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DJI repair experience

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by RussA, Sep 21, 2014.

  1. RussA

    Mar 18, 2014
    Likes Received:
    Silicon Valley, California
    I just got my Phantom 1.2.1 back from DJI. I think the experience may be useful to others to hear about.

    The Crash: right before the 4th of July holiday I wanted to try doing video using ATTI mode to drift since I don't have a gimbal. This has been recommended to me on this board. It had always behaved well in GPS mode, but the video was bouncy. However, in the past, whenever I'd tried using ATTI mode, the Phantom took off on me, much faster than the wind, and always in an easterly direction. It would respond to my stick commands, but not reliably. I thought I just needed more practice. I chose to video a local museum very early on a Sunday morning when there was no wind and no one around. There a big plaza in front. I put it in ATTI right away and constantly had to fight it, like it was getting input from somewhere else, although it would respond to specific stick commands. If I used the pitch joystick at all, it would go the direction I directed it to, but it would also yaw, even though I wasn't touching the other stick, so the direction kept changing. Anyway, I was trying to bring it back to me, still in ATTI mode, I let my fingers off the pitch control for second to change the yaw with the left joystick and the Phantom zoomed right into a masonry pillar. The prop guard hit the pillar, the Phantom flipped horizontally and fell directly to the pavement below. Since the prop guard was broken, the rotor was hitting the pavement and sent the Phantom jumping across the steps until I could shut down the motors. When I inspected it, it was intact, but when I started it up again, one motor was obviously obstructed with something. It turned, but slowly in rough bursts. At home I took the top shell off to see if that was binding up on it, but it was the same.

    The wait: I sent the Phantom & controller to DJI (Los Angeles, as directed) on July 7, insured, with an explanation of what happened. The tracking showed that it was delivered a few days later. However, when I hadn't heard from DJI after 10 days, I emailed the support address, including my RMA#, to confirm they had it and would work on it. That was July 17. I didn't get a response until Aug. 3 which said basically they were swamped and hoped to have my Phantom "checked in" soon. They didn't acknowledge receiving it. On Aug. 28 they finally emailed me that they had received it. Nothing until Sep. 18 at which point I got an email saying my unit had been shipped back. There was no further explanation. I got it Sep. 20 (almost 11 weeks). Obviously, it takes a long time to get service.

    The fix: I was not charged for the repair. Inside the box was my Phantom along with a printed explanation. It said that my craft required two new motors (very possible, although only one seemed bad to me) and that "...the connection from the GPS to the MC was incorrect. We went ahead and replaced the motors and fixed the connection then perform a firmware update, calibrated, and tested for functionality. Your unit is fully operational. Please note that you must bind your remote control to the phantom before you fly." I spent over an hour on YouTube looking at videos, trying to figure out how to bind the Phantom to the controller, but they all had different models. I was getting desperate before I realized that I hadn't tested to see if it was still bound to the controller. Since they had the original controller there to test with, I didn't see why it wouldn't still be bound to mine. When I tested it, it was still bound and responded normally. The calibration was still good. Another problem with the note is that it addressed me by another name ("Mr. Visalli"), not even close to my name. So with that, plus the fact mine didn't have to be bound, now I'm not sure whether the note actually described the repairs to mine, or someone else's. Mine did need at least one new motor, and yes, the unit is definitely mine, with the same decals and address label and SJ1000 camera mount still affixed.

    Flight test: I took it out yesterday to a local park just to see if it behaved normally. The park was so crowded, I only flew it for five minutes up to about ten feet high and ten feet away from me. It actually seemed to fly better than it did originally, hovering much more steadily than before even in a stiff breeze, but I didn't try flying in ATTI. I will test that when I get to a larger, safer place.

    So I'm not complaining. I got it back with no charge beyond shipping/insurance, but it did seem to me like it took longer than it should have. I am also disturbed that that the unit came from the factory with the GPS incorrectly connected, assuming that is accurate. It makes you wonder about some of those flyaways. I am glad to have an explanation as to the erratic behavior, especially since it may not have been my fault. I am curious how this experience compares to that of others who have had repairs done, and would welcome any suggestions as to what to look for as I take it out again. If there's a Mr. Visalli out there, feel free to contact me via pm.
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