Please help this idiot pilot

msinger

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I often wonder if the use of the term "self-tightening" has misled many new pilots.
It's probably a combination of that and people not reading the Phantom manual. The manual does advise that props should be tightened by hand.
 

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You're correct except when you brake, the motors stop abruptly or even reverse direction (I believe). I set my brakes between 70-80%.
Good to know, thanks. I was assuming when you brake, it just cut the power (some). Didn't realize it'd physically brake (or reverse) the motors.
Dynamic braking does not make the motors stop or run in reverse.
Prior to the invention of dynamic braking the motors and props would just run until they slowed down but dynamic braking applies some forces to actively slow your motors but they don't stop or reverse.
 
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Meta4

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You should only need a wrench to remove a stuck prop after a crash.
If you are doing them that tight regularly you risk stripping the threads in the prop hub.

Leave them on for while. I don't take my props off very often. I could probably reaf them off by hand. But DJI gave me a tool to make it easy.
 
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Ok, seems we keep bantering about but not really solving the OPs issue. Lets try to eliminate some variables...

1. Were the props still attached on all crashed aircraft? (broken doesn't matter) If so, we can stop talking about props flying off and how tight they should be.
2. Were you using the same battery in all 3 crashes? If so then we can likely disregard batteries as a source of the problems (3 bad batteries in a row? Unlikely)
3. Did you have proper GPS sats (10+) and were you flying in P mode on all three birds? If so, we can stop that line of questioning.
4. Do you know what CSC is and is that possibly a factor? If you don't know what it is, find out. Quickly. Its very possible you are killing your birds.

CSC is my gut feeling sans any additional info surrounding the 3 crashes.

And from the sounds of things you are not an idiot. Maybe ignorant. Not an idiot. Ignorance can be fixed with knowledge and you sound fixable.
 
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Yup, feel the plastic just start to give, and call it good on tightening the props, just feel them turn on until with pressure from your fingers, they stop and feel snug.

But lets look at a different area... Did all 3 birds crash in the same place? I mean are you just flying in your yard or the exact same area every time they fall from the sky? Do you have video of it falling to the ground or does it die in the air before it falls every time? Since you work at one of THOSE places then you know that you could be hitting The Grid... Or some electromagnetic interference. I'm thinking that you're Finding Neo :)


Yes, all three crashes were piloted from the exact same location. I have plenty of video from previous flights. When a bad fligh happens it can be 5min or 18min in, everything going perfect, then the death spiral.

I will also note that there are times here when content data stops, for hours. Great signal on phone but no internet. Home internet dies at the same time. The kids in this town just know to drive elsewhere to get their internet fix.
 
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Yes, all three crashes were piloted from the exact same location. I have plenty of video from previous flights. When a bad fligh happens it can be 5min or 18min in, everything going perfect, then the death spiral.

I will also note that there are times here when content data stops, for hours. Great signal on phone but no internet. Home internet dies at the same time. The kids in this town just know to drive elsewhere to get their internet fix.

Ok, there are external forces at work here. From the sounds of things, someone (!) is jamming the area. Is there a gov base or experimentation area near you? If so, that is likely the source.

IIWY, I would stop flying there.
 

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Mike,

You're correct except when you brake, the motors stop abruptly or even reverse direction (I believe). I set my brakes between 70-80%.

Jerry

I don't think they would reverse direction. When braking, the craft tilts sharply away from the direction of travel, requiring the blades to be turning in the normal upward-thrust direction. But a deceleration of rotor speed could still cause a loose one to fly off...maybe.
 
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If you're losing grip, your prop is probably already too tight.
I never thought I'd say this to msinger, but I disagree. I always use the wrench to snug mine on. It's much more accurate to judge the torque using the wrench/clamp because the environment can change. For instance if you're using gloves in the cold, or if there's early morning dampness, or if your hands are dusty or dirty, these all affect the grip to those small motors, especially if you have big hands, or old weak hands with arthritis. When using the wrench/clamp you have to be smart about the torque, but after doing it several times you can have a routine that's way more reliable than holding the motor by hand. In the 150+ flights I've made with my P3P I have never stripped a prop using the wrench, and I have never seen reports of that happening in this forum, am I wrong? You'd really have to be a gorilla and lack simple common sense to strip the threads of a standard Phantom prop using the wrench/clamp. You shouldn't be afraid of it IMO.

As for the OP, I'm 90% sure a prop came off. It happened to a UK guy a few months ago, same scenario. He found the prop nearby, unscratched. Motors don't actually stop when they break, and they don't reverse, however they do slow down very fast, which in effect can spin off a loose prop due to the centrifugal force of the props, spinning faster than the motor slows down. The proof of the prop spinning off is if the OP finds the missing prop. And..... did the other two accidents with similar circumstances also have a missing prop? Also, did those composite blades have metal threads like Phantom 2, or were they plastic threads inside? If they are metal, this contributes to the theory of a prop spinning off, because spin-offs are much easier to occur with metal threads.

Snug those babies down.

My advice to the OP is to buy a case that allows the props to stay on when stored. SNUG those props down with a wrench/clamp and don't take them off.
 
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I have attached two (2) pictures.
Picture HD-1 shows the compass report, and there is obviously something wrong here. This report shows the rates of turn per .10 of a second. 25 degrees or more is an issue according to the report. Do you calibrate your compass away from metal objects? Given that you were flying in a residential area that may be a bit of a problem.
Picture HD-2 -- Warning E says you were flying with satellite positioning off, so you were entirely on your own as far as stability. The Satellite report shows you had satellites throughout the flight, but for some reason it was switched off.

These are the two issues I noticed after a quick look at the file on Healthy Drones.

Jim

Hello folks,

Just joined the forum and it seems to be a really friendly, intelligent crowd. Please help fix my stupidity.

I just planted my third Phantom 3, totaling it, in the front yard. Clearly there is something I am doing wrong so I turn to the smart folks on this forum to help me figure out what I'm doing wrong so I can continue this fun hobby. My pocketbook can't take anymore...

Registered with the FAA and birds are marked, I fly by the rules, just getting that out of the way.

Here are the facts:

  • three phantom 3s toast (only the most recent able to be recovered)
  • all three were using DJI black composite blades
  • two had "landing feet" installed
  • All three died from the same mysterious issue after flying perfectly for many flights.
  • When disaster strikes, I'm not doing anything out of the ordinary, I do a vertical climb to 100' or so, then maneuver. It could be 10 minutes into the flight or, like today, very early, when I move left, right, forward, whatever, then out of nowhere the Phantom does a death spiral into the ground.

This third crash is the first time I have been able to recover the craft so some kind of analysis can be done hopefully. I know you folks have tricks to download logs and maybe get to the bottom of this, any help would be much appreciated.

I'm clearly doing something very wrong but am at a complete loss as to what that may be. I do live in a very "interesting" area with SIGINT birds testing 24/7 so I am not ruling that out.. RJs, Compass Call, among others..

I may be employed by said testers so have the ability to ask about what signals they are putting out.

Also, if it helps, the casualty list
  1. Phantom 3 Pro
  2. Phantom 3 Adv
  3. Phantom 3 Adv
Hello folks,

Just joined the forum and it seems to be a really friendly, intelligent crowd. Please help fix my stupidity.

I just planted my third Phantom 3, totaling it, in the front yard. Clearly there is something I am doing wrong so I turn to the smart folks on this forum to help me figure out what I'm doing wrong so I can continue this fun hobby. My pocketbook can't take anymore...

Registered with the FAA and birds are marked, I fly by the rules, just getting that out of the way.

Here are the facts:

  • three phantom 3s toast (only the most recent able to be recovered)
  • all three were using DJI black composite blades
  • two had "landing feet" installed
  • All three died from the same mysterious issue after flying perfectly for many flights.
  • When disaster strikes, I'm not doing anything out of the ordinary, I do a vertical climb to 100' or so, then maneuver. It could be 10 minutes into the flight or, like today, very early, when I move left, right, forward, whatever, then out of nowhere the Phantom does a death spiral into the ground.

This third crash is the first time I have been able to recover the craft so some kind of analysis can be done hopefully. I know you folks have tricks to download logs and maybe get to the bottom of this, any help would be much appreciated.

I'm clearly doing something very wrong but am at a complete loss as to what that may be. I do live in a very "interesting" area with SIGINT birds testing 24/7 so I am not ruling that out.. RJs, Compass Call, among others..

I may be employed by said testers so have the ability to ask about what signals they are putting out.

Also, if it helps, the casualty list
  1. Phantom 3 Pro
  2. Phantom 3 Adv
  3. Phantom 3 Adv
 

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Motors don't actually stop when they break, and they don't reverse, however they do slow down very fast, which in effect can spin off a loose prop due to the centrifugal force of the props, spinning faster than the motor slows down. The proof of the prop spinning off is if the OP finds the missing prop. And..... did the other two accidents with similar circumstances also have a missing prop? Also, did those composite blades have metal threads like Phantom 2, or were they plastic threads inside? If they are metal, this contributes to the theory of a prop spinning off, because spin-offs are much easier to occur with metal threads.

The inertia of the bird in rapid deceleration, would, in my uneducated opinion, reverse the Bernoulli effect and create a vacuum on the top side of the wing (propeller) thereby pulling the propeller off. These are minor forces due to the shape of the wing (propeller), admittedly, but enough that an insecure wing (propeller) could be coaxed off the spindle. Did all of these accidents occur when, or shortly after, decelerating?

By the way, it is interesting that everyone thinks of the "props" as propellers, when in fact, they are wings. Props are on airplanes. These are "rotary-wing" aircraft. Ask Igor Sikorsky. There is a difference.
 
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Hi Vajaynus, I have read every comment and all very interesting but I note you have some serious signal towers to the West of you seen on Healthy Drones (is that SIGINT you speak off I do not know what that is I am based in Sydney Australia) but with all those towers there and your description of events I would think this could really be the cause.
I have also experienced something similar but did not crash, I was flying over an automatic weather reporting tower which sent every 15 minutes a signal and my Phantom would not respond until it flew past it so with your case
I would be very suspicious of those towers.
I don't believe it is you the pilot who is doing anything wrong.
regards,
JV
 
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I've heard from so many people flying Phantom that when carbon props are installed, they fly right to the ground, spiraling down. So as easy it might sound, I really think that is your problem!
 
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Hi Mike,

Please don't think me rude for chiming in here. I'm a new pilot with DJI, but a RC Veteran as a whole, and HATE to hear such stories and am compelled to try and assist.


18 years in the IT industry has taught me that the obvious is more times than not the cause of most issues. It's simply overlooked because it is indeed obvious.

If you haven't already resolved this satisfactorily I would like to offer up some suggestions.

1. Are you flying / crashing in the same area or geographical locale? If so, from what you have described it sounds like you are losing not only GPS assistance but you may also be suffering from actual flight platform radio interference. (I also have a digital electronics background). From what you have described, it also sounds similar to some symptoms of "Geo-Fencing" , or even a malicious "Scrambler" that may be intentionally forcing your craft out of control.

Being a 10-year disabled veteran of the United States Air Force, I can tell you that if you are indeed in the neighborhood of any SIGINT activity that you should cease and desist attempting to fly in those areas. I can almost guarantee you that this is your problem. They are most certainly detecting you're drone (not by radar but by frequency signature), and even if they are taking no action the resulting SIGINT EMI and excessive radio interference may unintentionally be scrambling you're on board system operations. There is also the possibility that the temptation for a "Bored Signet Interpreter or Operator" to scramble and down your bird may just be too great for him or her to resist. I have first-hand knowledge of the people who work with these systems and I can tell you that is not beyond the realm of possibility at all; we used to do some pretty stupid stuff in the Military to kill boredom.

In their defense, there may also be a distinct possibility that the radio emissions from your flight platform may be interfering with their operations , which would result in the same action.

Other potential signal interference to your platforms include many clubs and organizations that are very much anti-drone, and they advertise and sell everything including downloads to free software, inexpensive equipment that can actually be pointed at a drone and scramble your drone, or upper end equipment to even Hijack your drone despite encrypted precautionary measures that could result with the exact same effects you have described.

Unfortunately there are those out there that seemingly feel obligated to ruin what is harmless fun on our part.

2. I would assume after this many mishaps that you most likely have enough parts to cannibalize and create one good flight platform. I would be glad to offer my assistance with this , and subsequently give you some help in getting a platform that you can use to establish a Baseline in another geographical location verifying no such activity hopefully without mishap and not having to buy a new drone only to crash it again.

3. There are also some modifications and shielding precautions available on the Forum that you can take that will not only assist in better GPS reception/Satellite links, but also provide a certain level of protection against EMI and any other forms of intentional or non intentional interference. What and where depend on your model. I actually purchased enough copper shielding and some templates for under $10 taxes and shipping included to do just that as I live in a VERY Electronically Congested Area and it has helped immeasurably.

4. Addressing the issue of propeller loss due to "braking", have you ever found a wreckage with the propeller missing? That of course would be an obvious Tell-Tale sign. It would seem to me that you would have to lose a prop completely to lose total control for a sustained period.

Please feel free to reply to me directly as I am very curious with regards to your situation and how you resolve it or if you have already resolved it. Also if you would like to give me the actual geographic location of where your losses occurred, I would be more than happy to use my contacts to query the said signal intelligence activity agencies in the area (which are most likely operated by Air Force personnel) and perhaps even get unofficial verbal confirmation of a policy to actually ground drones operating in their area if drones are causing interference to their operations.

You don't sound like you are that totally inept that you would, due to your error, actually crash 3 drones successively without exception. The odds are against it and defend your intelligence! :)

Hope I can be of some help!

Best Regards,


A.J. Lebeau
Computer Network Systems Administrator/Engineer
M.C.S.E., M.C.P. + I., M.C.P., CompTIA+
[email protected]
 

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