After spending many hours troubleshooting and waiting days for responses from support I finally took back my first Solo the was eventually deemed defective by 3DR for a number of issues. It took another 2.5hrs at the retailer to perform the exchange and a 5 day wait with a 3 hour commute to pick up Solo #2 at the nearest retailer with inventory.

I will say that I was quite excited when unboxing #2 as the whole process was extremely smooth compare the previous one.  in less then 10 minutes #2 was updated to 1.05 and fully calibrated.  It had 12-13 satelites registered and locked in seconds from startup.  #1 took a minimum of 4-5 minutes if I was lucky to lock 6 for auto fly. Not to mention the controller showed full bars for solo connectivity and telemtry readings in the app were dead on.  

With such good flight conditions before packing up the kids in the car to head over the field I decided to take #2 up and down just to confirm flight first.  here is #2's first flight video 10 mins from coming out of the box.

Solo - $999

Gimbal(still haven't recieved)  - $399

GoPro 4blk - $499

Xtra batterys - $597

spare parts - $80

40+hrs invested in troubleshooting/support and exchange of 1st Solo - $3000

Capturing this majestic first flight on video - Priceless!


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Replies to This Discussion

This sounds more like what most every experience should be. It would be interesting at some point to compare serial #'s and see if any later ones are more reliable out-of-the-box.

I also think 3DR has carefully checked many of the returns - but, then again, it wouldn't be legal to sell them as new so those are probably used as replacement/exchange models. 

With that many flights and no troubles it won't be as scary putting the gimbal on there and starting to get real footage. Most of us tend to get nervous when we have a cam and gimbal at stake - those are more fragile than the body itself. 

I've just returned to the world of 3DR after a much needed break from it,,

I just don't get it???  you guys still have Randy bangin away at full speed trying to re-invent the wheel and some new EKF thing???    and then,,, you release the solo...  

So??  what???  it's all done???   problems solved???  over and above the APM/Pixhawk controller??

why is the dev team bangin away,, when you have another team that's all done??

it's kinda like FORD selling a Mustang, and the horse-cart, with square wheels,, but hopefully in V3.5.3.2 they'll be round...  but then the horse won't eat..

why are we not developing the SOLO controller????

Art, I hope you're third time lucky.

Bob, I don't think you understand the situation.

  Nearly everything that Randy and the devs do benefits the Solo.  The Pixhawk and Solo (Pixhawk2) both run versions of APM that are functionally very similar.  Improvements to one are generally going to benefit both units.  There is no wheel re-inventing going on, and both of them use the EKF "thing".

  There is no Mustang and horse-cart.  There is a mustang and then there is a slightly newer mustang with black paint that comes in a pretty box.

OMG you are kidding me..

I'm not going to go any further than say...  you're dreamin buddy

No, I'm not dreaming.

  The Pixhawk2 has a second "companion" computer to give higher level function and communication, but connected to that is essentially a standard Pixhawk doing all of the things any other pixhawk is doing while running software that is 99% identical.  Many improvements made to the Pixhawk project can directly benefit the Solo and vice-versa.

Bottom line:

There's a huge amount of shared code between this:

and this:

Not a dream, a reality. 

Bob -- 3DR is attempting to get fully into the consumer business. Indeed the Pixhawk Flight control code is the open source side of things and it will port straight to the Solo's Pixhawk 2.

The biggest part of the Solo is the rest of it: The WiFi contoller, and the companion computer, Go Pro control, as yet unreleased gimbal. That is all closed source as I understand it. And it is being done by a completely different set of Devs.

I am sure they will get this thing right at some point but right now it all seems a bit beta. Neither team is 'Done'. The Solo team is likely working night and day and under even more pressure than the APM dev team -- just my guess. 

Sounds great Todd, I got mine about 3 weeks ago and have had 15 flawless flights. I've used all the smart shot functions and have put the solo through its paces with all the advanced options turned on and off (fast, slow & acro). The solo has lived exactly up to its hype (less the gimbal (waiting like everyone else)). I'm loving it. Every time I take my DJI F550 up for a flight now I see how nicely dialed in the solo really is, not saying my F550 isn't, but the solo really does like to fly.

As Phillip and others pointed out, Randy, Tridge and the other dev team leaders are all 3DR contractors, assigned to work on the open source code for the benefit of the community. They work daily with the internal 3DR Solo dev team to coordinate this. Think of Solo as the "advance team", which implements new features on specific hardware, which is then merged into the standard APM codebase once it's been tested on a wider range of hardware. 

Randy, Tridge, Lorenz and team also work on core autopilot technology as part of the DroneCode umbrella, which helps all the companies that are part of DroneCode, including 3DR. 

This is the standard way that all companies work with the open source project they sponsor. For instance, Google, Intel, IBM and others assign engineers to work on the core open source Linux platform, as well as internal engineers to build company-specific applications (such as Android) on top of Linux. 

Chris, I don't really care,,

My biggest gripe with you, and all 3DR, is that, when you buy a 3DR product, you have just unwillingly signed yourself up to the unofficial 3DR R&D team....

and from all the comments above, nothing has changed with the SOLO....  

who's going to break the news to Art...  that he's just put his money straight into your pocket...  and been given a "work in progress"

and before you all say "open source" "we do it for nothing" blah blah,,  where does it say on the solo webpage, that this thing is open source, and based on the same FW that is still evolving??

you have taken Arts money...  sold him something he assumed was a done deal...

I left 3DR over a year ago to DJI....  I've only come back to get some use out of my old mothballed pixhawk,, by putting it on a heli...    WHAT A JOKE

Mission Planner???  .....2/10

Telemetry???.....   3/10

DF13 cable connectors???  MY GOD!!   wtf  1/10

your WIKI?? has completely false info all through it...  2/10

sometimes it boots up and connects,, sometimes it won't???   2/10

guys go to and have a look at what they have,, just look,, the NAZA V2 flies from an ipad...   and it's extremely reliable...  and been that way for a long time,,,  if solo has all this stuff too... why are we not able to use it on our existing pixhawks??  no app?? why???

have you guys seen a DJI zenmuse gimbal??  would i put one with an expensive DSLR camera under a Pixhawk??  errr NOOOOO!  I leave that to my A2,,  thanks...

the best analogy I can use for 3DR Vs DJI, is the cable connector...  that's it...   just compare the cable connectors and it sums the whole thing up...  (and you don't need a youtube video to show you how to unplug a DJI connector without tearing the wires out of the housing)

why don't you guys go do something useful... and clean up your wiki... it's OK if you live and breath 3DR all day long,, you keep up with the stuff ups...  but if a newbie gets into it,,, it's a minefield of wrong info,, is it a pixhawk? or a PX4? telem1??  or telem2?? 

Rant over, don't reply...  I won't read it...   I'll be out flying my DJI...  the only problem with it,, is it just WORKS..  can be boring after a while... nothing goes wrong??? just too easy... 

PS. Art  if you're next one screws up...  foxtech P3 for 1/3 what you paid...  sorry bud.. we all have to learn some lessons the hard way..


I received mine Tuesday evening and had a successful first flight yesterday. I had issues with the required first update where it would download to the controller and Solo over and over and over. I found it was an issue with my LG G-Pad. I connected my I-Pad and it updated like a charm the first time. I played around with the orbit and cable cam, fun stuff. After about three minutes I kicked the speed and rotation up to max  and found the rotation to be fair but the forward speed was a blast. I also have a F550 all decked out and unfortunately I don't think it's going to be getting much flight time after the 3DR Gimbal comes out.

I did have issues with the WiFi connection dropping, scared the hell out of me when the solo shot up in the air without me touching the controls, saw it went into automatic RTH. I was at home flying it it could have been the tablet connecting to the home network over the Solo. I'll disconnect the tablet from the home network and try again however did experience being right next to the Solo & controller and the Wifi signal was so weak I couldn't connect.

Overall, fun!!!!!

DJI connectors and wiring are much, much better. No argument there. They tend to get used more in high value set-ups when the cost of the FC is really not that significant and autonomy is not a requirement.

You do pay for that though. Quite a lot extra. It is just a consumer choice really.Why so angry?

As for the Solo. Noone here is being ripped off. It is not quite like buying a washing machine that does not work and your clothes are dirty and you are out of pocket. It is offering new capabilities and it may need some firmware revisions and early adopters may experience many frustrations. They have a return policy as well I think.

Consumers will decide at some point what they want to buy. Does this have to be elevated to a moral tirade?

(oh and I bet you read all the replies :) )

I have a friend who's did this and ate it big time, i will also add, my last flight my solo did a complete 360 roll in regular fly mode and righted itself. I have no explanation why. it also failed on its landing and tipped backwards then breaking props. all in a location that ive flown countless times.

One question though are you taking off the stickers that are above the motors that tell prop direction. I did notice one of his motors still had a tiny bit of glue and paper attached to it.



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