3DR Solo Crash

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After watching a video by ATx RC Productions who encouraged Solo users to post their eperiences with the Solo, I thought I'd go ahead and share my experience. I recieved the Solo today and after unboxing it and going through the preflight check list I flew it for a minute in my back yard and landed it manually. I then changed the speeds to Medium and rebooted everything after connecting my GoPro

I then went to the front street for another flight. I was happy with how the Solo was handling especially on its descent. I landed the solo, then took it back up and landed it again. I then raised it about ten feet off the ground and was practicing panning. I was slowly flying the solo back towards me (at about ten feet off the ground) and as it was on it's way towards me, it started to make movements not true to my input. So I immediately let go of the joysticks. The Solo kept on moving towards me and then started to veer in the direction of a neighbors house. I immediately started tapping the Pause button, but the Solo coninued to veer clockwise as it was flying forward. The veering stopped but it continued to fly towards a house. I retook the controls which did nothing to the Solo flight pattern and I just watched as it continued towards a house and finally hit a wall. Every propeller snapped apart. The battery flew out of place. A leg broke. Two LED covers snapped off and the main body was scuffed and slightly bent around the battery area as the battery does not fit snug any longer. The battery level was still above the halfway mark after the incident.

I have experience with the DJI platform using Lightbridge and flyng for commercial filming here in LA. I've gone through the scenario and can find no error, not even hypothetically on my part. It's as if the Solo suddenly lost connection with the controller, however I saw no error messages or freezing and it took on a mind of its own to hone in on a neighbors house.

I have confidence this is an issue that can be addressed and fixed but I will be very hesitant when flying another Solo. I spoke to 3DR customer support. I was transfered a few times to start a problem ticket and I sent in a flight log via the app. We'll see how 3DR handles this situation.
 
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Very sorry to hear that! It sounds like you were in an urban environment and may have lost GPS, which the Pause button relies on. I have seen many similar posts to yours and it is why I strongly recommend having stabilize or manual on the A or B buttons. It is also why I recommend lots of practice with those flight modes. The reason is very simple; if you are flying in a GPS mode and see some erratic behavior it may be related to a drop in GPS signal. Hitting Pause is OK as an immediate first response, but it also relies on GPS. You must be prepared to put it immediately in a non stabilized mode the instant you see that Pause it is not working. If your more experienced flying MRs, then I would recommend going directly to a non GPS flying mode at the first sign of trouble.

Just my .02 based on experience with many controllers. Your mileage may vary...

Fly Safe..Have Fun..
 
Very sorry to hear that! It sounds like you were in an urban environment and may have lost GPS, which the Pause button relies on. I have seen many similar posts to yours and it is why I strongly recommend having stabilize or manual on the A or B buttons. It is also why I recommend lots of practice with those flight modes. The reason is very simple; if you are flying in a GPS mode and see some erratic behavior it may be related to a drop in GPS signal. Hitting Pause is OK as an immediate first response, but it also relies on GPS. You must be prepared to put it immediately in a non stabilized mode the instant you see that Pause it is not working. If your more experienced flying MRs, then I would recommend going directly to a non GPS flying mode at the first sign of trouble.

Just my .02 based on experience with many controllers. Your mileage may vary...

Fly Safe..Have Fun..

Thank you for your input. I have always had a manual mode the press of a button away on my DJI platforms. I had not gone into the advanced settings on the Solo as I just wanted to give it a test flight. I understand the problems of GPS loss in an urban environment, especially when filming in down town LA, however, where I was flying is where I fly the most. And where I let friends practice and train on my DJI platforms and have never had any issues. Only difference with the Solo I percieved was that it had a lock on 9 satelites in the area where I typically have 12.

Thanks for your advice, I will defintely jump into advanced mode before ever testing a Solo in the future.
 
Hey Ramon, I think that will help in the future. Based on user feedback I see, I believe there are some, and maybe not all, of the Solos that have a weak antenna or are not optimized in some way. I have heard that a firmware upgrade with a possible GPS fix was coming, but not sure. There have been some posts of people that were not able to get a good Hdop and replaced the Solo and then had no further issue. But I do not believe it is black and white issue. I think some are getting the sats, but like yours maybe not a strong as others. I think the stabilize mode will be your best friend as you further test the Solo.

Fly Safe..
 
After watching a video by ATx RC Productions who encouraged Solo users to post their eperiences with the Solo, I thought I'd go ahead and share my experience. I recieved the Solo today and after unboxing it and going through the preflight check list I flew it for a minute in my back yard and landed it manually. I then changed the speeds to Medium and rebooted everything after connecting my GoPro

I then went to the front street for another flight. I was happy with how the Solo was handling especially on its descent. I landed the solo, then took it back up and landed it again. I then raised it about ten feet off the ground and was practicing panning. I was slowly flying the solo back towards me (at about ten feet off the ground) and as it was on it's way towards me, it started to make movements not true to my input. So I immediately let go of the joysticks. The Solo kept on moving towards me and then started to veer in the direction of a neighbors house. I immediately started tapping the Pause button, but the Solo coninued to veer clockwise as it was flying forward. The veering stopped but it continued to fly towards a house. I retook the controls which did nothing to the Solo flight pattern and I just watched as it continued towards a house and finally hit a wall. Every propeller snapped apart. The battery flew out of place. A leg broke. Two LED covers snapped off and the main body was scuffed and slightly bent around the battery area as the battery does not fit snug any longer. The battery level was still above the halfway mark after the incident.

I have experience with the DJI platform using Lightbridge and flyng for commercial filming here in LA. I've gone through the scenario and can find no error, not even hypothetically on my part. It's as if the Solo suddenly lost connection with the controller, however I saw no error messages or freezing and it took on a mind of its own to hone in on a neighbors house.

I have confidence this is an issue that can be addressed and fixed but I will be very hesitant when flying another Solo. I spoke to 3DR customer support. I was transfered a few times to start a problem ticket and I sent in a flight log via the app. We'll see how 3DR handles this situation.

Ramon
I have been at this game a long time and I have found two things, GPS signals are always changing and that is uncontrollable it's the nature of the beast. Second, there are many apps that you can install on your phone to show GPS strength and position.

Before I fly anything in a strange area and will have to rely on GPS I open this app and search the sky to see what I have for a signal. I have experienced a few times week signals and I simply don't fly in in modes that use GPS.

I don't care what manufacturer your using, if you have GPS signal issues it will cause problems and or a crash.
Now if it is a GPS reciever issue or firmware or hardware issue that will show up in the logs. If you were trying to control it manually and couldn't, , Houston we have a problem. That is a communication issue.

Please keep us posted as to 3DR service and warranty support. The crash was not caused buy you so according to 3DR you should get everything replaced. Sorry for your loss,, I hope there is a speedy solution and you get a new ship to replace your new crashed unit. That would only be logical.
 
Ramon
I have been at this game a long time and I have found two things, GPS signals are always changing and that is uncontrollable it's the nature of the beast. Second, there are many apps that you can install on your phone to show GPS strength and position.

Before I fly anything in a strange area and will have to rely on GPS I open this app and search the sky to see what I have for a signal. I have experienced a few times week signals and I simply don't fly in in modes that use GPS.

I don't care what manufacturer your using, if you have GPS signal issues it will cause problems and or a crash.
Now if it is a GPS reciever issue or firmware or hardware issue that will show up in the logs. If you were trying to control it manually and couldn't, , Houston we have a problem. That is a communication issue.

Please keep us posted as to 3DR service and warranty support. The crash was not caused buy you so according to 3DR you should get everything replaced. Sorry for your loss,, I hope there is a speedy solution and you get a new ship to replace your new crashed unit. That would only be logical.

I agree 100% Rodney. But this raises an interesting question: How will 3DR handle GPS related problems? I would think that if the logs show something like 11 sats then a drop to 0, that would show 'Possible' firmware/software problem depending on location. But, what if someone has good GPS then flys into/through an enclosure or area with limited or no GPS. That is certainly something they, or any manufacture can not control and certainly shouldn't be covered by warranty. And it is what has worried me from the beginning with the way 3DR has marketed this, which is basically as a Drone for Dummies; ie even a monkey can fly it. In a perfect situation they probably could: Push this button then push this button. But I believe a great many problems have been a result of that marketing and their telling everyone 'no problem, just hit the pause'!

An interesting approach would have been to have the controller require the user to show a minimum proficiency on the (soon to be released?) sim before the 'Fly' button could be pressed. Might have saved at least a few users frustrations. (not aimed at you Ramon, just speaking in general terms).
 
Very sorry to hear that! It sounds like you were in an urban environment and may have lost GPS, which the Pause button relies on. I have seen many similar posts to yours and it is why I strongly recommend having stabilize or manual on the A or B buttons.
I agree. I flew my Solo for the first time yesterday, and while it worked perfectly, I definitely didn't like not having a "manual mode" switch. I will program the A button to do that before I put it up again, but I wonder if it is possible to program the pause button to put the Solo into manual? As you mention, that is GPS-dependent. Even better for me would be to have the A (or B) pause and the pause button stabilize.
 
Maybe I did not understand this but sounded like he was not far away from the Solo when this happened, he never got a message about losing connectivity which is hard to miss on the Solo with haptic feedback and finally when he took it off pause nothing he did with the sticks changed the flight path? Is that right?

If so, it its more than GPS. Several critical things did not happen.
 
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Maybe I did not understand this but sounded like he was not far away from the Solo when this happened, he never got a message about losing connectivity which is hard to miss on the Solo with haptic feedback and finally when he took it off pause nothing he did with the sticks changed the flight path? Is that right?

If so, it its more than GPS. Several critical things did not happen.
Right - because pause is supposed to center the sticks in the mind of the Solo, correct?
 
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It should STOP instantly as if sticks were centered. But it cannot work without GPS.

Even if GPS failed he should have been flying in manual mode.
 
Maybe I did not understand this but sounded like he was not far away from the Solo when this happened, he never got a message about losing connectivity which is hard to miss on the Solo with haptic feedback and finally when he took it off pause nothing he did with the sticks changed the flight path? Is that right?

If so, it its more than GPS. Several critical things did not happen.
I don't think it lost connectivity either. And the fact that Pause didn't make a difference is what made me think of a GPS error. Flying in a GPS assisted mode and losing GPS accuracy would cause flight problems like he experienced. For instance, GPS accuracy drops and tells the controller that it is drifting at 270deg at just 1 or 2ms. Controller inputs correction to fly 90deg to correct. Hitting pause is not going to change anything since it was already trying to correct for center stick and hover. A fix for this would be for the Pixhawk 2 to automatically switch to a non GPS assist flight mode in certain GPS/HDOP levels. Which goes back to being proficient in non GPS flying.

I did see a a crash once (not Solo, a large Hex) that the Spektrum DX8 controller's left stick went bad in flight. It would control altitude but left/right forward/back didn't work. Replaced the controller with a back-up and all was fine.

Another possibility that is extremely rare is the situation last week where there was an IMU disconnect hardware failure in flight of a Solo. Hope we don't see more of those!
 
Well this was the part that made me think it was beyond GPS.

I will be anxious to see what the logs show. I have looked at my logs but find them hard to follow and not as much info as I expected !

I immediately started tapping the Pause button, but the Solo coninued to veer clockwise as it was flying forward. The veering stopped but it continued to fly towards a house. I retook the controls which did nothing to the Solo flight pattern and I just watched as it continued towards a house and finally hit a wall.
 
I haven't had a chance to examine the logs with Tower yet, but MP has a very powerful log analysis feature. It will give you visual charts of just about any parameter. These charts have a by the second timeline in them. for instance you can pull up GPS sats in the timeline and overlay HDOP on top of it. Also voltage, amps, stick inputs vs actual, etc..
 
I agree 100% Rodney. But this raises an interesting question: How will 3DR handle GPS related problems? I would think that if the logs show something like 11 sats then a drop to 0, that would show 'Possible' firmware/software problem depending on location. But, what if someone has good GPS then flys into/through an enclosure or area with limited or no GPS. That is certainly something they, or any manufacture can not control and certainly shouldn't be covered by warranty. And it is what has worried me from the beginning with the way 3DR has marketed this, which is basically as a Drone for Dummies; ie even a monkey can fly it. In a perfect situation they probably could: Push this button then push this button. But I believe a great many problems have been a result of that marketing and their telling everyone 'no problem, just hit the pause'!

An interesting approach would have been to have the controller require the user to show a minimum proficiency on the (soon to be released?) sim before the 'Fly' button could be pressed. Might have saved at least a few users frustrations. (not aimed at you Ramon, just speaking in general terms).

Jubalr
Knowing the pixhawk platform quite well with the logs you can determine more then just flight , hardware ext. issues.
You can pull up files and load the files into Google Earth to show where the issue started.
If, someone did fly under a bridge or some type of canopy blocking GPS signal and crashed it will not only show up in the flight logs but when you put 2 and 2 together ( signal loss and Google Earth showing last good signal right before flying under a canopy of sort...)
I would say that the pilot will not be covered under the 3DR warranty, and shouldn't be. .

As I understood it, 3drobotics is working on a proximity sensor, optical, ultrasonic, this I don't know. . What I do know is they have had them out for years for the pixhawk and other platforms. It's been a hit and miss as optics don't work well in the sun and sonic has its own issues.
Anyway some type of sensor will have to be implementing for indoor or non GPS related stabilization for altitude and drift when gps is not avalable.

The inspire has one and it has its downfalls also. . It's new and it will only get better. .
Time will tell. .
Still waiting for mine to show up, , thought today looks more like next week now. .
 
I haven't had any GPS issues yet but these stories make me want to keep a butterfly net with me.
 
I haven't had any GPS issues yet but these stories make me want to keep a butterfly net with me.
Please don't get too worked up. .
I live in Minnesota and have had only one GPS related issue in years of flying and hundreds of flights.
You have to remember.
Generally speaking, if you fly in the same location all the time and never have a GPS related issue, , chances are you never will. .
Different parts of the country and the world have differant GPS signal issues so it's always good to check the sky's before you fly.
Also, , it's a good idea to recalibrate your FC'S compass when ever you move to a differant flying area. Any always calibrate your compass outside and away from metal buildings and or magnetic mineral deposits.. Your aircraft will thank you for it.

As for the solo, , I don't have mine yet so for those of you that do, ,, please answer this question for me.
Is there any provisions in the Solo App or general system to calibrate the compass or is compass calibration and declination updated over wifi and app communication?

Thanks
 
Please don't get too worked up. .
I live in Minnesota and have had only one GPS related issue in years of flying and hundreds of flights.
You have to remember.
Generally speaking, if you fly in the same location all the time and never have a GPS related issue, , chances are you never will. .
Different parts of the country and the world have differant GPS signal issues so it's always good to check the sky's before you fly.
Also, , it's a good idea to recalibrate your FC'S compass when ever you move to a differant flying area. Any always calibrate your compass outside and away from metal buildings and or magnetic mineral deposits.. Your aircraft will thank you for it.

As for the solo, , I don't have mine yet so for those of you that do, ,, please answer this question for me.
Is there any provisions in the Solo App or general system to calibrate the compass or is compass calibration and declination updated over wifi and app communication?

Thanks
Yes Rodney you can calibrate the compass manually. I did that with mine when it failed to lock on to a single satellite but it did not help.
 

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