Extending Movi Controller range

Discussion in 'MōVI Controller' started by Andrew Griffiths, Feb 6, 2015.

  1. Andrew Griffiths

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    Just wondering what kind of range people are getting with their FF controllers and whether anyone has found a straight forward way of extending this range beyond the 1,200ft (365m) specified by Freefly? 365m is just not far enough for some of our ops.
     
  2. Andy Johnson-Laird

    Andy Johnson-Laird Administrator
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    You may want to check with Freefly on this, Andrew. The maximum amount of radiated power is limited by regulations -- I suspect that the only option you may have is to replace the omnidirectional antenna on the MōVI Controller with a more directional antenna -- it will not increase the total power radiated, but it would concentrate it into a narrow beam. However, proceed with caution, if the antenna is not properly tuned to the transmitter you could easily burn out the output stage of the MōVI Controller.

    And the above doesn't even address any warranty questions -- hence email to support@freeflysystems.com first, I'd say.

    Andy.
     
  3. Michael Elsegood

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    Have you had any luck extending range, Andrew?

    To be honest, I could live with 365m however our controller gets nowhere near those numbers reliably or consistently, in fact not at all over maybe 100-150m

    I abandoned MoVi controller for Aerials for this reason - A shame, as its a beautiful piece of gear - Its the difference between Freefly (pro level) and the hobby level gimbal suppliers - in my opinion.
     
  4. Andrew Griffiths

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    Hi Michael, yes we tried it on a number of shoots but range was maxed out at around 200m. Occasionally we could get out to 330m but couldn't rely on it enough to include it in our professional kit. Shame because that was really the only thing holding it back.
     
  5. Michael Elsegood

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    Yes - very disappointing as the controller is such a nice piece of gear - especially given the Wedge's new offerings. Single Op FIZ/Gimbal Control for aerials would be such an advantage.
     
  6. Chris Benny

    Chris Benny New Member

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    Has anyone looked into opening up the controller and somehow boosting the signal with a new transmitter? I would really like to increase the range on mine. I sent Freelfly an email asking if there was any way to extend the range - they told me that on power level 4 (18dBm) that this is the maximum output allowed by the FCC...
     
  7. Andy Johnson-Laird

    Andy Johnson-Laird Administrator
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    Could you try one thing, please? Power up the MōVI Controller and the MōVI and get the two to connect, then, on the MōVI Controller, select Radio Config (the last item on the list), and see what the Power Level value is set to?

    It should be set to 4. If it's not, set it to 4 and try again.
    If it's already set to 4, then I would think it's time to open up a support ticket by sending an email to support@freeflysystems.com.

    Thanks
    Andy.
     
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  8. Chris Benny

    Chris Benny New Member

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    Hi Andy.

    I already have my controller set to the max output (4). I have spoken to Freefly about extending its range without much luck...
     
  9. Andy Johnson-Laird

    Andy Johnson-Laird Administrator
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    Hi Chris:
    Sorry...I can now see that you had said it was already on Power Level 4. Sorry about that, I started my response at just about the same time you posted (4:28pm Pacific) -- then I went to double check my MōVI Controller and didn't notice your posting. Sigh.

    One other thought....I presume you have the small Spektrum Satellite receiver in the normal place (right hand side of the gimbal control unit as you look at it with the camera pointed away from you) -- I wonder if you would get more range if you moved it on to the back face of the gimbal control unit (facing you with the camera pointed away from you).

    Where I'm going with that idea is to try and get a better "line of sight" between the MōVI Controller transmitting antenna and the MōVI receiver receiving antenna...

    Just a thought....
    Andy.
     
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  10. Chris Benny

    Chris Benny New Member

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    Hi Everyone.

    I spoke more to Freefly and as I mentioned above, they have to limit the output to not exceed the FCC rules for this type of transmitter.

    I ended up opening up my controller and looking at the transmitter. I purchased a wifi booster and powered it off my V-Lock. Quick test yesterday and I was able to reach over 500meters.... I'm sure its not legal anymore but I haven't tested more than 500meters. :)
     
  11. Andy Johnson-Laird

    Andy Johnson-Laird Administrator
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    Which Wifi booster did you get Chris? I suspect other forum members might be interested. :)

    Andy
     
  12. Chris Benny

    Chris Benny New Member

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    Andy - Its a 2.4GHz Wireless 2.5W 34dBm Broadband 802.11N WiFi Amplifier Signal Range Booster. I am sure a 1W unit would be more than enough. You just need to ensure its 12V so its easy to power from the Movi controllers 12V output.

    Here is the one I purchased: EBAY LINK booster.jpg
     
  13. Andy Johnson-Laird

    Andy Johnson-Laird Administrator
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    Nice! Thanks.
    Note that the seller will not apparently mail the unit to the USA.

    Andy.
     
  14. Chris Benny

    Chris Benny New Member

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    Hi Andy - I am sure there would be a US seller that would sell a similar product with the same specs. :)
     
  15. Michael Elsegood

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    Hi Chris & Andy

    I can set my Power level in controller to 4, however whenever I turn the controller back on, the power level reads N/A... I have done a 'write settings.

    Does N/A mean 0, or simply means 'unaltered' from last setup..?

    I'm in Australia, according to MoVI Controller Manual, units outside USA are not able to be changed. I can, however set to 4, so not really sure..?
     
  16. Bryan Edmonds

    Bryan Edmonds Chief MōVI Whisperer

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    Michael,

    N/A means that the current values have not been pulled up for display. The controller will show N/A for for all values on that screen, until you select "Read" from the TX Action menu at the top. This will pull the values that are saved to the controller and populate them on the screen.

    For the adjustable power level, we recommend that you configure the power level (from 10-18dBm) to ensure compliance with local RF regulations.
     
  17. Andy Johnson-Laird

    Andy Johnson-Laird Administrator
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    Thanks for responding, Bryan.
    As they say in England: "What 'e said, Michael..." :)

    Andy.
     
  18. Michael Elsegood

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    Thanks Bryan and Andy,

    This somewhat encouraging.. I will experiment with power level 4.

    Is there any merit in changing antenna on the MoVi Controller, clover leaf, greater gain antenna etc?

    Since getting the wedge, I see MoVI Controller for UAV work as the holy grail...I'm fortunate enough to have all the gear, just too nervous to start taking it out on jobs if the gimbal will freak out mid-shot from loss of signal.

    Have been playing with lens library etc - this things is extremely 'pro-level' - Wedge and MoVI Controller I see as bigger game changer for aerial camera ops as Alta will be for UAV ops... Freefly, please help us make this happen.
     
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  19. Gary Haynes

    Gary Haynes Administrator
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    Michael keep in mind that most other antennas use circular polarization of some type (right or left hand). So if you only put it on the TX end the RX might not be even as good as it is now. That's my non-EE opinion....
     
  20. Andy Johnson-Laird

    Andy Johnson-Laird Administrator
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    Gary is correct. For best results match the antenna type on both the controller and the MōVI.

    Andy.
     

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