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Goodbye to my little Phantom, Alvin.

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by visi0n, Jan 10, 2014.

  1. visi0n

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    You know, I've read these threads for over a year and I always just sit and think "oh, that's terrible", then I walk over to my gear and think "it won't happen to me"

    I didn't think I'd be posting one.

    I've been flying fixed wing and helis for about 15 years. I've had some crashes but I'm not new to this by any means.
    I have (sniff, had) three camera platforms, so named Alvin, Simon and Theodore.

    Simon is a F550, I've had the longest. A Nava V1 w/ GPS. Very stable and versatile craft. A smart bird.

    Theodore is a little Phantom 2 that I've recently added. All stock for the most part.

    Then, there was Alvin. Alvin was neatly upgraded, Phantom v1.whatever w/ Nava-M V2, GPS, T-Motor Antigravity props and motors. Paired with an 8FG and R6208SB onboard, fatshark tx and IBCrazy cloverleaf, the kind of craft you get in those $2500 bulk aerial photo site packages from your favorite DJI supplier.

    This has been a relatively new craft to me but my go-to at late. With the 8FG and optional dual rates in Manual Mode, Alvin was always a pretty easy little bird to fly. ATT worked well enough and IOC was always turned off. GPS Mode was always a different story. I read fixed-wing guys talking about being able to flip it in GPS mode and put the controller down. That was always hit-or-miss with Alvin. Sometimes he'd fly in a tight little box and easy hover at GPS mode, other times he'd drift -- badly.

    Today we were flying two of them, and we'd had 3 packs through Alvin. No wind, beautiful southern gulf states day in the 50's. We put a pack in and let it acquire, gave it the customary 3 minutes or whatever and took off in FPV like I'd done so many times before. I pulled it up to about 200 feet and flipped it into GPS mode. BAM, the craft yanks hard to the right. I center both sticks, he keeps cramming to the right and starts to descend rapidly. In that lataral movement, it's covering some ground -- has gotten about 1/8th of a mile away and is over Mobile Bay. ( I yank off the Goggles in a panic, probably a mistake or maybe too late,who knows)...

    I flip him down to att and increase throttle, sticks still center, nothing. I then hit failsafe - nothing happens - he's about 40 feet off of waters of Mobile Bay and SPLOOSH -- Phantom 1.1.1 + T-Motors + Antigravity Props + GoPro Hero 3 Black + 64 gb card + FatShark transmitter - with 75 flights on it that had never so much as scraped the ground hard much less crashed, gone and not recovered.

    It happened exactly the moment I hit GPS mode. I checked the props before the flight.
    Well charged pack. Good GPS Signal. Who the hell knows.

    I do know, there isn't enough beer or wine in the house to make me feel better about today.
    At any rate, if anyone in Daphne, Alabama ever finds a lone phantom reef washed ashore :eek: , I will buy it from you just to try to salvage the video from the sdcard.
     
  2. Buk

    Buk

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    Did you do compass dance at start of session?
     
  3. dkr77573

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    Today? Bad idea. Solar storm warning that warned of GPS and magnetic field disruption. I even read that the Aurora Borealis could be seen as far south as Colorado. Sorry for your loss. :(

    viewtopic.php?t=6019

    I'm not saying it was the cause but the possibility would always be in the back of my mind.
     
  4. ElGuano

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    So sorry to hear about that. I've had something similar happen, but in a more directly operator-error kind of way. Mine wasn't over water though, so I just had to replace a few props and landing gear.

    It's interesting reading your description--there have always been reports that some NAZAs are great, and some just kind of drift more. I'd love to know if you've ever swapped FCs between Simon and Alvin and been able to isolate the flight behavior to the controller?

    One question - it sounds like you take off from and often fly in manual mode. Any reason why you didn't immediately flip to manual when GPS mode started going bonkers? That's the first switch I hit on any sign of problems.
     
  5. Gizmo3000

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    Hurts to hear of such a thing happening.
    sorry for your loss, must have been tough to experience.
     
  6. ericty

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    i totally feel bad for you :( If an experienced pilot like yourself suffers a catastrophe like that...us newbies can only pray that our GPS doesn't flip out like yours. So sorry man. Truly.
     
  7. LeoS

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    Sorry to hear that ;(

    Btw, did you install the iOSD mini on Alvin?
    I think live telemetry data is one of the best insurance that we can have to combat rare occurrences like this.
     
  8. Davek

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    Wow.... very sorry. There are so many reports where Futaba radios don't have this problem. In this case not so much.
     
  9. Driffill

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    I'd guess a compass/GPS issue.

    You mentioned its a v1.whatever . . I have the same :) but yours has a naza-v2? How did you go about installing the different GPS puck for the v2 naza, because the stock phantom GPS won't work with a v2.

    If you had the v2 puck in the lid you may have gotten electrical Interference from the electronics inside the phantom. The stock v1 set up had the GPS puck cover by two layers of foam with copper foil in-between, this has an effect on the compass and thus the compass had to be mounted outside the shell away from the copper and interference.

    Out of curiosity, what's your start up procedure? Do you fly GPS often, did you set the home point before take off?
     
  10. Gizmo3000

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  11. gbshovel

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    Sorry about your loss.

    I did probably 4 runs yesterday afternoon without issue of combined flight modes, I did not come anywhere near the limits of its range.
    Glad I wasn't pushing it :shock:
     
  12. Ton4

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    Sorry about that...

    A typical "fly away" imho.

    Switching gps on may have something to do with or not, but fact is the naza stopped functioning, software or hardware caused crash.

    No mystic solar flares, lack of calibration or magical beams of interference or pilot error.

    The equivalent of a Windows bsod.

    Earlier problems may have given a signal of future problems however.

    If it was an Airbus or Boeing we all would be grounded.
     
  13. phantomflyer

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    I have a Phantom V 1.1.1 that has a Naza V2 and my Gps works fine and it only has one foam cover covering the GPS with no copper wires! Don't know what your getting at but you must have the earliest version with a red Naza not the yellow Naza V2!!
     
  14. robrice

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    I had a similar fly-away and suspect GPS signal loss (more likely malfunction). Had my replacement out for the first time today and noticed that (after gps lock) in the air, periodic yellow flashes from the led. I wonder if it needs more time to acclimate to the colder outdoor temps (its about 35 F today). I am very, very worried about loosing it. Flying near water seems to be risky.
     
  15. visi0n

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    yeah, this was one of those Profotouav.com builds. They did all the upgrading. I remember, having the lid off when I went to the 8fg upgrade, that there was all sorts of foil madness on the top half of the shell. I didn't break into the foil to see what they did.

    I did do a few shore-walks around where we lost it and notified a friend that works parks department in that area to be on the lookout if she washes up. It does remind me that on my LRS Equipped F550 I should probably put a "if found, contact ____ for a reward."

    you know, just in good measure.

    I never did put the Flight control from this in another bird. I named it Alvin for a reason, it was always a little touchier than the other ones but usually not enough to worry me. And, yep, because I had flown without a circular polarized antenna the day before, after adding the antenna back, I did the compass dance prior to the session.

    At thing point I'm going to mark it up as 60% something gone awry and 40% I should have been less complacent / more ready to adapt in manual to try to bring her home. Maybe it'll wash up one day! (I doubt it.)

    We did go out and fly the newer Phantom 2 today and geez was that thing ever a rock. It just sits there like it's locked into space. Stock everything. I love these DJI toys, they sure are awesome when everything is working right!
     
  16. Driffill

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    Yes I do have a naza-m v1, and what I'm getting at is if I swap my v1 naza to a v2 naza and leave my stock GPS and compass it won't work correctly, if I use a naza-m v2 that is designed for a phantom (with phantom firmware) it may be a straight swap(?), but I do remember when the v2 came out people needed to swap the GPS into the phantom to get it working, this ment using a GPS puck with internal compass!

    The grey foam is there to limit the interference the GPS absorbs from the electronics below it, however, that also affects the compass, that's why the phantom compass is mounted externally on the leg. If the compass is mounted is a way the naza isn't expecting it can cause "TBE" or "flyaway".
     
  17. Deadmeat

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    That's too bad mate, it`s seriously costly when everything goes south. Hope you have better luck in the future.