A couple of weeks ago, the DroneLife team was approached by a DJI Spark pilot who was concerned that a number of people were watching on as their new Spark fell out of the sky for no reason. At the time, we went through the DJI forum posts to see how common these issues were. There were a handful of pilots complaining about random errors and no obvious connection between them. So we let it be.
Now it appears as though that number has grown – at least enough for our colleagues at Quartz to consider it newsworthy. It’s too soon to say whether this is the beginning of a GoPro Karma-like recall situation. One thing we can say for sure is that random power failures and drones do not mix well at all.
DJI’s Response to Reports Spark Losing Its… Spark
Speaking to Fortune, a spokesperson for DJI said:
“DJI is aware of a small number of reports involving Spark drones that have lost power mid-flight. Flight safety and product reliability are top priorities. Our engineers are thoroughly reviewing each customer case and working to address this matter urgently,” the statement read.
“We are looking to implement additional safeguards with a firmware update which will be issued soon. When prompted on the DJI GO 4 App, we recommend all customers to connect to the internet and update their aircraft’s firmware to ensure a safe flight when flying their Spark,” the company added.
We’ve looked through the DJI forums and tried to establish a pattern around these mysterious Spark shutdowns. There are all sorts of different stories and mitigating circumstances that could go some way to explaining individual cases.
For example, several pilots have been using spare batteries bought from Amazon; one pilot had just crashed his drone before it randomly lost power. Another was flying in particularly hot conditions.
The honest truth is that with any device as complex as this there are bound to be a few duds in the manufacturing process. The issue appears to be with a handful rather than hundreds, which suggests this it’s something that won’t have lasting damage on the Spark’s or DJI’s reputation.
However, the small minority of pilots being affected by these issues should receive full support from DJI, not accusations of pilot error, which have been levelled in plenty of the forum discussions.
We hope that DJI can figure out what’s going on and ensure that the problems some Spark pilots are having are rectified fast.