How to fix DJI Phantom 4 Pro/Pro Plus firmware update issue by John LaGuardia

Drone Camera Close Up.jpg

Did you update your DJI Phantom 4 Pro/Pro Plus firmware thinking that you would reap the benefits of increased stability with your UAV system?

I also made that mistake and it was costly. Here's the story...

I booked a client session this past week that was a great, 30 acre mountain property about 40 min from my studio. We planned to complete a full TackSharp™ photography session as well as a full drone session while on-site. Little did I know that I would find myself at the end of my time there aborting the drone mission all together. 

After a very successful photography session, I immediately became disappointed...

My remote control unit for the aircraft would not display the view from the camera. There was no signal.

I was stuck up in the mountains without a way to complete the client's drone session! Thanks DJI.

The back story... 

The night before, I had upgraded the firmware on the aircraft and the RC to the latest version 01.04.0602. I did this the recommended way on-screen using the sync cable and the upgrade firmware module on the display. After the upgrade, it tested fine and I thought I was ready for the next day. Boy, was I wrong. 

The next day, I found myself apologizing to the client and having to reschedule the drone session for a later time. This meant that I would have to drive another 32 miles, spend 4 hours the next day troubleshooting the issue and losing money in the process.

How I fixed it...

After spending an hour and a half online chatting with DJI support, we were getting nowhere fast. I decided to step away from the issue, continue my day and come back to it in the evening. After another couple of hours using their recommended methods of updating, I decided to try rolling the firmware back on the RC.

When searching the DJI website, I found the Phantom 4 Pro+ Remote Controller Firmware v01.02.00.00 published on 2017-06-09. I took the following steps:

  1. Downloaded the file in the link above
  2. Extracted the file to a microSD card
  3. Inserted the microSD card into the RC 
  4. Turned the RC on
  5. Went to System Settings > About Devices 
  6. A box popped up asking if I wanted to update to v01.02.00.00
  7. After tapping update, the RC updated and restarted
  8. Another box popped up asking if I wanted to update again to another version (I don't have that number at the time of writing this article)
  9. After tapping update on that message, the RC updated and restarted
  10. I turned on the aircraft at that point and it worked! I had signal and was back in business.

Lesson learned...

Always check the forums online regarding the firmware update you are trying to install. Even if DJI states that it is ok to use and publishes it on their website it could still be faulty.

If you do decide to update the firmware, always update the aircraft unit using the DJI Assistant software and update the RC unit only by manually downloading the firmware to a microSD card and using the mobile menu system to install from the card. Do not follow the on-screen prompts to use the sync cable. This introduces additional risk that the aircraft and RC unit updates will get out of sync.

If you are flying drones for a living and use them in production environments, spend the extra money up front and buy a backup drone. If I would have had a DJI spark with me as a backup, I could have completed the job at an acceptable quality level for the client. 

Although I absolutely love flying DJI drones and feel they are the best on the market today, they really need to improve their production of their firmware to make it more reliable and seamless to install.

A message to DJI

Please just give us one, simple, user-friendly way to update our UAV and RC firmware. Make it as flawless as possible so that we the consumer and professional drone operators don't have to waste time and money on these types of shenanigans! I hope this helps you improve your products and support.

See ya! I've got another 40 minute drive to do. 

OtterBox Venture Cooler Adventure by John LaGuardia

OtterBox loaned me one of their Venture cooler prototypes for the weekend. The original plan was to take the cooler up to the top of the olympic ski jump in Steamboat Springs, Colorado. However, after learning that the cooler was 27lbs without anything in it, I didn't think I could lug it up there all by myself without the optional wheel set. My second thought was Fish Creek Falls, but that was also a long walk/hike with the cooler so we decided to take it to a popular spot for rafting and stand up paddle boarding on the Yampa River.

Read more...

Want the best mobile phone charger available? by John LaGuardia

I believe that I have finally found the best wall charging cube and usb lightning cable on the market! When you hear the name OtterBox, you normally think of mobile phone cases, but they are changing the game with rough and tough accessories for mobile charging too.

Read More

Part 107 - Study tips for the drone pilot exam by John LaGuardia

I have to tell you that I am pretty psyched that I was able to pass the Part 107 FAA Drone Pilot Exam fairly quickly. I also want you to know that with a little patience and dedication, you can totally do this too!

Read More

OtterBox Dry Box 3250 Review by John LaGuardia

Want to protect your stuff on your adventures?

Look no further. The OtterBox Dry Box 3250 has been redesigned with a more modern look, better functionality and up-to-date colors. This is the go anywhere box that will keep your stuff safe and dry in the outdoors.

Use:

Great for traveling, hiking, backpacking, hunting, fishing and outdoor photography.

Price:

$39.99 

My Review:

My overall experience with the OtterBox Dry Box 3250 was an excellent one. I put it to the test both in my photography studio and on an outdoor micro adventure.

In the studio, I found the dry box to be just the perfect size for stowing all of my laptop adapters, memory cards, batteries and miscellaneous photography accessories. It allowed for quick access during a recent product photography shoot and when I dropped it on the concrete floor, there wasn't even a noticeable scratch on the dry box.

On adventure, I carried some small photography accessories, car keys, wallet and a mobile phone safely inside the case. It was also the perfect size to stow away in my daypack. Opening the latches each time I reached for my gear was effortless, unlike past dry box models from OtterBox and their competitors. I want to emphasize here that the new design comes with thumb-saving latches. Yes! 

The only thing that I found lacking was the fact that it had side loops without a real place to clip a carabiner and did not include a loop of paracord or rubber to secure a carabiner to it. Paracord would be a nice addition to the design in the future.  

Although I didn't get a chance to review flotation in water on this adventure, I tested this functionality at home and it passed with flying colors, keeping my stuff dry and floating at the top of the water. You would have to place something extremely heavy inside the case in order to completely submerge it, if that is even possible. After re-opening the box, I found that there was very minimal water beading around the seal and no water entered the inside compartment.

The OtterBox Dry Box 3250 is a killer design that not only exceeded my expectations, but looked cool doing it too. It's available in Hudson (white/blue) which is my personal favorite, Ridgeline (tan/green), Black (black/black) and Trail Side (RealTree camo).

ProTip:

If you stow your mobile device and keys in the dry box together, protect your device's screen by first wrapping it in a small microfiber cloth so it doesn't get scratched.

Rating:

👍 size, easy open latches, durability, waterproof design, weight and great color choices

👎 side loops are too narrow for a carabiner and require a loop of paracord or rope (not included)

Specs:

  • Waterproof & stackable with 55 cubic inches of storage space.
  • Can be submerged up to 90 feet deep for 30 minutes.
  • Ultra durable polycarbonate construction.
  • Stainless steel hinge and latch pins.
  • Lock holes for security.
  • Lined with polyethylene foam.
  • Backed by an iron clad, one year guarantee.

The OtterBox Dry Box 3250. I strongly recommend you take it on your next adventure!