Professional Used P3P DOA - ESC Error - Fix? Cry?

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Hi all,

I recently purchased a gently used Phantom 3 Professional at a pretty fantastic price from a friend via Facebook who is moving up to the Mavic. I saw it fly... photos, videos, everything looked great.

Unfortunately, as my friend packed it up for shipping cross-country, he realized he had to remove the prop guards so it would fit in the original box. YOU GUESSED IT: he accidentally put the long prop guard screws back into the arms, not realizing that he was driving the long screws up into the motors.

I spent about 7 hours trying every combination of firmware and fix and never got the bird to fly. Motors never started. Just the dreaded "ESC Error" each time I tried. In researching the error, I discovered the many terrible tales of the dreaded prop guard screws, and realized what had happened. The seller is obviously upset with himself that he killed the drone literally seconds before carefully and lovingly packing it for shipping. (This was truly his baby... he even named it.) He immediately refunded my money, and told me to just keep the drone, either for parts or to try to fix if I wanted. I offered to send the drone back so that he could part it out or fix it, but he said he was so upset about it that he didn't have the heart for it.

So, my question is, how costly is this repair? It's possible that all four motors have been damaged (they all have the 2 long screws in them) but might it also be possible that only one or more were damaged and that's causing the ESC error? Since I never actually got power to the motors, I'm hoping the ESC is not fried and she might just need a few (maybe 4) new motors. Is that possible?

Is this something you would attempt on your own? Do you recommend a shop that handles this? I just called the only shop in my area that advertises drone repair, and wondering if it's worth the $55 for diagnosis. Is there any way to test a suspected motor, aside from just replacing it with a new one?

Thoughts?
 
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Hi Look_Alive
How technical are you....? it's not difficult to replace the motors, if you are lucky you may not have damaged the ESC's so a little soldering job (3 wires on each motor) and you would be home and dry...

Good luck
Waylander
 
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I am moderately technical. Have built several desktop computers over the years. But I've never soldered. Perhaps I should try?
 
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I am moderately technical. Have built several desktop computers over the years. But I've never soldered. Perhaps I should try?

Look on line for a temperature controlled soldering station ($50 - 75 ) one of the worst mistakes a newbie to soldering makes is using an Iron that is TOO HOT.
If you dig out your Granpa's old iron and try with that, you might as well use a red hot poker, DIY soldering irons are no good for delicate repairs, if you have one and it is not a digitally controlled Soldering Station, then throw it in the trash can, so that you are not tempted to use it..... :)

Also use thin gauge multi-core soldering wire ( no more that 0.75 mm in diameter ), the stuff from the Plumbers shop is no good.

Waylander
 
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Excellent advice! If I get up the courage, I'm going to try this. My concern is that I will replace all four motors and it'll still need a whole new board. Not sure how expensive all of that would be....
 
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Sad story, both you and your friend must be gutted, and this is such a well known mistake, feel sorry for you both.
Me personally I would have no hesitation soldering in new motors, see the excellent advice above, practice first with a quality soldering station. The motors are quite high current(heavy duty wiring) and will need a quality station to give enough heat energy to melt the old joints, ability to sustain the temperature of the iron is most important, not how hot it can be.Also get a solder sucker.
If you have been unable to even start the motors, then I suspect the ESC's may be OK,usually damage to the ESC's is when you stall the motors after a crash. Even if the board is damaged, I would still attempt the repair and replace the board if I had to. He who dares wins........
Good luck.
 
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You guys have bolstered my confidence in attempting this fix. You both made references to the quality of the soldering station. This will likely be the only thing I use a soldering iron for. May I ask what soldering station you might recommend for this? Something that will do the job but is affordable?
 
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You guys have bolstered my confidence in attempting this fix. You both made references to the quality of the soldering station. This will likely be the only thing I use a soldering iron for. May I ask what soldering station you might recommend for this? Something that will do the job but is affordable?

Well I can recommend this unit but I'm not sure what it would cost in the USA
New SAIKE 852D+ 220V Iron Solder Soldering Hot Air Gun 2 in 1 Rework Station | eBay
Waylander
 
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UPDATE! SHE'S ALIVE!

Four new motors, some sweat and cursing, and the drone came to life! After getting the top off and seeing a significant amount of white silicone holding the wires to the ESC, I got scared to solder directly to the board. So, instead I spliced the 3 wires for each motor, soldered them together and put on some heat shrink wrap. I wasn't sure if that would do the trick, but she cranked right up on the first try.

I took her out today on a test flight, and it seems to perform like new! (I'm assuming. I've actually never flown a drone before, so this was my first flight ever, after having just had this thing's guts all over my kitchen table with me performing major surgery!)

Here's some video of the test flight. No judging. I was scared to death the thing was going to fall out of the sky. I can't wait to get more comfortable and start enjoying flying and actually try to get some decent footage.

Thanks again to Waylander and Jayfdee for the info and pep talk! :)

 
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Hi look_alive
Hey my friend you did a great job repairing the bird, and I fully understand why you spliced the ESC's cables, but as your soldering skills improve, ( and with the right tools) I'm sure you will have the confidence to tackle more intricate jobs.. The upside to this is that now you have seen inside the Phantom, and carried put a repair it wont seem so daunting if you have to replace something else :)
PS for a newbie to the Phantom the video is very good.......
Regards
Waylander
 
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