Phantom 3 Standard Terminated With Extreme Prejudice by Gravity

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This was the last good picture I got from my P3S (the Brewhouse across the street from me from about 110'), the evening before it crashed. I had gotten a warning of EXTREMELY strong 'interference' just before it suddenly went into an uncommanded climb to about 30-35' (I was only at about 10-12' at the time) and headed across the street from where I was and it crashed into a tree at an apartment complex, flipped inverted and fell to concrete.
Initial damage was to the camera/gimbal and a landing leg (broken), but I'm trying to get the upper shell open (those YouTube videos make it look a lot easier than it actually is - still haven't gotten it open to check for any internal damage).
So far, I'll have to replace the whole camera/gimbal setup, but that can change, based on what I find if/when I get the shell open.

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Wow, this is some serious open-drone surgery afoot. Then I checked your handle and noted you might be an aircraft mechanic, so I dare say you can pull off this exacting feat of bringing a crashed P3S back to life. Pulling up a chair to see how this process unfolds.
 
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Wow, this is some serious open-drone surgery afoot. Then I checked your handle and noted you might be an aircraft mechanic, so I dare say you can pull off this exacting feat of bringing a crashed P3S back to life. Pulling up a chair to see how this process unfolds.
Well, as I said, @Billie Nelson , those YouTube videos about the how to do it make it seem a lot easier than it really is. Guess you'll be in that chair a lot longer than you expect, 'cause I'm having problems getting at least two of the shell 'snaps' to unlock, not to mention the ones back by the battery. I bought it used (consignment sale at the local hobby shop), and it almost seems like the former owner (they won't give me their info, but I gave them mine and asked to have the former owner get in touch with me, but no contact as of yet) tried to do the same thing, possibly broke those snaps and then just glued that portion of the shell on. Don't know that for a fact, it's just what it seems like, based on how difficult it is to get them to 'unsnap'.
 
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The shell can be tricky to get open, just go slow and be careful not to break any of the tabs. One of the things you might want to check is the IMU sometimes after a crash it can get stuck. Often a hard knock with a handle of a screw driver will get it unstuck.

I bought folding props for my P3S a few years ago - never used them as I didn’t want to chance loosing my drone. May eventually try them sometime but for now I am content with my MAS props.

Chris
OK, thanks, @Chrislaf . Regarding the IMU (once I can get the shell open).....how will I recognize it, and how will I know it's 'stuck'? Is that done visually, or does the unit have to be powered-up?
 
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Wow, this is some serious open-drone surgery afoot. Then I checked your handle and noted you might be an aircraft mechanic, so I dare say you can pull off this exacting feat of bringing a crashed P3S back to life. Pulling up a chair to see how this process unfolds.
@Billie Nelson and yes, I am an A&P mechanic, but haven't done that type of work in a very long time now.
 
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OK, thanks, Chris. Regarding the IMU (once I can get the shell open).....how will I recognize it, and how will I know it's 'stuck'? Is that done visually, or does the unit have to be powered-up?
I am no expert on drone surgery but I think you have to have a working camera/gimbal attached to be able to check the IMU. You check the IMU in the DJI GO app. There is a setting in one of the screens (don't have a screen shot right now) that allows you to 'Check the IMU' or 'Calibrate the IMU'. If it passes the check IMU test then your IMU is likely fine, if not then you can try to run the Calibrate test and if it fails you likely have a stuck IMU. A few years ago, I was running a Follow mission in AutoPilot and didn't account for changes in terrain and my P3S hit a tree. Luckily it was winter and there was lots of deep snow so there was a soft landing so there was no damage to the camera or gimbal, just a broken prop and a stuck IMU. I had to remove the top cover and the cover of the IMU (it's in a plastic box) and then hit it hard with a screwdriver handle to finally get it unstuck. It has worked fine ever since.

Here is a picture of the IMU

IMG_7039.jpg


Note that the IMU is inside the black box. Here is the YouTube video I used to repair my stuck IMU.


Good Luck,

Chris
 
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I am no expert on drone surgery but I think you have to have a working camera/gimbal attached to be able to check the IMU. You check the IMU in the DJI GO app. There is a setting in one of the screens (don't have a screen shot right now) that allows you to 'Check the IMU' or 'Calibrate the IMU'. If it passes the check IMU test then your IMU is likely fine, if not then you can try to run the Calibrate test and if it fails you likely have a stuck IMU. A few years ago, I was running a Follow mission in AutoPilot and didn't account for changes in terrain and my P3S hit a tree. Luckily it was winter and there was lots of deep snow so there was a soft landing so there was no damage to the camera or gimbal, just a broken prop and a stuck IMU. I had to remove the top cover and the cover of the IMU (it's in a plastic box) and then hit it hard with a screwdriver handle to finally get it unstuck. It has worked fine ever since.

Here is a picture of the IMU

View attachment 122739

Note that the IMU is inside the black box. Here is the YouTube video I used to repair my stuck IMU.


Good Luck,

Chris
Thanks @Chrislaf. OK, I just tried to power it up (the drone and the controller) and went into the settings on the app (DJI GO) and it wouldn't let me do a "Check IMU" or "Calibrate IMU".
Still haven't gotten the upper shell open to look for anything else, either (those last couple of snaps are really hard and I don't want to break the shell opening it).
 
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Thanks @Chrislaf. OK, I just tried to power it up (the drone and the controller) and went into the settings on the app (DJI GO) and it wouldn't let me do a "Check IMU" or "Calibrate IMU".
Still haven't gotten the upper shell open to look for anything else, either (those last couple of snaps are really hard and I don't want to break the shell opening it).
FINALLY got it open - like I said the videos make it look a LOT easier than it was. Unplugged the GPS cable like the video you sent said, but that's as far as I'm comfortable going with it today.......more 'surgery' tomorrow!
(Visually, it doesn't look as if anything more got broken. I removed the IMU unit per the directions on that video, did the "screwdriver taps" then reinstalled the IMU, powered it back up and......nothing still. can neither check nor calibrate the IMU via the app.
Removed/reinstalled the app, went thru the sign-in stuff, powered everything up again (yes, I connected via WiFi to the drone), controller wouldn't connect (green light showing connection was red, tried doing a "Link Remote" with no success).
Same results as before.
 
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Just one 🤣

Is your camera/gimbal working properly? If not that could be causing the problems reconnecting the controller and the IMU not calibrating.

Chris
@Chrislaf, No. It's broken and needs replacement.
That's going to have to wait until I have more money to buy one.....unless someone on here is willing to 'gift' me one (not necessarily you, but anyone else feeling generous)?

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If I am not mistaken, you need a working camera/gimbal connected, at least the gimbal plate. Maybe someone else who knows more about these things will chime in.

Chris
Yeah, you can't see it in the pics, but the ribbon cable to the camera broke, in addition to the rest of the gimbal. I'm pretty sure the Logic board got 'pooched' in the process.
 
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OK, @Chrislaf, I reattached the logic board, minus the broken camera (but didn't snap the top of the drone back on - for obvious reasons - but I did reconnect the GPS cable), and powered it up; the controller does connect to the drone and allowed me to do an IMU check, which was OK (normal), so, so far, it looks like all I'm going to have to do is to replace the camera/gimbal/logic board assembly.
Curiosity question: if/when I get the 'extended' legs, will I have to lengthen to compass cable to accommodate them (they 'claim' they're only about 3/4" longer than the stock legs)? It was located near one of the landing pads - that particular enclosure got a bit messed up in the crash, too.
Update: I put it back together (reattached the landing legs, etc), but just "snugged" the screws up a bit, but not too tight, in case I have to open it up again. I'll tighten everything back down a bit more than it is before attempting a test flight, once I get a new camera/gimbal assembly installed.

IMG_E6644[1].JPG
 
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Now, I need to know why I keep getting all those "Strong Interference" warnings, no matter where I'm flying from (even out in the 'boonies', away from any power lines, etc.) and get rid of them, except in an extreme case.
Can something like that be disabled/turned off in the app, or is it a setting on the drone itself?
 
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OK, @Chrislaf, I reattached the logic board, minus the broken camera (but didn't snap the top of the drone back on - for obvious reasons - but I did reconnect the GPS cable), and powered it up; the controller does connect to the drone and allowed me to do an IMU check, which was OK (normal), so, so far, it looks like all I'm going to have to do is to replace the camera/gimbal/logic board assembly.
Curiosity question: if/when I get the 'extended' legs, will I have to lengthen to compass cable to accommodate them (they 'claim' they're only about 3/4" longer than the stock legs)? It was located near one of the landing pads - that particular enclosure got a bit messed up in the crash, too.
Update: I put it back together (reattached the landing legs, etc), but just "snugged" the screws up a bit, but not too tight, in case I have to open it up again. I'll tighten everything back down a bit more than it is before attempting a test flight, once I get a new camera/gimbal assembly installed.

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Holy Toledo! Looks like you actually pulled off this delicate repair procedure, AeroMech AZ. Inspired by this breakthrough you are reporting, I might just be tempted to try and revive my crashed Phantom3 Standard now. Then again, with my bumbling hamfisted approach to life, I may not see the same success that appears to be just around the corner for you. Standing by for more updates. May the force be with you, sir.
 
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Holy Toledo! Looks like you actually pulled off this delicate repair procedure, AeroMech AZ. Inspired by this breakthrough you are reporting, I might just be tempted to try and revive my crashed Phantom3 Standard now. Then again, with my bumbling hamfisted approach to life, I may not see the same success that appears to be just around the corner for you. Standing by for more updates. May the force be with you, sir.
@Billie Nelson. well, I haven't actually "pulled off" anything......yet. I'm still learning my way around, being still a fairly new pilot/owner with drones (only got into the hobby a couple of months ago). Being an A&P seems to be helping some, but I still have to rely on advice from you guys who're more experienced than I am (in many cases, much more). Got my A&P back in 1982, but haven't had the chance to use it much over the years, so now the FAA considers me to be not 'current' (look up FAR 65.83, "Recent Experience Requirements").
 
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@Billie Nelson. well, I haven't actually "pulled off" anything......yet. I'm still learning my way around, being still a fairly new pilot/owner with drones (only got into the hobby a couple of months ago). Being an A&P seems to be helping some, but I still have to rely on advice from you guys who're more experienced than I am (in many cases, much more). Got my A&P back in 1982, but haven't had the chance to use it much over the years, so now the FAA considers me to be not 'current' (look up FAR 65.83, "Recent Experience Requirements").
I'm now having issues with the controller not staying connected to the UAV for more than about 20-30 seconds at a time before disconnecting (which means that I can't get flight information during the disconnected times); I've looked at other posts regarding this and also posted my 'dilemma' there, but no answers yet.
 
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I'm now having issues with the controller not staying connected to the UAV for more than about 20-30 seconds at a time before disconnecting (which means that I can't get flight information during the disconnected times); I've looked at other posts regarding this and also posted my 'dilemma' there, but no answers yet.

The fact that you've been able to repair a crashed drone and get it flying without the benefit of previous directly related experience is truly inspirational. Knowing next to nothing about the innards of any drone, I can't be of help in diagnosing the disconnect issue you have described. Possibly some of the seasoned drone tinkerers who frequent this site can shed some light on this flaw.

I **** near gave away my crashed Phantom3S, even though it bears very little visible crash damage, but reading your posts has convinced me not to be so hasty about discarding it, and to study the subject of repair a bit more.
 
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The fact that you've been able to repair a crashed drone and get it flying without the benefit of previous directly related experience is truly inspirational. Knowing next to nothing about the innards of any drone, I can't be of help in diagnosing the disconnect issue you have described. Possibly some of the seasoned drone tinkerers who frequent this site can shed some light on this flaw.

I **** near gave away my crashed Phantom3S, even though it bears very little visible crash damage, but reading your posts has convinced me not to be so hasty about discarding it, and to study the subject of repair a bit more.
@Billie Nelson I haven't gotten it actually flying.....yet, but I'm getting closer, with you guys' help.
 

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