Wednesday last week we had some good weather and I was able to wrap up work by 5 pm, so I charged up six batteries and headed out to the back deck to fly. I was having a pretty good session, doing a little bit of racing flying different circuits around the house and yard, doing some freestyle as well, just generally having fun and not really trying to work on anything in particular.

I started really having fun on to run my loops around the backyard that I used to do with my whoops, and found doing it with a bigger quad is pretty exhilarating. It’s a lot faster and the space feels tighter even though my toothpick quad isn’t that much bigger. I was getting pretty good too at finding different lines to follow. Trying for smoother lines each time around while mixing in a little freestyle here and there as well. It was a lot of fun.

Then I bonked the tree in the front yard. I thought it was pretty minor at first since I was just banking to do a 180 around the tree and go back the other way. It’s something I’ve done hundreds of times with no problem, except this time I pulled it up too short and hit the tree trunk. Not very hard, but I wasn’t able to recover it, so I had to do a walk of shame out front to get it. Which is when I discovered the broken prop on the front right motor, and that explained why I couldn’t recover and take off.

No big deal, I replaced the broken prop with a new one and tried to take off and finish the rest of the current battery. But when I armed it I only had three props spinning. The front left motor wasn’t working.

I disarmed the quad and spun that motor by hand, but it wouldn’t turn freely. It felt like something was catching, and I figured either the bell was bent or the magnets or stator might have gotten damaged inside. I was pretty surprised I had motor damage though, I didn’t think I’d hit that tree hard enough for that.

So that was the end of my session for the day. Later that evening I took the prop off and got the motor pulled out of the quad in preparation for replacing it. Out of curiosity I took the tiny clip off of the bottom of the motor so I could remove the bell and see what the actual damage was. That was when I discovered that there wasn’t any damage just a tiny grain of dirt or sand stuck in between two windings on the stator which must have been sticking out just enough to catch on the magnets inside the bell. I pulled that dirt out with a pair of tweezers and put the bell back on to test it and the thing spun just as smoothly as when it was new.

While it was unexpected and great that I didn’t need to replace the motor, I’d lost the clip while getting it apart. At the time I didn’t care because I wasn’t expecting to be able to put it back on the quad, but now I needed that tiny clip to keep the motor together. There was no way I was finding a tiny black piece of metal like that in my carpeted office though. Luckily I’ve been keeping all my broken parts including motors in a box, and I was able to get the clip off of one of them and use that one the motor.

This was a first for me. I normally end up just replacing parts, I’ve never been able to fix something and put it back on. Once I got the motor back on, I plugged a battery into the quad and tested the motor out and it worked great.

As a side note, the 2″ tri-blade props I’d switched to once I ran out of the 65mm bi-blades have proven to be a little too brittle. I broke too many clockwise props and didn’t have any more replacements, so I dropped back to some 1.9″ ones that I’d bought an never used. I’m going to need to order some new props though at this rate.

Here’s the full flight just to prove I don’t just crash all of the time.

Tree Bonk
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