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I'M BACK IN THE AIR!!!

Discussion in 'Phantom 2 Vision + Discussion' started by vagabondvisions, Sep 19, 2014.

  1. vagabondvisions

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    In a previous post, I asked for some help in recovering from a fairly major crash of my beloved (and two day old, at the time of crash) Phantom 2 V+.

    The tl;dr version:

    Crash: Signal loss and RF interference caused the vehicle to plunge sideways at a height of roughly 100 feet, slam into a tree, tumble down, and crash into a parked car and then onto pavement

    Damage: Camera ripped from undercarriage, dampener grommets ripped or lost, fastening pins lost, cosmetic damage to shell, demolished battery, broken main circuit board, and (as I now can confirm) a cracked ceramic GPS antenna

    I replaced the circuit board the following day and after a couple hours of soldering and reassembly, was flying again. However, I noticed I was getting no GPS signals at all. I ran every test I knew of, re-uploaded firmwares, put it in and out of Naza mode, and still nothing.

    I was set to replace the GPS module when a fellow pilot (darwin-t) mentioned the antenna possibility. When I peeled back the shield and removed the unit, sure enough there appeared to be some scratches to the antenna itself. This is the beige square looking component on the very top of the GPS module. You have to unscrew the model from the shell to get to it. darwin-t linked me to a component maker which offered the same antennas and I placed a hopeful $5 order from Mouser electronics.

    The component arrived yesterday and tonight, following a glass of nerve-steeling wine, I set about replacing the antenna. I discovered the antenna was indeed damaged far more than just a scratch. As I cut away the glue pad holding it in place on the solder hole, the antenna came away in two pieces, along the faultline which I had seen as just a scratch.

    I soldered the new guy into position and quickly got the topless Phantom ready for testing. Once up and running I checked my sats. Nothing.

    Then, remembering that my 19th century Victorian house is built like Farraday's Tomb, I took the still partially naked vehicle outside in clear skyview. After around 30 seconds of deepening pessism, BOOM. Six sats popped right up. I'm back, baby!!!

    Big thanks to everyone who offered tips and advice or even just sympathy. Special big thanks to darwin-t for the link to Mouser (now bookmarked) and the $5 fix to what I was seeing as a $160 problem. If ever you are near Washington DC, the first several rounds are on me!!
     
  2. ahmida

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    good job :)

    any pics of the fix? before and after?
    price of the parts and the whole cost of the fix?


    cheers
     
  3. vagabondvisions

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    The main repairs have pics on this post. I neglected to photograph tonight's repair because I was so excited/nervous about the possibility of having it work. However, I took some pics several days ago and also just now of the broken part.

    GPS module:
    [​IMG]

    Topside of GPS module (note the "scratch"):
    [​IMG]

    Damaged antenna, removed:
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
     
  4. ahmida

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    good job, glad u flying again :)
     
  5. flyNfrank

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    As someone who has crashed themselves, and experienced damage from the crash, I can truly say it's good to see you back on your feet.

    However, some of what I have read in your post has me wondering some about this story. The crash I experienced was with a tree involved as well. Technically my crash was with a taller tree which was at the top of a 100ft drop off. Even though this like may appear like I'm saying your story is bogus, I 100% do not mean for it to be that away. The parts I'm having trouble with is the damage to the GPS antenna, and circuit board based on the description given on the crash details. A 100ft sideways impact, along with the rate of speed after 1st impact should decrease making it somewhat less violent crash. Those facts given on top of point out the body had cosmetic scratches.

    Are you sure it was a 100ft and not 200ft?

    As I say good to see you back!
     
  6. DavesMotorCity

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    You will crash again,and you will lose all the money you have invested in the Drone. Take it from me, I lost 2 Drones . Get out of the sport now or lose everything .
     
  7. ToThePoint

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    +1

    @vagabondvisions

    Glad you're back.
    Its double rewarding if you manage to fix it yourself.
    Anyway your so called scratch isn't a scratch @ all. Its clearly a broken antenna.
    Anyway any antenna looking like that can do the job.
     
  8. Fplvert

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    Ban the troll Geert. Phantoms don't like DavesMotorCity, and neither do their Pilots. :lol:

    Glad your back in the air Vagabondvision, best wishes to you. :D
     
  9. rbhamilton

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    Of course that will happen. But there's a simple fix. Get a pile of money and buy a 3rd drone! Easy as that. :)
     
  10. itchybeard

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    Excellent news!

    Well done, Vagabondvisions. It's always nice to hear a success story. I'm really glad it turned out right for you.

    Yeah!

    What Rbhamilton said. Don't be tight, DavesMotorCity, get yer wallet out and buy another Phantom :lol:
     
  11. Dirty Bird

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    Do yourself, and us, a favor. Admit the Phantom is beyond your capabilities, and move on to a hobby more suited to your skills. Perhaps knitting? :roll:
     
  12. srandall25

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    +10
     
  13. ToThePoint

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    LMAO DB.
    Winter is coming so i need some warm socks.
     
  14. vagabondvisions

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    I can assure you, 100 feet up may even be an overestimate. This took place in the business plaza where my office resides. I was controlling the Phantom from atop the parking garage, which is only two levels up from street level in front, and 3 in back, where the Phantom was flying. My building maintains a line-of-sight laser bridge to our other location a couple of blocks away, with an RF failover beam. That beam is the primary suspect in causing the control loss. The Phantom lurched sideways at full speed, hit the top of the tree, and tumbled from thick branch to thick branch until it hit the car and pavement below. The marring on the top of the shell is what I theorize did the GPS antenna in, as it was likely a strong enough impact to momentarily deform the plastic and cause the shock to the antenna.

    It was an unfortunate confluence of events, caused by pilot error, with a solid maple tree, SUV, and asphalt to deal the damage.
     
  15. vagabondvisions

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    Some advice given to me a long time ago has influenced many of my economic decisions:

    "If you can't afford to order the most expensive thing on the menu, you're in the wrong restaurant."

    I knew there would be crashes. I simply didn't expect it to be so soon or so damaging. That lesson cost me 2 weeks of flying time and about $80, total (though I haven't yet replaced the destroyed battery, so total eventual cost might be $200). What I gained from this was a newfound respect for the vehicle, its limitations, how it works, and what to look for in future crash analysis. In short, my crash has made me a better pilot and one who can now face future crashes with a bit more confidence on the repair. That is already showing up in my flights from today, which were amazingly smooth and incident free, with some spectacular footage shot. If today was all I got in return for that cost, it would be enough. But I get to fly again tomorrow. And the next day. And next week. And next month.

    That crash might very well have spared me a much worse future crash and, if not, has made me much more able to handle any future crash.

    I'll keep buying drones and parts of drones until the thrill of flying them no longer exceeds the cost of flying them. That day may come.

    But it is not today.

    Tomorrow isn't looking very likely either.
     
  16. flyNfrank

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    So you feel like your quad had interference with los laser beam?
     
  17. vagabondvisions

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    Not the laser, that RF failover beam, which is in continuous operation in case the laser is disrupted somehow. It is a pretty intensely focused transmission source and I was incredibly careless in forgetting about it and flying so near it. But, I just wanted that great shot of a nearby clock tower...
     
  18. DavesMotorCity

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    What? I already shelled out for 2 phantoms, and I lost everything. I had to resort to selling the box and charger for a few bucks. I lost $2500!!!!!!!! I'm trying to help no one else lose $2500!!!!!!!
     
  19. vagabondvisions

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    You're in the wrong restaurant.
     
  20. itchybeard

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    Pah!

    It's only a few lousy bucks. What are you moaning about? Don't be so stingy, get your wallet out and buy another one (go on, you know you want to).