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Can I ask an honest question about reliability and ease of use?

clolsonus

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For the past few weeks I've had some significant struggles with getting my map planning app(s) to work reliably and interact reliably with my DJI drones. It's been frustrating and I've tried a number of things with varying levels of success (and failure.) Without getting too bogged down in my own picky details, I just wanted to take a step back and ask how common this sort of things is for people?

Specifically, I am doing aerial mapping so I can't just fly with the dji go app. I need to be doing gridded survey flights which means running some 3rd party (non-DJI) app -- that adds complications because it seems like these apps don't always behave or interact with the drone perfectly.

My own experience is that some days I can go out and things are pretty smooth. I get my flights in without much trouble or delay and life seems pretty ok. But other days I go out and I can spend 20 minutes fiddling around on the ground trying to get some misbehaving piece to work. It's not always the same issue every time. Sometimes it's on the first flight, sometimes it's on the 3rd battery of a multi-battery flight that weirdness happens. I realize I've only been flying DJI drones for about a year, so I'm still early on the front side of the learning curve.

What I don't know is if I'm the only one doing stupid stuff and creating my own problems? Is everyone dealing with the same sorts of things at some level and we just put up with it because the technology or apps are imperfect and that's the way it is? Are most operators knocking out all their flights each and every day without fiddling around with glitches or something misbehaving? Do we forget the bad days and forget to mention them, or do most people have mostly good/solid outings every time?

I have trouble believing that after this many years, the technology and the software is still this buggy? But I am also pretty careful and have been operating drone technology and building a lot of it myself for the last 15 years so I have trouble accepting that all of this is due to my own inexperience or misunderstandings. I am new to flying DJI, but not drones and not to building hardware and software that work reliably.

Can anyone tell me where I should dial in my expectations? Is my experience similar to others? Is this normal and expected? I feel like I should be able to expect better ... but if not, that would be good to know too.

Thanks for any feedback ... positive or negative ... anything would be constructive/instructive for me at this point.

Curt.
 

BigAl07

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Curt,

I've been reading your "Woes" with DD over in the other thread. I gotta admit it seems like a lot of "random" issues happening. While I'm sure you're using the apps and flying a lot more than I am but if I had your level of problems I would have already pulled my hair out. I'm not going to "jinx" myself but I can tell you our program is mostly "uh oh" proof over the last couple of years.

Are you a member of the DroneDeploy forum? Maybe they can assist with some trouble shooting with you directly?

Our biggest hurdle is SW updates that break things so we are VERY slow to update anything if we can help it. That's helps us not be the "BETA TEST TEAM" for software.
 

clolsonus

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Curt,

I've been reading your "Woes" with DD over in the other thread. I gotta admit it seems like a lot of "random" issues happening. While I'm sure you're using the apps and flying a lot more than I am but if I had your level of problems I would have already pulled my hair out. I'm not going to "jinx" myself but I can tell you our program is mostly "uh oh" proof over the last couple of years.

Are you a member of the DroneDeploy forum? Maybe they can assist with some trouble shooting with you directly?

Our biggest hurdle is SW updates that break things so we are VERY slow to update anything if we can help it. That's helps us not be the "BETA TEST TEAM" for software.
For whatever it's worth I have reported my troubles on the DD forum and the best I have gotten so far is that their app is pretty much failing on all ipad mini 4's which is of course what we have. We bought it a year ago brand new thinking we were at the top of the world with all this fancy apple/dji stuff, but now people are telling me the ipad 4 is a 5 year old design and we should upgrade. It never occurred to me that my one year old ipad would be obsolete ... I had this naive expectation that the reason a person would go with an apple product would be for long term stability and support ... (android has a bazillion devices and vendors and a billion versions so you roll the dice there...) but apple has like 3 products total so they all should be easy to support and keep working ... or so I thought.

I wish there was an easy way to roll back to an earlier version of the app, but my ipad skillz aren't that good. Supposedly on android you can find earlier packages and install them manually if you need to.

Maybe I did hit an especially dense pocket of bad luck, or stumbled on a bad combination of hardware? The purpose of this post is that I don't know if it's luck, or over inflated expectation, or me just being dumb? So I thought I'd ask around to see if people doing similar sorts of large area survey mapping were also struggling from time to time with glitches in the planning apps or with the apps communicating with the drone.

I should also point out that for me, the dji go app has been pretty solid, so for people flying the types of missions that use the dji go app, I wouldn't expect they would see the same kinds of issues.

Oh well, if it was all simple and easy it would be boring I guess ...
 

R Martin

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I tried DD and a few other apps when we first started mapping and decided that it would be better to bite the bullet and purchase image processing software. We make a lot of maps so in the long run, it made more fiscal sense to purchase rather than rely on a per-map service. You can use Pix4D Capture which is free. I have only had a few mission go south and that was usually operator error (DJI GO app does play with anyone else...shut it down). I haven't seen the latest versions of DDs app so I cannot compare them. I know that Capture is solid as far as a flight control app and gets the job done.
 
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R.Perry

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Here's my two cents. I've been using DD for two years now. One mapping every week. I had numerous problems at first. What I have done is first making sure I have no other programs open. WiFi is turned off, blue tooth is turned off, phone is turned off. Since I have done that DD has worked perfectly for me. Also make sure you have plenty of available memory. I make sure I have at least 32gb of free space at all times.
Also, I have found DD support very good, sometimes it takes them a little time to get back to you, but once they do they have been very helpful.
 
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Orange Bird

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For whatever it's worth I have reported my troubles on the DD forum and the best I have gotten so far is that their app is pretty much failing on all ipad mini 4's which is of course what we have. We bought it a year ago brand new thinking we were at the top of the world with all this fancy apple/dji stuff, but now people are telling me the ipad 4 is a 5 year old design and we should upgrade. It never occurred to me that my one year old ipad would be obsolete ... I had this naive expectation that the reason a person would go with an apple product would be for long term stability and support ... (android has a bazillion devices and vendors and a billion versions so you roll the dice there...) but apple has like 3 products total so they all should be easy to support and keep working ... or so I thought.

I wish there was an easy way to roll back to an earlier version of the app, but my ipad skillz aren't that good. Supposedly on android you can find earlier packages and install them manually if you need to.

Maybe I did hit an especially dense pocket of bad luck, or stumbled on a bad combination of hardware? The purpose of this post is that I don't know if it's luck, or over inflated expectation, or me just being dumb? So I thought I'd ask around to see if people doing similar sorts of large area survey mapping were also struggling from time to time with glitches in the planning apps or with the apps communicating with the drone.

I should also point out that for me, the dji go app has been pretty solid, so for people flying the types of missions that use the dji go app, I wouldn't expect they would see the same kinds of issues.

Oh well, if it was all simple and easy it would be boring I guess ...
I have been having problems with my mini 4 and DD lately. In fact the last two times I used DD I used my I phone 8 because the mini 4 wouldn’t work.
 

BigAl07

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I have been having problems with my mini 4 and DD lately. In fact the last two times I used DD I used my I phone 8 because the mini 4 wouldn’t work.

We are seeing more and more "Mini4" issues. I would imagine the Aps are getting more and more bloated pushing the processing power of the Mini4. That stinks!
 
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clolsonus

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For whatever it's worth, the pix4d capture app is running great on the same ipad mini 4 that croaks trying to run DD. I don't know all the mysteries of iOS and the DJI api and I've never attempted to write an iOS app, but I'm skeptical that it's just a problem with the ipad mini 4 suddenly being underpowered for running the latest versions of DD. Currently the DD app won't even let me finish entering my user name to login on the very first start page. I think there is something deeper or weirder or stupider happening with the app (i.e. something in 'bug' land going on.) My spidey sense is thinking there is some sort of memory leak. That's my own pure speculation.
 

clolsonus

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Worth checking if your device runs the arm7 architecture, which is no longer supported by the latest DJI SDK (used by non-DJI apps). We've had to drop support for the arm7 as well.

According to googling: our ipad mini 4 should have an arm8 processor, 2Gb ram, and the device self reports as 128Gb of storage (most of which is free because the only thing we use the device for is flying our P4P.)

The pix4d capture app (presumably would be running the same DJI API) (?) has been working great.

It very well could be true that the ipad mini4 just doesn't have enough oomph to run the DD mission planning app, but it's weird, it grinds to a halt on the opening screen while I'm in the middle of entering my login name ... I can't even get logged into the app. Others report DD works fine on different iOS devices. Oh well. Part of me wants to look into upgrading the ipad (this is a research project so I have to go beg so it will take time) and part of me wants to be stubborn and insist the DD ought to be able to work. For now I can get my work done with the Pix4d capture mission planning app. I give up a couple in-flight conveniences that DD provides, but nothing mission critical.
 

HammerMissions

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The pix4d capture app (presumably would be running the same DJI API) (?) has been working great.
Hard to say what they're using as different softwares update their SDKs on different timelines. If they support newer drones such as the Matrice 210 V2 RTK then they're probably on the latest SDK.

It very well could be true that the ipad mini4 just doesn't have enough oomph
From our perspective the iPad Mini 4 should be powerful enough. We also think Login and other internet dependencies for account management is a bad idea for in-field apps.

For now I can get my work done with the Pix4d capture mission planning app. I give up a couple in-flight conveniences that DD provides, but nothing mission critical.
Sounds good! Good luck 👍
 

R.Perry

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I'm looking at both of my Mini4s that I have used for the past year and half. I have 64 gb of available memory on both, The ONLY apps I use on this device is DJI 4.0, Drone Deploy, Litchi, and Air Data. I only turn on WiFi when I need to upload something, and that is normally only with Drone Deploy. I don't use the phone, blue tooth or any of the numerous apps that are on it.

I don't think the problem is with Drone Deploy, but possibly with the tablet it'self. I DO NOT receive emails, test messages, or phone calls on this tablet, the phone service is turned off, another words both of the tablets are totally dedicated to drone operations only.

Personally what I would do is do clean the data off your tablet, and reinstall only the apps you need for your business. If you need a tablet for other functions or apps, get another tablet.
 
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Dave Pitman

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Hi Guys, (V?), good to see you participate!

From our perspective the iPad Mini 4 should be powerful enough.
Agree. DD is the only app that is giving it trouble and I'm not convinced they didn't create some sort of memory leak situation while implementing v.4

We also think Login and other internet dependencies for account management is a bad idea for in-field apps.
Strongly agree.
 
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