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Runaway GoPro Karma drone goes 54MPH!!!!! (...then hits a tree)

McToddy

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Joined
May 30, 2017
Messages
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Location
Alderaan
#1
Can anyone top this?!?!

As you may have seen in my post (#20 in the Karma Drone Disappears thread) I had an issues where my drone decided to runaway at 54mph then crash. I opened a support ticket with GoPro support and I finally got a reply back from them where they said "this is not a manufacturing defect..." despite my Karma went faster than GoPro's claimed maximum speed of 35mph (if in Sport Mode, which my drone was not)

What Is Sport Mode on Karma?
Sport Mode allows the Karma Drone to reach a max speed of 35 mph. When Sport
Mode is OFF, the speed will be limited to 20 mph.

source: https://gopro.com/help/articles/Question_Answer/What-is-Sport-Mode-on-Karma
To say the least, I am F'ing pissed at GoPro Support !!!!

So, here it's, in it's full glory, the flight video of my Karma Drone going 54MPH!!!!


Here's the response from GoPro support ...

Hi Todd,

I hope all is well. I just received information from our Tier 3 concerning this case. The controller and drone lost connection because of flying over the dock where there is a large number of people (cell phone interference), multiple restaurants (wi-fi) and parking lot (GPS signals) that could a break in connection with the drone. The drone lost connection right as they were passing Moby Dick Restaurant and then tried to turn around once the connection was broken. This is not a manufacturing defect as the dropped connection is due to interference between the pilot and drone. At this point we will not be able to replace any Karma parts this is not a manufacturing defect. Please take a look online replacement parts that are available at
https://shop.gopro.com/mounts-accessories

Thanks much,
Isaac
GoPro Support

(source: https://goo.gl/photos/Nk3Fqwn2x1LpqstE8)​

Ok, I get that the restaurants may have WiFi that may cause interference. (I'm very surprised that Support was able to provide the name of the restaurant with the suspected WiFi problem -- Im not sure if that was sourced from a WiFi wardriving database or what. But it does indicated that the Flight Log had a GPS track that Support may have used Google's Street View to trace.)

What I don't get are the comments about the "large number of people (cell phone interference)" -- sorry, but I thought cell phones are not on 2.4Ghz -- and "parking lot (GPS signals)" -- since when do parking lots transmit GPS signals?!?

Also, "...then [it] tried to turn around once the connection was broken" ... Im assuming that it was attempting to return to launch point, but we can see it totally missed and went 1500 feet west of my position.

WTF?!?
 
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#2
That's very similar to the initial response they gave me when mine flew away at a very high rate of speed and disappeared. Do not, I repeat, DO NOT take 'no' for an answer. GoPro is losing their a$$ on this product and they don't want to give any more replacement drones away if they can help it. The job of the customer support employees has changed from being helpful to deflect, deflect, DEFLECT! Much like an insurance company they figure if they keep telling you NO that you'll give up and go away after a period of time. Stand your ground, call them every day or two, and let them know how upset you are. They cannot prove where the interference between your drone and controller came from, they can only speculate. A similar situation occurred with my Karma, I remained persistent, and my replacement arrived in about 3 weeks from the date of the disappearance of my drone. They WILL replace your drone. As a last resort, (I had already printed the the necessary paperwork before my replacement finally arrived), take them to small claims court. The cost & time investment to do this is minimal and they will have no choice but to settle with you. They know this, and this is one of the reasons why they WILL send you a replacement. Keep us posted and good luck!
 
Last edited:
Joined
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Northern California
#3
It sounds like what's been happening to many of us! It took 10 days for me to get an answer and 5 days after that got everything replaced. Don't go for the interference bs as this should not happen. There is another post on here somewhere that discusses the karma just taking off on its own and many have gotten replacements! Don't give up!
 
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#4
Hi McToddy - just a quick note to say that even if the drone encountered interference - and you're right about the GPS red herring (receivers ≠ transmitters) - there's no reason it shouldn't be able to 1. only pay attention to the exact frequency it's connected to the Controller on, 2. even if lost briefly, once it was half way back to shore, it should have constantly been looking for it's controller on the appropriate frequency, and 3. if it got disconnected, what caused it to fly beyond its maximum speed and in such a bizarre manner? Like a restaurant WiFi is likely to be sending out messages that a drone would understand and respond to by flying off in a determined manner? All that just seems like stuff that GoPro should want to both know about and fix!

As you likely know, before the software update, there were some issues like this where the drone would lose GPS connectivity and fly off in a very determined way, often not responding to the controller at all. I'm assuming your drone was up to date on the software and that when it was behaving strangely, it was not listening to your controller commands?

Thanks and sorry about your incident, definitely stay on them, send them certified letter explaining your experience and demanding a replacement, etc.

Good luck!

Hamish
 
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#5
One more detail - when you get your replacement drone, definitely set it on Sport mode asap - anything else is buggy at the best of times.

Hamish
 

McToddy

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Joined
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Messages
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Location
Alderaan
#6
@seadonkey I saw your reply when I woke up this morning, and I can't tell you how much it helped. It really did make me feel better and it helped me get through the day. (It's been a busy day and I finally got a chance to sit at my PC and do replies -- I hate typing on the mobile with fat fingers). I've been waiting to see what others would have to say. I figured that response to GoPro should be by phone, and the tone of you comment seems to support that. Interestingly, at lunch, GoPro sent a second email, a "Case Reminder", asking why I haven't responded. It's a robo email : "As we haven't heard back, we aren't sure if the issue is resolved or some more information is needed from you." Yeah, right "resolved". I'll be calling them back on Monday. (I'm going to see my Dad tomorrow for Dad's Day)

@Elisawh You're probably referring to the Karma Drone Disappears thread. I have a post in there (ok, it was a venting rant) -- this thread is an extension to that.

@Hamish Thanks for you reply and verifying that I'm not crazy in seeing out utterly ridiculous GoPros assessment of the issue is. I did have a loss connection occur once before. On my 3rd or 4th flight, the drone flew behind a high hill breaking the line of sight. (I think it was 10-20 feet behind the rock outcropping that cause the break in the line of site -- it was moving pretty slowly at the time because I wasn't sure was going to happen if I would loose sight.) I got a verbal warning on the controller that the drone lost contact and was returning to home. When it got back overhead and was starting to descend, I was able to regain control. From that experience, I thought the return-to-home feature was pretty sound. I took that flight as learning experience and haven't put myself into flying blind or triggering another return-to-home. Your comment "All that just seems like stuff that GoPro should want to both know about and fix!" -- That's the pisser, I figured that GoPro would like to know the details about what happened. From what I'm hearing, Im one of the few people who was actually able to recover their drone after a runaway and I have telemetry from the event. Instead, GoPro is treating me like an idiot. Yes, I had the latest FW updates (v1.5 on the Drone, Controller and Stabilizer.) No, I was not aware of the issues with the earlier FW. (I didn't personally find any issues with the v1.0 FW). When the drone was in the runaway, I lost control of everything, except for one brief period of time (when the drone was closest to me when it flew past my position) where i think I had partial control -- right before the drone goes over the pier (on it's approach to shore), I think I had a bit of yaw control as i was able to have the camera point at my location where I was at (I knew where i wanted the drone go), but I had no control of speed, heading or elevation. Can you elaborate on your comment about sport mode -- I have not heard anything (good or bad) about sport mode.

Thx all!
 
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#7
Hi @McToddy - It's interesting that you could at one point cause the drone to 'look' in a different direction as it's an indicator that it hadn't completely lost its mind and was still receiving and responding to some of the controller commands. On most of the fly away incidents with the earlier firmware, it seemed like the drone was attempting to 'return to home' except it had lost GPS, so although it knew where home was, it didn't know where it was at the time. I thought they'd fixed this with 1.5, but based upon your experience, you either have a defective drone or there are still bugs in the firmware.

Since 1.5, I've flown mine at least 35-40 times and had zero incidents and I'm guessing that with tens of thousands of units in operation now, these fly off events are quite rare, although of course from reading forums, they seem a lot more common than they are in reality.

What used to be "Easy Mode" in the earlier firmware was problematical because when the drone hit the 'geofence' instead of just warning you or stopping, it would return to home. That sounds safe 'n all, except if there's something between the drone and the default return to home location at that altitude. I.e. if you're flying under a tree (for shade) for example, the drone might return above the tree and then 'crash' into the tree when attempting to land. It was glitchy at best. Now I think that's the default so it's not called anything, but in 'Sport Mode' those limits are turned off and it never goes into auto return home unless it loses connectivity with the Controller.

Sadly, GoPro seems to think explaining all these things, not to mention how the auto shot features really work is unnecessary or beneath them ... it's downright bizarre.

They also seem to think that quality control problems on a drone at say 1-2% of units is something they can just ignore, forgetting that - unlike action cameras - these devices can cause fatal accidents. Yours could of course have hit any number of people on that wharf, and the propellers are very sharp, or it could cause a car accident, etc. For a company so apparently concerned about liability (i.e. no follow me mode), they're strangely in denial about who's responsible if their defective units kill someone.

The good news is, when it works, the Karma system is truly amazing, the footage stunning, etc. I actually first flew mine in Santa Barbara, fun coincidence, although not so far out over the water as I was just learning it's quirks. Your mileage and needs surely will differ, but I guess I've found that if I really want to film something far away, it's better to walk, ride, or drive to the location and then fly the drone there, rather than fly so far that I can barely see the drone (or lose sight entirely). That might apply to the end of the wharf there, especially as there were so many people out there. So if you too were on the end of the wharf, you'd be WAY closer to the drone in flight, you'd have a better chance of controlling it carefully, and you'd likely get better footage. Just a thought ...

All best,

Hamish
 

McToddy

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Joined
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Messages
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Location
Alderaan
#8
Hi @seadonkey & @Hamish --

Called GoPro support back. The status of the ticket was apparently in a "closed" status. I said no, it's not closed. I pointed out how I didn't like the Tier-3 Support's assessment, particularly about the GPS interference BS and how there was no acknowledgement of the 54MPH. (Before that, I asked the T-1 about what the max speed was -- he had to look it up, which took a bit, then said 35. I had to clarify that 35 was for sport mode, which my drone was not in.)

The T-1 agent (after putting me on hold to speak with his supervisor) is sending my issue back for further review and Im supposed to get feedback in 24-48h.

I'm trying to be cool. (I don't want escalate myself into raging customer mode, but I will if needed)
 
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#9
@McToddy remind them, sternly, of the fail-safes that are built into the software. When the drone loses GPS or loses connection with the controller, one of two things are supposed to happen: the drone either lands in place or returns to launch location. End of story. You even have video to prove that your drone completely FAILED to do what it was designed to do given the situation! Your drone WILL be replaced, so keep at it. Side note: I was promised correspondence from GoPro on several occasions and I never received any, until the email saying they would be replacing my equipment. I can't tell you how many phone calls it took or how many different agents I spoke with, but I estimate it was probably in the ballpark of 15 or so. My frustration was at its peak and my next call was going to be the threat of legal action by way of small claims court. Then, out of nowhere, the email from them came through, followed closely by shipping notifications with tracking numbers, so I never had to take that last step. The process works, just takes a little time, fortitude, and patience. If you give up, they win! I am confident that GoPro will remedy your situation.
 

LeighD

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Joined
Jun 18, 2017
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#10
Can anyone top this?!?!

As you may have seen in my post (#20 in the Karma Drone Disappears thread) I had an issues where my drone decided to runaway at 54mph then crash. I opened a support ticket with GoPro support and I finally got a reply back from them where they said "this is not a manufacturing defect..." despite my Karma went faster than GoPro's claimed maximum speed of 35mph (if in Sport Mode, which my drone was not)

What Is Sport Mode on Karma?
Sport Mode allows the Karma Drone to reach a max speed of 35 mph. When Sport
Mode is OFF, the speed will be limited to 20 mph.

source: https://gopro.com/help/articles/Question_Answer/What-is-Sport-Mode-on-Karma
To say the least, I am F'ing pissed at GoPro Support !!!!

So, here it's, in it's full glory, the flight video of my Karma Drone going 54MPH!!!!


Here's the response from GoPro support ...

Hi Todd,

I hope all is well. I just received information from our Tier 3 concerning this case. The controller and drone lost connection because of flying over the dock where there is a large number of people (cell phone interference), multiple restaurants (wi-fi) and parking lot (GPS signals) that could a break in connection with the drone. The drone lost connection right as they were passing Moby Dick Restaurant and then tried to turn around once the connection was broken. This is not a manufacturing defect as the dropped connection is due to interference between the pilot and drone. At this point we will not be able to replace any Karma parts this is not a manufacturing defect. Please take a look online replacement parts that are available at
https://shop.gopro.com/mounts-accessories

Thanks much,
Isaac
GoPro Support

(source: https://goo.gl/photos/Nk3Fqwn2x1LpqstE8)​

Ok, I get that the restaurants may have WiFi that may cause interference. (I'm very surprised that Support was able to provide the name of the restaurant with the suspected WiFi problem -- Im not sure if that was sourced from a WiFi wardriving database or what. But it does indicated that the Flight Log had a GPS track that Support may have used Google's Street View to trace.)

What I don't get are the comments about the "large number of people (cell phone interference)" -- sorry, but I thought cell phones are not on 2.4Ghz -- and "parking lot (GPS signals)" -- since when do parking lots transmit GPS signals?!?

Also, "...then [it] tried to turn around once the connection was broken" ... Im assuming that it was attempting to return to launch point, but we can see it totally missed and went 1500 feet west of my position.

WTF?!?
I do understand your pain Todd. GoPro support rots off the bone. I needed the tiny door on my hero 5 black because it was made of cheap plastic and has to be removed every time I want to put it in the Karma Grip. It should be made of $2.00 worth of stainless steel but it is made of $.04 of plastic. It broke a week after I bought it. They acted like it was an act of congress. They did send it though, but expressly telling me they maintained it wasn't a defect. Then I hear your story! I will never buy anything else from them that is expensive. They are so cheap they squeak. Horrible customer service. They won't last. DJI is better, although they have a round robin of customer service people who don't have good command of their grammar, and they always begin with needing proof you bought it (drone). Do they think I stole it or something?
They don't know what their left hand is doing. But they replaced my drone because I had bought the extended coverage for damage. But they are so annoying. Proof or purchase, all recovered parts, flight data synced, wait for analysis, then charged me $79 more dollars and sent a new one. But GoPro is a nightmare. Are they saying it so t fly in NYC because of wi fi then, if that's what they blamed your runaway on??? From being near one little wharf restaurant? That doesn't jive. There are many more wifi outlets in bigger areas than that. And what is with a runaway speed not authorized by any of their software? That's a glitch in and of itself just because of the danger of higher speed flights. They are hiding from responsibility and they don't think people will read about your incident. They should fix it quickly. Casey Neistat sued Apple for not offering a battery replacement program for IPODs and WON 2 million $. Then he went on to superstardom as a vlogger that now has 6 million viewers and when he talks, believe me, ALL MANUFACTURERS LISTEN.
 

McToddy

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Joined
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Messages
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Location
Alderaan
#11
UPDATE: it's been 60h since my last call with GoPro support on the re-opening of my initial ticket. Interesting thing, yesterday (6/19) someone at GoPro looked at one of my pre-runaway videos that I posted to YouTube as support info that my drone was running fine before the runaway. The pre-runaway video as via private link, so I know it was only GoPro looking at it. It's been 24h since that. I was about to call support (now 9:30p 6/20) but just realized that support has closed for the day (I though they were open till 10p, not 6p). Still waiting.

@LeighD -- that's interesting about Casey. I just learned of him and his channel shortly after I got my Karma. I need to read up about his ipod case, especially if I need to elevate my case to the next level.
 

Yas

Member
Joined
Jul 6, 2018
Messages
6
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0
Age
41
#13
Can anyone top this?!?!

As you may have seen in my post (#20 in the Karma Drone Disappears thread) I had an issues where my drone decided to runaway at 54mph then crash. I opened a support ticket with GoPro support and I finally got a reply back from them where they said "this is not a manufacturing defect..." despite my Karma went faster than GoPro's claimed maximum speed of 35mph (if in Sport Mode, which my drone was not)

What Is Sport Mode on Karma?
Sport Mode allows the Karma Drone to reach a max speed of 35 mph. When Sport
Mode is OFF, the speed will be limited to 20 mph.

source: https://gopro.com/help/articles/Question_Answer/What-is-Sport-Mode-on-Karma
To say the least, I am F'ing pissed at GoPro Support !!!!

So, here it's, in it's full glory, the flight video of my Karma Drone going 54MPH!!!!


Here's the response from GoPro support ...

Hi Todd,

I hope all is well. I just received information from our Tier 3 concerning this case. The controller and drone lost connection because of flying over the dock where there is a large number of people (cell phone interference), multiple restaurants (wi-fi) and parking lot (GPS signals) that could a break in connection with the drone. The drone lost connection right as they were passing Moby Dick Restaurant and then tried to turn around once the connection was broken. This is not a manufacturing defect as the dropped connection is due to interference between the pilot and drone. At this point we will not be able to replace any Karma parts this is not a manufacturing defect. Please take a look online replacement parts that are available at
https://shop.gopro.com/mounts-accessories

Thanks much,
Isaac
GoPro Support

(source: https://goo.gl/photos/Nk3Fqwn2x1LpqstE8)​

Ok, I get that the restaurants may have WiFi that may cause interference. (I'm very surprised that Support was able to provide the name of the restaurant with the suspected WiFi problem -- Im not sure if that was sourced from a WiFi wardriving database or what. But it does indicated that the Flight Log had a GPS track that Support may have used Google's Street View to trace.)

What I don't get are the comments about the "large number of people (cell phone interference)" -- sorry, but I thought cell phones are not on 2.4Ghz -- and "parking lot (GPS signals)" -- since when do parking lots transmit GPS signals?!?

Also, "...then [it] tried to turn around once the connection was broken" ... Im assuming that it was attempting to return to launch point, but we can see it totally missed and went 1500 feet west of my position.

WTF?!?
Hi, I had the same problem as you.
My brand new drone ran away and no way to find it back.
I did all pre flight calibration etc, it was working fine but then a few seconds later it just decided to go somewhere on its own and in full thrust. I sent flight logs to gopro and the engineer guy was very kind and did his best to support my claim.
After flight logs checks they told me that the drone did something unexpected and that I wasn't liable for what happened. They sent me a new karma core, battery, stabiliser, gopro hero6, 4 propellers.
This is so a relief :)
I hope you'll find a way to make your claim heard.
I've been in contact with GoPro UK support team, what's yours ?
 

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