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Karma drone disappears

Will GoPro replace my Karma drone and Hero 5 Black?

  • Yes

    Votes: 18 54.5%
  • No

    Votes: 15 45.5%

  • Total voters
    33
Joined
May 1, 2017
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#1
Greetings, I'd like to discuss my new Karma drone and the disappearing act it pulled on me yesterday. My third overall flight, flying in a residential setting, I did my first "high" altitude flight, reaching as high as 300.' I came back down to about 200,' lost GPS, then lost connection between the controller and drone, and that's when Karma instantly took off at a very high rate of speed, not responding to any controller input, never to be seen again. I've filed a claim with GoPro, I've uploaded flight logs, and now I'm just waiting for a response from GoPro. A search for the drone has yielded nothing. I've got ads up on Craigslist and other neighborhood forums. And, no, I don't have a GPS device on the drone, nor my name and phone number. Your thoughts? Anyone experienced the same thing? How will GoPro handle this?
 
Joined
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#2
I am returning my Karma due to the same thing but I found my drone. This seems to be happening alot and luckily I bought mine through Amazon and they are refunding my money. Gopro wont return calls and customer service sucks!!! I bought the procare and I guess im out $160 on it. Sorry about your loss. Seems like this company got into something they do not understand. Im done with gopro!!!!
 
Likes: clackey
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#3
It sucks for sure. But, DJI certainly has their fare share of drones flying away. I wouldn't really call it a GoPro issue, more of where the drone technology is at this point.
 
Joined
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#4
Update: I've called GoPro every day for a week and today they finally had some "information." After reviewing the flight logs they've determined the drone did not malfunction, but that the lost connections were most likely due to interference caused by other "things" using the same frequency. They don't want to replace it. They told me to go look for it. Like I haven't been doing that! I asked to speak to someone who is a decision maker at GoPro, but I was unable to do that. I reminded the rep that the drone is supposed to land itself when connections are lost. And I requested a phone call from a supervisor, manager, or anyone who can pull the trigger on a replacement for me. She added all this to the "notes" and so now I'm sitting and waiting. Again. And for the record, GoPro never contacted me with their decision; I had to contact them. More to come...
 
Likes: Tyleolister

Rp7

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#5
I started experiencing same problem two days ago, lost connection between drone and controller, the drone returned on its own returning to launch site. Second flight had same results only lost connection maybe less than a hundred feet from launch site. Yesterday at a different location where I have flown numerous times first flight resulted in lost connection with return to launch, second flight was different lost GPS but still had control connect but had to fly in manual mode , it was quite windy and the Karma was a hand full to fly but was successful getting it landed. Any ideas?
 
Joined
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#6
@Rp7, As it was explained to me from GoPro, they say if you fly in an area with interferences, such as houses, buildings, cars, radio towers, power stations, power lines, etc..., basically anywhere but an open field 100 miles from civilization, you have greater potential for losing GPS and the controller connection. I think Dotdee has it right in that this is simply where the drone technology is at this point - not all that great unless you're willing and able to spend thousands more on a higher end product. Which GoPro does not currently offer on the drone front. The same problems are occurring with DJI drones as well, though it seems to be less frequent, so it's not just the Karma by GoPro, though they've clearly had issues with their first drone.
 
Joined
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#7
Update: I had to call GoPro today, as I've still not received a call or e-mail from them. The rep I spoke to today seemed more willing to "help." That or he's just better trained at making the customer feel better, which he did in my case. He told me he's "taking ownership of this case." Asked for my shipping address and invoice number from the purchase and says he'll talk to the Karma team again and get back to me this week. He included that a replacement shipment would include the drone, battery, gimble, and camera. Though he did not confirm that a shipment will be sent out at this time. So for now the waiting continues. Fingers crossed.
 
Joined
May 12, 2017
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#8
I had a similar experience here. Flew mine out of signal range and lost visual on my controller. For a few minutes it attempted to return to home, but then it decided to land in place. At this point I was 100% certain it had crashed into a tree or house and thought I was SOL. Lucky for me it had landed on a street that wasn't busy and after I located it I pulled the footage and was actually quiet amused. Had it decided to land somewhere else it could have caused an accident.


I'm never gonna trust the auto return function again. From now on as soon as my signal gets jeporidized I'm headed back.
 
Joined
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#9
Update: I've called GoPro every day for a week and today they finally had some "information." After reviewing the flight logs they've determined the drone did not malfunction, but that the lost connections were most likely due to interference caused by other "things" using the same frequency. They don't want to replace it. They told me to go look for it. Like I haven't been doing that! I asked to speak to someone who is a decision maker at GoPro, but I was unable to do that. I reminded the rep that the drone is supposed to land itself when connections are lost. And I requested a phone call from a supervisor, manager, or anyone who can pull the trigger on a replacement for me. She added all this to the "notes" and so now I'm sitting and waiting. Again. And for the record, GoPro never contacted me with their decision; I had to contact them. More to come...
You'd think if they have access to the logs and all they'd at least be able to pinpoint the drones last GPS location so that you can find it, unless they are just BS'n you so they don't have to replace it.


Seems like this company got into something they do not understand.
I have mixed feelings about my Karma but I know what you mean. On paper it looks real good when you consider everything you get in the $1100 package. Backpack, drone, controller with built in LCD screen, removable camera, gimbal stick + other adapters. I also really like the design of the unit with the camera in front instead of underneath. It's a really manageable size when folded up in it's case compared to a Phantom. Sadly though, specs and looks are decieving and I don't think the Karma performs as well as DJI stuff. IMO GoPro should have stuck with what they do best, making cameras. They should have kept up the partnership with DJI instead of trying to become a direct competitor.

I'm probably going to wind up returning my Karma for a Mavic Pro. I'm a risk taker and am inevitably going to crash into something someday and I really like that the latest stuff from DJI has collision avoidence. DJI uses a different battery chemistry with higher energy density too. So far I've only managed to get about 18 min of flight time out of my Karma.
 
Joined
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#10
It sucks for sure. But, DJI certainly has their fare share of drones flying away. I wouldn't really call it a GoPro issue, more of where the drone technology is at this point.
THIS IS ON POINT ---THE TECHNOLOGY is not even close to reliable YET but man they are fun!
 
Joined
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#11
@Rp7, As it was explained to me from GoPro, they say if you fly in an area with interferences, such as houses, buildings, cars, radio towers, power stations, power lines, etc..., basically anywhere but an open field 100 miles from civilization, you have greater potential for losing GPS and the controller connection.
Anytime you have a new technology, there will be a learning curve. Cell phones for example were highly volatile with poor coverage and features for several years. Same here, you have what is a pretty amazing product in these drones, but it is still in its infancy. As you said, all drones, even the mighty DJI has these issues.


Obviously it is a stretch saying " in a field 100 miles from civilization", but the fact is you should not be flying in populated areas per the FAA. As you said, there are numerous RF per the items you mention with the big one being communication towers and power stations; and there are more around than you think. Additionally, everyone has wireless networks and other systems flooding the airwaves. Demand drives technology, so like cell phones, they will get the frequencies right on these drones, but when you are looking for "cutting edge technology", that is what you will get unless you wait for it to take really off. Punage...


Either way, I have had my Karma a few months now, and really only had one blip in compass issues when trying to launch from a sunken area on a cliff. Moving the drone a foot corrected it. I don't fly in populated areas. Many hours of flight and no GPS issues, fly aways, or anything like that. No doubt there will always be failures, but most videos I see are pilot error, being unfamiliar with the drone, letting the battery get too low, flying outside of FAA restrictions such as line of sight, and yes where they fly it being in urban areas. Fly it in between tall buildings and you are going to lose GPS, fly it behind a building and you will lose connection to the controller, fly it in populated areas and you will have interference, do not set your return to flight high enough and it crashes. You do seem to get a lot of negativity on the Karma because of the recall, but it "does" appear the issue has been resolved with a new battery mount. Unfortunately, now the issue is "perception" or "fear". Either way, in all the time I have flown, I have never had any of these issues, however when I first got the drone, I tested how it would react in these stressful situations by putting it in an auto path and shutting off the controller, letting the battery drain so it would return to launch, moving a great distance to return to me, and canceling these RTH modes to retake control. I have not been able to test the loss of GPS because there is no way to cancel it, though at some point I will find a big warehouse, or take advantage of a situation when the error occurs and test that too. Either way, if you get familiar with these drones, and you know what to expect when something goes wrong, you not only will be more confident in the drone, but better prepared to handle a stressful situation and hopefully not post a YouTube video of your crash where "perception" and assumptions mostly by DJI owners cite a bad product, though anyone looking deeper recognizes one, maybe many errors you made that caused the crash.


BTW, I practice a lot, not just to get a better feel for the drone in good and bad conditions, but equally as important video composition. One item I am always working on is landing on a dime, even sometimes using the camera to land at a distance. I do this whenever I practice since many areas I go such as on my boat affords a very small landing site. This also helps if for some reason my launch site may not be available per the boat moving, or another emergency forcing me to land the drone quickly. Either way, all this practice not only helps get better video at the time it matters, but also affords me more time to shoot video since I am much more efficient in both flying and video composition.


To end my diatribe, the most crashes I see are from pilots even admittedly being unfamiliar with the Karma, be it not reading the manual, failing to adhere to the FAA restrictions, or pushing the drone to far beyond its or their own limitations. You also see so many pushing the battery to capacity which will force what many describe as "losing control" when in fact the drone takes control to land per a failsafe. In that regard, like any electronic device, especially photography, I always recommend getting multiple batteries. This helps ensure you keep good habits by accepting low battery warnings and don't push the drone beyond its limits...
 
Joined
May 17, 2017
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Location
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#12
Greetings, I'd like to discuss my new Karma drone and the disappearing act it pulled on me yesterday. My third overall flight, flying in a residential setting, I did my first "high" altitude flight, reaching as high as 300.' I came back down to about 200,' lost GPS, then lost connection between the controller and drone, and that's when Karma instantly took off at a very high rate of speed, not responding to any controller input, never to be seen again. I've filed a claim with GoPro, I've uploaded flight logs, and now I'm just waiting for a response from GoPro. A search for the drone has yielded nothing. I've got ads up on Craigslist and other neighborhood forums. And, no, I don't have a GPS device on the drone, nor my name and phone number. Your thoughts? Anyone experienced the same thing? How will GoPro handle this?
@seadonkey

Hey
this just happened to me, I have opened a case with GoPro.
I was unable to locate my drone after it just took off at high speed into the distance.

It was unreal!
Arg!
 
Last edited:
Joined
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#13
I also have just had this happen. Seems theres a theme here.

I ran a brief test flight and when the drone was about 30' away and 15' altitude it lost GPS connection...It proceeded to take off on a tangent in the last direction it was on at a quick pace. I ran up the street following, I was able to briefly regain connection to try to bring the drone back to me, managed to change its direction and altitude (as it was climbing rapidly). After a brief connection and change of direction, lost the connection again and it took off again. I received a message on the controller that the drone battery low and attempting to land...it didn't land and kept travelling on a tangent oin the last heading with no ability to change it altitude or heading.

I managed to find a last know location on the maps portion of the controller but there is no drone there. It is currently lost.

I did contact GoPro and have made a claim, did speak to someone and clearly they have a well educated CSR system and while seeming friendly and sympathetic, she was clearly educated on what to say. I have uploaded the flight log to GoPro as part of their requirements.

Waiting for a resolution.... After reading these posts I am not optimistic. If I don't get a desired result, I will start a public relations campaign. I will keep you all posted.
 
Last edited:
Joined
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#14
@Red Elvis
Totally agree with a recurring theme here and after there 2016 karma recall I'm sure they will be wanting to avoid any further negative PR.

I've not heard anything back yet, logs are with the engineers. Hopefully I will have some answers by Tuesday.

Will keep you posted.
Thanks!
 
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#16
Any one had any answers from GoPro?

I'm waiting on manager 'Paul' reviewing my flight logs. Will keep you posted.
Im still waiting for any answer. My problem is with the GPS. It not recognize the GPS, as soon as I touch the button of lunch. Im sorry for my english, Iam writing from Uruguay. I can fly my Karma but without GPS (I calibrate it, but it does not solve the problem).
 
Joined
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#17
UPDATE: To make a long story short... My case with GoPro was closed on May 17th, just seventeen days after it was opened, though it felt much longer... Three days ago I received my replacement Karma drone, battery, propellers, gimble, & Hero 5 Black. I couldn't be happier with the outcome, obviously, as my only out of pocket cost was for a new sd card. There's just one problem now... I'm scared to fly it!
 

McToddy

Well-Known Member
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#19
I had a similar experience here. Flew mine out of signal range and lost visual on my controller. For a few minutes it attempted to return to home, but then it decided to land in place. At this point I was 100% certain it had crashed into a tree or house and thought I was SOL. Lucky for me it had landed on a street that wasn't busy and after I located it I pulled the footage and was actually quiet amused. Had it decided to land somewhere else it could have caused an accident.


I'm never gonna trust the auto return function again. From now on as soon as my signal gets jeporidized I'm headed back.
Kinda funny at the end -- the old guy didn't even notice the Karma out in the street. If it had landed a minute later, he may have seen it coming down. But then, he could have ended up being an a-hole and took possession of the drone with the attitude "you shouldn't be flying those crazy things around here"
 
Last edited:

McToddy

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#20
My replacement is on it's way too!
So happy but very reluctant to fly it again, clearly they must have some software issues.
@robertmcginily and @seadonky -- can you provide more insight about your experience with customer support?

My Karma did a runaway this past Sunday.

I was flying out over water (0.3 miles according the recovered telemetry) when the Karma lost GPS. I started arcing it back to shore when the Karma started going nuts -- it dropped in elevation (from about 50 feet to "7 feet") and almost hit the water. The Karma was then able to climb but started to accelerate crazy fast -- hitting 54mph at 1.2G's. (In the past month and a half of flying the Karma, I've only been able to get it to about 20mph. I haven't flown in Sport Mode, and I don't think I will).
vlcsnap-2017-05-30-17h28m35s732.jpg
As a point of reference, that orange horizontal line on speed chart (lower right) was 17-20 mph before runway started.

As the Karma approached the shoreline, the controller started to loose signal as I could not control the direction or speed -- I could control the yaw as I was able to rotate the Karma to point at my general area as it flew by.

The screen at some point went black and then said something like "Karma will autoland in 3:00" (and did a 3 minute count down). That's when started my hunt for the lost Karma. (I had a general idea of what direction to head on foot.) After the 3 minute countdown completed, the last image from the camera showed up, which helped me to narrow down the final position ...
IMG_20170528_194010_2.jpg

It took me about 10-15m to locate the end-point based upon the last image my controller displayed. Apparently, it clipped a tree before it came down onto a building. Some kids saw the Karma hit the tree and the subsequent fall -- they were in the act of retrieving the Karma when I got on site (about 1500 feet from launch).

Everything was damaged, but the SD card survived.
IMG_20170528_200207_2.jpg
In any case, this runaway was not my fault -- especially the 54MPH part!!! I want to make a claim with GoPro for a replacement, despite not having the GoPro Care.

Any insight about how to deal with customer care is greatly appreciated. (Did you have to send in any damaged parts? Did you have to sign an NDA? Did you have GoPro Care or not).

I know I'll have to upload a flight log (I have no problem with that), but I want to setup Wireshark first so I can capture IP packets from the controller to GoPro. I'd like to see what gets transferred, and thus far, I haven't heard of anyone being able to capture flight logs or decipher the .SES files on the SD card.

By the way, here's the firmware levels of my gear (applied on 4/23 -- i took pics during the update process. Sounds a little OCD, but at least I have a record of the updates and the change log that was displayed on the controller before the apply)
-- Hero5 : v2.00
-- Karma Stabilizer: v1.50
-- Karma Drone: v1.50
-- Karma Controller: v1.50

I don't know if the runaway was due to v1.50 updates per se, or something more intrenched from v1.00 that still needs to be resolved.

Thx in advanced.
 

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