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Aircraft Scheduled Maintenance

Discussion in 'Phantom 2 Vision + Discussion' started by cahutch, Mar 4, 2015.

  1. cahutch

    Jul 8, 2014
    Likes Received:
    Sonoma County, CA
    I started thinking about scheduled maintenance on the Phantom 2 airframe. I'd be interested in any thoughts others might have on the subject.

    The motors are pretty much maintenance free. Sealed bearings should require no lubrication but they will wear out some day.
    How long? Probably longer than I can keep flying it without a catastrophic crash but it will depend on specific conditions.
    Sand or dust in the motors could shorten the bearing life significantly as would moisture from rain or fog.
    So I plan to disassemble, clean and inspect the motors on a regular schedule. But how often?
    I'm inclined to do it annually based on calendar time rather than flight time.

    What about the propellers? How many flight hours do you think before they need to be replaced?
    I would think the plastic or nylon material isn't very susceptible to fatigue but what about brittleness from exposure to sunlight?
    I have had one of my props strike a large bug in flight and I want to be sure a prop won't break from hitting a large insect or a single leaf.
    I'm inclined to replace the props just based on individual inspection rather than flight time.

    What about the ESCs? An ESC failure is always a concern. Is there an easy way to test them?
    Since they are solid state components, you wouldn't think they could degrade but I've heard tell of ESCs that fail partially where the motors spin up but one or more of the switching transistors can't pass full power to the load and the motor will be power limited.

  2. Jetfixer

    Jun 20, 2014
    Likes Received:
    If you're going to go inside to do what you say, then take the time to remove, clean and reconnect all wiring connectors. Not only are they subject to vibration, but also, dissimilar metals corrosion that can cause poor electrical contact. After any prop strike, I dress out any sharp edges or nicks with emery cloth and recheck the balance. This will prevent stress cracks on the blades and unneeded wear and tear on the motors due to out-of-balance.
  3. RichWest

    Nov 1, 2014
    Likes Received:
    Houston, Texas
    Solid advice Jetfixer!

    To the OP, the bigger issue for maintenance will be the various electrical connection in around the boards, soldered, crimped or otherwise. Not much you can do regarding preventative maintenance on the individual components, other than watching for indication of heat. Think of the recent ESC/motor issues. A good investment towards maintenance would be to own a thermal camera to detect these eventual failure points.

    Propellers and batteries are the consumable items, that's where DJI will make their returns as you continue to fly the platform years beyond its expected or intended life.

    FWIW, RTF (popular) platforms are not really designed with maintenance in mind. The trendy looking enclosed shell does not allow easy access to maintain the system. I could go on further, but that would be getting off topic.
  4. Meta4

    Meta4 Moderator
    Staff Member

    Jan 8, 2014
    Likes Received:
    DJI just put out a maintenance manual for the Inspire.
    That's probably a good place to start rather than reinventing the wheel.
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