SW vs HW issues?

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I have been an observer of UAV's for quite a while - just like this forum - and have not participated but am getting pretty ready to...

But I do have a question... I'm OK with being on the cutting edge and getting cut - risk of the early adopter and all that... but HISTORICALLY - when a new product comes out (be it the Solo or others) - here's a question from an admitted uninitiated...

Are issues generally software (like some reported Solo satellites being dropped frequently) where an OTA update can fix things... or are there just as many hardware "hold your iPhone differently" issues that simply can't be fixed until the hardware has a revision. What I'm trying to gauge from others experiences in the past is do these thigns tend to get fixed with firmwares as time goes on or is there a very real risk that the engineers messed up and put the widget too close to the refrigerator and - well - that aint gonna fly, so to speak?
 
Consider, too, that most people aren't having issues with their copter. When a lot of people get theirs, they don't return to the forums unless they have a problem. Sometimes this makes it seem like everyone is having issues.

3DR has promised software fixes and upgrades in the future. And from what I've seen on this forum so far, the issues people are having seem to be software related, and those are supposed to be fixable.
 
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3rd Flight,,flawless!!! Almost too easy. I spent several months flying a little Hubsan H107L and handling Solo manually is simple and easy,,a lot easier than the little one!
 
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I think most of the problems, if any, are likely related to firmware and the app. They will get fixed in short time. 3DR has a lot of skin in the game. Being a U.S. company and knowing their obligations to the consumer, they will get it right. A company in this country does not survive not supporting it's customers.
So in saying that, If there is something hardware related, that will get fixed as well.
These companies overseas do not operate with the same scruples or business models as they do in the U.S.
It's hard to say what is what on the forums. Mostly, I've seen connection issues but I have also seen lots of pilot error. When the fever pitch goes down, we will start seeing some real feedback.
The best thing you could do as a new user is to take your time, read all you can read, practice with a little cheap quad like a Syma, and take your time to methodically do everything by the book until you get used to it's characteristics.
 
@Bren - I get that complainers complain and happy people are flying... what I'm really asking is with ALL THE OTEHR drones rolled out over the last several years - not specifically 3DR, just the market in general... they all have bugs. But in general are the bugs sw and fixable or are there lots of example of hardware (iPhone antenna) that are not fixable in historical UAV products?

@Raybro - Agree 100% about supporting a US based company. I have almost tinfoil hat worthy concerns about DJI and their drones... so I get that - my question might not have been clear tho (see above to Bren) - I'm really wondering about the history of UAV releases in general for a trend line of SW issues that get fixed vs HW issues that can't be fixed... that's all :)
 
I totally agree! Inexperience and no experience will lead to trouble sooner or later. Not to dis those who have experience AND a problem,,it's bound to happen to someone or more. But, my personal experience with this so far is to be methodical in my approach, think everything through, thorough flight planning ie location, what the plan is and stick to it, same start-up sequence each time, etc. Not to say I wont have an issue downstream but I think I am somewhat prepared in case of an inflight problem. I would encourage everyone to get a cheapie 1st. The skill derived will be invaluable! I still fly mine just to keep skills up, practicing maneuvers, landings. It's a great machine!!
 
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@Bren - I get that complainers complain and happy people are flying... what I'm really asking is with ALL THE OTEHR drones rolled out over the last several years - not specifically 3DR, just the market in general... they all have bugs. But in general are the bugs sw and fixable or are there lots of example of hardware (iPhone antenna) that are not fixable in historical UAV products?

@Raybro - Agree 100% about supporting a US based company. I have almost tinfoil hat worthy concerns about DJI and their drones... so I get that - my question might not have been clear tho (see above to Bren) - I'm really wondering about the history of UAV releases in general for a trend line of SW issues that get fixed vs HW issues that can't be fixed... that's all :)
It's hard to say. I can honestly say I don't keep up with these other companies. My interest with quads started last year when the Phantoms were first introduced. This is a new and rapidly growing market which is going from a hobby into commercial uses. Working with technology everyday as an IT director I can say that firmware and software will fix hardware issues unless the hardware is faulty to begin with. The basic concept for the quad and the hardware that go into is there, it's just a matter of improving on it and who can do a better job of it. I feel that 3DR is doing that.
 
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The design of quads is almost identical across the board (in my opinion), what differs is the shell and the software that runs these things.
 
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Software is either a localized issue of fix it yourself or if wide spread is resolved in "short" order to mass appeal. There are really only two SW platforms on the market at present, at least within the arena we are discussing.

Really the bigger issues are related to hardware, even in some cases it can be corrected by software. However short comings in hardware design can only be corrected so far by software. Heat is one element of hardware design that is overlooked by designers. I could make a long list of hardware issues, but I don't feel I need to educate others about their design flaws.

With that said, I believe 3DR understands the relationship between software and hardware, at least that is where I'm placing my bet for a future venture. I believe their engineering is solid based on previous products sold in mass. I feel they will continue to meet and exceed the markets expectation for products.

Our expectation, Euro/America users, is to hold domestic companies to a higher standard. Whereas we allow acceptance for other's short comings due to bang for the buck quality expectation. It is truly an unlevel field in the RTF UAV market. We the users have to determine the value for our given application at this moment. Regulation, either by industry standards or .gov, will level the field into the future. To the market's surprise, 3DR is setting the bar for CS and quality of product out of the gate with the Solo. What have you received from others for similar releases?

3DR has offered the market a first in two categories, 30 day return and hardware fault warranty. In the future, I feel that I can hold 3DR to their promises for quality and innovation. And for the issues seen to date with the Solo, I'm believe I am making the right choice. @Raybro example of the gimbal efforts at 3DR is another example of hardware, software and open conversation with the users...WOW!

For the record, I am not affiliated with 3DR or their personnel. Further I like Dr Pepper better than Cool-Aid, so..."Always one of a kind".
 
@RichWest thats great context for a general discussion... but it doesn't really answer my original question... I KNOW hardware is much more difficult to fix once released than SW issues...
What I'm trying to get a feel for - and if nobody knows - that's cool too - is historically - all brands of mutli-rotors out there... of the issues - what's the SW / HW split?
as an example - Apple has released a whole slew of iPhones over the years... with the exception of the "hold your phone differently" antenna and the "some batteries have been recalled" issues - most everything else has been software related... So what we could say is 20% of the issues were poor hardware design and 80% were poor software engineering... ok, cool... a rule of thumb was born for apple phones...
I'm just trying to armchair analyze for myself the likelihood of the issues being reported by the vocal minority being HW / SW - and I have no baseline from the past to use against my thumb as a measuring stick when it comes to this class of UAV - that's all :)
 
In my past experience I tried to calculate number of issues in general for one brand RTF, with out regard for HW or SW related. I got mixed conversations/arguments for my numbers. Unlike the cell phone industry, we have a mix of users - those that can tinker and those that can't. I mean what is the percentage of users that hack their phones? We are filling up with more non-tinker'ers in this now RTF market. Further the hardware in RTF is becoming more refined. Something breaks, they need someone else to repair...I believe 95% of the user base knows nothing of outside sources for this info or desire to learn technical repair. Of the 5% remaining, fix-it yourself people, only 1% is interacting on this or other forums openly or often.

Only a manufacture can detail the number of issues to what you are asking at this time, this is not a main stream item. Even dealers/repair would have a difficult time trending a given type of failure. One manufacture ceased dealer repairs for warranty service recently, do you have any ideas why? I think they wanted to control the knowledge base for user issues. Further they could control what is and what isn't a warranty claim. Depending on the user, many got a bill for the repair.

Based on previous topic on the Gimbal delay and then a link to 3DR's open conversation as to the delay, I think we can expect 3DR to be open about issues related to Hardware. Software issues are posted on GitHub for all to view.

Since we are here to talk 3DR Solo, everything from them seems to be open for public view. Maybe not the exact percentage of effected users, but way more information than we could expect from others. Read the Gimbal delay explanation from 3DR, 2% failure rate was to high for them to release the gimbal as is...there's your first feed for numbers....
 
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All issues are Software issues, unless they're not - in which case it's most likely a hardware issue.
 
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The design of quads is almost identical across the board (in my opinion), what differs is the shell and the software that runs these things.
Right, and if you've done all you can by pushing the limits with firmware and software and you don't have the desired results then it's time for better hardware.
 
Absolutely, but wisdom can't be borrowed. It must be earned.
You need to slow down a bit with the mind blowing statements. I've been in a mental vacuum for the last year believing what I was fed by false wisdom. It'll take some time, but I believe the 3DR crowd will help in that recovery...:D
 
I think I remember hearing 3DR saying that the failure rate (HW/SW) was less than 2%. That is extremely low for any product like this, let alone a whole new design 1st generation. Not that I know exactly what all the issues are, but I'm thinking that alot of what you see posted on boards are actually Human Error rather than actual HW/SW failure. This quad is a little different to fly, and a lot of what I'm seeing on the Fourms seem to be crashes due to improper initial set up and calibrations. The announcement showing Apes flying the Solo was not a good idea in the end. It made it look like anyone with no prior experience could fly the Solo without a learning curve. MY THOUGHTS ONLY: is that there are software issues that are being handled quickly, and a few HW issues some are being handled (gimbal) and a few that I don't think 3DR has not put high on the list since they are not affecting 100% of the customers. Thats why there is always a Ver. 2 of anything made these days. I have never seen a major software release of v1.0 that was not updated to at least a v1.0.1 within a few months.
 

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