Long list of mistakes with indoor positioning systems and how to avoid them

Below is a very long list of typical and not-so-typical mistakes that users of our Precise Indoor Positioning and Navigation System or Precise (±2cm) Indoor “GPS” make. Also, we bring short and essential hints and links on how to avoid or troubleshoot them.

Watch a detailed video about typical mistakes. It covers in-depth many of the errors listed below.

Many items on the list are equally applicable to other indoor positioning systems (IPS) or indoor navigation systems (INS), irrespective of the technology or brand.

Use search (CTRL+F, etc.) to find your crucial issue and avoid it or fix it quickly.

Typical mistakes and short hints

  1. Software not updated or taken from different SW packs => always update SW on all network elements: beacons, modem, Dashboard
  2. Default button not pressed and default settings are not uploaded => press the Default button (bottom-right corner of the Dashboard)
  3. Non-line of sight between the mobile beacons and stationary beacons. Jump => make a line of sight within a submap always
  4. Line of sight between the body of beacons is provided, but microphones still don’t see the transducers and vice versa
  5. Changing the ultrasound transmitting frequency of the beacon => never do that. Use only the native frequency of the beacon
  6. Freezing the table of distances before it is white, i.e., distances are correct => check the line of sight and freeze the table only when it is white
  7. Not freezing submaps => freeze submap when the submap is built correctly, and the table of distances is white
  8. Not freezing the map => freeze the map when all submaps are built properly
  9. Waking up the wrong address => connect the beacon and see its address. Change, if needed
  10. Setting strange radio settings => press the Default button in the Dashboard for modem and beacons one by one
  11. Having more than one beacon with the same address => change address of the beacon
  12. No heights are entered for stationary beacons => watch the Unpacking video and follow
  13. No heights entered for mobile beacons in 2D => watch the Unpacking video and follow
  14. Discharged or switched off beacons => check the DIP switch. Turn on the beacons. Charge the beacons. Monitor voltage via the Dashboard
  15. Building too short a base between stationary beacons
  16. Building too long a base between stationary beacons
  17. Having too short a base between mobile beacons in the Paired Beacons configuration => recommended 20cm+. More – better. Use Omni
  18. Putting beacons inside housings for ingress protection  => line of sight is a must. Use the Outdoor or Industrial version for ingress protection
  19. Not building service zone while having more than one submap => always create service zones
  20. Accidentally switching off the microphone => press the Default
  21. Use microphone settings in complex mobile beacons: Jacket, Helmet, Badge, etc. => upload the suitable SW and press the Default
  22. Switching off some ultrasound transducers => press the Default button; if unsure
  23. Confusing ultrasound IPS and UWB => our system is based on radio and ultrasound. UWB is an entirely different technology
  24. Some USB cables suck => change the USB cable. Really change it. It doesn’t matter that “it works with another beacon“. Change the USB port
  25. Breaking the beacons/modems mechanically => don’t drop the beacons. Don’t smash the beacons. Antennas, USB ports, and transducers
  26. Breaking beacons/modems with static electricity via USB port or antenna or external connectivity pins
  27. Antenna is too close to the metal. Poor RSSI => keep antennas perpendicular to metal and 30-50cm away minimum
  28. Placing Mini-RX on the wall or metal – ruins the characteristics of the embedded antenna => keep the distance to the metal of 30-50cm
  29. Making antennas cross-polarized: horizontal for beacon and vertical for modem => make antennas parallel. Get full-size antennas
  30. Telemetry of your drone/device interferes with Marvelmind Indoor “GPS” => change channels and bands, keep antennas far, use 38kbps profile
  31. DIP switch inside the Mini-RX is off when you first get the Mini-RX beacon or Helmet/Jacket/Badge, etc. => open the case and switch on one
  32. Mixed SW of NIA and IA in one system => study more about different architectures. Study how to build submaps IA and NIA
  33. Trying to build complex final maps right away => do step-by-step only
  34. Crossing the line connecting two stationary beacons in 2D => watch a video about building submaps
  35. Coming too close to the line connecting two stationary beacons in 2D => watch a video about building submaps
  36. Not paying attention to the “nose” in 2D => see the “nose” on the line connecting two stationary beacons in 2D
  37. Crossing the plane of stationary beacons in a 3D map => always fly below the beacons or use the “Precise Z” configuration
  38. Hoping that IMU will give direction. No, it provides a change of direction => use the Paired Beacons configuration for Location + Direction
  39. Mirroring the map
  40. Confusing up and down of the map in the Dashboard/map/modem settings
  41. Trying to fly/drive autonomously before reaching perfect tracking first => eight basic steps from unpacking to autonomous drive/flight
  42. Confused roles of stationary and mobile beacons in IA and NIA => mobile beacons in NIA emit ultrasound; in IA – they receive ultrasound
  43. The same ultrasound frequency of stationary beacons in IA submap => watch how to build submaps
  44. The same pair of ultrasound frequencies of stationary beacons in neighboring IA submaps => watch how to build submaps
  45. Too many ultrasound periods => no need to make more than 50. The transducers are already in saturation after that
  46. Too few ultrasound periods for long submaps (>20m) => make 50 periods for larger submaps
  47. Using IA for drones => drones are too noisy for IA. Use NIA or MF NIA. Mobile beacons emit ultrasound – not receive it
  48. Ultrasound receiving beacons are too close to noise-producing devices: air cons, air guns, etc. => keep as far as possible or switch IA to NIA
  49. Having rosy hopes that IPxx will save beacons against long-term exposure to rain/dust => IPxx protects only against short exposure
  50. Using incorrect UART settings when integrating with external systems, for example, PixHawk
  51. Messing up with WiFi settings in Super-Modem => play with Modem v5.1 first (simpler) and only then use Super-Modem
  52. Setting too small service zones and mobile beacons “disappear” => build proper/larger service zones or kill them for a moment
  53. Trying to track stationary beacon => convert it to mobile beacon first or see Unpacking video
  54. Killing Industrial Beacons by providing wrong power and mixing up power polarity => see the corresponding chapter of Operating Manual
  55. Killing Industrial Beacons with wrong voltage => we have two versions: +12V and +5V. Providing +12V to +5V-beacon will kill it
  56. Killing devices with static electricity discharge. The most vulnerable parts: USB connectors, 4×4 pins, the antenna port
  57. Placing beacons below the view of microphones. This creates a non-line-of-sight situation. See video help: Mistakes done and how to avoid them
  58. Building a 3D submap with more than 2 beacons on the same line. It is geometrically impossible. Always build “a volume”
  59. Placing beacons next to reflecting surfaces. Thus, direct and reflected signals have nearly the same path and can kill each other
  60. Placing objects (tubes, etc.) just in front of the beacon and thus creating ultrasound shadows
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