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Missing Phantom

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by Sac D, Mar 18, 2013.

  1. Sac D

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    I went out searching for my Phantom again today... looking in trees, etc.

    It occurred to me that maybe the search area should be widened... especially since the thing was already at height and climbing when it sped off on its own at high speed.

    So, the question of the day is... how far do you suppose an out of control Phantom could travel before the battery (2250 mAh) would run low and the craft would come back to earth?
     
  2. stevo42

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    Sorry to his this Sac,

    Depends on its direction 4 to 5 minutes on full blast maybe up to 1 or two miles radius.

    Just out of curiosity, when this happened did you turn the TX off? Only asking as last week my younger son without my knowledge took it for a fly out the back yard ... did the normal start procedure had the normal one green flashing light and when he primed it the Phantom took off straight up at full throttle. Had no control of it.

    The Phantom at full throttle went out of view directly above them more than likely got to 300 to 400 + meters but my other son who has a F450 rushed out and turned off the TX. About 4 to 5 minutes later it came into view coming straight down as it was in home lock and then he did the restart procedure on the TX took control and landed it. Connected it up to the software and error 25 and all the calibration was way out. So was having issues here as well. Flew it last weekend as had to take photos for a local council and performed Ok.
    I must admit you have got a lemon on this one. Hopefully when someone finds it they get in contact with you as you said you have the phone number on your props? I also have my mobile number on the Phantom. It is a issue for sure, as the Nazza must be getting a command or something. That why I always make sure I have full GPS lock before I take off.

    Hope to hear good news from you mate.

    JS
     
  3. Adam

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    Did I miss the thread where you lost it? What happened?
     
  4. Sac D

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    From the other thread:

    Here's the story. This Phantom did the same thing it did before, suddenly veered off to the left and took off like a bat out of hell, out of my control until it was no longer in view and gone. The problem this time is that it wasn't in open field and just a long walk to get to it. This was in the park next to a school where I have been flying a lot. It's surrounded by residential areas on all sides. The previous instances when this happened was immediately upon takeoff but this time I had been flying about 30 seconds and was probably 200 feet up and 300 feet away, so as a result it created a huge search area. We spent about two hours driving around hoping to find it in a street or someone's front yard. Of course it could have come down in a back yard, a pool, a roof, or stuck in a tree. The possibilities are staggering. And even though there were two of us watching, because it was so far away and high in the air when it bolted, I can only guess which direction it headed. The search ended when it got too dark to see.

    Anyway, this took place after (1) doing both an advanced calibration and basic one right before leaving the house, (2) doing a TX calibration at the park, (3) doing a compass calibration, and (4) waiting for a full IMU warmup and satellite acquisition prior to takeoff. I've been diligent about performing all these steps every time I've gone out, especially since I have been experiencing problems with this unit ever since I got it. I had been getting the dreaded Error 25, and the RedGreenYellow, but after getting through that, I thought this thing had settled down and would function like it should. I've had a continuing dialog with my dealer about those things, but not once did he ever say "pack it up and send it back, we'll exchange it for another one." Now I don't even have that as an option. My only hope is that someone will find it and call me... I had printed my phone number on each of the propellers. Good luck with that, huh? What are the odds someone will contact me? Rather slim I imagine. So it will remain missing, or someone will have a Phantom with no transmitter or charger, and a camera with no charger or directions. If they keep it, they will have to research what they are missing, go out and get everything, and then - they have a quad that will ignore their commands at a random moment and take off on its own.

    I think DJI has a serious quality control issue and with growing sales of Phantoms, this kind of thing will become more and more frequent. For them to ignore problems like this and hide behind their dealers is not a healthy business model. They may end up with regrets on entering the consumer market with this product. I regret purchasing it and all the accessories at this point. Perhaps my feelings will change once I get over this huge disappointment.
     
  5. auck

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    you are looking at an approximate range of 2 miles supposing it had a fully charged battery and was flying level in a straight line. if it was climbing as well, the range would be less. only thing is you would have to calculate in the wind speed and direction. that should give you a better idea of how far to go. don't forget also that once the battery gets low, it tries to "land" itself but unless it is close to the ground, it's going to be quite a drop. sorry to hear about your loss and hope you do find it in good condition.
     
  6. Adam

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    Hope I get my Blutracker soon, if I have a similar fly away hopefully I will be able to find it. There are many inherit risks in this hobby. Losing $1,000+ in a matter of seconds is an unfortunate reality. My orignal unit had a transmitter problem and I lost it overnight, neighbor found it though.
     
  7. Sac D

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    I was about to order a Blutracker too. It seems like the most cost-effective and workable solution available. I was actually thinking about ordering one now anyway, even though I don't have anything to use it on. I guess that means that somewhere in the back of my mind I am already pondering a new Phantom. But I am fearful of getting another lemon. I know I would definitely get it from a dealer that is responsive to things. All I got from dear ol' Mark was reassuring words in his email replies. That didn't do squat for me in reality. Why didn't he say "if it keeps acting up, send it back and we will check it out, and either fix it or send you a replacement" or words to that effect.

    I thought about starting to search the full area it likely went down today... then I calculated the area and realized it is a minimum of 56,000,000 square feet, and possibly twice that much. About half of it is wilderness along the banks of the American River, which meanders through here and provides plenty of deep landing scenarios. I'm sure I would have better luck finding more deer, snakes, and mountain lions than one little Phantom.
     
  8. jdawson

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    I think this is a good reminder that we should put IF found call... XXX-XXXX on all devices.

    Could put up a sign like a lost pet ... if seen call... with a picture of your phantom... so someone who found it would know to call you... You could offer a $100 reward.
     
  9. jdawson

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    Did you have a GoPro on the unit at the time you lost it? And did you wait a while to ensure you had a green blinking light before you took off? Just trying to find out why home return didn't work.
     
  10. Drummer Boy

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    Is there any chance that the Bluetracker frequency might interfere with the Phantom's navigation system?
     
  11. Sac D

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    No, I had an ActionPro on it, not GoPro.

    "Did I wait awhile?" Uh, did you even read what I wrote above?

    And RTH is not a guaranteed function... that's why so many Phantoms have gotten lost, especially for those who think it's foolproof.
     
  12. Gizmo3000

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    Well it certainly saved my butt this afternoon, i was flying in some winds, up rather high (launched off a hilltop),.and I too,thought my phantom was heading off into the blue. (I was trying ATTI,. switched to HL to try to bring her in, but either I didnt have it set to GPS or I got frustrated, so I killed the transmitter and prayed...and it appeared to continue to fly off into the distance, but then It started coming closer and came back to me.

    So did you kill the Tx when it appeared to be out of your control?
     
  13. Sac D

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    Yup. But it made no difference.
     
  14. Gizmo3000

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    man that sucks. :|
    I can only imagine the frustration.
    hope it eventually turns up.
     
  15. Adam

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    I'm not a radio frequency expert so I don't know, it does use Bluetooth 4.0, which is 2.4ghz, same as wi-fi. It has been debated whether using wifi on the GoPro while flying the Phantom can cause issues. DJI cautions users to keep wifi on the GoPro off, but I have seen a spectrum anaylsis on the Phantom transmitter and GoPro which showed it was operating in different areas of the spectrum.

    I will certainly do my own testing.
     
  16. Sac D

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    It looks like they are still offering BluTracker at the lower price right now, but they won't ship until May.

    http://www.sticknfind.com/shop/blutracker
     
  17. Adam

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    I just got to thinking, DJI is using Bluetooth 4.0 on the new iOS assistant for Wookong. They showed it connected in flight, so my best guess is that the blutracker wouldn't interfere, either.
     
  18. Sac D

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    This one looks like it would be quite effective... and it's tiny size is a plus! One drawback is the monthly cost associated with the SIM card and cellular service, however. But I wouldn't be complaining about that if I had put one in my Phantom. I could have found it by now, unless it did go into the river, and is wedged against a log under 20 feet of water.

    http://www.ebay.com/itm/121083140423?ss ... 1423.l2649
     
  19. Adam

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    You definitely DON'T want that one, that is AGPS, not true GPS. Notice the 2km accuracy. It would tell you where you Phantom is, within a 2km range, which would be useless.

    If you're looking for a cheap one, look at something like the TK102. It had an older model, I think it was the TK101, worked fine, but you end up paying about $10.00 a month for service.

    Make sure you get one that is quad-band so that it will work on all GSM cellular systems (some are two band which might not function in your area). GPS Passion is a good forum for these cheap chinese trackers.

    http://www.gpspassion.com/forumsen/foru ... ORUM_ID=36
     
  20. gareybit

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    After having an AR Drone leave me a year ago. I was ready for that to happen with the Phantom. I have been reading the posts on the run-a-way Phantoms and decided to invest. I saw other posts about the Garmin GTU-10. I purchased this unit and I believe that it will do well. I tested the unit to see location results and I am very pleased. It is light weight and can be
    affixed to the Phantom using the extended battery tray which is available. It is not as cheap as the units mentioned above,
    but It does work.

    I am hoping that I never have to test it on a lost unit, but I am prepared.

    Keep us posted, we all want to know if and when it is found.. and Good Luck.

    BTW my AR Drone was in the top of the tallest tree about 1/4 mile away from where it left. My bucket truck was not tall enough to reach the Drone, so I ended up shaking the branch to get it down... damaged on the landing from the tree.