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Second drone, same problems - Heres the details

dmac1

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As the title implies, my replacement drone does the same thing as my original one. Short version - launch and fly away.

I'm getting real tired of this. Wanna know what I really think? I think we've paid quite a bit of money for the 'privilege' of being Skydio's field testing crew. The money part shoulda been the other way around! Maybe some of ya have reliable drones, neither that I have had have been close to reliable and I've now had 3 beacons.

What happened this time? It was totally bizarre and in the middle of nowhere with zero excuses for its behavior.

Nearly every time I have launched this replacement drone, it goes out, turns around and looks at me, gets optical lock (sometimes with a check), then it loses it (either when I'm pushing it out to where I wanna film from, or on its own) and then it says 'weak gps can't follow' so, until a couple days ago, I reeled it in and either restarted it, or, I learned I can just get it right in front of me and press the blue button when in follow me mode and it will usually lock on me again.

Issue 1, it shouldn't be losing optical lock, and then GPS lock. There can't be interference where I've been trying it unless its aliens or Russia messing with our GPS satellites. But initially I thought I could work around it, although it isn't right and takes unnecessary time.

That is, until yesterday. I thought the launch was good and all was gonna be ok, so I put the phone away as it hovered where I wanted it and as we were getting ready to ride, it started going in ~10' motions towards the east. Initially I wasn't worried, thought, once we get going it'll be fine. Before I could get on my bike, it did about 6 of those, then just took off to the east at a moderate speed. I was like, WHOA!! So I pulled the beacon out again and by then it was a little ways away (not that far) and I pressed STOP numerous times and NO RESPONSE. It just kept going and going and went over a hill out of sight. I was like, WTF!!

I then notice beacon said Looking for Skydio. I was like, great! Fortunately, we could hear it and it had apparently stopped and was hovering out of sight. it had a brand new battery, so I had some time, but I had no link to it, so what to do? The terrain was super rough (base of Eva Conover for those who know) and a hike to find it wouldn't have been quick or fun in full moto gear.

I pulled out my phone. It says, Beacon looking for Skydio. So link app to beacon was still good. I went to settings on phone to force phone to link to Skydio wifi instead of beacon. There WAS NO Skydio wifi!!! I tried numerous times. It wasn't that far away.

I was at a loss as to what to do.

Eventually, after 10 minutes or so, maybe more...dunno, all of a sudden I had connection to Skydio via phone/app and I flew it vertically into sight and then back to me and landed. Whew! I have NO IDEA how all of a sudden I regained connection, and then it got even weirder!

I put in a new battery and said to my bud, one more try (it had followed me really well in a high speed section earlier).

Put in the battery, restarted it and beacon, got drone/beacon/app connected, and then, after another test flight where it tried to fly off, I landed it and while in my hand, the gimbal started going absolutely bonkers! Reminded me of the possessed little girl in The Exorcist! Turning its head (gimbal), jerkily, this way and that, up and down, then to the max this way and that, it went on for 15 seconds or so before I finally shut it off and pulled the battery. We were like OMG. There was NO WAY I was gonna fly it again way out there and possibly hafta try to find it. The **** thing was possessed!

Sure, I'll get ahold of Skydio and they'll prolly want me to send em the flight log, but heres my, skeptical, take:

As stated previously, we are their test crew. I think they pushed this product out before it was perfected and they know it. This is why they are still providing warranty service on drones that are out of warranty.

Wanna know what else I think? I think that all they are doing with the replacement drones is sending us someone else's problems. They told me the replacement drone they sent me was fully tested and certified, or something like that. BS! It wasn't right from the first flights! It will work SOMETIMES, but too often it doesn't. Similar to my first drone. What I expected back when I sent them my first drone was MY fixed drone back, not another whole set of issues (even though some are similar (the camera issues isn't one I experienced with my first drone)).

Lots of us have issues with the drones we have. I have spent more time testing than actually flying. By the posts on here, I'm not alone.

Maybe some drones are reliable (DOES ANYONE HAVE ONE?)....I have another big ride I was hoping to take Skydio on, there is NO WAY due to its unreliability. With 1000 miles to ride, there is no way we can afford the likely time loss that will be involved and with the destination ~800 miles away, a return for a recovery trip isn't too feasible.

YMMV
 
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Wow, that is crazy. I kind of rolled my eyes at the first few posts I've read of people with weird issues, thinking that maybe they got a bad sensor or a bug in the programming/phone/beacon, but I can accept all that stuff if the company handles it well. Hearing these flyoff stories this often and with the same conditions really makes me think there is a more inherent issue occurring. I'm interested to hear what they have to say about your drone.
 
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dmac1

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Will advise what they say. Flight logs sent Sunday.

I'll repeat my question at the end...does ANYONE have a reliable drone?
 

dmac1

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Heres what they said:

"Our engineers took a look and found that there was poor connection and GPS signal throughout flight, possibly due to terrain and environmental conditions.

Today we released a new update has new connection status details in the app as well as Dynamic Channel Selection to find better operating frequencies in flight. Could you go ahead and update your app and then do some test flights to see connection status in realtime, and if chanel selection improves the signal?

Let me know what you find! Thanks!"

I'll try it onea these days, but I wanna see what the results are from others that try the new update first. Unfortunately, I won't be able to try it at the same spot as I had the major issues cuz thats 400+ miles away but my drone hasn't stayed connected optically very well even here at home, so maybe the new software will help.

Testing, testing, 1,2,3...
 

farmer brown

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Will advise what they say. Flight logs sent Sunday.

I'll repeat my question at the end...does ANYONE have a reliable drone?
not me. right now, i give it a C+ (phone/beacon combo - about 15 flights). phone with controller i give it an A (so far - 3 flights).
 

farmer brown

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Heres what they said:

"Our engineers took a look and found that there was poor connection and GPS signal throughout flight, possibly due to terrain and environmental conditions.

Today we released a new update has new connection status details in the app as well as Dynamic Channel Selection to find better operating frequencies in flight. Could you go ahead and update your app and then do some test flights to see connection status in realtime, and if chanel selection improves the signal?

Let me know what you find! Thanks!"

I'll try it onea these days, but I wanna see what the results are from others that try the new update first. Unfortunately, I won't be able to try it at the same spot as I had the major issues cuz thats 400+ miles away but my drone hasn't stayed connected optically very well even here at home, so maybe the new software will help.

Testing, testing, 1,2,3...
reading their reply to you, my impression is, seems like they’re clueless.
 

Ridefreak

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Will advise what they say. Flight logs sent Sunday.

I'll repeat my question at the end...does ANYONE have a reliable drone?
Yup, both of mine have operated pretty well Dave, I hate to hear you're having problems but I can't say that's been my experience. I updated it last week and flew for 3 batteries Saturday, one disconnect. I've filmed that entire trail with the SD2 from Coal Wash to the pavement with no disconnects so I know the drone is capable. It actually filmed it very well until I got near swazies cabin and I-70 then it had some weird disconnect issues that were both unusual and uncharacteristic of the drone, no doubt were GPS related, There's been a time where mine drifted off shortly after launch and obviously was having GPS issues, it was the new replacement drone out on it's second flight. I landed, power cycled everything and flew for multiple batteries immediately following that. I get the occasional disconnect which seems to be down to about once during a day of flying, a little more frequent then the previous drone but that's getting progressively better the more I fly it, When I received the replacement drone disconnects would happen almost every battery, sometimes more then once per battery, that was the the first few flights. My original drone wasn't allot different in that regard. One of the updates made performance worse but its gotten progressively better since and that was 3 or 4 updates ago. Personally I think the original software worked the best but the current version has worked pretty well for me. I end up with far more usable footage then I can use in my YT vids. Have you had any success with it tracking you since you received the new drone? Reason I ask is I'm convinced it gets better the more it tracks a subject, it's that crazy notion I've been pushing but there's others on here who's observed their drones performance improve over a series of flights. Skydio has never confirmed that theory so I could be completely wrong.

Do you ever go somewhere and burn through some batteries just practicing flying it and riding around with it following you in an location where it is easy for the drone to track you? Somewhere you can observe the gps signal strength. I probably burn through 3 or 4 batteries doing that, usually in a location that's not going to make for a great video but I know its flying time and that seems to help this drone operate better and lets me gauge how well it's working.

Throw your bike and the drone in the truck and come down to NM, I'll take you out to my Skydio proving grounds where there's miles and miles of flying area. There's nothing to crash into out there except the ground.
 

dmac1

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Yup, both of mine have operated pretty well Dave, I hate to hear you're having problems but I can't say that's been my experience. I updated it last week and flew for 3 batteries Saturday, one disconnect. I've filmed that entire trail with the SD2 from Coal Wash to the pavement with no disconnects so I know the drone is capable. It actually filmed it very well until I got near swazies cabin and I-70 then it had some weird disconnect issues that were both unusual and uncharacteristic of the drone, no doubt were GPS related, There's been a time where mine drifted off shortly after launch and obviously was having GPS issues, it was the new replacement drone out on it's second flight. I landed, power cycled everything and flew for multiple batteries immediately following that. I get the occasional disconnect which seems to be down to about once during a day of flying, a little more frequent then the previous drone but that's getting progressively better the more I fly it, When I received the replacement drone disconnects would happen almost every battery, sometimes more then once per battery, that was the the first few flights. My original drone wasn't allot different in that regard. One of the updates made performance worse but its gotten progressively better since and that was 3 or 4 updates ago. Personally I think the original software worked the best but the current version has worked pretty well for me. I end up with far more usable footage then I can use in my YT vids. Have you had any success with it tracking you since you received the new drone? Reason I ask is I'm convinced it gets better the more it tracks a subject, it's that crazy notion I've been pushing but there's others on here who's observed their drones performance improve over a series of flights. Skydio has never confirmed that theory so I could be completely wrong.

Do you ever go somewhere and burn through some batteries just practicing flying it and riding around with it following you in an location where it is easy for the drone to track you? Somewhere you can observe the gps signal strength. I probably burn through 3 or 4 batteries doing that, usually in a location that's not going to make for a great video but I know its flying time and that seems to help this drone operate better and lets me gauge how well it's working.

Throw your bike and the drone in the truck and come down to NM, I'll take you out to my Skydio proving grounds where there's miles and miles of flying area. There's nothing to crash into out there except the ground.
Appreciate the offer Chris!

Would love to come down some day, but it aint gonna be soon. Thanks for the offer tho!!

A guy slammed his bike into my left leg when I stopped quickly due to almost missing a turn in the blowing sand at WW. I didnt hear him behind me, so its not like he was right there, but it was real windy. He had to be spacin out looking at the view or sand storm. If he'd have hit the brakes his right leg woulda been smashed between the bikes with my left, which was on the ground. He ejected left/OTB ended up in front of me.

Anyway, left knee is messed up. I see surgeon again Monday to likely decide course of action. MRI isnt good. Been doin PT to retain ROM and muscle strength.
 
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Ridefreak

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Appreciate the offer Chris!

Would love to come down some day, but it aint gonna be soon. Thanks for the offer tho!!

A guy slammed his bike into my left leg when I stopped quickly due to almost missing a turn in the blowing sand at WW. I didnt hear him behind me, so its not like he was right there, but it was real windy. He had to be spacin out looking at the view or sand storm. If he'd have hit the brakes his right leg woulda been smashed between the bikes with my left, which was on the ground. He ejected left/OTB ended up in front of me.

Anyway, left knee is messed up. I see surgeon again Monday to likely decide course of action. MRI isnt good. Been doin PT to retain ROM and muscle strength.
Heal up Dave, I hope it better soon. You have to be real selective with those guest riders lol.
 
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dmac1

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Heal up Dave, I hope it better soon. You have to be real selective with those guest riders lol.
Thanks Chris! You're actually correct about the 'guest riders'.

He is a friend of a guy who I have known for a few years. It was gonna just be me and him, then all of a sudden this other guy was coming. Theres a pretty good backstory that'll have ya shakin your head....hopefully I'll be able to relate it to ya some evening around a campfire.

In the meantime, I may have time to catch up on all your vids! :)
 

ed.matthews4

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Do you ever go somewhere and burn through some batteries just practicing flying it and riding around with it following you in an location where it is easy for the drone to track you? Somewhere you can observe the gps signal strength.
I plan to do exactly this.
I think your right, perhaps it has a learning algorithm.
 

Ridefreak

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I plan to do exactly this.
I think your right, perhaps it has a learning algorithm.
Ed, It does periodically self calibrate as I recently discovered.
 

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