Need Your Help Please: P3A Goes crazy and crashes into creek. Now What? Flight Records Included

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Hey Guys! I would really love a little guidance on what my next steps should be after this crash.

In a nutshell: I was flying along side a creek with no issues and out of the blue the phantom starts spinning wildly, as if it ran into something, and plummeted about 150ft into a very narrow creek (my luck). After about half an hour, and getting extremely lucky, I was able to find the drone and retrieve it. It is currently sitting outside drying out. Unfortunately i was unable to find the battery, which had dislodged in the crash.

My questions are:
- If it is deemed a bug with the firmware, is this something that DJI is willing to repair within the warranty? Looking at the flight records i have no idea what went wrong except a series of compass errors just before crashing. Phantom is abut 4 months old.
- I'm going back to the creek tomorrow to see if i can find the battery. If i do find it, is it salvageable? Or as soon as it's submerged is it a goner?
- Should I open up the drone to let it dry out better or will it not make a difference? I'm guessing the mother board is fried, but not sure if it's best to go to someone local or straight to DJI.

Below are the links to the flight records. Feedback would be GREATLY appreciated. I do areal photography for various people/businesses so I'm hoping not to be sidelined by this too long. Thanks again!

HealthyDrones.com - Innovative flight data analysis that matters

Phantom 3 Log Viewer - PhantomHelp.com

Daniel
 

alokbhargava

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It looks one of the motors got problem while flying. As you got the bird now, check if all the motors are free to spin. Error could be with ESC or motor. It must have started spinning at about 31' from ground.

I believe DJI should give you a free replacement.

You should not use that battery again.
 
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If the battery dislodged then it didn't hit deep water 1st, because it takes a lot of force to get the battery to come completely out of the holder. I would look on the ground around the creek where it may have come down on a rock and then bounced into the water, while leaving the battery on the other side of the rock.
 
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Alokbhargava - I'm going to wait till tomorrow to check it, to make sure it's dry. But I'll give that a shot...

Wibble - I have footage of the crash, I checked it slowly to see if maybe a bird threw it off course. I didn't see it there, but maybe a big enough bird can cause that?

Reed - yea that's a good point. I had that thought, and I did find the drone close to the edge of the creek. I didn't see the battery but it's possible on the edge as well. Question is, is it worth going back to find it, or would it cause more damage to try and use it...


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First you need to get a large bag of rice and submerge the UAV in it to dry all of the parts. Personally, I would pull the top shell off first. Leave it in the rice for a few days and it will absorb the water out.
 
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I'll give that a shot. Although the casing seems a bit difficult to remove. Hopefully it still works. I'm guessing it'll still need to go to DJI but fingers are crossed


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There is nothing strange in your flightlog, until that unknown incident happened.
Battery ok, GPS ok, connection ok, RC inputs ok.
Internal DAT log contains more information, so fingers crossed that you will be able to get it out of the bird.
Anyway, it doesn't look like user error, so you should contact DJI.
 
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Ferraript - thanks for the input. They're closed till Monday so I'll send them an email and see if they ask me to send it in. I may try to power it on tomorrow morning as well to maybe asses the damage a bit. I was pretty bummed today but I'm glad to see people agree it this was definitely out of the ordinary. Hopefully this isn't a bug or anything in the latest firmware which could mean it could happen again.

I'll keep you posted.


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Mark The Droner

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Are we sure the battery didn't come loose and end up exiting the aircraft on the way down but before the crash?
 
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Marknmd - I don't think so. In the footage I can "see" the drone falling out of control before the screen goes black.


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If it were me, I would let it dry for a week. The only harm you can do now is to power it up too soon.
 
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I had the same thing happen to me I was 2 1/2 minutes into a flight and it done a 360 turn then another then it just started spinning I was about 1300 ft away and was able to get it a little closer before it hit the top of the tree's. I was at about 200ft. And it fell to -65ft. I was on top of a hill. Got it back all it will do is light blink and it has a beeping sound coming from it.
 
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As far as drying it out, rice is just not a good desiccant. That myth has been around for some years now, but it's been debunked. You are much better off simply using a fan.
 
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Tim5168 - sorry to hear that. Best o can suggest is report it to DJI. They'll ask for your flight records and if it's deemed a hardware malfunction they'll pass it on to another department who will determine if you qualify for a replacement (assuming you're under warranty or have DJI care)

mikesmiley - yea I didn't go the rice route. I let it sit for a week... and surprisingly it turned on. I'm thinking since the battery popped out it wasn't "on" while under water, that must of helped. I haven't done much more with it....the ticket with DJI is still open so I'll try to be patient. Luckily my buddy bought a phantom 4 and I'm teaching him to fly, so I can get my "drone fix" in the mean time....


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Update:

GREAT NEWS! After spending over a week reviewing my flight record, DJI confirmed it was not due to user error and in fact a malfunction in the drone, so they are replacing my Phantom 3 at no charge. Very happy with how all this turned out especially considering how bummed I was a few days ago. DJI has earned a life long user....
 
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Update:

GREAT NEWS! After spending over a week reviewing my flight record, DJI confirmed it was not due to user error and in fact a malfunction in the drone, so they are replacing my Phantom 3 at no charge. Very happy with how all this turned out especially considering how bummed I was a few days ago. DJI has earned a life long user....
That's great to hear! Thanks for sharing the experience.
 
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Finally found out that DJI is going to repair my drone that started doing 360's till it crashed. After looking at the flight records they determined it was a malfunction in the drone.
 
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