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My Vision dropped from the sky and DJI won't help

Discussion in 'Phantom 2 Vision Discussion' started by thelandman, Dec 21, 2013.

  1. thelandman

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    I bought my Vision and 3 extra batteries on 12/2 at a local dealer outside of Austin. I had read on these forums about all of the flyaway and battery issues and such so I made sure to update everything before my first flight. I flew it 4 or more times a day for the last 2 weeks without encountering any of the problems I had read about.

    During the first week I tested out the "Return to home" failsafe function a few times and it worked flawlessly each time. Then I got my head wrapped around the concept of the "Course lock" and "Home lock" and both of those modes worked as stated in the manual. The one thing I didn't test, and frankly haven't read about anybody else testing either was the "auto-landing" upon low battery. I guess I just assumed this would work because of the lack of internet chatter about it. So a few days ago I got the bright idea to have my Phantom hover over the pasture I was clearing cactus in and have it take a series of photos of my progress. I knew I had read in the manual that it would auto land when the battery got low so I tried it. I kept it in GPS mode and I flew it about 200 feet away and about 100' up. I set down the transmitter, got in the tractor and went to work. Periodically I would look over at it and it was flying very steady exactly where I left it. After about 20 minutes I thought I would walk over to the transmitter and see what the battery was at. But before I got to the transmitter the Vision just fell out of the sky and broke the shell and the camera. The next day I went in to my dealer and I asked him what behavior I should expect if I were to just let it hover like that in the air and he said that upon a low battery condition that it would auto land itself. It didn't do that of course because now its in pieces. He told me to fill out a report on the DJI website and he thought that the manufacturer across the pond (china) would replace it. They had previously authorized 2 other Vision replacements for crashes caused by the invalid battery issue. I didn't receive a response from DJI but he did the next day. He told me that what they (the Chinese) said was so bad that he wasn't going to tell me what they said except that they say that it is my fault and there will be no replacement. He disagrees with them and thinks they didn't understand what I was telling them in the report. Granted I thought the report was going to be read in the Austin at the US headquarters not by someone in China. This is the text from the report I sent from the DJI website:

    I purchased my Phantom Vision on December 2nd. I updated the firmware on it that day before my first flight. I've flown it nearly everyday without issue until yesterday.

    After reading the owners manual I was under the impression that after the second battery low alarm the Phantom would begin to descend and land itself. So I thought that I would have the Phantom hover over the pasture I was working in at about 100' and have it take a series of photos of my progress. Thinking that it would land itself after the battery got low, I made sure that there wasn't anything below it but the pasture for an easy landing on its own.

    I proceeded to work on cactus removal. After about 20 minutes, of it not moving an inch in the sky I thought I would go over to where I had set down the transmitter. As I was walking back to the transmitter the Phantom just fell out of the sky without auto landing like I had read that it would.

    My much loved bird is now in several pieces due to this apparent malfunction.

    I spoke with Jake Lahmann at UAV Direct this morning and he also agreed that the craft should have auto landed itself without problems. This is the one thing I didn't test in the 2 weeks I've had it. Everything else performs as stated in the owners manual. Except that I did notice that the lower right side of all of my photos are blurry for some reason. I think that is a defect in the camera lens possibly.

    Thanks in advance for your prompt attention. I am leaving on Tuesday December 24th for Christmas in Tucson with family. I was so excited at the thought of having my Vision for vacation footage. Now I don't know what to do.

    Please help!
    Sad Santa


    Sorry this is so long. Can someone offer up some advise? Everyone should test that low battery auto land and see if it works.
     
  2. peter nap

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    I've said this a million times on a million sites. Use AmEx for purchases like this. Let them fight with the seller. What I love the most about them is what I used to hate when I took AmEx. If there is an unhappy customer either you make it right or they'll chargeback the money and make it right for you.
     
  3. Pull_Up

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    Sorry for your crash. Is it a write-off, or repairable?

    A few comments:

    1. The US branch of DJI is a marketing division. All technical and dealer support comes from the manufacturer in China.
    2. Never leave any RC aircraft unattended. With the best will in the world, and the best software and hardware, there is always the chance of interference causing something to happen which, if you are hands on, you may be able to deal with.
    3. Notwithstanding it appeared to plummet rather than autoland on low power, the fact you left it unattended might give DJI a get-out clause in that you were, they could argue, using it "negligently" by leaving it alone. They never state in the operating manual that it can be left unattended.
    4. Notwithstanding that, and it's harsh on the dealer you bought it from, but as they have already verbally stated you should be reimbursed/have a replacement then you need to ask them to honour their statement. If they say no, you may need to look to whatever consumer protection legislation there is in your jurisdiction. Your Trading Standards Department (or whatever your equivalent is, is it Better Business Bureau?) may be able to help.

    Good luck.
     
  4. thelandman

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    Sure they could use that logic. But what if it were a Phantom 2 without the app to show what the battery is? You could be flying that craft at a distance from you and not know the battery was low and attended or not it shouldn't fall from the sky. It should operate as it is stated in the user manual. It clearly didn't! And what about when the whole ground station thing comes? When you send it out on a "mission", wouldn't it be considered unattended then? One would be relying on the fact that it will auto land if the battery gets low and not fall from the sky. I don't feel like I did anything wrong. The copter didn't do what the manual said it would do.
     
  5. PAValentine

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    Assuming you're in Austin TX, take it in to the Austin Offices and ask them face to face to help you get it back together. It is much harder for them to tell you NO when they have to look you in the eye to say it. I have seen a video of their Austin Offices, and they have these all over the place! They certainly have parts to repair it!!!
     
  6. Pull_Up

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    I know, hence my last point. If the manufacturer refuses to authorise a return then you have to go to the dealer for redress, as the previous poster said.

    I know you don't feel you did anything wrong because the aircraft is supposed to auto-land on low power detection. However, nowhere does it say "this aircraft can be left completely unattended and nothing bad will happen". Also, auto-landing on critically low voltage is meant to be a last resort rather than a feature you should actively take advantage of (if nothing else it will shorten the life of those platinum-plated batteries we have to buy) - which is why the Vision app has warnings built in, and the V1 Phantom uses the slow-flashing-red LED followed by fast-flashing-red LED signal to indicate "low power" and "critically low power, land immediately or I will" respectively.

    I guess I'm trying to say that I feel you did do something wrong, but you did it with good intent because you knew there was a built-in safety feature. That appeared to fail so I think you are owed a refund. Sadly for the dealer that's going to come out of their pockets and they'll need to fight with the manufacturer - but then that's part of the risk of being in business.
     
  7. peter nap

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    Interesting in all these "I have a problem" posts, someone has to say it's the user's fault. I don't think the manual says to NOT leave it unattended either and in fact, he really didn't. He sat it down in a hover to wait for the battery to go down and got on his tractor. Not like he went home for dinner.

    On mine the lights indicate a low battery condition, then it reduces power, then it slowly and safely lands.

    He's had it less than a month and had what is obviously, a defective failure of the system. It did not do what it was supposed to do and that feature is a safety item.

    In his case, I agree he needs to hold the seller responsible. He can take it up with the manufacturer.
     
  8. OI Photography

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    This is worth repeating:

    No matter how friendly and autonomous the manual may make the Phantom sound, putting it up in the air and then walking away from the Transmitter is an immense risk. Although it's impossible for any of us to tell if you could have recovered from whatever caused the crash, it's also impossible for you to say, since you had no control at the time. It would also probably give you a better idea of what the true cause was, out of the many many possibilities. Even in the case of using the ground station, there's continual control input provided to the Flight Controller, and it can be manually overridden at any time...and even when using that, at no time should you just assume the aircraft is going to stay in air and walk away from the controls.

    Additionally, any time you're flying beyond the range where you can see the battery indicator (LED), you should have some alternative method for actively monitoring battery status at all times. Or, your Phantom may just fall out of the sky unexpectedly...
     
  9. dkr77573

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    My question is how much longer can it fly when you hit that second warning? If you had it at 100', would that be too high for if to auto land before totally losing power? I've never tested auto land except when I have if hovering 10' up and 10ft in front of me.

    I know there are variables too, like battery performance and voltage settings in the software.
     
  10. peter nap

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    Mine reduces power and altitude....I've only tested it once but that's what it's supposed to do according to what I've read. It gradually dropped as the battery went further, then just sat down peacefully. I didn't time it after the second warning but it was longer than I expected.
     
  11. Pull_Up

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    I don't believe I said it was his fault the aircraft fell out of the sky, that was clearly a failure of the low voltage system, hence my recommendation to fight with the supplier for a refund. What I did say was that I thought he was negligent for leaving it alone and jumping in a tractor which could give someone with more money for lawyers than you or I grounds to dispute a claim. If he'd been standing there holding the Tx then I don't think there's any get out for the supplier in that case.

    I would hope, in the light of all the good publicity they'll get from it on here, the supplier stands by the product it sold even if the manufacturer won't - from the dealer's response it sounds like they think that should be the case....
     
  12. thelandman

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    The wire from the camera came out of the plug part. The dealer tested the camera and its broke too. And one arm on the shell bent and cracked. My dealer says he is getting new shells on Monday luckily. Nobody has those yet![/quote]

    Not to be the bearer of bad news but my dealer said that there is some shake up going on behind the scenes right now with the DJI Austin office. He says he got an email that it was going to close and that Colin and company were no longer going to be running the US side of things. I've been waiting for internet chatter to appear on this but there isn't any yet. If there is any truth to that I think DJI in China is making a big mistake. The videos Colin made were what sold me on this whole thing in the first place.
     
  13. rmklaw

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    You are within the 30 days. You have the right to push the dealer and demand that they handle the issue with or without DJI. This dealer represents that they support the DJI products, hence, they are misrepresenting if they don't. Also, DJI in Austin is not just a marketing arm (not under Texas or US law). It is a subsidiary and has legal presence in Texas.

    Having said that, on an issue I had, after getting to the right parties from DJI in Austin, I got excellent support from DJI engineers, and resolution of my issue. You need to be persistent and assert your rights as a consumer purchaser.
     
  14. spazmodic1

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    You could have done it from a lower altitude. say 5-10 feet over something a bit forgiving if it did crash.
    That is a feature i wouldn't be testing. I would be landing it well before it got to 10-15% battery.
     
  15. BenDronePilot

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    I actually know what went wrong for you in this case and the problem actually has been fixed with the firmware that was released yesterday.

    The problem is this. You had the phantom 2 in "Naza" mode and not in "phantom 2" mode. There was a bug with the 15% power auto landing would not actually function when in Naza mode. I noticed this myself when flying the day prior and noticing it was still in the air all happy not loosing altitude even as it dropped below 1% battery power.

    So what you have here is a crash because of a bug in the auto landing when in Naza mode. Tho technically you had no business letting it fly unattended. You should have been paying attention to the flight and noting that the Phantom was not loosing altitude on its own as the battery dropped below the 15% fail safe.

    With all that said, best of luck in repair or replacement but this crash was as much do to user error as is a fault in the firmware.
     
  16. thelandman

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    Now it all makes sense. One time before activating Naza mode I flew it to the second warning and it started decending. Clearly operating properly. A few days later, after I went ahead and activated Naza mode I made the mistake of flying with the volume turned down on my phone. I was flying for awhile and was over water when I looked down to see the screen flashing red with only 4% battery remaining. I flew the 25 feet to the shore and even had to gain altitude to get to a safe landing site. When I landed it was at 2%.

    Thanks for clearing up what the problem was.