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Increasing visibility

autopiloteer

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Has anyone experimented with adding some kind of reflective/day-glo tape or similar to try and improve visibility at a distance? I find I’m constantly surprised at how little range is needed before I lose sight of the little guy.
 

Ridefreak

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I'm interested in this, often I just get a quick glance to see where the drone is, I find it hard to pick it out quickly with my old eyes. I thought about orange elec tape but haven't tried it yet.
 

ETdronehome

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I don’t have any personal experience with these but they seem to be popular.

I’m not sure what effect if any a strobe light would have on the OA.

 

autopiloteer

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i have pretty much every strobe light imaginable; let me know what details you need.

Nice, thanks! Well I guess my goal would be to modify things as little as possible to avoid significant changes to weight & balance, the OA system, thermal.. and ultimately to avoid warranty/care plan voidage.

Can you point me to the specs on the smallest & lightest ones in that photo?

I noticed flying today pretty much at the limits of what my naked eye could make out as a tiny black dot in the sky, a sun glint from time to time which was actually very visible. I should have noted which way I was pointed but either way I think what I saw was probably reflections off one of the lenses. They're pretty small which gives me hope that a fairly low amount of high reflective tape in a few spots around the body could help a lot. At least when I'm between the sun and the drone but that can be considered when deciding where to fly from.

Right now my thinking is to start with some tape on only the battery, on the sides as far away from the downward pointing cameras as I can manage and on the bottom. I think some of the photos/video on the website show the actual fisheye views from the cameras which will help figuring out what they can and can't see.

Next would be strobes, maybe just a single one if they are pretty much omnidirectional, on the underside of the battery that I'd stick on with Dual Lock or whatever.

Finally I'll try tape and then strobes on the main fuselage.

Any other suggestions? I'll report back on my findings..
 

Ridefreak

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I wonder if the shiny alum tape would work, striped safety tape would be a big improvement over blue. Our sky is usally very blue, the SD2 is almost camouflaged in it.
 

kenmavic2zoom

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none of these strobes will have a significant impact on the flight of your drone. nor will they affect your warranty, at least not here in the usa. they are all surprisingly lightweight and can be easily attached with velcro without the risk of coming off in flight.

the most visible is going to be the white light obviously and the point of strobes would be to flash fast or slow for one side, steady for another, and then there's red and green for left and right, etc. anything that works for you but the point is you can see these during daylight and actually from quite a distance.

i would recommend strobes from firehouse technology even their smallest cheapest would work well. im not a fan of any type of tape since most need a light source to work well at great distances.
 

Ridefreak

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Thanks for that info, I never thought of the different colors. Mine lost it's GPS mind last flight and had about a 900' offset to where it thought I was located, wierd I know. Second time it's done that. Anyway it was too far away for me to tell which direction it was pointed and too far away to track it's direction using steering without letting it go a fair distance (which was further). I didn't have the app handy to see the video feed. Different colored strobes would have provided that direction info.
 

autopiloteer

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Thanks for the info about Firehouse. I think I'm going to get one of these:

https://www.amazon.com/Firehouse-Technology-Navigation-Quadcopters-Contained/dp/B06ZZ9D1MQ

https://www.amazon.com/Firehouse-Technology-Strobe-Anti-Collision-Lumens/dp/B08F6YWPSW

Most likely the second one as it's considerably lighter. I'll attach to the underside of the battery, maybe with a lightweight 3D printed roll cage in case of an emergency non-hand landing.

Regarding tape, the other reason I was thinking about that was the possibility of a crash into water and being able to locate and fish it out to avoid the extra $400 for a lost drone.
 

kenmavic2zoom

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the arc v is considerably brighter and definitely can be seen in the daylight but know that it is a bit larger so you need to be sure it is away from the props or the cameras. it is semi-rugged so no problem with landing on it during an emergency. not sure if it is waterproof or will survive underwater long enough to see it flashing. definitely would help if your drone crash on land or gets stuck in a tree. since the skydio is mostly a daytime drone, not much detail on use with strobe lights.

also i attach one of these to my skydio to help locate it in the event of a crash. the audible can be heard quite easily and will come in handy if the drone buried in the thick brush or up in a tree where otherwise not easily seen.

 

autopiloteer

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For the fishing expedition use case I'm assuming I won't be able to fetch it immediately hence the need for something passive. Thanks for the additional pointers though. I think I'll go with the lighter low cost strobe first and see if that does the trick and if not return it and try the Arc V.
 
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kenmavic2zoom

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the arc v is considerably brighter and definitely can be seen in the daylight but know that it is a bit larger so you need to be sure it is away from the props or the cameras. it is semi-rugged so no problem with landing on it during an emergency. not sure if it is waterproof or will survive underwater long enough to see it flashing. definitely would help if your drone crash on land or gets stuck in a tree. since the skydio is mostly a daytime drone, not much detail on use with strobe lights.

also i attach one of these to my skydio to help locate it in the event of a crash. the audible can be heard quite easily and will come in handy if the drone buried in the thick brush or up in a tree where otherwise not easily seen.

close up of vifly attached to skydio
vifly1 Large.jpeg
vifly2.jpeg
 
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DrtBkDav

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I bought 2 extra batteries for mine. Of course just before they came out with the better ones.

I threw some orange duct tape on them. so that I can identify which might have a full charge quicker and so that in case the battery flys off, it can be found easier.

The orange tape does make it a bit more visible from the ground.


Picture1.jpg
 
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kgilbertsen

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Can't seem to find the Firehouse Arc V right now. Anyone have a source?

EDIT: Found them on the Firehouse site. Any recommendations for color? I was thinking of getting just White...
 
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anthonydotcom

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I'm using the firehouse lights in white. They're crazy bright. For all of the people looking at putting tape or whatnot, just get some powerful lights and call it a day. My other drone is an autel evo2 pro. It's a huge orange beast, and even that is hard to see in the sky at times. Adding strobes helps a lot. I haven't mounted anything to my skydio yet, but from what I could tell the 3 lights I mounted to my autel didn't change any of the flight characteristics. I went with firehouse light which I mount up top, and I strap two of the smaller black lights (in the YouTube thumbnail above, it's the light directly beneath the firehouse)one front leg and one rear leg.
 
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somewhereinusa

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I have a firehouse mounted to the battery with velcro. I just move the light to the battery I'm using.

Edit, just watched that video. he said he didn't think a strobe increased daytime visibility. I found just the opposite. I'm not all that young and my eyes aren't what they used to be. I would often loose sight, especially if it was in front of trees or high in a bright sunny sky. With the strobe I very seldom loose sight
 
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