Alright, this time I'll try to whine and complain a little less, but I think this is it.  After replacing gimbal after gimbal, broken arm after broken arm (are they always the blue ones that break?), watching my Iris drop dead from the sky time after time, I'm just ready to get out of this abusive expensive relationship.

I will give it just 1 more chance though.... and it hinges on how 3DR support will reply to my email I sent today.  Will they blame the pilot, again?  Or will they say "hey, you know what, you just might have a bad piece of hardware"

I took my Iris out to the park, wanting to practice some Follow Me paths while riding my bike.  Well, I didn't even get to hop on my bike before the Iris crashed twice, both times killing power in the air.

The first crash was luckily only 3 feet off the ground, so it landed on all 4 legs.  I flew it again, hovering around 4 - 5 feet for a minute or so just to see if it would kill again, nope, I landed it.

Maybe I'm arrogant, but this time I tried launching with the Tower app.  Launched fine, and as it climbs to about 20 feet I realize if it falls from that height, it might do some damage, so I pressed "Land" on my phone, and the Land button must be 3DR for "kill power and dive" because that's what happened.  

I wasn't so lucky this time, it took a nose dive breaking an arm and the gimbal.  Fortunately THIS time my GoPro was not harmed.

If anybody wants to waste some time trying to investigate a problem I expect 3DR Support will blame on pilot error, here are my logs from today.  But please, if you do find out what happened (other than it looks like you lost power here...), I would appreciate some feedback.  It would be interesting to see if 3DR support has a different answer too.

https://www.dropbox.com/sh/63m1xapf0gawg4n/AADrnUObnQXgrZT2y63jTtYY...

Here is also the entire video, uncut from today, for your laughter.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rG9649RKpAg

Like I said, 3DR has 1 last chance to impress me.  I've just received a bonus check from work for a couple thousand dollars, and I'm buying a new drone.  3DR Solo?  DJI Phantom 4?  Let's see how this support call turns out.  Last time they offered me a 15% discount on an overpriced Tarot gimbal.  No help with my crushed GoPro.  Not even a constellation prize set of propellers.

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Sorry to hear of your frustrations.  I've had similar frustrations a couple years ago while I was learning how these things work.  One drone I had would randomly flip and crash, I debugged it down to a single crack in a soldering joint on the power distribution board. It could handle low power but when I punched the throttle it would go crazy.  The pixhawk based drones I have now are rock solid with hundreds of hours of flight time.  I don't trust a drone that has crashed badly, I start over, even though that is more expensive, the results have been good.  Recently I purchased a 3DR Solo, and that is a completely different ballgame.  It is an amazing drone, it works flawlessly and is tuned so a 5 year old could fly it, it's almost impossible to crash.  DJI has similar drones.  I still prefer 3DR over DJI because of the open source firmware that I can tinker with.  

Justin:

I'm sorry to hear of your crash.  However, I see your problem is more fundamental than the hardware you purchased.  

Your comment tells the story, 

"I just want to fly and film aerial footage.  I do not want to tinker, customize, edit, or optimize any part of the drone.  I want one that comes out of the box... "

So you've made a deliberate choice to NOT understand the dangerous flying craft that you bought at the local toy store so you can ride your bike, and get selfy video of yourself.  This is a problem, perhaps you did not cause the crash, and it was a hardware issue, so what.  This will happen to you again, whatever hardware you buy, because you don't know whats going on, and state you really don't want to know.  Perhaps next time you'll crash into a person, or busy traffic.

Its not really your fault, as you stated 3DR promised professional video footage without any learning or experience.  This entire new industry promises such things.

Like a previous post the best recommendation is that you set up a workbench repair your drone and read this site to learn about your new device.  Become part of the community instead of throwing stones, regardless of the hardware you pick up.

If he continue his "take_it_out_and_fly" attitude, he will make the same post in DJI forum.

He will find out how he would be treated on DJI forum.

They did promise that so don't pretend they didn't.  It is also possible as many hundreds or thousands have demonstrated.  Both are to blame.  3DR for trying to pretend the craft are non-problematic, which most are, and the consumer, who wants to fly out of the box, which they can.  Both view are correct and incorrect at the same time.  I have yet to meet a pilot that has not crashed and I have yet to see a company admit that their craft crash.  Back when I was first getting into RC, the mid 70's, the hobby was difficult.  It still is but people don't want to admit that.

There's a lot of myths about advancements out there in the whole drone world.  I just talked to someone yesterday who said their friend has a start up for fully autonomous & watched their drone fly off into the water.  It's safe to say anyone taking this on now is taking a chance w/ their drone crashing or flying away.  Give it a little while & there will be fully autonomous.  

Until then, whenever you put something in the air you're PIC (pilot in command).  It there's a glitch you know about beforehand, don't just go for it.  I make sure everything's updated & calibrated, sometimes I won't even fly it if I see something's out of whack.  When I do see it's all good, the last thing I do after kicking to auto is cross my fingers.  

Randy and devs here have really gone a long way in that regard and getting better all the time. The code is getting much smarter and dealing with glitches and or out of whack readings. And the compass and EKF monitors are a huge improvement!! Now you can see [ with a GCS ] if things are borderline not set up right. before sometimes you found out the hard way.  But I agree... if something isn't right don't just fly and hope!! I did that and lost a quad. Not the codes fault it was Human error. It warned me but I flew anyway. Dumb. 

This thread is generating more heat than light. Pixhawk is not for everyone and IMHO you need to treat an IRIS like a DIY system. I do not think it is for you. If you just want aerial pics get a Phantom 3 or 4 and do not look back. I prefer Pixhawk generally but when I want pictures and aerial video without fancy yaw movements, I just pull out a P3. It may still crash, like anything, but your chances of being a happy consumer are going to be much higher. Only diehards are going to argue that point. 

I had a look at the log which must correspond to the video and it looks like a pretty clear case of an ESC/Motor failure of the front left motor (#3).  It's clear because as the troubles start motor #3 (front left) goes to full while it's opposite (#4, back right) goes to minimum.  Despite the front-left motor being at full throttle, the vehicle starts rotating forward and left (both pitch and roll become negative - see 2nd graph below).

When I first saw the log and video I was very suspicious because it really sounds like the motors turn off and it happens so soon after the vehicle switches to Land mode (0.75 seconds after the switch) but from the logs, it looks just like a regular motor failure.

If it's a new IRIS, I'd hope that 3DR would replace the vehicle for you.  I have no power over them of course, I hope the graphs above help convince them that it's a mechanical issue (i.e. ESC/Motor).

Randy, if you plot the current output you will see that it went to 0 just before the motors went there separate ways in both logs.  This would indicate there is a bad solder joint just after the power plug to the Pixhawk since it did not loose power.  Haven't look at the 4 in 1 ESC board to see how the power is broken out. Maybe there was a previous crash that cracked the 4 in 1 ESC power board.

Michael,

Ah, yes.  You're right.  It's very suspicious that the current drops to near zero even though the pwm output to 3 of the 4 motors remains high.  So that points to a mechanical failure more like you describe - a total failure of power to get to the motors and ESCs.  That would also fit better with the video in which is really sounds like all the motors stop.

I've personally had good luck with my 4 or 5 IRIS+ vehicles.  I find them nearly indestructable although they're under powered with a gimbal attached (I generally don't fly with a gimbal).  I have had a vehicle in which the battery connector developed a break in the solder and would reset everything sometimes while plugging in the battery - i re-soldered it myself and it's been ok since.

Slightly OT but it's unfortunate that for Justin it's a 3DR vs DJI choice.  I hope/expect that more companies will bring low cost RTF ardupilot based vehicles to market.  Of course the Solo's price are also much more competitively priced these days it seems.

he had the iris over 12 months.

Don't forget Yuneec. 

I never thought they were a player until recently.

DJI is suing them for patent infringement. Sigh. And so innovation ends with our hobby as DJI's profits will eventually decline when the fad is over and it goes back to being a hobby.

Or, wait a second, innovation will continue with the hobby which DJI will then incorporate into its platform (just like Apple does - nothing new, just borrowed and relatively well executed). 

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