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Good bye to my #2 Phantom............

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by cczx14r, Nov 22, 2013.

  1. cczx14r

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    I am really, really bummed out! Not more than two hours ago I was into the 4th battery of the morning on my #2 Phantom at a hiking trail parking lot that I have flown at countless times with my #1 Phantom. (I have approximately 60 flights on #1 with no issues whatsoever). OK, 10 days ago I took delivery of Phantom #2. Both Phantoms are v1.1.1 and both running firmware 4.0. I had no more than 7 flights on this new Phantom and had just attached my old trusty GoPro Hero for the first time before lifting off with battery pack #4. Conditions this morning were sunny skies, no wind and 32 degrees outside. I always do the compass dance prior to a flying session and had just recently rerun an IMU and Tx calibration, everything was within software specifications. I even did a successful "failsafe" and HL test during the 1st flight of the day.
    OK, so I liftoff in GPS ATTI mode (slow blinking green, all is a 'go') and recall a fleeting moment of motors not sounding in sync.. But I soon disregarded that as being just paranoid old me and proceeded to set her into a hover at about the 10 foot level. I also recall that particular GPS hover not being all that steady with a slightly greater than normal drift, but nothing in the way of setting off any alarms in my brain. So anyway, I slowly throttle up and when she was maybe 75 to 100 feet in front of me and at an estimated altitude of 350 to 400 feet, I stop and start a 360 yaw for a video shoot. I pan left and when I started to pan right the Phantom all of a sudden started accelerating, flying away and in front of me. When it was almost out of sight, I hit HL and could hear the Phantom motors reacting and I thought I had regained control. But, to my horror, the unit passed over my head at an altitude of at least 300 feet (I had since switched IOC to "off") and continued on that course behind me towards a sparsely populated rural area. While I could still hear her, I hit "failsafe" and waited, but she was gone, soon to be out of hearing and sight range. I was left standing there in total silence and disbelief, a more devastating and lost feeling I don't think I have ever experienced in my 69 years! I have my home phone and address attached to the belly of the Phantom, but even if someone finds it in one piece (which I doubt) my confidence in flying this unit would be zero and the only thing I would want to salvage would be the GoPro, although that is more than likely trashed, as well. It might be out in the sagebrush somewhere where a hiker might find it or it might have crashed into someone's yard or roof. The battery only had about 2 to 3 minutes on it, so it could be just about anywhere in Nevada!
    Well, sorry for the long post guys, but I guess you can add me to the list of unexplainable Phantom "flyaways".
    Be careful and be mindful of any little changes in flight behavior, if that is possible or even applicable (in my case?). I would hate this happening in the future to anyone else in our tight knit family of Phantom owners!

    Jim
     
  2. PhantomFan

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    Oh, MAN........That is horrible. I feel so bad for you. Reports like this really make me wonder about the myriad of things that can vibrate loose, become disconnected, intermittent, or just "glitch" for no apparent reason resulting in a significant financial loss and heartache over the loss of a beloved possession.

    I strongly suspect prop/motor vibration plays a significant role in flexing certain critical wiring, connections, or solder joints until they give up, resulting in these fly-aways. I remember seeing a picture of a receiver antenna wire in another thread that had suffered this problem, leading to a "range" of only 30 feet with the stock transmitter. This is yet ANOTHER reason to balance both motor and props.

    I'm also in my sixties (60 years old, actually) but strong attachment to things is independent of age. I feel for you. :cry:

    PF
     
  3. JustJames

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    DUDE THAT SUCKS! Argg. I hate hearing these stories! Makes me nervous to fly the dang thing. So sorry this happened to you brother. I feel for you seriously. I'd loose my mind if I lost this thing so soon. This and other posted have got me looking into the Garman tracker a lot of guys have adopted. Might not be able to recover the unit in good shape but maybe like you said your camera. Sheesh. This sucks.

    Condolences ...James
     
  4. cczx14r

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    Thanks guys, you and James. What you wrote about wiring, connections and solder joints possibly giving up the ghost is about as reasonable a cause as I can think of!! Kind of like a new car where problems usually surface within the first weeks/months of ownership.
     
  5. Fdnyfish

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    Tough break, I never fly without my Garmin GTU-10 since I got it
     
  6. Eagleeye9

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    CCZX14R,

    I feel sorry for you mate, I felt a sick feeling whilst reading your post. I have had my Phantom for just less than 2 months and have flown it pretty much every weekend and it has been ok up to now.

    I have read so many posts of these unexplained flyways that it scares me to death to take it flying. I even contacted the wholesalers in Montana to find out if they had experienced such unexplained incidents. They replied that though it hadn't happened to them or their customers they had heard off such instances. Their advice was to keep doing the calibrations periodically and all the normal preflight procedures that you had done yourself, they also advised me to keep the firmware up to date as apparently these incidences are becoming rarer as the firmware evolves. Even still my confidence is waning as you had version 4.0.0 and I only upgraded to firmware 4.0.2 yesterday. From now on I think I'll be doing a complete check of the wiring after a finite time, probably along the line of every 10-12 batteries.

    Do these flyways happen to other RC aircraft? I can't believe that a company like DJI would sell these products if there was an increased risk of them just buggering off into the ether!!
     
  7. SanCap

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    I posted this video a while back but I wonder why more people do not try to shut the motors off when the Phantom decides to head back to China. Mine went up and and left with no control available by me except for moving both controls down and left which shut off the motors. Yes it will crash but at least it will be easy to find. In my video you can hear that I got the motors started again but it was to late. I think my failure was because of wifi interference?? http://www.jimandsusan.com/crash.html All that broke was the Gopro mount!

    Sorry for your lose.
     
  8. Daninho

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    those storys are always scary, i only fly FPV with mine, maybe you have more time to react then because you can see it for a longer time period and i also use the mini iOSD, interesting to see if the iOSD will indicate an error, lets say with the kompass or GPS if i have a fly away

    I always thought this could be the Accelerometer that fails or other sensors, maybe bad solder points on the EDCs and the copter try to compensate it or something like that. I also think that those stories happen more often in the USA, in germany not so often. Maybe because Wifi networks are stronger in the US (10 times) ?
     
  9. rotorhead42

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    So sorry about you PH, please let us know the specs so we can at least provide some educated advice. Was it a stock Tx? I just wonder why don`t we all buy a cheap gps tracker and add it to all the Phantoms. I think I will do that soonest. Vibration issues must be true in any multirotor until they design one with an isolated board connection hub. I guess it`s better to check all connections inside and out every 10-20 flights, sort of overhauling on an airplane.

    I`m in for a second one before the first one says goodbye, I use it a lot for work and it`s been a blessing. Look at one of the latest shots I did a few days ago:

    [​IMG]

    I just want to know if the Phantom Vision can do the same video and photo quality as the first Phantom with a GoPro3 - is the OEM gimbal good enough with just one axis? If it is I`ll buy it with 3 batteries and that`s all I need for a long time. My main use is video and photos of properties and beaches in the island of DR.
     
  10. PhantomFan

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    I am growing increasingly convinced that vibration breaks a critical connection (antenna, most likely) resulting in these otherwise inexplicable fly-aways. Starting this week-end I'm going to open up my Phantom - and perform periodic inspections thereafter every 40 or 50 flights from now on. I actually DON'T LIKE the fact that everything is hidden behind a protective opaque shell. You can't see (and therefore prevent) a problem before it happens. You never read about fly-aways happening with DJI F350's, F450's or 550's, and they have the same electronics!! It's GOT to come down to visibility of incipient problems!

    As with most other things in life, it is so much easier to STAY out of trouble than to GET out of trouble. FWIW, I don't think shutting down the motors is a good solution, either...once again, the problem has already occurred. The goal is to prevent the event that leads to the fly-away, not ditch a bird to the ground under an emergent circumstance where it can strike person or property. THAT is no solution. :evil:

    PF
     
  11. JustJames

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    Wow! Thats a friggin amazing shot. BEAUTIFUL!. Sorry had to say that. Nice work. Unreal property. Later when Im not grumpy about the issues Ive had with my PV (which are nothing compared to the author of this post) I will hit you up about what you do. for now I'm gonna have a drink in honor of our buddies lost PV and my PV with frigged up camera...

    CHEERS!

    James
     
  12. Gizmo3000

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    really bummed for your loss.
    hopefully you'll eventually recover it
     
  13. Brien

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    Concerning to someone who is contemplating buying one.
     
  14. PhantomFan

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    MORE concerning to those who already DO own one. :lol:

    PF
     
  15. SanCap

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    "The goal is to prevent the event that leads to the fly-away, not ditch a bird to the ground under an emergent circumstance where it can strike person or property. THAT is no solution. "

    Please do not take this as a personal attack. Yes the key is to take steps to prevent a fly away. But when it does happen and I can stop it (by powering off the motors) and actually see if my quadcopter caused any personal or property damage rather than watching it fly away and wondering if it caused any personal or property damage, I will stop it every time.
     
  16. discv

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    cczx14r, bad news indeed my friend.

    Where in the world are you- you mention Nevada. And can you piece together the direction that your Phantom headed.

    I assume your first Phantom suffered the same fate? If so, where you flying in the same area again- and was the flyaway heading the same or similar?
     
  17. Peter Patricelli

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    Phantomfan,

    "You never read about fly-aways happening with DJI F350's, F450's or 550's"
    True....it seems....but they don't report here.
    ", and they have the same electronics!!"
    No....not unless they are using exactly the same internal DJI Phantom organs. There has been talk here about the DJI receiver being the suspect culprit...and people replacing it...often in conjunction with a Futaba TX/RX combo upgrade. No reports of flyaways once that switchout has happened. But those are also very experienced flyers.
    " It's GOT to come down to visibility of incipient problems!""
    If that were true there would be as many reports of broken/failed solders and connectors in open craft....which there are not. I would think 99% of visible electronic connection failure is going to result in an immediate unstabilized crash....not the bird suddenly responding to some higher power and serenely flying away. It is actually difficult to tell. The bird suddenly comes crashing down. Loose wires here and there in the mess. Was it the crash or the cause of the crash?
    Seems to me most flyaways occur with all 4 motors functioning and the internal flight controller, GPS, etc.. obviously functioning keeping the thing upright. What the bird has lost is TX modulation of an otherwise intact basic flight modulation. system. The unknown is outside radio frequency interference...no way to tell....but that would happen with ALL RC flying equally. Ignoring that, then the problem comes down to a TX failure (or Tx battery) or a receiver failure. If the TX/battery/TX-antenna fails...and the bird is healthy, then failsafe and RTH should save it...unless the pilot has buggered those. But there is no vibration there...and RTH should function.
    For the bird to fly away...looking good....and NOT RTH...would most often have to be due to either outside interference Or an internal receiver failure. I would think a fractured Rx antenna would just lead to loss of signal....triggering RTH.
    I have to agree with those that feel the DJI receiver is suspect....and it would be internally....you would never SEE the problem.
    I CAN tell you that small scale Chinese electronic manufacture is highly suspect....by the Chinese consumers in CHINA! They will and do pay twice as much (internal tariff on any product made for export) since the large firms ordering components insist upon and test for and correct quality control issues. IS DJI large enough to fund such a program?? Is the DJI Phantom receiver used/re-labeled in any other products...that are NOT flying away?

    OP,
    Just for complete clarification...exactly what is "GPS ATTI" mode??? It is either one...or the other, not both. You said the bird had slow blinking green light....would be GPS. Talking "GPS ATTI" makes me nervous that there might be some other misconceptions and errors. And finally. did you get a home lock signal before taking off?? Did it fly EAST???? I am serious....did it fly EAST???
     
  18. PhantomFan

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    Peter:

    Sorting out the cause of the fly-aways is, as you rightly point out, a difficult one. What is cause, and what is effect is a tough nut to crack. Also, I'm pretty sure the fly-aways are multifactorial and not the result of a single cause - making it even more difficult to detect and prevent. I've seen video footage which clearly demonstrates fly-aways where the motors are all turning and the bird is later recovered from someone's driveway where it safely landed itself, and I've seen Phantoms catastrophically plunge from the sky in a chaotic tumble into water, trees, or parking lots. I doubt they all have a solitary cause. I've also seen photographic evidence provided by the owners of atraumatically recovered Phantoms (hung in a tree for example) which, upon opening the case showed a cold solder joint to have failed, and in another instance (again no trauma) where an Rx antenna wire decoupled leading to a loss of signal.

    Some fly-aways might be preventable by regular inspection and the pre-flight discovery of evidence of a short, loose, cracked, or cracking wire, or intermittent contact at a solder joint. But then, how would we know for sure? :lol:

    Sadly, fly-aways will probably always be with us...at least while the Phantom is made and assembled by man and not by some omnipotent being.

    PF
     
  19. miskatonic

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    Dude, stop flying over my house! :lol:
     
  20. discv

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    Did it fly EAST???? I am serious....did it fly EAST???
    Peter Patricelli