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FAQs


This FAQ aims to answer everything you could possibly want to know or think of asking about the Phantom 3 Quadcopter. This information is sourced directly from those in the know from across forums and groups. You can use the big search box above to search this FAQ for keywords.

My video is split into more than one file on the MicroSD card.

This is normal and common to most cameras like this including the GoPro. Its a limitation built into the file system of the MicroSD card ( FAT32 or ExFAT ), no file can be larger than 3.9Gb. A big advantage on the Phantom 3 is that you can stop/start recording any time so there is no need to keep recording all the time ( unless that’s the plan ). With many smaller files of only what you want to record, it will make editing much easier too.

How do you adjust the controller stick?

You can adjust the length of the sticks on the DJI Phantom 3 controller for more precise control but unscrewing and re-screwing the sticks as per the video below. A longer control stick means it takes a bigger action to result in a smaller movement.

Which devices are compatible with the Phantom 3?

The Phantom 3 is compatible with the following devices running iOS 8.0 or later or Android v4.1.2 or later.

  • iOS – iphone5s/ iPhone 6/ iPhone6+/iPad air/iPad air with WiFi & cellular/ iPad mini 2/iPad mini2 with WiFi & cellular/ iPad air 2/ iPad air 2 with WiFi & cellular/iPad mini 3/ iPad mini 3 with WiFi & cellular.
  • Android – Samsung Galaxy s5/ Galaxy Note 3/Sony Xperia Z3/ Nexus 7/Nexus 9/Xiomi Mi 3/ Nubia Z7 mini.

With time, more devices will be added in future post firmware update.

When will Failsafe Activate?

Failsafe will activate when;

  • The Remote Controller is powered off.
  • The Phantom has low battery
  • The Phantom has flown out of effective communication range.
  • The signal between the Remote Controller and the Phantom has been lost (due to interference or other) for more than 3 seconds.

My device holder is wobbly.

This is a common issue suffered by almost everyone. Some say to tighten it a little but the best fix I have found is either to get an Inspire 1 device holder OR remove the current holder and apply one wrap of sellotape to the shaft.

Device holder wobble fix with sellotape

Does the controller need to be on when updating the Phantom 3 firmware?

No and its best if its NOT on during the firmware upgrade of the Phantom 3 aircraft.

Upgrade the controller with the aircraft off (controller will beep).
Upgrade the aircraft with the controller off (Camera will beep).
Leave the controller off and power only the aircraft when you upgrade the batteries.

Under “File Index Mode” in the Pilot App, what is reset and continuous?

This section of the DJI Pilot App deals with how the Phantom 3 names the video and image files it creates on the MicroSD card. With “Reset”, the default option, when you remove pictures and or video the counter reset for naming the files. “Continuous” will keep adding from the last file number, with or without the old files being on the card.

My iPad Air 2 randomly reboots when using the DJI Pilot App.

This is a know but apparently with the iPad Air 2’s A8 chip related to the GPU. Only way to resolve it is to turn OFF Hardware Decoding in the app. This will have a performance hit. Some people never have this issue and others report it all the time. Its an issue directly related to the iPad hardware and doubt it will be sorted until new iPad devices using the A8 or newer chip comes out.

Turning “Background App Refresh” OFF is also a good idea.

What Expo settings work bets for smooth flying

Expo settings are a preference that people will disagree about endlessly. But if you are quite new and want to get smooth video then I suggest setting all expo to .30 except throttle and set Atti to 70. This is my and many others preferred settings for smooth flight. have a play yourself and see what you like.

Do the motors stop if the Phantom 3 goes upside down?

Yes the motors will stop of the sensors detect the Phantom is upside down. The motors do NOT stop if you crash and jam then on something ( unless its upside down ). So in the event of a crash its best to CSC ( Combination Stick Command ) as soon as you have crashed to avoid damage to the motors ( beyond the initial crash ).

How can I capture full resolution image from a 4k video?

To capture full resolution from any video ( 4k, 1080p or any other resolution ) you can use MPC-HC ( downloadable for free @ https://mpc-hc.org/ ). Just open your chosen video file and at the desired position pause the video and press the F5 key on the keyboard. The image will be saved in your “My Pictures” folder on Windows.

Screenshot MPC-HC Phantom 3

What is the Lipo Break-In Cycle for the Intelligent Flight Battery?

The break-in for the Intelligent Flight Battery is the same as for all Lipo’s uses in hi discharge scenarios like multirotor craft.

1: When you get the battery, fully charge it.
2: Fly the aircraft until 50% battery remains. Land
3: When cooled, charge the battery to 100% again and repeat step 2.
4: Repeat this procedure 10 times.

It will not makes your battery live forever and eventually you will need another but will keep the battery healthy. Also remember the battery care guide that’s available to download from DJI.

What is the function of the 2 buttons at the back of the Phantom 3 controller?

The new Phantom 3 controller is different from the old controller. This controller has an upgraded style transmitter. This Inspire 1 style controller comes with customizable buttons at the back which can be configured using the DJI Pilot app. Using the app you can put your own functions and customize the functionality of these buttons.

Why does the battery charger does not seem to plug in all the way?

This is normal. Unlike the Phantom 2, the charger for the Phantom 3 was re-designed and for some reason they made it not only seem to not go on properly but also super easy to come off if the cable was moved during charging. This is not a fault but how its designed ( even if its badly done ) but does work fine. Maybe in a future reincarnation of the charger they will resolve it.

Battery Charger Connector

Comparison image between Phantom 2 and Phantom 3 charger connection
Phantom 2 and Phantom 3 charger comparison

 

Can you switch between devices for the Pilot App?

You can change devices as often as you like and use the DJI Pilot App on them. Make sure to sync the flight data to the cloud if you will need access to them on multiple devices or prior flights will be lost. The only thing that will not transfer is the cache. But this will not cause you any issues.

What is there a fan noise coming from the phantom 3?

The Phantom 3 has two small 1CM x 1CM fan located on top of the gimbal mount as well as just inside the battery compartment. These are what makes the fan noise you hear and they are critical for cooling of the various components.

Is there any LAG in the Lightbridge video?

The LAG between real-time and what you see on the tablet screen is super low, about 180-200ms. I doubt you will notice in in real word situations.

Here is a good demonstration of the tiny bit of lag. This is does with the Inspire 1 not the Phantom 3 but results are the same.

How good is Lightbridge at penetrating objects like trees and walls?

Like any 2.4Ghz device, the Phantom 3 WILL have degraded signal and possible signal loss when flying in trees or going behind objects. best rule of thumb is, if you cannot see the Phantom 3 there is a possibility of losing signal, or another way, if you can see the phantom 3 you *should* be fine.

People ( me included ) have flown through trees, under bridges and even through tunnels and have had no issues if you position yourself in a location that allows you to see the Phantom  3 at all times. On the rare occasions you need to fly behind an object like a tower or lighthouse make sure you have Return To Home set and the altitude is set ABOVE the tallest obstacle you are flying near. Also make sure there is nothing above the Phantom. If you do this the chances of having happy days is high, fall foul of it then the likelihood you post a thread in the DJI Forum saying you crashed is higher.

RTH Altitude

How do you upgrade the HDMI board and cover on a Phantom 3

blade strike from the RCGroups forum posted a great guide on upgrading the Phantom 3 remote controller with the new HDMI board. Click images for bigger versions.

The new board and its cover:
Phantom 3 HDMI Board Upgrade Phantom 3 HDMI Board Upgrade

To get started remove the rear port cover plate, 4 1.5mm hex screws:
Phantom 3 HDMI Board Upgrade

 

Now the part that people should pay attention to. If you haven’t worked with these type of ribbon connector before please take your time. On the opposite side of the ribbon is a little black tap. Use either a tip of razor blade or a VERY small flat head screw driver to flip these up, to the unlocked position. There are 3 tabs to unlock:
Phantom 3 HDMI Board Upgrade

Make sure all tabs are flipped completely up to the unlocked position:
Phantom 3 HDMI Board UpgradePhantom 3 HDMI Board Upgrade

Disconnect the 3 ribbon cables and remove the 3 screw, the board will now be completely removed:
Phantom 3 HDMI Board Upgrade

Install the new board but connect the large ribbon cable first, this will make thing much easier:
Phantom 3 HDMI Board Upgrade

Connect the last 2 ribbon cables and secure the board with the 3 star screws. Make sure you lock the ribbon connectors securely . They will lay completely flat:
Phantom 3 HDMI Board Upgrade

Last step is to install the port cover plate. Line up the connectors and apply a light amount of pressure to see if it seats correctly. Don’t not force it!!! Use the 4 1.5mm hex screws to secure the cover:
Phantom 3 HDMI Board Upgrade

All done. Thanks to Blade Strike form RCGroups for taking the time to create these pictures and guide.
Phantom 3 HDMI Board Upgrade

When the battery is low how do I know when I absolutely have to land?

When the second auto land starts is then you must land the aircraft. You can still control altitude by pushing the throttle stick all the way up but at this point its landing no matter what..  The DJI Pilot App will warn you at 30% and the default for the second level warning is at 10%.

Low Battery RTH

Does the Phantom 3 have POI functionality?

Nope it does not. At the moment the only hope is for a 3rd party developer to create an app with this function using the SDK available from DJI. Rumours that DJI will include it in an upcoming firmware is just that, rumours. We can all cross out fingers and toes and home for it though…

Is there a Manual Mode to fly the Phantom 3

Unlike the previous Phantom versions, the P3 does not have a manual mode. This in my opinion is not a negative. Flying day to day in a manual mode is not for everyone and most that would try something the size of a Phantom 3 would likely crash.

The closest to manual mode will be the Atti “A Mode”. With this ode the Phantom 3 uses gyroscopic, accelerometers and barometer sensors only.

The Phantom 3 has three modes controlled by the PAF switch on the front/left of the remote controller.

The ‘PAF’ switch is the mode switch.
P mode – In the Positioning mode, it shows whether both the GPS & Visioning Positioning System work together simultaneously.
A mode – In Altitude mode only the barometer is used for altitude stabilization. It does’ use the GPS or Visioning Positioning System. But you can still use the return mode, if GPS signal is available.
F mode – The Function mode activates the IOS control, i.e. Intelligent Orientation Control.
Phantom 3 PAF Modes

What is the GREEN dot next to some flight logs in the DJI Pilot App?

Ha, this is a one of them things that is so simple you never think of it. The green dot next to some flight logs is just and indicator that you have not yet looked at them. Simple eh? Oh and the little star near the same spot if for you to favourite some of the flight logs for reference.

Green Dot DJI Polit App Flight Log

Why no simulator in the Android Pilot App?

Million dollar question. Nobody but DJI will have this answer. I’m sure it will arrive at some point. To be honest, the simulator is not all that anyway and they made it dependant on the Phantom 3 being on for you to use it. So if you need to turn the controller on and the Phantom 3 ( remove props in the hose ) then you might as well just take the thing outside and fly it. Also, before the Inspire 1 there was no simulator and everyone was OK with it.

If you want o practice flying get a little Hubsan X4 and fly in the house, much more fun and good practice too.

DJI Pilot App Simulator

What is ESC Braking?

Contrary to what some think, ESC Braking has nothing to do with how quickly the Phantom 3 comes to a stop. Its a feature that controls rapid motor response to allow the aircraft to be more responsive.

How do you Start/Stop the Motors?

Starting the motors:
The ONLY way to start the motors on a Phantom 3 is to perform a specific CSC ( Combination Stick Command ).
Start Motors with CSC

Stopping the motors:
There are two ways to stop the motors. One is similar to starting the motors and the other is to hold the left stick down after landing ( or hand catching ) for three seconds. I think the best and safest method is the latter.
Stopping Motors

Which devices are compatible with the DJI Pilot App?

The Phantom 3 is compatible with the following devices running iOS 8.0 or later or Android v4.1.2 or later.

  • iOS – iphone5s/ iPhone 6/ iPhone6+/iPad air/iPad air with WiFi & cellular/ iPad mini 2/iPad mini2 with WiFi & cellular/ iPad air 2/ iPad air 2 with WiFi & cellular/iPad mini 3/ iPad mini 3 with WiFi & cellular.
  • Android – Samsung Galaxy s5/ Galaxy Note 3/Sony Xperia Z3/ Nexus 7/Nexus 9/Xiomi Mi 3/ Nubia Z7 mini.

With time, more devices will be added in future post firmware update.

Is the new Phantom 3 water proof?

Nope, the Phantom 3 is not waterproof or even resistant. People have recovered Phantoms that have been submerged in water before but I would assume a million factors went their way in them situations. DJI don’t even recommend flying it over water although its quite safe to do so.

Waterproof PhantomImage via syotr @ RCGroups

Can ESC braking be turned off?

No you cannot adjust or deactivate ESC Braking. Its a required function of the Phantom 3 to allow it to rapidly adjust motor speeds for quicker response and more stable flight.

You can however tone down how the Phantom 3 responds when the sticks are centred ( the jerking it does when centring the sticks )..

Can the Phantom 2 Prop Guards fit the Phantom 3?

UPDATE 01-06-2015: Some users are reporting that the screws that come with the Phantom 3 Prop Guards are a little too long and there is an email purporting to be from DJI advising users NOT to use the Phantom 2 guards.
As such I am NOT advising users buy the P2 prop guards although mine were fine and others report the same also.

The email from DJI is as follows:

Please note that Phantom 2 propeller guards are not compatible with the Phantom 3.
We strongly recommend that you do not use the Phantom 2 series Propeller Guards that you bought with your Phantom 3, or that you remove them now and do not continue using them.
DJI will send you new Propeller Guards custom-built for the Phantom 3 as soon as they become available, completely free of charge.
We appreciate your patience and apologize for any inconvenience.

Thank you,

DJI

Yeah, you can use the Phantom 2 prop-guards on the Phantom 3 without any problems. You can buy the official ones directly from the DJI Store or from Amazon UK, Amazon US and Ebay.

Be extra careful flying with guards on as they have been known to cause Vortex Ring State ( VRS ) but I do believe the Phantom 3 is not so susceptible to this as was the Phantom 2.

Also remember that when removing the prop guards remember to use the shorter motor mount screws that was originally in place instead of the longer ones that are needed with the guards on otherwise the long screws will touch the motor windings and cause rubbing or worse. There are some “clip on” guards available now also ( non official ones ), there have no screws obviously so don’t remove the originals.

Phantom 3 Prop Guards

Will a Phantom 2 Battery fit in the new Phantom 3?

No it is a new battery higher voltage, 4 cells instead of 3 cells. Also although it looks similar there are design differences that stop you accidentally inserting a P2 battery into the aircraft as well as four data contact pins.
P{hantom 3 Battery Contact Pins

Phantom 3 Battery

Does the DJI Pilot app include video editor?

Yeah, it comes with a “Director” editing program. Allows you to do basic editing via templates and upload to YouTube. Fore more advanced editing I suggest you use a dedicated Video Editing Suit.

What propeller balancing rod is recommended for the Phantom 3

There is no official balancing rod for the Phantom 3 but the most popular I have come across is the one made by a user called MuscleFlex – You can purchase it on Ebay here. He offers worldwide delivery ( just contact him about it ). The rod is very well made and the service from him is amazing.

You will also need a prop balancer. There are many available so just visit the Accessories and Peripherals page to see where you can purchase one from.

Propeller balancing Rod MuscleFlex

What is the function of the ‘PAF’ switch on the controller?

The ‘PAF’ switch is the mode switch.
P mode – In the Positioning mode, it shows whether both the GPS & Visioning Positioning System work together simultaneously.
A mode – In Altitude mode only the barometer is used for altitude stabilization. It does’ use the GPS or Visioning Positioning System. But you can still use the return mode, if GPS signal is available.
F mode – The Function mode activates the IOS control, i.e. Intelligent Orientation Control.
Phantom 3 PAF Modes

Whats the internal logging of the Phantom 3 for?

The Phantom 3 has an internal MicroSD card that record the information and telemetry every flight. This is used for DJI diagnostics and cannot be read by the end user. You can however save the log files by connecting the Phantom 3 to a computer and enabling access via the Pilot App. These logs could then be sent to DJI to diagnose an issue.

Does the landing gear show up in the videos captured by Phantom 3?

As much as I hate so say it, yes they do show up in video. But unlike the Phantom 2, the P3 has slightly wider landing gear and the camera is mounted ever so slightly more forwards. Combine this with smooth flying and editing you are unlikely to see the props in finished video.

Return to Home height when flying in the mountains

No matter where you are flying, the Return To Home height needs to be set at a minimum 1ft higher than the tallest obstacle that’s likely to be in the Phantom 3’s flight path home. The RTH height can be changed on the fly whilst flying using the DJI Pilot App.

If the RTH point is set on top of a 100m mountain and you fly down that mountain 50m, when RTH is initiated the Phantom 3 will rise to whatever the RHT height is set too ABOVE the point where it recorded the home point.

How far can a Phantom 3 fly?

People are doing records all the time but early on in the P3’s life an employee of DJI flew it 3048 meters. Others have gone further but in my opinion, flying far is a pointless exercise. But by all means go out and do it ( safely )..

P3 Distance

Does the DJI Pilot App REQUIRE internet access to run?

No, the DJI Pilot App does not require internet access to run. You will need your tablet connected to the Internet to complete registration when you first connect to the Phantom 3 but after that you will not need to connect it.

Connecting it to the internet does have some advantages. For example it reminds you when there are firmware updates available. You can also “Pre-cache” maps if you are not suing a cellular/4G connected device.

Worth noting that if there is a CRITICAL firmware and you connect to the internet with the Pilot App you might not be able to fly until the update is complete.

Is there an ND Filter for the Phantom 3?

There is no official ND Filter for the P3 yet. The bets bet option is the PolarPro filter – http://polarprofilters.com/shop/DJI-Phantom-3-Filter – There are ofcourse people on Ebay trying to sell some homemade ones, some might work but probably not that well.. Keep an eye on the DJI Store for the official one.

Other place to get them ( again I would wait for the DJI one ).
Circular Polarizer for P3 – $ 50 – http://ragecams.com/shop/circular-polarizer-filtersun-hood-phantom3-camera-p-804.html
ND4 for P3 – $ 50 – http://ragecams.com/shop/filter-slow-shutter-phantom3-camera-jello-eliminator-p-806.html
ND8 for P3- $ 50 – http://ragecams.com/shop/filter-slow-shutter-phantom3-camera-jello-eliminator-p-805.html

Can you just “hack” the Phantom 3 Advanced firmware to enable 4k video?

That would be a nice dream but nope you can’t. Although the camera’s look the same that are slightly different come their internal hardware. You can on the otherhand buy a Phantom 3 4k camera ( plus gimbal ) and fir it to a Phantom 3 Advanced. This would likely cost more than the difference between a P3P and P3A in the first place though..

Should we get cellular/4G iPad in anticipation of follow me or dynamic home point?

The P3 does NOT have follow me or dynamic home point so at the moment you would be wasting your money. But if you have use for a cellular or 4G other than this then might as well.

UPDATE 28-05-15The new Pilot App for IOS version 1.1.2 now supports Dynamic Home Point. This kind of changes the game in terms of cellular IDevices as its only them versions that have built in GPS. SO, if you would like to use dynamic home point on a IOS device then having the cellular versions of the iPad is the only option as it requires GPS in the device. This should not affect MOST Android users when  its available ) as they tend to all come with GPS.

Is the P3 camera removable?

NO it is not removable in the same way the Inspire 1 camera is. You CAN if you want remove the entire gimbal and gibbons but the camera is not removable separately.

How does the GoPro 4 compare to the Phantom 3’s built-in camera?

Both cameras have good and bad points.. Image quality between the two is tiny, the P3 has a little too much artificial sharpening by default but this can be changed via the DJI Pilot App. The P3 is night and day ( excuse the pun ) better in low light performance than the GoPro Hero 4. Dynamic range is better also.

The GoPro Hero 4 colour looks more vibrant than that of the P3 but if filming in LOG mode then you can always color correct the P3 video in post ( as you can with the GoPro ) so this is not such an issue if you are happy to edit later..

One of the biggest advantages of the Phantom 3 setup is that its an all-in-one so you don’t need to be an enthusiast to put it all together. Another big plus is that on the P3 you can change camera settings and modes on the fly unlike with the Phantom 2 with GoPro setup.