DroneDeploy

Troubleshooting

For Ageagle and 3DR users

This page is for 3DR ready-to-fly drones and Pixhawk/APM users only. If you need to troubleshoot a DJI product, please click here.

CoPilot

If your DroneDeploy unit does not turn on:

Modem light

If the modem flashes red, green three times, then turns off, it means the modem has power but is not communicating with the CoPilot. Please try restarting the system.

Other lights
There are two status lights inside the CoPilot that are visible on the clear side of the device.

Red light- indicates that the drone is on. It should remain solid during normal operation
Blue light- indicates activity. This will flash at a high rate under normal operation.

Cameras

First time setup.

If this is your first time connecting this camera, please see the Initial Setup page.

Why is my camera not connecting to the CoPilot?

If you have successfully connected this camera previously and the camera's WiFi network is still not showing up:

Sony Camera
GoPro

1) Check that the camera is powered on and has sufficient battery. Some cameras will power down if left on too long before turning on your drone (the QX1 shuts down its WiFi when battery level is below 50%).

2) Make sure the camera is currently using the "Smart Remote Control" app. This is the default setting for the QX series cameras.

3) Ensure that your smartphone or other device is not connected to the camera's WiFi network.

4) If the camera still does not connect:

  • power down both the drone and camera
  • power the camera back on and go through the above steps
  • power the drone back on

5) If it's still not connected, please perform a factory reset (see below for instructions)

1) Check that the camera is in "GoPro App Mode" described here.

2) Ensure that your smartphone or other device is not connected to the camera's WiFi network.

4) If the camera still does not connect:

  • power down both the drone and camera
  • power the camera back on and go through the above steps
  • power the drone back on

My camera is connected to the CoPilot, but is not passing the checklist.

1) Make sure that your smartphone or other device is not connected to the camera's WiFi network. If it is, turn the camera off and on to ensure it is not linked to another device.

2) Ensure that no buttons on the camera are being held down by the case or mount.

3) If the camera is still failing to initialize:

  • Clear the SD card of all images
  • Power off the camera and drone
  • Power on the camera and ensure it is in the right mode
  • Power the drone back on.

If this is still not working - try resetting the camera to factory default settings (see below)

Resetting the QX1

Sometimes the QX1 gets stuck, and needs to be reset. You can reset it as follows:
1) Locate the reset button (under the same flap as the micro USB port):

Location of the reset button on the QX1

Location of the reset button on the QX1

2) Power the camera
3) Press and hold the reset button for 3 seconds. It will reset on release.

Why is the checklist telling me I'm connected to the wrong camera?

The checklist ensures you are using the correct camera type to avoid flying a mission with the wrong capture settings.

First time setup

If this is your first setting up this drone/camera, you can learn more about adding new cameras and setting up your profile here.

If this is not a "1-Click Map" mission:

1) Go back to the dashboard and select "Edit" on the mission you are trying to fly.

2) Click on the "Edit Plan" button in the top left corner of the page.

3) Click on the camera drop down and select the proper camera type.

4) Click on "Prepare Flight" to resend the mission to your drone.

If this is a "1-Click Map" mission:

1) Open the sidebar by clicking the hamburger icon in the top right corner of the page.

2) Edit the drone's profile by clicking the cog symbol next to the name of the drone.

3) Click on the camera drop down and select the proper camera type.

4) Click "Save Profile" at the bottom of the modal.

5) Go back to the dashboard and click on the "1-Click Map" icon to resend the mission.

My image overlap is not as high as I set in the plan.

Different cameras have varying speeds of image capture and download. If your drone is flying faster than the cameras capture and download capabilities, you may see a reduction in image overlap. There are several things you can do to prevent this:

1) Check that your camera's firmware is up to date.

Sony Camera
GoPro

1) Ensure that your camera is using the latest smart remote (make sure you are using the "Smart Remote Control" app, rather than the "Smart Remote Embedded" app).

  • For a NEX or ALPHA series camera, you can download the latest app by going to "Menu" --> "Application List" --> "Playmemories Camera Apps", and downloading the Smart Remote Control.
  • For QX series cameras the smart remote is updated via the camera firmware (see step 2).

2) Check that your cameras firmware is up to date by selecting your camera model here and following the instructions.

You can find instructions for updating your GoProhere. Please select your version under "Product Updates" on the left.

2) Clear your SD card of all images before every flight. This is particularly important for GoPros.

3) Adjust the speed of your aircraft. For planes you can adjust the "TRIM_ARSPD_CM" parameter.

Setting your plane's airspeed

It is not recommended you change your plane's airspeed from the manufacturer's setting unless you know the stall speed and maximum flying speed of your aircraft. When changing your plane's airspeed make sure not to set the desired airspeed too close to the stall speed. The autopilot will still prevent stalling in most cases, but may not be able to do so in gusty conditions.

For a copter you can adjust the "WPNAV_SPEED" parameter.

4) If you're still not getting the overlap you set in the plan, you may need to consider reducing the frontlap of the plan or capturing data at a slightly higher ground sampling distance (GSD).

Drones

The DroneDeploy CoPilot interacts with the autopilot on a high level, so it should not effect flight performance in general. However, there are a few issues that can arise whenever you add new hardware to your vehicle.

My drone is not flying properly with my CoPilot installed.

Adding hardware to your drone

It's a good idea to do some checks whenever you add new hardware:

  • Recalibrate the compass to account for new interference.
  • Check control surface/motor responses on the ground.
  • Do a test flight in a stabilize mode before doing any full auto missions.

If you find that your drone is not flying as expected there are a few potential causes:

Magnetic/Radio Interference:

The Copilot is designed to create minimal interference, but can slightly affect some of your drone's sensors. To minimize this:

1) Place the Copilot and LTE modem as far away from your GPS/compass module as possible.

2) Once the Copilot is installed, perform a compass calibration.

Calibrating your compass

This is especially important for copters, which rely heavily on their compass for navigation. For best results, calibration should be done with your battery connected and the CoPilot powered on. Detailed instructions for compass setup and calibration can be found here.

Changed weight/Center of gravity (CoG)

Our CoPilots are constantly getting smaller and lighter, but it's still important to check that your vehicle's center of gravity is in the proper location.

In order to prevent poor flight performance and potential crashes:

1) Compare the CoG of your vehicle before and after installing the Copilot.

2) If the CoG has shifted significantly, you may need to reposition the Copilot or other components to get it in the proper position.

3) If your drone still does not fly as desired, you can tune the aircraft to adjust for the addition of the Copilot.

Tuning your vehicle

If your drone has never been tuned before or you have changed the configuration significantly since it was tuned, you can improve flight characteristics through a combination of automatic and manual tuning. You can find instructions for tuning planes here and copters here.

I clicked Auto Takeoff in the checklist, but my drone did not takeoff.

If you are using a copter:

The most likely cause of this is the drone failing to arm. Check for a warning at the bottom of the screen similar to this:

You can find a list of these warnings and how to correct them here.

If you are using a plane:

DroneDeploy takeoffs for planes

If you went through mission creation and auto takeoff through DroneDeploy, you will always have an auto takeoff set up, and the checklist will not allow you to initiate a takeoff until the drone is armed and in the right mode.

1) Make sure that a mission has been sent to the drone and that the checklist has confirmed waypoints are set correctly.

2) Check that the drone is armed and in AUTO mode.

3) If the drone still fails to takeoff, you may need to adjust your plane's auto takeoff parameters. You can find detailed instructions for these parameters here.

The battery symbol on my GCS just displays a question mark / the battery capacity displayed is long way off the real value.

If the battery level reported on the GCS is very inaccurate (e.g. much there is much more or less capacity remaining at the end of a mission than the GCS indicates), or you see a symbol like the one below, it is likely that you are getting inaccurate voltage and current readings from your battery monitor, and you will need to calibrate it.

Note: 3DR Power Module supports up to 4S batteries. You will need Attopilot for larger batteries.

The 3DR and Attopilot power modules both require some calibration to provide accurate power readings (used for battery level reporting in the GCS). Calibration involves connecting an external current and voltage sensor to the drone, between the battery and usual power monitoring module (3DR or Attopilot), then either using mission planner and the guidelines here, or directly through the DroneDeploy GCS by following the steps below. You will need a multimeter such as this to measure the battery voltage and current during this process.

Calibration involves powering on your drone with the multimeter connected between the battery and power monitor, comparing the current and voltage readings on the multimeter and GCS, and adjusting three Ardupilot parameters as specified below (the parameters are available through the plane tab by clicking on the "Edit Parameters" button):

Calibrate Voltage

1) With the drone powered on (keep disarmed), click on the battery icon in the panel at the top left of the GCS and it will display the voltage and current readings coming from the power monitor.

2) Compare the GCS voltage level to the reading from the multimeter (throttle at 0), and alter the parameter BATT_VOLT_MULT (by clicking on the plane icon and then on “params”) by the following formula:

BATT_VOLT_MULT(new) = BATT_VOLT_MULT(old) x (Voltmeter reading / GCS voltage)

3) The GCS and voltmeter readings should now match (or be very close to each other); if not, then iterate the process above.

Calibrate Current

1) With the drone still connected and throttle at zero, compare the GCS current value with the external ammeter reading, and adjust BATT_AMP_OFFSET until the two values match (n.b. if the external ammeter reading is higher than the GCS reported current, then you will need to reduce BATT_AMP_OFFSET; typical values are -0.005 to -0.03).

2) Secure the drone and remove any items from the path of the prop / rotors (it is recommended that you rotate and reverse the props on multirotors so that it pushes itself into the ground), then throttle up the transmitter so that you get a reasonable current draw (about 10-15A), and again compare external ammeter current and GCS current. Correct the GCS current by altering BATT_AMP_PERVOLT according to the following formula:

BATT_AMP_PERVOLT(new) = BATT_AMP_PERVOLT(old) x (Ammeter reading / GCS current)

3) Return the throttle to zero and re-check the ammeter and GCS current draws; iterate through steps 1 and 2 until you get a good reading from the GCS. It is also worth re-checking the voltage at this point, and if necessary tweaking BATT_VOLT_MULT.

Your power monitor should now be calibrated! The power module settings should not have to be updated again, but they are worth checking if you start getting weird battery levels displayed on the GCS during flight, or large discrepancies between the GCS-reported battery level and externally measured battery level (e.g. with a hand-held battery monitor) on landing.

Troubleshooting

For Ageagle and 3DR users