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Thread: Litchi: Another Thread for DJI Quad Owners

  1. #1
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    Default Litchi: Another Thread for DJI Quad Owners

    I know this is off-topic, but it is posted in the Lounge so please forgive me.

    I was reading a DJI forum last week and ran across references to a program called Litchi. Litchi is an US$22 alternative for DJI Go software that allows you to do the intelligent flight modes and such. The really cool thing about Litchi is its ability to intelligently and easily pre-program flight missions via way-points and points of interest from your PC/Mac (or on your Android / iPad / iPhone device). You can then save them, share them, edit them, and of course run them at your leisure. And its not just for Mavic Pro owners. Litchi is compatible with: Mavic 2 (Zoom/Pro), Mavic (Air/Pro), Phantom 4 (Standard/Advanced/Pro/ProV2), Phantom 3 (Standard/4K/Advanced/Professional), Inspire 1 (X3/Z3/Pro/RAW), Inspire 2 and Spark.

    One of the really cool things about the mission pre-programming is that you do the work over a Google Earth image of your environment and then can check the draft mission in Google Earth Pro to make sure you are going to clear trees, buildings, electrical lines, etc.

    For a practical example, I was in Charleston this past weekend and wanted to capture some video of the lovely city. I scoped out the shoreline quickly and drafted a flight and camera plan in about 10 minutes using just my iPad.

    Click image for larger version. 

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    If I had Google Earth Pro handy at the time, I could have seen that I set my initial and final waypoints too high and would have dropped them 50 feet:
    Click image for larger version. 

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    I walked to a quiet spot in Battery Park where I set my initial and final waypoints and pressed the "Play" button. It uploaded the mission to my Mavic and it immediately took off, flew the very long mission just as instructed and returned control to my RC controller upon completion. All the flight details are uploaded to the Mavic so it does not require connectivity while operating. (Yes, this could violate several operation rules, but it makes for a nice failsafe/recovery.) Litchi does include the ability to interrupt a pre-programmed flight in progress just in case you hear a light aircraft approaching or see that you miscalculated the height of those high-tension powerlines(!).

    Here's a sped up version of the flight path. It took 19 minutes to fly, most of it over the water. It landed with 30% battery life left. Apologies for the occassional jerkiness and compression flaws in the compiled video. The source looks great, but my video editing software chews things up when trying to speed up the source. Controlling the flight path this accurately while simultaneously controlling the camera angle is simply not something I could have done in real time. If you are a DJI quad owner and any of this interests you, check it out!



    -David
    "Help, help, I'm being repressed!"

  2. #2
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    My immediate reactions:
    .
    Kewl
    .
    You got bawls
    .
    I wanna drive the speedboats that fast!
    .
    I see your bald spot! Lol
    .
    Uh... I'm spending $22
    .
    (I need to get out and fly mine more but, weather and work haven't been kind recently.)
    .
    :-)
    PM Sent...

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bradfo69 View Post
    My immediate reactions:
    .
    Kewl
    .
    You got bawls
    .
    I wanna drive the speedboats that fast!
    .
    I see your bald spot! Lol
    .
    Uh... I'm spending $22
    .
    (I need to get out and fly mine more but, weather and work haven't been kind recently.)
    .
    :-)
    Ha! Yeah, I see my bald spot a lot these days thanks to those damn quad landings! I used to sit comfortably in denial until haircut time where they show you the back of your head in the mirror, but now I get reminded WAY too frequently! 😂

    The video was 2x speed for the trip out to the USS Yorktown and 5x for the rather boring return. I would have made the return more interesting if I had more time to plan. Some of the boats are traveling darn fast even when viewed at normal speed.

    Regarding balls, itís all I could muster to hit the play button! (My wife told me not to be a pussy about flying as we travelled to Charleston in part to capture some nice quad footage.) Unfortunately my main flight plan that I worked out before leaving the house (of some swamps and plantations) was forbidden by the land owners and proximity to an Air Force base that I didnít notice until I got to Charleston. Next time Iíll double check my No Fly zones in advance of making a flight plan.

    David
    "Help, help, I'm being repressed!"

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    That's awesome. I am putting that on my list.

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    Quote Originally Posted by dkumpula View Post
    (My wife told me not to be a pussy about flying as we travelled to Charleston in part to capture some nice quad footage.)
    Oh, then you're golden! I read that as, "Don't worry honey. If you lose your Mavic in the river... I'll get you another one."

    (Now... if you can get her to feel that way about popping diodes... THEN you've got something.)
    PM Sent...

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bradfo69 View Post
    Oh, then you're golden! I read that as, "Don't worry honey. If you lose your Mavic in the river... I'll get you another one."

    (Now... if you can get her to feel that way about popping diodes... THEN you've got something.)
    Ha! I wish!

    David
    "Help, help, I'm being repressed!"

  7. #7
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    Thumbs up *Damned* fine video of the Charleston harbor dude!

    Wow! That video turned out great David! Thanks for posting it.

    I'm really amazed at the quality that is accessible to the consumer for basically a grand or less. The Mavic is *most* impressive!

    I agree with Brad in that your flight path was quite daring. I definitely felt uncomfortable watching the video, especially given how small the Mavic is. You would have needed a good set of binoculars and a very steady hand to follow it all the way out to the bridge! In GPS we trust, I guess!

    Looking forward to more videos from you (and your Mavic) in the future!

    Adam

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    Excellent video, and the utility program for setting the path is interesting too.

    My heart increases a few BPM when flying out over water. It amost feels flying over enemy lines, when you know you donít have any chance of retrieving it should something go wrong. Certainly courageous to fly that far out! - but impressive results!!

    Thanks for posting.

    James
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  9. #9
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    Thanks guys! I have some level of anxiety every time this thing leaves the pad, but its definitely greater over open water. I've started using a homing device that straps to its back, but again, that doesn't help if it 'falls in the drink'.

    I've done several pre-programmed flights this week and I've learned a few additional things. First, if you lose your controller connection while its doing its thing, you lose two things for the rest of your flight; speed control changes (where you changed your speed at a subsequent waypoint) and gimbal control. The gimbal will either keep looking in the direction you had it set or will start bouncing between two extreme points. The later will ruin the remainder of your video, of course as well as make you think the bird is about to drop out of the sky.

    Losing speed control changes can be even more problematic. Let's say that along its waypoints, you slowed it down with the intent to speed things up on the way back home, but subsequently lose your RC signal. The quad would keep moving to the next waypoint, but it wouldn't increase speed like you programmed. If this happened at the wrong time on this flight, the battery could drain to the point of forcing a landing while still over water. Ack! I guess this is just something to keep in mind if you are planning a really long flight where you might lose connectivity.

    After reading a bit, I saw that there might be differences in signal connectivity between the Android and iOS versions of Litchi. I've been using iOS and it seems to do worse from the tests that I've seen on-line. I bought a Samsung Galaxy Tab A to test against my iPad Mini. I have to purchase Litchi again, but its worth the price to test. If this works, I might swap the Samsung out for the much cheaper Amazon Fire 8 and see if the improvement stays in place.

    -David
    "Help, help, I'm being repressed!"

  10. #10
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    I've been reading about and looking at Litchi for a while now.
    Just read on a DJI Forum that Litchi solved some of the issues
    some guys were having with recent DJI upgrades.

    I like the mission planner aspect of Litchi and for $22 it is a no
    brainer to get it.

    So Far I haven't upgraded my Drone Fimware and have had
    absolutely no problems with my flights.
    I hate fixing stuff that's not broken. The first signs of Fimware
    problems Drone or GO4... I'll make the changeover in a heartbeat.


    Jerry
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