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P2V+ lost satellites, lost control, drowned
2381 16 2014-11-21
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nboice
New

United States
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Sad day for our Phantom 2 Vision+. Been flying for a couple months, a couple times week. Doing a lot of sports videography, getting some really cool stuff. Had a couple minor fowlups, but nothing that can't be chaulked up to learning curve. Anyway, today I was flying at a surf competion. Everything was going fine, strong sattelite connection, flying was very stable. Both things I've come to expect from this product. I broght it back to switch out the battery, waited for it get sattelite lock again, and I was back up and running. At least for a couple minutes. Suddenly my 6-sattelite GPS lock became zero sattellites connected. It immediately began to fly full throttle away from me. I was able to fight it back to me, but every time it got close it would decide to go full throttle in another direction. Impossible to control. Eventually it got low (5-10ft) over the water and was going so hard to the right that despite my input to go up, it went down and splashed into the water. No sight of it again. Just thought I'd share my tragic, if not scary, story. My company will likely replace it, maybe wait for the inspire to come out. But untill then, we're doneless and mourning.

Anybody else have any issues like this?
2014-11-21
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insitb
lvl.3

Singapore
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Nasty.

Any way you can retrace your steps, find out the cause of the incident? What was the wind like? Off-shore? More than 14 knots? Was there a crowd around you while you were controlling the copter? Were you on or near a car park?

2014-11-21
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donsaito
New

United States
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Was it possible that the internal electronics got moist from salt water wave spray?
2014-11-21
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Terencejohnross
New

Antigua and Barbuda
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Drowned my Phantom Vision today   STORY: It's a fully upgraded kit with gimbal, video transmitter etc. 4 days ago, after 6 months flying with nothing but a few broken props I decided to upgrade the firmware on my Phantom2. A test flight later showed that all was good. Today I put in fresh battery, did compass calibration and got 9 satellites on GPS. Took off and had good stable flight for about 6 to 8 minutes over the sea (I live on a boat). Flying at about 30ft my Phantom decided to land in the water just 100ft away! No control over decent. Nothing I did with controller made any difference and I didn't have time to turn it off and go into failsafe. It was just unbelievable, watching helplessly as it disappeared beneath the waves. Got into dive gear and went searching. 30 minutes later found it on the seafloor at 30ft. Removed battery on my way to surface. Back on board I flushed it with fresh water bur already smelled burning. The battery was smoking and getting very hot. Dumped on a string overboard. opened my phantom and saw so many broken electrical connections and foaming bubbles around components. Well and truly F*&^#d. A lot of head scratching and no closer to finding the cause. Will I get another? I have controller, monitor, 2 spare batteries, hard carry case so still have half the cost, so maybe....when I get over the shock.
2014-12-14
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umpa
lvl.4

United Kingdom
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On YouTube I saw a phantom hacking a parrot drone, said he could even give it commands  to fly where ever he wanted it to go. I wonder if someone is hacking our drones ?
2014-12-14
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johnwarr
First Officer
Flight distance : 6467 ft
United Kingdom
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Losing sats does not make the Phantom suddenly turn into a rocket, it just drops into Atti mode, and flies exactly the same as GPS mode but without automatically holding position in a hover.
Yes it will drift in the wind, if there is any, but apart from that you would not notice the difference in normal flight.

2014-12-14
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jarek33
lvl.2
Flight distance : 466696 ft
United States
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talked to pro about this flying on the water, he said to never use gps when u are on the boat or flying offshore, the gps signal will be lost and you will loose your bird, only fly in manual mode!!
2014-12-16
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kjkisatsky
lvl.3

United States
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There is no reason at all to lose GPS signals merely because you are above water.  In fact, a clearer view of the horizon (which operation over open water typically presents) will enable availability of many more satellites whose signal may be blocked by land based geographic obstructions.  I'm curious what the pro you spoke to based this observation on.  If this was the case, air traffic and maritime traffic would be restricted from using GPS navigation on/over water.  This is simply not the case.
2014-12-16
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kenargo
Second Officer
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Canada
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I'm wondering if the GPS wire came lose?  There was a thread on how lose the wire is on the Phantom and a suggestion to use some silicone to secure it.  Just a thought and it would explain going to 0 satellites.
2014-12-16
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teedo757
lvl.3
Flight distance : 1870 ft
United States
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My opinion is that the phantom still has some bugs in the control software and is not coded correctly. Almost all the videos I have seen and stories I have heard point to the drone tilting hard to one side and going "erratic"

In the programming world if you create a variable that is not suited to take in the proper input it almost always leads the software to crash or start doing weird stuff. I would guess the sensors act up and pass an unknown value to the variable causing the whole program to freak out.

I am hoping we can move past it's always user error for the phantom crashing. I believe in most cases this is not the cause....
2014-12-17
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jamesnns
lvl.3

United States
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I read this today from an article...

"Chris Anderson, the CEO of California-based drone maker 3D Robotics Inc., says his company is writing complex algorithms so its devices can perform “sanity checks,” which compare data from different sensors and ignore figures that seem inaccurate."

Seems like a good idea.
2014-12-17
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jarek33
lvl.2
Flight distance : 466696 ft
United States
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kjkisatsky@comc Posted at 2014-12-17 14:38
There is no reason at all to lose GPS signals merely because you are above water.  In fact, a cleare ...

talked to dji pro about the rma of my battery, i asked him is it safe to fly over water, i told them i read couple stories per week that people loosing their drones on the water, he told me that there is some gps signal issue when u close by boats and other big objects that might disturb the gps signal cousin the drone to go crazy....thats his own words, hey guys i would love to hear anyone else calling dji and asking same question, another thing i am air traffic controller, i work in enrout environment, there is many times that i work a big boeing 777 and he will loose gps signal temporarily over water, also small aircraft pilots flying on top of lakes will report same issues.
2014-12-18
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insitb
lvl.3

Malaysia
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For the record, there is no evidence whatsoever showing that GPS issues can be caused solely by flying over a body water.

2014-12-19
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kjkisatsky
lvl.3

United States
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jarek, that is interesting about the 777 and smaller aircraft reporting loss of signal.  Do they ever report this when over land?  I wonder if atmospheric anomalies can disrupt GPS signals.  They are very low power signals to begin with.  As a matter of fact, solar flares and other geomagnetic anomalies definitely can disrupt these signals, so I am wondering if it is just a coincidence of signal loss and over water flight.
2014-12-19
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gsp171
lvl.3

United States
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Damn good reason to learn to fly in manual mode, I have been practicing it, if it goes out of control, flip a switch and fly it
2014-12-19
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kjkisatsky
lvl.3

United States
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Which is why I got the little Hubsan x4 to practice flying manually!  Finally getting the hang of it.  I am NOT a video gamer, so a little bit of a curve.
2014-12-19
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ianwood
lvl.4
Flight distance : 5236 ft
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United States
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Water will reflect GPS signals back up but the receiver antenna should be facing up so that signals reflected from underneath won't be nearly as strong as the primary signal. And unless your equipment is faulty, you don't typically lose all GPS signal and regain it. You will drop and acquire satellites and the level of precision will change as result. If your satellite count suddenly goes to zero, either you have blocked all the signals (e.g. going indoors) or there is a fault. Planes that experience the number of satellites going below the threshold for an accurate fix can happen for numerous reasons, water reflection is probably not one of the common ones.
2014-12-19
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