Solex Survey - Large Missions / Multiple Batteries

Joined
Jul 29, 2017
Messages
20
Reaction score
2
Age
37
Background: I'm a mac user, and tried using APM Planner for surveying missions but it seems to not be supported with the same functionality that is in Mission Planner. I don't have a PC, but do have an android tablet that gets used only for flying solo.

I put solex on with the add-ons. So far, very happy with it. The only issue I am having is that a have a survey job coming up that is about 1000 acres. I have the mikrotik cards and fpvlr antennas so range is not an issue, but as we all know, battery life is the weak link at that point.

I believe I can do the whole survey in 3 batteries. I know I can pause/resume a mission but this seems to only work while solo is in the air. If you land it, the controls revert back to send & arm > takeoff > start. I dont see a way to resume the previous mission and therefore all missions are only good for the length of one battery.

Is this a software limitation or am I missing something?
 
Joined
Jul 29, 2017
Messages
20
Reaction score
2
Age
37
Also, I'd seen some older posts about being able to change child flight modes, and when you change back to auto the mission just resuming. I dont think this is the case. If I change flight modes with the bird in the air (not even land it or shut it down) and go back to auto it seems like the mission will only restart and not resume where it left off.
 
Joined
Jul 29, 2017
Messages
20
Reaction score
2
Age
37
So I see a fair amount of views and no reply here. I happen to find a bug in Solex while testing this and spoke with Kelly via email. Here's the lay of the land...

1) Solex will not resume where you left off a mission if you land your solo

2) This is a common request that he has been trying to get resolved via ArduPilot team, as that seemed to be the best place to resolve, but has not had any luck going that route

3) Being that it is a common request he will (hopefully not putting words in his mouth here) be looking to build this into Solex.

Also it is worth noting what I found based on a lot of trial and error regarding surveys...

Solex, Mission Maker, QGround Control (android and desktop), as well as mission planner can do surveys, but Mission Planner seems to have the most functionality at the cost of more complexity. APM Planner can NOT do this at all.

Mission Planner seems to be the only application that allows you to pickup where you left off by dropping a waypoint where you are stopping a mission, and jumping to the waypoint when you restart.

Mission Planner only works for Windows, so if you are a Mac user, you need to forego this option, use a compatible software app, and plan a series of smaller single battery missions. Or, you can go get yourself a windows computer.

For my Friday mission (5 days from now) I am going to borrow a laptop from a friend, load Mission Planner and run some test missions. If all goes well I'll be using that for my survey. If not, I am going to use Solex with 3 small missions as my fall back. If I get another job like this in the future I will probably just by a Windows machine for a couple hundred bucks off eBay just for this purpose.

I hope this helps anyone else in a similar situation.
 
  • Like
Reactions: skcolb
Joined
Nov 8, 2015
Messages
207
Reaction score
192
Age
54
For what it's worth, this is the next thing I'm working on in Solex. I have an idea about how to make it work. It's likely to be a couple of weeks, since I have some other project work to do, but I'm going to try and get to it sooner than that.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Wetstone and skcolb
Joined
Sep 18, 2017
Messages
84
Reaction score
20
Age
61
I have seen someone on 3drpilots install a USB pigtail to keep the pixhawhk powered while changing batteries. A simpler alternative may be to break the survey into smaller pieces and merge the data of multiple surveys.
 
Joined
Jul 29, 2017
Messages
20
Reaction score
2
Age
37
Just to close the loop on this, I did the survey that required multiple batteries. I borrowed a Windows laptop from a friend and used Mission Planner. The reason for this was the ability to use jump commands.

Although this was a successful mission covering about 100 acres, I will say it was a bit of a pain in the butt. Mission Planner is a great program, but it is a bit clunky. The process I ran through...

1) Drop a jump command
2) Use polygon/auto wp to set up survey and save it
3) read wp from solo (because it will error out if you dont) then load the file you saved and write to solo
4) launch manually, fly to roughly where the start is, switch to auto
5) let it fly until low battery / RTL failsafe
6) move last waypoint that was reached to the location of the RTL failsafe
7) change jump command parameter to the waypoint you moved
8) save mission and write to solo
9) hot swap batteries
10) repeat from step 4 until complete

...the main issue was realizing why the mission wouldn't write initially. Once this was figured out it was just annoying, but simple to overcome. The main issue was with moving the WP as it is really hard to do through UI without being really far zoomed in, and you can't move it outside the frame, so you have to move it, reposition the map, move, reposition, zoom out to see where you are at....yadayadayada....tedious.

Often when you are trying to grab a waypoint to move it your are creating a new waypoint, then you have to right click to delete, and you end up creating another one to delete (later realized it was way easier to just open the command list and delete from there).

One would thing that it would be easier to add a waypoint rather than move it. Well, if you have a mission with 90 commands, and the new command for a waypoint adds to the bottom, you have to hit the up arrow many many times (without mistakingly moving the wrong one up) to get it in place. I found this to be very difficult while sitting in the sun, 90+ degrees, 90%+ humidity.

Maybe there is an easier way to do this, but I could not find it if there is....nothing in documentations, this forum, or YouTube videos. I'm not saying it doesnt exist somewhere, but I sure couldnt find it after a fair amount of digging.

My thoughts...

1) I hope that there are other people with these issues and MP UI is improved to make this sort of things easier

2) I hope Kelly is able to set up surveys in Solex in a way where the app just knows where you left the mission to RTL / swap batteries, and can just go back to that point to pickup the missions. The ONLY reason I would use MP over Solex is for this flexibility in larger missions.

PS - I did not use multiple missions because I was flying over a mile to the furthest location in the survey. I was unsure of how much battery I would have to run the mission, and did not want to underestimate it, not finish the mission segment, and have to figure out how to get it finished while in the field.
 

New Threads

Members online

Forum statistics

Threads
12,041
Messages
140,749
Members
13,971
Latest member
eliris