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Feeling lost after loss of drone

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by Rasbelin, Aug 4, 2015.

  1. Rasbelin

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    I was first thinking if this is a Phantom 3 specific thing, but then again it feels darn hard to speculate anything sensible as all the flight data was in the drone and the drone itself is completely MIA and AWOL.

    It's now been about three hours since I was having a nice sunny daytime flight, hardly any wind and ther perfect weather for a drone flight. The Phantom was taking some nice stillshots of the local observation tower at about 425 feet. No signal issues so far during that flight. All of a suddenly the visuals blur and the signal is lost forever. The last frame I ever got was pointing towards the horizon, except not in the direction I had controlled it to. Anything like a midair impact however seems unlikely to me.

    I waited for some 20 mins in the home location for it to return and also looked around a few yards, but nada, no sign of it. Also I basically had a visual contact with it, but as it flew so high, my naked eye couldn't see it's figure in the sky.

    I'm just darn lost now, which is why this outpouring message might be in the wrong subforum. It's just even for a big man a darn big loss to loose a P3P and now all the other accessories are useless, which is why I'm close to needing a Kleenex. :D Some pretty darn big bucks lost.

    There's no insurance claim to file as I have nothing to prove. My hobby item has vapourised, which means there's no physical evidence of its acciedental destruction. So it seems to me my drone career ended after four flights. What a waste of money... And darn I feel sad, because I seriously started to get a hung out of this. Did some pretty skillful moves yesterday and had a pretty good handle already. Dunno what I should do next...

    At the top of my mind is just a very simple question: is this really this unrealiable even at the pricepoint of a P3P? The newest firmware was installed (well, not the one released today, which I did get an in-app notice about when taking off) and I had a proper iPad Air 2 to control it. Does it get any more reliable with an Inspire 1? Or is it just pure luck every time you fly a DJI drone? I just feel that all my money literally vanished today...

    My only theory is that some unexpected gust must have taken it and thrown it away, causing a crash into the lake. Then again I lost all contact like it would have disintegrated in midair. So it just makes me very puzzled. Too bad the app doesn't log flight data. Heck, lost like MH370?
     
  2. JKDSensei

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    Very sorry to hear of your loss fella.

    Are you fairly certain it went down in water?

    Months ago I decided that this risk was too great for me. I was SOOOO ready to buy a P3P and had the money but the constant flow of reports of loss guided me to wait. I instead purchased a brand new P1 for $275 to satisfy my craving and I am very glad I did.

    I will not buy another Phantom until these issues appear to be resolved. I can wait.
    I also decided that if and when I do, I will have something like the Marco Polo locator on it.

    The reports of losses and flyaways keep coming. I thought by now they would at least begin to subside but I am seeing a uptick in losses.

    There are indeed people who fly them with success for long times so it seems that there's either some quality control issues at play or some failure on the part of the operators to perform the necessary and proper steps to fly them without losing them....or a combination of both.

    Were you comfortable with procedures for doing a correct compass calibration? Had you ever done an advanced IMU calibration?

    Can you think of anything else you may have done (or failed to do) that contributed to this loss?
     
    #2 JKDSensei, Aug 4, 2015
    Last edited: Aug 4, 2015
  3. Garrie

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    So
    im so sorry for your loss. On my first flight, I lost signal even though the drone was just right there above me. Luckily I could land by eye.

    On the 2nd day whilst showing off to my friends, I crashed my drone and broke the gimbal. Had to spend another us$540 for the replacement gimbal and camera.

    I guess what I say won't help anything but I just hope you can find your drone. Hopefully it landed somewhere. Maybe it did go back to home point so just search around that area? Search bushes or trees. Try to imagine where it might have hovered before it auto landed.

    Once again. Sorry bout your loss and hope u find it
     
  4. Fplvert

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    Hey bro,

    Sorry for the loss of your bird! What a horrible feeling, too!

    Your iPad should have your flight log, look under user and click the paper airplane icon. Maybe someone on here can help you understand what happened.
     
  5. Rasbelin

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    Obviously I haven't yet been so in-depth with the app. :) Yeah, thanks, Fplvert, found it.

    Replaying the flight stil makes me as puzzled as before. The data stops at 137 metres (449 feet). The Google Maps satellite imagery doesn't fit my flight path properly as the image is always a bit skewed with tall buildings (like in this case with the observation tower). The log ends where I made my last control maneuver.

    I was in touch with the amusement park security right after this happen, in case the drone ended up there, but nothing had been reported at least right after I lost the signal. Also filed a lost property notice with them. Must be hilarious to see a sticky note with "LOST: white quadcopter drone", while usually folks lose phones and cams. :p
     
    Fplvert likes this.
  6. Fplvert

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    I'd go back to where your last contact was with the bird.

    Maybe it suffered a battery failure? A bird strike could have taken place. Phantoms commonly eject their battery on impact.

    Can't hurt to hunt a bit. Good luck!
     
    dirkclod likes this.
  7. macsoft

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    Bird strike could be the reason.
    In the summer time, lots of birds attack our Phantoms.
    I already lost one phantom on a bird strike, and was chased several times with another phantom.

    Or... something could be wrong with your battery contacts, and it suddenly lost power.

    Its always a bad day when a phantom is lost.. But try to remember: the minute you buy one, you have to be prepared to lose it. It WILL happen sooner or later. Sometimes you have some crashed remains, another time you have nothing left..

    I waited a long time to buy my first drone, and I only bought it after I was prepared to loose it.
    Its like riding a motorcycle ( i do too): You know the day will come when you'll go down. It can be 2 weeks after your first ride, or it could be 30 years after driving onto your driveway, but it WILL happen.
     
    Mike Mauk likes this.
  8. Rasbelin

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    Yeah, wise words. I did know the risk of property loss based on earlier stuff I've seen on Youtube and I was cautious about this decision to buy it. However I'd like to take a lesson from this, but it's pretty hard as there's nothing to investigate, except for the app.

    So far I've established that I've lost the signal -> I pressed the RTH button on the RC without hesitation -> the mode has changed to GoHome -> the drone has started to descend to 50 metres (my RTH altitude setting) -> then something wierd has happen and it makes a huge loop at least on the map -> mode is P-GPS -> the trail just ends some 20 secs after my loss of signal.

    Maybe I should've never pressed RTH, but then again the drone would have done it, too. The video link never came back, so I have no clue about the rest. It's possible that it was a birdstrike or even some gale smashing it into the tower, despite I was at a safe distance.

    Will be going out now for a search, but it's probably useless. Any pieces are scattered off-limits to me or in the lake, if that theory still holds.
     
  9. dirkclod

    dirkclod Moderator
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    Really hate to see this ! Been there and it sucks . Don't give up finding it to quick as I looked 3 days once and finally found mine . Not a P3 but still my bird and I don't care how long you had it you do get attached !
     
  10. Rasbelin

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    But any comments on a general level about how working stuff are the DJI drones actually? Am I just unlucky or would a Inspire 1 be more reliable to operate? Or are these still just so much work-in-progress and we paying guinea pigs pay to crash them?
     
  11. JKDSensei

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    Did you see my questions above?

    A lot of people say they find the Phantom much closer than they would have thought.

    I would certainly look under the tower and in the areas you think it may have gone down.
    I would start near the end of the last known flight path and search that area first.

    Good luck. I wish these types of stories would fade away.
     
  12. macsoft

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    All phantoms are prone to some glitches. P3 is a new device so it has probably more glitches to workout. P2 Vision+ is on Version 3 and still has some glitches, so imagine a brand new just launched P3. That is why I bought another P2V+ after a bird crashed my first one, and not the P3. (well.. the all-in-one board is a big no-no for me too).

    Rule of thumb I normally use on expensive technology: Don't buy the latest model.
    Companies are pressed to release products ahead of time, and early buyers end up to be just testers.
    That said: most quad crashes are still due to user error, so if want to take a lesson from this: fly it closer to you in visual line of sight, and always be aware of your surroundings, including other birds.

    Another good idea is to get a tracker for your bird.
    If you don't want to spend big bucks, you can buy a cheap bluetooth tracker for 9 bucks on ebay.
    Yes.. its range is very limited. But when you are searching in the middle of the woods, 50 meter radius signal is better than nothing.
     
  13. Rasbelin

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    @JKDSensei: Yes, I did see your post, but didn't want to comment until I got back from my evening search.

    I went through the surrounding terrain and even met another Phantom pilot (P2), who whoever wasn't very chatty and seemed to be in a rush to fly his own one. Too bad, because he could have done some very helpful recon for me from 20-30 metres. :( Curiously I've never before met any other RC pilot here.

    Will hopefully hear tomorrow in case it has crashed or against all odds made an emergency landing on the roof at the base of the tower. Until that no news so far. But at least made an attempt to find any scattered pieces of it.

    @macsoft: Yes, and I knew the P3P might be flaky, but this definetly goes beyond what I still would've expected.

    Based on some analysis we've done on IRC, it seems the drone has probably gone bonkers, because it has accelerated to maximum speed. RTH doesn't happen at max speed. Also the left control is 75% to the left in the last data entry. Hardware failure maybe?
     
  14. Holt

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    This makes me not want to fly my Phantom 3....
     
  15. Rasbelin

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    Now that I'm slowly starting to realise that the drone is probably either sunk or in total shatters, there's just one question left. What next?

    I have a GoPro Hero4 Black, which I've used for driving footage. Could it be a worthy idea to just simply take a step backwards and buy some type of Phantom 2? If so, which one and what extras should I get then? I just need to start working out a budget for what reviving my new hobby might cost, in case it really is game over with the P3P. Or should I just buy another P3P?

    Heck, I have a second battery being useless now. Plus the case. Thankfully I was able to cancel the order of my 3rd and 4th battery, plus the new carb props.
     
  16. JKDSensei

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    Noone can really answer this for you. You know your feelings and your budget.

    Just realize that there is no guarantee it can't happen again...unfortunately.
     
  17. JKDSensei

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    Well, the OP didn't really give us a whole lot to go on as far as his knowledge and pre flight routine so in some cases we know it was someone really knowledgeable and probably did everything right and knew exactly what they were doing.....but in this case so far, I can't seem to rule out operator error yet.
     
    reboot81 likes this.
  18. macsoft

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    In my opinion, even better than the P3 right now: buy a P2V+ v3 preferentially one with no camera to be cheaper. Slap a gimbal on it (zenmuse is best, but I've seen a lot of good results with ceap chinese ones), use your gopro. Do the simple mod so that you have the gopro image on the tablet/phone, and gimbal control on the app, and that is it.
    That is what I'm doing to my second drone, and that is the best combination I've seen.
    You got the less buggy well tested P2V+ v3 quad. You get better image quality than the P3 with your Gopro 4; and if you fry an ESC or any other inner electronics, you can just replace that bit, instead of having to replace the entire board on the P3.
    Its worth getting an Itelite boost antenna for your Tx. You get better range with it than the P3.
    If you need even better range, with 20 bucks you change the wifi antennas on the bird to some of those wifi router type ones, and get wayyy wayyyy more range.
    So in every aspect you get a better bird than the P3. With cheaper parts if something brakes, and less chances of it going crazy.
     
    Mike Mauk likes this.
  19. Casper2015

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    Isn't it worth sending the Flight Log into DJI?

    If there was an actual fault with the drone then a reputable company would replace it, that's supposed to be what the Flight Log is for.

    At the very least, it would be worth getting an opinion from the manufacturer as to what exactly happened here.
     
  20. Rasbelin

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    I had cleaned the drone last night, charged all batteries and checked the motors are running OK idle before take off. The compass was calibrated last night. Did however recalibrate the IMU today because it had an error. However everything was green and OK before take off.

    I don't rule out pilot error either, but taken the circumstances, it just seems something went awry. Especially taken that it happen during RTH.