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Worrisome

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by E_T, Sep 19, 2014.

  1. E_T

    E_T

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    I see these kinds of things on Amazon, and it really worries me. Why do some people seem to have trouble-free phantoms, while others seem to have catastrophic failures?

    1.0 out of 5 stars Purchase at your own risk., September 18, 2014
    By
    onealmr - See all my reviews
    This review is from: DJI Phantom 2 Vision+ Quadcopter with FPV HD Video Camera and 3-Axis Gimbal (Electronics)
    I have had 2 DJI Phantom Vision 2 +. The first one dropped from the sky at about 60 ft but the book and internet does say to avoid flying around power lines and I was over power lines albeit well above them. It messed up my camera gimble and had a damaged camera ($650). Instead of repairing the item, I decided to use it as 'parts' and bought another vision 2 +. Keep in mind each of these are costing me $1200 a piece. After my 10-12 flight, many of them over a 60+ acres cow field till I felt I was at an intermediate level of flying. Flying back to me. Direct line of sight. 8 Satellites. 50 feet in the air and 30 meters from me cruising at a slow speed (remember, the goal is to learn how to fly "like a pro", not be a speed demon. You must crawl to walk to run, to etc). All the sudden, with no reasonable excuse, the Phantom 2 Vision + went crashing to the ground. It again damaged the 3D gimble and camera.

    There must be a fix for this as I'm out an already $2400. Both of them, prior to first flight, had been firmware upgraded via the USB cable and their programs straight from DJI.
     
  2. MadMitch88

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    Six in one hand, half dozen the other. :p

    The Vision+ has an overall rating of 3.5/5 stars on Amazon and that's a fairly good rating. The majority of negative reviews are along the lines of "customer service sucks" or "gimbal is too fragile" but those are not relevant to why a Phantom gets a mind of it's own and flies away or crashes for no apparent reason. Therefore, you have to play the statistical game and assume it's a mostly reliable product.

    It's always good to step back and look at the big picture. The Phantom is part of a nascent industry that is going to make more reliable products going forward. There's an amazing amount of technology built into a $1,200 Phantom, and all those technologies have to work in harmony. It's kind of amazing it works as well as it does. Given that future Phantoms will have obstacle-avoidance and LIDAR built into them --- there is conceivably a day when we'll see mostly "crash-proof" Phantoms buzzing around in the friendly skies. :D

    Finally, you have to have the mindset that you gotta "pay to play" to really enjoy this hobby. Crashing 2 or 3 Phantoms is unfortunate but not entirely unexpected. I would guess most people who quit the hobby after one totaled Phantom probably weren't that passionate about it in the first place. I've already applied for a couple VISA gold cards knowing that I might be smashing my Vision+ into tiny little bits any day now. :mrgreen:
     
  3. E_T

    E_T

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    Hopefully these kinds of things are few and far between. So far, I've had zero problems (knock on wood). I understand "paying to play", but if this thing decides to go AWOL due to no fault of my own, I'm going to be pretty mad. If I break it, that's one thing, but if it just takes off after I followed all the instructions, there's no way I'm spending another $1200 for a new one. I just got into this hobby and love it so far, but if DJI didn't take care of the issue, I'd never hand them more money; I'd probably just switch to another brand.

    On top of all that, if these things really do just fly away, that's extremely dangerous. They could crash onto a road or highway, someone's house or even their head. If something like this happened to me, I don't think I could ever trust the company again.

    For now, though, all is well in Phantom Land :D
     
  4. N017RW

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    Radio control hobbies have always had radio and electronic related failures that result in crashes or loss of the a/c.

    The Phantom is more complex thus more reliant on everything to work nominally.

    It is not [very] fault tolerant.

    It's something you have to accept if you want to fly.
     
  5. HarryT

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    There are some very simple things that you can do to minimise the risk. Eg, is your Phantom clearly labelled with your name and phone number? It amazes me that anyone would fly one without taking such an elementary precaution, but people do.
     
  6. Buckaye

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    You have to remember that human nature is to only go and write reviews when something bad happens... well... not ONLY - but that's the way a vast majority of people behave. That said, I find Amazon reviews a bit more balanced that other sites. I also think that people need to remember this hobby is one giant gamble. You want safe? Then take up shuffleboard. Having been into RC vehicles for a fairly long time, the only thing you can absolutely count on is that you will eventually have a problem/crash/malfunction. This reminds me to put up my positive review on Amazon though :) (See? It took this thread to remind me)
     
  7. DBeard

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    Firstly, fewer people leave positive reviews when warranted than those that leave negative whether warranted or not, that's just human nature in general.
    Secondly, it's impossible to know for sure what percentage of these reports are pilot error.

    My grain of a salt is a in large majority of these reports, the incident was directly affected by the pilot whether through conditions or actual pilot error. With such a large community behind these craft, majority of us reporting nothing related to 'fly-aways', I have to believe that this is a mostly overblown issue.

    That's not the say that these don't fail and crash. Anything of complexity with no redundancy is likely a matter of when not if. As most motorcyclists will tell you, eventually we all crash you maybe lucky enough that you ride for a long time before it happens.
     
  8. Greyfox51

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    If there is one, I believe the Phantom's Achilles Heel is its quite remarkable capability of being flown almost immediately, straight out of the box. When I think back on what I have learned and put into practice since buying my Phantom about three months ago, it's pretty damned scary; there were so many things that could have gone wrong.

    A list such as this is a great place to learn, and put into practice every time you fly. I am not a wealthy man, but this hobby has given me so much pleasure, and stretched my mind to such a degree, were I to lose my Phantom tomorrow I think I would order a replacement immediately.

    I believe all successful pilots work to a mental checklist that, if rigorously adhered to, mostly keeps their aircraft safe; but a Phantom is a very complicated bit of kit and there is always a chance - albeit a very small one, in my opinion - when against all the odds, things still go wrong. I guess that goes hand-in-hand with the hobby of flying.
     
  9. E_T

    E_T

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    I could see if there were a few problems here or there, but there are many "flyway" comments/reviews/etc. Like you guys said, a lot of it could be due to inexperience and pilot error. Hopefully, things continue trouble free for me. Keeping my fingers crossed. This thing has been a dream to fly so far.
     
  10. GerryG

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    When I first started flying my Phantom I had a fly-away. My bad, I did not wait for green light confirmation of sat lock and off it went. So I would have to say from my experience it wasn't a fly away it was just plain old operator error!
     
  11. KwadKopter

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    My Windows 8.1 computer still locks up. I guess if it were flying that means it would fall out of the sky. Very happy Microsoft doesn't seem interested in drones.
     
  12. E_T

    E_T

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    I'm not sure I understand the whole "waiting for sat lock" thing. The Phantom is perfectly capable of flying without a lock. I wouldn't let it stray far without one, but there have been times where it wouldn't get 6 on the ground. I had to take off and let it hover at maybe 20-30 feet, then it would pick up more. At that point, it's locked in and home position is set. Why is waiting for sat lock such a big deal? I can see if it lost signal, then it would not know how to return to home, but other than that, I'm not sure?
     
  13. mmn

    mmn

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    I think I recall there was something about if it lost signal and home lock was not set at your current location, it could conceivably head for some previously set home point which may be somewhere far, far away. That is, if it did find some sats. If it didn't, then who knows what would happen?
     
  14. E_T

    E_T

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    This must be when it decides to fly back to China, LOL :lol:
     
  15. N017RW

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    Home point is not set upon JUST 'sat lock" occurrence alone.

    It actually is documented that it is recorded at time of take-off so there needs to be more definitive information about what happens when 'sat lock' occurs once airborne.

    In the meanwhile, re-setting Home point once airborne will then guarantee that the new or proper location is stored.
     
  16. E_T

    E_T

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    Does it actually need 6 sats to lock home position?
     
  17. gunslinger

    gunslinger Moderator
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    I had the same experience, for the same reason. I was lucky enough to be able to reel it back in. But it was a very, very close call. Would I, at the time, classify it as a flyaway? Absolutely. Looking back on that experience with the knowledge I've gained over the past ten months? My fault. Completely and absolutely. Mea Culpa... ;) :D

    -slinger
     
  18. E_T

    E_T

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    What do you do differently now?
     
  19. gunslinger

    gunslinger Moderator
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    Pretty much everything. The day of my near flyaway, I turned the TX and Extender on, turned the P2V on and took off. I just didn't know any better. I was confused because it wasn't flying as stable as it had the previous time I took it up. Then it got away from me and all hell broke loose.

    Now... I inspect motors to make sure they still feel the same as usual when hand turned, pull on the motors to be sure the e ring hasn't come off the bottom shaft, inspect the props before they go on. I'll turn on the TX, turn on the Extender, turn on the P2V and watch the lights as well as the satellite count on the app. I look for the fast green flashes to be sure we've locked in a home point and I wait for the slow green flashes to be sure the satellite count is high enough for GPS flight. If the app shows eight satellites or over, we're good.

    When all looks go, I turn the motors on, give it a few seconds and then floor the throttle to get the bird up to around ten feet. I then let it hover to check for flight stability. If that passes, I'll move it side to side, yaw it around in both directions, fly it forwards and back to check stick control... Just to be sure the sticks are doing what I expect them to do.

    At that point, if all looks stable, all the lights are good and my satellite count isn't borderline, I'm fairly confident I'm good to go... :D

    The first time I flew the P2V I was very lucky that everything was locked in, even though I didn't know what I was doing. I had no fear since I hadn't read much in the forums at that point. It was magical. I took it up to over 400 feet and roamed all over the golf course. I'd really like to have that innocence back... Now I'm hyper aware of all that can go wrong and I'm much more careful... :(

    -slinger
     
  20. E_T

    E_T

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    All good tips, thanks. Although I don't always do it, I like the post below that mentions testing failsafe mode by flipping the switch.