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Used buying advice
671 15 2020-8-8
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Smashey1
Second Officer
Flight distance : 173422 ft
Ireland
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Hi all

I'm looking at getting a used "pro" drone with a fairly limited budget. Looking at the Phantom 4 pro (v1) are there any points to look out for. Obviously low hours are a bonus and good battery health? Any reason not to opt for the Obsidian version - apart from not being able to find new batteries in that colour?

Any tips or suggestions welcome

2020-8-8
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JetSam
Captain
Flight distance : 2753074 ft
Spain
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Welcome Smashey1


There are some pitfalls to look out for when buying second hand drones, and the following tips will help you to avoid them.

Check the general condition.
It a drone has scratches and damage to the paintwork, it’s an indication it’s seen heavy use. It may also mean it’s been in some collisions and rough landings.
Check the propellers.
Look for small cracks and dents, and make sure the props turn smoothly when you turn them by hand. If they are loose or don’t turn evenly it’s a warning sign.
Check the battery.
Ideally you want to see the battery charge fully when buying second hand drones. Look for physical damage or tarnishing around the contacts where the battery connects to the drone.
Ask to see the drone fly.
This is the ultimate test when buying second hand drones. The motors should run smoothly and rev when the thrust is applied.
If a seller resists demonstrating the drone in flight it might be worth looking elsewhere.
Ask how the drone has been used.
If the owner is a CAA approved drone pilot it may have been used on a daily basis commercially.
A commercial drone pilot will have maintained and looked after the aircraft, but it could be near the end of its life.
Buying second hand drones can save you hundreds of pounds, but you must check the aircraft and be prepared to walk away if there are signs of damage or heavy use.

Source : https://dronesaferegister.org.uk/blog/buying-second-hand-drones-essential-tips/
2020-8-9
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Smashey1
Second Officer
Flight distance : 173422 ft
Ireland
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Thanks JetSam

All very sound advice.
2020-8-10
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embayweather
Captain
Flight distance : 556667 ft
United Kingdom
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May I add to Jetsams excellent comments. Check also the internal battery contacts in the battery bay. There are a number of reports about batteries shorting out in there or melting the plastics. In addition I would suggest looking at any flight history, if it is stored, and perhaps finally, consider a refurbished one. My very first DJI drone was a refurbished 3Pro, and was brilliant, with not problems at all.
2020-8-10
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Smashey1
Second Officer
Flight distance : 173422 ft
Ireland
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embayweather Posted at 8-10 03:51
May I add to Jetsams excellent comments. Check also the internal battery contacts in the battery bay. There are a number of reports about batteries shorting out in there or melting the plastics. In addition I would suggest looking at any flight history, if it is stored, and perhaps finally, consider a refurbished one. My very first DJI drone was a refurbished 3Pro, and was brilliant, with not problems at all.

Thanks embayweather
Another good tip.

I'm probably going to source a used aircraft from a retailer who's offering money back guarantee within the first 14 days and a 6 month warranty - worth paying slightly over ebay prices for that peace of mind.

Talking about flight data, do you know if the aircraft keeps a log of the total hours flown? Obviously the number of battery charges would be a rough indication, assuming I'm getting the battery that came with the drone

2020-8-10
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embayweather
Captain
Flight distance : 556667 ft
United Kingdom
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An excellent suggestion on purchase. As far as I am aware the craft does not log the total flight hours. I use Kittyhawk to keep my records, but of course all the flights may well be recorded on the DJI server, if you can gain access to the previous owners data. The shop where you buy it form may have that data available. Looking at battery charging to give you an idea may not give you the info you need. For example I have had to keep recharging my batteries over the covid lock down and of course during bad flying weather, yet not actually flying. So look carefully at those records.
2020-8-14
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Smashey1
Second Officer
Flight distance : 173422 ft
Ireland
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embayweather Posted at 8-14 03:39
An excellent suggestion on purchase. As far as I am aware the craft does not log the total flight hours. I use Kittyhawk to keep my records, but of course all the flights may well be recorded on the DJI server, if you can gain access to the previous owners data. The shop where you buy it form may have that data available. Looking at battery charging to give you an idea may not give you the info you need. For example I have had to keep recharging my batteries over the covid lock down and of course during bad flying weather, yet not actually flying. So look carefully at those records.

Too late - I've taken the plunge...

Phantom 4 Pro Obsidian  - These seem to be fetching less on the used market now as colour co-ordinated batteries are hard to source. Me, I don't mind flying with a white battery pack. Got the original and a white spare with mine. Done some basic test flights and the drone is incredible. I've a fair bit to learn about camera technique with this beast. Handling wise I'm really impressed. The drone came with 2 batteries (both a little suspect) 2 sets of props, and all the accessories. Drone and controller show only the slightest signs of use. Gimbal steady, level and stable. Very happy for the price I paid and covered by a 6 month warranty. I'll post new questions on the batteries and advice on camera setup soon, but for now thanks for the advice
Here's the first image I grabbed...
2020-8-14
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JetSam
Captain
Flight distance : 2753074 ft
Spain
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Excellent ! Enjoy and fly safe mate !!
2020-8-15
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CapitAn
First Officer
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Canada
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Beautiful pic!
Enjoy the Obsidian.
2020-8-15
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DNR 1
lvl.3
Flight distance : 1689478 ft
United States
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Second ask to see it fly!!!!! Or video of the same with proof of date.
2020-8-15
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Smashey1
Second Officer
Flight distance : 173422 ft
Ireland
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DNR 1 Posted at 8-15 19:13
Second ask to see it fly!!!!! Or video of the same with proof of date.

Of course. If I was buying from a third party I would have. As I've some come back with the dealer I bought the P4 from I was happy to self test.

It handles beautifully, batteries got me curious but they are behaving well too. The only thing I'm not sure of yet is the Camera. I'm used to a drone with a fixed focus lens and over-sharpened images so I'm not sure if the camera is performing correctly. Its not flying weather this weekend and my first images were soft and very noisy. I'll be posting a separate query on the forum for guidance.
2020-8-16
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StuUK
lvl.4
Flight distance : 23146 ft

United Kingdom
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If it's a Phantom 4 Pro I would also check it doesn't have the dreaded horizon tilt when turning problem!
2020-8-16
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Smashey1
Second Officer
Flight distance : 173422 ft
Ireland
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StuUK Posted at 8-16 02:05
If it's a Phantom 4 Pro I would also check it doesn't have the dreaded horizon tilt when turning problem!

Thanks.

I'm putting together a check list of actions and app settings to check methodically when the weather permits so I will add that. I'll clear the camera settings so any tests there are starting from scratch. The flight tests I did do earlier didn't show any obvious tilt and the gimbal seems to behave well whatever I do with the drone.
2020-8-16
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StuUK
lvl.4
Flight distance : 23146 ft

United Kingdom
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Smashey1 Posted at 8-16 02:18
Thanks.

I'm putting together a check list of actions and app settings to check methodically when the weather permits so I will add that. I'll clear the camera settings so any tests there are starting from scratch. The flight tests I did do earlier didn't show any obvious tilt and the gimbal seems to behave well whatever I do with the drone.



This is what it looks like, not my video but a very good example
2020-8-16
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Smashey1
Second Officer
Flight distance : 173422 ft
Ireland
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StuUK Posted at 8-16 02:27
https://youtu.be/2sUAJUu2YMg

This is what it looks like, not my video but a very good example

Ooh Jeez!

No I'm definitely not suffering from that  thank goodness!
2020-8-16
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embayweather
Captain
Flight distance : 556667 ft
United Kingdom
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Great pic from a great aircraft. Enjoy it for a long time.

2020-8-16
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