Autel XSP advise and suggestions

Discussion in 'X-Star / X-Star Premium' started by John Ling, Aug 5, 2018.

  1. Hello all. I am a new Drone owner and own a Autel XSP. I purchased 2nd hand but it appears to be in mint condition. I am trying to slowly learn how to maneuver and take video and pictures. Any advise and expertise helpful. I have been trying to test the distance but cannot get the drone to reach further than about 1500 ft before the RTH action takes place. Is this normal? I live in a subdivision but out its out in the country. I am also curious as to what app or program everyone uses to edit and customize their videos.
  2. Ok. So I defiinitely a novice at this whole drone flying thing. I was starting to think that my drone had issues because it would initiate the RTH after about 1000+ feet. Well come to find out, it was operator error. I took it up to the ceiling of 400 feet today and on my test run I was able to get .8 miles before the RTH process kicked in. Now that is pretty impressive to me considering I have a huge elementary school next door and a lot of trees all around. Now, I want to add some range extenders and press my luck to see if I can get an entire mile or more. Anyone have any experience using range extenders? Would you recommend them?
  3. #3 LabRat1957, Aug 7, 2018
    Last edited: Aug 7, 2018
    Hi and welcome to this forum.

    I purchased the Skyreat extenders for the XSP from through Amazon earlier this year. I do notice I get less video and control interference when using them. The signals do seem more stable. Even in the area near my house (lots of wi-fi ect) I was able to get past a mile where I had only been able to go 0.6 or 0.7 miles before. Recently I was at my property in Pennsylvania where I was able to fly 1.5 miles or a bit more with regularity and twice went out to nearly 2 miles (1.88 miles actually... the farthest I've been yet.) This was over water and over farm fields where little to no other electronic interference was around. But, yes, I have noticed a difference when using the extenders. The extenders do focus the signal so you really need to keep them pointed directly at the XSP for the best results. Trees will definitely reduce your distance so stay high as possible to get the most distance.

    NOTE... I do still get the annoying, "video signal interference" message from time to time even though I have a good, clear picture on my tablet and full control of the XSP. If the control is lost, the XSP returns home like a faithful companion.
  4. Thanks for your response . I also learned that flying at maximum height of 400 will give me a range of .75 miles
  5. Altitude is your friend but there are factors and conditions that can limit your distance. Even if you flew a mile today, you may get only 0.7-mile or so at the same location tomorrow. Then again you could even get a little more than a mile. Lots of things can influence the signal.
  6. What all factors are you referring to? If you are do clouds or weather play a role? I understand that antennas and other signaling devices can play a part but if you in the same general areas I would think distance should be relatively the same. Of course, I always ensure that I have a spotter nearby to ensure that we always have visual sight of the drone.
  7. #7 LabRat1957, Aug 8, 2018
    Last edited: Aug 8, 2018
    It's things that block and scatter the signal mostly, trees, buildings, and houses. Wi-fi and other radio signals interfere, Heavy solar activity may affect your signal and GPS although I don't know how much that really happens. From my own personal experience I can say that I have flown my XSP at the same location on different days, cloudy then clear, farther on one day than the other on the exact same path. I had heard that clouds vs clear could make a difference although most folks in the know say it doesn't make a difference. I've been able to go longer in Winter when the trees have no leaves vs Summer when the foliage is full. I think it matters more where you are and what's around that area.

    I have wondered if the strength of the transmitter battery makes any difference? Maybe someone here can answer that but, it's something I've thought about from time to time. For example, the time I was able to fly the 1.88-miles the battery in the transmitter was fully charged. Several times after that I flew the same path, standing on the same spot and did not get as far. Only 1.4-miles or a bit less. The one obvious difference was the transmitter had only around 50% or so charge. I think its was actually less than 50% on one of those flights. I don't really know if that had anything to do with it or not bit something was different.
  8. I have a long, and strong background in radio (RF). Wi-fi is on a completely different frequency and will not interfere with Autel Aircraft. Most often, it is objects and obstructions that most affect the signals. However, electro-magnetic interference (ie: power lines, generators, transformers, can have a significant affect on signal when the controller is in the vicinity of those items. With digital electronics, things either work, or they don't work (on or off :) ) Thus, with a digital controller, it is unlikely that battery level would affect transmission range. Additionally, one of the many benefits of a lithium battery is that it maintains a constant voltage and current output, right up until it is completely exhausted. Before lithium batteries, some (but not all ) batteries would drop in both voltage and current (amps) as they were consumed. Fortunately, any device that is connected to a lithium battery will perform exactly the same throughout the entire battery cycle. The only bad thing about lithium is that, when the battery is extinguished, voltage and current don't diminish slowly. Rather, they avalanche and go straight from full voltage to zero voltage. That is why it is good for a device to provide a warning before it's lithium battery is completely extinguished.

    By the way, signals from our Drone Controllers, and from our drones are not affected by Solar flares and other atmospheric interference. This is because our signals stay on the ground and do not travel over the horizon. (Any radio signal that might travel over the horizon is very susceptible to meteorological interference.) At times, signals from our devices can be affected by snow and rain (on the ground and in the air) as it can interfere with the travel (referred to as propagation) of a radio signal.

    One of the great challenges of any drone maker is to find, and use frequencies, that are least affected by 'environmental disturbances' (buildings, trees, weather, electro-magnetic devices, etc.) For instance, a UHF signal will travel much further, BUT, it is very much affected by any object that might get in it's path. However, a VHF signal is less affected by objects in it's path, but, it requires more power to propagate the signal). Believe me, it's a huge challenge for anyone (a drone mfg, a cellular carrier, TV stations, emergency responder radios, etc.) who is using radio as a part of their function. Even Wi-fi, which nearly all of us use on a daily basis, has it's limitations, and manufacturers are constantly working hard to work around it's limitations.
    Enough from me. :)
    Hope that helps.
  9. Very educational stuff there Cory. Clears some misconceptions I've apparently had from the beginning. I didn't think the low battery of the controller should have any affect on the distance but something must have been a little different. I think I used the "wi-fi" reference as a loose "catch all" for radio interference. Wouldn't all the cross-chatter radio and other communication signals near a populated area interfere with our signals somehow? I certainly get shorter distance in the fields near my neighborhood and there aren't any transformers in close proximity. Houses are on either side. As to the atmospheric interference not being a factor, why/how does the Kp index figure in? Doesn't that screw with the GPS or compass if it's strong enough? I'm sure I've seen it recommended not to fly if the Kp index is above 4.

    I'm not trying to be argumentative, just wanting to learn something for myself and the OP. I have apparently had incorrect info all along about some of this. Thanks!
  10. All 2.4GHz systems are required to be tolerant of other users on the frequency. The design of our RC systems, like almost all 2.4 devices, use a specific codec to allow one transmitter and one receiver to communicate. Although the RX in your UAV may hear another 2.4 GHz signal, it will be rejected as something other than the signal it is listening for.
    2.4GHz is not magic and will not defy the physical laws of our universe. If the signal to noise ratio becomes too low due to a barrage of noise on the 2.4Ghz frequency, you will get a nice lockout.
    Plain and simple. The benefit of 2.4Ghz is that the receiver binds to a certain transmitter and discriminates based on that. It does not mean that the system is invulnerable to noise jamming. An example of what 2.4Ghz does is if I signal you using a flashlight, I do it using certain colors and rates of flash. You know the colors and flashes ahead of time and can discriminate my signal from other flashlights signalling their respective receivers.
    Other flashlights signal their respective receivers using a different color and different flash, so no one gets mixed up.
    This is how 2.4Ghz works, it discriminates. It is not however, immune to noise jamming. No EM technology is.
    Noise jamming would be like a bunch of guys using flashlights to signal their resepctive receivers and then I pull up with a Jeep with a full row of gigantic lights and blind the crap out of everyone. Doesn't matter what the flashlights are doing then does it? Because no one will be able to see it even if they are looking at it. The noise (Jeep lights) will overbear the signal (flashlights flashing coded information).

    A geomagnetic storm is when a shock wave from a solar flare smacks into the earth's magnetic field, which triggers a lot of disturbances in our ionosphere due to a wiggling magnetic field and increasing the electron density. Huge geomagnetic storms (K index 8-9) are rare. The triggering flare has to be huge (an M or X class flare), located near the center of the sun to directly strike the earth, and one that produces a strong coronal mass ejection (CME) - or the shock wave. The CME usually takes about 3 days to strike the earth following the flare. If conditions are right, it can trigger a major geomagnetic storm which usually has a duration of several hours.

    During a major geomagnetic storm, GPS signals from the satellite to our UAV's GPS receivers gets bent by the increased electron density, which increases the path length and introduces position errors. The disturbed ionosphere can also cause degraded signal-to-noise problems, meaning your receiver may loose lock on one or more birds. Also, the bending of signals can also cause "phase slips, which can also cause the receiver to temporarily loose lock on the GPS, taking a few seconds to tens of seconds to relock on the dropped satellite.

    Scientific experiments done during strong geomagnetic storms shows the bending of the path length can cause up to about 30M (100 foot) errors in position at mid-latitudes (like the US/Europe and Australia), and slightly worse near the equator. Again, this is during a MAJOR geomagnetic storm of K=8 or 9. Thus, I would expect no effects to a UAV below K=7

    With K=8 or 9, I would expect the following effects to a UAV:
    A position error of around 100 feet would not normally be catastrophic. The position error is not going to make your UAV fly a mile away; just 100 feet or so. This would only affect your RTH position and landing point. It might skew the onboard compass off a few degrees, but probably not noticeable. If you're still tracking 6+ satellites, just bring it home (assuming you even notice anything).

    With poor signal-to-noise or phase slips, the UAV GPS receiver will loose lock and drop into the manual mode. Bring it home in manual mode.

    Again, I wouldn't expect any effects until a MAJOR K=8 or 9 geomagnetic storm, and nothing that is going to cause the UAV to not know where it is more than a 100 feet in error (not a fly away). Go here to see what the K index and general space weather is: These are the guys that measure things every hour.
  11. Thanks DronePilot for more good to know and useful information. I think the OP has his answers now also.
  12. Just curious, how do you maintain visual contact with the drone at these distances?
  13. You don't. That is not without a spotter with binoculars.
  14. Which is not legal as you should say.

    Sent from my LG-H873 using Tapatalk
  15. Didn't believe I had to but, thanks for reminding us!
  16. #16 Agustine, Aug 12, 2018
    Last edited by a moderator: Aug 12, 2018
    Some new users might not be aware of the rules and take your wisdom as gospel. Just thought it should be clear that you can have a spotter but he or she can only use unassisted vision other the glasses.

    Sent from my LG-H873 using Tapatalk
  17. Thanks DronePilot and LabRat. That is what I thought, but being new to this I wanted to make sure I was following the rules

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