Newbie with a bad aircraft?

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Hey all,

Brand new to drones and brand new to this forum. Howdy!

I bought a new Phantom 3A a little over a week ago. I spent a ton of time on this forum, learning the ins and outs (thanks!). Read the owners manual twice. When it arrived, I charged the batteries and updated the firmware on the RC, aircraft and batteries. (I'm in IT so firmware updates don't scare me).

Everything updated just fine, and it was off to the park for it's first flight. I calibrated the compass and away I went, holding my breath the whole time. It seems to preform pretty well but it did want to change to ATTI mode and did throw some compass errors, but they were momentary.

The second day I went out and got a little braver and went higher and further. Was up around 150' and the aircraft switched to ATTI mode and started drifting away. I lost it in the sun about the time the low battery warning went off. CRAP! Hit the return to home button and it returned and landed! Woohoo!

Since I' new to all of this, I don't know what's normal or not. Today I fired up the aircraft and RC and the aircraft went through it's boot, camera moving around and then the camera just dropped and pointed towards the ground. I pulled the battery and rebooted it several times with the same result. Does the same thing even with the remote off. The remote connects to the aircraft and I can control it, but of course I have no video.

I chatted with DJI (they're worthless) and they were no help.

My question, since I don't know what's normal, should the camera stay upright after boot, with or without the RC turned on? The aircraft seems to boot fine, the camera moves around, locks forward and then just dies. What's normal?

Also, Since I was in a remote area, devoid of any metal and did calibrate the compass, is it normal for this thing to bounce between P mode and ATTI mode? Should I be getting compass errors as well?

I think this unit has problems but I'd like to make sure it's not something I'm doing.

Thanks for the help!

Mike
 

msinger

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I agree with the others. There's something wrong with your bird. Take/send it back. Just the abnormal gimbal would be reason enough.
 
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I will tell you that my story mirrors yours exactly. I got mine a week ago and been chasing these dang compass errors and switching form GPS to ATTI mode. Talked to Amazon yesterday and will have a replacement today. Supposed to be a high wind rain/snow weekend so not sure when I will get the new one up. There have been so many reports of this same thing...I'm not expecting much difference with a new one. Maybe I will be pleasantly surprised I will add that I'm still learning all this and trying to understand why this happens. I can live with false positive errors. I can't live with the AC flying away because of some unexpected switch. Been having a blast with it so I'm not even close to throwing in the towel here. Hopefully those of us seeing this problem will find some resolution.

I need to add that while my story is similar...I'm not seeing the gimbal errors the OP is having.
 
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Yes, I would box it up and send it back. The camera should not dance and then point straight down. I would send it back for that alone.
As for the jumping between P and atti, are you getting enough satellite's? it shows that on the top of the screen. If you have a good satellite lock, you should also hear the GO app say "The home point has been updated, please check it on the map" If you don't hear that, you don't have a good satellite lock, which also may be from a defective phantom.
 
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Oso

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Hey all,

Brand new to drones and brand new to this forum. Howdy!

I bought a new Phantom 3A a little over a week ago. I spent a ton of time on this forum, learning the ins and outs (thanks!). Read the owners manual twice. When it arrived, I charged the batteries and updated the firmware on the RC, aircraft and batteries. (I'm in IT so firmware updates don't scare me).

Everything updated just fine, and it was off to the park for it's first flight. I calibrated the compass and away I went, holding my breath the whole time. It seems to preform pretty well but it did want to change to ATTI mode and did throw some compass errors, but they were momentary.

The second day I went out and got a little braver and went higher and further. Was up around 150' and the aircraft switched to ATTI mode and started drifting away. I lost it in the sun about the time the low battery warning went off. CRAP! Hit the return to home button and it returned and landed! Woohoo!

Since I' new to all of this, I don't know what's normal or not. Today I fired up the aircraft and RC and the aircraft went through it's boot, camera moving around and then the camera just dropped and pointed towards the ground. I pulled the battery and rebooted it several times with the same result. Does the same thing even with the remote off. The remote connects to the aircraft and I can control it, but of course I have no video.

I chatted with DJI (they're worthless) and they were no help.

My question, since I don't know what's normal, should the camera stay upright after boot, with or without the RC turned on? The aircraft seems to boot fine, the camera moves around, locks forward and then just dies. What's normal?

Also, Since I was in a remote area, devoid of any metal and did calibrate the compass, is it normal for this thing to bounce between P mode and ATTI mode? Should I be getting compass errors as well?

I think this unit has problems but I'd like to make sure it's not something I'm doing.

Thanks for the help!

Mike
My advice would be to get a replacement, but this time don't update everything until you fly it and see what normal looks like. Since you've spent a ton of time reading the forum, you must have seen how many compass errors and other issues have been reported in the last 4-6 weeks right after updating to the recent firmware and app. Of course it's not everyone having the problem, but for sure it's enough to cause some alarm and to be cautious.

Also, if you are interested here are some tips that I like to share with new P3A and P3P owners:
Soon to be new owner phantom 3 advanced

Good luck Mike!
 
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My advice would be to get a replacement, but this time don't update everything until you fly it and see what normal looks like. Since you've spent a ton of time reading the forum, you must have seen how many compass errors and other issues have been reported in the last 4-6 weeks right after updating to the recent firmware and app. Of course it's not everyone having the problem, but for sure it's enough to cause some alarm and to be cautious.

Also, if you are interested here are some tips that I like to share with new P3A and P3P owners:
Soon to be new owner phantom 3 advanced

Good luck Mike!
+1 on not upgrading. Good advice to anyone buying a new bird. Probably safe to assume that the bird was working when it left the factory, so don't change anything until you get it up and flying and everything checked out. Even then, there's no reason to be in a hurry with upgrades.
 
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+1 on not upgrading. Good advice to anyone buying a new bird. Probably safe to assume that the bird was working when it left the factory, so don't change anything until you get it up and flying and everything checked out. Even then, there's no reason to be in a hurry with upgrades.

Unless you buy it from a brick & mortar store that does the updates anyway... I bought my P3P from Cloud City Drones here in RI, and as part of the sales process they pop it open, test it, and apply any updates. They are awesome over there, but knowing what I know now about updates I may have asked them not to. Luckily I've had no issues... and at least they test it so you know it works.
 
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The camera dropping down is likely due to a communication issue. The going in & out of P & A mode has to do with not receiving at least 6 satellites.

Like others mentioned, don't be in a hurry to update anything.
 

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Unless you buy it from a brick & mortar store that does the updates anyway... I bought my P3P from Cloud City Drones here in RI, and as part of the sales process they pop it open, test it, and apply any updates. They are awesome over there, but knowing what I know now about updates I may have asked them not to. Luckily I've had no issues... and at least they test it so you know it works.


I also buy from a company that does all updates (aircraft, Transmitter, and all batteries) and flies the aircraft to confirm 100% correct before they ship it.
 
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Unless you buy it from a brick & mortar store that does the updates anyway... I bought my P3P from Cloud City Drones here in RI, and as part of the sales process they pop it open, test it, and apply any updates. They are awesome over there, but knowing what I know now about updates I may have asked them not to. Luckily I've had no issues... and at least they test it so you know it works.

Exactly....just think, that update CC Drones did for you might have been the one that doesn't allow you to fly above 400ft, the one that slows the aircraft 5-10mph, and the one that remove 1 mile range from flying distance.
 
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I also buy from a company that does all updates (aircraft, Transmitter, and all batteries) and flies the aircraft to confirm 100% correct before they ship it.

They don't fly it, unfortunately.... because.... (and this is the truth...) they are literally 1/2 mile from T.F. Green Airport, our major RI airport! lol... It's funny that a drone shop is so close to an airport... but they are still good...
 
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