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DJI Phantom 3 Spontaneously Caught on Fire Before Flying
2910 26 2015-8-10
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princetonking
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Went to fly it under 3 minutes ago...

The Phantom 3 has only ever been in 1 small collision with the ground (of 12 inches) and was flying fine yesterday.

Now suddenly, it spontaeously caught on fire. I turned it on - set it down before lookign at the DJI go app - bunch of blue lines....i was like what...i picked it up to  look at the gimbal - WHOOSH! starts being on fire i blow it out like a damn birthday candle and turn off the battery immediately. waited 5 mins...turned it on again - WHOOSH! more flame....what in the ACTUAL .. It was COMPLETELY dry too - so even puzzles me more.

It has been only under 2 weeks since I owned this piece of junk....





Here are the pics...any suggestions guys?

I heard how DJI support is. Feeling like I should go straight to my bank on this one.

Edited for language.  TE


2015-8-10
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gregg1r
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Am I seeing what appears to be a crack on the gimbal arm? If so, it's possible that the ribbon cable got pinched causing the short.

Pull the battery and leave it out.

I don't know how much voltage is required for gimbal and camera operation, but if you had flames it must have been over 5 volts and a few amps.

I suspect that you're going to need a camera and gimbal. Hopefully you didn't fry the main logic board.
2015-8-10
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Jack57
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Was the battery fully charged?
It could be bad wiring (damaged wire) or possibly electrical short, Did you inspect the whole drone to see if anything is unusual, like loose wiring, any discolouration...etc

Good luck with DJI support


2015-8-10
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princetonking
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The arm isn't cracked. It's definitely an electric short. If it was a crack, I wouldn't feel as bad about this
2015-8-10
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AerialLens
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DJI has some all-too-fragile ribbon style conductors, and it is very evident there was some arcing of current going on. I wish their conductors were a lot more robust.  In your low energy crash, was there any sort of displacement of these conductors, or was the terminal removed and reinserted? There is little doubt that a "Positive" arced to a "Negative" here with quite a lot of potential.  In other words, you obviously had a "short," and those batteries are very powerful.  I think you should try to get satisfaction from DJI, and just see what happens.

Did the heat cause the wrinkle in the ribbon, by the way? How was that crack in the plastic created?

One unrelated question I have to ask: What is it with the language in your posts? I pretty much had to steer my grandson away from this thread because of it. Doesn't add any value/detracts.
BurntGimbal1.jpg
2015-8-10
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Rigworker
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princetonking@g Posted at 2015-8-11 11:51
The arm isn't cracked. It's definitely an electric short. If it was a crack, I wouldn't feel as bad  ...

The gimbal is definitely cracked. Just to the left of the ribbon cable and below the hollow of the gimbal arm. Cant see at the burned area but if the gimbal is cracked, no idea what else may be damaged and caused the burn
2015-8-10
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sstriano
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Rigworker Posted at 2015-8-11 11:59
The gimbal is definitely cracked. Just to the left of the ribbon cable and below the hollow of the ...

How did the gimbal get cracked? Crash? If so all bets are off I would assume as far as warranty goes.
2015-8-10
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TAZ
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princetonking@g Posted at 2015-8-11 11:51
The arm isn't cracked. It's definitely an electric short. If it was a crack, I wouldn't feel as bad  ...

In addition to what does look like a crack, that might indicate significant force...lending to other problems, there are a couple other issues.  It appears there may be a half moon chunck out of the gimbal stop (labeled with a 3)...and a significant divot in the open part of the ribbon cable (labeled with a 1).

It looks as if the gimbal stop might of been forcibly bypassed....allowing corner 2 to slam into mark 1 with pretty significant force.  Had that been the case, the gimbal stop #2 would have most assuredly pinched/cut the ribbon at a critical point.

For sure, that divot at point 1 should not be there...and it perfectly aligns and is shaped like the corner of the camera #2, that should never hit the ribbon.
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2015-8-10
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LICENSED PILOT
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TAZ Posted at 2015-8-11 12:23
In addition to what does look like a crack, that might indicate significant force...lending to othe ...

Sharp analysis by all of you guys.
My take from this one is to always inspect the bird carefully after any crash. Magnifying-glass careful.

Sorry about your bird, Princeton. Thanks for sharing your story.
2015-8-10
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Michael M
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you need a new ribbon cable. the current one it pinched and has opposite  conductors touching
2015-8-10
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sploodge
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Like mentioned, looks like a previous crash caused this issue and with the crack in the gimbal, if not the electrical short grounding you, the camera would have fallen off at some point. What the bank would do I'm not sure as it looks like user damage..

Also, no need for the language, this is not facebook
2015-8-10
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Mark97564
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This isn't the the p3 spontaneously starting on fire..  that's just a short.. if your p3 actually started on fire it would be melted not just a spark spot on a piece of metal..  some people are over reacting hypercondriacs..  I can't believe  this guy naming his thread what he did
2015-8-11
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flyingviking
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Ok, just to add to this in case someone did not know this: If your electronic device sparkles or catches fire, do NOT turn it on again! Instead troubleshoot and fix the problem.
2015-8-11
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aburkefl
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AerialLens Posted at 2015-8-11 11:54
DJI has some all-too-fragile ribbon style conductors, and it is very evident there was some arcing o ...

I agree that the ribbon cable seems much too fragile. Unfortunately, that seems to be the norm. I have a Blade 350 and a Chroma in addition to my P3P. They all "suffer" from this "fragile cable" malady.

On the other hand, can you imagine how much more added weight there would be if all the wiring was 10-gauge stuff? (Just to pick a number.)

Within a day or so after buying one of those Mobius action cameras, I replaced the camera lens. Now there's some bona-fide tiny ribbon cable!

I'm not an engineer, but it seems that with those exposed cables maybe there could be some sort of stress/strain relief at a couple of critical points. Either that or a "quick-release" type of mounting so the cable becomes disconnected instead of ripped off.

Remember the book from years ago by Arthur Hailey - "Wheels?" A new car was in pre-production. They found a serious vibration at around 50 MPH. An engineer recommended a brace to dampen the vibration. A big shot asked how much the brace would cost. The reply was $4.95."

Didn't sound too bad to me. But the big shot did  a quick calculation and decided a $4.95 fix would cost the company almost 2.5 million bucks - based on sales of 500,000. So, my ideas might be spot on, but the cost margins don't justify such a fix. Maybe I'd better hold off on starting my own quad company - LOL!
2015-8-11
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princetonking
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Hi folks

to update again - there is a crack - but no this was not there before I flew - did show up after.  So if anything I just believe this crack to be there AFTER this incident since well..the thing literally did SET ABLAZE with fire crackling from that "contact point".
2015-8-11
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princetonking
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TAZ Posted at 2015-8-11 12:23
In addition to what does look like a crack, that might indicate significant force...lending to othe ...

No unfortunately this simply isn't it. That little divot point in figure 1 came AFTER the fire. I saw it lift up from the corner myself. Fire does cause things to lift from its edges. Perfectly shaped to corner 2 hrmm in a way but no that cant be right - thing locks up mucch sooner than that - to even hit that think no way a gimbal would come out in 1 piece.
2015-8-11
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hundleton1
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A Lipo pack contains a huge amount of energy, any should will result burn anything and likely result in fire,  the gimbal looks to have had a substantial hit, the cable shows damage in the corner, looking at the direction of the crack and the burn marks that gimbal has bent over and split the ribbon cable in the corner then shorted, either that or what ever caught the edge also caught it in the corner

Sadly even the smallest of crash will cause damage, its designed to fly not crash
2015-8-11
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Trilithon
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Misleading title is misleading.

This is an example of a LiPo fire result ... they are not nice.
P1030568.jpg

Your description is of a short.
2015-8-11
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Rigworker
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princetonking@g Posted at 2015-8-12 00:08
No unfortunately this simply isn't it. That little divot point in figure 1 came AFTER the fire. I  ...

The crack I refer to is not near the ribbon cable. It is not the divot you mention.  It is to the left of the ribbon cable and below the hollow area in the gimbal are. This was likely done during the crash you mentioned. If you hit with enough force to crack the arm, who knows what damage was done to anything electrical in the gimbal. Even the connector looks discoloured.
2015-8-11
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GunSurgeon
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There is no way that crack at the top of the picture was caused by fire. The entire gimbal arm is cracked that was caused from blunt force.
2015-8-11
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jimcloud74
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GunSurgeon Posted at 2015-8-12 11:22
There is no way that crack at the top of the picture was caused by fire. The entire gimbal arm is cr ...

AGREED.  I had a P2V fall from 8 ft. I had a "gimbal saver" strapped to the bottom which did keep the legs rigid and saved the gimbal from contacting the ground. The camera however flew off the swivel. There was no ribbon damage surprisingly. I continued using after I placed one of the gimbal keepers on it. Now, the next fiasco I had was when I drifted into a branch that was hanging lower than I thought. Perspective is heck! Anyways, I was 10 meters up this time and the quad mashed the camera up into the plate. These things are fragile but I got a second chance on the first one I had. The point of my ramble is, when you fix a weak spot, another weak spot will ALWAYS pop up down the line. In this case, the cable got tweaked/pinched and shorted out after a self admitted crash. Get a new cable or gimbal and swap it out. E=MC2
2015-8-11
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Tahoe_Ed
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AerialLens Posted at 2015-8-11 11:54
DJI has some all-too-fragile ribbon style conductors, and it is very evident there was some arcing o ...

Edited for language.  Thank you.
2015-8-11
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nicwilson
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Australia
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you say  "small collision",  show a photo with a crack in it,  then expect no issues,  then call it junk.   WOW here is someone hard to please,  and when it had an obvious issue,  you then turn it on again !!!!!
2015-8-12
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dave.samic
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I just received a replacement Phantom 3 and mine did nearly the same.  This is brand new out of the box, flown once with no issue, fully charged battery.

I saw smoke as I was taking off, landed it, and then saw the camera melted.  I touched the camera and burned the piss out of my fingers!  I tried to upload a PIC, but it's 4meg..


2015-10-6
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thefatguy69
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did they replace it?
2016-2-28
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Geebax
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There is no point answering posts this old. Most often posters come here for a month or two then disappear, never to be heard of again. So there is little chance you will get a reply.
2016-2-29
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DJI-Dave
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Geebax Posted at 2016-2-29 01:46
There is no point answering posts this old. Most often posters come here for a month or two then d ...

Very true.
2016-3-16
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