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HELP: DJI Phantom 3 Mystery Crash
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34807 113 2015-5-2
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Jacob Zacks
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United States
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Hello All,
Unfortunatly my second post is not a good one. I was taking out my DJI Phantom 3 for it's 5th flight this morning. As usual, I calibrated the compass and made sure the quadcopter had a lock on the satellites. Everything was fine for the first 15 minutes and I was able to get some fantasic footage, however, then something went wrong. All of a sudden I did not hear the motors anymore, the remote app did not have connection either and it started to freefall. The quadcopter was probably about 200ft up when this happened. The only thing it crashed into was the ground when it was done freefalling. Pretty much the drone is toast at the moment. The battery was damaged from the fall, as well as the gimble and shell, so it is unusable now, $1300 down the drain. Anyone have any suggestions on what to do (and will DJI even cover this even though there was no way this was user error)? Please anyone chime in because this was a hobby and I was expecting this copter to last for a while because I was only flying it in open areas so I wouldnt crash.
2015-5-2
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danrok
lvl.1

Jersey
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Is there any possibility the battery fell out causing it to lose power and fall?

Did you manage to get any video footage of this flight?
2015-5-2
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Jacob Zacks
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United States
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danrok Posted at 2015-5-3 08:21
Is there any possibility the battery fell out causing it to lose power and fall?

Did you manage to  ...

It was pretty well seated in the quad as it requires a bit of force to seat it, there was a click.

Unfortunately with my luck there was no footage of this part of the flight.
2015-5-2
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knarfboy
First Officer
Flight distance : 489911 ft
Germany
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contact support@dji.com he can check the logfile. In case is not your fault, you will have warranty.
2015-5-2
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Jacob Zacks
lvl.1

United States
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knarfboy Posted at 2015-5-3 08:33
contact  he can check the logfile. In case is nout your fault, you will have waranty.

Contacted them this morning, nothing, so much for 24/7 service.
2015-5-2
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cheong
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@Jacob Zacks, sorry for the lost, I hope the log can show us something, please keep us update on this case if possible
2015-5-2
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gsp171
lvl.4

United States
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Please post a pic of your damaged Phantom.
2015-5-2
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Jacob Zacks
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United States
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cheong Posted at 2015-5-3 09:05
@Jacob Zacks, sorry for the lost, I hope the log can show us something, please keep us update on thi ...

Will do, I'm assuming I don't have access to the flight logs?
2015-5-2
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Jacob Zacks
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cheong Posted at 2015-5-3 09:05
@Jacob Zacks, sorry for the lost, I hope the log can show us something, please keep us update on thi ...

My internet messed up and accidentally posted twice, sorry.
2015-5-2
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Jacob Zacks
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United States
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gsp171@mchsi.co Posted at 2015-5-3 09:25
Please post a pic of your damaged Phantom.



This is what it looks like
2015-5-2
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gsp171
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United States
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To bad man, sorry to see, you able to retrieve video? Might help with your claim to DJI
2015-5-2
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Jacob Zacks
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gsp171@mchsi.co Posted at 2015-5-3 09:37
To bad man, sorry to see, you able to retrieve video? Might help with your claim to DJI

No video was retrievable from it. I can't afford to have a $1300 non functioning defective drone.
2015-5-2
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cheong
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@Jacob Zacks what did the DJI support say about your case ? can they show you on how to retrieve the log and email it to them to analyse or need to send it back to them ?
2015-5-2
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Jacob Zacks
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cheong Posted at 2015-5-3 09:50
@Jacob Zacks what did the DJI support say about your case ? can they show you on how to retrieve the ...

DJI has not responded to me in any email I sent.
2015-5-2
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suqsid.bobmail
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United States
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Jacob Zacks Posted at 2015-5-3 09:38
No video was retrievable from it. I can't afford to have a $1300 non functioning defective drone.

There is a USB port on the back of the P3 that you can get the flight data from. Not the one on the gimbal.

Have no clue what data it contains or how to access it, but that's where you would get it from.

Try plugging it into a PC and see if there is a directory structure.

Edit: Here is what the manual says about it:

Flight Recorder

Flight data is automatically recorded to the internal storage of the aircraft. This includes flight
telemetry, aircraft status information, and other parameters. To access these data, connect the
aircraft to the PC through the Micro-USB port and launch the DJI Pilot app.


2015-5-2
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Tahoe_Ed
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Jacob Zacks Posted at 2015-5-3 09:53
DJI has not responded to me in any email I sent.

Where are you located?  You need to call not email.  Will the P3 power up without the props on?  If so power the Tx and the App.  in the App click on the mode icon then advanced.  Scroll down and click on Enter flight data mode.  You will then need to connect your computer to the usb port on the gimbal.  A folder will appear on your desktop.  Within that folder are your Flight Data Logs.  DJI will need the last three.  They are large files so you will have to have them hosted online and provide a link to the Support rep.  Sorry for your loss.  I am sure they will be able to sort this out.  Also you can go into the App and replay the flight on your device.  I would be interested in what was going on with the battery.
2015-5-2
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Jacob Zacks
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Tahoe_Ed Posted at 2015-5-3 10:03
Where are you located?  You need to call not email.  Will the P3 power up without the props on?  I ...

I have a very limited supply on the battery since the plastic around the connector is split, I can power it up really quickly and get this, will report back soon.
Located in the US, waiting for Monday at 9AM
2015-5-2
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ethompson981
lvl.2
Flight distance : 5599 ft
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China's a day ahead so tomorrow is Monday fyi
2015-5-2
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suqsid.bobmail
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United States
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Tahoe_Ed Posted at 2015-5-3 10:03
Where are you located?  You need to call not email.  Will the P3 power up without the props on?  I ...

The manual has the "Aircraft Micro-USB Port" on the rear of the body.

The one on the gimbal is the "Camera Micro-USB Port".

2015-5-2
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Tahoe_Ed
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ethompson981 Posted at 2015-5-3 10:14
China's a day ahead so tomorrow is Monday fyi

He is in the US.  China would only refer him back to LA.
2015-5-2
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Jacob Zacks
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suqsid.bobmail Posted at 2015-5-3 10:15
The manual has the "Aircraft Micro-USB Port" on the rear of the body.

The one on the gimbal is t ...

Good news is I was able to figure that out on my own, I was able to pull the last 3 flight logs off of the quadcopter, so they are safe and sound on my computer
2015-5-2
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Jacob Zacks
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ethompson981 Posted at 2015-5-3 10:14
China's a day ahead so tomorrow is Monday fyi

DJI Global said I need to go through LA.
2015-5-2
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suqsid.bobmail
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Jacob Zacks Posted at 2015-5-3 10:16
Good news is I was able to figure that out on my own, I was able to pull the last 3 flight logs of ...

Good job.

Would love to see the log data file if you could post it somewhere.

2015-5-2
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droneflyers.com
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After 15 minutes?

I'm landed at 15 minutes. Does the P3 really have that much longer of a flight time??
What was the battery level at the time of the crash?

2015-5-2
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Jacob Zacks
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droneflyers.com Posted at 2015-5-3 10:30
After 15 minutes?

I'm landed at 15 minutes. Does the P3 really have that much longer of a flight ti ...

35%, I was getting ready to take it down at that time because the low battery warning had just come on.
2015-5-2
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Jacob Zacks
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suqsid.bobmail Posted at 2015-5-3 10:24
Good job.

Would love to see the log data file if you could post it somewhere.

I'd post it if someone could decode it, apparently there is no way of decoding it yourself, or at least from what I've found.
2015-5-2
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suqsid.bobmail
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Jacob Zacks Posted at 2015-5-3 10:37
I'd post it if someone could decode it, apparently there is no way of decoding it yourself, or at  ...

Is the file readable when opened in a text editor, or is it stored as hex data?
2015-5-2
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Jacob Zacks
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suqsid.bobmail Posted at 2015-5-3 10:41
Is the file readable when opened in a text editor, or is it stored as hex data?

Hex data, I'm on a mac however.
2015-5-2
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Tahoe_Ed
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Jacob Zacks Posted at 2015-5-3 10:37
I'd post it if someone could decode it, apparently there is no way of decoding it yourself, or at  ...

DJI has the reader.  They can look at it.
2015-5-2
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droneflyers.com
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Jacob Zacks Posted at 2015-5-3 10:36
35%, I was getting ready to take it down at that time because the low battery warning had just com ...

FYI for when you get this fixed or get a new bird.

LiPo batteries need conditioning for the first 10 flights or so.

Some quotes both from DJI employees and others:

"Lipos are shipped with a preservative which will prevent cell degradation over long periods associated with bulk storage and shipment. These chemicals break down during the first few discharge and charge cycles. During the first 10 cycles I always take it easy on packs NEVER run down to the cutoff during the break in period and don't recharge over 1c. "

"The link I posted earlier that you replied to said to do 10 flights for 10 minutes. Recharging after every 10 minute flight to full capacity (wait for LiPo to cool before charging)."

"I never take them down past 50% for the first 5-10 cycles. Never charge at higher than 1 c for the first 10."

Also, some people say I'm crazy but I land my Phantom camera quads at 40% - at least for a long while until I 100% know how they act in various scenarios. I'm not sure of the stock P3 settings, but the P2 has some weird settings that throw it into RTH mode, etc. at 30%.  
2015-5-2
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Cacc
lvl.4

Canada
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Sorry for you loss. I know this sucks for you and I hope it all gets sorted out, but at the very least it is a learning experience for the rest of us. I didn't know about the conditioning (thank you droneflyers.com) and now I/we know to be extremely cautious for the first group of flights. After a 200ft drop I was almost expecting much more damage to the quad; even though it is not flight-worthy, it still did hold up pretty well.
2015-5-2
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Barrie McArthur
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Cacc Posted at 2015-5-3 11:33
Sorry for you loss. I know this sucks for you and I hope it all gets sorted out, but at the very lea ...


Yeah I expected to see the landing gear trashed...on a related point does anyone know if quads autorotate if the motors lose power? Just curious. I saw on a post a few days ago a Phantom owner adding zip/cable ties to the two corners of the gimbal mount that are not used, not tied up tight, leaving some slack. The idea was to prevent any chance of the alloy mounting plate from possibly breaking free. This would help spread the loads of an impact.
2015-5-2
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toddscafidi
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Wow, real bummer. I also didn't know about conditioning. They(DJI) might say that it was user error since you didn't condition the battery. If this is a important step why don't they make sure it is well known in the preflight instructions? I'm almost glad mine is still in the box waiting for the pilot download.
2015-5-2
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Cacc
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Canada
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toddscafidi@gma Posted at 2015-5-3 13:44
Wow, real bummer. I also didn't know about conditioning. They(DJI) might say that it was user error  ...

Since you are not flying until the app is out, you can pretty much condition the batteries now. (Making this up as I go along since I just heard of it too...) Just charge the battery up, power the quad on, let the battery drain, repeat a bunch of times. I imagine the drain would be pretty slow without the motors or the whole system running, but you have another week or more until the app is out. Just a thought so you have one less worry on your maiden flights.
2015-5-2
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Yug
Second Officer

Australia
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"DJI has the reader.  They can look at it."

The P3 owner should also have the reader so they also can read it. This cloak and dagger attitude has to change. Open honest responses is what is required.

Yug
2015-5-2
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coreynach
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droneflyers.com Posted at 2015-5-3 10:30
After 15 minutes?

I'm landed at 15 minutes. Does the P3 really have that much longer of a flight ti ...

Yes, I've not gotten a low battery warning until 17mins once... You should have time to come home at 15 mins, assuming you aren't a mile out..
2015-5-2
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pggg
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Switzerland
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DJI had released a data viewer software a while ago which I still have. Maybe the viewer will work even though it was made for the Phantom 2v?
I can check it out if you post the log.
To DJI: Any chance that you  will release the current viewer and if not why?
2015-5-3
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paul.roebuck
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United Kingdom
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I know its of no consequence Jacob but I feel for you.  I too note the battery comment and if anything good is to come from this then its that one lesson.
I trashed my brand new P3 into a hedge on my second flight but luckily it came out unscathed.  I have since gained some superb footage and love the device
2015-5-3
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paul.roebuck
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droneflyers.com Posted at 2015-5-3 11:15
FYI for when you get this fixed or get a new bird.

LiPo batteries need conditioning for the first ...

Thanks for this valuable insight
2015-5-3
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boutropeur.msn
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Please do post the logs!
2015-5-3
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