FPV Connection Problems

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FPV Connection Problems

Post by brandas » 26 Nov 2018, 13:28

Hi everyone,

I recently acquired the Parrot Mambo FPV but am having serious troubles when trying to use the camera.
I usually have no problem using the drone without the camera.
Starting from the beginning of the story, when I first turned my drone on the FreeFlight Mini app kept telling me that there was a firmware update available, even though the drone was running the version 3.0.17 (which is the one on Parrot's website). I managed to update update the drone via bluetooth to version 3.0.25 but FreeFlight kept telling me that there was an update available. I managed to find the version 3.0.26 here: https://forum.developer.parrot.com/t/ft ... grade/8125. I installed it via USB and since then FreeFlight says that there is no update.
I have no idea if this has some relation with the problems I'm having trying to get FreeFlight recognise the camera but I found it weird that the firmware on Parrot's website isn't the latest one and I thought I would explain this just as a background.
Anyway, the actual problem I'm having is that no matter how I try to do it, I rarely can get FreeFlight to recognise the camera. I tried to plug the camera on the mambo and then connect both to FreeFlight and I tried to connect the Mambo to FreeFlight first and then coupling the camera. I managed to succeed both ways but very very rarely. Additionally, every time I succeeded I never managed to keep the connection for more than 2 minutes. The connection between the camera and FreeFlight just drops while I'm mid FPV flying.

This is getting really annoying as I wasn't able to enjoy the drone so far.

All bits of help are more then welcome!

Thanks in advance :)

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Re: FPV Connection Problems

Post by Dirk_ANAFI » 27 Nov 2018, 11:49

Hi brandas,

if I read your post right, you can hardly manage to connect via Wifi and if you were successful, then the connection fails during the flight. Correct?

I see some possibilities you can try:
1. Install a "Wifi Analyzer" app on your smartphone. With this app search for not or less used Wifi channels. Then switch to a not used Wifi channel for your Mambo in Freeflight mini settings.
2. In your smartphone's WLAN settings deactivate the automatic switch between Wifi sources.
3. Go out of your house to a place, where the Wifi Analyzer app finds no other Wifi spots.
4. Directly after you loose Wifi connection during a flight: watch the LED on the camera and describe here: blinking like booting after power on? Blinking like no connection? Or constant green? If the camera seems to reboot, then the hardware connection camera-Mambo could be bad.
I then did this:
If you look on the camera bottom, then you see the 4 golden contacts. Each has 2 scores in an 90° angle. Take a sharp kitchen knife and widen the scores a little bit with its cutting edge. Be very careful not to break the contacts!!
Then mount the camera again on your Mambo and try connecting to Wifi again.

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Re: FPV Connection Problems

Post by brandas » 27 Nov 2018, 13:10

Dirk_ANAFI wrote:
27 Nov 2018, 11:49
Hi brandas,

if I read your post right, you can hardly manage to connect via Wifi and if you were successful, then the connection fails during the flight. Correct?

I see some possibilities you can try:
1. Install a "Wifi Analyzer" app on your smartphone. With this app search for not or less used Wifi channels. Then switch to a not used Wifi channel for your Mambo in Freeflight mini settings.
2. In your smartphone's WLAN settings deactivate the automatic switch between Wifi sources.
3. Go out of your house to a place, where the Wifi Analyzer app finds no other Wifi spots.
4. Directly after you loose Wifi connection during a flight: watch the LED on the camera and describe here: blinking like booting after power on? Blinking like no connection? Or constant green? If the camera seems to reboot, then the hardware connection camera-Mambo could be bad.
I then did this:
If you look on the camera bottom, then you see the 4 golden contacts. Each has 2 scores in an 90° angle. Take a sharp kitchen knife and widen the scores a little bit with its cutting edge. Be very careful not to break the contacts!!
Then mount the camera again on your Mambo and try connecting to Wifi again.
Hi Dirk_ANAFI,

First of all thanks very much for your help.
I've been digging into the problem and, in fact, I'm starting to believe that this might be a problem of being trying to fly the drone in my flat, which is obviously surrounded by interferences (metal stuff, other wifi networks, etc). I still haven't had the chance to go outside and see how it behaves.
Regarding your points:
1. I've done that but the problem is that the best channels are constantly changing. This actually increases my suspicious that this might be a "too many interferences" problem. Also, you can only change the channel while being connected to the camera, something usually not easy to achieve (in my case).
2. Do you have any idea how can I do that on a Samsung Galaxy S9?
3. Can't wait to try that!
4. Usually the camera (and the drone) remain green. What does that mean?
I really don't think it's a physical problem as the camera never has any problem establishing a connection to the drone, i.e. as soon as I mount the camera on top of the drone the LEDs on the camera start blinking green and after a few seconds they become steady.

Thanks again!

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Re: FPV Connection Problems

Post by Dirk_ANAFI » 27 Nov 2018, 17:47

Hi brandas,

1. Yes, possibly there is "to much" Wifi in your house. Changing channels are unusual, because normally the Wifi routers in a house use the same channel for a longer period. Try to catch the best channel though.
2. On my Note 8: Settings - WLAN - 3 points in the upper right corner. Deactivate all settings dealing with changing WLAN source or automatic switching from 4G to WLAN and vice versa. I don't know the English expressions for the setting items, because my smartphone uses German.
4. Camera and Mambo stay permanent green after Wifi loss during flight. Sounds ok, if you still have BT connection.

For less interference you can also try to use flight mode on your phone and afterwards only activate BT and Wifi.

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Re: FPV Connection Problems

Post by AR.Tommy » 27 Nov 2018, 19:23

Dirk_ANAFI wrote:
27 Nov 2018, 17:47
(...)
For less interference you can also try to use flight mode on your phone and afterwards only activate BT and Wifi.
This is usually the way to get best results. Also worth to see if your device switches from the drone wifi to the home wifi because it thinks there is better reception (when the drone is far away).
http://www.digitalsirup.com

Sweet and delicious apps for your drones.

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Re: FPV Connection Problems

Post by brandas » 28 Nov 2018, 01:00

Thanks for your help guys.

I understand the issue regarding channels and interference, however I've been performing some tests and the results are making me believe that either the entire system is very weak/unreliable or my camera is faulty...

Below are some things I tested and conclusions I was able to achieve. Just to add some context I've only played with the drone inside my unit so far. I can detect up to 10/12 wifi networks on my phone. I'm running the Wi-Fi Analytics tool from Google Play on my Samsung S9 and the quality of channels changes everytime I press refresh, for example right now the best channel seems to be no. 5 but after 10 secs it can be no. 7.

Here are the things I tried so far and some conclusions:

- Yesterday I noticed that between around 5:30pm and 8pm I was able to connect to the camera more often (say 70-80% of the times), i.e. I turn on the drone, let it initiate, couple the camera, let it connect to the drone, open FreeFlight and it automatically recognizes and connects to the drone and the camera and I'm able to enjoy FPV even though usually the connection to the camera drops after 2-3min (the connection to the drone remains active). After 8-8:30pm the success percentage drops to like 10% or less... FreeFlight still recognizes and connects to the drone but not the camera... If I manually open my phone's wifi settings I can see the Mambo_XXXXX network and connect to it but when I return to FreeFlight nothing happens... I already tried to clear the app's cache, reinstall it, I even installed the previous version (5.2.3) and nothing...

- This morning, between around 8:20 and 9am, I tried to establish connection (hoping that there would be few people using their wifis and therefore less interference) but wasn't able to connect a single time. The connection between the camera and the drone happens and when I open FreeFlight the app recognizes and connects to the drone but not the camera. Again, if I open the wifi menu I can see the Mambo_XXXXX network and connect to it but when I return to FreeFlight nothing happens... And again, I tried to clear the app's cache, reinstall it, install FreeFlight's previous version (5.2.3), switching my phone to Flight Mode... Nothing helps...

- On all the above I also tried to let FreeFlight establish connection to drone and coupling the camera when FreeFlight's screen says to connect accessories. Still, nothing happens...

- Another thing I noticed is that even though I am usually able to manually connect to the Mambo_XXXXX wifi network, the signal is usually pretty weak (like 2/3 bars)...

- My home's wifi router emits two networks, one at 2.4 GHz and the other at 5 GHz. I even tried to disable the 2.4 GHz to reduce interference but it didn't help. Is there any chance that the 5 GHz is also causing interference, even though it works on a different frequency?

My last hope is actually going outside to a low interference spot and make the drone fly reliably. But even if that happens, I must admit I was expecting a product from Parrot to be more reliable and usable inside a standard building's flat...

Based on the above descriptions is there anything else I could try? Is there any indication that the camera is faulty?

Cheers,

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Re: FPV Connection Problems

Post by Dirk_ANAFI » 28 Nov 2018, 03:47

brandas,

don't know exactly whether you got a bad camera. Was it a 2nd hand?
But 10/12 Wifi sources on one place is quite hard. In my house I can see only my own Wifi and sometimes the neighbour's.
So try a rural spot and test there before you give up.

Further ideas:

What do you mean with "nothing happens" after connecting to Mambo's Wifi and back in FF mini?
Do you get the HUD display or are you stuck in the connect page? If HUD: can you touch drone symbol to get infos? Do you get life feed?

If you can do nothing in FF mini: leave FF mini. Still connected to drone's Wifi or to your home Wifi?
If still connected: go back to FF mini. What can you do there now?

You say that sometimes FF6 is still connected but Wifi not.
If you have luck to be connected to Wifi and are in FF mini try: stay in FF mini and switch off BT on your smartphone.
Now everything runs over Wifi and must function the same way as with BT.
(Bad news: now loosing Wifi cuts off any control of your Mambo!)

Good luck!

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Re: FPV Connection Problems

Post by brandas » 28 Nov 2018, 05:35

Hi Dirk.
Thanks again for your effort trying to help me. Really appreciated.
Dirk_ANAFI wrote:
28 Nov 2018, 03:47
brandas,

don't know exactly whether you got a bad camera. Was it a 2nd hand?
But 10/12 Wifi sources on one place is quite hard. In my house I can see only my own Wifi and sometimes the neighbour's.
So try a rural spot and test there before you give up.
It wasn't 2nd hand. I bought it at BigW. They were running a promotion.
Yeah well it's a unit building and I can see all my neighbors' wifis... This might really be the problem...
Dirk_ANAFI wrote:
28 Nov 2018, 03:47
Further ideas:

What do you mean with "nothing happens" after connecting to Mambo's Wifi and back in FF mini?
Do you get the HUD display or are you stuck in the connect page? If HUD: can you touch drone symbol to get infos? Do you get life feed?
By "nothing happens" I mean that FF doesn't seem to recognize the wifi connection. On the connect menu I'm still connected to the drone but no camera is detected. I can get to the HUD but it's like I'm just connected to the drone, there's no live feed from the camera and the camera settings are greyed out. I can even fly the drone but no video.
Dirk_ANAFI wrote:
28 Nov 2018, 03:47
If you can do nothing in FF mini: leave FF mini. Still connected to drone's Wifi or to your home Wifi?
Still connected to drone's wifi.
Dirk_ANAFI wrote:
28 Nov 2018, 03:47
If still connected: go back to FF mini. What can you do there now?
I'm back to the connect page with the drone connected but no video (or even camera recognition). I can still go into HUD and fly the drone without video.
Dirk_ANAFI wrote:
28 Nov 2018, 03:47
You say that sometimes FF6 is still connected but Wifi not.
If you have luck to be connected to Wifi and are in FF mini try: stay in FF mini and switch off BT on your smartphone.
Now everything runs over Wifi and must function the same way as with BT.
(Bad news: now loosing Wifi cuts off any control of your Mambo!)
This hasn't occurred to me before. I though that with camera both BT and wifi were used. It might be a good idea. I'll try that. Another downside is that I won't be able to connect the Flypad since it only used BT, right? But that's ok just to test how it goes... ;)

Cheers!

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Re: FPV Connection Problems

Post by Dirk_ANAFI » 28 Nov 2018, 05:53

Ok,
your camera is not recognized in FF mini also WITH a stable Wifi connection!?

That means on the connect page there is no green point left of the camera symbol!?

If this is the case:
Finally try my point 4 in my 1st post.
No success: contact BigW for exchange.

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Re: FPV Connection Problems

Post by brandas » 28 Nov 2018, 06:33

Well, I'm not sure about the "stable wifi connection" part... The phone is definitely connected to the camera's wifi (I can see the wifi symbol with the exclamation mark on the phones top bar and the camera has a steady green light) but the connection usually seems to be pretty weak: 2 or 3 bars out of 4.

That's right. It's just as if a camera is not coupled to the drone. There isn't even a symbol camera on the connect screen. Instead there's the "connect accessories button " that takes me to the gif showing me how to couple the accessories.

Do you mean adjusting the scores with the knife?

My only problem with the exchange is that the propellers already have marks and one of the hulls is even broken. This happened mainly because of all the mid-flight disconnections and inevitable crashes. I really doubt they will believe me and accept the drone back :( I even already thought of buying a new set of propellers and hulls so I can exchange the drone but I think I can only find it online and it will take too long arrive...

It's just being such an unlucky experience so far... I really like the drone though. When I remove the camera and just flight it I really enjoy but the FPV component is what I was really looking forward to...

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Re: FPV Connection Problems

Post by Dirk_ANAFI » 28 Nov 2018, 07:53

A stable Wifi connection means, that you can control/fly your drone without BT.

But after all the camera is not recognized. The camera's Wifi part seems to be ok, but possibly not all other parts.

So if you cannot exchange the drone, the camera alone is $39.99.

I have 2 Mambos, they are really tough little birds.

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Re: FPV Connection Problems

Post by brandas » 30 Nov 2018, 08:43

Hi Dirk,

Just thought I'd let you know this whole story's conclusion.
So basically I went outside to try the drone on a low interference spot and I still couldn't get the connection going. I went to BigW and they refunded the money.

It wasn't a pleasant experience with my first ever Parrot drone but at least I'm glad I managed to get my money back.

Thanks again for all your help.
Cheers

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Re: FPV Connection Problems

Post by Dirk_ANAFI » 30 Nov 2018, 12:04

Hi brandas,

on one hand good news: got your money back.

On the other hand: No fun with Mambo FPV ...

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Re: FPV Connection Problems

Post by dm13dv1b » 06 Dec 2018, 19:43

Dear guys,
I have different problem. Everything was ok but for weeks now the wifi does not show up on any devices. Tried to reset, all devices which were available... no luck. Do you have any suggestions?

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Re: FPV Connection Problems

Post by Dirk_ANAFI » 07 Dec 2018, 05:12

Questions:
1. Does the FPV cam show a steady green LED?
2. If (1.: yes): do you see no "MAMBO_xxxxxx" Wifi source in your smartphone's Wifi settings (2.4 GHz band)?
3. If (1.: no): the FPV cam might be broken.
4. If (2.: yes): see 3.
5. If (2.: no): you should be able to connect and fly.
6. What is your Mambo FW version?
7. Can you fly Mambo without FPV cam with BT (controller or smartphone)?

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