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Drone crash! Any suggestions?
1248 7 2017-6-3
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Jacamp2222
lvl.1
United States
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[size=14.6667px]My DJI Phantom 3 Advanced crashed a few days ago. I was flying about 100 ft above the treeline, when suddenly my drone began to spin out of control, crashing into the woods. I was able to retrieve the drone, and to my surprise, the damage did not seem too extensive.

[size=14.6667px]I think the crash was caused due to a lost propeller; however, I made sure all four propellers were secured before taking off. Also, the crash occurred well within 10 minutes of liftoff, which makes me think something went wrong internally; perhaps one of the motors? Here is a link to the flight log, which I attempted to analyze, but I wanted to get other opinions. I can also uploaded the .txt file if needed.

http://www.phantomhelp.com/LogViewer/QZJGNSR2LAD6MIBS770K/


[size=14.6667px]Here is a link to a video of the crash

https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B_CDnVCfqz90S3ZUZ19iSHBjQzA/view


[size=14.6667px]Here are some photos of the damaged drone

https://drive.google.com/drive/u/1/folders/0B_CDnVCfqz90WVVDV2JISThhdUk


I attempted to fly the drone for the first time today with brand new props, and was prompted with the error message, "Motor idling (Propeller loose or missing)" as before the crash immediatley upon liftoff. I assume the issue is internal, since the new props didn't fix anything. The damage to the craft seems minimal; however, two of the four plastic covers on the camera shocks are missing. Any suggestions on my best course of action. Thanks!

2017-6-3
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JACKODOG-ANDROI
lvl.4
Flight distance : 208383 ft
United States
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maybe bird strike?
2017-6-3
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Jacamp2222
lvl.1
United States
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I thought that too at first, but I didn't see a bird strike the drone from where I was standing. But the drone was far enough away that a bird would be hard to see.
2017-6-3
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Akers1
lvl.1
United States
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I put a set of new props and clips on my 3 month old phantom 4 pro-  after 2 miles of flight I paused and started again and also lost a prop.  The fall broke my landing gear,  I replaced the gear,  drone is fine but DJI put a code on my phantom 4 pro - (1No.ESC Error) DJI has no business locking my drone I paid $2000 for,  It’s time someone stood up to this company.  I bought 2 phantom 4 pros,  lots of extra gear,  and a inspire 2 with full kit $7000 more.   Why would this company screw a person that spent $25,000 on their products.   How does this make since?
2017-6-3
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endotherm
Captain
Flight distance : 503241 ft

Australia
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You were definitely high enough to miss the trees.  I see one of the props at the rear is completely missing.  It is possible there was a birdstrike and the front facing camera would not have seen it happen.  Either that or more likely, the prop flew off.  If you start up the aircraft, you can tell if all 4 motors are responding, and if so, it wasn't a motor failure.  If you send the aircraft to DJI they can examine the internal flight records (which are more comprehensive than those in the txt file) and see how the motors were performing.  You could try extracting the file yourself seeing as you were able to recover the wreckage; hook it up to a computer via a USB cable to the body near the nameplate, and extract the relevant (usually last) dat file.  This can be analysed using various tools to see what the motors were doing and an inference can be made to see whether the prop flew off (loose) or was obstructed suddenly (birdstrike).  DJI will do this for you if you send it to them for repair, they will also give you a free estimate for repairs.  If it is less than 12 months old and due to a failure it will be a warranty repair.

If you are referring to the clear plastic pins on the "camera shocks", there are only supposed to be two anti-drop pins fitted diagonally, any more causes the gimbal to be too stiff and creates a shaky video.

Looking at the flight log, I see it went into ATTI mode a short time prior to the failure.  Looking at the flight track in the kml data shows you were performing a lot of random loops and changes of direction throughout the flight.  At a few points your pitch reaches -41° which is quite severe, while quickly rotating anti-clockwise the whole time.  It is possible that hard flying and lots of rotation in flight can tend to loosen the props.  One minute they are spinning rapidly, then the next the motor comes to an almost complete stop as the direction changes or the aircraft actively brakes.  The momentum of the blade can sometimes work to loosen it, and if enough forces are continuously applied, it can unscrew itself.  Not saying that is what happened here, but it is a possibility worth considering.   Other than that, the flight records look fine, and it records the loss of the prop and an idling motor shortly after it goes out of control.
2017-6-4
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endotherm
Captain
Flight distance : 503241 ft

Australia
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Akers1 Posted at 2017-6-3 10:16
I put a set of new props and clips on my 3 month old phantom 4 pro-  after 2 miles of flight I paused and started again and also lost a prop.  The fall broke my landing gear,  I replaced the gear,  drone is fine but DJI put a code on my phantom 4 pro - (1No.ESC Error) DJI has no business locking my drone I paid $2000 for,  It’s time someone stood up to this company.  I bought 2 phantom 4 pros,  lots of extra gear,  and a inspire 2 with full kit $7000 more.   Why would this company screw a person that spent $25,000 on their products.   How does this make since?

Akers1 it is hard to follow what you are asking here.  It seems you lost a prop and the aircraft is reporting an ESC error.  Why do you think someone at DJI is sabotaging your drone and locking you out?  Try looking up what an ESC error is first before looking for conspiracies.  It is the electronics that control the speed of the motor and if you crash, it is possible they were burned out or damaged trying to spin an obstructed motor.
2017-6-4
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Akers1
lvl.1
United States
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endotherm Posted at 2017-6-4 02:48
Akers1 it is hard to follow what you are asking here.  It seems you lost a prop and the aircraft is reporting an ESC error.  Why do you think someone at DJI is sabotaging your drone and locking you out?  Try looking up what an ESC error is first before looking for conspiracies.  It is the electronics that control the speed of the motor and if you crash, it is possible they were burned out or damaged trying to spin an obstructed motor.

Sorry you read my post thinking this is what I was saying,  I should have been more clear.   I should have asked “If someone reports a crash can DJI limit the take off”.   
  I totally tore down the drone again,  reloaded all systems using DJI assistant,  the code changed to IMU code.
  I bought a new phantom 4 pro,  and I’m taking it apart part by part to see if I can find a difference in the new and the new but crashed drone using passive test equipment.
  Honestly I must have let some of my feelings of being irritated with DJI service request influence my writing.   I was told I would receive a return aircraft to DJI in the E-Mail that day or the next after reporting the crash.   I have spent several days trying to get a simple work order.    I still do not have one.   At least I can find the problem and fix it my self now.
   I would like to know if an Inspire 1 controller would work on Phantom 4 Pro.  All the numbers seem to match up as far as radio FQ?
2017-6-20
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RicardoGray
Captain
Flight distance : 4356421 ft
United States
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Akers1 Posted at 2017-6-20 07:36
Sorry you read my post thinking this is what I was saying,  I should have been more clear.   I should have asked “If someone reports a crash can DJI limit the take off”.   
  I totally tore down the drone again,  reloaded all systems using DJI assistant,  the code changed to IMU code.
  I bought a new phantom 4 pro,  and I’m taking it apart part by part to see if I can find a difference in the new and the new but crashed drone using passive test equipment.

I may be wrong but I don't think DJI cares if you crash or not. I'm talking the company of course. Now ,if the app is reporting an error, which is probably what you are implying, that is something you want to know about. I don't believe there is anything short of some type of diagnostic equipment you could use to test your hardware. And I  would assume it is something not the average "Joe" would know how to analyze. I'm not saying you are not qualified to do so, but testing the board components, etc. would not be for everyone. It sounds like the #1 ESC error you are getting is that the controller is not getting feedback from that motor. These are 3-phase motors and are controlled by the ESC (Electronic Speed Controller). There are one for each motor. I experienced a somewhat similar issue once and thought I had a bad motor. Short story is I purchased all new motors just for insurance purposes, but I replaced the suspect one first and tried to start the motors and still had the "ESC" error. After closer examination I found one of the motor wires were actually broken inside the insulation right at the connection to the main board. I repaired the broken wires and all was good. Just saying you might be getting that error because of a minor issue like that.
2017-6-20
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