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The Zen & Art of "DJI Drone" RePair!

Discussion in 'Phantom 2 Vision + Discussion' started by BengalBoy, Mar 21, 2015.

  1. BengalBoy

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    "FLY AWAY!!" No two words strike more fear in a Vision+ Owner's heart and wallet than those... DJI's customer support Sucks!! DJI won't return emails!! DJI doesn't warranty its **** Ups!! Those were the next strings of words that came to my mind after I picked my broken Vision+ off the wet grass after its first crash. The flight had begun just like any other, a Sunset Photography Session was my weekend joy with my Vision+, and this Saturday flight was going well. I had my Phantom 2 Vision+ V.3 in the air for almost 60% of the battery flying around a Amphitheater which sits scenically on the Black Warrior River. Realizing I was getting close to battery life return home level, I brought the Vision+ back to me, about 50-70 feet above my head as I framed another shot of the landscape,, listening to the faint "buzzzz" of the drone as it hovered above me. Taking my first shot of the Sun on the horizon, i began to focus on tilting the camera down to properly expose the Amphitheater so I could layer later in PhotoShop. Careful not to touch the sticks so that the images would be virtually identically framed,, I first noticed the image change radically and the "buzzz" roared into a "BZZZZ" as I looked up and saw my Vision+ fly at about a 30 degree angle into the parking lot maybe 40 yards away from me. It *SMACKED* the pavement,, shattering the UnBreakable Plastic landing gear,, gaining about 10 feet in altitude,, then skipped like a rock crashing into the parking lot again at full throttle. The Vision+ then gained about 20 feet in altitude and Buzzz'd down the park about 100 yards from the initial impact where it crashed as I quickly jogged to it. Flipping both S1 & S2 switches had not helped me gain control,, and it really didn't matter as the initial crash had destroyed the camera gimbal already. My inertial guard had functioned correctly,, the gimbal did not separate, though, the arm was bent which caused a "gimbal lock" error on my Vision app. Looking at the drone, the damage was significant, compressed rear landing gear, broken compass cover with exposed circuit board, shattered landing gear and a broken inertial guard. However, the carbon fiber camera guard (Thanks UAVbits.net ) had apparently prevented the landing gear from becoming completely compressed which would have catastrophically wiped out the camera, yet, 2 of the 4 zip ties which hold it in place between the legs were broken by the force. I took it back to the site of the crash,, re-calibrated the compass, got 11 satellites locked,, took it up to about 4 feet and watched it hover in front of me for about 2 minutes.. Then shut it off. Walking back to the car I took a photo using the shutter button, camera still worked,,, gimbal and connection was toast. ****!! And this was the karma for my statement just a week prior, "I'll roll back firmware 3.10 when DJI tells me why I should!" Thats right,,, I had discovered "First Prop" the reason of DJI's sudden removal of firmware 3.10 and its random emails to some Phantom Vision+ Owners to "Immediately" roll back from the "No Fly the White House" firmware to the previous version of 3.08. That was February 7, 2015,,, and below is my initial email to DJI after the crash detailing my complaint... And so begins my tutelage in the "Zen of DJI's ZenDesk" repair/replace system....... (ohhmmmmmmm,,,, Ohhmmmmmm,,,, meditation and cleansing the mind is key....)



    So,, I have began the process and reported it to DJI's Global site, but, its Saturday after the crash and I'm freak'n hott about my expensive flying camera's condition. I know it will need a new gimbal and that is going to be around $700. As it happens,, February 7 is also the same day that DJI posts its notice to roll back firmware 3.10 on its website. (I never got a email from DJI telling me to roll back the firmware like some Owners did) I immediately got busy looking for proof that the firmware could cause such a "fly away" issue because I had read so many reports of DJI not accepting responsibility that "fly aways" existed, or, disclaiming a defect which would be covered under warranty. Researching this site, DJI's own forums, and the FaceBook Vision+ Owners Page,, I found this dialogue which seemed to prove that the firmware could adversely affect the IMUs of the drone causing a unstable/erratic flight. Exactly what I had experienced.



    Now, I call DJI North America at the toll free number. I'm confident that I'm not going to pay for this,, and if DJI lives up to the horror stories of customer support I've read,,, I'm gonna sue. Hell, they got the worst possible customer, a lawyer living in Alabama where he knows that he will prevail based on the company's own conduct after releasing "Mandatory Firmware 3.10" if it comes down to litigation. But, I don't want that,,, (Ohhmmmmmm,,,, Ohhmmmmm.....deep breath... relax and dial the digits...) The number answers and I'm immediately put on hold... "Your caller number 8,, the approximate wait time for a representative is 14 minutes,,,,, ,,,,,,, ,,,,,,, Your caller number 7,, the approximate wait time for a representative is 12 minutes....... and so on..... (deep breath,,,,, ohhmmmmmmmmmmm) Finally after about the approximate time,, my call is answered. A DJI representative takes my information and calmly tells me that he is opening a RMA# for me which he then gives to me. He then says he is emailing me two *2* very important documents, the "Crash Report" and the "Customer Information Sheet"... My Email is given to this Rep as well,, and that's when instruction in the "Zen of DJI's ZenDesk" was begun.... February 10, 2015.



    So,, I follow the DJI phone Reps instructions. The next day I box my Vision+ up in its retail packaging, being sure nothing is enclosed except the drone, receipt from Amazon proving date of purchase, crash information & Customer information sheet. Everything else is removed. No batteries, props, controller, etc... Just the Drone in its box with documents and be sure to "Double Box" it as DJI will not be responsible for damage due to shipping... (ohhmmmmmmm yes Master Zen,,, and I shall be responsible for shipping cost.. goodbye $50 I wanted to use for supper....) So,, off to UPS my little Vision+ went,, sadly,, paying the fee,, i watched with UPS as it made its way to California.... (ohhhmmmmmm,,,, ohhhhhmmmm) Arriving at DJI North America's office on February 17 by UPS record,, it apparently took 2 days to make it to the "ZEN desk".... (Ohhhmmmmm,,, ohhhhmmmmmm ,, DJI did you get my drone? I say on the 19th,, *I'm feel'n anxious,, nervous that you didn't get it,,, its been 2 days since UPS said it was delivered, but, my *ZenDesk and Activities* doesn't seem to show you've received it yet???" "Don't worry says the voice on the line,,, our Technicians will be checking your Phantom into Zen Repair today..." Ohhhmmmmmm...... patience GrassHopper,,, patience.....)



    J. S. February 19, 2015 17:42
    Dear Mark Morrow,

    We have checked your unit into Zendesk, our customer support database.

    Congratulations! This is the first step in the repair process once we received your product. Next, your unit will be documented in our Repair Software, which the repair technicians use to track their work. This process typically happens the same day your unit is checked in Zendesk. Once that process is done, your product will be placed in line with other repairs, and continually move up until a repair technician services it at a work bench.

    Our estimated time of repair is 3-4 weeks from the date of check-in. If you do not receive an email update from the repair team by the 4th week, please call our support team at 818-235-0789, Monday - Friday, 9-5 PST.

    Clearly it stated,,, "estimated time of repair is 3-4 weeks from date of check-in".... my Drone was In the Que,,, hopefully it will make it to the work bench earlier than later???? (Fingers crossed,, I'm in the Zen....) Now,, lets begin the tutelage in "DJI Drone" repair... the temptation of looking each day at my "Activities" as I watch with obsessive/compulsive longing for the current status of my baby drone's repair..... day,, after day,,, after day....... I cannot control myself,, I must see if there has been a "change in status"...... (so Un-Zen like)



    On March 12, the Chinese "ZenDesk" torture ended... FINALLY!!! Status says REPAIRED!!!! But wait, GrassHopper,,,, your tutelage in the "Zen & Art of DJI Drone Repair" has not yet been completed.... thats right,, a full 7 days passed after my ZenDesk reported a "Repaired Unit" until a FedEx tracking number was provided and the unit was marked as *SHIPPED* on my ZenDesk. Seven (7) days is a long time when your already planning your precious drone's first flight and photography location upon return... (Ohhhhmmmmmmmm,,,,, Ohhhhmmmmmmm,,, and try to remember what the ZenDesk Check-In promised,,, 3-4 weeks before fulfillment of repair. The Student has learned what the Master could only forewarn... Getting your Vision+ repaired by DJI is not about efficiency, speed,, or reducing Customer anxiety,,, its about doing it DJI's way, albit,, with full disclosure. Clearly it told me not to expect the repair to be made before 3-4 weeks had passed,, and true to the Memo from the ZenDesk,,, even after the drone had been marked 'repair completed',, another 7 days passed before it moved down the line to Shipping and as I write this, my Vision+ is traveling by Ground somewhere out in the Mid-West,,, hopefully double boxed and completely restored to all its GPS-enabled Gorly!!

    What I learned about my experience with DJI....

    1. "Fly Aways" do exist independent from Pilot error. Don't be smug, those of you who have not experienced this phenomena of firmware malfeasance.. It can happen!! Although I flew for months uneventfully with firmware version 3.08, a new "Mandatory Update" later,, my beloved flying camera was lying in pieces on the ground... (credit James Taylor)
    2. DJI does promptly answer emails, at least in my case. I do suggest that you just call the North American phone number if you experience a crash in the U.S. to get the ball rolling faster. RMA number was issued on the phone along with email providing "Crash Report" and "Customer Information Sheet" immediately. You will need these documents completed along with your purchase invoice when returning your copter.
    3. DJI Does honor its warranty if you can prove it is a defect. In my case, it was very easy. Plug it in and the 3.10 firmware was there just like I said it would be. (I'm lucky I was shooting over land and not water this day or things may have been more difficult for me.) I was not charged for my repair, or, return shipping. I didn't even have to pull out the, "I'm a Lawyer" card to get the result I got. DJI never questioned the repair, or, its responsibility to make them.
    4. The "ZenDesk" is more than a informational tool for you to observe the "online repair" of your coveted Vision+... its also a Spiritual Philosophy to either torture the Phantom Owner on a daily basis, or,,, as I'm sure DJI intended,, its a means of bringing a *Aura of Calmness & Well-Being* to reassure the Phantom Owner that his very own Drone is being carefully inspected and repaired by competent Technicians as it moves along the work benches in the que... the Que of ZenDesk....

    Now,, its back to the FedEx Tracking site to see where my Vision+ is crossing state lines.... (Ohhhmmmmmmmmmmm........) :roll: :roll:
     

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  2. offthefront

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    Sweet .....
     
  3. BioTeq

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    Nice, I would however hold the praise until I had the drone in my hands, we've seen them delivered back to owner with pre-existing issues.
     
  4. BengalBoy

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    You make a good point!! I do know that they replaced the following, camera, landing gear, compass, and the central control board.... The Master Control board is interesting to me. What would require a complete replacement of that part when the housing itself was pretty much "unscratched & intact" without physical damage? Does 3.10 firmware somehow corrupt the memory on the board?? I suppose I'll never know the reason. Hopefully I got a redesigned camera without the "gimbal separation" issue and need for a gimbal guard. I'll definitely follow-up on its condition when returned and performance.
     
  5. N017RW

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    I just could'nt get through that. :shock:

    I'll read the [pithy] replies. ;)
     
  6. BengalBoy

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    Got my Vision+ back today. The landing gear, compass, main controller and camera assembly had been replaced with new hardware. The camera was a new improved version with a modified gimbal to help prevent separation in event of crash. The compass cable is also larger. (Seems much thicker like extra insulation had been added around it.) Interestingly, the Vision+'s main controller firmware was version 3.08, despite the fact, that version 3.12 had been released for weeks before my repair was completed. My unit arrived at DJI North America on February 17 and I received it back on March 25. It would seem to me that DJI Technicians would load the most current software on there unless their is some benefit to analysis or testing from using firmware 3.08. Not sure I want to update it. When I got home this afternoon after work, I tried to fly it before sundown. Unfortunately, it would not calibrate and the Vision+ would not respond to my transmitter though the Wifi connection worked perfectly. A "green" calibration code would flash on the Vision+, followed by, a fast "yellow" code and I could not get final calibration. The Vision+ would not start. Checking my code card, it let me know that my Remote Transmitter was not connected. (ooohhhhmmmmmm,,, ooohmmmmmm,,,,) So, returning home I dig out my manual and learn how to pair the Remote Transmitter with the main board again. Flight missed, though, a closer understanding of my hardware learned.

    Lessons learned from DJI's Art of Drone Repair:

    1. Warranty will be honored if you prove a defect caused damage.
    2. 36 days for a Vision+ to be repaired after receipt by DJI. While it seems too long to me, DJI did tell me up front it would take about a month for the repair to be made, though, it took 7 days for shipment after unit was marked "Repaired" in my ZenDesk.
    3. My unit benefited from improved hardware upgrades as a result of the repair.
    4. Firmware version 3.08 is apparently used by DJI Technicians during the repair process for diagnostic and flight tests.
    5. I love aerial photography far more than I realized.

    Can't wait to go Fly it,,,, (ohhhhmmmmmmm,,,,)