Disconnect Motors During Setup!!!!! (WARNING: GRAPHIC!)

Now let me start off with YES I have read the manual where they state millions of times disconnect the motors, or take off the props whenever you are making certain changes.


I would consider myself well-versed with the entire APM, but I have chosen in the past to not get into the discussions on the forums, which is likely to change.


So I haven't had any problems with the motors spinning up AT ALL during the initial setup phase for any of the distributions. I have been flying and setting up this quad since early July of this year, and trust me, I'm absolutely hooked. Today, however, was an entirely different story. I was having some problems with ALT_HOLD pulsing in the most recent release, so figured might as well test out 2.0.42 and see how that faired for me.


I loaded the code for 2.0.42 (through the arduino software, which I have lots of experience doing with other arduino projects in the past) and then opened GCS in order to do the initial setup of my Quad. Reset the thing fine, and moved onto my controller calibration (neglecting to take off the props, or disconnect the motors).


Here I pressed calibrate, and tried calibrating my radio, but nothing was showing up, weird. Hit save, and realized my controller was off, turned that on, and before I could even blink I heard the whirl of my quad taking off at 100% throttle. Still connected to my computer via USB, and without direction from me. Without even looking I reached my hand out to prevent liftoff, and, well, too late.


It took off in my living-room, tore through my hand, across my laptop, and ultimately smashed into the couch, still running.


Now keep in mind this was a custom build of mine (The original Aeroquad frame directions) with 350w 910kv Motors. A little overpowered to begin with:



So here are the results of me attempting to stop my quad from taking off in my living-room (WARNING: GRAPHIC):




This one sure goes down in my own record books as my most expensive whoops so far.

New MBP Screen

New MBP Keyboard

One Motor, 2 Props

Frame looks okay

APM Board got caught in my bloody crossfire, but cleaned it and should function fine.

12 Stitches and 3 hours in the hospital! Woooo!

Thankfully no tendon damage, but you can see a small portion of it on the left side of that open wound :)


So what did I learn from this:

Clearly my quad is not an indoor flyer

RTFM and Listen to it!

And props HURT.......BADLY

Views: 3811

Comment by Jose Angel on September 14, 2011 at 12:12am

Sorry about the incident Jordan!

I had a similar "unexpected run" six months ago, and also was because of the APM booting or being reset with ESCs powered.

I admit that some times I don't remove the props while setting up new software....so I'm walking a tightrope!

Comment by Sam Kelly on September 14, 2011 at 12:28am

Jordan, you were lucky! Our medical miracle Alan Sanchez had a worse incident with his monster quad. Don't know if pics exist though (not that I'd want to look at them!)

Comment by malcolm churn on September 14, 2011 at 1:03am

Really sorry to hear about your accident, but i'll give it to you there is nothing like a graphic picture, to make people take notice of instructions. awwwwww. Hope you recover fast.

3D Robotics
Comment by Chris Anderson on September 14, 2011 at 1:10am

Yikes! Really sorry to see the damage (both to hand and machine) but thanks for posting that. It's a great reminder to everyone that these can be really dangerous if precautions aren't taken. 


I still have a scar on my hand from similar accident back in the old nitro RC days. A daily reminder...

Comment by Miguel Ángel on September 14, 2011 at 1:56am

Ouch! Really shocked. I hope you recover soon.

Comment by Pieter van Woerkom on September 14, 2011 at 4:05am

Hope you will recover soon. You earned your purple hart.

See this post for our solution to this problem Biting copter



Comment by Mark Colwell on September 14, 2011 at 4:27am

I have also got caught by my heli blades, but without personal injury, (tail rotor grabbed some hair), Now I disconnect motors!  When I need to test if motor gets a signal I disconnect 1 wire, Motor will twitch and try to turn but, not be damaged, I return throttle to off after a second or so, You can keep 1 wire off as a safety measure too.

Thanks for sharing, We all need to keep our fingers, eyes, I think your PowerBook saved your life!

Comment by Michal Rusina on September 14, 2011 at 5:13am

i think its okay to just tie the quad to something heavy underneath of it.

Comment by Kevin Bouchard on September 14, 2011 at 8:27am

Ouch, sorry to hear that, but seriously thanks for posting the wound picture. I've seen many wounds from 450-size collective pitch helicopters, but never from a quad. Not as bad, but definitely not something you want to happen. A good reminder about safety.

Comment by Kirill on September 14, 2011 at 9:08am

Yep, safety first. Thanks for posting, Jordan, this is a very good reminder. I had the same accident a few years ago. My finger was hurt by nitro engine prop. It was really painfully.

I hope you recover soon.


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