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DJI repair service in China (without DJI Care) - my experience.

Heindrich1988

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Context of crash

Unfortunately, I got a little careless last weekend and suffered my first ever crash. I was flying low and slow in Tripod mode, but misjudged the distance to a stone pillar as I panned sideways. I actually witnessed the crash as I turned around precisely at that moment to check how close I was to the building behind me. The momentum of the drone took it into a pillar sideways even with no further stick input. Thankfully this means it wasn't a particularly forceful crash, but the props caught the pillar, the drone got knocked sideways, before hitting the pillar again as it tried to position itself upright (this is the sort of crash that sideways sensors would prevent).

As the props lost their battle against the stone pillar, the drone dropped to the ground from around 2 meters up, apparently impacting on the rear legs, with the right leg being bent out of place by the force of impact. Incredibly, the drone bounced up again and regained altitude to 2-3 meters, holding stable position despite a misaligned leg. At this point, I manually landed it and assessed the damage.


The damage

The right hind leg was "dislocated", but easily bent back in place with minimal force. The ends of both rear legs where the LEDs are mounted were cracked open. Apart from that, there was no further visible damage beyond a few scrapes and scratches, mostly on the props.

View attachment WeChat Image_20201129212753.jpg


Given the visible damage, I was surprised that when I switched on the drone again, it was perfectly fine to take off! (i.e. Takeoff permitted).


WeChat Image_20201130185311.jpg

Obviously, given the severity of the crash, I didn't try to actually take off again.

DJI Repair Centre

I don't have DJI Care because if I buy it in China, it won't cover me once I leave China next year. I bought Coverdrone insurance from the UK, but seeing that the drone was still operational, I wanted to see how much repairs would cost before deciding whether to make a claim. So, I took it to my local DJI store.

The shop staff said that the damage did not seem too serious and even the visibly scratched up props were fine to carry on using. If my drone was an older model, they said they could unofficially repair it in-store (but it would void insurance) quite cheaply, but they didn't have the spare parts for the Air 2. So, I went with their suggestion to send it to the Shenzhen repair centre for an assessment and a quote.

Two days later, I was informed that the cost would be 650 RMB (Just under $100USD). This seemed reasonable, so I made the payment without reading too closely into the details of the repair. (My Chinese reading ability is not great and I don't know the Chinese names of drone components).

Two days after that, my drone was back at my local store for pickup. I was given a bag of all the parts that were changed out, and it surprised me a bit...

View attachment spare parts.jpg
I expected maybe two props to be changed (the side that struck the pillar), but they changed all of them. I don't know why they changed the gimbal and part of the camera (?) and I don't know why they changed the bottom of the drone.

I was also surprised that they did not change the legs. Instead, the most visible damage was fixed with glue.




View attachment WeChat Image_20201130192012.jpg


My thoughts

  1. I was impressed by the speed of the service. I left my drone with my local store on Sunday. I got a quote on Tuesday, and it was available for pickup on Thursday back at my local store.
  2. I feel like the repair could have been cheaper. I'm not convinced that they needed to change the bottom of the casing and all the props. I don't know why they changed the gimbal components either.
  3. That said, given how many parts they changed, I am surprised it was not more expensive than what it was. 650 RMB is still less than the price of one standalone Air 2 battery.
Questions

  1. How does my experience compare with DJI service outside of China?
  2. Are the spare components I now possess worth anything? Should I hold onto them?
  3. Do you think some of my parts were replaced necessarily?
 

boblui

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What I have heard from local pilots in Hong Kong is that the service of DJI ShenZhen was great. Certainly a lot better than what you have described. In Hong Kong, the DJI service center never does any repair but just replacement.

This is a case reported today on a local facebook group. The damaged craft :

1606738323157.png

The owner took the drone to the service center ( booking made in advance ). The checking by the staff took about 15 minutes. Quote was obtained via email after a few hours. Cost was HK$439. Payment made and the owner got a new drone on the same day.

Same experience for me early this year. My still-under-warranty M2P got the cooling fan dead. I took it to the DJI service center and walked out with a new drone after less than 2 hours.
 
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Tony McDrone

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I’ve sent a drone in for repair, and they sent me out a NEW drone the same day that they received mine. No repairs were done. The complete turnaround took only 5 days. However, I do live within 100 miles of a DJI service center.

I think that repair cost was reasonable in your case, but only you can make that determination. I can only assume that you were charged for props because when they conducted a test flight, they needed every system working at its optimum level. Testing with your damaged blades would’ve skewed the results. The bottom plate looks okay, but not to sure about the camera. Why is it in two pieces?

I agree with @Gagey52...keep the spare parts. You never know when they’ll come in handy, but I would not trust the propellers enough to fly with them again.

Did you find out how much it would’ve cost to file a claim with your insurance? Is there a deductible that would’ve been less than $100? With the exception of being charged for some borderline replacement parts, you seem overall happy with the outcome.

You’ll become a better pilot as a result of the crash. Accidents have a tendency to heighten our overall awareness. Welcome back to the skies. Safe flying.
 

Heindrich1988

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I can only assume that you were charged for props because when they conducted a test flight, they needed every system working at its optimum level. Testing with your damaged blades would’ve skewed the results. The bottom plate looks okay, but not to sure about the camera. Why is it in two pieces?

Ah,yes, I noticed that they did indeed test-fly my drone during the assessment/repair process. I had to pair my controller and drone again after I got it back and they reset all my settings for things like RTH altitude, pitch and yaw smoothness etc... Basically like a factory reset. Maybe it's standard policy to use a new set of props for the reasons you mentioned.

As for the bottom plate, it had some superficial scratches, but I don't think it was necessary to change it. And the camera? No idea. The camera was working with no warnings or errors after the crash, so I can only presume they found something wrong with it in their testing? It was certainly in one piece when I sent it off.

I just had a look at the breakdown of component costs. The biggest chunk was the gimbal, which was 259 RMB. The rear shell of the camera was only 25, so that's irrelavant. The underplate was 89, the props were 118 for the full set. Finally they charged 144 RMB for the service fee and 15 for delivery.

Did you find out how much it would’ve cost to file a claim with your insurance? Is there a deductible that would’ve been less than $100? With the exception of being charged for some borderline replacement parts, you seem overall happy with the outcome.

My insurance charges me for the first £100 of expenses resulting from an accident, so it would have been useless for this case. It's more for the peace of mind if I total or lose my drone, or worst-case scenario, cause any third party damage/injury.

I presume DJI wouldn't replace parts for no reason, though I think they were perhaps overzealous with at least the underplate. Given that they returned all the parts they replaced, I'm more inclined to believe them, and the cost seems reasonable.
 
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Heindrich1988

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What I have heard from local pilots in Hong Kong is that the service of DJI ShenZhen was great. Certainly a lot better than what you have described. In Hong Kong, the DJI service center never does any repair but just replacement.

This is a case reported today on a local facebook group. The damaged craft :

View attachment 118131

The owner took the drone to the service center ( booking made in advance ). The checking by the staff took about 15 minutes. Quote was obtained via email after a few hours. Cost was HK$439. Payment made and the owner got a new drone on the same day.

Same experience for me early this year. My still-under-warranty M2P got the cooling fan dead. I took it to the DJI service center and walked out with a new drone after less than 2 hours.

I wonder why Hong Kong service centre doesn't do repairs? That drone doesn't look like a write-off to me, unless it fell in water and the electronics are all fried as well. But he got a brand new drone for just HK$439?! That seems too good to be true... Did they keep his old drone? In that case, I suppose they can repair and maybe resell as a refurbished drone. Maybe DJI has a warehouse full of Mavic Minis they want to get rid off now that the Mini 2 has been released. lol

In your situation, I guess it was a warranty issue. I'm glad they resolved it so quickly.
 
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DanMan32

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DJI tends to quote repair cost, but do a replacement instead. They did that for the gimbal of my P3A, which after a crash broke into 3 pieces. Repair quote was to replace gimbal motor arms, but it was new or refurbished.

They also replaced my M2 remote that was damaged and sent in along with a refresh of my damaged AC, quoting just $2 for antenna.
 
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lee82gx

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Interesting, thanks for letting us know. In your changed parts, the gimbal was split open. Does it actually still have a camera module in it? If not, I presume they retained your old one. From what we gather so far, a change of the camera module will require re-pairing via firmware that is so far only accessible to DJI authorized party, not to end users. For self repairs it is a problem. To top it off, DJI sells the complete gimbal assembly WITH camera built in, so if you want to do a self repair, you pay for the whole thing, (~US$200, need to dismantle it at great risk of damage and throw a fresh good camera away, just to try to retrofit your potentially broken old camera). It is a unnecessarily expensive and risky hassle.

Not that it is a problem at all for DJI Shenzen of course.
 
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DanMan32

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DJI replaced the gimbal, which includes the camera and kept mine. Generally a gimbal assembly includes the camera.
DJI here doesn't usually return original parts after replacement, though they did return my damaged props as I had asked them to.
 
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lee82gx

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DJI replaced the gimbal, which includes the camera and kept mine. Generally a gimbal assembly includes the camera.
DJI here doesn't usually return original parts after replacement, though they did return my damaged props as I had asked them to.
Hi DanMan32, thanks for letting us know, I was actually asking the OP about his repair process....;)
 

Heindrich1988

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Interesting, thanks for letting us know. In your changed parts, the gimbal was split open. Does it actually still have a camera module in it? If not, I presume they retained your old one. From what we gather so far, a change of the camera module will require re-pairing via firmware that is so far only accessible to DJI authorized party, not to end users. For self repairs it is a problem. To top it off, DJI sells the complete gimbal assembly WITH camera built in, so if you want to do a self repair, you pay for the whole thing, (~US$200, need to dismantle it at great risk of damage and throw a fresh good camera away, just to try to retrofit your potentially broken old camera). It is a unnecessarily expensive and risky hassle.

Not that it is a problem at all for DJI Shenzen of course.

I'm not really sure what components are inside the camera, but something is definitely missing from the parts I got back.

WeChat Image_20201201174855.jpg WeChat Image_20201201174901.jpg

I'm hoping that means I got a brand new camera unit, rather than them just using spare parts along with whatever part they took out of my old camera. I can't really tell just looking at the drone.

The parts they charged me relevant to the camera and gimbal for are listed as:

云台轴臂组件 - 259 RMB.

I think the name of the gimbal.

相机后壳 - 25 RMB

This is just the back shell of the camera.

Based on that, it doesn't look like I got a new camera unit and I certainly didn't pay anything close to $200 for the whole camera+gimbal unit.
 

lee82gx

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I'm not really sure what components are inside the camera, but something is definitely missing from the parts I got back.

View attachment 118204 View attachment 118205

I'm hoping that means I got a brand new camera unit, rather than them just using spare parts along with whatever part they took out of my old camera. I can't really tell just looking at the drone.

The parts they charged me relevant to the camera and gimbal for are listed as:

云台轴臂组件 - 259 RMB.

I think the name of the gimbal.

相机后壳 - 25 RMB

This is just the back shell of the camera.

Based on that, it doesn't look like I got a new camera unit and I certainly didn't pay anything close to $200 for the whole camera+gimbal unit.
Yeah, the left over parts do not contain a camera module for sure. You can tell by seeing through the front lens cover all the way.

It seems your gimbal arms + Motor + back cover is replaced or at least charged to you. Meanwhile, the camera module, Camera Flex Cable, Gimbal Motor flex cable is retained.

In a full $200 assembly all the parts above are included, as well as the suspension of the gimbal.

So far, it does not look like it is easy to procure the parts separately as you were serviced. It is a cheaper way and economically preferable....maybe DJI will release the parts that they themselves apply servicably as your case....One can only hope.

Not to bore you but you can imagine, I'm curious and also preparing for the eventuality of self repair.
 

JAW

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they did all that work for less than 100 bucks?

Please post their address !
😁
 

Heindrich1988

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they did all that work for less than 100 bucks?

Please post their address !
😁

lol it was the DJI repair centre in Shenzhen, which is about 60km from my local DJI store, which is where I dropped off and picked up my drone, so I don't have an actual address.

It's quite interesting to see that there is a variation in how DJI repair facilities handle damaged drones across the world. I guess it depends on the availability of parts and the cost of labour. In some high wage countries, it's probably cheaper to buy a new drone than pay somebody to repair it.
 

DanMan32

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$50 seemed awfully low for an entire camera/gimbal assembly replacement but makes sense if they only replaced the body of the gimbal/camera and you still have your original actual camera.
Or maybe they did give you an entire assembly but kept your camera electronics in trade.
 
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Tony McDrone

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lol it was the DJI repair centre in Shenzhen, which is about 60km from my local DJI store, which is where I dropped off and picked up my drone, so I don't have an actual address.

It's quite interesting to see that there is a variation in how DJI repair facilities handle damaged drones across the world. I guess it depends on the availability of parts and the cost of labour. In some high wage countries, it's probably cheaper to buy a new drone than pay somebody to repair it.
You’re located very close to the home of DJI in Shenzhen, which also means quicker access to parts and repairs. That would likely explain how warranty services are handled differently in China versus the US. They’ve really improved their customer support since first arriving in the US.
 
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Heindrich1988

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$50 seemed awfully low for an entire camera/gimbal assembly replacement but makes sense if they only replaced the body of the gimbal/camera and you still have your original actual camera.
Or maybe they did give you an entire assembly but kept your camera electronics in trade.

I hope it's the latter, but I'm okay with the former. I genuinely don't know what's more likely. On the one hand, intuitively, it would make sense if the camera was packaged as a full unit, but on the other hand, surely they'd charge me for the full unit in that case. I mean what would they do with my old camera unit and electronics?
 
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