P3S broken gimbal; RMA or DIY?

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After talking to DJI service and syncing my flight data, they "recommend" sending my Phantom 3 Standard in for diagnosis and repair. I don't know if it will be under warranty, and they couldn't give me any kind of estimate on time or cost. So I'm wondering: Should I take a gamble sending it in to DJI service in the hopes that they'll fix it for free (or at least relatively cheap), or order parts and fix it myself? Here's pics of the damage: https://photos.google.com/share/AF1QipMlDJcd2d72eeJjj4YYSW0v5eF722gDUMUK5YYNxL9QvPSumf0iiRlx8Rlv_Q65FA?key=SkdUcmhROU1TX1NTWHl4RWNUUUlSdEcxMk9lc1Rn (looks like yaw arm is bent and ribbon cable is broken).

And here's what happened... I was flying the other day and I lost control at a distance of about 260ft (350ft elevation or so). After RTH, I was able to regain control only when it descended down to 130ft.

Took it up again and it lost signal again at the same distance (but not video feed). I could never regain control, and it RTH'd right into a tree (20ft away from "home"). Even when it was coming down not 30ft from me, I still couldn't abort the RTH, from the switch or the app. This is what makes me think it might be warrantied...even though I've had it since August.

I'm looking for any advice on what I should do here: how much is DJI gonna charge, how long will their service take, how much would the parts cost, how hard would this be to fix myself, etc. Thanks for reading! :)
 
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if it is under warranty and it is their problem I would send it in. The worst that could happen is for them to give u an estimate and u can refuse. Then you will get it back broken. I sent one in that I didn't think was under warrant and they fixed it for free and got it back to me in a week.
 
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I doubt it will be covered by warranty, they will probably tell you the RTH altitude was not set high enough, therefore operator error. Regardless of why it lost signal. Seems to be the pattern, anyway.
 
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I doubt it will be covered by warranty, they will probably tell you the RTH altitude was not set high enough, therefore operator error. Regardless of why it lost signal. Seems to be the pattern, anyway.
Hopefully they wouldn't say that, it traveled back to the home location easily over the trees, but then it descended gently into a tree, and tumbled ~15ft to the ground. That much can be seen from the flight data I think.

Since turnaround time isn't a big issue for me, I'll probably go ahead and try sending it back. If there is something wrong with it that caused the signal loss, I'd hate to replace the parts myself and then have it happen again.

Anyone know which parts I'd need to replace if I did do it myself?
 
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Hi, I crashed my Standard into a tree this Spring, I bought a new ribbon cable and yaw arm from Tony at Bock Hobby. It is a 3D printed yaw arm, total parts cost was $65. Took me five hours to do the repair, flies great again!


Sent from my iPhone using PhantomPilots
 
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The actual repair / replacement of the entire gimbal is not particularly difficult provided you take your time and thoroughly understand the instructions.
Assuming that the repair is not free, I would suggest you research the cost of DIY. I installed and subsequently repaired the gimbal on my P2 and found it relatively simple. As a very similar system is used on the P3 and my prior experience has helped several other P3 users.
If you don't feel happy about working on the gimbal yourself several companies will provide you with a repair service that is both quick and competitively priced.


Sent from my iPad using PhantomPilots
 
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Thanks everyone for the help and suggestions! I ended up sending it in, and just got the repair quote back:

Remarks: RTH crash FLY045 1. Unit records home point under a tree at takeoff. 2. At t=708s, relative height=91m, unit triggered RTH due to loss of RC connection. 3. At t=732s, relative height=91m, distance to home=3.6m, unit auto landed as distance to home was less than 20m. Impact recorded during descending. Conclusion: User was not familiar with RTH logic. [Non warranty Repair]


Item Quantity Unit Price(USD) Total Price(USD)
Phantom 3 standard gimbal shielding case cover 1 1.00 1.00
Phantom 3 standard gimbal flexible flat cable V07 1 4.00 4.00
Phantom 3 gimbal roll motor driver board 1 8.00 8.00
Phantom 3 gimbal pitch motor driver board 1 8.00 8.00
Phantom 3C central control board component 1 48.00 48.00
Phantom 3 standard pitch-axis rear cover 1 2.00 2.00
Phantom 3 standard pitch-axis flexible flat cable cover 1 1.00 1.00
Phantom 3 standard yaw-axis connection component 1 1.00 1.00
Phantom 3 standard yaw-axis top cover 1 1.00 1.00
Phantom 3 standard wifi main board V07 1 37.00 37.00
Phantom 3 Pitch Motor 1 8.00 8.00
Phantom 3 standard wifi main board 1 37.00 37.00
Phantom 3 standard roll-axis bracket 1 3.00 3.00
Phantom 3 standard roll-axis cover 1 1.00 1.00
Phantom 3 Standard Roll Motor 1 8.00 8.00
4*9*4 bearing NMB684zz 1 1.00 1.00
Service Charge 1.5 65.00/H 97.50
Freight: 0.00
Total Amount: 266.50
DJI Care deduction: 0.00
Total Payment: 266.50
I've requested more details on 1. why it wouldn't abort RTH and 2. why there are so many parts on the repair quote (two wifi boards??). If it really does need all this work to be fixed, I guess I should pay them to do it... that seems like a lot of stuff to DIY. The labor cost seems reasonable, but if I can do it myself I'd obviously prefer that. Just wondering how much work this would actually end up being for someone like me that hasn't worked on Phantoms before.

As before, any and all advice is helpful. Thanks!
 
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Thats about what mine cost to repair , even though I had to send it right back because the Gimbal was making loud noises & they didn't complete the repair . There was a light out that was supposed to be repaired also , so I don't think they tested it after repair , but it came back the second time like new ( same Drone ) I found a repair slip under the packing & they replaced the complete Gimbal assembly the second time & it has been working fine since .
 
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Just resurrecting this thread to report on what ended up happening with this, in case anyone else has similar issues and is wondering whether or not to send it in. tl;dr: just do it yourself.

Rough timeline of events following my request for more details about the work required:
  • Dec 24 - They respond immediately to say they are very sorry and that the unit has been sent to Data Analysis following my request for more info, but that it would be Monday before they got around to it since everyone was on holiday. No worries, sounds fine to me.
  • Dec 27 - I get another reminder to pay my repair bill (I ignore it; still waiting on answers)
  • Jan 3 - Another reminder to pay. I go to follow up on the support ticket and find that it has been closed as "Solved". Great. So I create a new ticket and reference the other one, just asking politely for a status update since I keep getting invoice reminders.
  • Jan 16 - I get a notice that my invoice is now overdue and I need to pay it immediately or they'll send the unit back. I get on the phone and tell them what's going on, that I'm still waiting for an update on the case, and ask them if they can hold the return shipment until they can answer my questions about the invoice. No problem, the guy says.
  • Jan 19 (yes, you read that date right) - They respond to my Jan 3 support request and apologize for the delay, citing the holiday rush, and inform me that my request was forwarded to a "Special Team" which will get back to me in 1-2 business days. Good thing I'm not in a rush. :D
  • Jan 30 - I get a notice saying my unit is being shipped back and will arrive in a couple days. I check the support ticket—"Solved"—OK, well maybe they just decided to admit fault and cover the repair costs?
  • Nope.
Unit arrived still broken. I spent $39 on a new yaw arm, ribbon cable, and motor (bolts had dug into the coils somehow, though I'm not sure how...from impact?). Followed YT videos and fixed it in a couple of evenings. Flies fine now.
 
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