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P3 suddenly lost signal, was found near last known location but crashed. see pic
1848 21 2015-7-17
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realsy
lvl.1

United States
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Not sure if anyone else experienced this, but my DJI pilot app just suddenly showed "No Signal" (see picture 1). I pressed the RTH button immediately to ensure that the phantom is in RTH mode whenever the connection is re-established, although I do know that the phantom would normally switch to RTH model after losing signal for several seconds automatically.However, unfortunately the connection didn't get back after around 30 senconds, which was weird becuase the phantom was only about 800ft or 250 meters away from home launch point. Then I realized that it might experience some kind of failure, so I jumped into my car and drove to the last known location as shown on the DJI pilot app. Luckily, someone found it and was standing by his front door, where it was just two blocks away. The guy was kind of mad since the phantom almost crashed onto him when the phantom was droped straight from sky (the last height data was only 272ft or 83 meters).
We believe that it should be caused by a battery or motor failure, since I have upgraded the firmware for weeks and have had 94 flights and 9hr54min of flight time, the app software and firmware have been tested and seemed to be stable and reliable. When a motor fails in the air, the software or firmware can't really do anything to return home, but drop to the ground.

We hope DJI warrenty or customer support could mitigate this. I tried to get the logs from phantom, but it doesn't seem to boot anymore. A service center might have other ways to get the logs. I have flight logs from the DJI pilot app, all control surface has correct input before crash, and the distance was only 800ft; the height was only 272ft..

I remember seeing other posts on this forum regaring crashes caused by firmware or hardware failures, but couldn't find how they ended.

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2015-7-17
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Nicholas Rønsho
lvl.4

Denmark
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Must be some kind of failure as you describe. The Phantom should RTH, if it cant and just hangs in the air it should land automatically before battery runs dry. Very sorry for your loss man, This Phantom has to be replaced, it cant be repaired.
2015-7-17
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kiwichrish
lvl.4

New Zealand
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Was the video recording when it failed?  Anything to learn from there?

I'm not sure if you know, but if the Phantom already decided to go into RTH and hit the button it cancels the RTH....  Although by the looks of the damage it fell from the sky rather than coming down due to flat battery which is what would happen if you lost signal and cancelled the RTH...

Sorry to see you lost your bird, but I do have to wonder why you would be 250m away in a built up area?

I've seen too many posts on these forums and others I follow where model aircraft come down over built up areas, and almost all of them are out-of-the-box retail drones like the Phantom.  There are just too many unknowns about radio and electrical/magnetic interference in a built up area, not to mention the people/property below you...

You are very, very lucky it didn't hit the guy who found it..  You'd be making headlines rather than a forum post!
2015-7-17
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Ulysse
First Officer
Flight distance : 1389931 ft
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Belgium
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It is urgent for DJI to change this "No signal" to a more appropriate "No video signal". Like 99% of P3 flyers, you assume this message means the radio lost the signal with the quad... which is absolutely not the case !!!
And so you take for granted an RTH is initiated by the quad... which is also not the case if the LED on the radio is green !!!
The only way to know the the state of the link between the craft and the radio is the LED on the radio.
2015-7-18
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RedHotPoker
Captain
Flight distance : 165105 ft
Canada
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That's just sad, looking at your included pics. Man, you certainly did a number on that Phantom 3. Or well, it did its own destruction. Either way, it's a write off.
I hope you can get some resolve over this issue, and have it replaced...
Sorry to read about another Phantom Pilot having a significant problem, that leads to this kind of tangled up mess.

I wish non of us ever faces this devasting loss, in the future.
Hopeful a new firmware update could help alleviate these strange occurrences from happening at all.

RedHotPoker
2015-7-18
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hundleton1
Captain
Flight distance : 2741657 ft
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United Kingdom
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can you post the logs from the app?, a video with controls overlay as well wouls be good.
2015-7-18
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ScottyT
Second Officer

Australia
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Ulysse Posted at 2015-7-18 16:11
It is urgent for DJI to change this "No signal" to a more appropriate "No video signal". Like 99% of ...

I think no signal means just that in this case - seeing as the phantom crashed.

If it just suddenly disconnected, as well as finding it crashed (unless it tried to autoland and hit something on the way down) I would expect something important up and died - battery or FC.
If it was a motor or prop etc, I expect you would have at least seen it start to drop.

What does a flight replay in the app's User Center say happened?  Are you able to upload the TXT file?
2015-7-18
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CoolAsyik
New

Australia
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I have also experienced similar issue earlier today and I am so glad I came across this forum today.  I have over 45 flights in my P3 without any issues what so ever.  I always fly responsibly and in open and quiet areas away from people.  Earlier today I drove out to the local dam which is about 30 minutes drive because it is an ideal area to fly at P3's maximum legal altitude (120M) and is away from people and aerodromes and aircraft.  I flew to a height of 100M and proceeded forward to a distance of about 579M when suddenly a Gimbal Overload warning was flashing on the pilot app for 2 to 3 seconds and then stopped.  After it stopped the pilot app showed everything to appear fine and I proceeded to increase the altitude.  As I was doing this my P3 started to spiral and spin about 3 times and stopped and I let go of the controls and it went back to normal.  I proceeded to move forward for another 60M normally and stopped.  A few seconds later the Gimbal Overload warning light started flashing again and the P3 started to spiral and then a No Signal started flashing on the pilot app and the screen went blank and there was no video connectivity.  Because I was in open area I still had slight line of sight before my P3 started to spiral out of control.  Luckily I had not flown over water and was still able to retrieve my P3 which was totally damaged after crash landing on rocks in which I also was not able to locate the camera which had became detached.  My main aim was to retrieve the SD card so I can replay and see what actually happened.  Unfortunately when I arrived home and inserted the SD card to review, I found I did not record when I took off.  

Something had failed and malfunctioned here because I had downloaded and installed the latest firmware about 2 weeks ago, I calibrated the gimbal at home on a flat surface before I went out today and finally I calibrated the gps before taking off today.  I would have thought my P3 would Return To Home (RTH) if it lost signal??????????  

I will be contacting DJI first thing Monday to resolve this issue and see what options or steps I now have to take...Luckily I was in a quiet and open area where there was no one around.  Because imagine getting hit in the head by a P3 falling from an altitude of 100M...
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2015-7-18
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ScottyT
Second Officer

Australia
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CoolAsyik Posted at 2015-7-18 19:17
I have also experienced similar issue earlier today and I am so glad I came across this forum today. ...

That's no good. Like you said you were in a better location than the OP for that to happen.

You probably should have brought the P3 back, or just landed it where it was, when it started misbehaving like it was - no help now, of course.

These two disconnections and crashes are interesting. Did your P3 fall from the sky as soon as it disconnected, or was it still hovering for a time? Was the light still green on the remote control?

I've had the gimbal overload in flight when there has been a strong wind and while turning, but only for a second or two.

RTH will not be of much help if the P3 is physically having difficulty flying either because its sensors are misbehaving or there is a physical fault.

Upload your TXT or DAT file if you get a chance. You'll want to provide them to DJI for review also.

EDIT: it looks like your flight replay registers the fall at negative 23.6 m/s so the remote and app still had some connection it would seem. Seeing as you can only do a controlled decent at 3m/s max, your P3 was very much out of control.
2015-7-18
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leoamartinez
Second Officer
Flight distance : 1602986 ft
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Dominican Republic
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Sorry for your loss mate, this should be a battery failure, and when you lost signal was the exactly moment when the phantom turned off, DJI should replace this unit...
2015-7-18
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looxonline
lvl.2

South Africa
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http://forum.dji.com/thread-23728-1-1.html

Happened to me last Saturday. Sent DJI the logs. They came back and said that the accelerometer had a failure. The drone is on its way to Germany now for repair/replacement. Will update the post when there is a final outcome.
2015-7-18
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gilfrd
lvl.1

United States
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The same thing happened to me at the same day. The day was clear there was no wind I was flying in GPS mode with 20 satellites. With 32% remaining on the battery I lost connection and immediately  it's slowly started to descend into the top of the tree and crash to the ground for about 15 feet up. The camera and gimbal broke off and the body broke as well. When I retrieved the Phantom the battery had kicked out but there was still plenty of life left. Hopefully DJI will do right by me, we will see.
2015-7-18
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gilfrd
lvl.1

United States
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I was also flying with the latest firmware and it was less than a quarter mile away.
2015-7-18
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LICENSED PILOT
First Officer
Flight distance : 644833 ft
United States
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CoolAsyik Posted at 2015-7-18 19:17
I have also experienced similar issue earlier today and I am so glad I came across this forum today. ...

Isn't the best response when receiving ANY error signals to land, or at least try to? As a licensed pilot when my machine is not operating at 100% I look for a field and put her down.
2015-7-18
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Cessna172
Second Officer
United States
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unbelievable.  Please post the final outcomes of these tragedies please.
I own a Phantom now and plan to purchase a P3P.   Monitoring things closely.
However, it seems that with as many of them are out there, the failure rate is not so bad.
2015-7-18
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Willie Wonka
First Officer

United States
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These are heartbreaking pictures , sorry for your loss, I am starting to see a trend here, looks like the phantom has an internal disaster counter when it's reached it just " fails ".
I guess it's not profitable for them you keep flying more than 100 flights on one phantom.
2015-7-18
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realsy
lvl.1

United States
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Thanks for all the input guys. Some of you mentioned that there's an online customer support chat, do you know where that is? I didn't seem to see an online chat option on the "Contact Us" page.
Or, what's the best way to contact DJI customer support for failures like this?
2015-7-24
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Oliver
lvl.4

United Kingdom
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CoolAsyik Posted at 2015-7-18 19:17
I have also experienced similar issue earlier today and I am so glad I came across this forum today. ...

Hydroelectric dams generate all sorts of RF pollution. The steel reinforcements inside of them might also interfere with your compass. I imagine that's what happened here.

As for the OP, do you check and double check the battery is seated before taking off?
2015-7-24
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oksxen
lvl.2

Canada
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I don't know it's the same thing with an actual flying, but a Lost Signal happened with me whileI was testing the drone in a simulator.

The only way i could get the signal back was to reset the drone and the controller.
2015-7-31
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realsy
lvl.1

United States
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Cessna172 Posted at 2015-7-19 03:10
unbelievable.  Please post the final outcomes of these tragedies please.
I own a Phantom now and pla ...

I have contacted the DJI north america support. I hope DJI can replace the faulty unit which fell to the ground very soon after taking off. I'll keep you guys posted.
2015-8-4
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Daninho
Second Officer

Germany
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no signal in this case means its fallen from the sky or the battery failed i would say and there is no FW update to solve this. Motors, ESCs and Batteries can always fail after 100 flights.
So a lost signal does not mean the aircraft will go to RTH because when the battery dies all of a sudden you will also see no signal on the tablet : p
2015-8-4
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jimcloud74
Second Officer
Flight distance : 1298317 ft
United States
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Daninho Posted at 2015-8-5 06:35
no signal in this case means its fallen from the sky or the battery failed i would say and there is  ...

When I see no signal I can usually still control the phantom. Now when "disconnected" comes up, It would be catastrophic due to loss of power in the quad.
2015-8-4
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