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Catastrophic design flaw of Phantom 3

Discussion in 'Pro/Adv Discussion' started by Chris Vedeler, Sep 7, 2015.

  1. Chris Vedeler

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    I experienced a catastrophic failure to my P3P this morning. Essentially one of the motors of my bird sheared off in flight. I don't think most people realize exactly how the motors are attached (I know I didn't). All that repeated torque, thrust and force of these powerful motors is transferred to a thin layer of plastic less than 1mm thick (see the picture). Who designed this? Plastic will fatigue, crack and soften with heat (the motors can get very hot). Failure was inevitable.

    There have been many posts here regarding cracks of the plastic around the motor mounts. When I read them, I inspected my P3 I assumed that since I did not have cracks when I checked two months ago, that I was safe. I wish I had checked before my flight this morning as I would bet I had cracks that had developed.

    I would bet that ALL Phantom 3s will eventually have this problem. If you are flying where it is hot like me, I would bet you will have this problem sooner rather than later.

    This is now standard issue for my future Phantom's:
    Strong Arm reinforcement plate

    IMG_2297.JPG IMG_2301.JPG
     
  2. snerd

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    ****! That's nauseating to even look at! Hope they take care of it soon!
     
  3. envisionabove

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    It takes along time, but you mite prevail quicker. Good luck
    Is that the prop that was on it in the crash? It looks like it held up? What's that black rub mark on the motor? Looks strange like a burn mark?
     
  4. Meta4

    Meta4 Moderator
    Staff Member

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    Or it could be that DJI had a bad batch of plastic shells.
    Not all Phantoms have developed shell cracks. Maybe some never will.
    I would be interesting to know if any cracks were visible on yours prior to the crash.
    Are there any cracks visible on the other arms?
    How many hours has it flown?
     
  5. Chris Vedeler

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    I've had my P3P for 3 months and have about 100 flights. I can't see any cracks in the other 3 motors.
     
  6. mman360

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    I think I'll have to start checking there before flight, just to be safe
     
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  7. Chris Vedeler

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    That is the prop. The bird ended up upside down with the other props spinning. I wouldn't trust any of the props again as at least two have signs of damage. The rub mark is from the motor as it spun free in the flange before tearing the wires off.
     
  8. gfredrone

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    ****! Now I'm really worried about my cracks.
     
  9. wotblake

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    Curious - is this a black or silver motor/prop? Seems like most of the severe cracks have been on the arms with black props. I forget if black is CC or CW.
     
  10. Chris Vedeler

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    It was the silver prop. Not sure why that would make any difference.

    I'm just grateful that it happened very close to me so I could easily recover it and that nobody was hurt!
     
  11. wotblake

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    Thanks. It seems like the black props actually get more stress on them.

    In addition to adding the strong arm kit I also turned active breaking all the way down. The active braking seemed to add a lot of stress. I haven't noticed any cracks after these changes.

    Good luck getting a replacement from DJI. Hope they treat you right!
     
  12. HP Entertainment

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    What state are you flying in? I'm filming in Tucson, one of the hottest parts of the US.
    Its a shame because this summer has made it incredibly hard to fly, you really have to be selective when/where you fly depending on weather conditions.
    Sorry to hear.
     
  13. Chris Vedeler

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    I'm in Scottsdale. I never fly if it is above 100F (which makes only early mornings the only time to fly this time of year). I was always afraid of cooking the batteries.
     
  14. FunN4lo

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    That sux

    Did it damage the camera or gimbal or anything else when it crashed? DJI should replace that, open a claim. Although if there was not other damage, I might buy a new shell for $60 and get back in the air instead of waiting 2 months for DJI to repair
     
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  15. HP Entertainment

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    DJI really didn't design these to sustain the Arizona heat. It will be great once Winter comes to start filming. But unfortunate that we only have the options of filming during sunset or sunrise. Will be checking my Phantom before now flying now. I'd try contacting DJI since it was a Manufacture prob.
     
  16. Chris Vedeler

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    Gimbal was broken in two and a landing gear leg was bent. I have already calculated repairing it myself will cost about $250. This is clearly a manufacturers defect and I already have sent a warranty claim with DJI through their webpage. If I don't hear from them I'll call.

    According the the log it was spinning at 4 revolutions per second before it hit the ground!
     
  17. Jbundy63

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    **** Chris I hate to here that and hope DJI will take care of it for you. I was in Scottsdale a few months ago, great place and wouldn't mind revisiting. Best of luck!
     
  18. wotblake

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    I'm not sure this is heat related. Members from all over the world are getting similar cracks. This is, however, the first time I've seen a motor completely fly off the Phantom.

     
  19. fhagan02

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    This is absolutely infuriating! The frightening "stress crack" topic has been cover hundreds of times all across the web now. When a motor flies out of its hub things have come full circle. (I've reluctantly sent my bird in to DJI because of a random 400 ft spinning fall from the sky. Too much damage to easily fix especially for something that's still under warranty.) Regardless..... there really needs to be a serious competitor to arrive on the scene and raise the bar for DJI. I mean my event, many others and now this one is almost - I say this with all kindness - laughable. I've investigated others since I've had to send mine in for "assessment." When getting serviced through DJI I've found the average wait to get an issue resolved, fixed or replaced (for a product under warranty) is 70-83 days. ARE YOU FREAKIN' KIDDING ME?!

    GoPro.... please.... show us the bird you've promised to release in 2016.
     
    #19 fhagan02, Sep 7, 2015
    Last edited: Sep 8, 2015
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  20. gully1965

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    I put these on my p3. It really stiffens the arms