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Bizarre issue with Smart Controller?

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Feb 14, 2024
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I've been flying an Evo II Pro V3 in a commercial capacity for about nine months now without any trouble, but this last week it picked up a really bizarre issue where it would randomly drop about 10' when I'd try to move right with no other control input. I could catch it and get it to hold altitude again with some left stick, but throughout the day and ever since I've noticed that trying to move right will cause it to start descending at the same time and moving left will cause it to climb. This was all in Mode 2, so I switched it to Mode 1 out of curiosity and sure enough it would rarely and randomly move diagonally forward when I gave it "right stick right" and diagonally backward for "left stick left". It did absolutely fine on several polygon missions, so the drone doesn't appear to have any issue holding altitude/direction/speed when it's flying itself - only when you give it those two specific control inputs. All I can think is that the controller is mixing in some "left stick up/down" whenever you apply "right stick left/right" for reasons that are completely beyond me.

So far, I've tried rebooting drone and controller, recalibrating the controller/compass/IMU, and updating all the app versions and firmware I could find. Started happening running whatever the stock versions/firmware were as of last May or so, persisted even with everything up to date as of yesterday. Props all look to be in good condition and the drone actually flies just fine without any aberrant noises or handling aside from the above, so I'm fairly confident it's some sort of controller issue. I havent' seen any similar reports anywhere online, but I'm trying my best to figure the situation out before I take it up with Autel as a warranty claim - anyone else had something like this happen? If so, were you able to resolve it short of sending it back? My company also just picked up another V3 on my recommendation, so I've got our other pilot on alert for the issue as well and would be really glad to come up with a fix for it.
 
Yeah, I tried calibrating the joysticks, no luck. I think the only thing left that I can try is if there's some kind of factory reset procedure for the controller - otherwise it seems like it has to be an issue with the physical device and not anything in the software.
 
Yeah, I tried calibrating the joysticks, no luck. I think the only thing left that I can try is if there's some kind of factory reset procedure for the controller - otherwise it seems like it has to be an issue with the physical device and not anything in the software.
did this get resolved?
 
Drone went back to Autel, who told me they didn't find anything wrong with it. When it got back I gave it a 20-minute test and wasn't able to reproduce the issue, but I noticed it did some erratic things again yesterday when I briefly put it in the air. Time will tell - hopefully before the warranty runs out!
 
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Drone went back to Autel, who told me they didn't find anything wrong with it. When it got back I gave it a 20-minute test and wasn't able to reproduce the issue, but I noticed it did some erratic things again yesterday when I briefly put it in the air. Time will tell - hopefully before the warranty runs out!
Thank you for the info. I dont have an Autel drone but im looking at the EVO II Pro V3 and wanted to guage the issues and Autel responces.
 
With the latest V3 firmware released a few days ago, did they bring back any missing flight modes? and can you please let me know what flight modes the V3 currently has?
 
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No worries! I've seen some horror stories around here but aside from them making us pay for shipping I don't have any particular complaints about their customer service process. To your other question, I don't really use anything for work except for waypoint/rectangular/polygon missions, but I do notice that it has a slope mission available as well that I don't recall seeing before it went to Autel (they updated the firmware while it was there). That brings the flight modes/missions to the following:

Intelligent flight modes - panorama, hyperlapse, orbit hyperlapse, dynamic track, smart orbit, orbit

Missions - waypoint, rectangular, polygon, oblique, recording, slope

Overall I pushed for us to try picking up an Autel after having some bad experiences in the field dealing with DJI's obnoxious geofencing and it's been a steady and dependable workhorse for our needs for the nine months or so that we've had one. We came from flying an Inspire 1 and a Skydio - it feels just a bit more sluggish in the air than I'm used to from DJI, but it still gets around and does its job just fine and the camera is hands down the best out of the three. Prior to the issue above, the biggest problems I ran into were battery life and temperature issues. We have six batteries for the drone and quickly found that the controller would run out well before we could make use of them all in a day. Charging through the USB-C port while using the controller proved unreliable, partly because the controller battery would get hot enough in operation in the summer (southeastern US) that the termal protection would kick in. We bought a second controller battery and the controller charger and I've been able to get 4+ hours of near-continuous flight out of it with careful battery management and charging in the field. I have some minor complaints and obviously I'm still a little concerned about this controller situation but on the whole it's been solid for our purposes and I'd still take it over a Mavic 3 unless and until DJI stops being so irritating.
 
No worries! I've seen some horror stories around here but aside from them making us pay for shipping I don't have any particular complaints about their customer service process. To your other question, I don't really use anything for work except for waypoint/rectangular/polygon missions, but I do notice that it has a slope mission available as well that I don't recall seeing before it went to Autel (they updated the firmware while it was there). That brings the flight modes/missions to the following:

Intelligent flight modes - panorama, hyperlapse, orbit hyperlapse, dynamic track, smart orbit, orbit

Missions - waypoint, rectangular, polygon, oblique, recording, slope

Overall I pushed for us to try picking up an Autel after having some bad experiences in the field dealing with DJI's obnoxious geofencing and it's been a steady and dependable workhorse for our needs for the nine months or so that we've had one. We came from flying an Inspire 1 and a Skydio - it feels just a bit more sluggish in the air than I'm used to from DJI, but it still gets around and does its job just fine and the camera is hands down the best out of the three. Prior to the issue above, the biggest problems I ran into were battery life and temperature issues. We have six batteries for the drone and quickly found that the controller would run out well before we could make use of them all in a day. Charging through the USB-C port while using the controller proved unreliable, partly because the controller battery would get hot enough in operation in the summer (southeastern US) that the termal protection would kick in. We bought a second controller battery and the controller charger and I've been able to get 4+ hours of near-continuous flight out of it with careful battery management and charging in the field. I have some minor complaints and obviously I'm still a little concerned about this controller situation but on the whole it's been solid for our purposes and I'd still take it over a Mavic 3 unless and until DJI stops being so irritating.
Got it, thank you very much for the info, I appreciate that. DJI's over aggressive geofencing is hard no for me, so I'm trying to decide on the EVO 2 Pro V3 or the Lite+.
 
No worries, hope it helps! I haven't looked into the Lite series to provide much useful comment, but it seems like the Nanos were kind of panned as being not so great compared to the sub-250g DJIs. Outside of company use, I try to stick to sub-250g drones to avoid all the registration and RID hassle and I've been pleasantly surprised by the Potensic Atom 3-axis for the money. I'm not really interested in any kind of part 107 operations that don't involve making money, so if I was to get a drone over 250g I'd pretty much immediately jump up to the Evo. May as well make the best investment you can at that point, plus I think the Lite doesn't get built-in mission planning or the ability to use the Smart Controller with the integrated screen. Again though, fact check me on any claims about it because I haven't ever used or seriously looked into one.
 
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Drone went back to Autel, who told me they didn't find anything wrong with it. When it got back I gave it a 20-minute test and wasn't able to reproduce the issue, but I noticed it did some erratic things again yesterday when I briefly put it in the air. Time will tell - hopefully before the warranty runs out!
You should video the strange behavior for proof.
 
You should video the strange behavior for proof.
The thought had occurred to me, yeah. If it happens again I'll probably rope a co-worker in to get a video of me one-handing it so there's no possibility of "oh you just held the other stick down" and they can see the on-screen height dropping/rising along with watching the drone in the background or something. Kind of a lot of moving parts to catch and really demonstrate the issue but I'm sure they'll want more substantial proof if I do have to send it back again.
 
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