Buying a Used Phantom 3 Standard Sight Unseen

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By the magic of the internet I am currently bidding in an online auction for a used Phantom 3 Standard, which the seller describes as being in good working condition, despite minor cosmetic blemishes, which don't matter much to me.

If I win the bidding process, I will be taking delivery of this drone and its controller sight unseen, without having tested the drone or its camera. My question to more seasoned Phantom 3S pilots is whether there are any parts such as camera mount bushes, that I will do well to buy, so that I can have such parts on hand in case anything wears out that isn't too complicated to replace.

I purchased my current Phantom 3S brand new many moons ago, and thus far it has flown smoothly with no imperfections, and also produced video footage that is jello-free. Having logged a few hours cumulative time on this drone with no issues, I am thus far not aware if there happen to be any components of the design that tend to need periodic replacement, besides the props, and that is why I decided to seek opinions here, from those whose Phantom 3S work-horses have logged a lot more flight hours than mine.

As I monitor the bidding process with my finger poised over the "bid" button, I would be grateful for any pointers that can be offered, regarding this question of preemptive part replacements. Also, if there are any specific tests I can conduct on the drone, beyond the obvious flight test and camera test, I'd like to hear about them. Thanks in advance.
 

Capt KO

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A spare set of camera mounts and props are about it.

One question. Why not upgrade? Even to another P3 model with improvements. The newer models offer range, stability, and connectivity the P3S lacks. At least you’re familiar with the P3 so no surprises but wouldn’t you like something better? Much better. Worth a few more $ IMO. Like many others here, I learned on a P3S but upgraded long ago, with fond (and scary) memories.

Good luck, good bidding
 
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Thanks for this reply, Captain KO. As it turned out, someone a few time zones away beat my offer by the princely sum of $3, while I was asleep ha ha, so I may well wind up with a model offering greater range, which is very important to me.

I already own a 2020 Fimi X8, which offers substantially greater range, but whose video recordings are for some odd reason only recorded in fragments of no greater than 5 minutes each, as compared with the recordings made by my Phantom 3S, whose durations are precisely as I intended. I understand the Light Bridge technology on more advanced Phantom drones provides greater range out of the box, so I may focus on one of those, as you wisely have suggested here.

Thanks again sir, for this advice that I may wind up following by default, in the next couple of weeks.
 
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Oso

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I already own a 2020 Fimi X8, which offers substantially greater range, but whose video recordings are for some odd reason only recorded in fragments of no greater than 5 minutes each, as compared with the recordings made by my Phantom 3S, whose durations are precisely as I intended.
Are you shooting in 4K with your FIMI X8 and reaching the file size limit of the card’s format? Perhaps that file size limit is reached at around 5 minutes?

FYI that the P3 splits video files at ~4GB. There are no workarounds regardless of formatting as either FAT32 or exFAT. The P3 will still split video files at ~4GB even though the exFat format itself allows larger files.
 
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Ah, I wasn't aware of the file size limitation being much shorter when video recording is set to 4K. For the Fimi X8, I did leave the video settings on the default value, which is likely to be 4K, but then again, my knowledge of photography resolution is very limited, so I'll need to go back and check that setting to be sure.

Oddly enough, the footage taken by my Phantom 3S, presumably in 2.7K, does to my novice eyes, have more natural looking colors, while appearing to be of a significantly higher resolution and clarity than the footage from the Fimi X8, which likely shoots in 4K, suggesting that the stated video resolution data does seem at odds with the general appearance of the footage, at least to me.

After glancing over the prices commanded by Phantom 4 series drones, I decided to continue bidding on used Phantom3S drones whenever they appear on ebay, especially since I now have a number of spare props and batteries for this old platform that suits my hobbyist purposes adequately, at a very affordable price.

I bought my first Phantom3S for $500 brand new at Best Buy in 2017, so seeing used ones in reasonable condition currently going for $150 or less, makes the Phantom3S a very good bargain to this penny-pinching miser. The quest continues...
 
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Capt KO

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Keep an eye out for a 3Adv or Pro if possible. Very similar to the 4s. Lightbridge, range, etc. and use same shell, props, batteries, that you use now.

Good bidding, enjoy
 
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Wow, you're right CaptainKO. I never checked the specs for all three models, and by Jove they do all use the same props and battery, but with TWICE the transmission range quoted for the P3A and P3P. Being able to achieve twice the transmission distance by selecting a drone in the same general price range, does make it well worth paying a little more on the purchase.

Bought used on ebay, the P3A can range in price from $150 on up to an average of $600 to $800, so I'll keep an eye out for anyone selling just the drone and controller, in the event that I don't win the ebay bid I have currently on a P3S. This nugget of wisdom is much appreciated sir.

Eventually I intend to run a lot of long range Litchi missions beyond signal range, but flying a P3A, the signal will cut back in a lot further out afield than it would with my lowly P3S. I almost hope I lose the bid on the Phantom3S now ha ha.
 
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I suspect most Phantoms end by crashing and being too difficult to repair, as well as providing an opportunity to buy something new.

Props are an obvious replacement part, depending on how aggressive the trees are where you fly.

The gimbal and camera assembly have some weak points, particularly with the ribbon cable that runs from the camera itself to the gimbal controller board. If you get into trouble here, in addition to the cable, you will need the parts for the elastic support. The pins themselves are 1 time use, and the grey rubber elastomers can be damaged while messing about.
 
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Thank you for taking a moment to mention these repair items, Mr. Cambridge. I have read the odd account of issues with the camera's ribbon cable, so it probably would be a good precaution to acquire an extra one, along with a few of the rubber elastomers and the single-use pins as well. I've got a good supply of new props on hand, and will probably get a few more if I do buy another drone in the Phantom 3 series.

I try to steer clear of those grasping tree branches, and generally avoid all close proximity flying, by making a bee-line for 200 feet AGL right after liftoff. I don't really understand the draw of flying low through woodland, and having to duck around obstacles, but maybe my lack of interest in that style of piloting is on account me not trusting my reflexes in such close confines.
 
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By the magic of the internet I am currently bidding in an online auction for a used Phantom 3 Standard, which the seller describes as being in good working condition, despite minor cosmetic blemishes, which don't matter much to me.

If I win the bidding process, I will be taking delivery of this drone and its controller sight unseen, without having tested the drone or its camera. My question to more seasoned Phantom 3S pilots is whether there are any parts such as camera mount bushes, that I will do well to buy, so that I can have such parts on hand in case anything wears out that isn't too complicated to replace.

I purchased my current Phantom 3S brand new many moons ago, and thus far it has flown smoothly with no imperfections, and also produced video footage that is jello-free. Having logged a few hours cumulative time on this drone with no issues, I am thus far not aware if there happen to be any components of the design that tend to need periodic replacement, besides the props, and that is why I decided to seek opinions here, from those whose Phantom 3S work-horses have logged a lot more flight hours than mine.

As I monitor the bidding process with my finger poised over the "bid" button, I would be grateful for any pointers that can be offered, regarding this question of preemptive part replacements. Also, if there are any specific tests I can conduct on the drone, beyond the obvious flight test and camera test, I'd like to hear about them. Thanks in advance.
What was your bid?
 
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I bid $123, and then in the dead of night as I slumbered time zones away, a shrewd buyer beat be to it with an offer of $127, just three dollars higher ha ha. Phantom3S are really going for giveaway prices right now. I've seen them change hands on ebay for less than $150, but then again, there is that leap of faith entailed in making any used electronics purchase. One is taking the word of the seller, that there are no hidden repair costs imminent.

Still and all, considering that I bought my current Phantom3S for $500 brand new just three years ago, current used prices are worth a cautious gamble. I've got my eye on another Phantom3S now, having finally decided to forgo the costlier Phantom3A, since I will mainly be flying Litchi missions well beyond signal range in a rural area with no air traffic to speak of, making the greater signal range of the P3A desirable though not essential.
 
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