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Crashed Inspire into canal. Any hope?

Discussion in 'Inspire 1 Help' started by Skybreaker, Feb 6, 2015.

  1. Skybreaker

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    TL;DR: My new inspire crashed into water and I'm afraid it might be irrepairable. What can I do?

    Hi, I'm new to this forum and also to the world of multirotors and drones etc. I'm a film student and, coming from the cinematography side of things, DJI's new quadrocopter seemed to be a much more accessable alternative to other 4K cameras, and the possibilities of shooting from the sky got me all sorts of excited.

    I got my Inspire 1 just four days ago and I was having a blast with it, that is until yesterday. So far I had been practing in big open fields, with hardly any incident at all, so I started feeling confident that I could try something more challenging. I decided to try flying it at a local university over a small canal that passed under a bridge and some trees. This was the bigest mistake I've ever made.

    I took off from one of the bridges, and not even 30 seconds into the flight, my drone started drifting, and crashed into a nearby tree. I rescued it and it was completely unscathed. This should have been a red flag for me, but I decided to keep going. I took off again and decided to stay away from the edges of the canal and fly towards another bridge where students were now watching with interest. I was about 30 meters out when I noticed the drone was starting to drift again towards the left. I tried to compensate but this caused me to snag a hanging vine that I could not tell was right next to the drone. Of course, the drone lost control and fell down, this time into the canal.

    I sped over, slid down the bank of the canal and waded through the water to catch up to my drone. When I was finally within arms reach, I saw the battery start blinking orange, and then I saw smoke. I immediately pulled out the battery and took it to shore. An onlooking drone entusiast said that it looked like my battery was definetely fried, but that the rest of the drone may still be alright. The camera certainly looked unscathed.

    I checked with DJI and a local drone shop, but since the product is so new, nobody has the spare parts or education to repair these things. Looks like my only option is to RMA it back to DJI and hope for the best... After reading the RMA instructions from DJI, I'm not feeling confident...

    "Water damaged units should not be sent in as they will be returned because we have found that they are not salvageable. Any unit to be considered outside of warranty or damaged by pilot error will result in nullifying the warranty and an invoice will then be sent to the consumer." - DJI Tech Suport
    Is there anything I can do other than send them my drone and hope for the best? Did I do the right thing by taking the battery out? This has been very tough for me because this was a major financial commitment on my part to become a drone pilot. I'm really ashamed of this mishap and even felt the need to apologize to my drone and name him "Kenny". I regret not being more carefull or getting myself proffesionally trained before flying such an expensive machine. Any help would be greatly appreciated...

    P.S. since I can't power him on, I can't figure out how I can get him into travel mode so I can pack him up. Is there a way?
     
  2. QuickTerrain

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    Sorry this happened to you skybreaker:( Hopefully it was not some kind of salt water canal.

    If it were me, I would remove the camera and gimble first. Grab a really big bag of rice and bury the rest of the unit in there. the rice will draw out all the moisture that is busy ruining the circuitry within the inspire. if the camera and gimble got wet, they should be left in the bag as well. Send the battery to the recycling depot as it should no longer be trusted. Leave the unit in the rice bag for about a week, then remove it and clean every last grain out of your inspire. Next, cross them fingers and hope all is good when you power it back up.

    Don't be too hard on yourself, it could always be worse. It won't be the last time you crash a UAV.

    I would hold off on sending it away until you get the moisture out of it and test it. Maybe there is only minor damage to a couple components.
     
    Skybreaker likes this.
  3. PetePerrim

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    Wow, that was pretty ballsy to buy an Inspire as your first UAV. I lost a Phantom 2 just over a year ago and even though I replaced it with another one and have also had a F550 and a Tarot FY680 (and now an Inspire too), I still mourn the loss of that Phantom.

    It is better to have loved and lost than to never have loved at all.

    My condolences are with you my friend. You got another credit card?
     
  4. Skybreaker

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    Thanks for the support, QuickTerrain! I spent about an hour, drip and towel drying the inspire after I got it out, but I'll try the rice thing just in case. I'll throw out the battery too, as much as it pains me to lose something worth $160. But to power the drone back up, I would need another battery, wouldn't I? Is there a way to power it by cable?

    Thanks Pete, I feel like a fool for not picking up one of those cheap $40 drones to practice with. I was cheap, because I could barely afford the Inspire as it was. You can only imagine now my predicament in having to face repair charges...

    For the future, would anyone recommend using a waterproofing spray on it? I know these are designed for phones and such, but would it hurt to try it? It might provide a few extra seconds for you to fish it out before it fries itself.
     
  5. AlexanderAF

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    The spray requires you break it down into small components. This would be very difficult to do with the Inspire. If the canal was freshwater and you started drying it and put it in rice right away, you may just stand a chance! I'd leave it there for days though, and maybe change out the rice some before trying to turn it on.

    I have a flight checklist to check the compass and calibration before takeoff. This is where most of your drift issues would arise from (that, or forgetting to put the landing gear up). This is a little more advanced of an aircraft so if you are back up and running again I would highly recommend it.
     
    #5 AlexanderAF, Feb 6, 2015
    Last edited: Feb 6, 2015
  6. RiseAboveImaging

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    Half the time mine will have a compass error for 5-10 seconds after take off and drift with the wind when atti mode happens. I calibrate prefectly no keys cellphone or controller anywhere near by. Been flying tons in the past 6 months. This had nearly caused me to crash when flying in high wind.
     
  7. Skybreaker

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    Thanks guys, these are good tips for a pre-flight checklist. I feel my greatest flaw was giving in to the urge to just "get in the air already". If anyone else has more pre-flight habbits they wanna mention, it would help me alot.
     
    Carlos1966 likes this.
  8. Alan Taddei

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    sounds like you had it in atti mode, rather than full GPS? It will drift in that mode. I have a typed pilot checklist on a sheet about 4 inches x 5 inches that I have laminated/encapsulated in a transparent film. This hangs around my neck on a lanyard and fits inside a shirt pocket once I have gone through it, or inside my coat/shirt/jacket (beware when turning the aircraft on that it dos not hang down and catch the rotors when you stand up etc..... hence why you should slide it inside a pocket/shirt/jacket).

    It should include all the basics for take off on one side and landing on the other, just like on a real aircraft. It is the ONLY way to be sure you have checked everything..... which is why the most experienced pilots flying commercial aircraft do it EVERY time before taking off and again before landing. There is NO other option to be sure you have checked everything..... with GPS mode selected.... take off, hover, then make short forward, back, left and right movements and make sure the aircraft hovers and does not drift when you have the sticks centred. Takes 30 seconds at the start of the day to ensure it is behaving as you expect it to. Set yourself some targets when flying it next time, like a simple figure of eight flight in front of you within a virtual rectangle. Once you can do this, keeping the aircraft under control you will be ready to move on. Once the course lock mode is available within IOC (I understand that is a "later" update..... not sure why that has not been included so far as it is the only way to fly multi rotors easily as they do not have a clearly defined "nose" like an r/c helicopter, and how I have always flown my S800 making high speed flights with dramatic changes in direction) anyway...... once course lock is included in the firmware update..... take off in GPS, flick it into course lock, then fly it in that mode.
     
  9. The Editor

    The Editor Moderator
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    This is a 'known' issue that hopefully will be sorted with the next FW release - See the thread here on problems so far -> http://www.inspirepilots.com/threads/list-of-known-issues-sticky-thread.898/
     
  10. Mazz

    Mazz Moderator
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    i would definitely send it in. The quads have had a few issues and the logs can tell them a lot. If there was a yaw issue and that caused you to loose control it may not be completely your fault and may be considered under warrenty for that reason. I would send it in and hope for the best. It's pretty much your only option. I also have a few opinions on what you should have done but I don't want to make a bad situation worse for you. Good luck. If it doesn't work out sorry for your loss.
     
  11. wincrasher

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    I've been flying over a year (with my Phantom) and only fly in GPS mode. I really don't understand why people want to fly in ATTI mode. Especially beginners.
     
  12. jon b

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    Cant assume to know "why" your aircraft was drifting but it's a good sign to stop and sort things out before you get any deeper into maneuvers. Anyway, that's behind you now. Here's what happened to me and what came out in the end...

    I flew over fresh water all day... Great stuff on camera, no problems. Then, purely out of pilot error, I took my Phantom with gimbal and naked GoPro for a swim. Crazy thing was, the camera and Phantom stayed on and functioning for about a minute till it was recovered. I pulled the battery, flushed with distilled water and left it to dry SLOWLY for a week. Guess what? The Phantom and unprotected GoPro came back good as new... Gimbal, not so much.

    For me, I'd take it slow, be patient, let things sit for a good long time then, re-energise the system and take stock. If it comes back, great! Go slow, no big flights till you see what you have and how the bird behaves. Good chance you may get away with this but it's so new it's hard to say. Do you have another battery?
     
  13. Richard-Inspire

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    I'm really sorry for your loss. I've not even flown mine yet, and I hope for better luck. I've caught quadcopters in trees when first starting out, simply because of hooning it too fast too soon.

    I personally find IOC mode a bit dangerous. It can get confusing if you forget which mode you're in - and then when you're heading towards that tree... am I in ioc or not - which way is towards the tree and which way is away? I've had a major crash because of that.

    Given that the inspire can rotate the camera 360 degrees now, I don't see as much need for IOC mode, and may avoid it for now.

    It's probably better to learn to fly true LOS