D810 GPS connection

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Tom
Posts: 2
Joined: July 30th, 2020, 8:08 am

July 30th, 2020, 8:22 am

Hi,
I am using the geotagging a lot and my N1 stays on (LED) searching for the app even when the camera and the app are off. The only way to terminate this, not to drain the battery if not in use for a long time is to manually turn off the GPS feature in the app first, then turn off the app and then finally the camera.
I think it would be simpler to allow the N1 to go to sleep just turning off the app.
Interested in an easy solution.
Thx
T
Unfoolishly
Posts: 62
Joined: June 24th, 2020, 2:43 am

July 30th, 2020, 12:13 pm

Hi,

I have a similar question: when the camera is turned off, why is the App still capable of connecting to the Unleashed (N2) of the turned off camera? I don't see any use for connecting from the smartphone to the Unleashed over Bluetooth while the camera is NOT in use at all.
I would have expected that the Unleashed BT chip is turned off when the camera is turned off. The App doesn't have to connect over BT to detect if the camera is turned off or not. If it can't connect, it is either because the camera is off, or the camera is out of range. It should drop the BT connection from the smartphone side. When you turn on the camera, you could press a button on the smartphone: "connect". Why should the smartphone keep the connection alive, even when the camera isn't in use at all???

To me this looks like a situation where the battery of the camera and smartphone get drained while it doesn't add any useful feature to it??? Even if it is BT Low Energy, it still drains energy from the battery.

What if a person carries two camera's, but keeps one unused in his/her camerabag and only the other camera is used that day. The App will still connect to both, even if the camera isn't used all day. That is strange...

Any suggestions why this is?

Greetings,
Unfoolishly
Caution: I am an extremely well pleased Unleashed customer. So I might be a bit biased here 8-)
Andy
Posts: 115
Joined: October 4th, 2018, 4:18 pm

July 30th, 2020, 12:47 pm

The Unleashed does go to sleep immediately if the app is closed and GPS is off.

If GPS is on, the Unleashed keeps the connection active for 30 minutes even if the camera is off. The reason for this is, if I remember correctly, that people sometimes turn off their cameras from shot to shot, for example, they take a picture now, turn off their camera and five minutes later they turn it on again to take another shot. Keeping the connection alive allows the Unleashed to have accurate, up-to-date GPS data when the user takes the shot.

If we shut the connection off as soon as the camera goes off, the Unleashed would likely not get GPS data from the app in time, as the phone typically needs a few seconds to get a new GPS fix (the app stops requesting GPS data when not necessary).

That said, we do have a GPS timeout setting in firmware, but I believe this is not shown on the app yet.
Andy
Firmware developer at Foolography
Oliver
Posts: 418
Joined: October 9th, 2018, 4:17 pm

July 30th, 2020, 4:03 pm

It should drop the BT connection from the smartphone side. When you turn on the camera, you could press a button on the smartphone: "connect". Why should the smartphone keep the connection alive, even when the camera isn't in use at all???

To me this looks like a situation where the battery of the camera and smartphone get drained while it doesn't add any useful feature to it??? Even if it is BT Low Energy, it still drains energy from the battery. .
That's where you're wrong. being connected, but not transferring a lot of data, might well use less power than being "ready to connect" on the firmware side, and almost definitely than "trying to connect" on the smartphone side. That's what's so awesome about BLE.[/quote]

With that in mind: staying connected means more comfort, not having to press a connect button, getting GPS data instantly when turning on the camera, and just being ready to go immediately rather than the unbearably 2 second delay when having to reconnect ;-) without any downsides! Trust me, we've thought this through.

@unfoolishly: especially with your other concerns, that someone else might "steal" your connection, staying connected ALL the time, solves that ;-)

Like Andy said, the actual duration will become user-settable from the app at some point.
Founder & CEO of Foolography, Hardware & Firmware developer.
Unfoolishly
Posts: 62
Joined: June 24th, 2020, 2:43 am

July 30th, 2020, 4:08 pm

Hi Andy and Oliver,

Thanks for clarifying this a bit.

I have tried it, and it is probably an undocumented feature ;-)
When the camera is OFF (and GPS is OFF) for a long period of time (8 hours for example), the Unleashed App WILL connect to the Unleashed anyhow.
When the camera is OFF (and GPS is ON) for a long period of time (8 hours for example), the Unleashed App WILL connect to the Unleashed anyhow.

I don't think that THIS situation is wanted/preferred by any user, unless that user specifically can set this desired feature to an "always on/always connected" state. There is no need to connect to a camera if it is not in use for hours and just resides in the camera bag all day.

Normally, I would prefer - as a normal user - to not automatically connect to the Unleashed, unless typical specified by the user, or when the camera was once turned ON in a specific time period before. Making it time out on the connection after a certain amount of time, for example: camera not used for 1 hour = drop the connection. User probably no longer having the camera at hand?

Does the App make a distinction between internal GPS (smartphone) and external GPS (bluetooth classic) to forward the GPS data? I estimate it does not make a difference, but I just ask this to be 100% sure about it.

@Oliver (read this after I posted this message):
Does the green dot in front of the camera name indicate "I am connected to this camera" or does it mean "I am ready to connect to this camera"? If the latter case, I am misled by the idea that the connection is causing battery drainage.
What does the red dot and yellow dot mean? To me, it means: red dot = not connected; yellow dot = establishing the connection; green dot = connected.
Maybe an extra blue dot would tell the user: "connected to the Unleashed but not sending any data, thus standby mode"?

Greetings,
Unfoolishly
Last edited by Unfoolishly on July 30th, 2020, 4:34 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Caution: I am an extremely well pleased Unleashed customer. So I might be a bit biased here 8-)
Oliver
Posts: 418
Joined: October 9th, 2018, 4:17 pm

July 30th, 2020, 4:33 pm

It seems it wasn't entirely clear yet:

We NEVER disconnect App from the Unleashed
As long as the App is not killed, it will try to connect to the Unleashed. As long as the App is not connected, and Unleashed has power, the Unleashed will be connectable. On Nikon, we always have power, unless the battery is dead, on Canon we only have power when the camera is on.

However as time goes by when camera or app are not being used, we increase the Advertisement/connection intervals so as to reduce power usage so much, that the BLE part alone could last for a year or 2 on a coin cell. There is way would you notice this.

That said, we are currently investigating a bug that's causing power use on Nikon cameras when replacing the battery, but not using the camera afterwards (see the topic "N2 frisst Strom" - in German), but that's got nothing to do with BLE.

However, what does use much more power on the BLE side is connecting, or better trying to connect to an external GPS receiver. This is what we give up after a certain period of time, and we will also explicitly disconnect from the external GPS when the camera is not in use for 30 minutes or so.

What Andy mentioned is that we stop requesting GPS data from the App, so that the app reduces it's power use, and the Unleashed can internally go into a deeper sleep mode, but we don't ever disconnect BLE on purpose.

We're currently considering doing so and even turning off Advertising (being ready to connect) after a week or so of the camera being inactive, and requiring the user to turn on the camera to wake up the Unleashed. So that you won't find a dead battery because of the Unleashed after not using your camera for a couple of months.
Founder & CEO of Foolography, Hardware & Firmware developer.
Unfoolishly
Posts: 62
Joined: June 24th, 2020, 2:43 am

July 30th, 2020, 4:41 pm

Oliver wrote:
July 30th, 2020, 4:33 pm
It seems it wasn't entirely clear yet:
True :-)
What Andy mentioned is that we stop requesting GPS data from the App, so that the app reduces it's power use, and the Unleashed can internally go into a deeper sleep mode, but we don't ever disconnect BLE on purpose.

We're currently considering doing so and even turning off Advertising (being ready to connect) after a week or so of the camera being inactive, and requiring the user to turn on the camera to wake up the Unleashed. So that you won't find a dead battery because of the Unleashed after not using your camera for a couple of months.
Maybe an extra blue dot in front of the camera name in the App when using Nikon camera's could be considered, so to make it more clear to the user, that it is connected, but not really connected in a full blown way. It wasn't clear to me, that is for sure.

When I am at home, I sure don't want the App to connect to the camera's I don't use at that moment or haven't used for weeks at all. Now it lights up 3x green dot in the App. I was expecting 1x green dot in the App because I was only using 1 camera that day.

Don't forget to make mention of this in the (hopefully soon) to be published manual!

Greetings,
Unfoolishly
Caution: I am an extremely well pleased Unleashed customer. So I might be a bit biased here 8-)
Unfoolishly
Posts: 62
Joined: June 24th, 2020, 2:43 am

July 30th, 2020, 9:46 pm

Hi Andy and Oliver,

If I recall recorrectly, the old Unleashed (Dx000) kept the BT (classic) connection open between the external GPS device AND/OR kept the last GPS data inside the Unleashed (buffer) when the camera was shut OFF.
Maybe you could provide a mixture of alternatives for the Nikon camera users, that want different options like:

Option A: Switching the camera to ON triggers the Unleashed, which fires up the BT LE connection, which then connects to the smartphone.
When the camera is switched OFF, the Unleashed drops the BT LE connection entirely with the smartphone.
(this is what I would expect)

Option B: Like option A, but with some extra settings. BT connection is not dropped immediately, but after a certain amount of time (user customizable), so that users that turn their camera ON/OFF/ON each time between photo moments still have the BT connection going between Unleashed and smartphone if smartphone is set as GPS provider. So that they do have the latest GPS position directly inside the Unleashed. I believe this was the way it was done in the Dx000.

Option C: Always ON approach. This means that no matter what, the smartphone and Unleashed stay connected, even if the camera is OFF for hours. I think this should be an extra setting in the App with a warning: battery could drain if this option is kept ON for weeks. Maybe even supply an extra option for a "long run" timeout, so people won't find their camera having a drained battery after a week or a month. This is useful for those that use their smartphone as a remote trigger (dashboard): Always ready to trigger the camera's instantly.

Option D: Standby for action setting, keeping the smartphone connected over BT, but in low power consumption. This is useful for those photographers that visit their camera and go out of range with their smartphone so very often. Walking within range, walking out of range.... For those kind of users, the option for being able to connect fast, change some setting, "disconnect" fast, is useful when the BT connection is in operation, but is ready in the starting blocks to quickly become fully active with maximum bandwidth.

I see five different color dots in the smartphone to indicate what kind of connection is established or not:
red = Unleashed is offline (camera is OFF for a long time). Camera must be turned ON at least once to start the BT of the Unleashed.
orange = Unleashed is online (camera is OFF for a short time, and possibly will be set to ON some time later). BT is off, or deep sleep(?), no GPS data is received by the Unleashed.
yellow = Unleashed is online, (camera is OFF, but Unleashed is still being updated with latest GPS data at a low rate/pace)
green = Unleashed is alive and kicking, having the full blown package, max bandwidth, etc.
blue = Unleashed is ready for action, but in standby kind of way (quicky go into a menu setting, change a setting, go out of range. When you need to alter some timelapse settings in the Unleashed but the smartphone does not supply GPS data, because that is supplied by the external GPS data.

(info for nerds: e-12 resistor color codes used to indicate states of the Unleashed connection between Unleashed and smartphone: red, orange, yellow, green, blue)

When I haven't used the camera for days, I don't want the Unleashed App to try to establish a connection with the Unleashed of that camera. I want to be the one telling the Unleashed: wake up, I got a job to do for you, turning ON the camera. When I haven't used the camera for 3 hours, I sure don't mind the GPS data isn't updated. If I want to take a photo after 3 hours, I will surely turn ON the camera 5 min. earlier than the actual photo moment, letting the App re-establish the GPS data sending towards the Unleashed.

Maybe this is possible?
Too bad the Canon camera's don't supply power to the port the Unleashed is connected to.

Greetings,
Unfoolishly
Caution: I am an extremely well pleased Unleashed customer. So I might be a bit biased here 8-)
Tom
Posts: 2
Joined: July 30th, 2020, 8:08 am

August 1st, 2020, 3:49 am

Thank you all for this detailed info and ideas.

From my point of view you need to keep it very clear and simple from a user point of view, and in my mind, turning off the app should kill the connection and put everything to sleep, zero battery consumption, in particular for the camera. Having to turn the gps feature off in the app before to turn off the app is an extra step and I did find my battery dead in my Nikon without use for some days, which never happened before.

I like very much the fact that everything remains connected in a flash, when turning on and off the camera and keeping the app active, as you said.

Keep it up, thanks.
Greetings from Canada
Unfoolishly
Posts: 62
Joined: June 24th, 2020, 2:43 am

August 1st, 2020, 11:55 am

Tom wrote:
August 1st, 2020, 3:49 am
Thank you all for this detailed info and ideas.
...
I like very much the fact that everything remains connected in a flash, when turning on and off the camera and keeping the app active, as you said.
I do agree with this idea, as it was in the old days back in 2009 with the Unleashed Dx000. The old Unleashed kept the BT classic connection, even when the camera was turned off for a short time.

The only thing that is different with the new Unleashed is that it ALWAYS stays connected, even when the camera isn't used at all for hours, days, weeks, months. I would like to see the Unleashed be "kissed awake" after a period of inactivity (which the user can set from within the App) by turning on the camera at least once, so the Unleashed knows that it is going to be used that day (fire up the Unleashed to get ready!). It is of no use to establish a connection with an Unleashed/camera that resides for days/weeks/months in the cabinet, not being used at all.
I am not sure if replacing a battery in the camera is seen by the Unleashed as turning on the camera? Maybe you can use the Unleashed App to acknowledge that the camera is going to be used that day or isn't going to be used at all, so you can switch batteries without "kissing awake" the Unleashed while you just switched batteries only without have any intentions of using the camera that day.

But I do like the idea that the BT connection isn't dropped right after the camera is turned off, to keep the camera ready for action (with the current GPS location stored in the Unleashed).
The only thing I would like to see is that the Unleashed is somewhat programmable/configurable from the App, so that users can determine when and how the Unleashed should behave over time when it is turned off.

Example:
1. camera turned off 0-2 hours = BT connection with GPS data updated continually. Ready for action any moment.
2. camera turned off 2-4 hours = BT connection with GPS data updated at a lower pace (once in every 10 min for example).
3. camera turned off 4-12 hours = BT connection in state "keep alive", but with NO GPS data being updated. Have to turn on the camera to let the Unleashed know the camera will be used shortly.
4. camera turned off 12-24 hours (days/weeks/months) = no BT connection at all, just to save battery life and don't drain it. It's a surprise to users who have put their (second) camera away in the cabinet for weeks with a battery full for 87% and find it discharged to 23% after a few weeks of not using the camera at all, just because the Unleashed App keeps a connection with the Unleashed for such a long time of inactive use of the camera???

Too bad the Canon users won't have the luxery that the Nikon users have of the Unleashed, because their Unleasheds are not powered when the camera is turned off.

Greetings,
Unfoolishly
Caution: I am an extremely well pleased Unleashed customer. So I might be a bit biased here 8-)
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