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Again Shell Crack in New P3P after just 10 hours
1578 35 2016-9-7
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vr-pilot
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This is the best P3P I ever had: precise yaw control in every condition, always perfect horizon leveling...
And now this:
2016-9-7-22-36-43web.jpg

After my first P3P got cracks after 43 hours of flight time, I got a replacement P3P with the new motors (just kept its camera). This bird dropped out of 400ft due to an "ESC/Motor Obstructed" error with just 3 props on after only 2 hours (13 flights). It was on both birds the right rear arm that caused trouble.
I got my third P3P (2nd replacement), wonderful bird, perfect performance, I really love it. But again the right rear arm makes problems. But this time after only 10 hours of flight time (55 flights, 200km distance). A hairline crack from the LED window to one of the motor mount screws.
While watching the crack I noticed a rattling noise from loose parts inside the P3P's shell. I tried to get them out via the empty battery bay and these are the parts:
20160907_210434web.jpg
The left piece is a part of the shell clamp from the left rear arm (inner side facing the battery): it is possible to move the upper shell there up a millimeter or two.

Is it dangerous to keep on flying with a hairline crack like this (as it has seemingly already reached its ends) and with a missing clamp (as the upper shell does not seem to have a structural meaning, just aerodynamic/optical function)? This bird was so perfect. :-(

Any suggestions appreciated...


2016-9-7
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DJI Mindy
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I'm sorry you are experiencing difficulties.I would recommend contacting the Support Center in order to keep the warranty in tact. Could you please clarify what area are you located in?
2016-9-7
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Cessna172
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Just use a tiny bit of Dichloromethane on it.  Done.   I posted a explanation thread somewhere in the discussion.

It basically fuses the crack back together as though it never cracked.  Better than new.
2016-9-7
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Adam Flurk
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Just curious as to what weather conditions you typically fly in? I live here in hot and humid Florida and have yet to have these cracks all of the sudden show up... Does it have something to do with colder areas?
2016-9-7
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vr-pilot
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Cessna172 Posted at 2016-9-8 10:34
Just use a tiny bit of Dichloromethane on it.  Done.   I posted a explanation thread somewhere in th ...

Thanks for the advice.
I just checked that Dichloromethane is widely used in model building and only "a bit dangerous".
Maybe it will become an option depending on how the story continues this time...
2016-9-8
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vr-pilot
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Adam Flurk Posted at 2016-9-8 11:03
Just curious as to what weather conditions you typically fly in? I live here in hot and humid Florid ...

I flew this P3P in the northern hemisphere summer (June to end of August) in Germany, with temperatures between 18°C and 28° C (during flight, not so much during high noon time).
EDIT: Humidity is moderate and not really an issue here IMO. In Autumn (like now) the early and late hours of day are really humid, but I didn't fly the bird in these conditions.
I often fly in a 45° view angle relative to the ground track; looking half ahead or half backward. Here sometimes the left or right gear strut comes into the picture (gimbal in "follow mode") and I notice quite severe vibrations on the struts (and the entire drone?). I think this "cross over" stresses the drone quite a lot. The same might apply to POIs which I like to fly manually a lot.
So maybe this way 10 hours of flight time are enough to let the structure start to disintegrate...
2016-9-8
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vr-pilot
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DJI Mindy Posted at 2016-9-8 10:01
I'm sorry you are experiencing difficulties.I would recommend contacting the Support Center in order ...

Thanks for the reply.
I am from Germany and I already sent P3Ps twice to the german service adress. The service works fine so I have no doubt they will "fix it", but:
the last shell crack replacement P3P had no labels on it (prop directions, CE logos, serial number etc.). So it looked like a "naked" shell without official declaration of type, origin and certification. In the end this replacement drone flew just 2 hours until it fell out of the sky (see my first post)...
So I got the impression that this shall crack repair was made under lowered quality control standards, but perhaps it was just an exception...
As I said the P3P I got as a second replacement is/was super perfect and sending it in to get "another hot fixed" shell repair in return is somewhat discouraging.
2016-9-8
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DJI Mindy
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vr-pilot Posted at 2016-9-9 04:06
Thanks for the reply.
I am from Germany and I already sent P3Ps twice to the german service adres ...

After this repair, if you have any further question, please feel free to let me know.
2016-9-8
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vr-pilot
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DJI Mindy Posted at 2016-9-9 15:59
After this repair, if you have any further question, please feel free to let me know.

O.K., I just started the RMA process. I will keep you informed.
Thanks again for the prompt replies!
2016-9-9
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grevenwiklund
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vr-pilot Posted at 2016-9-9 20:07
O.K., I just started the RMA process. I will keep you informed.
Thanks again for the prompt repli ...

Have you balance the propellers?? Very important!!
2016-9-11
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roymoon
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Duct tape.
2016-9-11
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TechReviews
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Cessna172 Posted at 2016-9-8 03:34
Just use a tiny bit of Dichloromethane on it.  Done.   I posted a explanation thread somewhere in th ...



never heard of Dichloromethane before, safe to use ?

thanks
2016-9-11
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TechReviews
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vr-pilot Posted at 2016-9-8 20:30
Thanks for the advice.
I just checked that Dichloromethane is widely used in model building and o ...



how do you mean " a bit dangerous" ? how does it repair a crack ?


thanks
2016-9-11
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04red6
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grevenwiklund Posted at 2016-9-11 14:03
Have you balance the propellers?? Very important!!

LOL.
This is not true. Maybe for jello in video or effecting the barometer, but they would have to be almost bend into a U shape to cause enough vibrations to cause structural damage.
2016-9-11
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Rex59
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vr-pilot Posted at 2016-9-8 15:06
Thanks for the reply.
I am from Germany and I already sent P3Ps twice to the german service adres ...

You're not the only one that has gotten a bird back from service without the decal stripes. Mine was sent back from DJI service after a disputed non-warranty repair. It took an entire month of back and forth emails before I finally received the stripes. I thank DJI-Paladin and his assistance for the fact that it didn't take even longer.


2016-9-11
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vr-pilot
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grevenwiklund Posted at 2016-9-12 02:03
Have you balance the propellers?? Very important!!

No, I didn't. Actually I wanted to start doing so by buying balancer tools, but in the end I decided not to do so as I think that is not something DJI should let their clients do.
Ready to fly should mean out of the box and not after some time spent in the hobby cellar.
(This IMO is in the sense/philosophy of DJI.) Those people who like to tinker around may and should do so. Other people who want to use their drone as a tool like they use their mobile phone should not be forced to care about it.
2016-9-12
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vr-pilot
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I just used duct tape, but just to close the carton for repair transportation... :-)
2016-9-12
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vr-pilot
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TechReviews Posted at 2016-9-12 03:53
how do you mean " a bit dangerous" ? how does it repair a crack ?

Well, it is easy flammable, can cause skin irritation and is hazardous to the eyes. Besides that it is just model building glue... (I think I used it years ago for plane model building, without knowing its complicated name.)
2016-9-12
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vr-pilot
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Rex59 Posted at 2016-9-12 05:57
You're not the only one that has gotten a bird back from service without the decal stripes. Mine w ...

Yes, that was really a pity when I saw the first replacement P3P not having a single label on it. But the second bird had all its informational labels and decals on it.
I am very excited to see what will be the case this time. (I am pretty sure everything will go right...)
2016-9-12
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vr-pilot
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04red6 Posted at 2016-9-12 05:12
LOL.
This is not true. Maybe for jello in video or effecting the barometer, but they would have t ...

Maybe it is a combination of many things. So called "intrinsically resonance vibration" has a huge destructive force.
EDIT: little video here   
As I  said in an earlier post: "I often fly in a 45° view angle relative to the ground track; looking half ahead or half backward.  I think this "cross over" stresses the drone quite a lot. The same might apply to POIs which I like to fly manually a lot."
Maybe I preferably fly sideways looking 45° to the right and making clockwise POIs (seen from top):
I have noticed that the right rear motor/propeller arm always gets the first hairline cracks. I think this is the arm with the most upward prop running at the highest RPM on one hand (speed hold), on the other hand it is forced to have the highest RPM fluctuations, because it is also counteracting yaw inertia permanently... (If you fly with the camera just facing forward, the two rear arms always act as a team: high thrust for speed and they both counteract inertia at the same time "synchronously".)
2016-9-12
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TechReviews
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vr-pilot Posted at 2016-9-12 21:22
Well, it is easy flammable, can cause skin irritation and is hazardous to the eyes. Besides that it ...



would you advise to use it on a small hairline crack ? does it fuse plastic together, would the crack be fixed,fused ? visable ?

thanks
2016-9-12
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gosports1
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VR-Pilot  Hope it goes more than RIGHT . Hope it will go in all direction when repaired Good Luck for a Quick  turnaround
2016-9-12
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AG0N-Gary
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vr-pilot Posted at 2016-9-8 14:45
I flew this P3P in the northern hemisphere summer (June to end of August) in Germany, with temperat ...

If you have THAT much vibration, you had better put a new set of props on and see if it still does it.  If its bad enough that you can see it, it probably causes the cracks.
2016-9-12
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Holger4221
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2016-9-13
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vr-pilot
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TechReviews Posted at 2016-9-13 06:56
would you advise to use it on a small hairline crack ? does it fuse plastic together, would the  ...

The original idea of using model building glue for repairing hairline cracks came from "cessna 172" in post #3 of this thread.
I have no experience with that. I could imagine though that Dichloromethane, when applied, reacts with the shell plastic in a way that it first weakens/soaks the surface, spreads inside the cracks and upon drying it leaves a "homogeneous" surface. But this healing can only be superficially IMO.
BTW, this stuff is really quite unhealthy...  (if you google it)
2016-9-13
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vr-pilot
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gosports1 Posted at 2016-9-13 10:06
VR-Pilot  Hope it goes more than RIGHT . Hope it will go in all direction when repaired Good Luck fo ...

Thanks for the good wishes! Got it on DHL today. DJI made it a free return and a "Priority RMA".
I am looking forward having it back with an intact shell (and fully labeled). This bird was perfect actually, what really made me hesitate sending it in...
2016-9-13
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AG0N-Gary Posted at 2016-9-13 11:13
If you have THAT much vibration, you had better put a new set of props on and see if it still does ...

It's just visible in the gear struts that come into the picture from time to time during the the transitions from or to the 45° angled/crossover flights I mentioned before.
IMO opinion it is a resonance problem that derives from many factors: four different/oscillating motor RPMs with props mounted to them which are not turning exactly 100% in their centers of gravity.
The prop's diameter is about twice the length of the cantilever arms. This could also contribute to the probability of "intrinsically resonance vibration".
When looking at the Phantom 4 the cantilevers became shorter (resp. the center fuselage grew over the cantilevers) which reduces (shortens) resonance waves. That also stiffens the construction and makes it more resistant in general.
2016-9-13
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vr-pilot
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Holger4221 Posted at 2016-9-14 01:04
Sorry to read about your mishaps with your P3P's. That really scares me like hell - if I made the ri ...

The P3 is the old P4, so to say. DJI has learned from the P3's construction problems which IMO can lead to material fatigue under certain conditions: I would blame the more challenging ways of manual flying than just always camera ahead and some turns. Or e.g. autonomously flown POIs in shifting winds while also using the yaw for repositioning the center object are a big challange for drones.
The solution may have been the use of other shell materials like fiber composites. DJI uses them on the Inspire, Matrice and Spreading Wings "exclusively"...

EDIT: I am nevertheless happy to have the possibility to experience drone flying. I would feel better (also for DJI) if I  would not have to send my P3 in for repair. Maybe I somehow "overuse" it? But a shell crack after just 10 hours of flying only "butter-soft" aerial shot flights is simply annoying for both sides.  
2016-9-13
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AG0N-Gary
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I'm still looking for P4 owner opinions about that shell.  It's obvious from handling one that they use a different plastic.  But is it any better?  Are any of them cracking?
2016-9-13
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vr-pilot
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DJI Mindy Posted at 2016-9-9 15:59
After this repair, if you have any further question, please feel free to let me know.

Hello DJI Mindy,

after just one week (shipping, repair, shipping) I got my replacement P3P back today. Really excellent timing and shipping was free. The bird kept its camera, but the craft itself was replaced. Just the label with the CE logo, certification, serial number etc. was missing...
So far so good.
BUT on my first (and only) test flight, I noticed that the bird behaved a bit strange, although all systems were showing "green". I landed it safely and checked the flight log recording. I could see that the ground track I actually flew was not recorded (static position, just altitude and yaw changes) and there was a sudden jump to the position (number of satelites went from 10 to 17) where I actually landed.
After I finished watching the flight log record I noticed that the GPS indicator was grayed out (no satellites) and the flight mode changed to P-ATTI (yellow).
After calibrating and restarting everything the maximum number of satellites only reached 7 with low signal level (3 red bars) only. Could that equal this evenings 7 receivable GLONASS satellites, without the GPS system that had 10 at this time? But that is just a guess and would fit to the test flight's jump in number of satellites.
After a further restart the GPS indicator on the App remained grayed out again.
So now I got a bird with a GPS reception problem...
I am afraid I will have to sent it back to DJI's Service Center in Germany from where it just arrived today.
Do you have any idea?
:-(
2016-9-20
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Capt. Wild Bill
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Rex59 Posted at 2016-9-11 17:57
You're not the only one that has gotten a bird back from service without the decal stripes. Mine w ...

Mine came back with a different color of striping & it was filthy.
Very amateur repair work..
2016-9-20
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vr-pilot
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DJI Mindy Posted at 2016-9-9 15:59
After this repair, if you have any further question, please feel free to let me know.

Hello DJI Mindy,

for giving the "all-clear" (hopefully) I herewith just want to report that I made 3 more test flights this evening under the same conditions like the flight yesterday: but today I had 14 stable and strong (5 bars) satellites on take-off and 20 in the air. The flight behaviour was normal and all the flight log ground track records were correct.

I don't know what led yesterday at exactly the same time and same place to GPS loss (grayed out) or maximum 7 satellites with low signal level (3 red bars) only.
Thinking of who operates GPS and GLONASS I have a certain idea of what could have been the case, but that is just a guess. Solar storm activity yesterday was high (K>5) from 00:00 to 03:00 UTC 2016-09-20, but I flew between 18:00 and 19:00 UTC and here the K value was only 3...

I hope I get my confidence back in the new replacement bird soon and concerning the again missing label (with the CE logo, certification, serial number etc.) I think I will make one of my own...
2016-9-21
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Mark97564
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I can't beleive these cracks are still happening to people, it's been almost 2yrs since the p3's release... This should be resolved by now!  I've replaced my shell once so far and everytime I pack my p3 back into its case I pray there is no cracks and check it over...
2016-9-21
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vr-pilot
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Mark97564 Posted at 2016-9-22 07:50
I can't beleive these cracks are still happening to people, it's been almost 2yrs since the p3's rel ...

The plastic surface of the replacement bird I got now just feels a bit different, I would say "smoother". Maybe they have changed the mixture a bit? But that is just a guess...
2016-9-22
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vr-pilot
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For those of you interested in this case: I changed the discussion to the "Service" page:
http://forum.dji.com/forum.php?m ... &fromuid=127639
2016-9-22
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vr-pilot
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DJI Mindy Posted at 2016-9-9 15:59
After this repair, if you have any further question, please feel free to let me know.

Hello DJI Mindy,

the repair of the shell crack unfortunately went wrong.
The new replacement P3P has a GPS problem from the first flight on.
I moved with this issue to the service forum:
http://forum.dji.com/forum.php?m ... &fromuid=127639
Unforturnately here DJI Jamie did not answer for a week now. I gave all the necessary Infos ...
Any idea, because the replacement P3P I have now since 2016-09-20 is unusable. (GPS module with loose connection?)
Thanks in advance!
2016-9-29
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