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Almost Lost Her
1297 5 2015-2-24
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bvinisky
lvl.4

United States
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Yikes! I nearly lost my Inspire 1 this morning. No, it wasn't a fly away.

I’d been flying in GPS mode to capture some shots over a decently sized river, but at around 50% battery level I flipped into flying Atti to get some 50mph speed shots. After doing several runs up and back - perpendicular to my location 50 feet in from the shoreline - I hit 30% battery and started getting the low battery warning.  At this point the craft was about 700 feet out and 25 feet up from me on shore, with most of that distance being covered by open water. I routinely pull her in at 30% battery and usually have it powered down by 27-28% at the most.

There was no deviation with my actions here. I start bringing the craft home towards me, still flying pretty aggressively with an open throttle in Atti, but suddenly after covering a few hundred feet get a warning about low voltage. Being familiar with what this means, I know it’s pretty serious (land ASAP) so I’m freaking out a little bit with a pounding heart due to the space between us and start contemplating that I may lose this thing to the water. I know that I’m at severe risk of auto decent anytime (still over water) and fear abrupt power loss if I’m too aggressive with the controls. Momentum is on my side though, so I eased off my speed, orient the quad more toward me and get her just over land as she auto descends. Phew! It was a dramatic series of seconds and a little too much excitement for me, I had to give myself a few minutes to settle before packing things up and heading home.  

Unfortunately, I’ve no buoys or floaties attached for any kind of emergency water landing, but need to seriously consider crafting something now. This was one of my newer batteries that I received last week. It hasn’t been used extensively, but it has been put through the paces a few times with no issues. It was on it’s 4th charge cycle. The temperature was in the mid 40s at the time and it had been sitting for 3 days fully charged before I used it again. Reviewing its stats now, The power is at 26% and it's showing 22.5 for voltage, so health appears normal. I’m going to attribute most of this to flying at full speed in Atti for awhile when I was nearing low battery. Needless to say I’ll be taking a closer look at this battery, testing it a bit more before any prolonged use and will be more cautious about extended aggressive flying in Atti when getting low on battery.

Anyone have information on what can contribute to quick voltage drain and/or low voltage?

Anyway, figured I’d share my story in hopes that it serves as a cautionary tale for others.

Bryant

2015-2-24
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daver/m
Second Officer
Flight distance : 234590 ft
United States
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Had this happen filming over puget sound with my p2  , flew out to near 1000 meters hung out their filming an object then flew back at around 40% real fast and just hand caught my bird as the last bit of juice went near full throttle at the edge of the water !! Almost didn't make it that time.  and after two plus years with the phantoms it was a reminder to know where Yer at distance and battery % .
Also if you fly down wind it can make a huge difference in how much juice gets used on returning home fooling your judgment on battery % and distance as you now fly against the wind !
2015-2-24
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svencool
Second Officer
Flight distance : 6690 ft
United States
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daver/m Posted at 2015-2-25 09:48
Had this happen filming over puget sound with my p2  , flew out to near 1000 meters hung out their f ...

Good point to think about is if you take off in to the wind then you have to fight it back....... The inspire has a marker that tells you when you need to come home but it can't take into account flying with or against the wind!!!! Good Point
2015-2-24
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jimhare
Captain
Flight distance : 239035 ft
Australia
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I had a similar experience just after receiving the Inspire 1.   I had it close to me, only 4 feet off the ground and 10 feet away, but flying over water.   

It hit 30% and I thought I'd push it a bit since I knew I could land within 20 seconds at any time.

Around 25% it gave a low voltage message and said was going to descend on its own.   I still had control but couldn't make the bird rise to get over a small bush to a safe landing point.   Didn't know what to do and was just hovering a few moments, desperately trying to get it to go up one foot.   Eventually just had to make a rough landing.   Knocked the gimbal off its rubber mounts which pulled out a couple of the wires on the camera connector.   

I was able to fix it all myself and no real damage done, but did scare the Hell out of me.

Not completely sure if it was lack of power or just the fact that I was over water, where I've had a couple of problems ascending anyway.

I've since learned to take the 30% warning seriously regardless.
2015-2-24
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pete1144
lvl.4

United States
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Personally, I never let her go less than 50% over water. I know I'm a coward...but since I lost a Phantom Vision long ago because it started running out of juice and it went down about 20 feet from shore.
2015-2-24
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daver/m
Second Officer
Flight distance : 234590 ft
United States
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jimhare Posted at 2015-2-25 10:25
I had a similar experience just after receiving the Inspire 1.   I had it close to me, only 4 feet o ...

on my p2s 38% was my usual ok time to start home if I wasn't too far out .. That extra margin of error ,
At least I take notice at 38% I don't want it landing on its own or at some distance more than a few feet from where I took off .
I try to plan my flight and filming in my head before I even get to the place I'm going sometimes , and this helps me to stay calm fly smoother and not get rattled when sh~> happens .
2015-2-24
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