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Phantom 3 Pro Crash & Smash
1627 31 2015-11-20
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stephend
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I just took my trusty Phantom 3 out into a parking lot for a quick photo of some nearby works, and after 30 seconds of flight it just dropped out of the sky from 51 meters onto concrete.  Nedless to say it was smashed to pieces.

I am wondering whether to even bother trying to repair it?

The camera is cracked - though just the lens cover I think - the gimble snapped in half.  I think it landed upside down as the struts seem okayish - bit the props are smashed to smitherenes.

So - what do you think?  Even worh sending it somewhere for repair?  Who even repairs these things?

Then I have to wonder why it just fell from the sky....



2015-11-20
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tdrussell1
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Why wouldn't it be worth sending in for repair?
2015-11-20
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IMI193
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Battery level at takeoff ?
2015-11-20
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stephend
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The battery was 3/4.  I suppose as it seemed to be smashed to smithereens I thought it may be a write-off.
2015-11-20
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robinangered
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How can you shutdown the motors/rotors when you have crash it into a tree of anywhere? Or should it spin till battery is run out?
2015-11-20
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Mad_Angler1
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stephend Posted at 2015-11-20 22:43
The battery was 3/4.  I suppose as it seemed to be smashed to smithereens I thought it may be a writ ...

Another one when flying with a partly charged pack

Folks need to read the manual and understand what DJI are saying,

ONLY fly with 100% charged pack

If its as bad as it sounds then a repair is unlikely and your better replacing tbh.

Sorry for your loss though
2015-11-20
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aburkefl
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Mad_Angler1 Posted at 2015-11-20 19:12
Another one when flying with a partly charged pack

Folks need to read the manual and understand  ...

Please, where in the manual does it say to only fly on a fully-charged battery?
I'm generally pretty good at RTFM and if I missed this I'll be humbly apologetic.

Why can't you take off if you only have maybe 10 "safe" minutes of flight - allowing for low battery warnings?
2015-11-20
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Rebel
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2015-11-20
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Rebel
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2015-11-20
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brycerichert
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there is no confirmed evidence that flying with a less than 100% battery will subject the user to a crash. There are forum posters who will state that 'since the said individual took off with less than 100%, that it is the cause of the battery or craft malfunction." This doesn't appear to be the case, even with a very liberal interpretation of their "numbers" or "findings on the internet". Taking off with 90% or 70% or 100% will end in the same % of crashes based on other inputs... not battery charge. Data has not been kept (reliable data) to show otherwise. If a stupid user takes off with 100% battery or 45% battery, the outcome will be the same.
2015-11-21
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Geebax
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I have no evidence of this, just a suspicion. The level of a battery is not an exact science, especially with LiPo batteries, and the 'intelligent' batteries attempt to estimate the charge of the battery based on the amount of charge that has been put into the battery. It may be that even though the battery may be showing 75% before lift-off, once in the air the battery output voltage may sag to a lower level under the demands of use and cause some form of shutdown in the battery itself.

While there seems to be a pattern of crashes where the user has taken off with less than a full battery, it would also appear that there is a pattern of sudden loss of power causing the aircraft to drop like a rock. If it was simply a case of reduced power output, you would expect the aircraft to descend more slowly. But in all cases reported, it seems like the aircraft shuts downs abruptly, and it should not do that.
2015-11-21
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Mad_Angler1
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aburkefl@gmail. Posted at 2015-11-21 00:40
Please, where in the manual does it say to only fly on a fully-charged battery?
I'm generally pret ...









I agree it should not happen but DJI have stated to only fly with full charge, yes it drops a few % waiting to take off but as long as it was over 95% you should be good.

We only have the information thats available, multiple losses have all occurred across multiple forums when starting a flight from below full charge, its the one thing that sticks out, most seem to have been below 80% and 50-70% seems to real danger zone.

Its your choice to listed to the advice or not but DJI state in the manual only fly a fully charged pack, if you want them to cover you for a loss then you need to follow those guidelines.

Is it really worth the risk for the cost of an extra pack.
2015-11-21
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Kneepuck
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brycerichert Posted at 2015-11-21 01:11
there is no confirmed evidence that flying with a less than 100% battery will subject the user to a  ...

It is true what you say that the motor should not quit in mid air,  however,  whether the manual states it or not,  it is easy to see if you browse the forum that many users  are reporting engine failure in flight.  And when someone ask them about battery charge condition,  every single one took off with less than 100 percent full.  Probably some csc errors out there,  but all the ones I have seen have been low charge situation.
2015-11-21
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Shon.white
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contact dji
2015-11-21
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cobbler
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Kneepuck Posted at 2015-11-21 03:00
It is true what you say that the motor should not quit in mid air,  however,  whether the manual s ...

I am a total newbie. I take delivery on my P3P Monday. I am reading the manual this weekend. After seeing the post above where they state to "make sure batteries are fully charged before each flight" that would to me seem like a general and logical statement just as a checklist to make sure you are not taking off with a battery that is about to die.

But the logic escapes me when i see posts like the cause most birds losing power is when you take off within the 50-70% range. So if you take off with it at 100% then halfway through a flight when its down to 50% from then forward you are at risk? Makes no sense.

I plead complete ignorance here and will need to read more. When you get the battery low indication and return to home prompt what level is the battery at?

2015-11-21
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Geebax
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"When you get the battery low indication and return to home prompt what level is the battery at? "

The normal low battery warning comes up at 30% capacity, the critical battery warning is at 10%. Both of these can be adjusted in the Go App, the normal warning can be altered up or down, but the critical warning can only be increased, not decreased. You get the Return to Home function activating at the normal battery warning, but if it gets to the critical warning stage, the aircraft does not try to return to home, but lands immediately where it is. Even if that happens to be in the middle of a lake!

As many here will suggest, it is important to read the manual fully, however it may not tell you everything you need to know, so it is worthwhile scanning through this forum for additional advice. At least start with the manual.

With regard to taking off with a less than 100% battery, I wonder if some flyers are tempted to do this because they only have the one battery, and don't want to take time to charge. it. Having at least two batteries gives you the option of swapping a new one in for each flight, and lessens the chance that something may go wrong.

2015-11-21
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cobbler
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Geebax Posted at 2015-11-21 14:10
"When you get the battery low indication and return to home prompt what level is the battery at? "

...

Thanks for the reply. I have 3 batteries coming with my P3P and will definitely read the whole manual as well as read forums. I'm committed to get the best out of this experience. I just cannot see the logic of having a bird lose power simply because someone took off at 70% battery life. It makes no sense why the drone wouldn't just take off like normal and simply have less flight time prior to the low battery warnings.

Unless there is a software bug that cuts power sometime during flight when taking off with less than 100% charged battery i think people are grasping at straws with that being the issue.
2015-11-21
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Ithacus
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stephend Posted at 2015-11-20 17:43
The battery was 3/4.  I suppose as it seemed to be smashed to smithereens I thought it may be a writ ...

Pictures would help us to determine if it is worth repair....parts and installation could be way more than replacing, just as a totaled automobile is not worth repairing.

Let me know what you decide to do as I need the gimbal mainboard and could purchase from you to help offset costs.

.......for the P3Pro
2015-11-21
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Mad_Angler1
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cobbler Posted at 2015-11-21 21:03
I am a total newbie. I take delivery on my P3P Monday. I am reading the manual this weekend. After  ...

no its about the time the pack is rested below 100%,  flying down from 100% charge has no issues

If you were to fly down to 65% then stop of 3 hours then fly again from there its a risk it seems, this is even higher if you leave it days.

I have my self flown partly charged packs and not had an issue but the numbers of reports can't be ignored, as posted recently a number of losses almost all if not all have been from a flight with a party charged pack.

simply only fly a pack thats come off charge in the last 24 hours and is full.  if you charged it over 24 hours ago then its likely lost some of its punch and its a risk again, i would not risk doing any distance in that scenario





2015-11-21
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Kneepuck
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Mad_Angler1 Posted at 2015-11-21 17:07
no its about the time the pack is rested below 100%,  flying down from 100% charge has no issues

I ...

I have,  many times,  measured battery voltages in other types of batteries that would indicate ,  by the voltage reading,  that they were fully charged.  But then you put them in a device of some sort and it does not work.  So you take out the batteries and measure voltage again.  This time you see the voltage is way low,  but is climbing on the meter as you look at it.  I have seen this behavior with a lot of different types of batteries,  it seems like the li-po's may exhibit this as well.  Anything is possible.  The only way to truly know the state of a battery is a load test.  Voltages can cause a meter to register but that doe not mean there is enough current available.  On a lead acid battery you use a device with floats and needles to determine the specific gravity of each  cell of a battery. That is a very accurate indicator of a battery condition. These things I have learned on account of being an rf technician for over 30 years.
2015-11-21
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Kneepuck
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Unless the internal mother board is broken,  sure it's worth repairing.  New shells aren't too expensive,  props are about 20 bucks.  The gimbal a little more but still repairable.  Unless you are just looking for an excuse to get a newer model,  of course.  In that case,  you can assure your wife that it is beyond repair and you must,  in that case,  get a replacement.  Sorry honey,  birthday gift will just have to wait.
2015-11-21
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pi-inthesky
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Mad_Angler1 Posted at 2015-11-22 01:07
no its about the time the pack is rested below 100%,  flying down from 100% charge has no issues

I ...

TOTALY AGREE ANGLER this has been a theory ive been working to for quite some time aprox 2 years.No problems so far touch wood
2015-11-21
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aburkefl
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Mad_Angler1 Posted at 2015-11-21 05:54
I agree it should not happen but DJI have stated to only fly with full charge, yes it drop ...

Yes, the manual does obviously say that - but it does not state that it's dangerous, stupid, unsafe, to fly at less than a full charge.

I agree with Bryce in his post above. Also, I have flown countless times on very short flights with far less than 100% charge on the battery. Does that mean I take off with 38% battery power? No. Absolutely not. Typically, if my battery has at least three lights lit up, it's safe to fly for a few minutes.

Someone pointed out that by the time you've gone through your checklist, started your Phantom and checked the necessary parameters, the battery is often already down to 95%.

If you're going to check your camera settings or other functions and only plan to fly for a couple of minutes, taking off with 75% battery power is NOT going to cause your Phantom to crash.

DJI published (day before yesterday?) a list of "TOP 10 common pilot errors" - batteries are not mentioned in a single "issue."

Taking off with lots of battery power (but much less than 100%) is no less safe than driving to the store with a 1/4 tank of gas in your car.

Art - N4PJ
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2015-11-22
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aburkefl
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Kneepuck Posted at 2015-11-21 22:20
I have,  many times,  measured battery voltages in other types of batteries that would indicate ,  ...

What you describe is very common with batteries. My Chroma, instead of a percent-battery life remaining, shows the battery voltage. It provides physical and audio warnings at 10.9 and 10.6 volts. When you hear the warning (and feel it in the controller) at 10.9 volts and land, the battery voltage increases significantly - because the "load" to the battery has been removed.

People have been checking battery voltages for years with no load attached. Take a peek at your car battery. If your battery is getting pretty old it will still provide what looks like 12+ volts (it should be 12.6 on a freshly charged, cooled, no-load condition) but the necessary cranking amperage may no longer be there. The battery can run the lights but it can't start the car!

The only major diff between the Chroma and the Phantom batteries is that the Chroma has a little bit longer life (not as long as advertised!) and it displays voltage data instead of percent-life remaining.

The Intelligent Flight Battery in the Phantom is the best LiPo I've seen thus far. The "self-discharge" feature so it automatically gets to storage levels based on your setting is awesome. I have four (4) Phantom batteries and once they reach storage level (approx 50%) they will stay very close to that level for a surprisingly long time. Then, when I know I'm ready for some serious flying, it doesn't take too long to charge up all four of them to 100% and we're off to the shooting site.

If you charge a conventional LiPo battery (like the common ones you see in RC aircraft) to 100% and leave it on the shelf for an extended period, you're asking for problems. The auto-discharge feature of the P3 batteries significantly helps to keep you out of trouble.

2015-11-22
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Thewood45
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I did not read all the posts above me, but realize this.  If the battery is not 100% full that does not give it reason to fall out of the sky.  Yes the manual says to fly with 100% full, but the manual should say IF THE BATTERY IS NOT 100% FULL THE PHANTOM WILL CRASH.  Same thing happened to me.  Battery was not 100%.  Everything took off fine, went up 300ft and the power instantly shut off.  If the Phantom can NOT be flown with the battery less then 100% then it should not be-able to take off if the battery is less then 100%.  This is a DJI issue, not user issue.  I recommend you send it in to DJI for repair.
2015-11-22
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DJI-Dave
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I would also recommend you send it in for repair. And give them a detailed explanation as to what happened.


Dave
2015-11-22
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heclectic
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I second, third and fourth what the last few posters have advised. Send it for repair, along with the explanation.

I suffered precisely the same circumstances as you and DJI have repaired it under warranty. If UPS tracking is to be believed, I'm due to get it back tomorrow. As an aside, kudos to DJI here. After the horror stories of people waiting months for repairs, DJI Europe (in Holland) have turned my aircraft around within a week... so including time in shipping (from/to the UK), I've only been without it for little over two weeks. (It was a pain initiating the whole process though, taking about as long in email toing & froing before actually getting to ship it off to The Netherlands. It was also a pain forking out 20 quid for shipping, but with my local stockist over 200 miles away?! )

Also, I think I have to make a passing comment here for all you depleted battery doubters out there. Whether this might be is a DJI or a user dereliction, I don't know. All I can do is relay my experience as detailed in this thread... http://forum.dji.com/thread-34033-1-1.html, which I created at the time my aircraft "just fell out of the sky".

In 85 flights, I can't really remember flying on a battery that was more than a few percent below 100%. The time I made this fateful flight, the battery was at around 75-80%, having been fully charged about 3 or 4 days before. What I believe might be critical in this issue, is it had began its sequence of auto-discharge and would have been approximately half way in its journey to under 60%. Does this intelligent little battery plot revenge for being woken from its discharging state? Well perhaps, but what I think is more likely... is its "intelligence" within this discharge phase becomes a bit confused until it's been kicked up the backside with a charge back up to 100%, whereupon all its measured parameters become realigned.

So... was my aircraft's failure coincidence?? ... (85 trouble free flights on 100% batteries, remember!)

Anyway, whatever... anyone here might guess I won't ever again chance flight on a battery that has been left so long after a full charge that it has entered into its discharge phase.

Edit to add: I have all my batteries' time to commence auto-discharge set to 3 days... just in case anyone was wondering...
2015-11-22
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Kneepuck
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Thewood45 Posted at 2015-11-22 06:54
I did not read all the posts above me, but realize this.  If the battery is not 100% full that does  ...

I agree,  it is a DJI problem.  However,  as users of the product,  if we are aware that the product likely has a certain flaw, should we not do our best to avoid activity that will provoke that flaw?  Once the manufacturer fixes the issue,  fine.  But for me,  I'm not flying my P3 with less than a full, fresh charge.
2015-11-22
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Geebax
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Kneepuck Posted at 2015-11-23 07:36
I agree,  it is a DJI problem.  However,  as users of the product,  if we are aware that the produ ...

I think what Kneepuck says sums up the whole issue, The evidence is that taking off with a battery down around 70% or so can cause a battery shutdown in flight, so until the problem is solved, don't tempt fate.
2015-11-22
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overnightcomput
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DJI-Dave Posted at 2015-11-22 09:03
I would also recommend you send it in for repair. And give them a detailed explanation as to what ha ...

Dave, I am about to make a post about my flight today also. 20 seconds into a flight today my Phantom 3 dropped out of the sky, motor's just shut off and dropped out of the sky.

I am pulling flight data and camera footage atm to find out what I can about what happened, but I had not flown the drone in about 10 days, first battery I was good 97% at startup -> drained and landed at 22%; switched batteries, next battery was at 67%, but was going to get one last shot and land, 20 seconds into the flight, powered off and dropped out of sky.

I don't want to hijack this thread, I will build my own with the data/video, firmware versions on drone/controller etc then will have to figure out what to do on getting it repaired...

Bottom line, there should be absolutely no reason this thing powers off on mid flight without a myriad of warnings. The FAA will not end up tolorating this, so if this is a 'undocumented' situation related to battery discharges then a quick interim fix should be a software update that does not let the bird fly if inital power up on a fresh battery) then it doesnt let it fly. In my situation, luckly I was between a few houses, landed in grass upside down from about 117ft. Gimble busted off bottom (camera arm bent), spaceframe cracked, few other minor damages.
2015-11-22
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DJI-Dave
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overnightcomput Posted at 2015-11-22 16:09
Dave, I am about to make a post about my flight today also. 20 seconds into a flight today my Phant ...

Very sorry to hear this is also happened to you!  I think your software fix is a good idea and I will bring it up with my boss.

Dave
2015-11-23
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DJI-Dave
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overnightcomput Posted at 2015-11-22 16:09
Dave, I am about to make a post about my flight today also. 20 seconds into a flight today my Phant ...

Very sorry to hear this is also happened to you!  I think your software fix is a good idea and I will bring it up with my boss.

Dave
2015-11-23
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