Welcome, Commercial Drone Pilots!
Join our growing community today!
Sign up

iPad in the cold

KevinM

Member
Joined
Jan 18, 2018
Messages
5
Reaction score
2
Age
54
Location
Missouri USA
Flying in extreme cold temps last week, I found my iPad died quickly from the frigid conditions. I found that by putting 2 disposable Hot Hands body warmers on the back (they have sticky tape on one side to hold them in place) of the iPad kept the battery warm and clipping a kitchen hand towel to the back of it using binder clips kept it insulated. Not the prettiest setup, but it worked and kept me flying.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Ravenflight
My problem is my DJI Obsidian itself. As it gets cold the GPS goes away and then the aircraft disconnects and I have to horse it back down and back to land. I am talking 38-40 degrees out. It is fine at first but as the wind chill sets in it takes its toll. Not a comfortable feeling.
 
I've never experienced that. I've had a cold battery warning before on my Inspire 1 and P4 before taking off, but never had an in flight issue. What I've experienced so far has just been the iPad going black. Luckily both times that occurred I had my P4 close and I landed right away.
 
Flew Tuesday and Wednesday in Milwaukee for (3) topographic mapping projects. Average temps 12 - 24 F.
1) A 20 minute mission took 3 batteries and drained a Samsung phone. Kept everything inside until launch time and hovered about 45 seconds before launch. Altitude was 200'.
2) The winds were a big issue. 10 knots was ok, but the Phantom 4 got confused a few times due to gusts. At 15 knots it was almost impossible to get a good map. Drone stopped several times until gusts were reduced and then resumed the mission.
A real good lesson in preparation for us.
 
I've never experienced that. I've had a cold battery warning before on my Inspire 1 and P4 before taking off, but never had an in flight issue. What I've experienced so far has just been the iPad going black. Luckily both times that occurred I had my P4 close and I landed right away.

My Obsidian may be out of spec, probably with my luck! It is OK coming from room temp and on most of the first battery. I first noticed it a while back when I was flying at Beavertail State Park which is an island in Narragansett Bay. I first noticed a weak GPS warning and though it odd because the place where I was flying is surrounded by the Atlantic Ocean with not structures or trees to block the GPS signal. My fingers were getting cold and I put it away but kept pondering the weak GPS warning. About half way home it hit me, "the cold weather". A week later I went to my usual practice site which is 30 Acres of wide open space. Again coming from room temp and on the first battery everything was fine, it was around 34 F. On the second battery and about 5 minutes into flight I go the weak GPS warning and then the Phantom went into a hover at my flying height of 80 feet and it was about 200 feet out with no obstructions. I had no control over the aircraft but fortunateley it was stalled in a hover. I kept putting down stick on it and it would drop about 10 feet at a time. I think the heat from the battery was bringing the electronics back up. I finally got it down to about 20 feet and brought it back in.

I had another time where it was around 38 F and it the same thing happened on the second battery but it was very windy and I think the wind chill got to it that time.

Then a third time it was in the back seat of the car and it would not even fire up.
 
Flew Tuesday and Wednesday in Milwaukee for (3) topographic mapping projects. Average temps 12 - 24 F.
1) A 20 minute mission took 3 batteries and drained a Samsung phone. Kept everything inside until launch time and hovered about 45 seconds before launch. Altitude was 200'.
2) The winds were a big issue. 10 knots was ok, but the Phantom 4 got confused a few times due to gusts. At 15 knots it was almost impossible to get a good map. Drone stopped several times until gusts were reduced and then resumed the mission.
A real good lesson in preparation for us.

I have found the same thing, not only reduced flight time from the struggle of flying into a good 15 knot wind. You can see and hear the aircraft really working. I must admit though that it was quite steady in the wind. Were you flying a Phantom or Inspire? My Phantom will not get off the ground in this temps. The Inspire is OK though.
 
I live at Gunnison, Colorado. The Weather Channel rates us consistently as one of the coldest places in the US - quite the dubious distinction! This year has been much warmer than usual with the coldest temp I’ve seen being -18 F. I flew for about an hour that morning around sunrise with my P4P+. In the past week or so I’ve logged about 4 hours in sub-zero temps ranging from -4 to -18 with no issues other than very cold right fingers. I keep the a/c in car during pre-flight preparation. Spare batteries stay in car. I’m getting 20 min flight times on a battery & landing with 20% - 30% battery remaining. Not seeing any signal deterioration issues. One time I wondered if the camera focus was freezing but don’t think so. I find biggest issue is finger dexterity on the control sticks. I’m getting a stylus for touchscreen control so I can wear a heavier glove on the right hand.
Oh, the OP talked about iPad issues. I’m flying the P4P+ and both the aircraft & controller have handled those temps fine.
 
My Phantom Obsidian will not even turn on at 32F and the spec on the Phantom series is 32F. If it has been at room temp and then taken out in 36F weather it will work for one battery cycle and then on the second battery the wind chill will make the aircraft disconnect and it will just stop and hover.
 
My P4A has flown in low 40’s. Didn’t notice any adverse results. Batteries appeared similar/same as regular temps, all systems 100%.

Ipad 2017 worked fine as well.
 
My P4A has flown in low 40’s. Didn’t notice any adverse results. Batteries appeared similar/same as regular temps, all systems 100%.

Ipad 2017 worked fine as well.

Mine is fine in the 40's along with the iPad mini 4. The bottom end of the 30's is where I run into trouble.
 
  • Like
Reactions: rvrrat14
We've flown our Inspire 1V2 and several of our P3 aircraft in the teens with no real issue with the aircraft (we do keep out batteries in a heated cooler).

We also use those "Adhesive Back" Toe warmers on the back of our iPads. This seems to resolve the cold iPad issue. Everything seems to drain power faster at colder temps so we plan accordingly.

The real limiting factor is usually ME!! I don't play well when my fingers get cold and brittle. Last year we flew several different sessions sitting inside a warm car.
 
  • Like
Reactions: rvrrat14
Flying in extreme cold temps last week, I found my iPad died quickly from the frigid conditions. I found that by putting 2 disposable Hot Hands body warmers on the back (they have sticky tape on one side to hold them in place) of the iPad kept the battery warm and clipping a kitchen hand towel to the back of it using binder clips kept it insulated. Not the prettiest setup, but it worked and kept me flying.
That's a good idea. A couple weeks ago I flew my I1v2 in single digit temps. The aircraft flew fine for the most part but at one point my iPad Air 2 just shut down from ~50% battery and wouldn't turn back on. It's so thin it disperses heat really well.
 
  • Like
Reactions: rvrrat14
My problem is my DJI Obsidian itself. As it gets cold the GPS goes away and then the aircraft disconnects and I have to horse it back down and back to land. I am talking 38-40 degrees out. It is fine at first but as the wind chill sets in it takes its toll. Not a comfortable feeling.

I flew my P4P obsidian in 30-degree weather last weekend. no issues
 

Members online

Forum statistics

Threads
4,291
Messages
37,653
Members
5,987
Latest member
Harley1905