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(Solved) Skydio 2 still has serious connection issues with the latest 15.11 firmware

Sky Cyclist

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Last Updated (2022/02/17)

I upgraded my Skydio 2 with the latest version of Firmware (15.11.33) and have a quick test today.

Today I changed to a place to test, which is very remote, far from the city. I used the Beacon and Phone combination mode operating the Cable skill, I can feel that the original weak connection situation has improved. The stability of the connection has been improved, and the pixelation of the mobile app screen has also been improved.

----

I have received a reply from Skydio's technical support that the problem is due to electromagnetic interference.

On the day of the event, it was at an RC park where I was doing basic flying practice. About 800 feet behind me, there was a Fixed-Wing UAV operating at the same time, and I think my operation was interferenced by its electromagnetic signal.

I'd also like to share my own learnings or maybe workarounds here.

This information may not totally help you but I wish it could still help partially.

1. I adjusted the RTH waiting time, I learned to adjust the different times and it helped.

2. Aware of this issue will happen (invisible electromagnetic waves) helps. I also start to try some wifi strength monitor apps, too.

My own problem has been completely solved by now.

But, I will continue to pay attention to the topic with my limited effort.

-------------------------------------------------------------------

After more careful tests, here is the latest information:

1. Unexpected disconnection occurs only when using Beacon + Phone. It happens every time and it always happens just during the operation.

When it happens, it will happen suddenly without any pre-warning "Weak signal" messages at all. It will just display "Beacon Disconnected" message.

2. When only using the phone operation (without Beacon), the disconnection will only occur when the distance reaches the boundary (120M/400ft/Open/Good VLOS/Strong GPS), and this situation is predictable, and there will also be a "Weak signal" prompt message beforehand.

3. Since this disconnection is bound to happen, after more and more tests, the original uncertainty has largely disappeared, and the Lost connection setting has been optimized. At present, this is no longer a problem.

4. During this learning process, I learned one thing, to record the operation screen (App screen), which is necessary and helpful for the analysis of the situation afterward.

There are tools for recording Wifi signal strength and that would be helpful, too.

5. It is able to play the Cable skill with the combination of Beacon + Phone. I tested the operation many times and it works but it is not as stable as only using the phone.

Besides, in the official technical document, the skill is not supported with Beacon and Phone combination. I will not use the combination with the Cable skill and this is only for a scientific test.

----------------------------------------

I have tested the connection lost issues today and the result is not good. Actually, it is really bad.

Aircraft: Skydio 2
Firmware: latest (15.11)
Location status: Open
Weather: Good, 15C~20C
Wind: 2
Phone: Samsung A8+, Android 9, Fully charged

Test 1: Beacon only
Range: Good, stable, and more than 120M

Test 2: Phone only
Range: Good, stable, and just about 120M

Test 3: Beacon and phone
Range: Ok to reach 200M, but it is really not stable!! Connection loss always happense when setting the Cable Cam or KeyFrame's 2nd or 3rd point.

Reconnection is really slow and it takes more than 1 min to reestablish the connection. During the period of time, I can not have any connection with the aircraft and it is just not controlled. It is really bad!

Although nothing unexpected happened, such an experience is really bad.

It is a different situation from the connection lost when using the Phone only to fly too far.

When using the Phone only to fly more than 120M, the connection is starting to lose and you will know it and it shows the connection is getting weakened. And it also can reestablish very soon when you just turn back the aircraft.

But, the connection issue that happened with Beaon+Phone is different. It lost the connection suddenly and connection reestablishing takes a long time! It is quite scared.

It always happened when I set the second or third KeyFrame or Cable Cam's B point.

The range of the second point is really close to me (30M to 50M) but the lost connection always happened and it really surprised me.

The situation did not happen when I use the Phone only to set the same skills.

Currently, I will only use phone to operate my Skydio 2 and test more Beacon+Phone only in very open location.

I hope Skydio should really be serious about the connection issue of original Skydio 2.

I am expecting to know Skydio 2+ testing, too. If you have 2+, hope to see your sharing about the connection tests.
 
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TonyPHX

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This weekend is gonna be slammed, but I will definitely make some observations comparing the two. Today I got minimal tme with the 2+ and did not test it's range, but did notice that in my laps around my immediate area there was zero pixellation where previously would have had some.
 

Sky Cyclist

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This weekend is gonna be slammed, but I will definitely make some observations comparing the two. Today I got minimal tme with the 2+ and did not test it's range, but did notice that in my laps around my immediate area there was zero pixellation where previously would have had some.

Dear Tony:

Could you please help verify the disconnection situation of the Beacon+Phone?

I only have the connection issue when using Beacon+Phone.

Stable when used separately.

I thought it would be the same or even better when using Beacon+Phone together, but the result scared me.
 

VEGASROBBI

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I can confirm the issue using the beacon and phone, beacon only works great. I tried both my Samsung A12 and Gen 7 iPad same problem, disconnects and switches to GPS tracking 10 feet away.
 
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Sky Cyclist

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I can confirm the issue using the beacon and phone, beacon only works great. I tried both my Samsung A12 and Gen 7 iPad same problem, disconnects and switches to GPS tracking 10 feet away.

Thank you VEGASROBBI for your confirmation.

I want to add more case learnings just here.

For existing users, I think you may know what's the key issues are very well.

For new Skydio 2 users, two of the key issues you may find sooner or later are

(1) People can't use both Cable Cam or KeyFrame skills with only Beacon. Beacon+Phone is not just an option for beacon users. (or users who don't have controller)

(2) With the beacon, it can fly far away. Yes, it can fly more range but it will also be a dangerous flight since it could be too far to see the orientation of the drone toward to. It could lead to missing events very possibly.

(3) The connection reestablishing time is not just a second but minutes. That means in the period of disconnection time, you will have no control of the drone.

The situation is not ok for even toy drones and it is a serious issue and Skydio should really be serious to face it.

I will contact support and if having any updates will also post them here for fruther reference.
 
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RiverEagle

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I'm wondering if it is an Android specific issue? I haven't had similar issues with iPhone and iPad but I realize I am only one person so...

Keep us posted and good luck.
Ray
 
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Sky Cyclist

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If the disconnection situation is clear, then people will know how to watch out & deal with the incident.

I don't think I'm aware of the current disconnection situation. To be honest, I'm not sure when it will happen next time. Such uncertainty makes it difficult for me to perform the mission of flying.

Therefore, the public sharing of these information is not for complaining, not at all, but there is only one hope to reduce the uncertainty of operation and ensure the reliability and safety of flights.
 

Trailryder42

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Therefore, the public sharing of these information is not for complaining, not at all, but there is only one hope to reduce the uncertainty of operation and ensure the reliability and safety of flights.
For sure. If it is reported enough and wide spread enough, it shows Skydio there's definitely a problem and needs attention with a software update.
 

Sky Cyclist

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While waiting for support team's response, I try to dig out the issue and find some related information.

I am not sure if this is the root cause of the issue I met.

In the Beacon's user guide, it states that "You can only choose skills which are supported on the Beacon."

Beacon skills
  • Motion Track Skill
  • Fixed Track
  • Orbit
  • Hover
  • Steering
Skills which beacon might not support:
  • Cable cam
  • KeyFrame
If it is really the root cause, I will accept but also hope Skydio can just disable those unsupported skills when using Beacon with Skydio App but not let connection-lost incident just happen.

Here is the highlight of the information:

Image 129.png
 
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TonyPHX

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Dear Tony:

Could you please help verify the disconnection situation of the Beacon+Phone?

I only have the connection issue when using Beacon+Phone.

Stable when used separately.

I thought it would be the same or even better when using Beacon+Phone together, but the result scared me.
I will try to do that. I will give it a shot Sunday (tomorrow)
 
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Sky Cyclist

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@Sky Cyclist My Sunday turned into Monday - so I am going to be playing with the Skydio 2+ today.

Hi Tony,

You are so nice and Thank you so much

I've also planned some screnarios (maybe hacking :cool:) and I believe that I can find a way to enjoy my Skydio 2 :giggle:

Due to work and weather factors, I need to wait for a few days for more tests

I wish you have a day and many many wonderful flights

All the best
 
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ETdronehome

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I have tested the connection lost issues today and the result is not good. Actually, it is really bad.

Aircraft: Skydio 2
Firmware: latest (15.11)
Location status: Open
Weather: Good, 15C~20C
Wind: 2
Phone: Samsung A8+, Android 9, Fully charged

Test 1: Beacon only
Range: Good, stable, and more than 120M

Test 2: Phone only
Range: Good, stable, and just about 120M

Test 3: Beacon and phone
Range: Ok to reach 200M, but it is really not stable!! Connection loss always happense when setting the Cable Cam or KeyFrame's 2nd or 3rd point.

Reconnection is really slow and it takes more than 1 min to reestablish the connection. During the period of time, I can not have any connection with the aircraft and it is just not controlled. It is really bad!

Although nothing unexpected happened, such an experience is really bad.

It is a different situation from the connection lost when using the Phone only to fly too far.

When using the Phone only to fly more than 120M, the connection is starting to lose and you will know it and it shows the connection is getting weakened. And it also can reestablish very soon when you just turn back the aircraft.

But, the connection issue that happened with Beaon+Phone is different. It lost the connection suddenly and connection reestablishing takes a long time! It is quite scared.

It always happened when I set the second or third KeyFrame or Cable Cam's B point.

The range of the second point is really close to me (30M to 50M) but the lost connection always happened and it really surprised me.

The situation did not happen when I use the Phone only to set the same skills.

Currently, I will only use phone to operate my Skydio 2 and test more Beacon+Phone only in very open location.

I hope Skydio should really be serious about the connection issue of original Skydio 2.

I am expecting to know Skydio 2+ testing, too. If you have 2+, hope to see your sharing about the connection tests.
My 2 cents for what it worth :)

First I agree that any sudden disconnect of any drone from the PIC is not acceptable and applaud your efforts to document the problem; however I would offer this viewpoint:

From Skydio's perspective the skills of cable cam and/or Keyframe require the use of a "viewfinder" - phone, tablet etc.

A beacon alone doesn't have that "view" ability which is likely why they say you can only do things with a phone-beacon combo that are supported by the beacon.

If you want to use a "view" required skill then use JUST the phone and stay within it's operational range. (you proved this works.)

So in your scenario of using the phone and beacon AND Keyframe OR Cable Cam you are trying to do something that they say is NOT supported.

You have actually proven that it doesn't work (at least reliably) so I'm not sure what response you are likely to get from support.

They don't say that you can fly with a beacon AND controller either but it works. I did a test just to see if it would work but I wouldn't try to again as there isn't any need to. So there is some precedent of using various combos of devices but it doesn't mean that Skydio is going to officially support them all in all situations.

Skydio seems to suggest that the best combo for Keyframe and Cable cam are to use a controller. The controller offers as good or better range than the beacon and imho provides much better flight control than the phone. I tried flying with just the phone (although I had a controller at hand) and found it was an accident waiting to happen. Yes buying the controller is an added expense but you will likely avoid the distress of an "uncontrolled flight".
 

Ridefreak

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While waiting for support team's response, I try to dig out the issue and find some related information.

I am not sure if this is the root cause of the issue I met.

In the Beacon's user guide, it states that "You can only choose skills which are supported on the Beacon."

Beacon skills
  • Motion Track Skill
  • Fixed Track
  • Orbit
  • Hover
  • Steering
Skills which beacon might not support:
  • Cable cam
  • KeyFrame
If it is really the root cause, I will accept but also hope Skydio can just disable those unsupported skills when using Beacon with Skydio App but not let connection-lost incident just happen.

Here is the highlight of the information:

View attachment 613
The beacon was never designed to perform all the functions that the controller provides, it's primary function since the beginning was as a tether for following, they included some skills that's easy to perform from that platform.
 

VEGASROBBI

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I use my phone with the beacon in follow for a couple of reasons. First Skydio says GPS acquisition is faster, which it is. Second I use it to frame the shot especially when I'm flying behind the vehicle or at a distance.

Two updates ago this combination worked excellent, never had a problem. Since the update, prior to the keyframe update, I've had nothing but problems trying to run a tablet or phone along with the beacon. It may be my specific combination and I'm going to try some different devices but it is frustrating.
 
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ETdronehome

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I use my phone with the beacon in follow for a couple of reasons. First Skydio says GPS acquisition is faster, which it is. Second I use it to frame the shot especially when I'm flying behind the vehicle or at a distance.

Two updates ago this combination worked excellent, never had a problem. Since the update, prior to the keyframe update, I've had nothing but problems trying to run a tablet or phone along with the beacon. It may be my specific combination and I'm going to try some different devices but it is frustrating.
I didn’t realize that there were problems when NOT using Keyframe or cable cam skills but in “ordinary” use such as you described.

Seems strange that Skydio would break that ability while implementing a new version as I would think that is a very common use of the Beacon-Phone combo and they would have really tested it before release.

I think you confirmed above you had a disconnect like @Sky Cyclist experienced but what other problems have you had?
 

Ridefreak

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I flew yesterday with the phone connected to the beacon. No disconnects or loss of tracking but I wasn't pushing the drone's range. It was business as usual on that flight. I did learn the e-bike won't outrun the SD2, I tried.
 

ETdronehome

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I flew yesterday with the phone connected to the beacon. No disconnects or loss of tracking but I wasn't pushing the drone's range. It was business as usual on that flight. I did learn the e-bike won't outrun the SD2, I tried.
Ah you just need to hack the ebike controller and/or put a more powerful motor on!!! 😎😎😎
 
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RiverEagle

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I flew yesterday with the phone connected to the beacon. No disconnects or loss of tracking but I wasn't pushing the drone's range. It was business as usual on that flight. I did learn the e-bike won't outrun the SD2, I tried.

Peddle harder, mate! ; )
 

Ridefreak

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I could probably tweak some settings for a little more speed but a cheap bicycle isn't ideal to go 35 mph on. It sure would make for a spectacular yard sale when something broke though.
 

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