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Help! Sand in the motors

Discussion in 'Pro/Adv Discussion' started by crazyrider, Sep 5, 2016.

  1. crazyrider

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    Hi all,

    I took my P3A to the beach for the first time and everything was going smoothly until I decided to land. While landing, the bird flipped on the side before I could kill the motors and as a result, sand got stuck inside the motors. In hind sight, I should have used more caution and maybe landed by hand instead.
    So now, when I turn the motor by hand, there is still quite a bit of hand stuck in there. What are my options to remedy this? I will be getting an compressed air canister to pressure blow the sand out, but do i need to take the motor out and is that recommended/not recommended?
    TIA
     
  2. WetDog

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    Turn it over, bump it gently and try to tap as many grains out as possible. Use the compressed air. Only move the motors slowly until EVERYTHING is gone. Then turn it over, bump it gently and do it again a couple of times. It is easy to do, tedious and time consuming and will be annoying enough so you won't make that particular mistake again. You can move on to other mistakes...
     
  3. msinger

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    If the sand is not magnetic, you might be able to blow it out. If that fails, you could open up the motors and try to clean them with putty -- like this:

     
  4. crazyrider

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    Thanks @WetDog and @msinger
    Unfortunately, compressed air and tapping does not seem to work so my only option is to remove the motor and get the sand out. I have no idea how complex that is but I am going to try and search for a video.
     
  5. msinger

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  6. crazyrider

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    Yikes! That may be more than I can handle.
    Thinking of sending it to dronefly.com. wonder if they will be able to repair.
     
  7. Mako79

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    Sand in your motors is just as worse as sand in your ****** =)

    You can fix yourself if you have big enough tocklies :)

    Look carefully down into the motors and look at neo-magnets. If you see black ferrite, then this will cause the motors to miss a phase. It's very hard blow out.

    You have 2 options:

    1. The motors are cheap. Have them replaced. Don't desolder the wire off the board, just cut and solder and use heat shrink.
    Or take it to a hobby store.

    2. Use air compressor, tweezers, and gum/stickytape/blue tack. Don't open up the phantom. Just remove the 4 screws that hold the motor. Lift motor out. Use air compressor and blow until the ferrite moves to the bottom of the motor. Then use tweezers to persuade them to the base of the magnets of the motor. Use gum/sticky tape/blue tack to lift. Inspect and repeat until ferrite all gone.
    Move the motor with your hands and make sure they move robotically into phase. Start motors without props and listen if there are any squeels or abnormal noises.
    Then do a low 10 minute hover to make sure its hunky-dory.

    PS. If you have bigger tocklies, have a read and a watch on youtube in regards to hand catching.
     
    #7 Mako79, Sep 5, 2016
    Last edited: Sep 5, 2016
  8. Trinimon

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    Sorry to hear about the sand in the motors. I was doing some beach shooting a few weeks ago and having lived around beaches, I knew how stupid hard it is to clean beach sand off any gear. I ended up hand capturing instead just for that main reason. Good luck and hope you can clean the sand out.
     
  9. fastsmiles

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    Always best to hand catch at the beach or use an elevated helipad, or table.
    Good luck on getting your motors clean, it's hard work
     
  10. With The Birds

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    As well as compressed air sticking the nozzle of a good vacuum cleaner over the motor helps also. I would do that first.

    Re @Mako79 suggestion to cut and join wires i wouldnt recommend it. The fly leads are extensions of the field windings bundled together, the copper strands are individually insulated. If you dont have the skills to terminate the wires at the designated pads on the main board you will be less likely to perform satisfactory joins in the wires.
     
  11. Mako79

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    And if you dont have an Arbor Press...

    Thank @J Dot
     
  12. Mako79

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    You are correct. Use sand paper to remove the coating. Then solder.
     
  13. With The Birds

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    I prefer to dip the ends in a molten solder bath, insulation removed and tinned in one operation. Mechanical removal as you have proposed also works. Point remains, for the effort involved and potential for a poor outcome if not properly executed terminating at the main board is simpler and less subject to issues.
     
  14. crazyrider

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    Thanks for your input guys! Looks like there's more sand that I am able to take out. I inspected the drone thoroughly and also found some sand in the gimbal, as a result, the gimbal is throwing out gimbal overload warning!So at this point, I am going to send it to dronefly.com for repair, I guess its going to cost me upwards of $400 including $150 for the repair and $250 most likely for the new gimbal.
     
  15. Trinimon

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    Ouch! At that repair bill, might be cheaper to buy a new P3A.
     
  16. crazyrider

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    Thought about that too! New P3A is around $677 on Amazon, but then what do I do with the old bird?
     
  17. Trinimon

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    You can always use it for parts ie shell, antennas, motherboard, landing gear, VPS module etc or make back some $$ by selling off the remote and parts? Heck, use one remote to experiement with an antenna upgrade for long distance flying?

    If you're going to drop $800 on repairs, not inc shipping to/from, you might as well get a new unit and as a bonus, an extra battery.
     
  18. crazyrider

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    Its more like $400 + one way shipping but you are right, I get a brand new one by putting in $270 more.
     
  19. Trinimon

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    Oh, I misread that. I thought it was $400 plus an additional $150 and $250 for a new gimbal. lol

    Well, seeing that a remote is $280 from DJI, I'd say it's worth buying new and flipping the new remote.
     
  20. crazyrider

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    Oh! I had not thought about that. That sounds more appealing then.
     
    Trinimon likes this.