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50 hours operation time: any servicing required?
2095 24 2016-5-6
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vr-pilot
Second Officer
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Getting closer to 50 hours of operation time (will be approx. 730 km travel distance and about 475 take offs) I am wondering about the necessity of servicing certain parts.
In aviation these 50 hours are one of the smallest inspection intervals. Especially for engines/props.
I am still using the first original prop set and vibration dampers and check screws and structure regularly...
Any suggestions or experiences made with EOL (end of life) matters?


2016-5-6
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labroides
Captain
Flight distance : 9991457 ft
Australia
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The Phantom is just a bunch of electronics and brushless electric motors so there aren't many moving parts to service.
Just keep an eye on the airframe to make sure no cracks develop around your motor mount screws (unlikely but there was a bad batch that did), keep it clean and you're good to go.
2016-5-6
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nigelw
First Officer
Flight distance : 518084 ft
United Kingdom
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I don't think the P3 has been around long enough or been tested enough to judge its lifespan.  All you can do really is what you're already doing, checking for cracks, chips, rough motors, split dampers, loose screws etc.
2016-5-6
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DJI-Paladin
DJI team
Flight distance : 2408 ft

Hong Kong
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Hello vr-pilot, firstly you can check whether there are cracks on the props, absorbers and shell. Secondly, you can also hover the drone to check the motor status by its sound and the drone's attitude.
2016-5-8
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vr-pilot
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DJI-Paladin Posted at 2016-5-9 12:10
Hello vr-pilot, firstly you can check whether there are cracks on the props, absorbers and shell. Se ...


Here we go:
after 46 hours flight time, 667 km distance and 418 take-offs I got a cracked lower shell.
The crack is located on the right rear arm (motor A2) close to a screw. The whole arm bends/twists quite noticeably when light force is applied.
So I will send in my P3P for service and test the German repair center near Frankfurt at this occasion.
Will report how things work out...
And: thanks to DJI and my P3P, I had a great time so far. I personally was expecting material fatigue much sooner...
2016-5-16 18-11-25.jpg
2016-5-16
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RedHotPoker
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Flight distance : 165105 ft
Canada
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In the picture you posted, you actually have two screw mount fractures visible.  One in the shell screw pocket, & one on a motor mount screw.
Check the other arms more thoroughly. ;-). perhaps use a magnifying glass. Ha


RedHotPoker
2016-5-16
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vr-pilot
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RedHotPoker Posted at 2016-5-17 05:40
In the picture you posted, you actually have two screw mount fractures visible.  One in the shell sc ...

Thanks for your reply. I have noticed the crack around the motor mount screw, too. I don't know if this comes from material fatigue or from tightening the motor mount screws from time to time.
But I am pretty sure that the crack around the shell screw pocket is caused by stressed materials...
I did some extensive "point of interest" flights during gusty/turbulent winds of 7m/s average today. Maybe this brought the shell finally beyond its limits?
2016-5-16
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RedHotPoker
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Canada
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If you never noticed them before, possible. But these stress cracks have been discussed for a long time already.
And numerous ones were also discovered on brand new drones right out of the box. Who knows why??

Over tightening in factory assembly line possible, weak plastic possible, abusive aggresive handling in shipping, very likely... Ha

RedHotPoker
2016-5-16
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gtokarsk
Captain
Flight distance : 12143842 ft
United States
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I have my p3A only a bit over a month.. now, I do have prop guard adaptors installed, not DJI, but I think they may somewhat protect against this... But.. if they do not and I see cracks like this or others, are these covered under warranty if I had no crashes? Do you guys know what is DJIs policy for such things? I just do not expect the shell to be cracking, even 2 or 3 years from now, if I use the drone properly and have no crashes.... I would hope that DJI would consider it a faulty body issue, unless they make it clear that it is expected to have to replace the body due to stress cracks?
GT
2016-5-16
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RedHotPoker
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The shell is under warranty for a set time, not sure if it's six months or one full year. Many have returned their drone already for a shell replacement.
@DJI now offer a protection plan, if you sign up, I believe it gives you repair insurance as well.

RedHotPoker
2016-5-16
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gtokarsk
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United States
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yes, but it's not inexpensive.. in my mind, the shell should not just start cracking on it's own.... if it does that would imply it's substandard - in my opinion....
2016-5-16
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DJI-Paladin
DJI team
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Hong Kong
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vr-pilot Posted at 2016-5-17 05:15
Here we go:
after 46 hours flight time, 667 km distance and 418 take-offs I got a cracked lower s ...

It is recommended to send it to our service center for repairing.Sorry for the crack.
2016-5-16
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vr-pilot
Second Officer
Flight distance : 4304885 ft
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Here is now my report on DJI service for my broken P3P shell (crack):
- May 17th: I wrote an E-Mail  for a RMA-request to DJI Europe
- May 19th: got the RMA via E-Mail
- May 20th: I sent my P3P with DHL to the service center in Germany
- May 30th: got a "unit received" confirmation via E-Mail
- June 1st: got a "repair unit is shipped" confirmation via E-Mail
- June 2nd: my repaired P3P was "back home"
I got a completely new P3P (except the camera) with the new motors and the latest firmware was installed. So far, so good.
Yesterday, on June 4th I made first test flights and during the 5th take off one prop shot off (front left IRRC; EDIT: just checked the footage: rear right "black" prop). The drone dropped from about 1.2 m on its back (onto grass), no damage so far. "ESC" error warning made next take off attempt impossible. After IMU calibration everything worked fine again and I made five more flights (more than 28 km distance in 10 flights).
Today (June 5th) I made two flights with a total of almost 12 km distance.
(EDIT: My overhauled P3P flew very well and I noticed a much more precise yaw steerability that made pans and corrections much smoother than with my old P3P).

My third flight today
(took only 2 minutes) was unfortunately the last flight of my almost new P3P:
It lost again a prop (rear right), but this time in flight ("Motor obstructed" error) at an altitude of 120m (400ft) and crashed into a meadow. The gimbal broke off, one antenna is loose and the shell and gear has several cracks...


I had almost 50 hours with my old P3P. Never a crash, no big problems, just a crack at a screw at the lower shell (rear right arm).
I really check my props being fastened before every flight. Also on this last flight they all were fastened so tight, that it is very hard to loosen them by hand. Did the "ESC" stop the motors abruptly or what does the "motor obstructed" error in straight flight come from? My P3P crashed with just 3 props on. Unfortunately I was unable to find the 4th prop in the high grass.

IS THIS AGAIN A WARRANTY CASE?  
2016-6-5
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FAS1
Second Officer

United States
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Damn the bad luck...
2016-6-5
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vr-pilot
Second Officer
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DJI-Paladin Posted at 2016-5-17 10:19
It is recommended to send it to our service center for repairing.Sorry for the crack.

Maybe this would be interesting for you:
Here is now my report on DJI service for my broken P3P shell (crack):
- May 17th: I wrote an E-Mail  for a RMA-request to DJI Europe
- May 19th: got the RMA via E-Mail
- May 20th: I sent my P3P with DHL to the service center in Germany
- May 30th: got a "unit received" confirmation via E-Mail
- June 1st: got a "repair unit is shipped" confirmation via E-Mail
- June 2nd: my repaired P3P was "back home"
I got a completely new P3P (except the camera) with the new motors and the latest firmware was installed. So far, so good.
Yesterday, on June 4th I made first test flights and during the 5th take off one prop shot off (front left IRRC; EDIT: just checked the footage: rear right "black" prop). The drone dropped from about 1.2 m on its back (onto grass), no damage so far. "ESC" error warning made next take off attempt impossible. After IMU calibration everything worked fine again and I made five more flights (more than 28 km distance in 10 flights).
Today (June 5th) I made two flights with a total of almost 12 km distance.
(EDIT: My overhauled P3P flew very well and I noticed a much more precise yaw steerability that made pans and corrections much smoother than with my old P3P).

My third flight today (took only 2 minutes) was unfortunately the last flight of my almost new P3P:
It lost again a prop (rear right), but this time in flight ("Motor obstructed" error) at an altitude of 120m (400ft) and crashed into a meadow. The gimbal broke off, one antenna is loose and the shell and gear has several cracks...

I had almost 50 hours with my old P3P. Never a crash, no big problems, just a crack at a screw at the lower shell (rear right arm).
I really check my props being fastened before every flight. Also on this last flight they all were fastened so tight, that it is very hard to loosen them by hand. Did the "ESC" stop the motors abruptly or what does the "motor obstructed" error in straight flight come from? My P3P crashed with just 3 props on. Unfortunately I was unable to find the 4th prop in the high grass.

IS THIS AGAIN A WARRANTY CASE?  
2016-6-5
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DJI-Paladin
DJI team
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Hong Kong
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vr-pilot Posted at 2016-6-6 08:40
Maybe this would be interesting for you:
Here is now my report on DJI service for my broken P3P s ...

Sorry for your issue. I'd suggest you to get in touch with our EU support again and analyze the flight data of the accident date.You can download them from the drone and send these DAT files to support.eu@dji.com
2016-6-5
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vr-pilot
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DJI-Paladin Posted at 2016-6-6 10:57
Sorry for your issue. I'd suggest you to get in touch with our EU support again and analyze the fl ...

Thanks for your reply!
I have tried to download the flightdata via "MC settings/advanced settings/enter flightdata mode" via USB cable on my PC, but unfortunately the RC is unable to establish a connection to the P3P. It seems to have suffered some interior damage, although the exterior looks relatively good regarding the fact that it fell out of 120m (400ft) onto the grass. (Numerous cracks in shell and gear, VPS component loose, gimbal camera broke off...)
Is it sufficient to upload the app's TXT-file (flightlogs)? At least it shows the "Motor obstructed" message on the two mentioned occasions. (1st after a take off, 2nd in last flight)
I think the technicians of EU-support will be able to read the actual flight data once the P3P is in their hands.
So I will try it this way and keep you informed.
2016-6-6
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DJI-Paladin
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Hong Kong
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vr-pilot Posted at 2016-6-7 08:22
Thanks for your reply!
I have tried to download the flightdata via "MC settings/advanced settings ...

Thanks for your feedback. In such kind of situation, it would be better to send the drone to the service center for data analysis. Besides, before you send it back, it is recommended to sync your flight record via DJI GO app.
2016-6-6
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vr-pilot
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Germany
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DJI-Paladin Posted at 2016-6-7 03:43
Thanks for your feedback. In such kind of situation, it would be better to send the drone to the s ...

Hello, I have just send an e-mail with all the informational details and attached flight logs to support.eu@dji.com.
I have synced/uploaded all flight records (as usually) via the DJI GO app. So my P3P is "ready to go again for repair"... (unfortunately, because I was actually very happy with the very precise yaw behaviour)
Thanks again for your support. I'll keep you informed.
2016-6-6
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huntcool001
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Hong Kong
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gtokarsk Posted at 2016-5-17 07:18
I have my p3A only a bit over a month.. now, I do have prop guard adaptors installed, not DJI, but I ...

I can't see how prop guards protect against cracks....   

If there's no sign that the cracks are caused by third party gadgets or your own modification, DJI will repair it.

The cracks on your planes body will be covered for  a year, not officially written down, I think it's 3 months according to the book, but I know in practice it's a year.

If DJI admits the faulty body issue, the cost would be high. I don't think they would do that. Nor do  minor cracks seem to affect the performance of the plane in anyway.  
2016-6-6
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Phantomski
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United States
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It's not the prop guards, it's the prop guards adapters. The screw is not pushing against the body, but only against the moter and the prop guard mount.... That is assuming that the cracks in general start from the outside, where the head of the motor mounting screws contacts the body....
2016-6-7
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vr-pilot
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DJI-Paladin Posted at 2016-6-7 09:43
Thanks for your feedback. In such kind of situation, it would be better to send the drone to the s ...

Hello again,

to keep you informed and close that case, so to say:
The inflight "Motor obstructed" logic that caused a prop spin off and crash out of 120m/400ft to my overhauled P3 was dealt as a warranty case.
So I got a completely new P3P and I am very happy with it.
The timeline:
- 2016-06-05 crash
- 2016-06-06 RMA requested at DJI service Europe
- 2016-06-07 RMA received
- 2016-06-08 P3P sent by DHL to DJI service Europe
- 2016-06-16 unit received confirmation by DJI
- 2016-06-28 repaired unit shipped confirmation by DJI
- 2016-06-29 P3P delivered by UPS

So it took a little time (as prognosed by DJI service: 15 to 20 days) but the service is professional and trouble-free. So I can really recommend DJI customer service.  

2016-7-2
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guns&cameras
lvl.2

United States
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Glad to hear DJI  EU took good care of you. We need more of this on the forum.
RB
2016-7-2
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AG0N-Gary
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Phantomski Posted at 2016-6-7 15:50
It's not the prop guards, it's the prop guards adapters. The screw is not pushing against the body,  ...

I consider that a pretty good deal and use the same.  I've had cracks around the screws since just after new.  As previously mentioned, some people even found them in brand new P3s.  The adapter you're talking about essentially puts a flat "plate" against the bottom of the lower shell, and the screws (longer than original) go all the way through, into the motor.  This should insure that the motors cannot separate without breaking the whole arm tip off of both halves of the shell, even if the shell pillars that the motors are mounted on were to completely break off of the lower shell.  I'm not saying this will protect you, but I feel good about how it has worked for me.  I'm sure others may disagree.  So be it.  
2016-7-2
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DJI-Paladin
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Hong Kong
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vr-pilot Posted at 2016-7-3 06:27
Hello again,

to keep you informed and close that case, so to say:

Sounds cool. Hopefully you'll be back in the air very soon.
2016-7-3
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