The Solo Ebay Bargains....

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So I'm impressed with my solo and the few upgrades that I have completed, however as the t-shirt says "Game Of Drones: Crashes are coming...".
I've noticed that to buy a Solo Shell, it costs about $99 at last check. Motors are a lot cheaper, but when you multiply them by 4... the price goes up (what can I say, I'm planning for a real bad day). However, like most people, I'm sure you've noticed the plethora of drones for sale on Ebay, some of them quite cheap (all of course marked "For Parts Only").
Now I've noticed a few things with these drones. Some of them have obviously been crashed, in fact the pictures taken were done in such a way as to minimize the view of cracked shells.
However finally settled on one that claimed the body was in perfect condition, however the solo was suffering from a calibration error.
At the very least, I'm hoping I've managed to obtain a non cracked solo shell with maybe a few spare motor's (although weary of the amount of time on the motors of course).
At the most, a working solo that needs a calibration (ie. smack) or a pix hawk replacement.

The point of this whole experiment is to see whether or not it's possible to buy a solo drone for under $80 that can be made work or actually used for useful replacement/spare parts. Of course for this to be worthwhile, the total cost of the drone has to be less than of a new one from the store (this includes purchasing a separate one year warranty).

So that's my little experiment and if anyone's interested, I'll be updating this thread with the results of my purchase, costs, thoughts and final verdicts!

So first up, the $70 ebay drone with free shipping. We'll see how it goes!
 
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So I'm impressed with my solo and the few upgrades that I have completed, however as the t-shirt says "Game Of Drones: Crashes are coming...".
I've noticed that to buy a Solo Shell, it costs about $99 at last check. Motors are a lot cheaper, but when you multiply them by 4... the price goes up (what can I say, I'm planning for a real bad day). However, like most people, I'm sure you've noticed the plethora of drones for sale on Ebay, some of them quite cheap (all of course marked "For Parts Only").
Now I've noticed a few things with these drones. Some of them have obviously been crashed, in fact the pictures taken were done in such a way as to minimize the view of cracked shells.
However finally settled on one that claimed the body was in perfect condition, however the solo was suffering from a calibration error.
At the very least, I'm hoping I've managed to obtain a non cracked solo shell with maybe a few spare motor's (although weary of the amount of time on the motors of course).
At the most, a working solo that needs a calibration (ie. smack) or a pix hawk replacement.

The point of this whole experiment is to see whether or not it's possible to buy a solo drone for under $80 that can be made work or actually used for useful replacement/spare parts. Of course for this to be worthwhile, the total cost of the drone has to be less than of a new one from the store (this includes purchasing a separate one year warranty).

So that's my little experiment and if anyone's interested, I'll be updating this thread with the results of my purchase, costs, thoughts and final verdicts!

So first up, the $70 ebay drone with free shipping. We'll see how it goes!

A little late for the party see this thread B&H photo deal
 
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So I'm impressed with my solo and the few upgrades that I have completed, however as the t-shirt says "Game Of Drones: Crashes are coming...".
I've noticed that to buy a Solo Shell, it costs about $99 at last check. Motors are a lot cheaper, but when you multiply them by 4... the price goes up (what can I say, I'm planning for a real bad day). However, like most people, I'm sure you've noticed the plethora of drones for sale on Ebay, some of them quite cheap (all of course marked "For Parts Only").
Now I've noticed a few things with these drones. Some of them have obviously been crashed, in fact the pictures taken were done in such a way as to minimize the view of cracked shells.
However finally settled on one that claimed the body was in perfect condition, however the solo was suffering from a calibration error.
At the very least, I'm hoping I've managed to obtain a non cracked solo shell with maybe a few spare motor's (although weary of the amount of time on the motors of course).
At the most, a working solo that needs a calibration (ie. smack) or a pix hawk replacement.

The point of this whole experiment is to see whether or not it's possible to buy a solo drone for under $80 that can be made work or actually used for useful replacement/spare parts. Of course for this to be worthwhile, the total cost of the drone has to be less than of a new one from the store (this includes purchasing a separate one year warranty).

So that's my little experiment and if anyone's interested, I'll be updating this thread with the results of my purchase, costs, thoughts and final verdicts!

So first up, the $70 ebay drone with free shipping. We'll see how it goes!

Mind if I tag along and contribute to your endeavor? I bought a lot of 5 "best buy returns" solos last night, which should be arriving on Thursday. $60 or so a pop with no usually included items. My goal when buying them was first and foremost, to see if I could correct whatever "issue" they had to spark a return, and get them back into the air. Barring that, have parts on hand for a potential bad day.
 
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A little late for the party see this thread B&H photo deal
True enough, but I'm doing it from a newbie point of view, also going to hopefully list out a complete breakdown on costs vs time as an end result. Glad some people managed to make it work, wonder how many "spares" are still out there, or if the stock pile is slowly diminishing...
 
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Mind if I tag along and contribute to your endeavor? I bought a lot of 5 "best buy returns" solos last night, which should be arriving on Thursday. $60 or so a pop with no usually included items. My goal when buying them was first and foremost, to see if I could correct whatever "issue" they had to spark a return, and get them back into the air. Barring that, have parts on hand for a potential bad day.
I saw that deal too, but wasn't going to invest that much, but would love to hear how it goes. Will be good to find out if buying 1 or buying a "pack of 5" is a better investment. After this? Will have to do a write up on buying 2nd hand go pro's!
 
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OK, so Drone will be arriving next Thursday. As per usual, this does not come with any accessories, so no props, no controller, no battery..... So did a quick breakdown and I have to say.... the math don't add up!
First of all the total cost of the drone I got (B&H deal complete with gimbal).

Drone $300.00
Battery For Drone Inc
Controller Inc
Battery For Controller Inc
Charger For Drone Inc
Charger For Controller Inc
Gimbal Inc
Props Inc
Total $300.00

Then add in the accessories that were bought:
MRO GPS $70.00
GPS Shield $50.00 (including shipping)
Lights $20.00
Leg Extenders $20.00
Controller Knobs $20.00
Lanyard $30.00
Total $250.00

So total brand new drone cost with accessories
$550
What I'm not including in here is the cost of the already owned GP4 Black.

Now onto the projected costs of buying a 2nd hand Ebay drone and converting it into a fully working Solo. .

Drone $65.00
Battery For Drone $60.00
Controller $50.00
Battery For Controller $30.00
Charger For Drone $51.45
Charger For Controller $20.00
Gimbal $50.00
Props $30.00
Total $356.45

Now that's assuming I would resell the above, if I keep it, obviously I can discount the cost of a battery, props and chargers.

If the drone needs a GPS upgrade and a pix hawk replacement, then we're looking at the following additional costs:

GPS $70.00
GPS Shield $50.00
Pix Hawk $60.00
Total: $180

So now we're looking at a total of $536.45 just to get it up in the air and reliable.

Finally, if I add in the costs of the optional extra's:
Lights $20.00
Leg Extenders $20.00
Controller Knobs $20.00
Lanyard $30.00
Total: $90.00

That means the grand total comes to
$626.46

So essentially what I'm thinking is this....
As a replacement shell, 4 motors and a pix hawk, $65 is well work the price. Heck, even as a replacement shell it's worth the price.

However, as for buying it with the intention of building it and upgrading it to a fully working solo? I'd be better off just buying 2 brand new ones for $300 (each) and seeing what kind of deal I can get (gimbal, backpack, spare battery etc...).
 
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My order arrived today, will update when I go through it.

Edit: started going through 1 solo so far, on the exterior you'd be hard pressed to differentiate it from a new one. Body is in great shape, has GPS RevA. Pod 3 is "dead" (won't light up) software version was 1.0.5, so it's been sitting a while. LED Sequence won't move past 3 (4) green LEDs, but I presume that is because of pod 3 having issues. Otherwise communicates with the controller. Will pull the pod here shortly to see what's up. Update: pod swapped, new pod works and lights up, solo still unsuccessful at startup.

Update 2: all other solos powered up for a short test. All start successfully, so it appears I just started with the hard one. One of the solos made ground contact on its left side at some point as there is mud on two of the pods. Out of th batch, only two pods don't light up, will dig further into it. I've gotta work in the wee early morning hours, so I'm calling it a night. Will resume after work tomorrow.
 
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I purchased two Solos from the above listed seller.

First Solo world not pair with the controller I purchased.
After a reset it connected.
Upated Solo and controller and it flies fine.

Second Solo connected to controller and was already updated to 2.4 but fails to control the FL motor.
FR and rear motors operate.

I swapped the FL pod and it functions. I tested the power supply to all four pods with a DVOM and the power output is identical.
I suspected the mainboard was defective.

After removing the battery box and gps I noticed the pod control cable for the FL pod was pinched between the mainboard and body.

Close examination of the control cable Shows 2 of the 8 wires have the insulation cut near the connector.

The FL pod control cable connector on the mainboard is under the battery terminal connector. It's not easy to remove or replace the control cable.

It appears someone used a sharp tool to inset the cable connector into the mainboard and cut the insulation in the process.

I swapped out the cut control cable and still no operation of FL motor.

Possible mainboard failure.

Further testing required.
 
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Below the Accessory Port and adjacent to the Pair button is a small orange LED Pair indicator light. Once this light starts flashing rapidly, about five times per second, release the Pair button.




Still not seeing the orange LED flash rapidly after holding the Pair button for 15 seconds? Follow these troubleshooting steps:

1.) Turn the vehicle off.

2.) Try again by turning the vehicle on while holding the Pair button. Be sure to watch the orange LED as you turn it on.

3.) If the LED flashes rapidly for up to 30 seconds, leave it alone for five minutes to complete the update

4.) If, when you turn on the Solo, the LED stays solid orange and never turns off, then please submit a ticket to customer support. There is likely a problem with the on-board computer.

5.) If the LED is solid for one second, then dark for 20 seconds, then starts flashing once per second or becomes solid again, then Solo booted up normally and the factory reset never initiated. Try performing a factory reset again. If the factory reset still doesn’t start, it is possible that you’re not pressing the Pair button correctly (it’s tough!) or it is damaged.


I had the "LED stays solid orange and never turns off issue" with one of the eBay bargains. The problem was the sd card holder on the solo computer wouldn't click lock when inserted. The fix is to lightly pushed in the two small tabs on the holder so it click locks and then add a little hot glue. I strongly suspect this is why there is so many Best Buy returns
 
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I purchased two Solos from the above listed seller.

First Solo world not pair with the controller I purchased.
After a reset it connected.
Upated Solo and controller and it flies fine.

Second Solo connected to controller and was already updated to 2.4 but fails to control the FL motor.
FR and rear motors operate.

I swapped the FL pod and it functions. I tested the power supply to all four pods with a DVOM and the power output is identical.
I suspected the mainboard was defective.

After removing the battery box and gps I noticed the pod control cable for the FL pod was pinched between the mainboard and body.

Close examination of the control cable Shows 2 of the 8 wires have the insulation cut near the connector.

The FL pod control cable connector on the mainboard is under the battery terminal connector. It's not easy to remove or replace the control cable.

It appears someone used a sharp tool to inset the cable connector into the mainboard and cut the insulation in the process.

I swapped out the cut control cable and still no operation of FL motor.

Possible mainboard failure.

Further testing required.

Really interested in seeing what you come up with!
 
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My order arrived today, will update when I go through it.

Edit: started going through 1 solo so far, on the exterior you'd be hard pressed to differentiate it from a new one. Body is in great shape, has GPS RevA. Pod 3 is "dead" (won't light up) software version was 1.0.5, so it's been sitting a while. LED Sequence won't move past 3 (4) green LEDs, but I presume that is because of pod 3 having issues. Otherwise communicates with the controller. Will pull the pod here shortly to see what's up. Update: pod swapped, new pod works and lights up, solo still unsuccessful at startup.

Update 2: all other solos powered up for a short test. All start successfully, so it appears I just started with the hard one. One of the solos made ground contact on its left side at some point as there is mud on two of the pods. Out of th batch, only two pods don't light up, will dig further into it. I've gotta work in the wee early morning hours, so I'm calling it a night. Will resume after work tomorrow.
Can't wait to see the results, hoping my purchase goes well. Hey, 50/50 chance right?
 
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I'd say, based on what I'm seeing, your odds are better than 50/50 for getting a flyable bird. I'd hazard a guess that a bulk of Best buy returns on solo are due to people just not knowing or being comfortable with flying it.

That first bird I checked with an unsuccessful boot will have all the motor pods swapped out one by one tonight to see if there is another pod preventing successful boot, or if it's a board problem, at which point it's getting fully gutted to check all the innards.
 
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I'd say, based on what I'm seeing, your odds are better than 50/50 for getting a flyable bird. I'd hazard a guess that a bulk of Best buy returns on solo are due to people just not knowing or being comfortable with flying it.

That first bird I checked with an unsuccessful boot will have all the motor pods swapped out one by one tonight to see if there is another pod preventing successful boot, or if it's a board problem, at which point it's getting fully gutted to check all the innards.
I was kinda going on the odds that "either it works or it doesn't". Still, as a replacement shell, it's still cheaper than buying a new one. If I can get it fully working, even better! Also, it will be good to have something to practice on when it comes to stripping it down and replacing motor pods, that sort of thing. Still, looking forward to next Thursday when it finally arrives.
 
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I bought one from "titan.deals" off Ebay. He has had them for as low as $75, free shipping. Auction said it would not calibrate. Got it in, still had the plastic wrap on gps cover, and direction stickers on the motors. It would not calibrate by itself, but using the app to calibrate it manually fixed it. Now it's good to go...
 
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I bought one from "titan.deals" off Ebay. He has had them for as low as $75, free shipping. Auction said it would not calibrate. Got it in, still had the plastic wrap on gps cover, and direction stickers on the motors. It would not calibrate by itself, but using the app to calibrate it manually fixed it. Now it's good to go...
Aye, that's who I bought mine from. Just waiting on delivery (damn you slow postal service!). I'm hoping it can be just calibrated with the app, or by using the "smack" method found here on the forum!
 
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Aye, that's who I bought mine from. Just waiting on delivery (damn you slow postal service!). I'm hoping it can be just calibrated with the app, or by using the "smack" method found here on the forum!
He's a good guy. I too just bought it as a spare and figured I use my experience to see if it should be fixed. Went a lot easier than I was preparing for. He has a huge amount of feedback and not one is negative :)
 
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He's a good guy. I too just bought it as a spare and figured I use my experience to see if it should be fixed. Went a lot easier than I was preparing for. He has a huge amount of feedback and not one is negative :)
You just reminded me to leave feedback with him. Thanks!
 
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