Question regarding transferring Firmware updates between working and reset birds - Did reset on original Solo

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Sorry guys for this question if it's late in the game. With a lot of work to do around the house with elderly folks and covid I haven't been involved in the drone game for a long time. First the bad news. . . is it bad who knows? I made an approach to kind of commit to a somewhat low budget future with 3dr and have drones sitting on my shelves that are new stock but have never been flown. . . .maybe my boat anchor spare parts collection.

Here's the deal I was so enthusiastic about 3dr solo I wanted to future proof my options. So when they were selling for a good deal I bought 5 birds. I know I was pretty enthusiastic about the hobby and went a little overboard. I figured buying five really nice birds for the price of one new bird from other manufacturers was a pretty good deal. I'd have plenty of spare parts and be able to fly for some years with those birds, but I never foresaw the firmware support drop that 3dr would do to customers. . . so I made a big mistake and left three of the birds untouched and unopened as reserve stock. They've never been paired and never been flashed or updated.

I only flew one of them regularly and flew one in a short test flight and put it back in the box. The other three are factory fresh. (maybe factory bricks)

My thoughts were in case I ever decided to go for the 107 license and do a business having a few spares of the same drone would be a must as I'd want to have backup parts as the 3DR solo drones were going away. Rather than buy something like a refurbished Inspire 2 I bought more 3dr solos. It seemed like a good plan. And I have about 11 batteries as well, so I figured I'd be set for a decade.

So that's where I'm at. Unfortunately I forgot and didn't note down the wifi password on my frequent flying SOLO. I also had not flown it for years. About a week ago I decided to try to fly it. But I couldn't link it to my wifi as I forgot the password, so I couldn't link my usual flight bird to the controller.

I did a reset of the solo and controller, not realizing the firmware files are not out there anymore because 3dr dropped support of their consumer drones.

This seemed silly and I never even thought that that would happen. Here's what I have setup and what I discovered. Of course doing the reset meant pairing back the drone but I can't of course get it to fly because it's bricked now without the firmware update. I have the following a couple of older Ipads, but they were replaced and I didn't run or install the 3dr software on them being on a couple year break from flying so they don't have the solo firmware downloaded. I have an older Android tablet that I ran as a backup 3dr solo software setup.

That was used to fly the drones a couple of times, but I'm not sure if that has the firmware updates in it as I set them up with my ipad mini3 which I broke and had replaced.

I have an OLD ANDROID tablet I used to fly the drone a few times. It may have the firmware updates in it, I don't know yet.

So I'm not sure I have a firmware update in the Android tablet to flash the old drone which I reset or not. Maybe I can flash it and can try. My biggest question however is if the SOLO can't be updated to run the original 3dr software which I'm used to running, is there a way to take the firmware update from the working drone and store it or download it to a computer for example my old Windows 8 machine and then upload it to the drone and other drones I have as well to do a basic factory setup for all the drones, both my original paired one which is bricked and the other three which are in sealed boxes and have never been opened or flown. I thought having an original drone ready to go and starting from afresh would be better even as a resellable drone in case I got away from the SOLO setups or as gifts to friends would be better. I guessed wrong. Didn't see the dropping of support from 3dr in the picture.

I even wonder if it's legal for 3DR to drop support that way, but I guess it must be. A buddy of mine said I should start a class action lawsuit to force them to give us the firmware updates as they sold us a product and may still be liable to support it . . . but I'm guessing that's probably not in the cards, although they still exist they probably know that the legal liabilities of their supporting the product has passed.

It looks like my only chance for a "virgin" 3dr classical experience for four bricked drones may rest with the older android tablet if the firmware updates were indeed downloaded on that "backup tablet device". Haven't used that tablet much either as it sat in a storage box in my room for couple years but it still works fine.

I still can perhaps go the side pilot or perhaps a SOLEX route although my backup android tablet is a little bit old and I got rid of the 4g cellular service for it some time ago as I wasn't using it as a tablet at all it was just a backup tablet for the drones in case I wanted to fly two of them with a friend or something. I also don't know if I can take the gimble out of my formerly working drone which I bricked and just plug it in or install it into the second drone that did fly but didn't have a gimbal. The original one I flew had a gimbal but the one I tested in a box only had a fixed mount. I also have one that is new in a backpack with another gimbal as well and a third spare 3dr solo gimbal that was never installed in any of the birds. So I have 5 birds and 3 gimbals but only one running right now. I also was a pretty big fan and watcher of a lot of youtube channels like Drone Worship and others, but obviously many of them have moved on the DJI, and others. I also have a few other drones. Some Parrot Bebop 1s and a Parrot Bebop 2 with controllers and googles for them. The parrot Bebops are nice as well, but I'd like to fly the solo once in a while for some nice Gopro hero 4 footage as it's a bit nicer than the Bebop. I just renewed my registration recently with the FAA for consumer flights, not commercial. I don't really have a lot of time to do drone stuff but the weather is breaking and I do drone stuff very rarely and also at times dabble with astronomy being retired. Anyway that's a little bit about me and my questions. Any help or links to suggestions would be appreciated it probably would be cool if I could flash the controlers and birds all to default 3dr settings so I'd have a base fleet to fly for a few years or maybe until these all finally crash and burn. I should be set for maybe 10 years if I can get these all to fly. A couple of years per bird should not be to difficult pace to keep them going before a lot of other repairs are necessary. I'm not to keen on forking over a bunch of money for DJI birds controlled and limited with China firmware updates. Kind of surprised as others must have been that 3dr seemed to turn it's back on the US consumers even though they left the consumer market. How hard would it be to keep a firmware site running? And what kind of expense would that have been for them. Maybe they were afraid of extended liabilities from crashes of aging birds or something. But in my case I don't do risky flying, really gentle flights over safe fields for scenes of landscapes and sunsets, nothing to daring and having 5 birds in a box seldom used can't be to much of a liability for them as we don't sue people anyway. I liked the fact that the platform was supposed to be open source and is for those who want to go that route.

I also wonder if there is a future proof strategy for these birds to load them up differently so they can sit with future configurations in case support for the other paths is dropped and I wish to fly with other options in the future. Sorry for so many questions as I'm kind of brainstorming and trying to figure out my best route. I'm not in a rush or hurry as I do have the Parrot Bebop 2 and at least one working drone (( think?) at this time. But I'd like a path foward to protect my little drone horde. . . archive here.

Greg
 
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Your old birds should fly fine with Solex on an Android, or with SidePilot on an Apple device. I purchased both programs.

I just picked up a new Samsung Tab A 8" tablet at my local Costco for $109. Solex loads and runs on it.

You can use either Solex or SidePilot to update your old Solo drones to OpenSolo 4. They do not need the old 3DR servers. I'm running OpenSolo 4 on two of my 3DR Solos.

I'm kind of in the same boat, because I have two flyable 3DR solos, and three that I got just for parts.

Chris Shaker
 
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Thanks for the help and ideas guys. Here's an update. Briefly the Android software I had loaded on my backup tablet was able to restore my solos for fight readiness. So I have four drones ready to rock and will configure the next one perhaps tomorrow, just so the spares are ready to fly if I ever need them.

I've been pretty busy but today I decided to see if the old Android tablet I picked up a few years back had the software updates required to restore the Solo drones which were bricked or never initialized back to their initial good state with a good update release of the 3dr solo software. I could recall using the cheap old android tablet for a solo test as a back up tablet to my now destroyed and exchanged Mini 3 table. But I couldn't remember if in running it did I get the updates for the solo firmware or updated software load into that old backup tablet. My thoughts were if I could initialize them to a basic solo rig setup which I'm used to at least I'd have the functions I'd want for a drone and it's spares and I could always then decide to update on or two of them to open solo or Solex and side pilot for fun to see how those other solutions work out. Fired up the software on the android and it said I had updates required for the drone. Didn't even look at the updates tabs for fear it might do some kind of check against some (unknown, but probably gone) database to verify I had the latest firmware update. I think I had a really stable version of the solo software. . . if I had it downloaded and I choose to update the main bird I have been flying and it updated it with solos software and firmware first updating the controller and then of course the update procedure went to the paired drone. Easy to run from the Android tablet and I had my old solo ready to rock again. Then I pulled out a new one I never flew and booted it up and picked the controllers wifi for that and repeated that with that and a forth drone in the collection of backups. All the drones updated and I have no problem with loss of firmware brick issues. This Android tablet which was a secondary tablet to loan to a friend to fly a second bird just turned into GOLD for my solo collection. I'm going to open up and update another new drone, never opened or flown. All the updated drones were ready to fly but I didn't check with any FAA notification software nor had props on the birds, because my goal was just to update the software and get the "press fly to launch" command which I did. I actually pressed the fly button on my primary bird and watched the motors go crazy fast as they spooled up trying to lift the bird up but of course you can't when there's no rotors attached. So I turned that bird off and did all by the last bird which should be updated tomorrow if the weather allows that to happen around here.

I still find it difficult to believe that 3dr would drop their online firmware updates for this drone. After all it was sold as hardware but is run by software and there was a procedure which apparently would work for any novice user who might get a 3dr solo gifted to them new from old stock in the future. It's difficult to believe a product can be so thoroughly abandoned. Their talk about other software projects they were working on to meet the regulation needs of 2018 however made me think perhaps they were worried about having to update the old software to meet federal regulations and they certainty could not do that with a product that they were not selling and making money off of anymore. That kind of made sense. I guess I may have to go back and read up more on the reasoning on how they decided it. Maybe it was for a future liability concern. I'm really used to and love the cinematic shots that can be programmed into the 3dr solo. I still don't know of something like SOLEX can offer all those options I was used to. It was a deeper piece of software and has more functions so maybe it could be a very good replacement.

Looks like I'm set for now. I'll probably buy a copy of both those other apps just to support the app developers and maybe I'll have some time to dive into those other options, perhaps for one drones as a tests bed. With all the covid restrictions we have here it's probably going to be a good break to take with the drone, when I get a chance. . . I've actually been under a kind of lockdown for the past 19 years, with the old folks and their health issues. . . so it's mostly just a fun distraction for me anyway. To get a few nice high up establishing shots, especially around sunsets. . . fun stuff.
 

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