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F550 up in Flames! What just happened?

Discussion in 'Other DJI Multi-Rotors' started by lgeist, Apr 2, 2014.

  1. lgeist

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    To my fellow F550 owners:

    I purchased a F550 combo ARF package from Atlanta Hobby three weeks ago with Naza V2, GPS and Zenmuse. I've spent the last few weeks carefully assembling it after thoroughly following DJI's instruction and watching dozens of "F550 build" videos on YouTube. Over the past two days I hooked up the ship to my NAZA software several times and checked and adjusted all settings, parameters and calibrations including "motor test" as per the instructions. (I own two P2's, so I'm fairly familiar with Naza set-up procedures)

    Today, satisfied that it was "All systems GO for launch" I went to my flying field, rechecked everything again, did my compass dance again, and then disaster struck - Upon initiating motor start sequence, one ESC burst into flames and all six motors smoked! I initiated motor cutoff within maybe 1.5 seconds, but too late. All motors and ESC's are toast.

    Now here's the strange thing: I have been using the same, brand new MadDog RC 3S 5,000mAh LiPo for all of my Naza assistant tests and everything was fine. After the fire, I went home and hooked up to Naza assistant again and surprisingly, the Naza board and Futaba receiver and all electronics are fine. The only things that fried were the motors and ESC's. I can't find any short-circuits or burned spots anywhere on the frame or any of the wiring, anywhere.

    I've just boxed up the whole rig, as is, and shipped back to Atlanta Hobby for diagnosis. I'm at a loss to figure out what caused this.

    Ideas anyone?
     
  2. ladykate

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    Wow. No idea but please let us know what the Atlanta people say. To have the whole setup go up in smoke almost seems like a reversed polarity of some sort.
     
  3. FangsCPO

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    That is horrific. I would have just gone home and cried my a** off. Hopefully, they can tell you what may have happend. Please let us know.
     
  4. OI Photography

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    From the title I'd assumed your lipo had burst in flight, which would have made your 550 look like a satellite falling out of orbit.

    There are several components on the ESC boards that could burst or fry due to simple issues with the current, but I would think it must take quite a surge or other imbalance to cause one to flame, as well as effect all the other ESC's/motors. I honestly have no idea what it could be, hoping ElGuano or someone could shed some light on the possibilities while we all anxiously await the full autopsy report.

    I feel for you...seriously. I love my Phantom and all, but I think I'm more emotionally invested in my 550. Losing my Phantom might be annoying, but I'd be crushed if this had happened to me :(
     
  5. lgeist

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    The very first thing I checked was polarity to make sure I hadn't soldered the battery leads on backwards, but it was correct. But even that wouldn't explain why all of the sensitive electronics are fine and only the motors and ESC's are fried. In fact, NAZA is still showing normal voltage at the PMU.

    Atlanta Hobby will have the remains in two days, so I'll follow up with the autopsy report. I can only hope that it was a DJI component failure so I can get some kind of warranty consideration. However If I do have to pay for it out of pocket, I may as well do a motor/ESC upgrade.

    Any thoughts out there on the E300's? I don't have an unlimited budget, but would like to at least upgrade a little from stock if not too costly.
     
  6. FangsCPO

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    I'd go with the upgrade. I've heard nothing but good things about it. so why not since you have to purchase motors and ESC. You might as well do it. Good Luck!
     
  7. PJA

    PJA

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    Sorry to hear about your f550...

    I just completed building my f550 and set it up in NAZA last week...
    Just waiting for nicer weather to launch it on it's maiden voyage...
    I'll be extra careful now that I know things like this can happen...

    I hope Atlanta hobby resolves your problem and replaces everything for you...

    Let us know, for sure...
     
  8. EMCSQUAR

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    I suspect a defect in the board itself. If Naza is good the only thing left that would hit all motors is board. Unless you had an ESC or ESC cable short back to the board.

    Re: E300s - worth every penny.
     
  9. labmansid

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    Wow, that's just terrible! I feel for you, for sure. Hope there is a happier outcome eventually.
     
  10. lgeist

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    Well, the good news is that it looks like the damage is confined to just the ESC's and motors, so if it's not covered by warranty then I can upgrade to a full E300 motor/ESC set-up for about $240 bucks. Not exactly pocket-change, but at least not as painful as losing my new $2,000 FPV P2 in a lake a few months back ;-)
     
  11. Gizmo3000

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    Yikes,. that's some scary stuff!

    I've heard of single ESCs popping, but hearing how all 6 motor and ESC's going sounds really bizarre.

    For all of them to go tho, really can only mean that they were all getting reversed polarity I would imagine?

    please report back when you hear back from Atlanta Hobby!
     
  12. lgeist

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    That's the part I don't understand. The Motor Test feature in Naza Assistant using the exact same battery and connector tested fine just a few minutes earlier. I only had to reverse the wires on two ESC's to get all the motors turning in the proper direction (got lucky with the other four). If there had been some kind of reversed polarity it seems like it would have showed up in the Naza motor test? Everything was good until I pulled the sticks for motor start and that's when the fireworks started, even before adding any throttle. Weird...
     
  13. WReimer

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    Really sorry to hear of your disaster...that is REALLY rough to swallow. I hope they find something that works out positively for you. As for the E-300's in a 550...It still isn't the fastest hex out there...didn't expect it to be. It doesn't have more power than you can possibly use, again, didn't expect that either. It is without a doubt the smoothest, tightest, quietest, "in control" hex I've ever seen though. By themselves, each component adds a bit to the 550...not a lot, but noticeable. When you get all three installed and operating, the sum is FAR greater than the parts. Even if DJI says they'll pick up the entire repair, negotiate it to be done with E-300 components; they are worth throwing a bit of your own money into the pile. If they want to repair with the original stock components, get the E-300 package anyway, take off the stock before you ever fly it and put on the E-300. Yes, it is that good.
     
  14. lgeist

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    Thanks for the advice, WReimer. Based on advice from you and others, I will definitely upgrade. I've already added the Aimdroix Aluminum arms too. Really anxious to hear what they find out tomorrow!
     
  15. Uncle Meat

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    Just curious... and I know the question may sound somewhat off the wall, but did you drill any holes through the bottom plate by chance?

    U.M.
     
  16. lgeist

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    No, I know better than that. And can't find any evidence of arcing anywhere on frame or electronics. One ESC has a hole burned in it the size of a dime though.
     
  17. Uncle Meat

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    Well that sounds to me like you may have had a bad ESC to begin with and since all the ESC's are on the same circuit the one faulty ESC caused the failure of the rest.

    U.M.
     
  18. JTheed

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    This is interesting. I have an F550 and decided to buy the E300 Propulsion System for it thinking I would take out the original ESC's and Motors and then install the E300 system. Instead, I bought a new set of center plates and the Aluminum Androix Arms. I had the E300 just 3 days shy of 1 month before I installed them as I was waiting for a another part that seemed to take forever to get to me. Once everything was assembled, I did the same thing that you did. I connected it to the computer and ran the NAZA software. Check all screens and did the motor test. All was fine. I disconnected the F550 from the computer and when I initiated the Motors, ONE of the ESC's started smoking immediately. I pulled the plug on the battery and when I put an ohm meter on the board, there was a short across positive and negative. I started un-soldering the ESC's and found that ONE of them had a hard short in it, the one that started smoking. Luckily, I was 3 days shy of the online stores warranty coverage, so I was able to get an RMA and send back the one ESC. I am still waiting for the replacement and after reading your post, I should probably reconnect the other 5 and make sure they are OK. Is there any problem testing, not flying, it with just 5 ESC's and 5 Motors connected?

    I shortened the cables coming from the ESC's but checked each one to see if the short was in the wire and when I had removed the outer insulation and it was not.

    Please UPDATE this post when Atlanta Hobby or whomever, gives you an explanation as to what happened to yours.
     
  19. Big Ben

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    You hadn't done any metal work like use an angle grinder near the copter? I'm thinking metal particles all over the electronics and in the motors.
     
  20. JTheed

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    If your asking me, No. I do all this inside my 1 room abode.