Quads: Why you need Failsafe and a LOMA
I finally got my 250-sized quad ready to fly. The last 2 things I did were to add a LMOA (Lost Model Alarm) and configure failsafe in Cleanflight. Luck was on my side yesterday as Murphy’s Law kicked in when I took the quad out for it’s first full flight test in a nearby field. Admittedly, I still consider myself a noob with much to learn… That said, I was flying FPV and decided to push the limit on distance (oddly only about 750 meters). The radio lost control of the quad, which was immediately followed by my FPV video start to jitter, and then it went to fuzz. This all occurred in about 3 seconds.
The picture below shows about how far away the quad was (look to the powerline to the right). I found myself in a bit of a panic and pulled the goggles off so I could get a sight line of the quad as it fell out of the sky way off in the distance. What happened next was rewarding. Fist off, the failsafe worked. The quad took control and engaged failsafe throttle (about 1350) and slowly fell out of the sky – so it did not come crashing down. This allowed me to get a good idea as to where I would find it. After trudging through 2 foot high wheat across this vast field, I then engaged my lost model alarm on the TX. After flipping the switch on / off every 20 feet or so, I finally heard the faint noise of the buzzer.. Whew! Found it! These two safety features saved me hundreds of dollars. I doubt I would have found the quad without them. Let alone in one piece.
Moral of the story – if you don’t have both of these enabled on my multicopter, get them! They are easy to setup and configure. Failsafe takes all of a few minutes to configure and test, and you can buy (link & link) or build your own LOMA for a few bucks Side note – I find it odd that my quad lost TX so close as these things should be able to go for a few KM’s. In hindsight I figure it was likely a combination of the FPV and motor current draw on the battery (1500mAh), as well as those power lines causing some sort of interference.