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Used Phantom 3 Pro - Issues - Need Help
500 34 2018-11-3
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htims
lvl.2

United States
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Hi,
I inherited a Phantom 3 pro and have some questions as there seems to be some issues with it.

a) When booting up and trying to fly it takes a few minuets to allow me to fly - says wait for IMU.  It probably takes 3 - 5 min before it'll let me take off.  Is this normal?

b) Camera - it seems dead.  When turning on the AC it doesn't move or otherwise initialize.  It never does anything, I can't control it, the view in the app is black and the app says it's not recieving any video transmission.  The app also says there is no gimbal connection.  I've pulled the gimbal/camera off the AC and reconnected the two gray cables - no help.  As far as I can tell the AC is on the latest firmware as the app doesn't say it needs to be updated.  also the LED is flashing green, a constant fast flash and it sounds like the camera/gimbal is making a quiet grown/beeb in 3 succession.  Suggestions on what to do try to get it working?


Thanks!
2018-11-3
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Mark The Droner
Captain
Flight distance : 2917 ft
United States
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a)  My P3P is pretty much ready to go when I turn it on or maybe a minute afterwards.  By the time my tablet boots up, the home point is marked and it's ready to fly.  

b)  The camera gimbal should do a little dance when you power up the AC and it has nothing to do with your radio connection.  It should twist around a few times and then point straight ahead.  If it's not doing the dance on the boot up, you must have a bad cable connection, a bad cable, a bad gimbal, a bad gimbal ribbon cable, a bad gimbal board, a bad centerboard, a bad something.  

Good luck
2018-11-3
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htims
lvl.2

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Mark The Droner Posted at 11-3 13:22
a)  My P3P is pretty much ready to go when I turn it on or maybe a minute afterwards.  By the time my tablet boots up, the home point is marked and it's ready to fly.  

b)  The camera gimbal should do a little dance when you power up the AC and it has nothing to do with your radio connection.  It should twist around a few times and then point straight ahead.  If it's not doing the dance on the boot up, you must have a bad cable connection, a bad cable, a bad gimbal, a bad gimbal ribbon cable, a bad gimbal board, a bad centerboard, a bad something.  

b) no dance whatsovever - so recommended to send this off for repair or attempt myself?  



I haven't bought this thing yet, what's it worth in its current state (it does fly)
2018-11-3
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Geebax
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htims Posted at 11-3 13:30
b) no dance whatsovever - so recommended to send this off for repair or attempt myself?  

It depends upon what reason you want a P3P. The usual reason is to take photos or movies, so if it does not do that then it is not worth much really.
2018-11-3
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RicardoGray
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htims Posted at 11-3 13:30
b) no dance whatsovever - so recommended to send this off for repair or attempt myself?  

Sounds kind of suspicious to me. If the gimbal doesn't do the "dance" routine upon start up, I think it may have some serious issues. I have never seen or had one do that myself. To me, it wouldn't be worth much if it won't boot up. Hard telling what is going on IMO. You can pick a used advanced or Pro off Ebay at a pretty reasonable price that actually works. Just my 2-cents!
2018-11-3
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htims
lvl.2

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Yeah I just wonder if its a simple/cheap fix, guess I wouldn't know until a tech looks at it which is at least 50-60 bucks.  
2018-11-3
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htims
lvl.2

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It's getting power because the little LED on the front of the camera housing is blinking (fast green).  I'm wondering if the circuit board died or has some type of fault
2018-11-3
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Mark The Droner
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You sound like you're kind of new at this and that puts you at a disadvantage.  But that's okay.

It's obviously not under warranty.  

This is a potential hobby, right?  If it's a hobby, then, IMO, you don't pay somebody to solve your problem.  You solve it yourself because that's part of the hobby - and it's actually fun once you get over the stress of it all.  

My knee jerk advice is to roll your sleeves up and get into it - try to diagnose the reason it won't do the dance.  It may be something simple like a plug isn't fully inserted into a board.

The cool thing is, all these parts are available on eBay.  That's the nice thing about the relatively older drones.  You can find the parts - used - and they're really not that expensive.  

When it's all said and done, even if you don't succeed in repairing it, you'll gain a wealth of knowledge for next time.  

Good luck.   

2018-11-3
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htims
lvl.2

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Mark The Droner Posted at 11-3 14:16
You sound like you're kind of new at this and that puts you at a disadvantage.  But that's okay.

It's obviously not under warranty.  

Yes, new to quads but not new to remote control, or R/C flight.

I'd roll up my sleeves and fix it - like you said thats the point of the the R/C hobby.  However I don't know where to begin here which is what I'm looking for advice on.  I guess start with the cheapest part and go from there.


My next question is that while I said inherited I guess I should say can get it really cheap from a friend because he doesn't want to mess with it...but I also don't want to say hey it's only worth $20 bucks and give him that either...so not sure how much I should pay for it considering the cam doesnt work...I'd like to know a worst case scenario for the cost of fixing the camera/gimbal.  

I see referbs are about $450 from DJI.
2018-11-3
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Mark The Droner
Captain
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I would begin at the beginning.  Check the cable plugs.  :-)  
2018-11-3
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KenDuke
Second Officer
Flight distance : 50837 ft
United States
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As for the IMU wait, that could be because it has to heat up to whatever temp it was calibrated at before take off.

As for the gimbal.   Check for a small piece of foam at the rear of the gimbal/camera, or a piece of plastic between the front of the gimbal and the camera.
Those two items there will keep the camera locked in place, and make it make all sorts of weird noises.
Check the Micro SD card thats in the unit.   If it doesn't have one, then, insert it, and format it, using the DJI go app.  (you will need the one that says BEFORE 4)

Does the app say anything about gimbal error?    Take some photos, and upload them here, we might be able to pin-point what the problem is, just by looking at those photos.

2018-11-3
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Air/America
First Officer

United States
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htims Posted at 11-3 14:48
Yes, new to quads but not new to remote control, or R/C flight.

I'd roll up my sleeves and fix it - like you said thats the point of the the R/C hobby.  However I don't know where to begin here which is what I'm looking for advice on.  I guess start with the cheapest part and go from there.




REFERENCE:  Mark the Droner may be correct.

I am not saying that this is causing your troubles, but perhaps. I had a device that had components similarly connected using the "ribbon cable" and it was non functional. I unplugged each of the "ribbon cable" ends (very delicate) laid the contact area flat and  rubbed with parallel strokes to the contacts area, once or twice with  very fine steel wool. Next I wiped that same contact area with a scrap  of a bath towel that had been lightly moistened with oil. It seems that some device connections are subject to moisture condensation problems.

Another great resource is the DJI Phantom 3 Pro user manual and can be down loaded from;

https://dl.djicdn.com/downloads/phantom_3/20170706/Phantom+3+Professional+User+Manual+v1.8.pdf

https://www.dji.com/phantom-3-pro/info#downloads


2018-11-4
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Air/America
First Officer

United States
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And also make sure that the RC and the drone are properly "linked" together. Search the manual for instructions on linking the two of them together.

2018-11-4
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htims
lvl.2

United States
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Thanks for the help...I have a couple updates and questions based on your replies...

a) I pulled the memory card this morning and looked at the log there - it shows nothing but about 50 lines of the same thing
"[00000686][01 00] Firmware upgrade finished failed (step = 3, err = 0xffffffff)." I'm going to follow the instructions on dji's site for updating firmware via the sd card...my app doesn't say anything about updating.  The only thing it does say is "Gimbal Disconnected"

b) When you are talking about the ribbon cable - your talking about the very thin flexible cable that controls the gimbal motors, etc - the black one that follows the frame of the gimbal - not the 2 gray ones that plug into the AC and the gimbal itself?




2018-11-4
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htims
lvl.2

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Update on the firmware update process....It seems it will never complete, it's in some weird loop, where it starts the update (flashes green, red) and then eventually goes back to a fast green flash (all the while the camera/gibmal is doing a quiet D-D-D beep).  Did this for over 10 min with no change in lights.



2018-11-4
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Air/America
First Officer

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htims Posted at 11-4 04:33
Thanks for the help...I have a couple updates and questions based on your replies...

a) I pulled the memory card this morning and looked at the log there - it shows nothing but about 50 lines of the same thing "[00000686][01 00] Firmware upgrade finished failed (step = 3, err = 0xffffffff)." I'm going to follow the instructions on dji's site for updating firmware via the sd card...my app doesn't say anything about updating.  The only thing it does say is "Gimbal Disconnected"

RE: question B

I would wait on cleaning or disturbing the "ribbon" cables, the flat, black, plastic, mylar looking "cable" on the camera. Is does not look like you are getting a proper report from the SD Card.

RE: question A

What I have done is this. Take the SD Card out of the drone. Format the SD Card on a windows computer so the card is clean of any other files. You may need to use a USB addapter.

Download the DJI FIRMWARE ZIP file found here;

https://dl.djicdn.com/downloads/phantom_3/20170706/P3P_FW_V01.11.0020.bin.zip

Unzip the download file on your computer.  It should now be "P3X_FW_V01.11.0020"   ".bin"  and 64,682 KB in file size

Now copy this .bin file to the clean SD Card. This should be the only file on the card.

Remove the card from the computer and then insert the SD Card with the "P3X_FW_V01.11.0020" size 64,682 KB into the drone.

Use a fully charged battery and power on the drone and also while the RC Controller is powered off.

Let the drone sit for a least 25 minutes before powering the drone off. The firmware should have been upgraded.

Power is off, remove the SD Card and then open and veiw the SD Card files on your computer.

The card should have the original "P3X_FW_V01.11.0020" .bin file and several new folders that the drone has created. One of those will have a text file and will say something like "upgrading file is same or older, aborting" or "upgrading file is success" "upgrading file is success"



2018-11-4
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Mark The Droner
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When upgrading FW on a P3P, it's a good idea to have a fan blowing on the gimbal to keep it cool and keep it from overheating, which may cause a failure of the upgrade and even a catastrophic failure of the device itself.

Here is some great advice that every new P3P owner should read (and it might help a veteran P3P owner too):  https://phantompilots.com/thread ... .87175/#post-901549
2018-11-4
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htims
lvl.2

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Air/America Posted at 11-4 05:54
RE: question B

I would wait on cleaning or disturbing the "ribbon" cables, the flat, black, plastic, mylar looking "cable" on the camera. Is does not look like you are getting a proper report from the SD Card.

I'll give this a try and report back
2018-11-4
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solentlife
Captain
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Latvia
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Althoigh I agree with Mark that Rc Hobby is a hobby too get stuck into ... for me - the DJI machine is a techno box of tricks that all the parts interact and create the whole. Diagnosing / fixing can be a nightmare and in that - I believe to stay away from non-working machines unless they are so cheap or free !

I can fix just about any RC gear / item - but DJI ? I leave that to the experts !! Yes expensive - but it works then !!

Too many Help Me posts from people who have tried DIY fixing ...

Nigel
2018-11-4
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DJI Stephen
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Hi Htims. I am sorry to know that you are having issues with DJI Phantom 3 Pro. I understand that the firmware of the drone is updated and you have calibrated it as well but still you are having issues with the said drone. The best thing you need to do is to contact DJI Support for additional help and for additional analysis on the drone. I will be posting a link  where you can contact DJI Support https://www.dji.com/support. Thank you for your support.

2018-11-4
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htims
lvl.2

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@Air/America

So it's been sitting for about 30 min now with no change in LED's and the power is still on.  What I can tell is that the gimbal LED flashes green very fast 4 times (not for flashes but 4 different sets of very fast flashing - to fast to count), then it slowly flashes green/red (like the firmware update instructions say), then it repeats the 4 sets of very fast green flashes, then red/green again.  Seems like it's trying to update then gets a fault and restarts.

I've left it out there to see if it ever finishes.

Also at the same time the AC itself has 2 prop led's flashing yellow, and 2 red (not flashing).


2018-11-4
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RicardoGray
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htims Posted at 11-4 09:44
@Air/America

So it's been sitting for about 30 min now with no change in LED's and the power is still on.  What I can tell is that the gimbal LED flashes green very fast 4 times (not for flashes but 4 different sets of very fast flashing - to fast to count), then it slowly flashes green/red (like the firmware update instructions say), then it repeats the 4 sets of very fast green flashes, then red/green again.  Seems like it's trying to update then gets a fault and restarts.

If the front LEDS are red, that is supposed to be like that. It shows you orientation of your aircraft when it is in the air. The rear ones should be green if it has good GPS status. Yellow could be interference. Are you inside your house possibly? Try taking it outside.
So, you are trying to update the firmware correct? What version are you on or do you know? Does the app show any info. Are you updating with the latest version? Sometimes it could take a while, and you should hear D-DD, D-DD after it finishes and the led on your camera should be green. If you are having difficulty, try and see what your "results" file on your SD-card says.
Double check those cables as others have suggested. If you are getting an error your gimbal is disconnected, something is wrong somewhere.
2018-11-4
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htims
lvl.2

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RicardoGray Posted at 11-4 10:37
If the front LEDS are red, that is supposed to be like that. It shows you orientation of your aircraft when it is in the air. The rear ones should be green if it has good GPS status. Yellow could be interference. Are you inside your house possibly? Try taking it outside.
So, you are trying to update the firmware correct? What version are you on or do you know? Does the app show any info. Are you updating with the latest version? Sometimes it could take a while, and you should hear D-DD, D-DD after it finishes and the led on your camera should be green. If you are having difficulty, try and see what your "results" file on your SD-card says.
Double check those cables as others have suggested. If you are getting an error your gimbal is disconnected, something is wrong somewhere.

so it was "updating" for about 1 hour 15min...the led's kept doing the same thing and nothing changed.  So I turned it off.  There's nothing in the log, no log file written.


I don't know what version it's on, or I don't know how to check - can't find it in the app.  Since the app says gimbal disconnected my first guess is that one of the 3 cables is bad (I've already pulled the gimbal off the AC and reinstalled it).

2018-11-4
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htims
lvl.2

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Gave up on updating...pulled the gimbal.  Noticed this hairline cut in the ribbon, gonna order one from eBay.  I can't tell if its actually cut anything or not but looks suspect.

Anyone have a good link to how to replace the black ribbon cable on the gimbal?

2018-11-4
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Mark The Droner
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I recommend a legit DJI ribbon cable.  Ribbon cables are like batteries.  You need a legit OEM DJI.  That aftermarket **** sucks.
2018-11-4
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htims
lvl.2

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would a break in the gimbal ribbon cable keep it from updating?
2018-11-4
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Air/America
First Officer

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htims Posted at 11-4 12:29
would a break in the gimbal ribbon cable keep it from updating?

Good eyes spotting that nick in the camera gimble ribbon cable. That could very well be causing your troubles? You may soon have your drone issues sorted out. There are lots of videos on youtube showing the ribbon cable being replaced, though it looks kind of tedious.

2018-11-4
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RicardoGray
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htims Posted at 11-4 12:29
would a break in the gimbal ribbon cable keep it from updating?

YouTube has multiple videos on how to replace that ribbon cable. It is not hard, but just take your time. Good catch on seeing that nick. That may not been you sole issue, but it does look suspicious for sure.
I wouldn't think that would stop the upgrade, but would cause an error. Since you now have stopped the update before it finished (I understand why you did it), recovering from a corrupt install can sometimes take a very long time. At least I have experienced that myself. I had a friend bring me a phantom that he had trouble with upgrading and turned it off too. I charged up a battery to 100%, then installed the latest ".bin" file on a newly formatted sd- card. Powered it up and let it go...…….took almost 1 1/2 hours to complete. Made some of the weirdest noises I have ever heard, but finally it finished. LED on camera green, and was hearing the familiar D-DD, D-DD sound to indicate it was finished. Fix you cable, then try again. If successful, upgrade your RC. Upon now doing a re-link to insure all is good, look in your app under the "about" tab all the way at the bottom. It will show the versions of your aircraft, app, and RC. Good luck my friend!
2018-11-5
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htims
lvl.2

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So I've replaced the ribbon flex cable.  Now upon startup the camera moves - but just moves all over the place and never settles.  The screen on the app was all purple, no image.

Thinking it had bad firmware on it I've tried updating the firmware, all during the firmware update it continues to do the random jerks - see video.


Should I just let it keep going (the LED on the camera is solid green).


I did stop the process once and the non hidden log file says the upgrade is not needed.  Then the one in the hidden misc file has a list of versions of stuff and says an update is needed....and seemingly repeats the same block of messaging over and over (but then some of those update messages change - the ones with the v1234 ---->V8765 upgrade needed).


2018-11-8
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Mark The Droner
Captain
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Did you replace it with a legitimate DJI ribbon cable or an aftermarket?  I've heard that AM ribbon cables are often bad.  

Are you sure all the plugs - the ribbon cable plugs and the gimbal plugs - are fully inserted?  
2018-11-8
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htims
lvl.2

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Mark The Droner Posted at 11-8 18:08
Did you replace it with a legitimate DJI ribbon cable or an aftermarket?  I've heard that AM ribbon cables are often bad.  

Are you sure all the plugs - the ribbon cable plugs and the gimbal plugs - are fully inserted?

aftermarket, It seemed like 50/50 so I tried the cheap route first.  I can pull the cables and see if that's it.
2018-11-8
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htims
lvl.2

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just booted without the SD card.  noticed in the app it now says "gimbal motor overloaded". What's that mean?
2018-11-8
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htims
lvl.2

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Ok I fixed the gimbal issue...seems that I had the cable inserted to far, and I had to recenter the motor.  It now pans up/down smoothly and does the boot up dance and comes to an initialized steady state.

I do have no image on the app though - just a black screen....
2018-11-8
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Siambuddhas Group
First Officer
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Singapore
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Once there is a problem either major or minor, not worth risking it on the air and burning your wallet to service it..
2018-11-9
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Mark The Droner
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htims Posted at 11-8 19:22
Ok I fixed the gimbal issue...seems that I had the cable inserted to far, and I had to recenter the motor.  It now pans up/down smoothly and does the boot up dance and comes to an initialized steady state.

I do have no image on the app though - just a black screen....

https://phantompilots.com/thread ... -on-ph3-pro.133487/
2018-11-9
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