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Excited about getting into quads/drones with a Phantom. But I am concerned with DJI's bad rep....

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by Arct1c0n, May 20, 2015.

  1. Arct1c0n

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    I moved to the Seattle area over a year ago from my homestate of Montana were I dabbled in R/C off and on, mostly cars in the lipo powered monster trucks like the Savage Flux and the big boy, HPI Baja 5T which were a lot of fun and I had tons of space and spots to drive them in. I tried a bit of E-flite helicopters but I quickly got frustrated with them and sold them and went back to cars.

    Sadly, I pretty much gave up my R/C hobby moving out here as in a big city like Seattle, there is no place to go driving R/C cars really unless I drive way out of town. I had thought about doing something like the drones off an on but my memories of doing fixed axial helicopters kept me from looking into it, not to mention the cost.

    But lately i've been needing to something else with my hands other then my computer gaming rig building and playing so today I looked up and found a local DJI dealership in my area and decided to check it out. To my amazing luck, they were having a new drone flyers demo do with all of DJI models out to see and fly as well as a drawing for a contest to win 30% off a Phantom 3 pro and a free extra battery I didn't win :(

    http://imgur.com/a/UPCKY

    In any case, I finally got to see what all the big hub bub was about with the drones and specifcially, the Phantoms that I kept seeing on the web off an on and I finally got to fly one for the first time.! I was utterly amazed at how freaking easy it was to control and move around vs the single rotor helicopters I tried, not to mention, the whole idea of using my Note 4 or a tablet to watch the drone fly around in real time was so freaking cool!!!! I had a blast in the few minutes I got to try out a Phantom 3! Everyone who attended got a 5% off coupon for anything they wanted to buy from them or DJI directly. They also gave basic safety walkthroughs on drone usage as well as current FAA regulations and basic TO DO's and NOT TO DO's with drone.

    So needless to say, in the next week or so, i'm gonna treat myself to an early birthday present and go all out with a Phantom 3 Proffessional!!

    I decided to go ahead and spend the extra on the Pro vs the Advanced as the faster charger sounded really nice and of course the 4k camera as I was amazed at the difference 4k videos looked, even downscaled on a 1080P monitor and it was nice to know I could still do 1080p at 60fps if I do any flying with lots of moving around. I went and picked up a Sandisk Extreme 32gig Ultra 3 microSD card just to get something nicer and bigger then the 16gig that the Phantom gives you.

    I am so totally freaking excited to be getting back into RC and flying of all things! I've already got a dozen idea of where I wanna go fly and record! Yes I am fully aware now of the 400 foot limit, no national parks, keep the drone within visual site, don't fly in regulated airspace like airports, buzzing people and spying on private area's etc.... they really made sure we all understood those rules.


    I do have a few thoughts on some things:

    1. I need a real video editing program as Windows a movie maker ain't gonna cut it with 4k video. But I simply can't afford or justify Premiere and other high cost software. I just need to make basics edits, trimming, music and and slide shows for my new drone videos, I'm not going to be going George Lucas. Can anyone recommend a program in the $50 area? This will be for a high end i7 Windows 7 gaming rig, so no Mac.

    2. I still would like some people guard during my early flights to give me some crash breathing room despite the naysayers on them. Any quick clip adapters with guards people recommend from 3rd parties?

    3. Any cases available yet that allow you to keep the propellers attached vs always taking time off and on which would seem to be more unnecessary wear and tear on motors and props to me anyway

    4. Any suggestions to buy or make a sunshield for my Note 4 while I'm flying? I won't be able to buy a bigger tablet or awhile so my Notes small screen will have to do

    5. I read the full manual but I'm still not real clear on the different flight modes with the switch on the controller, especially the Intelligent Orientation Control. When and why would you wanna use that?

    6. Is there a setting to prevent the Phantom from flying back on low battery?

    7. What is the most common way to orient the gimbal during flight, follow or FPV and why?

    8. Are their any setting in the DJI app that need to be changed as a good rule vs factory settings?


    However, the past week my research through various websites, forums, here and youtube have been finding a disturbing amount of horror stories in regards to quality control and customer service in general with DJI.

    It's coming up enough that it really makes me ponder wether I should really chance giving over $1,300 to a company that seems to take a sideline to taking care of customer issues and complaints as well as supporting their products.

    These are just some of what I heard, so please feel free to ellaborate on them with any knowledge of these issues, personal or otherwise.

    1. Extremely poor/slow shipping and turn around times for products being shipped new as well as warranty claims. All the way up to making people pay for return shipping with no gaurrentee that verification of warranty claim on DJI product will result in repair and not cost additional out of pocket expense.

    2. Limited or no communication in regards to products being shipped from DJI warehouse and in some cases, orders have been ignored or cancelled for no reason

    3. Difficult and frustrating customer service both via phone and email with DJI. Customers have been ignored, sidelined or put on hold and forgotten about

    4. Lack of replacement OEM parts for Phantom products, selection is very small and limited

    5. DJI has denied warranty claims for people damaged products due to claims that defect "falls outside of manufacturing process" or "product has been modified and thus warranty is voided" even though customers claim that is not true

    Again, these are some of the horror tales i've been finding in my research about getting into this hobby and the products from this company. I REALLY don't want to dump this kind of money into whats supposed to be a fun and relaxing new hobby only to lose lots of money, time and patience dealing with a piss poor company that doesn't stand by its products and makes customer service a very low priority.


    Sorry for the very long post, but I didn't want to make mulitple threads so I figured I just put it all in one and whoever has patience to read it all defintetely deserve kudos.
     
  2. GoodnNuff

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    What local DJI dealer did you find here in the area - the photos do not look familiar?

    I've owned a Phantom 1 since April of 2013 and a Phantom2 for over a year. Never had a problem with either! Yet...
     
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  3. Arct1c0n

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    That is CopterShop in Woodinville

    http://coptershop.com/
     
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  4. CPantom59

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    Arc, I don't think you are ready. The P3 is an extremely complex device where many things can go wrong. Wait for that perfect drone built by that perfect company where everybody is happy and there are no complaints.
     
  5. Arct1c0n

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    Cute. If all you have is sarcasm, then please don't even respond to my posts or threads again.
     
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  6. GoodnNuff

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    Oh like 3DR or Yuneec? Good idea!
     
  7. Fyod

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    Adobe Premiere Pro is not hundreds of dollars anymore. They have a cca $25 monthly plan that you can cancel or get the whole CC package for $40 iirc. I'm a big fan of this software "rental" model that enables beginners to start working without shelling out thousands of dollars when their business isn't making any or little income.
     
  8. CPantom59

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    Arc buddy, why would you buy a product from a "piss poor company that doesn't stand by its products and makes customer service a very low priority."
    Your words. And, you can always choose to ignore me.
    3DR and Yuneec are no closer to perfection than DJI is.
     
  9. GoodnNuff

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    Oh I think they are closer to perfection than DJI.
    And DJI's customer service is non existent.
    While both Yuneec and 3DR are quickly buiiding a great reputation for their customer service.
    And then there is 3DR's new satisfaction guarantee where they will refund your money if you are dissatisfied with your Solo for ANY reason within the first 30 days after purchase.
    Not only that, but if you have an accident or flyaway and the "Black box" (located in both the drone and the transmitter) shows the fault was not your's, 3DR will replace your drone, your gimbal, AND your camera!

    DJI can't hold a candle to that.

    That said, still love DJI's products and will continue to fly them. Perhaps another DJI drone is in my future. I'll let you know how the Solo compares when it arrives in a few weeks.
     
    #9 GoodnNuff, May 20, 2015
    Last edited: May 20, 2015
  10. RichWest

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    I think you'll have a blast getting back into the RC fun, the phantoms are a great turn-key product. If or when you have an issue, then you can come to your own conclusion about parts and service. Don't crash and you're likely to not have any issues. Good luck on your adventure.
     
  11. CPantom59

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    Good point Rich. I agree. I think if you go over all the pros and cons between purchasing a Phantom vs a Solo, the Phantom, especially the P3, is a much better choice. Arc, do everything you can possibly do to avoid a crash and you'll have the time of your life. Good luck to you.
     
  12. TeamYankee

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    1. For editing.. there is the free and superb "LightWorks" as used by Hollywood film makers.. now free..

    http://www.lwks.com/index.php?option=com_lwks&view=download&Itemid=206&tab=0
    Bit of a steep learning curve though, but there are plenty of tutorials about.

    2. Prop guards... stay away from them. Great for indoor flights.. but stay away from that too, until you get better.
    Get a perspex camera guard and learn to hand catch the Phantom... zero chance of a tip over on landing!

    3. Always remove the props after a flight, it can be part of your post and pre-flight checks to check for prop damage. There is no wear and tear to be honest.

    4. Sun shield.. something like this? http://www.squarejellyfish.com/sun-shield.html - Google for many different versions.

    5. Flight modes... check out youtube.. the P2 is essentially the same. IOC modes allow you to use course lock, ie. fly in a straight line while panning the camera to left or right.
    Home Lock.. allows you to fly back to you by pulling back on the stick, regardless of which way the Phantom is pointing.. can be used to fly a circle around the home point, just fly left or right and the P2/3 will go in a neat circle around the home point.

    6. Low battery, it can either fly home or land where it is.. clearly it's better to fly home. You could be over a road or water etc. when it decides it wants to land. Learn to complete the "mission" before you are in a low battery situation, wind and temperature affects the flight times so plan for it, not leave it to the last erg...

    7. Gimbal - follow mode allows the gimbal to stay level during turns. FPV mode allows the gimbal to tilt left and right to give the pilot feedback on the turning process.
    Clearly, follow mode is best using the heads up display... Not sure if the P3 only has "follow mode" anyway.

    8. No ideas on this one.. check out Youtube...


    9. Have fun flying!!!
     
    #12 TeamYankee, May 20, 2015
    Last edited: May 20, 2015
  13. RichWest

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    Well actually, I'll be flying a Solo when released. I've run the DJI path and learned a lot about the the company and industry over the last 9 months. DJI was the cheapest investment to get into the RC/MR quickly and find my bearings for what works for my needs. I personally like the over all concept that is Solo and if I would need to work on the bird like I did my P2V+, then I believe the 3DR platform is for me here on out....ymmv
     
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  14. gfredrone

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  15. ianwood

    ianwood Taco Wrangler
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    This is not a helpful response. The OP is weighing the pros and cons of buying a P3 and has raised some poignant concerns and questions.
     
  16. Fyod

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    Fixed.
     
  17. CPantom59

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    Sorry bout that Ian and Arc. I guess I should have simply stated that I don't think DJI is a piss poor company, that they "do" stand behind their products and that I don't believe their customer service is a low priority.
    Just got a little defensive there.
     
    #17 CPantom59, May 20, 2015
    Last edited: May 20, 2015
  18. Arct1c0n

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    ^^^^ Thank you
     
  19. gingerbloke

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    Not a P3 owner but here's my take on my P2V+ V3. For perspective, I've been building camera planes and helis for years and I fully understand that you're sometimes putting £1000+ into the air that might never be seen again.

    - when it all works it's one of the most impressive bit of tech I've ever bought. It's immense fun, can fly in windy weather, produces excellent photos and video. Range is excellent without any mods.

    - it started cracking around the motor mounts within a few flights, the dealer told me this was not covered under warranty. For this reason alone I'll never buy another DJI product.

    - the 'closed' battery tech is somewhat unnerving, I could understand the lock-in if it were about making sure that only the best quality batteries get connected to the Phantom but reports seem to indicate otherwise and DJI should really be standing behind them a little more if they go wrong.

    - I expect to lose/crash it one day. It might be pilot error, failure of some sort or unexplained. The way I see it if I still have it after 100 flights it's only cost about £7 per flight :)

    - DJI have started a market place we will all benefit from. Can you imagine what these quads will be like this time next year?

    If I were you I'd buy one and have some fun. If there are any signs that yours is a lemon get it sorted very quickly with the dealer.

    Adam
     
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  20. dougvg

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    I think I'd add that DJI seems to use all of us as their QC. I've had 5 of their aircraft and all 5 have been back to the repair depot. A year ago, it was fairly painless, but lately the repair times are something like 60 days. Completely unacceptable. If you intend to fly a lot (I fly pretty much every day, and usually several times/day) you WILL have problems. Some are minor and can be fixed without sending the copter in (always try everything you can before sending one back to them), and they'll often tell you to send it in for no reason at all. Their support is atrocious. Bad advice and incorrect diagnosis is abundant.

    QC problems with batteries are very common - some last a few months, some last years. Some provide 20 minutes of flight time, some give you 10. They are extremely variable - again, as if there is no QC being done at all. And virtually all P2, P3 and Inspire camera sensors are full of dead pixels, making their use for professional stills limited. Dead pixels are an indication of cheap, untested sensors, which seems to be their norm. These defects are apparent with RAW images, less so on JPEGs and videos.

    It would be great if they had real QC, like any proper company would, but instead they churn them out and wait to get it back when (not if) it fails.

    That all said, while they're working, they're great! Fun, easy to fly and high-performing. I just wish they'd get their quality problems under control or at least get their support and repair in line with today's standards. That would probably raise the price $100 or so, and slow sales, but I think we'd all be happier in the long run.