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Q500 4K maiden voyage... Propeller just flew off mid flight.

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Hi all, maybe someone can help me understand what might have gone wrong.

I ordered my Q500 4K from amazon. It arrived yesterday and today I went to fly it for the first time. I have experience with mini-drones, so I do have a little bit of a feel for how to fly a quadcopter. However, this was my first time flying a camera drone.

I had read the entire instruction manual before flying and had seen the introductory and getting started videos from yuneec. I did a thorough pre-flight check including a weather check to make sure it was not too windy. The instructions state that the drone may be flown in winds up to 13 km/hour. My local weather report said winds would not exceed 8 km/h today and when I got to the field where I flew it was not windy at all.

I arrived and unpacked my drone. I tripple checked to make sure the propellers were mounted correctly and TIGHTENED. I used the provided tool to hold the motors in place while tightening the propellers. They were snug.

I took off and the drone performed well. I have no experience to compare with (aside from very fast and nimble mini-drones) but as far as I could tell, the drone was responding and functioning perfectly. Oh, and I had connection with 11 satelites at the time.

I performed several basic maneuvers just to test responsiveness and get a feel for the controls. After two or three minutes, I decided to climb. I throttled up and the drone began to ascend. My controler read about 390 feet altitude (which is about the max. allowed) when suddenly I saw a propeller come flying off of the aircraft. You can guess the rest!

Let me be clear. I had performed several basic maneuvers before ascending and before the propeller broke away. In addition, the drone was hovering in place when the propeller went flying, and I was not moving the control sticks in any direction. I was hovering and setting up a shot with the camera. It simply fell out of the sky.

I recovered the destroyed aircraft, gimbal, and camera. Despite searching for 20 minutes, I could not find the propeller that went flying, so I do not know if it simply broke off or what.

I would like to know what the heck could have happened. Anybody have any ideas? I have already called customer service and am in the process of sending the drone in for examination, but I would love to have a clue about how likely it is that they will replace my drone, since it seems to me that I did absolutely nothing wrong.

One last thing, I recovered the SD card and there was a video file on it, but my computer was not able to play it because of some failure.

HELP!
Thanks,
Nathan
 
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Sorry for your loss.....

Simple and most likely... the prop just wasn't tight enough.
As you can imagine, the motors are constantly changing velocity as needed to keep the drone maneuverable and stable. Even in a hover.
If the props not on tight enough, you can lose one.
Trust me... you are far from the first to throw a prop.
To view the video files in the box... you need a program that will see and recognize them.
Get the free program "Windows Media Viewer Classic" ... "Classic" is the one you want.
Don't let it discourage you... we all have had our issues.
Hook up the Q to the GUI and confirm everything on the Q still works.
For $50. US you can transfer to a new shell and have a like new quad.
Keep us updated and good luck,
Jafo
 
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Sorry for your loss.....

Simple and most likely... the prop just wasn't tight enough.
As you can imagine, the motors are constantly changing velocity as needed to keep the drone maneuverable and stable. Even in a hover.
If the props not on tight enough, you can lose one.
Trust me... you are far from the first to throw a prop.
To view the video files in the box... you need a program that will see and recognize them.
Get the free program "Windows Media Viewer Classic" ... "Classic" is the one you want.
Don't let it discourage you... we all have had our issues.
Hook up the Q to the GUI and confirm everything on the Q still works.
For $50. US you can transfer to a new shell and have a like new quad.
Keep us updated and good luck,
Jafo
I appreciate the encouragement! However I doubt that anything still works on the Q. The camera was completely destroyed in the crash. Maybe by hooking it up as you suggest I could confirm the flight systems still work, but I would need a new hull, gimbal, and camera... essentially a new drone! I just worry that they won't send me a new one, then I essentially wasted €750! I can't afford to just buy a new one.
 
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You need to find the lost prop if at all possible. It could have been defective and broke in half during flight..... Send out a search party!
Good Luck...
 
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Are you sure that the Rubber O Rings where on the shafts before you put the propellers on? Even tho it crashed should be easy to look at the motors now to see.
I thought about this last night too.
I would think if the o-ring was in place at start up that it should still be on the shaft after the crash. We know they don't come off easily.
Fish....Is the o-ring still in place ??
 
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Yes, just checked and there is a black rubber o-ring on all four motors. I guess it would be better for me if they weren't, but I simply can't believe that the props weren't screwed on tightly enough. I knew to check for this in pre-flight and I did so three times! If that prop wasn't screwed on enough, then I'm a monkey's uncle!

Also, I searched for the missing prop and was not able to find it, which is a whole other conundrum in itself. I was in the middle of a snow-covered field, so most of the ground is white (and the prop is black). The crash site was in the middle of the field and I spent over an hour in walking a search pattern looking for the prop. No luck. I searched a radius of at least 200 yards from the crash site.

I am really worried as a result of this incident. I spent what for me is a LOT of money on this drone after almost a year of researching which drone I wanted and informing myself on safe and proper use. I have watched dozens of videos on typical "newbie" pilot mistakes. I did my darndest not to make any of those mistakes.

Now this crash has happened on my first flight! I am left wondering how regularly I can expect things like this to happen and if this is the right hobby for me or if I simply wasted close to €800.00.

I have looked over some forum posts and on youtube, and I am now finding lots of videos where drones simply fall out of the sky from no fault of the pilot.

Did I overestimate how reliable this technology is? Is this simply a hobby for people who can afford repair their drone every month or so???
 
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I know your bummed brother and I sure don't blame you.
I primarily fly 3D RC Planes and have absolutely planted many thousands of dollars in the dirt over 40 years of flying. It's all part of the learning curve. Again, we have all had our mishaps and can feel for you. It sucks.
You never know what CS is going to do. Many times I've read where Yuneec stepped up and replaced what was an otherwise questionable crash. Many times even covering freight. Hope for the best and plead your case to CS.
Finding the prop is probably neither here nor there in any decision CS might make.
Chances are it was still in one piece and flew a pretty good distance.Usually much farther than you would think.
Being in the snow of course is certainly no help. Try again in the spring. lol You'll probably trip over it. lol
I say again, hook up to the GUI and see what still works. For probably less than 200.00 Euro you can probably be back in the air again. You'll be surprised what all can survive a good crash. Parts are easily found at CD or online at many sites. A used camera is pretty reasonable too.
We hope Yuneec has some good news for you and that you stick with it.
We're all here to help if we can.
Keep us updated and good luck,
Jafo
 
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Ok, I'll hook it up to GUI today and see what comes of that. I really appreciate the answers and support. I am going to stick with it and definitely repair what I can. Those 5 minutes in the air before the crash were awesome! Don't want to give up yet... I just hope this doesn't happen regularly. I'll post the results here as soon as I have them. Thanks again Jafo and Wingshooter!
 
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Ok, so I tried a week ago to hook up to the GUI and wasn't successful. The PC couldn't connect to the drone. Don't know what is up with that, but I was too anxious to get back in the sky to figure it out. I went ahead and sent it off to Yuneec for repairs. I gave a detailed description of what happened. Hopefully it won't be too expensive to fix. The quad is at Yuneec now and they are working on it.
 
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I feel your pain... honestly I do! It's definitely not a cheap hobby. Was everything gone with the prop... no part of the threads or anything left attached to the motor? Maybe there was a crack in the prop housing and it came apart mid flight?
 
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Well, heard back from Yuneec today. They offered to repair the camera for free, but the rest I have to pay for. It will end up being €250 to fix it. Actually, when I look at the bill, the biggest portion of the cost is for labor. The parts themselves are not too expensive. Guess I need to learn to do this myself!!!

All in all, I can't really say anything negative about the CS department. I feel I was not at fault, but there is no way for me to prove it. I suppose they can't just go around fixing every crashed drone for free without any evidence that it was a manufacturers defect. I'm going to get it fixed since I am itching to get back in the air.

My only question now is, how do I know how tight to tighten propellers. In the user's manual, it says "do not over-tighten propellers." But now that this has happened, I think my tendency will be to error on the side of too tight. What can happen if the are screwed on too tight?
 
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Well.. that's some decent news I guess. Could be worse I guess.
i have years and years and years dealing with props so I just kinda know when it's good.
That said... I hold the motor can with just enough force to keep it from moving.
I spin the blade down until the can spins in the vice and then i tighten just a bit more.Maybe half to one turn.
That seems to work well for me.I'm sure others have there own way too.
Never go without the O-ring. As we talked earlier, the motors are all changing velocity all the time.Speeding up and slowing down as needed to maintain stability.
If the motor suddenly slows down, like on a hard and fast yaw input, the prop keeps spinning fast and can tighten itself onto the shaft.The O-ring keeps just enough separation to help stop that from happening.
Don't crush the O-ring but certainly snug up tight to it.
If they get locked down.... We'll you can just imagine it costing you a prop at the very least to get it back off.
 

Ari

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You are not insured? :eek:
 
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You are not insured? :eek:
I asked my agent about insuring the drone, and he didn't sound optimistic. He said that it is possible, but that it would be expensive since so many things can go wrong and it might not be worth it. I live in Austria, so maybe it is different in the states, but I have a pretty good insurance guy and I trust him. Would be curious about what others do though.
 

Ari

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I asked my agent about insuring the drone, and he didn't sound optimistic. He said that it is possible, but that it would be expensive since so many things can go wrong and it might not be worth it. I live in Austria, so maybe it is different in the states, but I have a pretty good insurance guy and I trust him. Would be curious about what others do though.
I live in Finland. Already before I bought the drone I contacted my insurance company and was told my "free time insurance policy" covers the loss or damage of my drone, €150.00 deductible and 10% depreciation of the value per year - just like if I lost my cell phone for example, and most importantly I have personal liability coverage in case I manage to drop the drone on someone's head! :eek:


Edit: On second thought,maybe the depreciation was 15% per year - I'd have to check again... o_O
 
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Well.. that's some decent news I guess. Could be worse I guess.
i have years and years and years dealing with props so I just kinda know when it's good.
That said... I hold the motor can with just enough force to keep it from moving.
I spin the blade down until the can spins in the vice and then i tighten just a bit more.Maybe half to one turn.
That seems to work well for me.I'm sure others have there own way too.
Never go without the O-ring. As we talked earlier, the motors are all changing velocity all the time.Speeding up and slowing down as needed to maintain stability.
If the motor suddenly slows down, like on a hard and fast yaw input, the prop keeps spinning fast and can tighten itself onto the shaft.The O-ring keeps just enough separation to help stop that from happening.
Don't crush the O-ring but certainly snug up tight to it.
If they get locked down.... We'll you can just imagine it costing you a prop at the very least to get it back off.

I So agree here........I lost three props on first flight and was wondering whata...whata .I was lucky...bird barely got off the ground and no damage. I researched this a bit before going back out and read to tighten those props down pretty good like JAFO said. Yuneec should NOT say self tightening. They DO NOT self tighten. And I also read that the motors do reverse at times while flying which would negate any self tightening that may be going on. I can't figure this one out but I believe it, and never had an issue with this anymore. Snug um up good..........
 
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