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Savannah River Walk - GPS FAIL

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Hello fellow pilots!

Just spent about thirty minutes trying and re-trying to calibrate compass at the Savannah River Walk to try and get that gorgeous sunset behind the bridge, but repeatedly the compass calibration would fail due to magnetic interference. I moved multiple times, away from the walk to the blacktop parking lot, but each time, fail. It calibrated twice, but after taking off and flying about ten feet, the compass would have an error and require me to either fly in ATTI mode or land and recalibrate compass. Obviously I'm not stoked on flying in ATTI over a river, so just landed.

Anyone know if the River Walk is built on metal or old trolley tracks?

Anyway, just a heads up if anyone is planning on going there. I'm just passing through on a commercial shoot.
 

Timinator

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Did you attempt to take off from the ground or use the aircraft case? Have you since flown without compass issues in another area to rule out a problem with the antenna or compass unit itself?
 
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Did you attempt to take off from the ground or use the aircraft case? Have you since flown without compass issues in another area to rule out a problem with the antenna or compass unit itself?

Hi @Timinator — I had flown about three hours previously with zero issues. Was taking off from the ground. Won’t have another chance to test until tomorrow in Atlanta. Will follow up with results.
 
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R.Perry

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I'm not familiar with the location, but I was in Scotts Valley, CA and they have some crazy magnetic disturbances going on there and my Inspire 2 would not pickup GPS.
 

Meta4

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Just spent about thirty minutes trying and re-trying to calibrate compass .. but repeatedly the compass calibration would fail due to magnetic interference.
Are you flying a DJI drone?
There should be no need to ever calibrate the compass.
If you place your drone on reinforced concrete or a steel surface (try it on your car roof)
DJI have some poor wording in the warnings that makes users think they should recalibrate the compass but the appropriate action is to just move away from the source of the magnetic interference.
 
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Are you flying a DJI drone?
There should be no need to ever calibrate the compass.
If you place your drone on reinforced concrete or a steel surface (try it on your car roof)
DJI have some poor wording in the warnings that makes users think they should recalibrate the compass but the appropriate action is to just move away from the source of the magnetic interference.

Hmm I’m not sure that’s true. All I know is I calibrate every new location because I fly all over the country and magnetic interference is different even with polarity. And I’ve never had a flyaway, which I can’t say for people who don’t do the same.
 

Moosewax

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Hmm I’m not sure that’s true. All I know is I calibrate every new location because I fly all over the country and magnetic interference is different even with polarity. And I’ve never had a flyaway, which I can’t say for people who don’t do the same.

I think it depends on the DJI model. I have been flying the DJI M600 Pro all over the USA for the last year for hundreds of flights and only had DJI Go prompt me for a compass calibration 2 times in that period.

No fly aways either, never had one happen to me yet regardless of model, knock on wood.

I do remember calibrating the Phantom 2 and 3 every location switch though a couple years back.
 

Meta4

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Hmm I’m not sure that’s true. All I know is I calibrate every new location because I fly all over the country and magnetic interference is different even with polarity. And I’ve never had a flyaway, which I can’t say for people who don’t do the same.
Despite the popular myth that causes people like you to recalibrate unnecessarily, there is no need to recalibrate anything.
Check p57 in the current P4 pro manual to see when DJI says you need to recalibrate the compass.
i-Q9CJx8r-L.jpg

There's nothing there about calibrating when you get the Phantom or anything about new sites or distances from anywhere.
Calibrating the compass at a new site is totally unnecessary.
Calibrating the compass is not related to magnetic variation being different in different locations.
Calibrating the compass is 100% about giving the compass the information it needs to tell what magnetic influences are part of the Phantom so it knows that everything else is the earth's magnetic field.
You only need to recalibrate if you modify the Phantom.
I've never calibrated anything on my P4 pros, and I travel a lot and fly a lot - all very safely.

If you want to avoid flight incidents, never launch from a steel or reinforced concrete surface.
 
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Meta4

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I think it depends on the DJI model.
I do remember calibrating the Phantom 2 and 3 every location switch though a couple years back.
It doesn't matter which model but some older manuals have been written very badly, confusing a lot of users..
I have been flying the DJI M600 Pro all over the USA for the last year for hundreds of flights and only had DJI Go prompt me for a compass calibration 2 times in that period.
DJI's manuals and error messages are confusing and poorly written.
If you get a message that you think is telling you to recalibrate the compass, the proper action is to move away from the magnetic interference the compass is warning you about - not recalibrating.
 

Moosewax

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It doesn't matter which model but some older manuals have been written very badly, confusing a lot of users..

DJI's manuals and error messages are confusing and poorly written.
If you get a message that you think is telling you to recalibrate the compass, the proper action is to move away from the magnetic interference the compass is warning you about - not recalibrating.
I got a message that I know told me to recalibrate the compass. Because I have mad reading comprehension skillz yo.

One of the times occurred in a location that I have used many times before with no compass issue. Therefore I am hesitant to think that being near/over metal is always the sole reason for a compass calibration.

I follow the prompts given to me by the manufacturer. I have read plenty of DJI horror stories that begin with "I got a DJI Go warning that I reasoned myself into ignoring and bad event X happened. "

Plus it doesn't look too good in a court of law if something ever went that way to talk about how one ignored a manufacturers warning based on their own "expertise" and lo and behold something bad happened.
 

Meta4

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I got a message that I know told me to recalibrate the compass. Because I have mad reading comprehension skillz yo.
The message that DJI Go 4 gives says Compass Error Move Aircraft or Calibrate Compass.
The full message is too long for the window so it scrolls across the window and you can't see it all at once.
You can test that yourself by placing the drone on a steel car roof as I've done here:
i-5CPNRw6-M.png


Thanks to the very poorly translated or poorly written earlier manuals DJI put out, we have a generation of users that have the idea that they have to recalibrate the compass all the time.
Having that in mind, users seeing the error message Compass Error Move Aircraft or Calibrate Compass think they are seeing a warning to calibrate the compass.
At least 99% of the time, the correct action is to move the drone away from the magnetic interference that the compass is warning you about, not to recalibrate the compass.
A compass error is not something wrong with the compass that needs to be fixed.
A compass error is a perfectly good compass warning you that it has detected an abnormal magnetic field.
I am hesitant to think that being near/over metal is always the sole reason for a compass calibration.
Being close to steel is NEVER a reason to calibrate the compass.
It won't do anything to solve the problem the compass is warning you of.
I follow the prompts given to me by the manufacturer. I have read plenty of DJI horror stories that begin with "I got a DJI Go warning that I reasoned myself into ignoring and bad event X happened. "
DJI's manuals and error messages are confusing and poorly written.
They don't mention that you should never launch or land on steel or reinforced concrete surfaces.
But that's responsible for lots of unfortunate flight incidents
For several years they continued to spread the myth that frequent compass calibration was necessary.
You need to understand what's involved rather than simply following them (or following what you think they are saying) without understanding what's involved.
I'm a long-time moderator in the Phantom forum and have read way too many tales of woe that begin with .. I calibrated my compass as I always do ....
Understanding what compass calibration does and when it's necessary will make you a better and safer flyer.
 

Moosewax

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The message that DJI Go 4 gives says Compass Error Move Aircraft or Calibrate Compass.
The full message is too long for the window so it scrolls across the window and you can't see it all at once.
You can test that yourself by placing the drone on a steel car roof as I've done here:
i-5CPNRw6-M.png


Thanks to the very poorly translated or poorly written earlier manuals DJI put out, we have a generation of users that have the idea that they have to recalibrate the compass all the time.
Having that in mind, users seeing the error message Compass Error Move Aircraft or Calibrate Compass think they are seeing a warning to calibrate the compass.
At least 99% of the time, the correct action is to move the drone away from the magnetic interference that the compass is warning you about, not to recalibrate the compass.
A compass error is not something wrong with the compass that needs to be fixed.
A compass error is a perfectly good compass warning you that it has detected an abnormal magnetic field.

Being close to steel is NEVER a reason to calibrate the compass.
It won't do anything to solve the problem the compass is warning you of.

DJI's manuals and error messages are confusing and poorly written.
They don't mention that you should never launch or land on steel or reinforced concrete surfaces.
But that's responsible for lots of unfortunate flight incidents
For several years they continued to spread the myth that frequent compass calibration was necessary.
You need to understand what's involved rather than simply following them (or following what you think they are saying) without understanding what's involved.
I'm a long-time moderator in the Phantom forum and have read way too many tales of woe that begin with .. I calibrated my compass as I always do ....
Understanding what compass calibration does and when it's necessary will make you a better and safer flyer.

Some good advice thanks for the clarification. I have been meaning to look into how the compass works and how it relates to the system. I figured it just helps orient the craft based on cardinal directions especially when there is only 1 GPS puck like in the Phantoms, Mavics, Inspires etc.

Supposedly the DJI D-RTK, when functioning properly, can withstand compass errors when you have the 2 RTK antenna setup.

Besides the 2 random calibrations I got thrown at me by the app over the past year, I only encounter the errors when I am close to powerlines, like 10-20ft off.
 

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