As you may have seen in other threads, I recently got my hands on a DJI Inspire 1.
My quest to get another drone started months ago. I’ve pretty much hacked my Mavic Pro to death with firmware mods, hardware mods and GO4 app hacking. Indeed a new challenge
I started looking around on eBay for a Spark initially as all my Mavic kit takes up such a massive case now, it has long since lost all portability it once had.
While browsing eBay for Spark’s, I found myself wandering around looking at Inspires instead. This carried on for a few weeks and I was more and more drawn to them. Not sure why really, perhaps the extra stability in the wind, perhaps the transformation that it does with it’s landing gear
Anyway, the prices were high for any half decent second hand ones so I thought I’d try a cheaper route to entry and shop around for a crash damaged one and repair it myself.
Turns out that was anything but a cost effective option! I found a decent crashed one (?!) for £150 quid, needed about £150 spending on it to repair it. Not too bad! But it was only the drone for £150. I’d then need to buy a controller, a camera, some batteries and a charger. That £150 suddenly became £700+ (all second hand parts). Plus then £150 for repairs.
My cheap entry route was getting kinda expensive
So I started looking at non-crashed ones, in the hope of spotting a bargain. One came up on a 3-day BIN on eBay for £999 and it was literally just down the road from me. Too expensive though. It was a complete kit, two batteries (a TB47 and TB48), Zenmuse X3 camera, two controllers and a full sized case.
The three days came and went, nobody bought it. It was then resisted the following day for another BIN at £799, again another three day sale. I started messaging the guy and asking all the usual questions.
The main question was, “Can I see it fly before I part with my hard earned?” - his response caught me off guard, he said he was selling it for his brother in law and that if I knew how to fly it I was more than welcome to try it myself?! This rang a little alarm bell as he couldn’t tell me any of the history.
Anyway, those three days came and went, again this one went unsold. Two days later it was re-listed as an auction this time, starting at £600 quid.
I’d just sold one of my CrystalSky Ultras so I sent the guy a message saying I’ll come and collect it today for £600 cash if he cancels the auction now.
When I got there, sure enough, he knew nothing about it. Everything was present in the case, except the charger. He rang his bro-in-law and asked, the changer was in his garage and his bro in law was on his way to the airport for a 2 week holiday. More alarm bells ringing now.
He asked me how much a charger would cost, I pulled up Heliguy on my phone, £70 odd quid. So he said he’d take £70 quid off the price, or, he’d go to his bro-in-laws garage tomorrow and drop the charger off with me on Monday. I took a punt and trusted him (he delivered as promised).
So while there and examining the drone for damage, I noticed that one battery only had one light on it and the other battery wouldn’t light up at all. Same with the controllers, one was stone dead, the other had just one led on it.
He said it’s been sat in his BILs garage for the last six months without being used. I was getting a bit unsure at this point…
But I said sod it, this was still a bargain, even if I ended up having to buy a damaged drone, at least I’d have all the accessories to make a full package.
So the deal was done, £600 quid as promised
Got it home, fitted the camera, powered it up and all hell let loose!
The camera was sitting at a really weird angle, the drone was bleeping at me, GO app was screaming all sorts of IMU errors, the taillight was cycling through every colour of the rainbow and GO was not letting me do a thing.
Not helping was the battery, it had just 3% in it.
So I packed it all up and put it away, waiting for him to drop the charger off a few days later.
While I was waiting I started reaching out to companies for repairs - fearing the worst (dead IMU, dead X3 camera, etc). Quotes weren’t looking good and I was wondering what I’d let myself in for.
Sure enough, a few days later he dropped the charger off as promised. So I got one battery sorted, the other one was stone dead. Opened it up, there was 0.41 volts across ALL the cells. There is also some swelling going on too. That one’s a goner.
Thankfully the stone dead controller sprang back in to life after being on charge for 14 hours.
With a freshly charged battery I then set about calibrating EVERYTHING. TWICE!
The first IMU calibration took forever… but thankfully about 60% in to it and the gimbal suddenly sprang in to life and levelled itself magically. I then calibrated the compass and the gimbal, shut it down, booted it up and then recalibrate all three again. Just to be sure!
Got a GPS fix, started the rotors (no props), all looks well.
It’s also got a really old firmware version on it (v1.2.1.06 which is dated 2015-05-26), it’s NEVER been updated by the looks of things - result!!!
So, all in all, I’m getting there.
One thing I did notice, this drone has been crashed at some point.
Buried under the bottom of the case foam I found a replacement bottom plate gimbal cable with the plug missing (bare wires exposed) so I think this thing has hit the deck and had the gimbal ripped off. The camera appears to work fine though, I can rotate it a full 360 degrees with no issues. Also in the case was one spare prop, making me think he’s replaced a few. The other four props all have scuff marks on them and one had a chip taken out of it.
I’ve bought four new props (£16 all in) - rather than risk it.
I also bought a new battery. These things are rare as rocking horse shit on eBay The cost of a new TB48 (high capacity battery)? ONE HUNDRED AND NINETY FUCKING QUID!!! I won’t be doing that again… I’ve got a few eBay email alerts saved for second hand batteries being listed.
With the crappy weather last weekend my maiden voyage was abandoned and I spent the weekend wrapping it in carbon instead.
This weekends weather is looking dry so I’m hoping to get out there and actually get this thing in the air
More news as it happens - this has been a steep learning curve so far…
(sorry, rambled on a bit there)