DJI M300 with Zenmuse H20T Flight Guidelines

Flight guidelines for inspecting solar farms with a DJI M300 series drone and Zenmuse H20T.

 

 

The DJI M300 series drone with a Zenmuse H20T with 640×512 resolution and 13.5 mm lens can meet the data requirements quickly and efficiently. It is possible to collect 70% front lap and 20% side lap thermal and RGB imagery.

 

Equipment

Drone: DJI M300 series
Camera: DJI Zenmuse H20T
Computer: Smart Controller
Flight Planning Software: DJI Pilot

 

Camera Settings

Camera Model: DJI Zenmuse H20T
Palette: White Hot
Magnification: 1x
Photo Mode: Radiometric JPEG

 

Flight Mission Planning Settings

Basic:

Shooting Angle: Perpendicular to Main Path
Capture Mode: Capture at Equal Time Interval
Flight Control Mode: Inside Mode
Speed: Set shutter interval to 2.0 SEC
Height: See table below

Type of Inspection

Description
Smallest Visible Features
Ground Sample Distance
Maximum Speed
Altitude with 13.5mm Lens

Raptor Overview

Ideal for rapid drone flights and string-level outages
Module
15.0 ± 5.0 cm/pixel
30 mph
555 ± 185 ft (169.0 ± 56.5 m)

Raptor Standard

Ideal for annual preventative maintenance
Diode, Hot Spot, and Cell
5.5 ± 0.5 cm/pixel
12 mph
203 ± 18 ft (62.0 ± 5.5 m)

Raptor Comprehensive

IEC TS 62446-3 thermography standards for Absolute Temperature Accuracy
Diode, Hot Spot, and Cell
3.0 ± 0.5 cm/pixel
7 mph
111 ± 18 ft (33.5 ± 5.5 m)

 

Sensor Heading

For both IR and RGB inspection-level imagery sets, sensor heading must remain fixed throughout the flight. For example, if flying a fixed-tilt, ground mount site with panels facing south, the sensor should face North throughout the flight. Datasets where sensor heading alternates with each flight pass (sensor faces North one flight pass and South on the next flight pass) will warrant a reflight.

The 12:24 minute mark of this video shows you how to maintain the sensor heading in flight, using the M300/H20T.

Note: Altitude is calculated from panels, not from ground. Check local laws and regulations to determine maximum allowable altitude.

Prior to flying, check available irradiance using a meter. This video explains how.

 

Image Capture

Front Overlap Ratio: 70%
Side Overlap Ratio: 20%
File Format: RJPG

 

Obliques

Note: Obliques / High flys are required as part of the flight. For information about how to correctly fly and take oblique images, please see Capturing Oblique Images.

 

Data Example

The long edge of the solar row aligns with the long edge of the image.

The following animation is a great example of Standard Level imagery collected with a ground sampling distance (GSD) of 5.5 cm/pixel with good overlaps.

Video

The following video has step-by-step instructions on how to set up a flight plan using DJI Pilot. (GS Pro coming soon!)