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Yuneec dropped the ball........

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After many months of research and long hours reading reviews, I made the purchase of a Yuneec Q500 (GoPro) drone. I purchased this drone on eBay and it was a refurbished model. I absolutely loved the stability of its flight and the controls responded smoothly.

Later, I purchased a Yuneec Typhoon H drone and started using it with my photography hobbies along with 4 more over the years. Had I known then, what I know now, I would have chosen a different brand to go with. Now before anyone gets upset, let me explain.
Yuneec has a great line of drones but their repair process and parts department are very lacking. If you can find parts, you will pay greatly for them. A replacement CGO3+ camera for the Typhoon H is hard to find. When you do find one, the seller will want 2-300 dollars for a used unit. Landing gear servos are the hardest part to get your hands on and they sell for no less than 100 dollars on eBay for a set.
Not one camera Yuneec sells for these drones is interchangeable. You cannot swap a gimbal for another from a different drone. Yuneec doesn't offer upgrades to anything. Even their boards, being the same, are not parts one can swap. What this has done is created a market for throw away drones. If you cannot upgrade or repair your drone for a reasonable price, you simply buy a newer model. When you pay nearly 2 thousand for a drone, you expect to keep going for a while, even if repairs or upgrades are needed. Most of these consumer problems are software or firmware based. Yuneec could simply update the firmware or software to receive parts from other drones but since they are not in the upgradeable business they choose not to. They want us, the consumer, to be forced to buy new. It is Apple's format for business and others are taking note. Apple recently sent out an update that reduced battery life in some iPhones causing customers to buy new ones. While this is good for a business in the market, it sucks for private owners who, like me, own multiple drones and use them in business. In the long run, it will hurt Yuneec. Let's look at automobiles for instance. The aftermarket parts manufacturers make a killing from upgrading cars produced by GM, Ford, Toyota, Honda, and others. They make parts and upgrades at a cheaper price to satisfy the demand. Had Yuneec chose to not only sell drones but offer upgrades their business model would have taken over the lead from DJI. DJI owns 70 percent of the drone market and like Yuneec they offer near to none when it comes to upgrading their drones but their parts are easier found.

Yuneec should have focused on retaining their customers vs finding new ones. The only way to keep customers happy is by supporting, upgrading, and open-sourcing your product. Let the customer make their own repairs. Let the customer add the upgrades. Let the customer swap parts by use of firmware updates.

I am not speaking from ignorance. I built, owned and sold two separate computer businesses. I retired after selling them both at the ripe old age of 43. My family and I have enough money to see us through this world without having to work a job again. I am not trying to brag. I only wanted to state my education in the business world. When I sold one business, I was serving more than 900,000 customers who loved what I did for them. I had a 4-star rating with the BBB.

I really feel Yuneec dropped the ball when it comes to their drones.
 

Phaedrus

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Well, everybody has a story I guess. I gave up on DJI when I had a gimbal go bad and they refused to replace it under warranty, only choice was to buy a new one. Which only came with the camera as a single unit. That was the last DJI product I ever owned.

One huge attraction for me about Yuneec is I never need to contact them to obtain permission to operate the merchandise I purchased from them. Many seem unbothered by this, but I liken it to needing to contact your vehicle manufacturer for authorization to drive each day. Nobody would stand for that. I fly a lot in LAX Class B airspace and have never had an issue with my H+ starting up. Yet I see nearly daily posts by DJI people who despite having LAANC, etc. authorization cannot get their DJI unlocked.

So it goes. Yuneec has made many mistakes, but for me I still prefer them to DJI for what I need. Plus, I really like the 6 rotors. I fly in urban areas a lot and I like knowing this I will not fall to the ground if one motor fails.
 
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We're starting to see issues like you guys have both brought up occur with Teslas and John Deere tractors. You can't fix them yourself without buying an illegal version of the app to access their chips.

You buy high tech vehicles and you don't own the software. I do miss the days when my 67 dart had a slant 6 motor and you could jump in along side the motor and you didn't need to clear codes to make the motor work!
 

Phaedrus

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Be interesting to see how this plays out relative to the much vaunted DJI repairs

 

DoomMeister

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Sounds like the FAA is renouncing DJI’s version of Remote ID in its future plans for low altitude NAS.
 
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Just to be clear, I agree with your assessment regarding Yuneec, however, they aren't unique...no pun intended. DJI has the same issues. Yes, you can upgrade cameras on the Inspire 1 v2 but not on the Inspire 1 unless you upgrade the gimbal plate first. As far as price for parts, or the drone itself, Yuneec is way more affordable. Don't even get me started on the Inspire 1 (intelligent) batteries or lack thereof. Forced obsolescence?

Go ahead, look up DJI parts prices assuming you can find them. What if they choose to ground my drone with firmware? Fortunately, it's way easier to mod and hack the DJI firmware if needed. (I won't be grounded), as far as the battery it's way more difficult to hack on the Inspire 1 than the Typhoon H.

I own both and have much more confidence I can keep my H in the air than my Inspire. Now, as far as the Breeze?.?.?...
 

Steve Carr

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I really feel Yuneec dropped the ball when it comes to their drones.
The company changed owners in 2017. That's when things went sour. We all hope there will be a new owner soon and one who has a passion for the business like the original owner did.
Let the customer make their own repairs
The Yuneec line is probably one of the most user friendly drones on the market regarding repairs. I think there is far more repair information than with most other models.
 
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After many months of research and long hours reading reviews, I made the purchase of a Yuneec Q500 (GoPro) drone. I purchased this drone on eBay and it was a refurbished model. I absolutely loved the stability of its flight and the controls responded smoothly.

Later, I purchased a Yuneec Typhoon H drone and started using it with my photography hobbies along with 4 more over the years. Had I known then, what I know now, I would have chosen a different brand to go with. Now before anyone gets upset, let me explain.
Yuneec has a great line of drones but their repair process and parts department are very lacking. If you can find parts, you will pay greatly for them. A replacement CGO3+ camera for the Typhoon H is hard to find. When you do find one, the seller will want 2-300 dollars for a used unit. Landing gear servos are the hardest part to get your hands on and they sell for no less than 100 dollars on eBay for a set.
Not one camera Yuneec sells for these drones is interchangeable. You cannot swap a gimbal for another from a different drone. Yuneec doesn't offer upgrades to anything. Even their boards, being the same, are not parts one can swap. What this has done is created a market for throw away drones. If you cannot upgrade or repair your drone for a reasonable price, you simply buy a newer model. When you pay nearly 2 thousand for a drone, you expect to keep going for a while, even if repairs or upgrades are needed. Most of these consumer problems are software or firmware based. Yuneec could simply update the firmware or software to receive parts from other drones but since they are not in the upgradeable business they choose not to. They want us, the consumer, to be forced to buy new. It is Apple's format for business and others are taking note. Apple recently sent out an update that reduced battery life in some iPhones causing customers to buy new ones. While this is good for a business in the market, it sucks for private owners who, like me, own multiple drones and use them in business. In the long run, it will hurt Yuneec. Let's look at automobiles for instance. The aftermarket parts manufacturers make a killing from upgrading cars produced by GM, Ford, Toyota, Honda, and others. They make parts and upgrades at a cheaper price to satisfy the demand. Had Yuneec chose to not only sell drones but offer upgrades their business model would have taken over the lead from DJI. DJI owns 70 percent of the drone market and like Yuneec they offer near to none when it comes to upgrading their drones but their parts are easier found.

Yuneec should have focused on retaining their customers vs finding new ones. The only way to keep customers happy is by supporting, upgrading, and open-sourcing your product. Let the customer make their own repairs. Let the customer add the upgrades. Let the customer swap parts by use of firmware updates.

I am not speaking from ignorance. I built, owned and sold two separate computer businesses. I retired after selling them both at the ripe old age of 43. My family and I have enough money to see us through this world without having to work a job again. I am not trying to brag. I only wanted to state my education in the business world. When I sold one business, I was serving more than 900,000 customers who loved what I did for them. I had a 4-star rating with the BBB.

I really feel Yuneec dropped the ball when it comes to their drones.
I agree with a lot of what you say, from my own experience Yuneec UK have still been helpful and always answered emails, telephone calls etc. The parts problem is nowhere near as bad as US yet, I've been able to buy all parts from dealers across the EU, and even managed yesterday to some CGO3+ gimbal plates, this obundance of parts may dry up too, but it's been a case of get it while you can. The present world situation will only harm them and industry even more, and could end them Yuneec, there might be Chinese government assistance for business at the moment to help, some interesting times ahead for them and us.
 

PatR

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Current rumor has DJI pulling out of the U.S., closing their support centers here. I wonder what tune their customers will be singing when the have to start sending their stuff back to China for repairs.

That’s the way DJI started out, and as one that was using DJI products way back then I won’t be surprised to see their repair process revert back to what it was; virtually impossible to execute.

We are rapidly approaching a point where obtaining “locally” built drones will be the only good option. The cost will be considerably higher than what most will find affordable.
 

DoomMeister

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I saw another post this morning that Yuneec has closed its US support. I suspect that is true as you can no longer schedule a support phone call either.
 
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After many months of research and long hours reading reviews, I made the purchase of a Yuneec Q500 (GoPro) drone. I purchased this drone on eBay and it was a refurbished model. I absolutely loved the stability of its flight and the controls responded smoothly.

Later, I purchased a Yuneec Typhoon H drone and started using it with my photography hobbies along with 4 more over the years. Had I known then, what I know now, I would have chosen a different brand to go with. Now before anyone gets upset, let me explain.
Yuneec has a great line of drones but their repair process and parts department are very lacking. If you can find parts, you will pay greatly for them. A replacement CGO3+ camera for the Typhoon H is hard to find. When you do find one, the seller will want 2-300 dollars for a used unit. Landing gear servos are the hardest part to get your hands on and they sell for no less than 100 dollars on eBay for a set.
Not one camera Yuneec sells for these drones is interchangeable. You cannot swap a gimbal for another from a different drone. Yuneec doesn't offer upgrades to anything. Even their boards, being the same, are not parts one can swap. What this has done is created a market for throw away drones. If you cannot upgrade or repair your drone for a reasonable price, you simply buy a newer model. When you pay nearly 2 thousand for a drone, you expect to keep going for a while, even if repairs or upgrades are needed. Most of these consumer problems are software or firmware based. Yuneec could simply update the firmware or software to receive parts from other drones but since they are not in the upgradeable business they choose not to. They want us, the consumer, to be forced to buy new. It is Apple's format for business and others are taking note. Apple recently sent out an update that reduced battery life in some iPhones causing customers to buy new ones. While this is good for a business in the market, it sucks for private owners who, like me, own multiple drones and use them in business. In the long run, it will hurt Yuneec. Let's look at automobiles for instance. The aftermarket parts manufacturers make a killing from upgrading cars produced by GM, Ford, Toyota, Honda, and others. They make parts and upgrades at a cheaper price to satisfy the demand. Had Yuneec chose to not only sell drones but offer upgrades their business model would have taken over the lead from DJI. DJI owns 70 percent of the drone market and like Yuneec they offer near to none when it comes to upgrading their drones but their parts are easier found.

Yuneec should have focused on retaining their customers vs finding new ones. The only way to keep customers happy is by supporting, upgrading, and open-sourcing your product. Let the customer make their own repairs. Let the customer add the upgrades. Let the customer swap parts by use of firmware updates.

I am not speaking from ignorance. I built, owned and sold two separate computer businesses. I retired after selling them both at the ripe old age of 43. My family and I have enough money to see us through this world without having to work a job again. I am not trying to brag. I only wanted to state my education in the business world. When I sold one business, I was serving more than 900,000 customers who loved what I did for them. I had a 4-star rating with the BBB.

I really feel Yuneec dropped the ball when it comes to their drones.
With some things in your story i agree.
But did you know the the Q500 series are out of production for over 2 year?
So buying one is not very smart.
Also the Typhoon H is out of production for over a year, so buying them,,,,,i don't know.
For the H are planty of parts here in the shop.
And the prices of the parts are very normal like the prices in your letter, nothing strange about it.
In fact, if you buy a oldtimer car, don't be supriced if ther are no parts, you have to make then yourself or spend a lot of time finding them on the internet.
So if you need parts you can contact me and i see what i can do for you.
Ans sorry for my bad english, i'm from the Netherlands.
 

DoomMeister

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Your English is fine, way better than my Dutch.

For the most part the EU has been better stocked than North America for parts. Prices for expendables in NA have gone up drastically in many cases. An example is the shrapnel for the arm latch system. They used to be $3 and now can only be found on eBay for $16 each. The worst part of that is the same part is used in the latest system the H3.

You should be a good source for the membership in the EU.
 

PatR

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Doom,

Prices are in large a part of supply and demand. Original list prices hit the circular file as soon as the parent product ceases production or the parent company goes out of business. Both of those conditions are, I believe, applicable with the H and Yuneec. As the H continues to be flown many will break things and need parts and as the parts supply decreases the prices will increase.

Some have either failed or refused to recognize some important points. All consumer drone models are designed and marketed with planned obsolescence. No manufacturer intends for them to be used forever. Once the peak sales period has passed a point comes where the makers decide to cease production of parts and batteries in order to focus on new model sales, which for them generates much higher profits than parts sales. DJI is the demonstrative example of that practice, and the cause of Yuneec later following suit.

The H-480 has, in effect, been out of production for at least as long as new batteries became unavailable. Call that two years, perhaps a little longer. Focus on the H-480 ended before the release of the H Plus, and most likely occurred during the final stages of H-520 development. When the 520 was announced those more astute should have recognized the H-480 was no longer Yuneec’s flagship platform. Those owning H-480’s intending to fly them forever should have been planning ahead and started buying the most commonly needed spare parts at that time, knowing they would be hard to find and more expensive later. Another option is to buy up crashed aircraft for their spare parts. Some did one or both of those for the 920, with no regrets.

There were some either incorrect or exaggerated statements in the OP’s post. The H-480 in all forms never cost “almost $2,000.00” unless it came with the thermal camera. Around $1,200.00 for a full kit was the common selling price.

No consumer drone is built with user serviceable main boards. Component integration makes that nearly impossible. Yuneec provided an advantage of being built with modular components, allowing for easy replacement using the R&R method to replace bad with good. DJI systems are much more difficult to work with, and often impossible to repair without being sent to a repair facility.

There has also been mention of failure to provide for payload versatility. If the OP had much of a history with multirotors he might have mentioned that virtually no consumer drone maker offered this feature until the Inspire 1 was released. The Phantom series did not have that capability until after the P-3, with models that had such capability being quite expensive.

The complaint of used CGO-3+ cameras being expensive at $200.00-$300.00 is, IMHO, laughable. Buy a new one if you can find it. It will cost more. People crash their equipment and most always kill the camera in the process, which makes cameras a high demand component. Anyone that has a fully functional spare knows it’s value and is unlikely to part with one cheaply unless they no longer have any possible future use of it. Those that need cameras have the choice of paying the market price or buying another drone for considerably more money. Speaking of money, those buying DJI cameras pay a much steeper price.

It’s unfortunate, but from my perspective Yuneec is pretty much done as s company. All the indicators have been steadily accumulating since Yuneec’s first reorganization several years ago. That was followed by the bankruptcy of a wholesale distributor, splitting up the California office’s sales, customer service, repairs, and warehousing, failure to launch to two announced products at the 2018 CES, failure to follow up with payload diversification, to be followed by outsourcing repairs, to be again followed by the bankruptcy of the outsourced repair facilities. That stuff happens when companies no longer have the money to continue operations. In the U.S. companies try to hang in there as long as they can but eventually recognize it costs more to stay open than to close. I suspect in China they keep the name alive as long as they can to sell off whatever unsold inventory is left on the shelves, using the absolute minimum staffing to get it done. It’s entirely possible that in the near future any filled orders will be handled by some person working with a few parts in their home garage after actively scouring the web looking for orders for the few parts they have left.

The H-480 is long past done. It’s obsolete in many ways. It’s still quite useful but people need to understand that if they break them or want more out of them it may be time to move on.
 
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Doom,

Prices are in large a part of supply and demand. Original list prices hit the circular file as soon as the parent product ceases production or the parent company goes out of business. Both of those conditions are, I believe, applicable with the H and Yuneec. As the H continues to be flown many will break things and need parts and as the parts supply decreases the prices will increase.

Some have either failed or refused to recognize some important points. All consumer drone models are designed and marketed with planned obsolescence. No manufacturer intends for them to be used forever. Once the peak sales period has passed a point comes where the makers decide to cease production of parts and batteries in order to focus on new model sales, which for them generates much higher profits than parts sales. DJI is the demonstrative example of that practice, and the cause of Yuneec later following suit.

The H-480 has, in effect, been out of production for at least as long as new batteries became unavailable. Call that two years, perhaps a little longer. Focus on the H-480 ended before the release of the H Plus, and most likely occurred during the final stages of H-520 development. When the 520 was announced those more astute should have recognized the H-480 was no longer Yuneec’s flagship platform. Those owning H-480’s intending to fly them forever should have been planning ahead and started buying the most commonly needed spare parts at that time, knowing they would be hard to find and more expensive later. Another option is to buy up crashed aircraft for their spare parts. Some did one or both of those for the 920, with no regrets.

There were some either incorrect or exaggerated statements in the OP’s post. The H-480 in all forms never cost “almost $2,000.00” unless it came with the thermal camera. Around $1,200.00 for a full kit was the common selling price.

No consumer drone is built with user serviceable main boards. Component integration makes that nearly impossible. Yuneec provided an advantage of being built with modular components, allowing for easy replacement using the R&R method to replace bad with good. DJI systems are much more difficult to work with, and often impossible to repair without being sent to a repair facility.

There has also been mention of failure to provide for payload versatility. If the OP had much of a history with multirotors he might have mentioned that virtually no consumer drone maker offered this feature until the Inspire 1 was released. The Phantom series did not have that capability until after the P-3, with models that had such capability being quite expensive.

The complaint of used CGO-3+ cameras being expensive at $200.00-$300.00 is, IMHO, laughable. Buy a new one if you can find it. It will cost more. People crash their equipment and most always kill the camera in the process, which makes cameras a high demand component. Anyone that has a fully functional spare knows it’s value and is unlikely to part with one cheaply unless they no longer have any possible future use of it. Those that need cameras have the choice of paying the market price or buying another drone for considerably more money. Speaking of money, those buying DJI cameras pay a much steeper price.

It’s unfortunate, but from my perspective Yuneec is pretty much done as s company. All the indicators have been steadily accumulating since Yuneec’s first reorganization several years ago. That was followed by the bankruptcy of a wholesale distributor, splitting up the California office’s sales, customer service, repairs, and warehousing, failure to launch to two announced products at the 2018 CES, failure to follow up with payload diversification, to be followed by outsourcing repairs, to be again followed by the bankruptcy of the outsourced repair facilities. That stuff happens when companies no longer have the money to continue operations. In the U.S. companies try to hang in there as long as they can but eventually recognize it costs more to stay open than to close. I suspect in China they keep the name alive as long as they can to sell off whatever unsold inventory is left on the shelves, using the absolute minimum staffing to get it done. It’s entirely possible that in the near future any filled orders will be handle by some person working with a few parts in their home garage after actively scouring the web looking for orders for the few parts they have left.
That doesn't resolve the spares shared across the past and present range, like legs, actuators and clips etc, which people are always asking about on the forum and being in short supply, I would hope that most are aware that the original H is out of production, but there's no excuse for parts shortages in US, unless they are scaling back there as suggested.
 

PatR

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Sounds like the FAA is renouncing DJI’s version of Remote ID in its future plans for low altitude NAS.

Expected that to happen from day one of DJI’s roll out. There’s just no way our FAA was going to turn their backs on U.S. aerospace and the DoD community. DJI isn’t big enough to hold a candle against their lobbying groups. Boeing alone, ( supplying a great many drones to government agencies) has over 153,000 direct employees in the U.S., and likely multiples of that with subsidiary companies and suppliers. Toss in AAI, General Atomics, Northrop-Grumman, Lockheed (a maker of multirotor style FC’s), AeroVironment, Garmin, and several others it should have been evident the game was lost long ago.
 
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This is indeed bad news but I for one am not surprised with all of the rumors and other indications of impending doom. I’ve had my H plus for a little over a year and I haven’t flown it yet. There’s many reasons for that but I’m sure that isn’t necessary to explain. I’m seriously thinking of selling it now as I’m retired and my wife and I are full timers in our motor home. Needless to say even if parts and service were partially available it would be even longer to satisfy my needs. I might hang on to it a little longer but I’m not optimistic that anything will change. Too **** sad. I for one will be making every effort to avoid anything produced in China although I know that will be impossible for many things. Keep an eye on the classifieds.
 
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This is indeed bad news but I for one am not surprised with all of the rumors and other indications of impending doom. I’ve had my H plus for a little over a year and I haven’t flown it yet. There’s many reasons for that but I’m sure that isn’t necessary to explain. I’m seriously thinking of selling it now as I’m retired and my wife and I are full timers in our motor home. Needless to say even if parts and service were partially available it would be even longer to satisfy my needs. I might hang on to it a little longer but I’m not optimistic that anything will change. Too **** sad. I for one will be making every effort to avoid anything produced in China although I know that will be impossible for many things. Keep an eye on the classifieds.
I thought the plus is still an in production model, running alongside the H3 . Well in theory it is.
 
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Not strictly true, I can send it to Yuneec UK or buy the parts. I know it's bad in US but not everywhere.
Not strictly true, I can send it to Yuneec UK or buy the parts. I know it's bad in US but not everywhere.
True if you live in the UK but I was addressing the US market. If Yuneec is on the way out then the supply of parts and service will certainly dry up there too.
 

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