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Ready to give up

Discussion in 'Phantom 2 Help' started by johan, Mar 8, 2015.

  1. johan

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    Apologies in advance. I suspect you get noobs in here every other week with this sort of issue. I did some browsing and cursory searches but didn't really see much. Then again, I didn't dig super deep. So again please forgive me my transgressions.

    After lots of research and lots of hemming and hawing about whether to pick up a used phantom or spring for an Inspire 1, I picked up a used phantom 2 gopro from craigslist last week. Pretty good deal I thought. Came with a Hero 3+, 3 batteries, an IOSD, 7" monitor, a case and all the chargers plus a small collection of all the required allen wrenches and screwdrivers. I already have a gopro and I liked the idea of having two so I'd be able to chenge the lens in one of them and thus have two different lens options to fly.

    A little background about me. I've got no real world RC plane or copter experience. But I do have lots of RC plane simulator experience. Years ago I started building an old RC balsa Piper Cub model I bought on ebay. I'm an ex-banner pilot and I wanted to build an RC model of the plane I used to fly for a living. I never finished it. However I did buy a futaba radio and transmitter for it and spent lots of time with a PC sim practicing for the day when I'd fly the plane for real. I dare say I got as competent as one could possibly get with an RC sim. One of the reasons I never finished the Cub project is because I got side tracked into kite photography which is where my RC radio and transmitter ended up getting used. So while I never finished or flew the cub, I do have a measurable amount of real world experience with RC radios and transmitters and I'm as well preprepared and anyone with no RC flight experience could be to deal with RC flight and the concepts of reverse control (left is right when flying toward yourself etc) and the like.

    So the kite photography thing led me to wanting a photography drone of some sort. Next logical step I guess as its sort of the perfect solution to get the camera in the air on days when the kites won't lift the rig.

    So I've bought this rig and I've now got 3 flights with it under my belt. And I'm ready to give up and sell it. 3 flights, 3 out of control crashes and every one of them for a completely different reason.

    First flight lasted about 20 seconds. I got it up into a hover, then it drifted off hard to the left and went to the ground. I did a compass calibration I think I did it right but I can't be sure so I suspect I did it wrong.

    Second flight I made sure I did the compass calibration right. But I'm not sure I had GPS lock or home point. All I know is I got it flying and seemed to have control. But I flew it out about 50 yards and then no matter what I did to try and bring it back, it would only get further away until it crashed.

    After that I went back to the drawing board. Updated the firmware on everything (I guess I wrongly assumed the previous owner would have done that) and scrutinized every setting. I switched from NazaM to Phantom mode. Did calibrations on the controller and the IMU.

    So the third flight? It wasn't really a flight at all. I very carefully did the compass calibration and verified the LED's responded accordingly. I was showing between 7 and 8 satellites on the IOSD screen and had slow green blinks for the LEDs. I powered on and got the motors turning. And then... Nothing. It just sat there idling when I went left stick up. No response at all. I went to power down and I think I might have moved the right stick a little faster than the left while doing the move. At that point, the rear rotors seemed to spool up which lifted rear end off the case and got it moving backward. The copter dropped to the snow covered ground hitting the front props on the case as they went down. It sunk into the snow and got stuck and one of the rear motors stopped, the other three still turning. And then... the other three seemed to go to full power. I was trying to get them to shut down but it wasn't responding at all. It was still stuck in the snow so it wasn't able to fly but the motors were going full speed and it was coming close to being able to break itself free. Then the forth motor got itself going again. So now I've got a coptor stuck in the snow with all four motors going full speed and absolutely not responding to anything I'm doing on the controller. I figure I should just reach for the button on the battery but I've got to get through two spinning props to reach it and I'm not keen on losing a finger. On the other hand its starting to work itself loose from the snow and if it goes up I have no idea where it will go as I no longer seem to have any control over it. At that point I figure this is a job for a size 11 boot so I start putting my boot into the prop arcs trying to break the props off or stop the motors so I can get my hand in close enough to turn the thing off before it takes off and goes rogue. This works and I get it shut off.

    So at this point I'm about done. I just do not see how I'll ever be able to trust this thing enough to fly it in proximity to people or buildings much less ever being able to fly it near anything I'd want to photograph. So before I put the ad on craigslist and get this thing out of my life for good I'd like to ask the experts. Am I wrong about ever being able to trust it? Are my expectations unrealistic? What am I missing here?

    I'm sure I've made noob mistakes here and I'm sure you folks will be able to point them out. The thing I can't away from is that every time I figure out my previous mistakes, it seems this device has more pitfalls that will cause it to go out of control at the drop of a hat if I don't throw exactly the right type of chicken bones at the exact right phase of the full moon while doing exactly the right dance and reciting exactly the right incantations in exactly the right dialect. Is it as complicated and dangerous as it now seems to be? I thought these things were supposed be user friendly and relatively bulletproof. Thanks for your input.
     
  2. msinger

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    For starters, it sounds like you completely neglected to read the DJI manual. Either that, or you skimmed over it and/or did not fully understand it. You should definitely read the entire manual (and again if you already did).

    The latest Phantom 2 manual can be downloaded from the following link:
    http://www.dji.com/product/phantom-2/download

    If you've never calibrated your remote controller (you should have before flying), then try it like this:
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TbwvbmB5r3w

    Also, do not do a CSC when landing. Always hold the left stick down until the motors shut down. That will prevent your Phantom from tipping over.

    Phantoms are easy to get into the air -- and, easy to crash too. They are certainly not bulletproof.
     
  3. jason

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    Ok you might have bought a lemon but I you haven't mentioned any setup. First did you down v1.2 user's manual? Second have you download the phantom 2 assistant software v3.6 ( do not download v3.8 ), Phantom RC assistant software v1.2 and DJI window driver installer if you are using Windows? http://www.dji.com/product/phantom-2/download If using a Mac there is software for it But again do not download v3.8.

    Once you have every piece of software downloaded you start with connecting the RC unit to the software and calibrating it then connect the P2 up and calibrate it also do a complete ADVANCED IMU calibration and you should be good to go.

    Any time you crash the P2 an advance IMU should at the top of your list of things to do. If you need new props after sticking your boot into them they dji 9443 0r 9450 stock props and those numbers are stamped on the face side of the props along with DJI. Until you have this unit safely in the air without problems do not use after market props. I buy mine from B&H 30.00 for 4 free shipping
    http://www.bhphotovideo.com/
     
  4. SteveMann

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    You didn't put your location in your profile, but there may be other Phantom owners nearby that would help.
    First, compass calibration does not have to be done on every flight, and it won't affect GPS or ATTI flight at all because no headings need to be calculated.
    Everything you describe sounds like you need to run the RC Assistant and Phantom 2 assistant calibrations. In that order.
     
  5. johan

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    I have indeed downloaded the manual and read it. Several times. In fact I downloaded and read all the docs from DJI (the manual, the quickstart guide, the gimbal doc, etc). I have downloaded installed and run the RC assistant as well as the other software. I used the IOSD software assistant to pull the IOSD data in from the edges of the screen as the data was unreadable before that. Calibrated the controller and did an IMU calibration on the P2.

    The one thing I didn't do was download ver 3.6 of the assistant software. I believe I downloaded the 3.8 version so perhaps that was my mistake. Should I download 3.6 and do the IMU calibration over?

    I appreciate the help and suggestions. The more I'm reading the more I'm seeing just how many ways things can go horribly wrong if you don't have every setting right. What I find most disturbing is that the user has no indication how those settings are configured until everything is hooked to computer and even then you can't really be sure. Put your controller in the wrong mode without realizing it? You'll never know until you try to fly and things go wrong. Have naza-m mode set instead of phantom? Nothing on the P2 will tell you that until you hook it to a computer. Would it have killed DJI to put in an LED or two or otherwise built the thing so it gives some physical indication of how its configured?

    I'm in southwest Michigan near Kalamazoo btw.
     
  6. msinger

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    It's best to always use the latest version (currently 3.8).
     
  7. SanCap

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  8. capodrone81

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    If you've never calibrated your remote controller (you should have before flying), then try it like this:
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TbwvbmB5r3w



    msinger hit this spot on ! ... do the calibration for controller... every scenario you described seems to have something to do with your controller... might even want to open up controller and make sure no loose wires. and lastly you never mentioned calibrating using rc assistant first, then close app and , calibrate again in p2 assistant.

    good luck

    any imu errors?
     
  9. SteveMann

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    Honestly, I don't know anyone with a Phantom who has flown more than a couple of hours who hasn't switched to the NAZA mode. In the NAZA mode, when S1 and S2 are in the up position, you are, for all practical purposes flying in the Phantom mode.

    I wouldn't open the controller yet. It's too easy to break your antenna connection on the transmitter module. The cables are glued in place or use locking connectors, so unless you hear something loose on the inside, it's not time to open it.

    I am not sure about your third flight, but the first two sound like you are in the ATTI or Manual modes.

    Here's a thought, since you bought it used, the prior owner may have changed some of the advanced parameters. You can download the "Phantom Default Configuration Parameters" zip file from DJI at http://www.dji.com/product/phantom/download. But to be honest, I don't know what to do with that file - anyone else with an idea?

    Try this-
    Do an RC calibration. Make sure you move all the controls full-scale. If any of the controls don't have a corresponding response on the PC screen, then you have a bad controller.
    Do a P2 calibration. Again moving all the controls through all limits. Again, the PC screen should show all controls responding.
    Note which mode you're in.
    Set the Phantom on the ground, turn on the controller (S1 and S2 up), turn on the Phantom and wait for the fast green blinks.
    Push the throttle stick full up for a half second. (The manual is wrong here - do not lift off slowly). Then release both sticks. If everything is working your Phantom should be hovering at about ten feet. It will stay there until the battery runs low.
    Now, move the left stick left and right to yaw the aircraft.
    Using the left stick, make sure the Phantom is facing away from you.
    Now using the right-stick, you should be able to move the Phantom left, right, forward and reverse.

    If anywhere in this process the Phantom doesn't respond as expected, stop and tell us what happened.
     
  10. johan

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    Ok so I tried to follow the advice given here as best as I could. I calibrated the controller with the RC assistant software and verified the response on the screen was the same as what I was moving on the controller. Then I plugged in the P2, loaded the Phantom 2 assistant software and calibrated the controller in that. I also did an IMU calibration.

    Then I took it out behind the house and... success. Finally, success. I was able to get it to lift off, hover and land under control. And the first flight was just that. Takeoff, hover, move forward a bit, move backward a bit and then land and shut down the motors. I did a second flight that was longer and involved flying out about 100 yards and back a few times as well as hovering and maneuvering near the house a bit and another successful landing on my 4x4 landing pallet. I still don't trust it. But this success gives me hope that we might be able to make this work.

    Thank you all for your time and effort helping me get this thing going. I really was out of ideas and ready to give up on it. I'm now looking forward to trying to build on todays success.
     
  11. MrC

    MrC

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    Good to hear you had some trouble free flights. Here's to many more :mrgreen:
     
  12. capodrone81

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    GOOD JOB! :mrgreen:
     
  13. johan

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    Alright time for an update. I've had a few more successful flights and a few more less than successful.

    Here's where I'm at now. Took everything out yesterday evening when the winds died down. Had green LED's and IOSD showed 7 satellites. Set manual homepoint before powering up. Powered on, lifted off and flew out about 20 yards or so while climbing above the tree line. Once I got it above the tree line, maybe 50-60 meters, I hovered for a few seconds. Everything was stable. Then the green LED's turned yellow and it wouldn't respond to any controller inputs. I flipped the switch down to failsafe and it started moving back toward the homepoint. The LED's were still yellow so I'm assuming it went into fail safe on its own coincidentally at about the same time I flipped the switch. It started descending slowly right over the home point. When it got to about 20 meters I flipped the S1 back to GPS and the LED's turned green. I put in some right stick down and left stick down to try to bring it down a bit faster without going into VRS. It responded and came down to about 3 meters about 20 yards out again. I then tried to bring it back toward the landing spot and it was responding erratically to right stick, not moving, then moving in the wrong direction, left stick still seemed to work so I put it down in the snow where it was while I still had control.

    I'm suspecting my transmitter may have had weak batteries. Its an older one that takes AA's and has not battery level indication.

    I changed transmitter batteries, changed the P2 battery and tried again. This time I powered up and got the motors going but did not lift off and instead powered down to check everything again. I powered up again and left it sit with the motors idling for about 10-15 seconds. At that point, the motors spun up by themselves without me moving either stick. That's the second time this has happened. It didn't power up enough to lift off but it was enough to get it light and start hopping. I gave it some stick up and it lifted to a near hover with some uncommanded forward movement. It seemed to respond to left and right commands but not forward or reverse. Once again I put it down in the snow and shut it down.

    So that's where I'm at. It works but only sort of and still seems to have a mind of its own at times. Not sure what to check at this point. Suggestions?

    Also I'm not thrilled about the no battery level indication on the transmitter so I'm thinking of changing that. I know I can get the newer DJI transmitter for about $100 that should work fine. But I've already got an older Futaba T7C that I use with the kite rig. Could I set up this transmitter to work with the P2? Would it work or would I be better off buying the newer DJI? Or would it be better still to put the T7C on ebay and spring for one of the newer futaba radios?
     
  14. jason

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    Johan if you're thinking of buying DJI RC you must first determine which gimbal you have. The H3-2D has only 2 motors while the H3-3D has 3 motors. You are probably wondering what the number of motors has to do buy a new RC unit. Well the new RC controller will not work with the H3-2D gimbal it's as simple as that.

    When the LEDs changed from green to yellow did you look at your monitor to see how many if any satellites you had. Because it sure sound like you lost all satellites and it went into ATTI mode but even then you should've had control of it.

    I would suggest you go back into the RC and the P2 software and re-calibrate both including an advanced IMU calibration on a level surface. While doing calibration on the P2 make sure the sticks are all in the normal position that includes camera tilt control. Also make sure the RC unit is in Mode 2 not mode 1. Good Luck!
     
  15. johan

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    The gimbal is an H3-3D. I don't recall how many sats I had when the LED's went yellow. But I did look at it and quickly determined it still had a lock (i.e. wasn't 0 or 2 or 3). I just don't remember the exact number but it was normal.
     
  16. IflyinWY

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    Hello johan, Welcome to the forum.

    Don't do this: "This time I powered up and got the motors going but did not lift off and instead powered down to check everything again. I powered up again and left it sit with the motors idling for about 10-15 seconds. At that point, the motors spun up by themselves without me moving either stick. That's the second time this has happened. It didn't power up enough to lift off but it was enough to get it light and start hopping."

    Your bird will do crazy stuff and end up crashing. It's little brain does not comprehend idling. :?

    Start motors and fly.
    Land and shut down.

    Idling will lead to repairs and damage. :cry:

    I don't know anything else about your issues but it sounds like your making some progress. :D
     
  17. johan

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    Ok that makes absolutely no sense. I'm not saying its incorrect. But it just doesn't make any sense. The processor and the scripts it runs shouldn't care in the least if the device powers up and sits there for infinity or until the batteries go dead, whichever comes first. The fact, if it is indeed fact, that they do care and can therefore sometimes take matters into their own hands is more disturbing to me than anything else I've read about a DJI product so far. And if that's the case, then I may actually be done now.
    Or to put it another way, its little brain better g*d d**m comprehend idling and every other power on condition its likely to encounter or I don't want any parts of owning it.
     
  18. IflyinWY

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    :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol:

    No, it's not like that. It's not learning.

    The way I understand it, the GPS and Altimeter are not accurate to the inch.
    The phantom does not know it is on the ground and just thinks it's hovering. (I think this is still being debated.)
    As a result, it may think it has moved and is trying to re-position itself.
    That attempt at re-positioning is why you hear the motors spooling up.

    I believe the only time the Phantom knows it's on the ground is when it lands itself.
    When it does that, I think it will shut the motors off for you.

    I could be mistaken, if so, someone will chime in and let you know.
     
  19. johan

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    Well that does make more sense. Still a bit disturbing but it does help explain the behavior. Seems it wouldn't be difficult to code a routine that makes the machine assume since the motors were off and are now at idle, its therefore on the ground and should ignore variations in altitude unless and until the user commands throttle up. Then again I'm not an engineer so it wouldn't shock me if such a routine ended up being far more difficult to code reliably than it seems.
     
  20. IflyinWY

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    Listening to the P2 guys gripe about their batteries and software updates makes me happy I fly a FC40.

    My almost brainless little beast is (almost) bulletproof. :lol:

    You may want to consider going into the user control panel/ profile and editing your signature to include which machine you're flying. Adding your general location is nice too.

    Do you know where "The deer and the antelope play"?

    Glad I could help clear a few things up for you.
    Never do the Compass Dance over buried power lines.