Saturday, June 17, 2017

My 3DR Solo with Green Cube Goes for a Swim and Cost me $900

So i was filming for my work making a promotional video and procedure on how to use our instrument.  Our instrument measures water currents, so i was recording over the water.  I was waiting for someone to deliver i part i forgot at the lab.  He showed up, i looked over to tell him where to place it and as i was turning, my fingers will still on the controls.  With a swing of my body, my finger swung with it and i slammed my Solo into the water.  I was hovering only 3 feet off the water at the time.  The legs caught the water when i was trying to correct and it flipped into the water.  I guess Solex does not record the file automatically to my tablet also.  The file with the video of me crashing into the water is corrupt, so i cannot replay it.

What amazed me most was how much damage occurred.  It crashed in only 3 feet of water.  So my co-worker took it out of the water.  He was on the opposite side of the shore.  He said it was getting really hot.  I told to remove the battery.  It was suck and he couldn't get it out.  It then started smoking.  He was on the shore with this thing smoking, I said, just remove the GoPro and leave it to burn i guess.  It finally stopped smoking after 3 minutes but remained hot for about 30 minutes.  I then reunited with him.  The battery was jammed.  I later found that just under the battery, the main board on the Solo had burned up so bad, it caused a blister below the battery and wedged it into the compartment.  I had to use a screwdriver to remove the battery.

I then took the Solo home and assessed the damage.  The LEDs on the all the motor pods burned up.  This caused the entire mainboard on the motor pods to burn up.  So all 4 motor pods are lost.  The mainboard connections to the motor pods all burned up.  So the mainboard is lost.  The wifi board is just below one of the power cables.  The heat from the power cables burned up the wifi board.  So it was lost.  The body is blistered in all the motor pod sections.  I might be able to fit new motor pods in the motor pod holes but the alignment might be off.  Doubtful the body is salvageable then.  It is hard to say if the gimbal is OK.  I have another Solo, so i could hook it up to my other Solo.  But i also have an extra gimbal i had planned to use on a separate project.  So maybe i will use this gimbal first to test if i can use it without a Solo.  I do not plan to reuse the battery, but i may dissemble it for the connector.

So the Green Cube.  It was wet.  I opened the Green Cube.  There is foam surrounding some of the boards and the foam was soaked.  I rinsed off the foam with clean distilled water.  I then dried off the foam with my air compressor and placed it in rice.

My GoPro 4 Black was attached.  The SD card survived.  All but the last video was good.  I rinses off the GoPro with distilled water, dried it with my air compressor, and placed it in rice.  I did not open it up.

The mRo GPS board looked OK.  I rinsed it with distilled water and put it in rice.

I will post and update in a couple days to tell you if the rice helped with getting any of the parts salvaged.  I hope the GoPro and Green Cube.

So after all this, I realized, that because i stopped paying attention for just a second, it cost me $900.
$300 - 3DR Solo
$350 - GoPro 4 Black
$90 - mRo GPS board
$160 - Green Cube
I didn't even do the math to realize it cost me that much in my mistake.  You alway think it was a $300 Solo.

There was no one to blame but myself.  The Solo had always flown great for me.  The Green Cube was working great for me.  But i looked away for a second and didn't take my hands off the control when i did, and it cost me my Solo.  I still have one more Solo that is unmodified other than the GPS.  I guess i am in the market for another Green Cube.


  1. Mine just fell out of the sky. It looked like it was losing power but it was a fully charged battery. I managed to get most of it but it destroyed the GoPro I just bought during the fall from about 350ft. I was going to say screw it and I went a head and bought another body and a motor so I can transplant what I can save. I am suprised nobody has 3d scanned the body so they can print a new one in PETG rather than ABS.

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