone.
How can I have weak signal when the drone is only 150’ away when this thing is supposed to have a range of 10,500’?
How does it not know it’s launch location within a foot or so?
And... if this is a known issue and GP is trying to fix it. How do I return my drone until they solve their problems (by then I will probably have a phantom 4 pro).
Have any video of the flight? I’m going to guess, that since it landed near, “table, chairs, and deck railing” that you were flying in an area where you experienced Wi-Fi interference and you probably had poor GPS signal as well. If you think you might have a bad drone, you could call Gopro customer service and they will check your flight logs and let you know. I wouldn’t be surprised if they look at where you were flying, and blame the location, telling you to avoid flying there.

Unlike the Phantom 4, the Karma only uses GPS to determine the launch area. The Phantom 4 has a downfacing sensor that takes a “picture”, providing more accuracy when landing. The new Mavic 2 Zoom and Pro have even added landing lights to help with this function in low light conditions.

Wi-Fi interference and poor GPS will have a greater negative effect on the Karma than the P4. Your controller also has GPS, so where you are standing with the controller can also have an effect, irregardless of whether you have “line of sight”. Poor GPS will cause your drone to land off course when auto landing. Even good GPS according to USGS is only accurate within 3-10 feet. So, if you are expecting it to be more accurate than that, you might be expecting more than the limits of the tech built into the Karma will provide. There is a reason in a drone to drone comparison the P4 costs significantly more. The sensors and software are much more sophisticated.

“Lack of control” generally means your drone was in some sort of auto-flight mode. I think you mentioned it was landing due to poor signal. If your drone is connected to your controller, you can click the “X” on the window in the controller to deactivate the auto-flight mode and regain full control of your drone. Your control will be limited in auto -flight modes. You can “change” directions to avoid obstacles, but I’ve been there, and it feels like you have “no control”.

Generallly, I have more “interference” when I am flying near buildings or standing near buildings. This can also be a factor when attempting to fly in a narrow canyon or under thick trees where GPS signals could be obstructed. The farther into “the middle of nowhere, I am, the better range and connection I have. I avoid flying in urban areas and neighborhoods. I also tend to avoided the “Return to home” feature as do most experienced pilots regardless of which drone they are flying . It’s nice to have in an emergency, provided you have it set up correctly. I would recommend regaining full control of your drone.as soon as it comes into range rather than waiting for it to land itself.

Even with the P4 you can experience some of these issues, although admittedly to a lesser degree. In any case, more practice piloting your drone and understanding the limitations of the tech will help.
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