Some users have complained that once they get their drone airborne, they only get around 500-600 ft of range before the MoVI Controller loses connection.
From our extensive testing, folks should be getting between 1000-1200 ft, LOS (line of sight). There are two main factors you need to be aware of to maximize your distance.
- Antenna Placement. The MoVI Controller receiver runs on a 2.4 Ghz frequency. Unfortunately this receiver only has one antenna instead of two for diversity. This limits the range somewhat. Another bad factor is carbon fiber. Carbon fiber actually absorbs RF frequencies. You need to make sure you direct your antenna away from any carbon fiber. The other challenge is camera shading. This is when your gimbal rotates on the pan axis and the camera blocks the LOS (line of sight) between the MoVI receiver and the MoVI controller. We have found it best to place the receiver as low as possible on the gimbal, even below the camera if possible, and aim the antenna downwards away from the carbon fiber. If you can get the antenna low enough, you won’t have to worry about camera shading at all.
- Full Transmission Power. Second thing we need to make sure is that the MoVI controller or transmitter, is transmitting at full power. To check this, power on your MoVI controller and scroll down to the radio config section. Then scroll over and choose READ. This will read the channel, group and power level of the MoVI Controller. By default, the power should be set to 1. There are 4 total different power levels. The 1 value transmit the MoVI Controller at 10 db. If you increase the power up to 4, this will run the transmitting power up to 18 db. This is at full power.
Now if your power level is not set to 4, watch the above video.
Here’s one last tip about the MoVI controller. Now I don’t know about you, but I love having my gear efficient and optimized. Freefly was kind enough to provide a 2 pin lemo 12 volt power output on the MoVI controller. This is for powering other accessories, like a monitor and HD downlink receiver. The nice thing is, it’s linked to the power switch of the controller. So once you flip the rocker switch on, everything powers on… efficiency at it’s finest.
Now we went ahead and made a custom cable, a 2 pin lemo to dual D-Tap to run both of these accessories. Now since we’re filmmakers who also work on ground cameras, I wanted all of my monitors and HD downlink receivers to be powered with the standard D-Tap connector. This keeps my gear builds clean and easy to switch from ground mode to aerial mode.
This custom cable works great on the MoVI Controller. Now if you don’t want to build your own cables, you can head on over to our online store where we sell all of our custom cables.
If you have questions, let us know in the comments below.