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Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by jthorstad, Jan 13, 2014.

  1. jthorstad

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    ...if it comes back to you, it's yours. If not, it never was.

    Apparently the Phantom I owned for 6 weeks and loved never was mine. Because it left me.

    This post is two weeks in the making. I have a hard time thinking about it, let alone talking or posting about it.

    16 days ago was a beautiful, sunny Saturday morning here in Minnesota. It was a perfect morning to fly: temps in the high 30s (VERY rare this time of year, especially THIS year when we've been sub-0 most days for highs) and there was no wind.

    My son and I grabbed my two batteries and the Phantom and headed out to a nearby lake to do some flybys of the fish houses on the lake. Folks in the south find it hard to believe that pickups and houses inhabit the lakes much of the winter. I thought it would be a fun capture.

    Everything was perfect that morning. We were out on a frozen lake, no trees or buildings for interference, no powerlines, nothing. A great place to fly.

    The Phantom locked on satellites quickly, as usual. I've always had GREAT success getting satellite lock. I am very particular with my gadgets, and go the extra mile to ensure I'm doing things properly. I make sure my GoPro's wifi is off. I ensure I have satellites in view. Even after seeing a single green flash, I wait 30 seconds or so before flying to make sure things are good. It always has been in the past.

    I flew it out over and around the fishhouses. I could just image the footage I was getting.

    I looped the Phantom around and directly overhead, intending to set her down and leave.

    But something was weird. When I let go of the stick, it kept flying past me. I put the left stick down to bring it down at the edge of the lake, but to my horror it appeared to be CLIMBING.

    In fact, it was climbing and accelerating AWAY from me. I couldn't believe it. I had no control. I don't want to be melodramatic, I know it's plastic and metal, but blood and bones, but the feeling in my gut was AWFUL. Almost like watching your dog run out in traffic and get run over.

    Eventually it was just a speck in the sky. As a last resort, I switched the transmitter off, and stood there in silence praying I'd see the speck coming back. Nope.

    I tried to identify a landmark in the distance I could use to perhaps discern where it may have ended up. My son and I hopped in the truck and drove to the nearest highway that intersected the path. The 2 or 3 square miles in that area are all sloughs, fields, and woods. Being this is Minnesota, and the Phantom is white, searching for it is like looking for a needle in a haystack. Literally.

    I did go back to the location where we were flying and set out cross-country as far as I could, hoping that maybe I'd catch a glimpse of it in a tree. Nothing.

    The day it arrived, I wrote my name and phone number on it in Sharpie. If someone found it, they would have called. Perhaps some snowmobiler will stumble upon it yet. My guess is that it will be plowed under this spring and never seen again.

    So, there you have it. It was painful to write, but I had to get this off my chest. $500 Phantom and $300 GoPro Hero 3 Silver gone. It was an expensive day.

    I'm not sure what I could or should have done differently. I followed all the protocols I've read about online or watched on YouTube. Honestly, DJI's materials are not very good. As individual parts, their videos are informative. But your really have to rely on the work of others to get the software downloaded, get the unit calibrated, etc. I think they could really improve there.

    I should note that I contacted the reseller the next day via email. They were sympathetic to my plight, and said they'd had quite a few other similar reports of fly-aways. They had me fill out a report that goes to DJI, and they are "working with DJI on a resolution". What that means, I'm not sure. I ping them via email every 5 days or so for an update, and they are quick to respond.

    Will I have another Phantom? Yes, I believe so. I don't have gobs of disposable money laying around, and it will take time to save for it. But I did enjoy it. Yesterday was a SPECTACULAR day here, and I dreamed of the placed I'd be flying if I could.

    I already replaced the GoPro with Christmas gift cards. I now have a Hero 3+ Silver (and need a new floaty back door, as the old one doesn't fit).

    I have a fantasy that the reseller and DJI will do something remarkable for me, like offer me a store credit or something. Hopeful.

    Thanks for the therapy.
     
  2. FASTFJR

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    I feel for you. My Phantom ran away in September at a state park. All green, full charge, now power or cell towers around. I was about 4 minutes into the flight when all of a sudden it just hit full throttle and took off at a 45 degree angle up. I was lucky I did not have my GP attached. Within a minute it was out of site. My guess is it kept going until the battery drained. It could have ended up 3-4 miles away. The worst part was having 5-6 strangers around while this happened. They thought it was so cool until the point it disappeared :(
     
  3. jthorstad

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    Are you flying again, @FASTFJR? Did you get another Phantom?

    BTW: mine was a 1.1, NOT a Phantom 2 or 2 Vision.

     
  4. Colombus

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    I am sorry for your lost jthorstad.

    I hope you will get something from DJI to get another one, or perhaps Phantom II. That could be a positive outcome :D

    Let me ask you a question.

    What was the version of the FW that you where flying on.?
     
  5. jthorstad

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    Good question.

    Whatever was current as of mid-November, when I got it. I updated everything per DJI video tutorials at that time, and flew without any updating after that.

    My Phantom was stock, BTW, with nothing more that prop guards added.

    And I'd done the calibration dance perhaps a day or two before. It had never been crashed...not even on landings. It was a super- steady and reliable flyer until that day! :-(

     
  6. thetac

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    Just curious....i'm sure you were flying in GPS?.....did you try to click to manual and regain control or wasn't that an option. Sometimes people deactivate manual in the naza assistant and have two ATTI positions? One last thing....were you using the stock transmitter?
     
  7. jthorstad

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    I did not have Manual set up, and was flying in GPS.

    And yes...stock transmitter. (Which I still have! All was not lost, I guess!)

     
  8. Ton4

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    Sorry to hear this :cry:

    Unfortunately, as you know, you are not the only one.

    And, its the hardware / software that caused it.

    Your flyaway is typical. The Naza stopped functioning.

    And, you, and others, will probably be "send away" if you talk to DJI, dealers.

    How to prove its not pilot error? Your friendly face?

    I have spend some money and time into the "thing", gimbal, new motors, gopro 3+ black. In the back of my head I know my time and money may one day be gone because of a failing bit of hardware / software beyond my control, and no one will "be responsible". They get away easy until now.

    Phantom (naza) owners will need to live with it. It's like that.

    Accept it, have a spare 1500 on hand, or give up after the first flyaway.
     
  9. thetac

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    I know you should never have to worry about these things.....I personally don't like their stock transmitter and use a DX8...it seems to have a stronger connection....but their transmitter should work....most fly aways i read about happen with a stock transmitter. The one recommendation I would make is for anyone flying an older/original phantom make sure you have manual available in the naza assistant (GPS switch in the down position). You probably will never want to fly in that mode (until you have lots of experience) because it is so touchy.....but if your phantom ever starts to flyaway or not respond click to manual mode and bring it down to the ground....it will come down hard and likely crash....but at least you will have the phantom and spare parts are easy to come by and fairly cheap. Wish you could have read this earlier on...but if you get another phantom do this first! Sorry for the loss...i live in minnesota myself....i've had a flyaway once (stock transmitter) and this is the only thing that allowed me to get my phantom back....one broken propellor and a new shell.
     
  10. Ton4

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    Oh, don't go into the magical mystery tour of compass dances, magnetic interference, beams from outer space or an electricty or cell phone tower in the area.

    Interference, broken compasses or lost gps would cause erratic behavior, where control input still has some effect.

    A dead naza is just as it is as the OP describes. The Phantom goes one way and doesn't respond to anything. Some go up, some go down, west, east or whatever direction, but thats all they do. Until they meet the ground.
     
  11. Ton4

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    thetac,

    I have read about flyaways with a futaba and where switching to manual did not work. No response.
     
  12. gbshovel

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    So is there where a gps tracker would be useful?
     
  13. FASTFJR

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    Not yet, I'm going to order a P2 with gimbal within the next few weeks. I too was in GPS mode flying on battery 2 of 3. I must have had 75 flights on it and not one issue…….then and complete and total fly away. I will have felt better if it had just flown into the ground. I did contact DJI but they were not any help (it was my fault). I'm over it now, I just wish I could find out why it happened……….I'll never know
     
  14. jthorstad

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    Hey, I like your Google auto-awesomed photo!

    Yes, for sure a GPS tracker would be great. But at what cost?

    I have a spare iPhone 4S that I let me younger kids use when then go away to events. I'd sure love to find a way to strap that to my next Phantom...but I wonder how much the added weight will make it unwieldy.
     
  15. jthorstad

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    I wonder what the rate of failure is? Maybe we're the lucky ones: we got our fly-aways out of the way, and our next ones will be perfect!

     
  16. LeoS

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    @FASTF-JR: Sorry to hear about your loss, dude.
    Are you going to look into maybe putting a GPS Tracker on your next Phantom, just to make it trackable in case it ever happens again? (*knocks on wood*)

    Here's a whole thread about it:

    viewtopic.php?t=4955
     
  17. FASTFJR

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    I might pick up some sort of tracking device. I think I'll start out by having a few hundred yards of 12lb fishing line attached :lol:
     
  18. dollerprod

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    Sorry to hear about this man! I'm reading about too many of these incidents! I have had my Phantom for about 3 weeks or so now and have enjoyed it very much. At the moment, there are no 'attachments' on it yet. I just fly it around behind my house.

    I fly it all the time. Haven't had an incident yet. I would be so pissed if it just up and took off in one direction, especially if I had another $700-$1000 into it with FPV, OSD, GoPro, Gimbal etc.., which I plan to get as soon as I can really figure out how to install it all and what devices work work the best in conjunction with each other.

    I am definitely getting a GPS tracker. For less than $100 for the GPS tracker and a SIM card in it with $10 worth of service, it's more important 'addon' than anything else to me. If I lose a little flight time, so be it.

    Sorry man. I say get another when you can, put GPS on it and try and forget about it and mostly I hope that you will be offered some type of credit for another.
     
  19. erkme73

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    After reading about an other user who bought the Fi-Li-Fi (fly it, lose it, find it) tracker from Britain, I grabbed one too. At $105, and a $5/mo T-mobile SIM card, it's CHEAP insurance. Granted, you need to have 2G cell service in the areas you fly, but I wouldn't fly w/o it at this point.

    It weighs about 40 grams.
     
  20. Eagleeye9

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    Where did you pick up that British tracking device. I think I may buy one myself!