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Only able to fly in manual mode as new pilot

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Hi everyone!

My father has recently bought a second hand Typhoon H Plus from an estate.
I went yesterday to help him get started with it but we ran into a problem where motors would not spin up.
Only way to get lift off was to go into advanced menu and put the drone into manual mode.
This made it bit tricky to fly as complete heli / drone rookie with slight breeze pushing the aircraft around and having to constantly manually compensate.

According to manual the two options for takeoff are with stick or autotakeoff from touchscreen.
Pressing start button to use stick doesn't work as drone makes series of beeps and doens't spin motors.
In autotakeoff it will spin props at idle for few seconds and stop with a single beep.
Lights for booms are white in front, red / green on sides and constantly flashing purple at the rear (indicating no GPS lock angle mode)

Some things we have checked / tried:
- fully charging ST16 and Typhoon batteries
- re-calibrating compass
- re-binding aircraft to controller
- rebooting both few times
- checking from RC monitor the sticks are centered when untouched + switches work
- checking for any updates (says "no update required" for firmware)
- making sure takeoff was attempted in angle mode
- good GPS satellite coverage (green on both units and dozen or more satellites seen)

Some background

The drone was purchased by the previous owner number of years ago (>4 I think) and saw extremely limited use. Previous owner had trouble getting it flying, toppled it over few times damaging it. It has been sent to retailer / importer for check up / repairs at least twice. After last time it was returned to previous owner it was put into closet and now flown for at least year - year and a half.
The flight mode switch does not function (physically works, RC monitor registers position change) and trying to enable it from menu results in error message stating something along the lines "Smart mode disabled within restricted safety area."

The place we tried to fly in is a RC model plane airfield that has 1600FT MSL approval and is situated 800m outside of control zone (UAS D limit) of the nearest airport. We also drove 20min away into empty field outside of city well away from any restriction zones and had same result. Me and my father are both new to helicopters / drones but have experience flying fixed wing model airplanes.

How to get this drone to take off with the GPS assistance? Fully manual feels bit daunting to fly due to wind tossing the aircraft around and bouncing up and down on landing.
All other functions like the WiFi link, video feed / capture, photos, gimbal tilt / pan etc. are working and manual flight from advanced menu is possible.
Hopefully this is just some sort of oversight on our part like switch in wrong position or misconfiguration in the menus.

Any input is well appreciated!
 
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Make sure you're not in smart mode page 25
Also look at page 27
 

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WTFDproject

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Any input is well appreciated!
Welcome to the Forum!
And Thank you for an excellent first post.
One possibility is your statement "it was put into closet and now flown for at least year - year and a half." This suggests the possibility the GPS almanac became out of date, or the GPS memory was lost. The solution to either of the these issues is an extended period of sitting with power on in an area that has a clear view of a wide area of the sky. The almanac is broadcast by the satellites once every 12 minutes. It may take more than one broadcast. And in some instances, may require some power on time for the GPS battery to recharge enough to hold the memory. I would suggest allowing it to gather information for at least one hour to see if that helps the GPS acquisition. If the GPS memory does not stay between restarts it may be necessary to leave power on for much longer to bring the system back to normal function.
 
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Make sure you're not in smart mode page 25
Also look at page 27
Wow! That manual is so comprehensive compared to the one that was in the box or what I found on the website, thank you so much, this is fantastic!

It was definitely not in smart mode since the soft button for flight mode on page 25 couldn't be turned on.
The restricted safety area warning at the bottom of page 25 is exactly what was popping on screen. I thought I was far enough but maybe I really wasn't.
 
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Welcome to the Forum!
And Thank you for an excellent first post.
One possibility is your statement "it was put into closet and now flown for at least year - year and a half." This suggests the possibility the GPS almanac became out of date, or the GPS memory was lost. The solution to either of the these issues is an extended period of sitting with power on in an area that has a clear view of a wide area of the sky. The almanac is broadcast by the satellites once every 12 minutes. It may take more than one broadcast. And in some instances, may require some power on time for the GPS battery to recharge enough to hold the memory. I would suggest allowing it to gather information for at least one hour to see if that helps the GPS acquisition. If the GPS memory does not stay between restarts it may be necessary to leave power on for much longer to bring the system back to normal function.
This sounds to be a very plausible scenario. When trying the get the drone going yesterday we had it at the model plane field for bit over an hour trying to figure things out. But we cycled the power few times to re-seat battery etc. so it was never on that long period continuously. This is definitely the next step to try.

Thank you for the suggestion and really good information how the GPS memory works!
 

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Do not concern yourself with power used while on the ground, but powered up. The amount of energy used sitting for 20 minutes to update the GPS almanac, is likely equal to the energy needed for about 30 sec to 1 minute of time actually in flight.
 

Ty Pilot

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In addition to the above. . . .

How many satellites did you see for the controller? The Aircraft itself? As pointed out by @WTFDproject -it will likely need to set to populate the almanac.

Curious about one point - The H Plus is not quite 4 years old, in fact here in the states, this month is the period 3 years ago when the first ones appeared, so just checking if it is for sure a Plus. Compared to the standard Typhoon, the Plus is a Cadillac so wondering about the problems taking off also.
 
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In addition to the above. . . .

How many satellites did you see for the controller? The Aircraft itself? As pointed out by @WTFDproject -it will likely need to set to populate the almanac.

Curious about one point - The H Plus is not quite 4 years old, in fact here in the states, this month is the period 3 years ago when the first ones appeared, so just checking if it is for sure a Plus. Compared to the standard Typhoon, the Plus is a Cadillac so wondering about the problems taking off also.

Number of satellites in status bar of controller vary from 0 to bit over 20, changing every few seconds going up and down.

Aircraft and controller were left outside for about an hour, situation didn't change but when internal GPS was toggled off and back on afterwards, the lights went static purple.
Did a test flight after and everything appeared to work well. Couldn't test camera though since I had only assumed there was MicroSD card in but turns out the slot was empty.

The estate selling Typhoon told my father it is probably about four years old, it is very likely they didn't have exact knowledge.
The original box it came with says Typhoon H PLUS and so does the quickstart manual inside the box.
I'm quite confident it is indeed plus but is there any solid way of distinguishing between H and H+ by looking at the aircraft?

Interestingly today when trying to fly the drone the second time, back to same situation of no GPS lock and flashing purple lights at the rear.
 

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The body of the H Plus is dark gray, the measurement from one motor to the one opposite it through the aircraft measures 520mm (20.5in), the camera is the C23.
 
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The body of the H Plus is dark gray, the measurement from one motor to the one opposite it through the aircraft measures 520mm (20.5in), the camera is the C23.
Thank you for the help determining whether it is H Plus or H!
It is indeed H Plus given that the color is dark gray, camera is C23 and distance between opposite motor shafts is 520mm.
 
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Interestingly today when trying to fly the drone the second time, back to same situation of no GPS lock and flashing purple lights at the rear.
The response you got (not acquiring GPS during charge, but a moment of success later) was not exactly as expected from prior cases, but still has some characteristics that might warrant further exploration of this path. In most cases, the battery has simply depleted to slightly less than needed to maintain the almanac. But if an otherwise healthy battery has fully depleted, it can take up to 3 days of keeping the drone powered to bring it up to full charge. Yeah. 3 days. But it doesn't have to be FULLY charged to work. And yours does not seem to be fully dead. But it is probably worth powering on the drone and leaving it for as many hours as practical to see if it helps.
 
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The second GPS lock issue was probably due to something entirely else since later the same day my phone had GPS issues as did my father's. The ground station also thew couple of "Geomagnetic interference" error messages. Friend of mine has couple of cars with GPS navigator and they were malfunctioning as well but all devices were operating fine the next day. Possibly some sort of short term GPS interference in the area. I will take into account WTFDproject's suggestion of giving the system more power on time to make sure almanac updates and internal battery for it has time to charge up.

Meanwhile I found out that the drone had microSD card in the C23 camera but it was installed flipped back-to-front so the pins didn't get contact. Took it out, put it back in correct orientation and was able to take some test photos in backyard. Turns out they were of quite low quality even on high settings. Colors were washed out, photo was blurry, grainy and seemed like having taken through fog. Some inspection revealed the camera lens was very dirty with extremely hard to get rid of grease film and lots of pollen / dust stuck to it.

I suspect some dust has worked its way into the box in long storage and greasy substance is likely to be the damper fluid that appears to be leaking out. Some of the dampers are no longer round but squished and parts of the horizontal plate above camera is wet / sticky. This is surprising to me since I wouldn't assume them to blow out in year or two. The estate representative mentioned it had been serviced either late 2019 or early 2020 and part of that service was replacing the dampers.

Today was the first test flight with working camera and holy moly the video quality is superb!
Lot of more flights are needed to get better hang of things, including flying, camera operation, camera modes, still photos etc.
After lot of head scratching I managed to cobble together one panorama with the double layer mode. Took a while to get Microsoft ICE program to work, needs to be manually modified to 2:1 aspect ratio and figure out 3rd party viewer was needed to correctly view it instead of normal photo viewer.

One question I have is what sort of flight times are you pilots getting out of Typhoon H Plus?
Manual is advertising 25min, which I know is under ideal conditions and real world operations are likely not going to touch it. Regardless, the flight times for the two batteries supplied were roughly 7 and 8,5 minutes from 100% to 25% battery on drone. I find this being quite short flight for my tests today which were in warm +25C (+77F) temps, slight steady breeze 5 m/s (11mph), keeping the drone almost all times at constant 50m (164ft) altitude and flying in angle mode at most half setting with the speed slider. Roughly third of each flight was just hovering in place using camera controls to video the surroundings.

Once again, huge thanks to everybody who has helped!
I feel like step by step I'm starting to solve the problems unlock some of the potential this piece of equipment has.
 
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It's good news to hear you got past the GPS issue. And better news you had some fun with it!!
Most people report around 20 minutes or so flight time from the H Plus batteries. Some have reported as little as 15 minutes, a small number have reported times around 25 minutes.
Your batteries will need to be replaced. With flight times that short, the batteries are beyond their useful service life. In their current condition, they are subject to dangerous, unexpected failure at any time, including catching fire when being charged. Most localities have rules for disposal of the old batteries. They can be fully discharged by soaking in a bucket of salt water for a few days.
The damper jelly has been a complaint since they were introduced. It's not that hard to replace them. (The bad thing is that sometimes the new ones were leaking when they arrived.) I occurs to me I have not heard as much discussion about them lately. Maybe the later production dampers were better, maybe people just got used to dealing with it. I have no idea.
 
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@AssistantPilot I have noticed also the quality from taking a Pic from the C23 is not very good, However the video is awesome! @Ty Pilot most likely can explain, he's the guru when it comes to video, photography and whole lot more!...
 

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One question I have is what sort of flight times are you pilots getting out of Typhoon H Plus?
Manual is advertising 25min, which I know is under ideal conditions and real world operations are likely not going to touch it. Regardless, the flight times for the two batteries supplied were roughly 7 and 8,5 minutes from 100% to 25% battery on drone. I find this being quite short flight for my tests today which were in warm +25C (+77F) temps, slight steady breeze 5 m/s (11mph), keeping the drone almost all times at constant 50m (164ft) altitude and flying in angle mode at most half setting with the speed slider. Roughly third of each flight was just hovering in place using camera controls to video the surroundings.

Once again, huge thanks to everybody who has helped!
I feel like step by step I'm starting to solve the problems unlock some of the potential this piece of equipment has.
Glad to see you're getting the bugs worked out, the C23 is still a class leading camera when you get it set up right, I have one a Mavic 2 Pro with the 1" Hasselblad camera and from a pure image standpoint (video or photo) it's got nothing on the C23 - about on par but no better.

When the Plus batteries are new and flown in good conditions you will get 19 - 20 by the first low battery warning. One of my 'beefs' with the Plus is that it uses LiHV batteries and these have a lot of juice at the beginning of their life but fall off faster as they are aged and cycled - more so than standard LiPo batteries. By 50 or so flights (depending on how they have been stored and maintained), you would be seeing around 15 to 17 minutes on a well kept Plus battery. By 100 flight/cycles you be getting 14 or so minutes at best.

If the batteries have been stored while charged or regularly taken down below 25% or so expect them to degrade further. I have my 2 original Plus batteries, each has close to 150 flights and on a good day I can squeeze about 13 or 14 minutes out of them if I needed to but typically I am on the ground in 12 minutes. My 3rd battery has 75 or so flights and i can still get about 15 or so. I have only a few times, left my batteries charged for over 24 hours and have always maintained storage voltage.
 
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Thank you all for the responses!

It is unfortunate we do not have information how the batteries had been stored by the previous owner / the estate.
My father was told the aircraft had been barely flown by the previous owner due to setup issues.
The estate said that based on their discussions with the owner they were under the impression that the total flight time since new was probably only between 20-40 minutes if that.

I'll do few more test flights with the original batteries over the model airfield that is surrounded only by crop fields (in case battery failure) hoping the capacity will revive somewhat by cycling batteries with charge / recharge. If they were damaged just by time in storage, then have to start looking for replacement.
 
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Thank you all for the responses!

It is unfortunate we do not have information how the batteries had been stored by the previous owner / the estate.
My father was told the aircraft had been barely flown by the previous owner due to setup issues.
The estate said that based on their discussions with the owner they were under the impression that the total flight time since new was probably only between 20-40 minutes if that.

I'll do few more test flights with the original batteries over the model airfield that is surrounded only by crop fields (in case battery failure) hoping the capacity will revive somewhat by cycling batteries with charge / recharge. If they were damaged just by time in storage, then have to start looking for replacement.
Rather than flying around a field and risking unexpected power failure, just hover in your back yard about 10 feet high. As you monitor your battery power and if its start to deplete quickly, you have the opportunity landing immediately with out incident. Time it with the stop watch on you cell phone.
 

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