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Checking battery can save your Spark
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4967 40 2017-10-23
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Mara42
Second Officer
Flight distance : 245440 ft
Czechia
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Hi everyone,

I decided to share my experience with DJI Spark, although is quite sad for me. However, it can save your aircraft as this hardware issue is IMO quite stupid :-)

My DJI Spark was horizontally just 20 m/65 ft away from me when I saw the battery from the aircraft pop out and those two parts fell down from 30 m/100 ft. Drone hit the concrete surface very hard and it resulted in following damages:
  • DJI Go 4 App says "IMU disconnected".
  • GPS is not working.
  • One motor is broken.
  • Gimbal seems to be slightly damaged.

Please, check this out before you continue on reading:

You can clearly see there, that one battery holds tight and one battery is loose – even though you can hear normal click sound and everything seems to be all right. The bad battery can simply be pushed out of aircraft body or can pop out due vibrations. Visually, you can't tell the difference as both batteries look exactly the same and battery locks on both batteries are intact.

I knew even before, that there might be problem with these tiny battery locks (I read it at forum), so that was the thing I was checking before every single flight.  I've never crashed DJI Spark before and it was in brand new condition after 40 flights. Also, I'm quite experienced Phantom 2 pilot and I've never crashed it as well – after 3,5 years it is still working great.

Don't every fly DJI Spark without checking battery locks and always try to push the battery out of the aircraft to be sure, that it holds ok. Most of my flights I was flying just about 10-15 m high above "soft" surfaces and this was the first flight over the concrete surface higher than 5 metres.

DJI has to solve this somehow, but until then, don't loose it as I did. It's the best toy I've ever had and first two days after this happened I lost my speech :-)


2017-10-23
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ImTravis
lvl.4
Flight distance : 109734 ft
United States
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Thanks for the warning and sorry you had to find out the hard way. Hopefully you have DJI Refresh?
2017-10-23
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Mara42
Second Officer
Flight distance : 245440 ft
Czechia
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Thank you Travis. Unfortunately I don't have DJI Refresh, but I still hope, that DJI will find the way solve this as I think, that it is clearly some manufacturing error with the second battery.
2017-10-23
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Aeromirage
Captain
Flight distance : 1778045 ft
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United States
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That sucks!!
Checking all 4 of mine now......
2017-10-23
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DJI-Jamie
DJI team
Flight distance : 112405 ft
United States
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Did you ever contact DJI Support regarding this incident and have the issues addressed through them?
2017-10-23
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Mara42
Second Officer
Flight distance : 245440 ft
Czechia
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Jamie: I've been quite busy last few days, so I contacted DJI Support yesterday just – before I posted it here.
2017-10-23
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droneburger
lvl.2
Flight distance : 55807 ft
France
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For the battery to pop off during flight it must be something quite serious. Does it only happen with that single battery?
2017-10-24
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Mara42
Second Officer
Flight distance : 245440 ft
Czechia
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droneburger: I got fly more combo with two batteries and as I showed in the video, the problem occurred just with that particular one, which caused the crash.
I found out, that when I push this "bad battery" in very very very hard (like with force that you don't usually use when dealing with electronic), it will stay in place and you have to use both locks on the sides of the battery to detach it.
Second battery is working as expected and I can push it in aircraft completely forceless.
2017-10-24
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ACW
Captain
Flight distance : 13838848 ft
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United Kingdom
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That is not good to see - I hope you get a brand new replacement FOC ASAP and thanks for the advice
2017-10-24
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Centraltooth
Second Officer
Flight distance : 76539 ft
Singapore
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Thanks for the tip. I hope dji will look into this and release a new battery with a more robust  lock.
2017-10-24
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doZer the ogre
lvl.2
Flight distance : 78563 ft
United States
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any chance the drone had suffered a previous crash?! I have seen damage to the very fragile retention pins on the drone body that corresponds with the damage on the battery involved in the original crash.  Other batteries lock in fine in that particular drone but the one from the original crash...

2017-10-24
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Mara42
Second Officer
Flight distance : 245440 ft
Czechia
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doZer the ogre: I found your video yesterday just before I was writing this post :-)
No chance of previous crash. I got Spark brand new and I've never had any collision – all my flights records ending with proper landing. Spark was always carried in the bag that was included in fly more combo.

Actually by the time my Spark lost it's battery during flight, I was starting to trust it... something I've never experienced with Phantom 2.
2017-10-24
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bluesky2017
lvl.3
Flight distance : 1003661 ft
United States
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Mara42 Posted at 2017-10-23 13:07
Thank you Travis. Unfortunately I don't have DJI Refresh, but I still hope, that DJI will find the way solve this as I think, that it is clearly some manufacturing error with the second battery.

This looks like a defect, and DJI should cover it under warranty.
2017-10-24
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Nikon 1
Second Officer
United States
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@Mara42 - Thank you for sharing your experience with everyone and hopefully your bad experience will save other pilots from expericing a similar failure.  I certainly hope DJI provides you with a new Spark for what seems to be a manufacturing failure.

Good Luck
2017-10-24
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Montfrooij
Captain
Flight distance : 2389232 ft
Netherlands
Online

Thanks for the warning!
2017-10-24
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DJI Elektra
Administrator
China
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Thanks for those feedback. I would forward it to our engineers.
2017-10-27
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Mara42
Second Officer
Flight distance : 245440 ft
Czechia
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Thank you Elektra. I contacted your support 4 days ago and I haven't got any answer yet – that's ok,  but I didn't even get any e-mail confirmation about received message, so I'm not sure if my case was even opened.
Nikon 1: Thank you man. I hope, that my video will save at least some of Sparks, because I consider this as a very dumb way to loose this great toy :-)
2017-10-27
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MikB
Captain
Flight distance : 13346 ft
France
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Handy hint - if you use some landing legs like these in this link you will find the lugs by which they attach prevent the battery from falling out.
2017-10-27
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DJI Elektra
Administrator
China
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Mara42 Posted at 2017-10-27 02:25
Thank you Elektra. I contacted your support 4 days ago and I haven't got any answer yet – that's ok,  but I didn't even get any e-mail confirmation about received message, so I'm not sure if my case was even opened.
Nikon 1: Thank you man. I hope, that my video will save at least some of Sparks, because I consider this as a very dumb way to loose this great toy :-)

Can you provide me the ticket number or case number? I can help you check the status. You can also PM me the number.
2017-10-27
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Mara42
Second Officer
Flight distance : 245440 ft
Czechia
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Elektra, I sent you a PM.
2017-10-29
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DJI Elektra
Administrator
China
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Mara, thanks for your update. Did your spark crashed before the battery popped out from it?  Can you provide me the pictures of the pop out battery? Pictures of the spark from different angles are also needed.  Our engineers need those pictures for further analysis.
2017-10-29
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Mara42
Second Officer
Flight distance : 245440 ft
Czechia
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I'm not sure, whether you're asking about any crashes during flights before, or if I had crashed it just before battery popped out.
I wrote it several times – I have never crashed my Spark during flights before. I can provide all flight logs and you can see there, that every single flight is ending with proper landing.
According to incident – it happened in air when nothing was around, so I couldn't crash it. Also, I can provide you video, because I was recording during this flight.
I'm going to take all these pictures afterwards I will get home today. Thank you :-)
2017-10-29
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DJI Elektra
Administrator
China
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Mara42 Posted at 2017-10-29 23:00
I'm not sure, whether you're asking about any crashes during flights before, or if I had crashed it just before battery popped out.
I wrote it several times – I have never crashed my Spark during flights before. I can provide all flight logs and you can see there, that every single flight is ending with proper landing.
According to incident – it happened in air when nothing was around, so I couldn't crash it. Also, I can provide you video, because I was recording during this flight.

Thanks for your cooperation. Please keep us updated if you find any problem.
2017-10-30
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Mara42
Second Officer
Flight distance : 245440 ft
Czechia
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Well, afterwards I wrote Elektra about not receiving any confirmation about my message (one week of waiting), magically I got it. Few hours later, I got an answer from support (probably from Germany), that basically says nothing and they want me to send my faulty Spark to them. Yeah, this wise answer had to take one week and also I have to fill up another form with same information I provided before (thank you for customer approach). Yeah and also I will have to pay post expenses without being sure, that DJI will solve it for free.
You probably don't communicate with each other, so I will also provide you here as much as possible.
First of all, some detailed pictures of batteries (I will use links to make this post shorter):
Comparing the size of battery locks one side – it's about the same on both batteries.
Different side of batteries
Side with button and leds

Side with contacts – here you can see, that the good battery was probably used more and that may be the reason, why I found out the problem so late.
Detail of bad battery – minor damage on plastic body of battery, but nothing that would affect usage.
Another view
Another view

Now some pictures of aircraft:
Bottom side
Upper side
Detail of bad motor – shaft is shorter then on other motors.
Side view of AC 1
Back side of AC (some minor damages on body)
AC battery area 1
AC battery area 2
AC contacts detail
Detail of gimbal – gimbal doesn't work probably because of missing feed from IMU. Also the gap on left side is slightly bigger than before. Dark red cover of forward vision sensor was off after the crash and it looked damaged by exertion – compared to what I saw on promo pictures. Impact on concrete surface was very hard (and it even sounded bad...).

DJI GO 4 screens:
Main Controller Data Error (also GPS icon with exclamation mark)
Status, that suggest aircraft restart
Sensors state IMU (accelerometer and gyroscope disconnected)
Sensors state compass (seems ok)

[url=http://www.marekmusilfoto.cz/images/ostatni/Faulty-Spark/DJIFlightRecord_2017-10-14_[17-27-20].txt]Flight record from my mobile device[/url]– there are some errors with GPS, besides AC was acting very normal.


Video that ends in the moment when battery popped out – you can see very slight movement to the right side in very last frame of the video.


Hope, that it will help your engineers to find out something.
2017-10-31
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Ryan's Sparky
Second Officer
Flight distance : 302316 ft
Norway
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thanks for sharing.
2017-10-31
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Mara42
Second Officer
Flight distance : 245440 ft
Czechia
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So no answer here and answer from support sounds like I will have to pay for the repair (and of course for shipping).
Did someone finally check all information provided here, or is DJI just doesn't giving single damn about my case? I got 21 500 views on YouTube and people are asking me how it did work out.
2017-11-6
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Mara42
Second Officer
Flight distance : 245440 ft
Czechia
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My story has finally (happy) ending: I tried to communicate with DJI for more than a month and half and I was trying to find out, whether they will charge me for repair or not (regarding information I provided to them) – because when you send them an unit, you have to accept, that you will pay for diagnosis and return shipping costs in case, they will refuse to repair it under warranty.
Long story short: I sent them my unit 11/24/2017, they run full diagnosis and found out bad GPS, motors and battery (repair free of charge). Then for two days DJI system was saying "under repair", then "test flight" and then it said "repaired". It took just 9 business days including shipping time (from Czech Rep. to Netherlands) to get Spark back – but it's different unit (not mine for sure). New Spark works ok... I just found out, that it drifts to the left a lot in sport mode, so I stopped to use it.
Although I'm happy to have Spark back, my customer experience wasn't very good. No one answers you questions, no one gives a single damn about you etc. (administrators on DJI forum answered to me, but they didn't help). They want to see unit personally and then they will tell you. On the other hand service center was very quick when it came to "repairing".
2017-12-19
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RyanM
lvl.1
Flight distance : 122746 ft
United States
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I just had the same thing happen to me - battery fell out mid flight after a Quickshot.  Is this covered under warranty?  It really seems like a product defect, that a battery can be "latched" into the spark, start a flight, and then fall out mid-flight.  

My GPS module seems to be disconnected and not sure if any motors are broken.    I have a case open to send in for repair, but hesitant to send it in to get a bill to repair if this is not covered under warranty.

Thanks for posting your experience!
2018-1-4
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Cookster670
First Officer
Australia
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This is a great video example.  I’ve heard of this before, but questions are always raised about “are you sure you connected it properly”.    And “It never happens to mine, so it must be pilot error”

This at least shows that it certainly is possible.
2018-1-4
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DMY
lvl.3
Philippines
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MikB Posted at 2017-10-27 22:49
Handy hint - if you use some landing legs like these in this link you will find the lugs by which they attach prevent the battery from falling out.

Agree. I have the same landing legs and it will prevent the battery from moving back and falling out even if the lock releases. Did not know that when I purchased the legs but saw its added functionality later on (the manufacturer does not even specify that special function in its specifications).
2018-1-4
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Aaron Hansen
lvl.1
Flight distance : 27782 ft
Canada
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This just happened to me too, nice clear day, no wind. Bringing the drone in for a landing after five minutes of flying, and lost connection, watched two things fall from the sky.  Luckily just over an empty field. We found the drone, but can't find the battery. This is a very poor design. Its too bad as the Spark is a great toy. I have yet to check the drone, as this just happened, it looks like it is fine.
2018-1-4
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H5FcZIMczEmD
New
United States
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Today I took my Spark up above my yard about 30 feet. The battery fell out and the drone came crashing down. Thank God it landed on the lawn and didn’t hit a person, car or someone’s property. This is very upsetting. I just got this drone for Christmas and have flown it about 15 times with no problems. Next, I need to test it and see if it even works! Very disturbing. What am I supposed to do with a drone that knowingly falls out of the sky?
2018-1-6
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Mara42
Second Officer
Flight distance : 245440 ft
Czechia
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Hi guys, I've heard many times about this issue (over 220 comments bellow my video). Seems like everybody is experiencing same problem as me over and over. I didn't find any better way to test it other than try to slightly push the battery out with little force.
As I've already mentioned, I got a new Spark from DJI (covered under warranty) and I've already flown more with it than with the old one.  
It took a lot of effort to documented it for DJI and at one point I was even thinking about letting it go and just buying a new unit.
2018-1-19
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fanse471e180
lvl.1
Flight distance : 564 ft
United States
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Mine just popped out yesterday during flight. Both hit the ground from about 20ft or so, some damage to the drone. Have an email into customer service at this tine. Not happy.
2018-1-21
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lannes
Captain
Flight distance : 4465 ft
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Australia
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Everyone needs to use the battery clip as a precaution, it's quick, easy to install and it's cheap



2018-1-21
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Bijl0130
lvl.1
Flight distance : 12398 ft
Belgium
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I just had the same. All went fine, spark 30 meters in the air. Battery drops out and everything crashed down, on the road. Spark total loss. I don't know what to say. Such cannot happen. Battery was properly installed, it clicked etc. Will return it for repair. Assume it is guarantee!
2018-3-3
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JZMays
lvl.1

Iceland
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Same thing has been happening to me! I am about to contact Support. This is ridiculous. You would think they would have a better design for such a crucial piece of hardware.
2018-4-22
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randomhero
lvl.2
Flight distance : 67864 ft
Canada
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2018-4-22
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evd
lvl.1
Flight distance : 27543 ft
Australia
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Happened to me just last weekend. Annoying.

I have DJI Care refresh but i mean, If its such a crap design issue then not sure why I should have to pay for A. The refresh and B. a new battery to replace the one that got trashed from falling out.

Anyway..see what happens..sent it off today.

Bought a battery clip as a precaution but...silly that we have to do that in the first place.
2018-5-6
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evd
lvl.1
Flight distance : 27543 ft
Australia
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DJI ended up replacing my battery and drone free of charge due to it being a non-user error. Happy with the service so far!
2018-5-17
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