Welcome to PhantomPilots.com

Sign up for a weekly email of the latest drone news & information

Known cause/explanation for sudden vertical drop/crash?

Discussion in 'Phantom 2 Help' started by Jezabel, Apr 7, 2014.

  1. Jezabel

    Joined:
    Jan 29, 2014
    Messages:
    103
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Michigan
    Yesterday my Phantom 2 (H3-2d, Gopro 3+, iosd mini) suddenly dropped vertically 80' to the ground (through a tree) without any possible explanation/observation. It seemed as though the motors stopped working and the Phantom just dropped to the ground. In my reading so far the only known causes of a suddenly loss that I can find are: 1) low battery; 2) bad connection with battery (P1); 3) local interference; 4) solar magnetic storm activity; 5) pilot error; and/or 6) malfunction of the quadcopter.

    Facts:
    All newly charged batteries in P2 and controller (each time I send P2 up).
    Firmware at 1.08 (have not done 2.0 update since folks were experiencing problems recently).
    Always wait for satellites and home point established. Compass calibrated.
    Beautiful day, warm, no significant wind.
    At park along river. Had one 11 minute flight up and down river @ 40'-60'+ above trees.

    Landed P2. Put in all new batteries. Established satellites and home point.
    Second flight all normal and decided to bring the P2 in since more people were coming to the park.
    Upon return (same place/route that I had just flown and @ 80 - 100' horizontal distance from launching pad) the P2 suddenly just came straight down @ 80' (through a tree unfortunately). When it went through the tree there was no sound of motors buzzing through the tree only of the body of the P2 hitting parts of the tree.

    I turned the controller off and noted the S1 & S2 were in upright position.
    P2 was upside down with the lights still on.
    Camera was still intact (turned it off).
    Gimbal plug was undone.
    One prop was slightly sliced -- others are fine. Antenna cover off and to the side. Gimball platform bent/one arm broken. One landing leg bent. One quadcopter "arm" bent" and I was guessing that motor was bent and was going to check while in Software Assistant.

    Plugged into the Software Assistant and noted that the charge on the battery is 58%.
    When battery turned on the P2 "sings" and has blinking LED lights.
    All of the controller sticks work and slider gimbal switch works.
    Gimbal worked as well as tilt switch (even though one gimbal support is broken).

    However, the motors would NOT come on. Nothing.

    There was plenty of battery charge. I was above the trees @ 40'+. The s! & 2 were in up position. There was no wind. There was no different flightpath or flying in this return than flight done previously. My working hypothesis is that for whatever reason, the motors just stopped and the P2 came straight down because of no motors. Therefore it is a malfunction of the P2.

    I would appreciate any help or ideas that you can provide.
     
  2. EMCSQUAR

    Joined:
    Sep 5, 2013
    Messages:
    1,692
    Likes Received:
    6
    Location:
    N 44.895 W 93.354 Minnesota
    A complete shutdown has to be battery / battery connection related. Things to check a) contact pins on battery connector inside P2(especially 2 small ones) , b) cable(s) from battery connector to board c) solder joints at board from battery connector.
     
  3. Jezabel

    Joined:
    Jan 29, 2014
    Messages:
    103
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Michigan
    EMCSQUAR, I have not opened the P2 yet so it is good to know what I am looking for.

    What am I looking for in terms of the battery connectors? I guess I thought that since the battery "sang and had LEDS" that that might rule out the connector pins?????

    I assume that when I look at the cables I am looking to see if their connections are tight and that there are no gaps in solder joints?
     
  4. UKKey

    Joined:
    Mar 29, 2014
    Messages:
    56
    Likes Received:
    0
    Motor or battery failure. Have you crashed recently (thus causing a crack on the tracks on circuit boards etc)
     
  5. Shrimpfarmer

    Joined:
    Dec 15, 2013
    Messages:
    1,012
    Likes Received:
    8
    Location:
    Sussex UK
    I would say total power failure due to one of the main battery leads breaking free of its solder joint. This has been seen before where the wires are fixed in the battery bay. The only thing that makes me doubt this theory though is that you say the lights were still on when you found it.

    The other cause would be a CSC and you turned off the motors by accident. I don't believe you did that for one second though. I mention it as it strikes me as the only other thing that would stop all rotors.
     
  6. Jezabel

    Joined:
    Jan 29, 2014
    Messages:
    103
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Michigan
    I had never crashed the P2 and handled it with extreme care.

    The "dropping straight down" without any provocation/action,etc was extremely bizarre.

    I believe the theory of some sort of bad solder or disconnect between the motors and the battery (Yes, Shrimpfarmer the LEDs were on) but I did not open it up to inspect it (and probably should have). Instead I have just returned the entire set up because this was too strange to have something so unpredictable.

    Think I will reflect a bit on my options at this point.
     
  7. happydogs

    Joined:
    Dec 12, 2013
    Messages:
    156
    Likes Received:
    0
    happened to me, too. sudden and complete power cut off and it morphed into a brick in the sky. sent to dji, they fixed (don't know what they did...) and it's been perfect ever since.
     
  8. Jezabel

    Joined:
    Jan 29, 2014
    Messages:
    103
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Michigan
    happydogs, in some sick way I am glad it happened to someone else because it is truly a strange feeling to watch it just drop all of a sudden.... your brick description fits what happened perfectly.

    And, it is also encouraging to know that DJI fixed it for you. Perhaps that can restore my faith in the product so I won't give up. Thank you for sharing your experience with me.
     
  9. happydogs

    Joined:
    Dec 12, 2013
    Messages:
    156
    Likes Received:
    0
    oh, i forgot to say that I had something like 25+ flights before then...so I kinda know what I'm doing...this was, like, "Oh ****!" Then, BAM!!!!
     
  10. Jezabel

    Joined:
    Jan 29, 2014
    Messages:
    103
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Michigan
    My mouth was wide open....in total disbelief....And my thought bubble was FULL.....WTF.....??

    I,too, have done many flights so that was why it was a shocker!
     
  11. Shrimpfarmer

    Joined:
    Dec 15, 2013
    Messages:
    1,012
    Likes Received:
    8
    Location:
    Sussex UK
    This is the one remaining worry that sometime enters my mind. Its probably caused by vibration and stress on a solder joint over time. Your lights could have been on after the crash as the joint may have made contact again. The battery would have remained live I imagine and its lights would have shown.
     
  12. Jezabel

    Joined:
    Jan 29, 2014
    Messages:
    103
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Michigan
    I continue to be worried about the quality of the solder joints if normal flying vibrations is what loosened or broke the solder joints. I remember earlier threads of folks who opened their P2's and found very poor solder joints and a recommendation for redoing ones to the main board.

    Since I am not experienced with RC/ DIY electronics, I got the B & H set up (and I believe you also headed this direction when you moved from P2V and added P2,Gimbal, FPV,etc?). I was hoping that this would mean that I would not have to open up the P2 and could continue to fly/capture video/stills with the GoPro. Essentially, I could continue to update/upgrade with access to all plugs from the outside.

    Right now I am pausing a bit. I am wondering if I should consider the more integrated package of the P2V+ and just accept a slightly lower quality video from the Vision camera as a trade off for being able to frame/set/shoot stills????
     
  13. Jezabel

    Joined:
    Jan 29, 2014
    Messages:
    103
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Michigan
    But, even considering the "more integrated package of the P2V+" does not necessarily mean that the solder joints done on the assembly line would hold up any better than the P2's. Quite a quandary.
     
  14. glennbalsam

    Joined:
    Feb 2, 2014
    Messages:
    23
    Likes Received:
    0
    Just happened to me and missed two kids playing on the field by about 12ft which I consider close! Only difference was mine ended upside down with the gimbal ripped off but the rotors still turning. I did have the blade guards fitted though so not sure if that makes a difference. I spoke to the guy I bought it from and he checked the solar activity that day and found the time I was flying there was a huge spike? Does this really affect these things. If it does we are surely flying an accident waiting to happen! All the vids on Youtube etc never explain this solar activity theory?
    Scary stuff, I wanted this for wedding shots and real estate but scared stiff to fly over anything now. Especially water or buildings!
     
  15. jimdenburg

    Joined:
    Jan 21, 2014
    Messages:
    268
    Likes Received:
    3
    Location:
    Mukwonago, WI

    Your experience actually seems different for the OP's in that your motors were still turning after the crash. I've never had one just drop for no reason except for one time descending too quickly into my own prop-wash. I've read that solar activity can play a roll in the ability to gain enough satellites for GPS lock, which can cause loss of control, but to the extent of making it "drop out of the sky"? I don't know. From the information you provided it could be a number of other things too. Always good to keep your distance from people/traffic etc. J.I.C.
     
  16. Jezabel

    Joined:
    Jan 29, 2014
    Messages:
    103
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Michigan
    Glennbalsam, I am sorry to hear of your P2 "dropping" unexpectedly. And it really does make you feel insecure about flying again. I had read about solar activity being a form of interference but think more like interfering with frequency between P2 and controller and not sudden power/motor loss which characterizes my experience.

    I am going to try again with the P2v+ but will probably only fly in "natural areas" away from populated areas......but of course, there will still be the trees that could be problematic....
     
  17. crashnashsplash

    Joined:
    May 14, 2014
    Messages:
    1
    Likes Received:
    0
    Same Happen to me - Phantom 2 (Firmware 3 update) (unit only a week old) I was in full vertical climb at the time, so no way was it an accidental power off. engines stopped, copter flipped over and smashed into the ground (road) from 35 mtrs. battery destroyed the main board and the road took care of the GPS unit and the 3D Zenmuse bent like a wet lettuces leaf. Sent to DJI Europe (Germany)for them to assess! Strangely the FPV video was lost at the same as the engines stopped but the telemetry was still being transmitted.
     
  18. darwin-t

    Joined:
    Apr 28, 2014
    Messages:
    513
    Likes Received:
    5
    My ARDrone 2 did that just about every flight! lol