DroneBlocks Simulator Trouble

I am trying hard to use the DroneBlocks Simulator with my class, but it seems very flaky. It usually works the first time but if we load a program from “My Missions” frequently the simulator freezes and nothing happens when the Mission is launched. Sometime we can reload a few times and get it to work but it is very erratic.

Has anyone else noticed this behavior of found a work around. Very frustrating…

Really sorry to hear about the inconvenience. Can you share what browser and operating system you’re using and we’ll take a look asap? Thanks.

Both Chrome and Safari on Mac OS 11.2.3

We also notice incredible battery drain…

Are you aware of any network restrictions on your campus? I’m wondering if something is being blocked and causing this behavior. If you’d like I’d be happy to hop on a screen share and walk through it with you. You can reach me here: db at droneblocks dot io

Regarding the Tello battery drain what type of flight time are you getting? Even though they advertise 13 minutes we’ve seen that generally we get 7-10.

Thank you again for getting back to me.

  1. The first inconsistency was on my home network where I do not have restrictions. Last week we used the simulator to create “art” using loops and variables in our code to “draw” with the simulator and it was surprisingly stable. I can only think of 2 kids that needed to switch browsers or log in and out of google to restart the simulator.

  2. The battery drain concern is the laptop battery drain while using the simulator. My battery usually lasts about 11 hours and when I created my simulator unit working in the simulator constantly my battery died in less than 2 hours. Students notice the same thing, their battery dies and laptop fans come on right away anytime they use the simulator.

Finally just a question you might or might not know the answer to:

When will the photo section come to the Chrome version of DroneBlocks or do we need to wait for the computer application to grow out of beta? My kids are desperately waiting to use the camera on the drones using The DroneBlocks Chrome extension…


Karl, we did roll out a fix for the simulator that some schools were experiencing related to network security. Basically we were loading some assets outside of the DroneBlocks domain that caused problems.

Regarding Question #2 we haven’t heard this before but certainly want to look into it. I know you mentioned you’re on a Mac…are your students doing their drone programming on a Mac as well?

Your final question about camera support in our Chrome App…this is such a tricky thing given we are very limited with what we can do in Chrome Apps. We will know more in the next few weeks if it’s possible. If not, we’ll need to work towards a desktop version of DroneBlocks that does have access to the camera.

One idea we have toyed around with is running our Android version on desktop via BlueStacks:

We’ll try to do that over the next week and report back.

Thanks again for communicating with me.

All of our students are on the Mac platform. The battery drain does effect everyone.

I would appreciate knowing how your BlueStacks test goes…. I also like the idea of a Mac application that can directly send the pictures to the photos app or folder. A worry about BlueStacks is I don’t want kids to play Andriod games in school once they have access to the BlueStacks App on their computer. I do not know if this can be managed or not in a school setting. Kids have plenty of distractions available already on their laptops….


I was wondering which direction you are heading for camera access on Mac computers.

I also want your reaction to the question of which course to use next in my introduction Drone class: "Introduction to JavaScript Programming” or "Programming with Python Video Course” Javascript seems easier to run on student Macintosh computers. How else do the courses compare?


We are in talks with the dev team to figure out how to bring the camera to Mac. It’s a bit trickier than mobile because we don’t have any native libraries to handle the video decoding. We may need to take a different approach, but should know something in the next week or two and then come up with a plan of attack.

Good question regarding drone programming with JavaScript vs Python. Both are very important languages to learn. I feel like once you gain a handle of one, and the concepts associated with programming in general, the other will come more easily. The key is learning fundamentals like different variable types, creating functions, invoking functions, etc. Then those concepts are applicable to JavaScript and Python. It becomes merely an syntax issue after that since each language has its own nuances. With that being said, I personally learned JavaScript before Python because I started my career as a client-side web developer. But now with Node JS you can run JavaScript code server-side as well. So I’d likely say start there and then advance your way into Python.

There isn’t a right or wrong answer here so please keep us posted on your progress. We’d love to hear your feedback.