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Another battery failure, my Vision+ landed in a muddy river

Discussion in 'Phantom 2 Vision + Discussion' started by TheloniousMac, Feb 16, 2015.

  1. TheloniousMac

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    Let me just start and say this was the first and unfortunately last issue I have ever had with my Phantom Vision+
    I often fly over water since around here that's where the best shots are and thought nothing of attaching a GetterBack (failsafe) and taking off over the river.
    On this occasion I had my batteries charged 2 days prior and both checked out as full when I took them out.
    The battery showed 98% on launch, good GPS, no problems apparent. Over the river I flew to get some closer shots of a bridge.
    It took less than a minute to get out there, 300 metres away when I see the battery had dropped to 78%, okay I'm heading back then another second and it dropped to 76%, another few seconds and now it was 68%. Big problem here now, the shortest distance to the shore was mostly right rather than back towards me so I switched to ATTI and hoped it would make it back. Unfortunately the battery readout was dropping every second in large numbers. Auto-land kicked in and it dropped behind some mangrove trees, control was lost but I still had video feed and was able to watch it land gently 4-5 metres from shore in the muddy Brisbane River. Another few seconds of power and I would have been over land. If I was more attentive I might have noticed earlier and not flown far with that battery.
    Video was now dead but it maintained GPS position for a few minutes but it was underwater and presumed stuck in mud.
    An hour or so of wading around the waist deep mud and water and I could not locate the downed bird. Anyone who's ever seen the Brisbane River would understand, visibility is zero, I lost my shoes in the mud, the GetterBack is presumed buried in mud and may not activate until another flood comes.
    My number is labeled on the Phantom and on the SD card along with 20GB worth of holiday videos. It's possible it may turn up somewhere in a few months and it may RTH but I doubt it will ever fly again.
    Here is a quick video showing pretty much what happened with the battery so it's a known issue, I have no footage of my unfortunate flight except GoPro footage of me digging about in mangrove mud.
    [youtube]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1lBCZcqpqr0[/youtube]

    The bird was less than a year old and not one of the newer Vision+ which seem to be having ESC problems but a V1 Vision+.

    So my questions to the forum:
    Has anyone had any experience with DJI if the bird is lost or can I presume to take full loss unless a class action were ever to happen. (seems to be a problem which ALL batteries may experience)
    I was confident with the Vision+ before this event but that has completely evaporated. Should I just get a cheap Phantom 2 and attach my GoPro and learn to fly without FPV or are any of the competitors any good.
    Should I wait for the GoPro Drone, is that even supposed to come out in 2015 or was that just marketing to try and kill the Inspire.
    Have the issues with the Inspire been sorted out or is that still iffy and would likely suffer the same battery faults that the Phantom line has.
     
  2. expedite

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    Re: Another battery failure, my Vision+ landed in a muddy ri

    Oh man, terrible to hear and see that T Mac... How many cycles did you have on that particular battery?
     
  3. Meta4

    Meta4 Moderator
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    Re: Another battery failure, my Vision+ landed in a muddy ri

    Bad luck with that battery incident TM
    A good warning not to leave valued images on the SD card, but to download to the computer after each day's flying.

    Did you have the updated battery firmware?
    At the time I did not appreciate it locking me out of a battery that had been stored for some months at 100% but perhaps it was to prevent a similar event? The battery seemed to fly properly but the new firmware didn't like it.
    [​IMG]

    Without evidence you can't expect DJI to take any action.

    The Inspire flies very well but still has some issues to get ironed out and costs like poison in $A.
    If you think Phantom batteries are expensive check Inspire batts.
    It's also much bigger for travel and handling - but it flies like a dream.

    Gopro have given no indication of when they may have a drone, just that they intend entering the market - sometime.
    Their announcement would have been for the benefit of their shareprice rather than to have any effect on competitors products.
    I doubt they will be challenging the Inspire for quite some time.
    There are more competitors but DJI still leads atm.
     
  4. TheloniousMac

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    Re: Another battery failure, my Vision+ landed in a muddy ri

    Not sure but don't think it would have been many. Bought the 2 battery combo with the Vision+ 7 months ago and alternated them so maybe it had been flown 40 times.
    I still have the second battery but no way to test it without another Phantom.
     
  5. TheloniousMac

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    Re: Another battery failure, my Vision+ landed in a muddy ri

    I don't think I had the latest firmware, just the one before that 1-2 months ago. I heard that there was a rollback on some update which I never applied.
    I know I had the update which drained the batteries for storage, so after a week it had like 70% battery which was annoying and took some time to remember to charge when I thought I might be flying the next day.

    I always copied the videos to my computer after each flight but since it was a 32GB card I just left them on there rather than wiping it each time. Maybe it will help in this case if someone finds it. The only footage I don't have is of the failure. I wasn't recording the screen either which would have been helpful in this case.

    I've got no problem buying new batteries but like I said a bit of warning would have been nicer than suddenly losing power during flight. And I would expect them to last more than 7 months especially since I was alternating between 2 batteries.
    If I do get the Inspire I'd probably have to get the bigger battery as well as the original since I had gotten used to 2 flights each time I was out and was getting about 20 minutes each flight compared to the lesser Inspire flight time.

    I'd really like to see the Inspire in person before pulling the trigger as you said it's a bit bigger and I did enjoy putting the Phantom in my backpack and going off somewhere for a flight. I don't think I could stand just keeping it in a hardcase and needing the car to lug it around.

    I see what you mean about the share price of GoPro, it was going down when the Inspire was announced and they tried to keep it up, shame they took such a hit when the press (mistakenly) said that Apple was about to enter their market. I just had another look at the report and it said late 2015 for the release so maybe it's worth waiting or at least see what happens with the Inspire (camera mounts & the handheld gimbal etc).
     
  6. max

    max

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    Re: Another battery failure, my Vision+ landed in a muddy ri

    You can hold throttle up to counteract the auto landing descent. It won't go up, but it will hold altitude long enough to get a fair distance. Hope this isn't new information to you and could have saved you :(
     
  7. TheloniousMac

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    Re: Another battery failure, my Vision+ landed in a muddy ri

    I did know this and by god I tried but watching the battery count down like a movie bomb timer I had less than 10 seconds to cross the river.
    It really is one of those hindsight things where I would/should have done things differently.
    [​IMG]
    This is roughly the path I took and really what I could have done is keep it over the river and try to manually land it over there, then ride my bike another 25 minutes across the bridge and try and retrieve it (assuming nobody grabbed it). I would have had to make sure it didn't try to RTH but it was doable.
    At the time I started return with over 70% battery and honestly thought I could make it. Unfortunately the faster/more the motors worked to bring it home the faster the battery went down.
    I was flying fairly low to begin with 60 metres so it wasn't as easy to fight since once it dropped between 20-30 metres the trees caused interference with the controls and made it extra fun.
    This was my first issue I've ever had with any drone and hopefully I've learnt a lesson with the next one.
    I hope this encourages more people to not get into the mindspace that I believe I had that these things are without issue. That a battery fault can occur at any point and you have very little time to do anything about it. Hopefully this isn't a design flaw and even though I've heard about others with the same battery problems this doesn't become more of an issue as time goes on and suddenly all these drones start dropping from the skies.
     
  8. msinger

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    Losing Phantoms in water is starting to becoming a bi-daily experience here. If you're flying over water, you should definitely attach a GetterBack to the landing gear.
     
    #8 msinger, Feb 16, 2015
    Last edited: Nov 5, 2015
  9. TheloniousMac

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    Re: Another battery failure, my Vision+ landed in a muddy ri

    Yep, and if it's a muddy riverbank then aim for the middle to give it a chance to deploy. Mine is still attached to the leg of the Phantom embedded in mud.
    I have hope that heavy rain will dislodge it and the Getterback will deploy eventually and it finds it way back to me.

    Maybe even those pool noodle mods, since it did land very gently in the river, then I guess it would have gone down the river and who knows where.
     
  10. Scampaboy

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    Re: Another battery failure, my Vision+ landed in a muddy ri

    I seem to have had a similar problem last week, although i was very near and i was able to hand catch.

    I was flying back to myself from about 100m height and 100m distance, the battery level was approx 50% so i decided to bring her back in to land before 30% I like the safety margin.

    5 m away and about 5 m height the battery dropped from 40% to 8 % in about 3 seconds, and the aircraft started to drop luckily i was able to get under it in time.

    My battery is very new about 98% life if I check though the computer application. I could understand if it was the cold (it was about -15) but previously I've been getting 15 mins at those temps.

    I now don't trust the battery or the meter of how much life is left, I am using a stopwatch and timing it for 8 mins and then bringing it within catching distance when it gets to ten mins.

    heres the edited video from the above flight

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GOsXy_QM6oA
     
  11. Larry L

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    Re: Another battery failure, my Vision+ landed in a muddy ri

    Sorry for your loss. Hope you find it quickly. Did you cycle the batteries after 20 flights? I do not know if that really helps keeping your batteries in good condition. I have two that are getting ready to have 20 cycles on them.
     
  12. yorlik

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    Re: Another battery failure, my Vision+ landed in a muddy ri

    Sorry for your loss! maybe the floater gizmo should be attached to the TOP of the units due to mud?

    Maybe a new thread is in order to discuss flying in low temps? I doubt any of the chips inside the drone or control or battery are milspec or wide temp range ICs: meaning they may not be guaranteed to operate properly at low temps.... I wonder what the min temp ratings are of the chips used here? Only spec I have seen is 0-40C on camera.... might assume the rest of the components are the same.... Why I won't take a chance & fly in this -10 degree weather we have been having lately!
     
  13. rbhamilton

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    Re: Another battery failure, my Vision+ landed in a muddy ri

    Exactly. I hear temps are going to plunge into the mid 70's this next week! Brrr... Err... Oh ya. I'm in Arizona. Nevermind. :)
     
  14. Drone-Outlaw

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    Re: Another battery failure, my Vision+ landed in a muddy ri

    Flying a drone over water reminds me of when I used to play golf & trying to make a shot over a water hazard....that water always seemed like it won........


    Moose
     
  15. Mori55

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    Re: Another battery failure, my Vision+ landed in a muddy ri

    How true ! It would suck my golf ball in like a black hole !!
     
  16. TheloniousMac

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    Re: Another battery failure, my Vision+ landed in a muddy ri

    Thanks, the struts were the easiest way to attach I found so it made sense to put it there. Honestly I was expecting it to crash then land in water not land gently so I thought it would be covered. Floats would have helped but then I would have had to chase it down the river and stability would have been impeded in the air.

    I'm in sunny Brisbane (mostly, we are experiencing another flood this week) and at 11:30am the temperature was about 28 degrees celsius so this wouldn't have been due to temperature.
    I finally got around to checking the flight log and am posting the video here as proof (as much as I don't have the bird anymore) battery status is listed during flight.
    [youtube]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wYl4fZ1i6q8[/youtube]
     
  17. yorlik

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    Re: Another battery failure, my Vision+ landed in a muddy ri

    wow! how did you get this 'flight log?' it is wonderful data! do we all have this info on our cell phones after each flight?

    and is it not enough to pinpoint your drone within a few feet?
     
  18. TheloniousMac

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    Re: Another battery failure, my Vision+ landed in a muddy ri

    I was using the FPV Booster App which which automatically records the last flight like this and can be played back, then I recorded my screen.
    While I technically "knew" where it was (within about 3 metre radius) I couldn't reach it. If you've ever seen the Brisbane River you'd understand but it's extremely muddy and surrounded by mangroves and waist deep mud which is tough to walk through and then with zero visibility in the water I couldn't find it. I got help from a canoeist who was passing but we still couldn't find it. It was probably stuck in mud under 3 metres of water just 4 metres from shore.
    We are currently experiencing another flood so there's a good chance it may be washed out to sea or somewhere else and I do hope it is recovered but not expecting it to be.