Range..

So, in Europe the power of a radio transmitter used in drones is limited to 18dbm, well below the ability of the controller’s 25dbm.

This equates to a massive cut in the range of the spark, about 500 meters is the limit before the video signal gives up and the drone returns. But fear not, there is something you can do to get the full range.

It basically involves fooling the DJI Go app to think your in a country that uses the FCC rules instead of the CE rules. To do it, follow these steps.

  • Ensure the drone and RC are both off
  • Turn aeroplane mode on your phone or tablet to On, and make sure to fully quit the DJI Go app
  • Install a fake GPS app and enable it.
  • Set your location somewhere in America or Canada.
  • Turn on the RC and drone and allow them to.connect.
  • Connect to the aircraft’s WiFi signal
  • Once the app starts up, it’ll ask you if you want to change the WiFi settings. Select ok.
  • Wait for the drones/RC’s network to come back online, and power everything off
  • Quit the app and the fake GPS provider, restart the drone/RC and app
  • When asked again to alter the WiFi settings, hit cancel

And that’s it. Each time you launch the app.from here, it’ll ask you to change the settings, always cancel the dialog.

To confirm your in FCC mode, goto the wireless page in the app, and look if there is a channel 12/13, if not your in FCC mode. Range in this mode will get you in excess of 1000 meters, as opposed to the 500 in the CE mode.

Happy flights!

A tad breezy

A bit windy for drone work, but the little spark put up a good effort in battling the wind, even if it did kill the battery in short order.

One thing I seem to be having issues with, is the controls. I have it set to the default at the moment, which is mode 2. This means the left stick controls elevation and turning movement, the right stick controls yaw and forward/rear movement. My mind always seems to try and reverse this in my hands and find I use the wrong stick for the command. So maybe I’ll stick with it and try and retrain my mind, or just change it.

The only other thing is working out which way the drone is going to move. Based on the drones orientation, moving the stick may not yield the results you expect. So knowing the orientation of the drone is important, but working it out can be a bit of a headache.

Little Drones

I recently purchased a DJI Spark drone. I’m having loads of fun working out how to fly it, and get those fantastic cinematic shots.

So far, I haven’t really got the hang of shooting with it, but damn it’s fun. However, finding somewhere to fly it, legally is troublesome. Your not supposed to fly within 50 meters of any person or property. My first flight didn’t obey that. We have an area in Harrogate called the Stray. A huge grass area, I played about scuttling the drone around, up high and just working out how it all works. My second flight was amongst the walkers, cyclists and dog walkers on Bilton fields. I found a nice quiet area and sent the drone off on its merry dance. All fine until a dog took an unhealthy interest. Watched the owners chase it about for ages until they caught it.

As I’m not using Windows anymore, finding a Linux based video editor that ticks all my boxes is a little complicated. I’ve settled for kdenlive at the moment. But time will tell if I settle with it. The cache editor built into the DJI app is quite good for quick edits.

Tools. Wonderful Tools

Over the last few years, my tool collection has ballooned massively, so I thought I might make a quick post on tools, and which are important to have, and those that are helpful, but not a nessesity for the home mechanic.

Tools, that are important

  1. Allan Keys. These are probably the most important item you can have. Each time you work on the bike, you’ll be using an hex wrench. Generally, you’ll need 4,5 and 6mm for the majority of bike stuff. For cartridge brake pads, you’ll need a small 3mm too. Most sets of hex wrenches will have every size you’ll ever need.
  2. Cable cutters. Wire cutters and pliers just won’t do for bike cables, unless your just trying to mash the cable! Cable cutters will neatly cut the cables and housings. A metal file is also handy to square off the housing ends after cutting too.
  3. Chain tools. Chain cutter, chain wear tool,chain whip and cassette lock ring tool
  4. Bottom bracket tool, and crank removal tool.
  5. Torque wrench
  6. Pedal spanner
  7. Torx wrenches (a T25 is likly to be the only one)
  8. Screw drivers.
  9. Tire levers
  10. Floor pump
  11. Grease, paper towels
  12. Degreaser, GT85 and WD 40

Tools, nice to have

  1. Spirit level, long handy to have for saddle adjustments, and ensuring shifters are level..
  2. Tape measure
  3. Bearing press.
  4. Picks
  5. Grease gun
  6. Sockets
  7. Ratchet spanner
  8. Spring clip pliers
Bike Repair Stand

If you’re planning on doing even the most basic bike repair maintenance, don’t underestimate the importance of a quality repair stand. Yes, they can be a little expensive and yes, they take up a little room in the garage. That said, a quality stand will save you from a lifetime of turning your bike upside down and bending over to make repairs and adjustments.

Another learning curve.

So I had my bike up in the workstand cleaning the gunk after the very, very wet ride I had earlier. In the lower gears, the chain jumped off the lower jockey wheel, jamming between the jockey and cage.

Not being quite sure what was causing it I started to look into it. I initially didn’t think it could be Todo with the wet ride so I looked at the jockey, not worn, so cleaned it off and ensured it still spun freely. Put it back on and the same thing happened. Ok, perhaps the derailleur cage is bent. Nope, that was fine, so check the hangar, that’s perfectly straight.

Could it be the chain? Time to break out the chain cleaner. A good scrubbing of the chain, and bingo, no skipping off the jockey. So all I can think of is that some filth had worked into a chain link causing it to be skipping off the jockey.