Welcome to PhantomPilots.com

Sign up for a weekly email of the latest drone news & information

Thought I had a flyaway, but then...

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by LJ35, Aug 22, 2013.

  1. LJ35

    Joined:
    May 3, 2013
    Messages:
    80
    Likes Received:
    1
    Location:
    North Georgia, USA
    I thought I had a flyaway the other day. I've been reluctant to upgrade my firmware. The last time I upgraded was when fail safe was put on the right transmitter switch. It has always flown perfectly since then, until the other day.

    I usually fly my first flight of each day without the Hero3 attached to make sure the Phantom is working properly, and for me to "warm up." I attached my camera for the second flight and took off.

    I flew forward about 50 feet and then up to get some sunset video. When I got to the altitude I wanted, I centered the throttle, but it kept climbing. I had X and Y control, but it quickly got smaller and disappeared. I turned off the transmitter and prayed for a return. A few minutes later the timer on my phone began to chime. Crap. The battery would be dying soon.

    Well, a few minutes later it came down, fast, and crash landed right side up about 25 feet from where it took off. Thankfully it hit the grass and while my gopro was stunned, it worked fine after a battery pull. The Phantom survived as well with only two blades boogered up and bent landing gear, which I straightened out.

    Yesterday I cleaned it up, took it apart, and found that that case, ESCs, and main board were all ok. When I went to hook it up to the laptop, my transmitter beeped as if the throttle was not all the way down... It was. I took the transmitter apart and gently tugged on all the wires and found this one to be loose... It was actually broken from its solder joint. It goes right to the throttle stick!

    I think it came loose as I was climbing and the Phantom kept climbing with the last known throttle input until I switched off the transmitter. After looking at the video, it appears to have gone into fail safe mode, but ran out of battery at the last 80 feet of descent.

    Here's what I found inside the transmitter... How it worked ok for the last 30 flights or so, I have no idea! A quick solder job and everything is back to normal. QC sucks at DJI, among other things.
     

    Attached Files:

  2. gazchap

    Joined:
    Aug 10, 2013
    Messages:
    36
    Likes Received:
    0
    That may go some way to explaining why I keep reading about there being no reports of flyaways with non-DJI transmitters being used.
     
  3. LJ35

    Joined:
    May 3, 2013
    Messages:
    80
    Likes Received:
    1
    Location:
    North Georgia, USA
    I've been trying to find out definitively if flyaways occur with other radios. In other words, is it a NAZA problem or cheap DJI radio problem?

    I want to build a larger quad or hex, and am reluctant to use any NAZA controller. I'm thinking ArduPilot...
     
  4. TickTock

    Joined:
    Mar 31, 2013
    Messages:
    171
    Likes Received:
    1
    Thanks for sharing. Although I haven't lost mine yet, I think I will open my TX up and inspect mine just to be safe.
     
  5. Nwales

    Joined:
    Jul 28, 2013
    Messages:
    94
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Wales uk
    Well that's interesting and another good reason for me upgrading my tx tonight :D
     
  6. MrMediaGuy

    Joined:
    Jul 31, 2013
    Messages:
    171
    Likes Received:
    1
    Yikes, definitely going to look for some cold solder joints in mine, too.

    I'm not sure this debate will every be "solved" -- there are those who are adamant that "it's a NAZA problem" and others who are just as adamant that it's the TX/RX, or that it's just pilot error or interference every time.

    The reality is, no mechanical or electronic system will ever be foolproof or failsafe 100% of the time. That's why Space Shuttles and jetliners still crash despite having backup systems for the backup systems. I guess we could all carry three NAZA's and an ArduPilot and three RX's and a ballistic parachute on the Phantom -- just to be safe -- but not sure we'd get too far off the ground.

    Yes, flyaways are unfortunate -- but if you add up the number of safe, successful flight hours on the DJI platforms next to the actual number of flyaways and crashes *not* involving pilot error, I'll bet the track record of the hardware starts to look pretty good. You're taking a risk -- there are a lot of variables at play and no one can control them all. At some point you just gotta suck it up and fly.

    Oh, and LJ -- glad you had a "mostly" happy ending. Bent props and landing gear suck -- but not as much as your Phantom dropping into a pond from 500 feet. :)
     
  7. CameraGuy

    Joined:
    Jun 3, 2013
    Messages:
    318
    Likes Received:
    1

    Spoken like someone who hasn't had a flyaway.

    When will guys like you at least be polite enough to acknowledge it happens, and its DJIs fault.

    Tell you what. I have 2 Phantoms, 1 radio, charger. The first $600 takes them both.

    You fly them and tell me FlyAway's don't happen.

    Oh.... One has been dried out after 20 days in a lake. The other just had a new ESC and motor replaced after a flyaway.

    Whos buying?

    D
     
  8. TickTock

    Joined:
    Mar 31, 2013
    Messages:
    171
    Likes Received:
    1
    Yeah. Phantom is a great toy. Expensive toy, but still a toy. I had planned to add a very pricey LWIR camera until reading about all the fly aways. Not a chance I'm going to risk it now. Phantom did set the hook with me though. I love flying it. Prior to it, I was just a casual hobby heli flyer but am now in the process of building a bigger, more reliable octorotor running the px4. Will still keep the phantom, though. It's a nice size for travelling and so far has worked great. Wows everyone I show it to.
     
  9. LJ35

    Joined:
    May 3, 2013
    Messages:
    80
    Likes Received:
    1
    Location:
    North Georgia, USA
    Octo with px4? You're a bad/good influence!
     
  10. mikrob

    Joined:
    Jun 29, 2013
    Messages:
    98
    Likes Received:
    0
    The title of this thread is misleading because it implies that this turned out not to be a flyaway. I contend that this is a perfect example of a flyaway. Through no fault of the pilot the Phantom was out of control.
    The message of this thread is outstanding & supported by a great photo showing the cause of the problem.
     
  11. LJ35

    Joined:
    May 3, 2013
    Messages:
    80
    Likes Received:
    1
    Location:
    North Georgia, USA
    I see your point about the title. I think, in my mind at least, that a fly away is an event caused by either radio, compass, or flight controller malfunction. However, a simple cold or broken solder joint is, again in my mind, just a physical manufacturing defect and QC issue. To me, a real fly away is an RF or electronic malfunction that results in an un-commanded fly away where RTF does not work and the **** thing has simply gone off the reservation.

    Maybe I'm splitting hairs, maybe you're 100% correct, mikrob. Either way its another stain on the DJI flag. Thank you for the reply!
     
  12. PhantomFan

    Joined:
    Oct 13, 2013
    Messages:
    408
    Likes Received:
    2
    Location:
    New York, USA
    I haven't looked under the hood of either the Phantom or the transmitter. This thread makes me want to go over both with a magnifying glass. Cold solder joints are easy enough to identify and fix. 20 or so minutes each to reduce the likelihood of a loss of control leading to a damaged or lost Phantom seems worth the time invested. Besides, there's always a bad weather window where the opportunity to do so will present itself with no impact on flying opportunity.

    PF