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Standard Phantom lost in lake for 6 months, recently found with video intact

Discussion in 'Phantom 3 Help' started by Marko5584, Jan 18, 2017.

  1. Marko5584

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    I lost my Phantom 2 vision + on July 3rd 2016 when a friend and I were in a canoe on a lake in western New YorK. I flew it around the southern end of Hemlock lk, but the camera did not seem to respond to the gimbal commands. So after about 9 or ten minutes I brought it back to the canoe and got the camera to respond to commands and then relaunched from the canoe. It went up about 40 or 50 feet and came down at a 45 degree angle and it was lost in the southern end of the lake. It was in about five to six feet of water and I figured it was a complete loss. I had the Phantom 2 vision + for about fifteen months and certainly got a lot of mileage and great video from it. My biggest gripe was not having the video from that day.

    So a few days later I bought another Phantom (Phantom 3 standard). In the interim a friend and I went on the lake in his boat and scoured the area. We didn't find it, even though we could see the bottom of the lake. Then, for the rest of the summer, western NY state had a significant drought and the lake receded dramatically. I went out with a friend on the canoe again and the water had receded so much that we couldn't even get far enough south to the area in which I lost the drone. It was all mud. At this point it was late September. The drought continued and in October we were able to walk out on a huge part of the south end of the lake which is typically submerged. It was very muddy and we could not walk far enough to search the area in which I had lost the drone. Perhaps with snowshoes I might have. Then a few days ago my friend and I went to the lake again. The lake was frozen and the south end of the lake was mostly hard mud and ice and if you broke through the ice you would simply get your shoes and feet wet and muddy. So I went out to the area and on a second sweep I came across the drone, upside down, frozen and caked with mud and ice. I couldn't immediately extract it. I had to break the ice around it with the heel of my sneakers. I finally got it loose. The battery and sd card were still intact. I dried it and took out the battery and used a pair of tweezers to pull out the micro sd card. It was very dirty. I let it dry for a day or two. Then I cleaned the sd card with some alcohol. I put it in some rice to absorb any lingering moisture. I could not get the computer to read it. I cleaned it some more and noticed some grime on the little metallic tabs. I used a q-tip with more alcohol and then gently scraped the dirty metallic tabs with a grain of rice. I got the video from the first launch, but nothing from the second launch when I lost it. I am delighted in finding the drone and getting the video of my friend and I in the canoe on the lake that day.
    It was in the water, mud, and ice from July 3 2016 to January 15 2017. The video data is intact. It was a 900 megabyte file.
    I doubt the drone is reparable. I attached a photo of it.

    Marko recovered phantom.JPG
     
    naohiro, Banksy, PHANTOMUSER and 9 others like this.
  2. Techcop50

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    If you could put the SD card in a working drone it might be able to salvage the lost video...
     
  3. Loz

    Loz

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    Great story & pic! Well done.


    Sent from my iPad using PhantomPilots
     
  4. dougsteph

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    What a story, thanks for sharing
     
  5. rocketflyer

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    What we want to know is will it start up!
     
  6. skyofdrone

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    If the drone still alive you will be lucky :)
    That's a geat story :)
     
  7. Neon Euc

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    Awsome story. Really enjoyed it xxx

    Neon Euc
     
  8. skyofdrone

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    :D you want to use it as a boat ? :D i don't think it floats because there are many holes on the shell to help cooling the drone so water comes rapidly inside.
     
    Roknron57 likes this.
  9. Marko5584

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    Thanks for this suggestion. I couldn't find any other video file on the card from that day. If I did find the second video file, would the Phantom 3 recognize and fix a video file recorded on a Phantom 2? I think the software is different.
     
  10. Marko5584

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    The Phantom sank quickly. It was about forty feet away from the canoe and it disappeared as soon as it hit the water. I don't think it floated for a second. It was in four feet of water for two to three months until the lake water receded as the drought continued.

    Perhaps I will try to clean it with alcohol and distilled water. (Alcohol for me; distilled water for the Phantom). If the battery leaked while it was under water, then there may be some awful corrosion and it cannot be repaired. I do have a second battery for the phantom 2 that is in good shape.

    the camera is completely grimed up. I don't think the motors will work. It will be an item for my drone museum.

    Marko



     
    SirAchie, Neon Euc and Techcop50 like this.
  11. Techcop50

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    Unknown.
     
  12. DARLAK

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    I love that pic of the recovered drone
     
  13. Marko5584

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    I cleaned out the Phantom and you can see the pile of dirt that came out. (The pile was actually bigger than depicted here.) I cleaned the battery terminals and charged up a second battery. I pressed the on-off button on the battery and usual DJI contact tones sounded! Then I tried the engines and they all seem to work. I took it outside to see if it would establish a home point and it did.

    I did not yet put the props on to see if will fly.

    The amount of dirt that was caked in this thing is amazing. I have not opened up the phantom to clean it. I was tapping the arms and the turning it around so that all the dirt would dislodged from the arms and fall out through the open battery compartment. There is dirt inside still. I can hear it.

    I will try giving it a test flight in the next few days.
    I wasn't expecting to get this far!

    drone cleaning.jpg
     
    DaveD likes this.
  14. syotr

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    That's amazing. You really should open it up and clean all circuit boards both sides with alcohol. I would also open the motors up and clean and oil the bearings.
     
  15. Techcop50

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    You need to send DJI an email about this, with pics. They may want to swap you a new drone for that one...
     
  16. Marko5584

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    My quadcopter flies! The one that was in the water and mud and ice for 6 months! I tried it yesterday and hovered it about 20 feet up in the air. Upon takeoff it seemed a bit unstable and drifted, but then it seemed to stay in place. Perhaps one of the motors is lagging. The wireless connection between my phone and the camera works too, but there is a gimbal error. I have no idea if it will record video or photos since I took out the sd card. The camera is out of alignment and tilts leftward. The slot for the micro sd card is caked with grime. I may try to clean the card slot, but I am not sure how.

    I brought it back in the house after flying it for about ten minutes and took the battery out. There are still chunks of dirt coming out of it. I think running the motors loosened up more dirt in the arms.

    I will have to open it and clean it from the inside as syotr suggests, but I need the right tools. My Phantom 2 vision plus came with a wrench only.

    I am amazed that this thing can still get airborne.
     
    The Ghost likes this.
  17. dougsteph

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    That is an amazing story


    Sent from my iPad using PhantomPilots
     
  18. Neon Euc

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    Wow amazing to hear. Fantastic news mate. Now hurry up and get that SD footage up and running lol would be really interesting to see what the data says too. Have you checked on healthy drones yet?

    Neon Euc
     
  19. Marko5584

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    I don't know how to access the data from the Phantom 2. I don't find any record of the flight from the day it went down. I did get a map picture of the the last point of contact. Note that this last point may have been when it was in the air or when it hit the water. At that time it went down it was about 40 or 50 feet in the air.

    The frame I grabbed from the video that day shows the south end of the lake where it went down.

    last record location (1).png frame grabbed.png
     
  20. DanMan32

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    See if running chkdsk on the card finds any lost chains. As files are written on FAT formatted drives, the allocation table is usually kept up to date but the chain of data is not yet linked to a file entry describing the file until the file is closed.

    Sent from my HTC 10 using PhantomPilots mobile app
     
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