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Spark Power Failure During Flight

BH&L

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Jun 24, 2017
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IMG_6544.jpg IMG_6529.JPG My conversation with DJI via twitter yesterday about DJI Spark loss of power during flight.

Hello, so just had something crazy happen to Spark. It was at 80' in the air 200' away from me with (Edited: 79%) battery. I switched over to active track and as soon as I did, the spark lost power, disconnected from remote and dropped like a stone. I know the power shut off in midair because after 45 min of searching in the tall grass we found it and it was off. When I turned it on, still had almost same battery life at 61% 45 minutes after issue. Drone was dirty, but seems physically fine. Now I'm nervous to fly it. Any ideas?

Here's the end of the flight record video when it lost power and dropped.
(See attached pic)

Wow, sorry to read on this.
How long have you had the Spark?

Delivered June 14. Flown it prob 20 times without issue.


Complete any firmware updates? Calibration of any type? Was there anything different about this flight?

Firmware updated a while back. No calibration. Although after flight compass needed recalibrated. I was flying with my son who was flying a phantom 3 pro. I was attempting to use active track to follow his drone, we hovered for a while and I turned drone to face his drone. I selected active track and as soon as I started to touch the screen to draw a box on screen around his drone which was about 40 feet away, the camera feed went black and said lost connection, and drone free fell in place to the ground. From what I can gather, it appears as though the spark just fully shut off because I kept controller on while hunting in hopes of it reconnected. When we found drone, it was off and there were no engine or gimbal warnings.

Is the aircraft damaged at this time? Have you contacted support to set up an RMA?

There is no damage. I'm just wanting to know what happened so I can avoid the same thing happening again:)
END OF CONVERSATION

So, anyone else have a complete shut down during flight? Since then, I have attached a tile Bluetooth tracker to spark.
 
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Dronason

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Just as comment, I hope you tracker will not mess the GPS signal. It depend of coarse where is located the GPS antenna in the Spark and where are the satellites. From the bellow pic it is on top and between the 2 rear legs.

I would personally not put anything with any metal on the top of the drone that could be between the antenna and the satellites.
Interference between bluetooth and wifi signal is probably not a big deal. Maybe good to try a range test with and without the tracker.
My 5ç
 
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BH&L

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Wow, thank you for your comment. I never considered that. I'm just scared to loss the dang thing again. I have flown with the tracker on and it didn't seem to be an issue, but, I can certainly see how it may cause a problem. I will report back any issues. I actually put the tracker on before I knew there was a "find my drone" option on dji go 4. Although, the phone I am using to operate doesn't have cell service so I'm not sure how I can get satilite view of maps?
Thanks again!
 

Dronason

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Wow, thank you for your comment. I never considered that. I'm just scared to loss the dang thing again. I have flown with the tracker on and it didn't seem to be an issue, but, I can certainly see how it may cause a problem. I will report back any issues. I actually put the tracker on before I knew there was a "find my drone" option on dji go 4. Although, the phone I am using to operate doesn't have cell service so I'm not sure how I can get satilite view of maps?
Thanks again!
You can download in advance off-line maps if you have your phone connected to internet through wifi (don't work when you are connected to the spark via wifi). This is in same menu as the "find my drone" in dji GO 4. You can select which country or part of country for big ones you want to save on your phone, this requires some spaces on your phone. Later you can simply update the one you downloaded as off-line. These maps are just basic one (not satellite view) but would be ok for basic use.
 

ed gonzalez

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This just happened to me I was flying at about 100 feet above the lake at my house, the drone had 60% battery life and just stopped mid air. I have the video on my phone and it just stops mid air. I have a subscription to airdata which downloads all your logs and flight information. The app shows the battery had 60% when flight stopped it shows the drone at 129 feet and where it fell. Because it fell into the lake its gone, but you can see others are experiencing the same issue. I have 4 other DJI drones and hold a commercial drone pilots license. This is a serious problem although these drones are smaller they could hurt someone or damage property falling from that altitude. See image below.
 

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briri

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Jun 15, 2017
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Lost my Spark yesterday over a lake as well. I was hovering in place taking a couple of pics about 200 feet away and at about 15ft above the water. Shut off and dropped like a rock. DJI Go4 shows 73% battery left. I was unable to recover the drone from the lake. I have refresh but that doesn't help without the drone to send back. Anyone successful in getting DJI to replace due to defect in similar situation?
 
M

Mike_in_Letcombe

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This is a bit concerning! However, there are only three people on here who have reported the issue happening, so I wonder how widespread the problem is. I shall do some practice runs of flying over a field and trying to switch to active track, etc., and see what happens. I plan on using this over the sea whilst on holiday so I want to be confident it's not going to do a dive suddenly!
 

ed gonzalez

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youtube has others complaining of same issue. The Dji research department is backed up. My guess is they are trying to hide the issue. Very poor support no answers. It doesn't dive it just stops dead and falls like a rock.
 

Sparkbart

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I have to agree with with Dronason, I'm thinking that "tracker" is possibly messing with your GPS. But it wouldn't explain why your Spark would just shut off. I'd expect some type of loss of GPS but not a shutdown... I would move that tracker or just use the one in the DJI Go app...
 

briri

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IMG_4058.JPG I was compiling a list on DJI forum of similar cases.... Mid air shut offs only... list was over 30 members long when DJI removed my post.... they seem to be refusing to take any responsibility at all for crashes that result in lost aircraft such as mine in a lake or in the ocean... they have my flight logs but refuse to replace.

The people who returned their SPARKs to DJI are stating that DJI is promising to replace.

The screenshot above was taken the day before it was removed. There are over 10 additional reports on DJI forum since then.

These are NOT accident CSC crashes or battery clip failures. They seem to be mid air shut offs. DJI knows about the problem and hopefully are correcting it.
 

markw17

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It would be useful to record whether they failed over land or water..

I have read on a few websites that you should turn off VPS whilst flying over water.
 

briri

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It would be useful to record whether they failed over land or water..

I have read on a few websites that you should turn off VPS whilst flying over water.
VPS is unrelated to this issue. VPS can't shut off the motors. VPS was functioning appropriately in the logs I've reviewed with these cases.

This is some sort of hardware failure. It isn't CSC because it shuts off all power to the craft, not just the motors.

DJI knows about it and supposedly is replacing craft that are returned to them with this issue.

I doubt that they will ever admit the problem. I just want them to fix it.
 
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Dronason

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VPS is unrelated to this issue. VPS can't shut off the motors. VPS was functioning appropriately in the logs I've reviewed with these cases.

This is some sort of hardware failure. It isn't CSC because it shuts off all power to the craft, not just the motors.

DJI knows about it and supposedly is replacing craft that are returned to them with this issue.

I doubt that they will ever admit the problem. I just want them to fix it.
With Phantom 3, there was also in 2015 and 2016 issue with intelligent battery shutting down during flight.
That was mainly at low temperature when motors were used to full power. They released firmware update for the battery and limited the maximum power that the motors can use.
I see no reason why would DJI hide for the Spark a potential issue like this.
Currently it is more that Spark is very young, we are in rush with our vacations and firmware update will not pop-out every week.
 
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luketanti

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Same happened to my Spark. It was hovering and when I disabled the collision sensors from the app and then moved the stick forward it just shutoff, no green LEDs were on when I picked it up. The battery was about 70%. Luckily no damage. But this is concerning.
 

regdawg

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You to think DJI should release an emergency Firmware update soon. This issue is being reported all over the place. Until then. I'm not flying high or too far from me.
 

Fred Guernsey

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Has there been any update with this - I know we now have new firmware - but have any of the mid air 'shut off' flights been analysed. Just curious as I have had no issued with 20 flights with my Spark, but a little concerned.
 
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Sparkbart

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Were you keeping track of details other than what was listed?

No offense to anyone thats had a problem but IMO, just saying/listing the Spark just shut off and with/without remote really isn't helpful. IMO, thats like saying; "My car doesn't run". What does that mean? Did you have gas in your tank, Was your Battery Dead? Did you put the key in the ignition? Did you put it in gear? etc....

I think there is a lot of other info which I believe would be helpful and maybe already saved off in the Spark's Flight Controller; How much battery did you have? Did you do any calibrations? Did you have all positive messages displayed, no Errors or Warnings? How was the Atmospheric Weather? What was the KP index? Were you flying next in dense Wifi area? Were you flying in the city with tall buildings blocking signal? How many flight did you have? Are you an experienced Pilot? etc...

There is so much more info that may help find the root cause of this issue. I don't think unless people were to give you more data or you were there you can't say with any certainty that it wasn't a battery attachment failure, Signal issue, or even Pilot Induced. Early on with my Typhoon H, some people were complaining about their H's shutting off mid-flight, no power. These people swore up and down they were properly installing the battery, but in fact were not. After some PSAs on ensuring that people were snapping them in, you never read about that problem again (not saying this is the same issue, just an example). And if it is Pilot Induced, then maybe its something DJI needs to address in its documentation so people don't make that mistake.

Again, I'm NOT saying there isn't a problem or potential problem, believe me the last thing I want is to be someone that says; "me too, my Spark just shut off mid-flight", BUT I also don't want to be falsely alarmed IF there is no real issue.


View attachment 541 I was compiling a list on DJI forum of similar cases.... Mid air shut offs only... list was over 30 members long when DJI removed my post.... they seem to be refusing to take any responsibility at all for crashes that result in lost aircraft such as mine in a lake or in the ocean... they have my flight logs but refuse to replace.

The people who returned their SPARKs to DJI are stating that DJI is promising to replace.

The screenshot above was taken the day before it was removed. There are over 10 additional reports on DJI forum since then.

These are NOT accident CSC crashes or battery clip failures. They seem to be mid air shut offs. DJI knows about the problem and hopefully are correcting it.
 

Dronason

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The link to an uploaded Go4 app flight record .TXT file to https://www.phantomhelp.com/LogViewer/Upload/ could give facts.
Best would be the .DAT file extracted from the Spark using DJI assistant on a PC with a link to a dropbox location b.e.
This is in any case the kind of information that DJI will request for a warranty claim.
 
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Fred Guernsey

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The link to an uploaded Go4 app flight record .TXT file to https://www.phantomhelp.com/LogViewer/Upload/ could give facts.
Best would be the .DAT file extracted from the Spark using DJI assistant on a PC with a link to a dropbox location b.e.
This is in any case the kind of information that DJI will request for a warranty claim.
There is no flight record there to look at - just a page to upload a log. I was asking in my original message - has there been any common non pilot errors that have been found from the analysis of these flights.
 

Dronason

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There is no flight record there to look at - just a page to upload a log. I was asking in my original message - has there been any common non pilot errors that have been found from the analysis of these flights.
Yes, that's clear, it is to any of us to share his flight log to others through the link to that site. For privacy reason, these flight records can be seen only if you get the link for who upload it.
In other Pilots forums, it is common to use it to get advise from others. If you just want to cry and speculate, then better to go to dji forum.
 

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