Pixel 2 XL and Mavic Pro Connection Issues (9.0 Pie)
I have been flying a Mavic Pro for a while and I have had a few connection issues. However, Android 9.0 Pie on a Pixel 2 XL and Mavic Pro has changed all of that for the worse. I just got my Mavic back from DJI repair and took off on a trip to do an aerial inspection job in Nebraska. I got to Nebraska the night before and made sure the remote was linked up and everything worked since it had just arrived and I never had time before I left. The next day I arrived and set up for the job and immediately started having signal issues. I reset my the Pixel 2 XL and Mavic Pro, then reset the remote and everything and got connected. Everything seemed fine so I took off and started performing the inspection.
Within a few minutes, I lost signal while in flight. I tried to land but the Mavic was no longer responding to the remote as it now had yellow blinking signal issue lights. The Mavic took over and returned 10 feet back and landed. I thought I had a linking issue with the remote so I flew it with the remote only and ran out two batteries with no issues. With hopes the issue was a one off, I re-attached the phone. It linked up and I took off again only to have the Mavic Pro disconnect in flight almost immediately. This time I still had control with the remote so I shut down the app then restarted it while hovering. The phone reconnected and I flew for 15 minutes or so. I landed it, inserted another battery and started all over.
It is Never Good to Have Issues in Front of a Client
Meanwhile I am trying not to let my client know I am freaking out wishing I would have brought my Inspire 1 Pro. It has a remote with its own display so, it is a DJI paired product. This was a simple inspection job so, there was no real need for that sort of power, plus I have never had any issues with my Mavic Pro, it has been awesome with only a couple of issues and a couple crashes in the last year or so. One crash was clearly my fault as I got out too far in the mountains and had some magnetic interference and lost signal intermittently and lost the drone about 400 feet up and 500 feet into the mountains. The drone was fine and two days later and few hours of hiking I was able to find it on a mountain side.
Always have a Good Solid Flight Plan and Plan B
I began to come up with plan B and since I also have a Galaxy S5, I grabbed it, threw it on the remote, hooked it all up and took off. As a note, the S5 is sort of a pain unless you have a separate holder for the phone because the power button is on the wrong side and contacts the remote which can shut the phone display off. However, I have flown hundreds of hours with it and know how to get around those issues by leaving a little space between the remote and the phone. I did the job with the S5 bailing me out with no issue except not being able to see much on the small display. The client in this case did not need a live feed, just footage to review after the job was complete.
Licking my Professional UAS Pilot Wounds
After the job, I went back to the hotel and tried to figure out my issues with the Pixel 2 XL. I ran through the startup steps and it started it up no issues. However, without flying in the room I was able to replicate disconnect the issue multiple times in and out of airplane mode but much less out of airplane mode.
WHile in Town Look Around (for Cool Local Footage for Yourself)
While in Nebraska I wanted to get some video for my YouTube channel so I took off out into the countryside and found some cool old stuff to get some shots of as well as corn fields in full majesty. It is absolutely beautiful in North East Nebraska with rolling hills, lots of water and heavy wooded areas. I got out to a site I found, forgot to put the phone in Airplane mode and flew out 4 batteries with not one single issue. However, I was likely out of cellular or data range, I am honestly not sure. I drove to another location and started flying and within 10 minutes of flying and a long way out in the middle of a shoot I had another disconnect. I still had control with the remote this time and continued flying the line I was on for the video and brought it back. I checked the phone and realized I had not turned on Airplane mode. It re-linked and took back off, but within minutes I got a new connection issue. This time, once again, the remote also lost its link. I quickly disconnected the phone and restarted the remote and it re-linked. So, I flew it around, had no issues, brought the drone back and landed. Now I am confused, I have never had the remote disconnect (except on longer range flights with interference in the area) until this trip so this is a new issue for me.
I am curious if there are others out there having this same issue. I believe the issue is related to Android 9.0 Pie update as this is new, and the Mavic was actually a new replacement so I had good reason to believe it was not the drone or remote but I need to contact DJI to report this issue and see if they have any fixes. I know the Pixel 2 XL is not on their list of recommended phones, but up until this update I have had no major issues. I have had minor issues here and there but that is it. The pixel 2 XL and Mavic Pro worked flawless until the 9.0 update. I broke down and ordered an I-pad mini and a holder and I expect this will resolve my issues as everyone reports that Apple products just work better and I believe that to be true. I have an Osmo+ plus which will also work better with an I-pad so win-win for me and a great excuse. I could live with the Osmo+ Plus issues with my Pixel 2 XL but not with my Pixel 2 XL and Mavic Pro as a combo. I was content to use it for the gimbal and had given up on the extra modes, but now I will have that option.
I have since received my I-pad from Amazon and I am now very happy I made the switch. Everything just works better. I have no more glitches or anomalies. Even though I have not had a lot of connection issue, there always seems to be little glitches using any android device I have ever used with DJI products. My Mavic and Osmo+ Plus both work flawlessly and as advertised. I will never use the Pixel 2 XL and Mavic Pro’s together unless I am forced to, it is not a good combo.
Drone Pilot Advice
My advice, if you use a Pixel 2 XL and Mavic Pro drones or any DJI product, give up. I say this because DJI is not developing for us and you are Android update away from a failure in my mind. At a minimum use a DJI supported device, but even then, any Android App is not going to be as good. Do what I did, get any current apple device and use it. You don’t have to be an Apple fan boy to know when you are better off using a standardized product and a better developed App for a critical flight. If your trying to make money, get an Apple product and move on with life. My second bit of advice, if you have a spare drone, especially an awesome one like an Inspire 1 Pro, take it with you. I was way over confident and didn’t want to haul it. However, laziness be damned, I will not make that mistake again. A quick and dirty job can cost your job and your reputation. So having a plan B is really essential in my eyes. I am thinking about buying a Phantom 4 as well to double down on my own peace of mind.
Lesson learned, just say no to the Pixel 2 XL and Mavic Pro combo.
Pixel 2 https://stacywebdesign.comXL and Mavic Pro, just say NO!