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: 3835

Comment by Mark Harrison on September 14, 2011 at 4:36pm

Ouch!  Be sure and post your picture in this thread on rcgroups:



Comment by Luke Olson on September 14, 2011 at 9:57pm

Yikes, I hope it heals soon for you. Thank you for the invaluable reminder.

Comment by Nigel Conliffe on September 14, 2011 at 10:33pm

Ouch!  Hope you feel better soon.  May the helicopter gods accept your blood sacrifice...


Seriously, thanks for being brave enough to post about your "dumb move" so the rest of us (err, rest of them...) can learn from the mistake and see why all copters should carry a government health warning,

Comment by Anish on September 14, 2011 at 11:54pm
Gosh, I hope none of the health and safety gods in Brussels have heard this one, else u would need to, take a test and get an EU official before u could fly quads or even goner them ....
Comment by Martin Szymanski on September 15, 2011 at 12:53am

You are quite a Wounded Man. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wound_Man

I am not sure if I would do such.

You are a great explorer Such as Byrd, Scott, and Almundsen.

Be carefull.


Comment by Jason Wise on September 15, 2011 at 5:05am

I dont bother taking mine off, I keep it clear and I velcro strap it down...so it wont go anywhere!

Comment by malcolm churn on September 15, 2011 at 5:45am

Just a thought, dont know if it will work for a quad but with my heli i always set throttle hold at 0% so even if i hit the throttle nothing happens until i move the switch.

Comment by Michael Pursifull on September 15, 2011 at 6:43am

There are several known states on which motor/throttle movement can occur w/o arming/throttle input, mainly when the APM gets reset during a USB connect while the LiPo is connected. I also experienced a different issue following a minor crash on my first flight day (flipped unexpectedly while 90' away, after my best first flight, head down) When I got to it, disarmed, flipped it back over, then re-armed, only one motor spun. So I disarmed, maybe 10 seconds, a long time because it was hard to see the green blinky. I looked right at the blinking green light, and took my and off the throttle, and the opposite motor from the working one hit 100%. Nothing stopped it but holding the trottle hard left/down. No matter what I did, that motor spun unless I held hard left/down. Disarmed. I looked at the flashing green light and had a buddy look at it to be sure I was not crazy. But that is not the fun part. 


After retrieving the quad, disassembling and re-assembling the APM rail cabling, and verifying settings on the ESCs, and swapping batteries, I had the transmitter 10 feet away and safe/throttle off, I plugged in the battery and immediately props spun hard. I kicked the quad away out of reflex (it was straddling me and I, it, it is a big beastie) and I lost only a prop. 


My crash did something to that quad that day. I still don't understand what. But I learned to respect the danger, and not to trust in just the radio handling. 

Comment by Jared S on September 15, 2011 at 6:53am

Poor laptop! Oh and sorry about your hand. Kidding aside, hopefully it was just enough of an injury to teach you a lesson but not enough for permanent damage. Heal up and fly safe.

Comment by T.D. Gonzales on September 15, 2011 at 7:33am

Are you running HKGCS with parallels or bootcamp?



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