Solo #2 - First Flight

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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  • Developer

    If the log related this bad event is now analyzed, what was the real cause of this crash?
    It seems that Solo has lost a motor.
    I'm curious...


    • Marco, His is under review today. Not a motor as upon piecing it together and 4 new props it flies. 

      I can tell you that since then, mine has again had its own issues. I will post them here for your review.

      I am Not Pleased at all:

      1st Event: 1.01 software took off in an open area of a yard, flew around hit RTH saw it was going the wrong way, back to fly moved it to the correct area manually, tried RTH again, wanted to go the wrong area again.

      So I decide to land by just holding fly, well no one tells you that at 5-6% battery it does an auto RTH? So it takes off for a quick 40 ft run to where it has been trying to go all along into a tree top. I fought it and got it back but the props ticked the limbs of the tree before I got control back.

      Ticket submitted and all they could say was you took off by a tree, uh no, no I didn't. Your GPS set the home point in the wrong area. upgrade to 1.05. Yeah for free props.

      2nd Event: 1.05 software took off to fly in a canyon, yeah you might expect gps issues there, flight was good a little drift but I kept it safely out of the trees and rocks, bring it back up to the bluff to set it down... Not a RTH.
      I Hover over the bluff  but safely on solid ground hold FLY to land It starts flying hard right, so I have to grab the leg which makes it go full power, I have to reach under and power it down without getting sliced. Conclusion,  coming up out of the canyon it started reacquiring satellites and decided to take off on a correction of its own authority.
      3rd Event: 1.05 software took off same place as event one, flying out in the open over a cemetery, hovering, going up and down and back up a few times give it altitude and forward pitch and the thing does a complete 360 clockwise roll in the left to right axis... wtf was that?
      So I move it a little lower it down just watching, nothing, bring it closer and leave it hovering nothing, leave it up a while for a total flight time of about 8 minutes. nothing else strange. RTH and land, goes to the correct spot. Gets down, bounces, pitches back and crams the back props into the Dirt. Had to use DOWN and AB to kill it . It then says crash detected.
      Mission planner shows Horizontal Axis error or something in the flight at the mysterious roll.
      4th Event: 1.05 software. Took off and flew one battery just fine, flew up and down an area for 20 mins filming, battery change, flying the same area again. Flew under the same area of low gps that I passed through on the first flight, albeit slower. I guess GPS decided to correct itself because it shot forward and left without my control striking a wall, I countered with down and back and pause. but no effect it ended up going forward and over hitting the wall again and ending up full speed upside down into a puddle. Of course I run to get it and my tablet drops from the holder... busting the screen. And I have to grab it still going 100% balls to the wall and drag it out into the open reach up again and power it down.
      I have $2000 tied up between case, (vaporware non existent) 3DR gimbal, and batteries.
      I can tell you this, GPS should not be correcting regular flight by a degree more than a few inches.
      GPS degradation or loss should switch to hold and not accept GPS corrections that move the vehicle.
      Being completely beyond 70 or even 90 degrees for more than a second should kill the props.
      Up-F&^king-side down should kill the motors at zero altitude.
      Speed variations like props hitting at + or - 1 foot altitude should kill the props.
      GPS should not allow correction within the last meter of descent.
      And FFS did you have to put the GPS right above the GoPro.
      It 100% affects the GPS acquisition test it yourself. Acquire GPS and press the power on Gopro and watch it lose satellites.
      It also affects the Wifi connection wifi analyzer shows a loss of 3-5bdi on the sololink with GoPro power on. That's halfing your control signal.
      Go Pro is an RF noise emitter. This is fact and has been fact since people started flying Go Pros.
      While we're at it 49 ft RTH altitude? lots of trees are 75 to 100ft Who made that default?
      Im tired of waiting on firmware updates to a product that never should have hit the streets. It wasn't ready. So instead of putting up videos everyday touting how awesome it is and running around the world to film choice locations, how about you take care of the people who are paying thousands of dollars for a product that doesn't perform as well as a Blade 350qx or Cheerson.
      Don't tell me how smart shots are the great end all, because  with no gimbal, they're just novelty. And its highly likely that hardware is all that's going to fix this. Who puts GPS and lets the battery block one entire horizon, pass voltage right beside it, within inches of the GoPro a known RF emitter, and over a PC board also emitting RF?
      Do I want to hang another $400 off of this thing when I get the gimbal? I already have my GoPro 4 Black in a bag of rice today since it got wet.
      I hate to hijack, but this probably needs its own thread.
      And seriously have you guys who code this thing actually took one out away from a sterile field and tried to use it?
      I didn't want to be a guine pig or beta tester, but kind of resigned to that after the first issue, but at this time, I want what was sold to me and not to have to email tickets and logs every few days thanks to a rushed release and media tour.

    • Forget the 'bag of rice' trick to dry electronics that gets wet. The best way to dry anything is to push hot air through it at speed. Use a hair dryer. It works great is a much faster and effective way to dry things out. After all, drying something requires evaporating the water and then removing the water molecules. In other words, push hot air through it. 

    • Developer

      I'm sorry Chris for all your bad event.
      Personally i'm not involved in the "Solo project", so i can only guess, i don't know this quad.
      Surely the GoPro wifi can cause electromagnetic interference, especially with gps, i know really well this, so my wifi is always disabled! :)
      The only thing i don't like is the gps location in that frame.
      I'm sure that the testers have established this thing, and if they have only released for distribution will have it credited reliable.
      One thing is certain: installing a lot of electronic component there're high chance that something goes wrong, it's the rule... ;)
      I hope that all these problems are "software-only", with "APM:Copter" we have reached an incredible stability level, i can safely say much about this.
      But the Solo code is an evolution of APM:Copter code, then i don't know nothing about this.
      With all my "custom birds" i only have two crashes "out of control" (software problem) in tens of thousands of flights, this is a certain fact that i can give you...

    • I really think Solo is a great design aside from GPS location. yeah they crammed copper under it, so they knew there was an issue, But do you not agree that coding can solve the issues I described as far as not allowing GPS to make corrections of flight  and being able to kill the motors when a crash or bad landing is detected. Seriously as a developer, its not that much code to put if solo = 180 degrees on its head set throttle zero and disarm.

    • Developer

      I agree, with the code is impossible isolate these interferences, new U-Blox are very susceptible to these things.
      In the "Spark" project we had similar problems with M8N unit, but we solved them with hardware changes before selling the product.

    • something does not understand it, because if you're the lead tester Marco Robustini APM: Copter, because on your Youtube channel I have not seen a single video SOLO? Whereas SOLO uses an evolution of the APM code: Copter I do not understand, I expected to see test video made by Marco Robustini with SOLO instead on youtube see recent videos made with the DJI Phantom 3 (, why do not you post some video test with SOLO? I own the SOLO? What are your impressions and opinions? is best products DJI? Marco Robustini, look your opinions and your opinions, as long as you follow through your YouTube channel, and your tests are deo landmarks.
      Marco Robustini
      THANKS TO ALL MY FOLLOWERS, without you this channel would have no reason to exist! Hi, i'm Marco, UAS specialist, flight instructor, developer and l…
    • Whaatttt?? I expected a video of the SOLO to be released soon on the stream of lead tester of APM:Copter, since I assume it's an Arducopter based product. It's actually on my wish list, looks so cool.

      But, reading all this issues, maybe is not properly tuned/setup, taken into account even the fact that it's the first batch to be released.

      It's such a shame to not have  seen a real footage of the bird, pushed at its limits, as Robustini usually does when a new release of the FW is published. Furthermore, I can't really even understand what's behind such a business/political decision. Better to buy a PH3 , huh?? 

    • Developer

      Hi Mauro and Ferruccio, your post is very patriotic, to defend the italian flag, LOL! :p
      Thanks anyway for your comment, i'm honored.
      I'm not in the "Solo testers team" i think because is a commercial product, it follows the philosophy of the Phantom and similar "RTF" quad, then follows trade policies that deviate from the "open source concept".
      So I think that 3DR has been provided some "paid testers" directly involved in the project that trying Solo before it was released.
      I've always worked for "APM:Copter/Plane" code for passion, not for money.
      I still see several crashes with the Solo that is flip to one side during hovering, and i don't understand what may depend.
      I don't think that the users can change the stab/rate parameters to make it unstable, it seems to lose a motor (loses sync with ESC?) or propeller in flight, dunno, i don't know the flight characteristics of Solo because i've never tried.
      Only 3DR support can give us a definite answer by analyzing the logs.

    • Marco, that's exactly what I meant. Apart from the "open" or "closed" point of view, now the tube is top up with videos published by end users, so (hope nobody get offended) people whose flying capabilities/knowledge of the system is not trusted at all. How can this cope with a "smart" advertising campaign?? At this point someone might ask, what have the "paid testers" been dicking around?? I wouldn't blame people moving around to other brands seeing these videos.

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