The Joy of Reliability

Howdy! It’s been a while, again. Over the last couple days, however, I managed to really repair my drone to the point where it’s reliable! It really is wonderful to be able to just set up and fly, without worrying about whether or not the camera will work.

The story:

Shortly after acquiring my Phantom 3 Professional, I crashed it rather catastrophically. The camera snapped off of the gimbal, and all seemed lost. It still seemed to fly, though, and the telemetry was fine. I determined that it was just the camera system that was damaged.

After a few months, I purchased a replacement camera, and then sat on it until it was just too late to return it. Then I installed it, and had tons of problems. It was quite disheartening, to say the least; that camera was expensive! It would occasionally work, mostly, but the camera would suddenly lose power or it would lose track of the SD card. Not good.

Eventually, I decided to try replacing some cables, including the one that provided power to the camera unit. Suddenly, the camera stopped losing power! Yay! Unfortunately, the SD card still didn’t work well, and I’d have to reformat the card and reboot the drone 5-8 times just to get it to solidly recognize the card. Sometimes I couldn’t get it to work at all!¬†Fast forward a few more months, and I took it up to Grand Lake to shoot some video (and try out a waypoint flight plan I’d made in the Litchi app). It was soooooo frustrating, but I did manage to get some good shots:

I came home frustrated, though, and decided to finally see if I could fix the issue. I thought maybe it was a bad camera control board that came with the new camera, so I dug up the control chunk of the original camera, and pulled the board out. During a break at work, I swapped out the boards, and fired it up. Success! While it told me I needed to update the camera firmware, the SD card worked perfectly, and it looked like it would work!

After firmware updates, the camera has continued to work, and it’s been rock solid. It’s amazingly gratifying to have this thing working, and to feel like I can count on it to work, every time! I even took it up to Estes park today and shot some video on the way home (the sun came out as soon as we left):

I’ll leave you with that one, and the warm fuzzy feeling of equipment working the way it’s supposed to!

Don’t forget to subscribe to my YouTube channel if you want to see more UAV videos (or tutorials, kite flying, or anything, really):¬†


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