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Quadcopter Rescues Kid’s Stuck Rocket on Roof

Written by: Tony Korologos | Date: Friday, October 24th, 2014
Categories: DJIMultirotor AircraftRandom

DSC_0698This is geeky beyond measure….

I’m in the “laboratory” getting ready for an aerial shoot tomorrow.  My hexacopter is good to go, but in case I need another flight or backup I was getting my DJI Phantom ready to fly.  I had just balanced some new props and was walking up the stairs when the doorbell rang.  Quad in hand, I answered the door.  It was a neighbor kid.

“My rocket is on your roof.”

He had launched a rocket from his yard and miscalculated the wind.  The parachute was hanging off the edge of the roof and the rocket was on the roof.  I told him I’d be happy to try taking the Phantom up there and seeing if I could get close enough for the wind from the props to blow the rocket down.  He, his father, and three other neighbor kids thought that was a brilliant idea.

I was a little worried.  I just spent a bunch of money on new props.  I’d hate to break them AND leave the damn Phantom on the roof.

I piloted up to the roof and positioned the quad above the rocket.  It was a bit breezy so I had to manipulate it a bit to keep it in position, despite being in GPS mode (that’s another discussion).  I lowered to the point where the prop wash hit the rocket and voila!  The rocket blew down and I was the hero of the neighborhood.

The neighbor kids raved how cool the Phantom was to which I said, “you should see the BIG bird!”

I then busted out the big hexacopter and did a neighborhood flight with a very attentive audience.  They loved it, and I got a test flight in on the big bird after having to reset the gimbal settings.

Diagnosing and Fixing a Broken Gimbal Brushless Motor

Written by: Tony Korologos | Date: Tuesday, October 21st, 2014
Categories: Build LogCamera GimbalDJI

After a recent road trip which I brought my Phantom and my hexacopter, I found that the Arris CM3000 3-axis camera gimbal on the Phantom became stuck.  The pitch motor would only move about 1/16 of an inch.  Something was blocking it.  I didn’t want to give it too much force for fear of breaking it.


I found a replacement for the motor online for about $18.  But before I ordered one from China and had to wait 17 million weeks for it to arrive, I thought I’d tear apart the broken brushless motor and see if I could fix it.

I’ve never torn apart a brushless motor before.  It was not hard.  I popped the clip on the drive shaft and unscrewed the shaft screw.  Then the outer cover came off with a little force.  It did not want to come out because of how strong the magnets were.


The problem was visibly obvious as soon as I had the cover off.  A couple of the magnets had broken and a piece of them came off, lodging between two other magnets (above).  I’m guessing the magnets were cracked during a Phantom crash, and eventually the piece broke loose.  You can see the loose chunk below:


I cleaned out the debris, put it back together and it appears to be working again.  I just hand tested it though.  A real flight test is up next.

New Kind of DJI Flyaway

Written by: Tony Korologos | Date: Tuesday, September 16th, 2014
Categories: DJI

Many DJI users are concerned about the “flyaway” problem, where their multirotor craft seems to take on a mind of its own and tries to to fly China, never to be seen again.

DSC_3975The photo above offers another explanation for the flyaway, or possibly a new kind of flyaway.   In this photo a large hexacopter has captured a DJI Phantom and is flying away with it.


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