Andrew, If you are doing all this on your own-then yes it's pretty typical for most. I have been flying R./C since the late 60's and the first two years back then were spend mostly fixing and rebuilding. Todays' gear is unbelievably great and works well, but flying is a skill that has to be learned. Get things patched up and try to get one or two flights a day in. Learn to fly in stabilize, learn to hover and fly a circle nose-in, and in all different orientations, go slow, stay close in at first, them further away from yourself. Don't push it. Crawl before you run.
It has been 2 years since I started with a multicopter and the first summer was almost like I never flew anything before! Orientation was difficult for me to sort out on a quad. So was learning to use the throttle constantly. I still am not as comfortable with a multi copter as I am with a fixed wing craft. If there is a hobby shop or model flying field around- get there. Every club I have been in spends a lot of time helping beginners. It's how most of learned to fly R/C when it was more a DIY hobby than sport with everything a credit card away. It was a lot harder before the internet to get advice, now it's almost too easy to get advice, sometimes too much advice is out there, and often it's the "blind leading the blind" which makes its even more difficult to figure out things. Besides; contrary to popular opinion " Life ain't easy son" You have to learn to deal with setbacks and not let things drag you down if you want to succeed- at anything.
I got one of the small - sub $100 indoor 'toy" quads that I played with for a long time to help get the feel of things before I started with my 3DR quad.
If you already spent the money and time to get a second machine, then great, you probably have the drive and desire to figure this all out. Stick with it, don't try to fly like "cool" dudes in the videos you see on You Tube, be SAFE and courteous and you may find a lifelong hobby that you can then share with others.
Good luck and hang in there.
Good advice all around. Don't worry about attaching a gimbal or camera until you have the thing pretty well figured out, or unless your wallet can accomodate a desire to get lots of great crash footage.
Learn about battery voltages (i.e. how low a voltage is dangerous), and pay attention to things like HDOP values.
I'm sorry to be the one to say it, but your IRIS probably listened to exactly what you told it to do and did the best under the circumstances it was put in. No, they aren't perfect, but most drone setups out there, like most machines and computers, are pretty obedient, even when we wish they would figure stuff out on their own.
Stick with it. It takes some reading, some asking, and a lot of small steps to build proficiency over time. Don't try to impress anyone quite yet; not even yourself. Know what you would do if it started acting up (i.e. how to get to RTL, or loiter mode should always be on your mind).
Yep, you're cursed. Simple as that. An angry robotic demi-god probably cursed you before you were born, perhaps because your mother was rude to a toaster or your father kicked the Roomba. Which is why you're now trying to fly drones in proximity to giant mutant electromagnetic fields that are capable of snuffing out stars. If you listen closely you'll hear that demi-god cackling after every crash.
Seriously, heed the advice already given, we've all gone through this (though you'll also need to deal with that interference issue). And no, don't fly with that overheating ESC, it's going to fail and crash you, and it's also probably beating up your battery. .
If totally new to RC, one word - SIM.
For all the money you have spent on hardware and trying to learn new skills, you could have purchased a computer sim several times over. They come with an infinite crash budget. They also come with more model types than you could possible get tired of flying. Mix the video to a large screen TV and you have a superb learning experience.
Joe, Haygood, and Christopher are all spot on too. This stuff is an easy activity once you get past the learning curve hump but, like Robert L still finds out, these contraptions can still fall out of the sky even when we take our best shot at making them right.
Don't give up and you did the right thing asking for help.
Sounds familiar to me also, and I have been there. I would recommend a sub 300 mm craft they do not break as easy. We have a 270 sized miniature version of the UAV 370 that is soon to be released as a RTF model.
The comments below are all good, and I think you could have allot of interference happening, do you use telemetry for your flights? Sometimes reviewing what happened is a good practice also.
Never give up ! Keep this in mind : build, fly, crash, repair, repeat !
best advice is get the very smallest quad you can find to practice on , I am personally using a Estes synch/proto nano(a flying pc board) for about 29.95 to practice literally everyplace(my penance for breaking a sk450 last weekend after no stick time for 3 months).
Also prepare a checklist with all applicable info(IRIS flash codes and TX settings to check etc) flight battery voltage check, telemetry check etc.. all these checked off before flight. USE the checklist prior to every flight it WILL cut down of preparedness mishaps that can cause crashes..
and of course something that size has a lot less mass in a crash.. if thats NOT large enough get yourself an indestructible shell from gameofdrones.biz and build that out with the appropriate parts
http://dronesarefun.com/ has a lot of useful info...
ps you are NOT cursed, my SO's nickname for me is "crash"
A lot of similar stories to yours, sadly.
On my site quadcoptersarefun.com the first thing I try to convince anybody getting into this is get a nice inexpensive really sturdy little RTF quadcopter and learn how to fly it really well first.
Sure when you graduate to the big leagues there will still be problems, but you will be way ahead by having the skill to truly fly a multicopter and so you won't have nearly as many unpleasant and costly experiences.
As a bonus, a lot of the smaller cheaper quadcopters are also very forgiving of incorrect landing procedures meaning they stay together when you crash and crash and crash.
The UDI818A is a great little learner and the little Hubsans can also be useful.
Once you can fly one of those well, an Iris will be a lot less of a problem and the money you will have saved on replacement parts will pay for your learner copter 5 to 10 times over.
Please take a look at this page: http://quadcoptersarefun.com/ADroneOfYourOwn.html
I am also at this point recommending a second copter as well, because this one can actually make an expert pilot out of you and they are so much fun to fly you will still be flying it long after you have graduated to the big leagues.
The $230.00 Blade 200QX is a little bind and fly quadcopter that has about the best out of the box performance I have ever seen.
This one is definitely not a toy and you will need a Spektrum transmitter to bind it to.
But it is rock solid indoors or out and even in gusty wind and it responds perfectly to pilot inputs.
It has already developed it's own cult following.
If you are really self confidant it would work as a first copter, but I think it is the perfect second quadcopter.
You can learn to be a true expert quadcopter pilot with the 200QX and it is huge fun to fly indoors or out.
I know you already have an Iris and it is a great copter, but you would really benefit from picking up a UDI 818A or Blade 200QX.
These little guys were built to be beat up, the Iris not so much.
My quadcoptersarefun.com site includes written and video beginner flight instructions.