Mavic Mini - FCC vs CE and two different models 🤔

If you’ve been following the Mavic Mini mega thread you may have seen that there are two different models available.

One being FCC for the US market, and one being CE for, well, everyone else really.

The specs of each are:

  • Model # MT1SS5
    – 5.8 GHz: <30 dBm (FCC); <28 dBm (SRRC)

  • Model # MT1SD25
    – 2.4 GHz: <19 dBm (MIC/CE)
    – 5.8 GHz: <14 dBm (CE)

I had assumed that DJI were making two different hardwares with different radio configurations in them (and in the remotes that they connect to).

Couldn’t quite get my head around that though. Since forever, DJI have only ever produced one hardware model and managed their FCC/CE through the use of GPS location. So if you’re in the USA it automatically switches to FCC mode, and back to CE when you’re home.

Hence too, we’ve always been able to hack our drones and force FCC mode.

This also didn’t make economic sense to me.

From a factory/production point of view, it’d cost them significantly more to mass-produce two physically different drones.

Anyway, having done waayyyyyyy to much research on this, I’ve come to the conclusion today that this is not the case, and that they are making only one physical model and simply supplying different stickers (FCC vs CE) depending on the market they’re shipping to.

What convinced me of this?

A letter from Xi Xiang, Product Manager at SZ DJI Technology, to the Federal Communications Commission back in June this year, which said:

:scream:

Let me just run the key part of that letter that by you again:

The other frequency bands are disabled by firmware in factory.

So there we have it…

We will be able to hack this and force FCC in the future.

Source (because it bugs the shit out of me when people claim to quote facts and can’t back it up):

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So now I don’t know if I should cancel my grey import FCC model and just buy a UK spec one instead :confused:

More significantly - someone from US cannot bring theirs to the UK and fly legally.

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Indeed. But then the same probably applies to anyone who’s applied a FCC patch :slight_smile:

Apparently, as in unconfirmed, flying a FCC Mavic Mini in a CE region throws a warning in the new DJI Fly app which the user just has to accept, they can then carry on in FCC mode as it’s seemingly unable to switch. Which also strikes me as a little odd, given that every other Mk2 firmware to date has supported region-switching. I’ll confirm or deny this if my import gets over the border next week :+1:t2:

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I was thinking more along the lines of a 'mercan not being able to fly legally here even should they desire.

Perhaps, if you get both and swap the RCs, you’ll confuse them both to becoming dual FCC/CE. :crazy_face:

Sorry! My Bad! :man_facepalming:

I would buy a UK model just to make any warranty issues go easy.

My first MP was a Chinese import which had a fault out of the box. DJI wanted it shipped to China and would only ship it back to a Chinese address.

There’s always that factor too :confused:

I think I’ll sit it out and see if the current FCC model ships on time. If there are problems with it then I’ll reassess :+1:t2:

In the pipe and slipper universe of amateur radio manufacturers would, and to this day many still do, restrict their radios to certain regions by using a diode matrix with the primary processor. The presence and/or absence of particular diodes would dictate its operating parameters for that region, primarily restricting frequency coverage. Maybe this is what DJI might have employed so as to use the term region specific hardware. The difference in frequency and power specifications maybe something as simple as a tiny jumper or tiny solder link between two solder pads.

Walkera marketed some of their FPV/Race quads as having region specific VTX boards, and in fact produced one board marked for CE use and another for ROW use. In actuality there was absolutely no difference between the two boards whatsoever, just a combination of pushes on the channel select button to open both boards up to 40ch@>200milliwatts.

Regards

Nidge

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Rather than just firmware as per their letter to the FCC?

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Interesting thread.

I’m going to Japan next month and I was thinking of picking up the Japanese version which says ‘Super Light 199g’ on the side, and comes with the 50g smaller capacity battery (which gives 18 minutes instead of 30 minutes flying time).

Then I can buy a couple more 100g batteries in the UK and have all eventualities covered… Prop guards plus 50g battery = still under 250g.

Will that be legal in the UK from a radio point if view?

I do like taking tiny drones and model aeroplanes to my meetings at the CAA and DfT and putting them on the table in front of me. I hope it illustrates how ridiculous the points being discussed are. (I’m certain the things the regulators suggest make sense to people who sit in offices in London all day…but they don’t make any sense when you’re standing in a field in Yorkshire flying a tiny drone/ model around doing no harm to anyone).

I’m interested in how the FCC firmware hack works (on previous models for example). Is it just a case of putting the US firmware on a UK drone? Doesn’t it detect its location from the GPS and set itself to CE? Or is it more involved than that? Does a clever hacker programmer make a special firmware?

Hi @PingSpike

I’m sorry, after reading my post again I wasn’t clear in my thinking.

I was posing the possibility that there are indeed two different hardware variants but each locked by firmware. The firmware not necessarily defining what regions the model is intended for but rather locking out a user from accessing the areas that control power output and extended frequency coverage. As an example with the Spark it is possible to increase the power output up to, and maybe in excess, of 1.5 Watt and extend the frequency coverage outside the ISM (Industrial, Scientific, Medical) license exempt frequency allocations with third party software and firmware.

However I’m sure, in a very short time from now, the usual suspects will be releasing add on antennas and small power amplifiers for the Mini remote for the distance record breakers.

Regards

Nidge

Yes to all the above.

The simplest way to force from CE to FCC mode is to use a simple GPS spoofing APP. Select a bogus location within the APP, then connect to the Spark while it has no GPS data, it will assume a location change then change the settings to suit. There on after when you connect to the Spark you will be prompted to change the WiFi settings but you just select CANCEL to retain FCC.

A second way is to use a modded DJIGO APP, based on 4.1.2, this sets the Spark up in FCC mode whenever this APP is used.

There are a couple of third party hacks that will upload a custom firmware to the Spark and allow the user to change many of the parameters that were locked out of the DJI-Assistant 2 software.

The Parrot Anafi can also be forced into FCC mode via a modded Android APP. Modding an existing APP is not too difficult if you’re comfortable editing in this environment as the country code in the APP is in plain text.

Even the, now considered old tech, Yuneec Q500’s no fly region settings could be easily defeated with a slight change to the firmware.

One system I’ve been trying to change, with zero success, is DJI’s Datalink Groundstation NFZ settings. When DJI updated the iOS APP (iOS being the only platform it runs on) they also included a whole host of incorrect NFZ’s. I’m in one of these incorrectly defined NFZ’s that covers 256 Square miles. Rather than fix the problem DJI immediately dropped all support for the hardware and the APP.

Apologies for the long answer but when I get going I have a tendency to go on until a responsible grown up forces nap time on me.

Nidge.

Really interesting! Thanks Nidge!

Might be a daft question, but what’s the advantage of FCC over CE?

More powerful RC and drone transmitters = greater ranges and improve signal strengths at the same distances.

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Thanks kindly, all makes sense now :slight_smile:

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I’m sure Brett, Digdat0 and the team will come up with SuperPatcher3.0 to include the Mini.

Interesting that from the specs I had concluded 2.4GHz was disabled in the FAA version but both 2.4 & 5.8 were used in the CE version. And PingSpike’s OP confirms this. So the FAA versions will get the benefits of much lower interference but maintain the range by a more powerful remote transmission.
Whilst we will probably end up with the same interference issues the Air always suffers near towns…

So that’s nice…
PS - Is this the place to rant about the fact that the cheaper option (Mini-only) is already shipping whilst the “Premium” :rofl: Fly More Combo option is still not shipping? When I pay more money for the same goods I want it faster! :grinning:

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