Welcome to 3DRPilots.com

Sign up and join the largest 3D Robotics drone community!

  1. Fenderbender

    Joined:
    Nov 17, 2015
    Messages:
    51
    Likes Received:
    7
    This is a major bummer. I was showing my Solo to some family members and flying outside in my yard like I have done dozens of times. For some reason on this day it would not get GPS lock even though I had 10 satellites for about 5 minutes. I guess the extra cars in the driveway had something to do with it so I put it on a cardboard box out in the yard and bingo GPS lock. I take off and fly and have a normal flight. At 25% battery I bring it back in and I try to land back on the box but the prop wash was too much and the solo was not very steady and I didn't want it to fall off the box so I flew it up and out of the way while I had everyone clear a spot on the driveway for a safe landing. It was my sons birthday and I had about 15 people watching. I get the 15% battery warning. Now with the driveway clear I start to bring it down.

    I always land manually because on 2 seperate occasions I tried to land by holding the fly button while hovering a couple feet off the ground. The solo didn't not go straight down but started to strafe while trying to land which caused it to hit on only 2 legs and flipped it over. So I never land using that method anymore. I am about 2 feet off the ground when suddenly my controller vibrates and grabs my attention. I see 10% battery and it says return home and I think, "Oh no!" I look up just in time to see the Solo headed for some over head power lines ( it was the only safe place to land with so many cars and people around). I tried to pull it away from the lines, but in auto return home you have no control and I only had a second of reaction time. Solo clipped the power line and then flipped several times as it crashed into the ground. I lost 2 props, bent the metal gimbal arm and cracked the upper and lower body near the right front prop arm. My gopro got a couple dings as well.

    So I send in a ticket to 3DR. They say you must fly 100 feet from ANY obstacle (they don't even follow that in their own advertisment videos and you know that this thing would pretty much useless at those distances) and Solo did not detect landing (because I land manually) so they aren't going to help. I'm pretty disappointed. I was 2 seconds away from a safe landing before the software took control from me, the operator, and crashed the solo. I'm trying to tell them their needs to be a software change where solo could hover for few seconds before engaging auto return home and prompting the user to either hit return home or land it immediately. You'd think a smart drone would notice its only 2 feet off the ground and that the operator is telling it to descend further.

    What do you guys think? If your take off point becomes compromised and you no longer wish to land there should the Solo listen to you instead of trying to auto return home? Shouldn't it check its status before doing so? Shouldn't the operator who knows whats going on around the area be in total control at all time unless the controller fails or connection is lost? They keep saying to me that auto return home is a "failsafe to ensure that Solo returns to it's takeoff point unharmed". In this case The fail safe failed and created a fairly dangerous situation by flying into powerlines and flipping out of control. I am not 100% to blame here. If I had pushed return home then yes it would totally be my fault for not making sure Solo was clear of obstruction, but I didn't engage return home. It was done automatically at 10% battery.
     
  2. Chuck

    Joined:
    Jun 26, 2015
    Messages:
    1,222
    Likes Received:
    523
    Location:
    Bakersfield, Ca. U.S.A.
    I also had a problem flying in my front yard. I had flown there many times before without issue. There are many variables that can change a normally safe flying area to a not so safe one. My flight was affected by area wifi as well as a underground electrical transformer and line under the street. I was amazed 3DR found that out when I sent in the flight logs. What I am getting at is, don't get lulled into a false sense of security flying in your neighborhood. It can bite you at any time. Also, maybe try landing with 25% battery left, instead of heading home with 25%. The battery drops very quickly when it reaches that point, and then, everything has to be rushed a bit to get it safely on the ground. It cuts a bit of flying time, I know, but I would rather be safe than sorry. I also won't fly in my yard anymore. That last experience was enough for me. I hope this helps a little, and good luck in future flights.
     
    LaLoGec likes this.
  3. RolandS888

    Joined:
    Oct 9, 2015
    Messages:
    487
    Likes Received:
    378
    Damn, thats a bummer, sorry to hear that story.
    I believe in the next update the auto land at <10% function will alter the altitude it takes to return hoime.
    If it is near to home it will only go uo to 2.5m, the further away you are the higher it will go in sort of an upside down 'cone' for distance and altitude..
     
    Fenderbender likes this.
  4. Pogo

    Joined:
    Jul 12, 2015
    Messages:
    64
    Likes Received:
    29
    Location:
    Vermont
    "Hope for the best but plan for the worst". Fenderbender, I feel your pain. With every flight I learn something new and one of the most import things we pilots need to remember is that we should always take off from a spot that is totally clear overhead and far away from obstacles to the side. We HAVE to assume that there is the possibility for the Solo to engage RTH on any given flight and so must plan for an auto landing just in case. Now in your case it sounds like you took off from a spot that was clear overhead but part of your flight took you under power lines (where the RTH was automatically activated). This should be a warning to all of us to plan our flights carefully. Also, if I am not mistaken, you can hit the pause button while in RTH to stop the bird but have never tried it while the Solo was returning to home because of low battery. I never let the battery get below 25%. Once you start heading home, you need to have that clear landing spot and use it immediately. This has been an expensive incident for you and I hope it will not dissuade you from flying again. Thanks for sharing your experience.
     
  5. Fenderbender

    Joined:
    Nov 17, 2015
    Messages:
    51
    Likes Received:
    7
    I always bring it in at 25% and land. Just couldn't do it this time. I've never had my drone more than 650 feet away from me. It's not like it take a long time to get back from that distance. The problem is when your take off area is compromised and you have to prepare a new landing site.
     
  6. Fenderbender

    Joined:
    Nov 17, 2015
    Messages:
    51
    Likes Received:
    7
    This means they know that there is an issue with this. I was maybe 20 feet from my take off point and 2ft from the ground. Solo decided it needed to go way up which I understand, but taking all control from the pilot is crazy when its that low. If it had been 4 inches to the right it would have missed. :(
     
  7. Fenderbender

    Joined:
    Nov 17, 2015
    Messages:
    51
    Likes Received:
    7
    I am pretty impressed with the gimbal. it didn't break at all and was still trying to keep the gopro level. The metal arm that drops it from the body bent from the impact, but no plastic broke. I didn't even realize it was messed up until I couldn't get the Solo back into its case. The gimbal wouldn't fit since it was cocked to one side.The body cracked though. One of the props broke pretty much at the center point.
     
  8. Acroduster

    Joined:
    Jul 16, 2015
    Messages:
    602
    Likes Received:
    272
    Seems like this would have been a good time to have the A button programmed for Fly:Manual mode. When it hit 10% and started zooming up, a quick touch of the A button would have brought it back under your control and you could have set it right down.
     
    Killboy likes this.
  9. Fenderbender

    Joined:
    Nov 17, 2015
    Messages:
    51
    Likes Received:
    7
    If I could have thought of that fast enough. Being that I never use smart shots or anything the A button isn't really in my muscle memory yet. What comes Naturally is holding the left joy stick down to descend which is what I was already doing. When it suddenly flew up as fast as it could go my first reaction was to avoid the power line. I've lost gps lock several times while flying and I always just bring it to a hover and try to keep it in one spot until connection is established. Thats what I thought was happening at first. It all happened to quickly to really do anything about it. But it would be safe and sound had it not RTH in the first place from 2 ft off the ground. What I wonder is this. If I was only let's say 5 feet from my take off point would auto RTH still taken Solo up to 75 ft before coming back down.
     
  10. Jubalr

    Joined:
    Jun 4, 2015
    Messages:
    2,903
    Likes Received:
    1,695
    Sorry to hear of your incident. RTH IS a safety feature to cover for the occasional pilot/controller errors. When you let the battery get so very low, it reached one of the triggers that initiates RTH. That means it must first go to the Pilot's pre-determined height then over to home point and descend. However, you can quickly get out of RTH mode to gain control again though. The first method, as pointed out by Rich and posted multiple times on this web site since the beginning, is to have A or B programmed to manual. You could also quickly bump the throttle to full and that will also cancel RTH and allow you to continue the descent. Solo is smart, but not perfect. And this was a situation that doing the 'smart' thing wasn't what the pilot wanted/needed. That is why you should always be ready to take control to reverse the roles and make the pilot the 'Smart' one and Solo the 'dumb' drone that does as it is told.

    Regardless of your experience or flying ability, Manual must be kept at the ready and the pilot ready to use it. This was a learning experience; be thankful the only damage was to the Solo and not any property/personal injury.

    Fly Safe..
    Jubal
     
  11. Cosber

    Joined:
    Sep 1, 2015
    Messages:
    151
    Likes Received:
    37
    I don't understand the RTH feature where it climbs before returning. What if you're flying under a bridge or overpass and it loses signal? Also, watching videos using "follow me", I was wondering if you're driving down the highway and you're a good distance away from your starting point, if RTH kicks in, does it go, or try to go all the way back?
     
  12. Jubalr

    Joined:
    Jun 4, 2015
    Messages:
    2,903
    Likes Received:
    1,695
    You set the RTH height to clear any obstacles in the area you are flying. Initially, Solo shipped with an RTH of about 50'. Needless to say it ran into a few things back then. When using the Solo app, RTH is set on acquisition of good GPS position (generally before you take off if you wait for the OK to fly). That doesn't change regardless of what you are doing. If RTH is triggered, it will climb to the set height and head for where it set the Home Point. The one way around that is to use Tower and enable the Return To Me feature. If RTH is triggered, it will go to the current position as reported by the phone/tablet you are using. But be careful, since many Apple tablets do not have GPS. In that case, it would return to the last known home point, which would be the original arm point or when home was established.

    When using Tower's RTM feature, Tower will announce a new home point every few seconds as you move.

    "What if you're flying under a bridge or overpass and it loses signal" You don't really expect Solo to know what is around/above it do you?
     
  13. Killboy

    Joined:
    Jul 17, 2015
    Messages:
    47
    Likes Received:
    28
    Location:
    Western NC, USA
    Then that's on you I'm afraid. Don't fly underneath objects unless you are prepared for the loss of GPS. Switching to "FLY:Manual" will solve the GPS/RTH issue, but you still have to be careful and should be very experienced flying in Manual mode before attempting that because your escape options are limited. It's similar to SCUBA diving...certification to dive underneath structures is demanding and requires several previous levels of certification before you can get wreck/cave certified because it is such a dangerous position to put yourself in limiting your primary escape route.

    This whole thread title smacks of an accusatory tone against 3DR, when in reality the Solo just did exactly what it was told to do. Painful as it may be to accept, the pilot made mistakes and crashed his Solo due to a lack of preparation and understanding. Auto return home did not crash your Solo.

    Hopefully everyone learns from it...be ready to hit up throttle on the left stick to cancel RTH, or assign FLY:Manual to the A button and practice using it regularly.
     
    nuggetz likes this.
  14. Soloing

    Joined:
    Nov 6, 2015
    Messages:
    185
    Likes Received:
    41
    NO. The feature is like this for a reason. I hate to tell you, but you should have read the manual better, or familiarized yourself better with the "RTL" procedure. As a matter of fact, I am not sure myself IF you can somehow "override" RTL. However, I know exactly what the Solo will do when initiating RTL, so I am prepared.

    Having said this. You are not alone. I read of many people that had similar incidents right when the Solo came out, where they took off from a place to close to their house or so, and since this is not military grade GPS it can be off by a bunch of feet. Well, it was off which resulted in descending onto the house.

    [/QUOTE]Shouldn't it check its status before doing so?[/QUOTE] What else do you expect from a consumer drone for $1000 bucks?

    [/QUOTE]Shouldn't the operator who knows whats going on around the area be in total control at all time unless the controller fails or connection is lost?[/QUOTE] Good question, but irrelevant in your case. You should have known what is going to happen, and you didn't, or you didn't think about it. Happened to all of us. Learn from this...
     
  15. Cristobal

    Joined:
    Oct 28, 2015
    Messages:
    63
    Likes Received:
    22
    What times are you guys getting when you land at 25% - I'm getting about 10-12 minutes?
     
  16. Fenderbender

    Joined:
    Nov 17, 2015
    Messages:
    51
    Likes Received:
    7
    I get about 13 minutes landing at 25%. So Here is what I gather. I need to set the A button for manual flight and I should magically have this knowledge. And I guess everybody does it and should yet it's not already set up that way. I knew of RTL and what it does and when it does it. what I didn't expect was how quickly the copter went from 15% to 10% as I have never had it that low before. I was only 2 feet off the ground. I wasn't taking my eyes off of it as I was trying to land and want to be able to counter act any wild movements. This is what i was prepared for only it left me with no control. I knew those lines were there. I knew what I was doing and was fully capable of landing safely like I have plenty of times before. I always land at 25% and I tried to in this case but was unable to do so safely. So I quickly had everyone clear the only spot I really had to land. I really do expect this $1000 machine to be smart like they say. Asking if it could look at input from the user and current altitude before initializing RTL would be very easily implemented. It does way more complex tasks than this already. Come on... Don't give that what do you expect from a $1000 machine stuff. Look what it does already, but you should know this because you read the manual from cover to cover right? This thing is so easy to fly that I don't even use smart shots or any of auto features. I bought it thinking I would use them all the time since my only drone experience prior to this was a very large $9000 hexacopter with gimbal and a Canon 6D. That was a beast to operate and took two people. There is no question it would have been 100 times safer if left under my control. I am suggesting they change the way this is handled. Shoot consumer GPS is accurate to what 3- 6 feet? I could have been inches from the ground and it could have thought differently.
     
  17. Fenderbender

    Joined:
    Nov 17, 2015
    Messages:
    51
    Likes Received:
    7
    How are you prepared then if you don't know how to over ride the RTL? I had 1 second to react. If your take off area suddenly had some kids in it that wandered into the area, then what. RTL is the last thing you want then. You can say "Oh I would have just done this or that" Yeah that's easy to say now. But wait until the unexpected happens and you have to make the decision in 1 second and see how well you do. Sometimes things are out of your control and need to make decisions on the fly, but Solo can't adapt to that apparently. I will set the A button to manual fly now that I know. I went with the safest option I had available at that time and all would have been ok if it were not for RTL engaging during my landing procedure where I am in a descent and only 2 feet off the ground. This was the first time I've flown anywhere near the power lines too. Only landing spot I had.
     
  18. Michael Mahler

    Joined:
    Nov 4, 2015
    Messages:
    18
    Likes Received:
    5
    This thread saved me tonight, thanks guys. I finally got the drone updated and took it out back for a quick check-flight. Based on reading this thread I set the "A" button to Fly. I had the drone out over the creek when I got the 25% warning so I started bringing it back in. Like the OP I was just a couple of feet from the ground when the RTL kicked in due to low battery and the bird headed towards my RTL altitude of 165', problem was there was a tree limb about 50' up. I tried the full up stick and when that didn't seem to work I hit my "A" button and she stopped about 5' below the limb and I got it back down safely.
     
    Fenderbender and Killboy like this.
  19. Fenderbender

    Joined:
    Nov 17, 2015
    Messages:
    51
    Likes Received:
    7
    Shouldn't the operator who knows whats going on around the area be in total control at all time unless the controller fails or connection is lost?[/QUOTE] Good question, but irrelevant in your case. You should have known what is going to happen, and you didn't, or you didn't think about it. Happened to all of us. Learn from this...[/QUOTE]

    How is this irrelevant? Had I been in control none of this would have happened.
     
  20. Fenderbender

    Joined:
    Nov 17, 2015
    Messages:
    51
    Likes Received:
    7
    Glad your experience came out ok.