Your stomach drops. You watch your fragile, expensive and complex piece of flying machinery crash to the ground from afar, with a violent thud.
Many thoughts cross your mind. How much money you spent on the drone, how much it might cost to fix it.
It happens to everyone, at one point or another. It’s not a question of if, but really a question of when— almost every drone owner has a story of a big crash. But what do you do once your drone has eaten dust?
Drone repair can be costly, but it isn’t your only option. If you know what you’re getting into, there’s a chance you may be able to get your drone back up and running yourself.
Found yourself the victim of a drone crash? Read on, and we’ll walk you through your options and everything that you need to know.
Drone Repair Centers
The easiest fix for your crashed drone is taking it to an authorized repair center. Even what initially appears as minor damage could be worse than it seems, and bringing it to some trained professionals may be the only way to know for sure that the problem is completely solved.
You can call the manufacturer or check its website to find out if there is an authorized repair center in your area. The biggest benefit of these repair centers is probably the turnaround time.
A repair center can turn around a drone in the neighborhood of two weeks, and you’re more likely to make a face-to-face connection with your repairman. This means you can call them for updates and receive fairly personal and honest updates on your drone’s status.
If you’re lucky, an authorized drone repair center will be within a decent drive of your home. But, there are only a few dozens scattered across the country, and there’s a decent chance that there might not be one within driving distance of your home.
Send It Back To The Manufacturer
If you don’t end up having an authorized repair shop near you, you may need to send your drone back to whence it came.
The manufacturer of your drone owns a large warehouse that has the many drone parts your particular crashed drone needs to get back up and running. Manufacturers take in a large amount of drone repair cases from around the world and are well-versed in almost any potential issue that can come their way. While they should be able to fix your drone no problem, issues of time and cost might get in your way.
If you’re one of a small portion of drone owners who crashed due to a defect and not piloting error, you may be entitled to a free or low-cost repair. When you reach out to them, mention all the details you can remember of your flight and the moments leading up to your crash. Be sure to share any post-crash notes you kept when retrieving your crashed drone. This info may be helpful in determining if the issue falls under the provided warranty or not.
Don’t think that you can lie about your crash, though– most drones contain a black box that records exactly what happens prior to an accident occurring.
If not, outside of the cost of repair, you’ll also likely be facing a plethora of potential issues, ranging from incredibly long wait times to warranty disputes. Customer service usually isn’t much of a help in these situations either, and it could be months before you see your drone back again.
If your drone company offered insurance and you took it, you should be feeling pretty good about that decision right about now. DJI, in particular, offers the highly regarded ‘DJI Care‘ that covers all damage to your drone, gimbal, or camera sustained during normal use.
If you didn’t invest in insurance, or your manufacturer didn’t offer it, you may be looking at a pretty hefty price tag for your drone repair.
Drone At Home: Do It Yourself
Faced with the many negative aspects of manufacturer repair, you may feel pressured to start considering other options. Digging into the world of DIY solutions may seem particularly enticing.
If you don’t know much about technical hardware, it is not recommended that you attempt to fix your drone yourself. Most crashes result in problems with the drone’s circuit board, and these can be incredibly hard to fix on your own.
That being said, if your drone’s issues are of the more physical or cosmetic variety, there may be some hope for a do it yourself solution. A clipped propellor, for example, can be purchased online from somewhere like this website and replaced on your own with little trouble. Cracked cameras, bent receivers, and other similar pieces can be purchased individually and repaired.
If the issues resulting from your crash are internal problems, however, a do it yourself solution can be very unlikely. Sometimes, googling your specific issue and finding if others have faced the same thing online can help lead you to a solution that’s worked for others. Some brands, like Parrot, even provide their own Youtube videos and solutions for common drone problems that are worth checking out.
You should bear in mind, however, that for many manufacturers, any signs of attempted do it yourself fixing will result in a voided warranty. This means that even if you fix your current problem, that you won’t be able to rely on the warranty should something else go wrong in the future. You might leave yourself in a bad situation.
There’s More Than One Kind Of Drone Repair
If your drone has recently taken a nasty crash landing, you can at least rest assured knowing that you have options. Drone repair can be tricky business, and depending on exactly what kind of damage your drone sustained and the resources around you, the best solution for you may differ.