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P3P crashed in creek, recovery successful!

Discussion in 'Pro/Adv Discussion' started by Marlo, Jan 10, 2016.

  1. Marlo

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    Hi guys,

    I just wanted to share my story with you. I own a Phantom 3 Pro since September and had a great time with it untill last Friday. It was a nice sunny day and I wanted to make some nice shots in the park. I knew form my previous flight that my battery was about half empty. I started up and it was at 38% according to my smartphonescreen. Normally during long and far flights I bring my P3P back so I can land quickly nearby when battery is at critical level (20% or below according to factory settings I believe). So i figured one or two quick shots from a couple a meters high should be okay.

    Now that was a mistake. I took of to about 5 feet and slowly manouvred the aircraft to the slope of the creek. I took three AEB pictures. See the attachment for the exact place I was hovering. Then it happenend. Suddenly the top bar of the dji go app flashed red and all lights started flashing red. I didn't inderstand and tried to fly to the right for a more even landing spot. There was no power anymore and the bird went down, landed i a 45 degrees angle and rolled over into the creek. The is shalow, I think 1,5 feet deep. It was completely under water in a turned over position. Afterwards I was happy about that because props are cheaper than a camera or gimball...

    The aircraft started drifting away slowly and I couldn't get to it. I decided not to jump into the water, maybe next time I would. I live around the corner so I rushed to get some garden gear to fish it out. I guess it was fully submerged for about 5 minutes. I got home as quickly as possible and started to shake out the water a much as possible after I removed the battery. I could see the camera was fully drained with water. After some shaking most of it was out. I took the hairdryer and started blowing every bit to get it dry as soon as possible. After approx. one hour I the camera was moistured and in this closed state I wouldn't be able to dry it up with the hairdresser so I decided to open it up. I took of the backpanel of the camera and unscrewed the printboard with censor. This is connected to the gimball and you have to open up the gimball if you want to remove that. I decided not to, just bend it aside and pointed the hairdresser onto the back of the lens. At that point I didn't know the filter ring could be removed... Meanwhile I was reading a lot a messages here on this forum for some advice and some other places I found with google. I found out the filter ring could be removed so when the hairdresser dried up the camera as much a possible I tried to unscrew the ring but without success. It was so tight that I couldn't get it off, also not with rubber band or a grippy cloth.

    Shops where closed and I put the aircraft in a plastic bag with a ton rice next to it, hoping the remaining moisture would dissapear. The next morning I went to the shop because I had read the these sticky rubber household gloves could help removing the filter ring. Well it still was not easy but finally it came of. I cleaned he dried water residues off the filter and the camera lens with some alcohol and mounted everything back. I also removed the little aluminium ring between the camera and gimball because it made a scrubbing noise. I found out this was because of some sand.

    I read a lot of messages in which people adviced to keep the aircraft in a bag with rice to dry it for a couple of days before starting it up. Sorry, but I couldn't wait that long. I mounted another battery since the crashed one was dead and turned on power. I started up normally. I turned on the remote with smartphone and entered camera view... my God that was an exciting moment. You first get this status screen with the camera view in the background. The image was pretty good but my attention was attracted by a message in the status screen. Firmware update needed, okay I knew that one. And a critical error. Also the remote was flashing red. Entering the subscreen turned out there were four warnings. Update firmware aircraft, remote end battery and two calibration messages for the remote joysticks and aircraft compas. It took some time to handle all the but in the end everyting was up to date, al indicators were right and I got good image quality. So I took it out in my back yard, mounted the props and started the motors.... So far so good. I took it of to 1 foot, no problem... I packed my stuff and went to a field nearby to give it a proper test. It all worked it it never had crashed. Okay I had no spare props so I had to mount the old ones which where only a little bit scratched. So stability was a little bit off normal. But not bad at all.

    So moral of the story: your bird can survive a fresh water dunk except the battery.

    I learned a lot during reading all the posts about water crashes. For people who don't know I have some do's and dont's (in my opinion):
    - Always fly with full and freshly (not longer than a day ago) charged batteries.
    - Dry it with a hairdryer (warm air is okay, but no hot air!!) and don't wait for it to dry for itself in normal indoor or outdoor temperatures. I think this helped the recovery of mine a lot. If you wait for it, it takes longer to dry, the more damage the water or moisture can do.
    - Use grippy rubber household gloves to remove the filter ring if it doesn't come of easily.
    - During the next days I will keep the aircraft in a bag with rice, just to be sure all the moisture which might be hiding in tiny areas will dry up.

    Well that's it for know, I hope my bad experience which turned out not be as bad as I initially thought, can help you guys in case of a water crash.


    creek.jpg
     
  2. Rumbaar

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    I'll try not to say some bad things, but who starts a new flight with only 38% battery?!!!!

    But glad you've been able to recover your drone, into working order.
     
    Marlo likes this.
  3. CCDD

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    Perhaps you're new to this forum and/or don't bother to read or absorb the many threads regarding taking off with a partially charged battery. Judging by some of your comments, I'm almost certain you were going to try and fly it again with the original, water logged battery but were unable to due it not turning on. Lastly, installing a propeller will the slightest degree of damage even for a test flight indicates you've got plenty of homework and learning to do before flying your phantom again. Believe me when I tell you that I'm biting my tongue and being kind, you better prepare yourself for others about to "jump" all over you for your poor actions and decision making.
     
    Marlo likes this.
  4. Marlo

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    Hi Rumbaar,

    Thank you for not saying bad things, which means to me your motivating me in a positive way. You're probably right, maybe I needed this to realize that. But on the other hand: what's the 38% for? It's not equal to 10 or 0%... Again you're probably right and I was only looking for a technical answer. Flying below 20% I consider as irresponsible.
     
    #4 Marlo, Jan 10, 2016
    Last edited: Jan 10, 2016
  5. Marlo

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    You are also right. I do bother to absorb information? I clearly overlooked that part. I was not going to fly the water logged battery, I was just checking on it instead of throwing it in the bin without. And yes, during the recovery I did encounter information stating this battery is worthless. Thank you also for being kind, please have mercy.
     
  6. Marlo

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    My goal here is to let other people learn form my mistakes. I have prepared myself vulnarable by posting this message.
     
  7. msinger

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    In most cases, it's a good idea to land when your battery is at about 30% (it depends mostly on the voltage). So, at 38%, your battery was nearly technically depleted. It's not possible to use 100% of the battery. Your Phantom will auto land and/or it'll auto shut off before it gets that low.
     
    Marlo likes this.
  8. Rumbaar

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    Well 38% is for you to have at the end of a flight of your thousand dollar toy to land, not to take off. If money isn't an issue, then you should have a bank of batteries (I currently have 4). That would be your best option for sustained flight. 20% I'd only use to turn on and extract data to your PC, never to starting a new flight. Maybe inside your house, if that up and down.

    I'm not sure how you got to the point of owning such a expensive toy with little to no preparation or care. Good luck with your investment,