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New Drone Crash, complete random signal loss.. please help
1632 17 2017-6-7
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mevena17
lvl.1
Flight distance : 61545 ft
United States
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Hi all, I'm brand new here.

I recently got my Phantom after much anticipation, and was really falling in love with it.
Unfortunately, today as I was flying, the drone completely lost signal with the controller, and flew straight into a wall and is pretty badly damaged
The compass was calibrated, I had dozens of GPS satellites, and the flight was perfectly smooth up until this point, and I was within the 500m flight distance, the battery was fully secured and all the way in.

The app suddenly and completey lost signal, going all the way back to "aircraft not connected." There was no diminishing of the connection, no image flickering or loss, just suddenly went out on my end. Of course, I immediately had a terrible feeling of dread, but I activated the return to home on the app, of course realizing that that was no hope because it responded that there was no connection to give the command. Note that I have flown at this same distance from me in this same spot before without issue.

The drone, on the other hand, did not shut off, or return to home, or anything of the sort. It flew into a wall and then continued spinning the motors while upside down on the concrete, which is how we found it. I will attach photos of the aftermath, where you can see that the tops of the propellers are literally grinded off from sitting there spinning still.

Obviously I feel awful about the whole thing, but I am fairly sure it was a mechanical issue. If the drone lost my controller signal, as my app thought it did, shouldn't it have gone into return to home? Or at the very least, when I lost the signal and took my hands off the controls, it shouldn't have continued on into the wall and even beyond that while it was on the ground.
I just hope that it is covered under warranty as mechanical error...

I would greatly appreciate advice as to how to proceed. I am going to get working on getting the flight logs (can this be done on the app, or just by plugging the drone into my computer?) and I will post pistures and the video from the flight, if I can get it successfully.

Thanks a lot all, and thank you for your patience, as unfortunately I am brand new with this.

2017-6-7
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DJI-Jamie
DJI team
Flight distance : 112405 ft
United States
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I'm sorry to hear. I would recommend contacting Support in order to have the unit sent in for evaluation and repair. You can start a repair case via the following link:

https://repair.dji.com/en/SelfRepair/Area
2017-6-7
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mevena17
lvl.1
Flight distance : 61545 ft
United States
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Thanks Jamie, I will do that. I was just hoping to get a bit more idea of what I might be dealing with before I start the infamous claim process.

Where can I upload my flight log from the flight to try and see what happened? I tried HealthyDrones and it was too large of a file..

Thanks
2017-6-7
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mevena17
lvl.1
Flight distance : 61545 ft
United States
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2017-6-7
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mevena17
lvl.1
Flight distance : 61545 ft
United States
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http://imgur.com/a/VWrK7    photos of the bird with propellers grinded down
    video of the crash.
You can see where I stopped giving controls. It sits for a few seconds just hovering. Then (I know this term is overused on these posts, but watch that video!) gets a mind of its own, and turns and flies into the wall. The only thing I can think of is that maybe it tried a return to home but forgot to go up to the set altitude first?
I also have the flight data file, if anyone has the capability to interpret it...
2017-6-7
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DJI-Jamie
DJI team
Flight distance : 112405 ft
United States
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mevena17 Posted at 2017-6-7 16:41
Thanks Jamie, I will do that. I was just hoping to get a bit more idea of what I might be dealing with before I start the infamous claim process.

Where can I upload my flight log from the flight to try and see what happened? I tried HealthyDrones and it was too large of a file..

The image you posted isn't coming up, you may need to repost it. There are a few threads on uploading to 3rd party flight data flights, but they couldn't be used officially used for warranty claims since they can be altered. The latter is primarily a disclaimer.
2017-6-7
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HWCM
Second Officer
Flight distance : 5484997 ft
United States
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It looks like it did exactly what it was supposed to do. You flew behind a structure, you lost connection as you would when flying behind something, it waited three seconds then turned to go home. The building was in the way of the direct path home and it hit it. You either have your RTH altitude set to low or you were at a lower altitude at take off than it was when it lost signal so the P3 thought it was higher off the ground than it really is.
2017-6-7
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Labroides
Captain
Flight distance : 9991457 ft
Australia
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mevena17 Posted at 2017-6-7 16:41
Thanks Jamie, I will do that. I was just hoping to get a bit more idea of what I might be dealing with before I start the infamous claim process.

Where can I upload my flight log from the flight to try and see what happened? I tried HealthyDrones and it was too large of a file..

"Where can I upload my flight log from the flight to try and see what happened?"

Healthydrones won't show you much anyway.
If you want to see what really happened, go to http://www.phantomhelp.com/LogViewer/Upload/
Follow the instructions there to upload your flight record from the app.
Come back and post a link to the report it provides
2017-6-7
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Jeffyk
lvl.2
Flight distance : 4252 ft
United States
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Wow, that absolutely hurts every time I see a drone crash.  Hey dude, sorry to see that your drone crashed. If you upload your flight data someone here might be able to analyze it for you to try and determine if your situation could have been avoided.
2017-6-7
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endotherm
Captain
Flight distance : 503241 ft

Australia
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HWCM Posted at 2017-6-7 20:16
It looks like it did exactly what it was supposed to do. You flew behind a structure, you lost connection as you would when flying behind something, it waited three seconds then turned to go home. The building was in the way of the direct path home and it hit it. You either have your RTH altitude set to low or you were at a lower altitude at take off than it was when it lost signal so the P3 thought it was higher off the ground than it really is.

Agreed, it looks like the commencement of a RTH.  What many people fail to realise is that any lateral stick input that registers in the first 20m of the rise to RTH altitude will cancel the ascent stage.  The aircraft will then proceed straight towards the home point.  This may be what happened here.  The connection only needs to be restored momentarily for a fraction of a second to register any forward/backward/sideway stick command for this to occur.  Usually when you know you have lost connection, you should let go of the sticks and let it go through its ascent and return home process uninterrupted. Unfortunately most people continue waggling the sticks hoping for the connection to re-establish.

We will await the flight record to see what really happened or confirm my suspicion.
2017-6-8
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RicardoGray
Captain
Flight distance : 4356421 ft
United States
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endotherm Posted at 2017-6-8 03:31
Agreed, it looks like the commencement of a RTH.  What many people fail to realise is that any lateral stick input that registers in the first 20m of the rise to RTH altitude will cancel the ascent stage.  The aircraft will then proceed straight towards the home point.  This may be what happened here.  The connection only needs to be restored momentarily for a fraction of a second to register any forward/backward/sideway stick command for this to occur.  Usually when you know you have lost connection, you should  let go of the sticks and let it go through its ascent and return home process uninterrupted. Unfortunately most people continue waggling the sticks hoping for the connection to re-establish.

We will await the flight record to see what really happened or confirm my suspicion.

I agree with all of the other comments. Unfortunately, it does look like you flew behind that barn. I don't think you explained exactly where you where, but that is what it looks like to me too. Again, so many new users tread into those situations not knowing what to expect. Not trying to criticize you while you are already knocked down here, but many don't fully understand how the RTH works because they haven't either read the manual fully or experimented out in an open area to know what to expect. When it lost connection, it looks a though it was returning straight back to you. The RTH height was either to low, or like Endotherm explained, if it got even a brief signal and detected a stick movement while the RTH was activated, the phantom moves directly towards the home point and disregards climbing altitude. It is better to just leave "hands-off" if you think you have lost control and don't know where your bird is and think your RTH height is set correctly.
Very sorry you had to experience this, and I apologize if it was not your fault and it is determined to be a mechanical error, but it doesn't appear likely.
Flying in behind buildings and such is something you are asking for trouble with for sure.  If you want to do this you should at least be high enough in the air that you maintain some signal. Hope you can get your phantom repaired.
2017-6-8
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mevena17
lvl.1
Flight distance : 61545 ft
United States
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Thanks for the kind words guys.
I got the flight data uploaded    http://www.phantomhelp.com/LogViewer/TFIURX4Y1J9WDURC9NZY/
but it looks like it stops before the botched return to home.

I emailed DJI support, but I am hearing that it likely won't be covered, so I fear this may be the end for me

Thanks again for the advice and such, feel free to let me know if you see anything in the flight log there.
2017-6-8
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endotherm
Captain
Flight distance : 503241 ft

Australia
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mevena17 Posted at 2017-6-8 09:34
Thanks for the kind words guys.
I got the flight data uploaded    http://www.phantomhelp.com/LogViewer/TFIURX4Y1J9WDURC9NZY/
but it looks like it stops before the botched return to home.

Nothing in the flight log out of place.  It seems you were standing with two steel sheds between you and the aircraft (the one you hit and the one next to the home point) , which explains why the signal is suddenly cut when you reduced altitude and went behind it.  Because there is a radio blackout from all the metal shielding, there were no acknowledgement signals coming back from the aircraft that were received and recorded by the app.  None of the RTH sequence made it back or was recorded.  It is still possible a stray stick movement made it through to the aircraft, but the acknowledgement never made it back.  The scenario I described previously is probably likely to have occurred--the rise to RTH altitude was interrupted.  Because you flew it into a "dark" location, you would be deemed to be responsible for the crash occurring.  Because it is not a fault of the hardware, it would not be a warranty repair.  Sorry.

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Also, what was your RTH height set to?  You had flown from 0ft at your home point, uphill to 177.2ft or 54m.  This might have been in excess of your RTH altitude (usually 30m or 50m?), in which case the aircraft does not ascend and heads straight for home.  This case shows that procedure being perfectly executed.
2017-6-9
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fans987d278a
Second Officer
Flight distance : 124180 ft
Canada
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endotherm Posted at 2017-6-9 02:30
Nothing in the flight log out of place.  It seems you were standing with two steel sheds between you and the aircraft (the one you hit and the one next to the home point) , which explains why the signal is suddenly cut when you reduced altitude and went behind it.  Because there is a radio blackout from all the metal shielding, there were no acknowledgement signals coming back from the aircraft that were received and recorded by the app.  None of the RTH sequence made it back or was recorded.  It is still possible a stray stick movement made it through to the aircraft, but the acknowledgement never made it back.  The scenario I described previously is probably likely to have occurred--the rise to RTH altitude was interrupted.  Because you flew it into a "dark" location, you would be deemed to be responsible for the crash occurring.  Because it is not a fault of the hardware, it would not be a warranty repair.  Sorry.

[view_image]

As Endotherm point out in his post, the ground rises dramaticaly from your home point to behind that barn that caused loss of signal, not much use now I know, but, I never fly below 20-30 meters, especially wen you can see the terrain rising as in your pics.
Now, what I didn't know is after hitting RTH, touching one of the sticks will cause the bird to fly straight home & not go to RTH altitude you have set, is this correct guys?
I know if you hit RTH & your bird is within 50 or is it 60 meters? of your home point, your bird will NOT rising to your RTH alltitude, but, land exactly where it is.
I'm almost positive, that I;ve pressed RTH & watched my bird rise to set RTH height, & have fiddled with my sticks, so to speak, without any ill effects, man, I have to go out right now & try this!
PS- How band is your Phantom damaged? You think its beyond repair, I;ve seen mangled Phantoms that i assumed were a totla loss, brought back to life
2017-6-9
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endotherm
Captain
Flight distance : 503241 ft

Australia
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fans987d278a Posted at 2017-6-9 08:43
As Endotherm point out in his post, the ground rises dramaticaly from your home point to behind that barn that caused loss of signal, not much use now I know, but, I never fly below 20-30 meters, especially wen you can see the terrain rising as in your pics.
Now, what I didn't know is after hitting RTH, touching one of the sticks will cause the bird to fly straight home & not go to RTH altitude you have set, is this correct guys?
I know if you hit RTH & your bird is within 50 or is it 60 meters? of your home point, your bird will NOT rising to your RTH alltitude, but, land exactly where it is.

https://dl.djicdn.com/downloads/ ... _en_v1.8_160719.pdf

Have a read of page 14 onward.  In a failsafe RTH, you are able to move the sticks for the first 20m without cancelling anything.  This is in case you are under the canopy of trees and need to maneuver out from under branches etc.  Once you get to 20m, this behaviour kicks in.  If you are watching it and can see that it is clear, there is no point unnecessarily climbing all the way to a conservative or arbitrary altitude.  You can interrupt the ascent and make it proceed with the "toward home" portion.

If it is within 20m of home it will just land.

What you have observed with a manually initiated RTH (not a failsafe)  may well be the case, and wiggling the sticks at any stage will not interrupt its current operation.  It's worth testing out and understanding all these modes beforehand, because when you need to use RTH is not the time to be learning about RTH.
2017-6-10
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mevena17
lvl.1
Flight distance : 61545 ft
United States
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fans987d278a Posted at 2017-6-9 08:43
As Endotherm point out in his post, the ground rises dramaticaly from your home point to behind that barn that caused loss of signal, not much use now I know, but, I never fly below 20-30 meters, especially wen you can see the terrain rising as in your pics.
Now, what I didn't know is after hitting RTH, touching one of the sticks will cause the bird to fly straight home & not go to RTH altitude you have set, is this correct guys?
I know if you hit RTH & your bird is within 50 or is it 60 meters? of your home point, your bird will NOT rising to your RTH alltitude, but, land exactly where it is.

It isn't so bad, just the gimbal all broken apart and the tops of the wings all ground down, which makes me think the motors must have been damaged after all that. And of course cosmetic damage of the body being banged up (I posted an Imgur link with photos up there somewhere)
I'm sure it can be fixed, it's just that it was already quite an investment, I will probably have to save up again before I can get it repaired
2017-6-10
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mevena17
lvl.1
Flight distance : 61545 ft
United States
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endotherm Posted at 2017-6-9 02:30
Nothing in the flight log out of place.  It seems you were standing with two steel sheds between you and the aircraft (the one you hit and the one next to the home point) , which explains why the signal is suddenly cut when you reduced altitude and went behind it.  Because there is a radio blackout from all the metal shielding, there were no acknowledgement signals coming back from the aircraft that were received and recorded by the app.  None of the RTH sequence made it back or was recorded.  It is still possible a stray stick movement made it through to the aircraft, but the acknowledgement never made it back.  The scenario I described previously is probably likely to have occurred--the rise to RTH altitude was interrupted.  Because you flew it into a "dark" location, you would be deemed to be responsible for the crash occurring.  Because it is not a fault of the hardware, it would not be a warranty repair.  Sorry.

[view_image]

I appreciate your insight into my case. I think you are right, about the signal loss because I went behind that barn. (it is a direct line of sight to that upper barn from where I was controlling, not actually behind 2 barns, but nonetheless..) I guess I thought I would be fine flying there because I had successfully flown out farther than that with no problem.
Also I think my RTH is set for around 50m.
And you sure are right about the time to learn about RTH.. I thought I had it figured out, but I guess sometimes you learn the hard way.
If/when I get back in the sky at least I will be a bit wiser, if not a little less confident and carefree. Live and learn I suppose
2017-6-10
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endotherm
Captain
Flight distance : 503241 ft

Australia
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mevena17 Posted at 2017-6-10 09:20
I appreciate your insight into my case. I think you are right, about the signal loss because I went behind that barn. (it is a direct line of sight to that upper barn from where I was controlling, not actually behind 2 barns, but nonetheless..) I guess I thought I would be fine flying there because I had successfully flown out farther than that with no problem.
Also I think my RTH is set for around 50m.
And you sure are right about the time to learn about RTH.. I thought I had it figured out, but I guess sometimes you learn the hard way.

No worries.  I drew a line between your home point and loss of signal and it intersected both barns, however the controller could well have been off to the side as you say.  You may have been flying out there previously, but I bet you weren't that low before.  If you had just been ten feet higher on this occasion I'm sure the signal wouldn't have been interrupted.
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2017-6-11
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