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After the Crash: What now?

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by gavinski, Feb 26, 2014.

  1. gavinski

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    There are two often repeated quotes on this site:

    "You WILL crash your Phantom"

    and ...

    "Each flight is potentially your Phantom's last".

    So true. This is not a hobby for the faint of heart. Or light of wallet.

    I have had the Phantom for just a few weeks and have been very conservative with each flight; staying away from water, flying over grassy areas, never going higher than 50ft, or more than 100 yeards in any direction. This afternoon I was a little more adventurous, taking the P2 up to about 140ft above a large concrete public fountain. All was going well until the P2 seemed to explode in mid-air. I watched in horror as the machine tumbled through the air and smack onto the concrete below. You can re-live it here:

    https://vimeo.com/87640134

    So what happened?

    As far as I can tell, one of the props came off. I recently fitted a new set of carbon fiber props to see how they performed, and being used to the stock self-tightening props I only used fingers to tighten the nuts. An incredibly expensive lesson to learn.

    Here is the damage report:

    • One lost propeller
      Multiple cracks in the hull
      One bent hull arm
      One broken prop guard
      One destroyed motor, and another one likely broken
      Bent gimbal mount
      Broken AVL58 Hub
      Internal damage - still TBD

    Incredibly, once the battery was reconnected, the P2 did power up but obviously not to a full ready state. On the positive side the GoPro is all but unscathed and working fine. I think the gimbal itself might also be ok, along with the iOSD mini and the Tx.



    I know I can replace the individual components, including the shell. But the unknown right now is the potential internal damage. The attached image shows a tiny piece that rattled out of the shell. Can anyone identify what that might be? I have it next to an anti-drop screw for scale.

    I guess I have three options -

    I don't want to buy a brand new unit obviously. But, if I did, I could keep this one for spare parts. It's the expedient and expensive option.

    I can rebuild it myself. I think going through the rebuilding process is an integral part of this hobby, and would give me a deeper appreciation for the craft (I have zero experience with soldering). I know that is the right thing to do, but I am also eager to get back to flying.

    Or, I can have someone else repair it. I can send it into somewhere like Dronefly and have them do the repairs. I am leaning towards this option.

    So, I guess the question is just how difficult is the re-building process? Has anyone here rebuilt a phantom after such a crash?
     

    Attached Files:

  2. LeoS

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    $0.02: If you rebuild from the remaining parts, you'd probably cannot get 100% certainty that all of the parts can perform good as new and continue to do so in future flights. Microcracks, weakened solder joints, etc that may be lurking inside but do not show up right away on initial test.

    If you buy a new one, though there's no bulletproof guarantee from DJI, at least you'll start with factory-fresh parts.... and you have your old Phantom to cannibalize from if needed; or build an alternate quad from.

    Salvaging non flight-critical parts sounds good, but be extra careful with the ones that can trigger crash\flyaways...
     
  3. ianwood

    ianwood Taco Wrangler
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    Sorry to hear about it. For the P2, nothing beats the stock props at the moment. The carbon fiber ones are no good. Take it apart and inspect it in detail. Hopefully shouldn't cost you too much to get back in the air. I've crashed a couple of times including plummeting 50ft from a direct hit on a palm tree. Fortunately, the damage was not much more than a busted prop, a busted gimbal mount and bruised ego.

    https://vimeo.com/85400257
     
  4. mikeydaddio

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    The most important thing now is to avoid this happening again. Looks like you were running both third party props and third party prop guards. I watched the video several times and there appears to be some sort of hard impact at the time of the roll as it looks different than the couple other videos I've seen where props have flown off. Is it possible that one of the props actually touched its prop guard? It looked like there was some wind and if it was having to do enough hard compensations, it might be possible that a prop hooked under its prop guard and broke. When you say it appears as if one of the props came off: was the prop/nut completely missing? If so, it might rule out my theory since a self-tightening prop will only crank down harder if it hit something.

    Mike
     
  5. Shrimpfarmer

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    The good thing is you know what caused the crash.

    If this was me I would probably buy a new quad and use that as my primary machine. I don't subscribe to the view that everyone will crash their quad. Granted everyone is susceptible to an equipment failure and some of those mean the loss of the quad. Most crashes though are through user error, either failing to conduct pre-flight checks, losing orientation, or striking objects. If you fly your quad as though your life depended on it then you should be fine. There are pilots with hundreds of flights who are crash free.

    Yes you could get someone to fix the quad for you but if you want to keep flying then I would urge you to do the research, learn to solder and experiment on your old quad. Operating on a perfectly working quad is going to be a worry as you have everything to lose. When than quad has already died the worry is a lot less. Turn that to your advantage and work on it yourself now. You will learn so much and grow in confidence as a result. Once you have those skills you can look forward to modding your quad and updating it as you go forward.

    Good luck with getting it back in the air.
     
  6. gbshovel

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    Fix it !!
    If your not able to then this isn't the hobby for you unless you have money to burn.

    Sorry about the loss.

    As far as solder joints , check them with a magnifying glass. If you didn't have any parts come loose and yanking on wires they will be fine. If the main part of the hull is ok and not stressed then main boards should be fine. Check mounting posts for the boards for stress or loose screws if they are ok you can be almost 100% sure the board took no damage.

    I will say if you suspect or feel anything out of the ordinary on motors change them out, a faulty motor that does fly will fry and ESC board.

    Don't double down and buy another that's just crazy or rich talk :eek:
     
  7. gavinski

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    Thanks everyone for the replies - and the condolences. This is a great community of really supportive folks.

    I am not 100% certain what caused the crash. Did the props hit the prop guards as @mikeydaddio suggests? I don't think so. One piece of information I left off was that there were two birds circling the phantom at the time, and one was really close when this happened. Did the bird strike the phantom? That would explain the sudden jolt seen in the video. As always, these things happen so fast that you try and recreate them in your mind afterwards. My son and I both thought we saw a piece fly of the P2 the moment it tipped, which is why I figured it was more likely a loose propeller. We couldn't find the prop or nut when we looked around the crash site, which also indicated it separated up in the sky. The prop screw showed on the P2 shows a direct impact.

    But was it the bird? Has anyone heard of a bird strike on the phantom?

    @gbshovel - The hull is far from fine. Multiple cracks and a bent arm, so the shell needs to be replaced. It impacted so hard that one piece broke loose as shown in the picture. So I do wonder about what other internal damage it suffered, maybe to the boards or other components. And at least two of the motors are destroyed so they need replacing. I also have to replace the hub and gimbal mount.

    @shrimpfarmer - I think this is good advice. I like the idea of trying to revive a dead quad myself - kind of like how medical students practice operating on cadavers. It takes the pressure off. I do need to develop the skills if I am going to stay with this. The part I don't like is buying a new quad - I don't think of myself as either rich or crazy. OK, I must be a little bit crazy to be doing this.
     
  8. Sokol

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    Thank God it didn't hit someone on the ground !
     
  9. atoms

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    This. Seems like a big risk. That thing falling from 140 feet could kill someone.
     
  10. DanCH

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    I had my Phantom v1.1.1 fall out of the sky due to a bad solder on the power connector. I briefly considered trying to repair it myself, but that would have voided the warranty and I was certain the failure was not my fault. The dealer agreed with me and I was sent a replacement.

    The point I am getting to is that sometimes the internal damage is more costly to repair than to buy a new one. If the GPS unit is broken, that's a lot of money. Same with the flight controller.

    But at some point I do feel that if I'm going to get somewhere with this hobby I will have to get my hands dirty and pick up a soldering iron (I bought one already :)).

    I'd have a look inside, check the major components and try to access what's what. Then I'd probably still end up buying a new one, and perhaps think about salvaging parts from the broken phantom to start a F450 self build project (something I will do for sure later in the year).
     
  11. JWDrone

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    What a classic crash,, Sorry, but the bird thing is an issue,, I have lost my phantom 2 and gopro in a wilderness that cant be penetrated by foot,, The culprit a large Bald Eagle attacked my Drone in flight, And he was successful, Straight down to who knows where about 300 meters off of a cliff leading to a dense forest valley floor. What I needed was a small tracking device to attach to my drone and possibly locate the position of whats left after the attack,, The gopro video might be amazing,, with I could find it. Yep expensive hobby,, but already back in the saddle with a new rig,,
     
  12. mikeydaddio

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    That's my biggest fear... and why I always keep an eye on the ground and try to never fly over people, cars, etc.

    Mike
     
  13. Pull_Up

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    Good luck with getting back up there, whatever you decide.

    Perhaps another thing to pack in the flight case going forward might be a Liability Insurance certificate if you're going to fly in populated areas. Losing a quad is expensive and frustrating and upsetting, but being sued after you hit someone or something during the loss could be seriously life-changing if it's a bad outcome and you're not covered...
     
  14. gavinski

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    Good points about where to fly, and where not to fly, especially regarding people. When you are worried about compass calibration, orientation, water hazards, and FPV performance, battery levels...sometimes you can ignore the really important issue - other people. This was a lapse in judgment on my part.

    Realizing that your phantom could fall out of the sky at any moment forces you to think a little bit differently about the dangers and liability. I have seen videos of people zooming their Phantom through crowded parks (with dozens of people on the ground), or cruising down the strip in Las Vegas. I've also seen videos of fly-aways tearing uncontrolled through a busy intersection. The dangers are quite real.

    Lesson learned. I'll be much more mindful of the flying environment from now on.
     
  15. ericdes

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    I think the key element you stated in the post is that you had Carbon fiber props. They are well know to break upon impact compared to stock props.

    Either the prop hit the prop guard and broke, or the prop hit the bird and broke. Is it also possible that for an unforeseen reason it unscrewed (?) and flew off? Maybe if it was rapidly descending in its prop wash, but highly unlikely, and in your case it wasn't .
     
  16. happydogs

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    Holy cow! What a death drop!

    Glad you didn't hit anyone!

    BTW, great vid...what were your gopro settings?
     
  17. gavinski

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    I think the go pro was set to 1080, 60fps, medium FOV. Edit quickly in iMovie and output to 30fps, 720p.
     
  18. GMANNZ

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    Had a couple of magpies get close to my P2V a couple of weeks ago .... I was flying around ok and saw them on edge of the park, .... but then as soon as got to certain height, adjacent to their tree, it was all on for young and old .... 3x of them flew at the quad full noise screaming and kackling and I just stood their thinking this is it, its gonna be trashed !@!!!????? ... then I thought, hold on I have props spinning at finger chopping speed :) , ... seems same time I had that thought, I think they did as well and backed off screaming and pissed off .... out of respect (to them and my wallet) ... I now dont fly near "their" tree .... :shock:
     
  19. gavinski

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    Haha. I grew up in Oz so I know all about Magpies. Psychotic birds. Here in Seattle we just have seagulls.
     
  20. GMANNZ

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    Bloody OZ Currawongs were always more a worry .... they look like magpies on steriods :shock: