Matrice 200 Series ESC and Motor Failures


Matrice 210 wreckage following ESC failure
Image source: AAIB Bulletin 1-2020.
The January 2020 issue of the AAIB Bulletin provides a detailed field investigation of the cause of inflight failure for of a DJI Matrice 210 on 16 March 2019. The UAV is reported to have “flipped itself upside down” and flown into the ground. The “field investigation” conducted by the AAIB (pp. 10-27) identifies that moisture entered the No. 3 ESC and No. 4 ESC, with failure of the No. 4 ESC being identified as the causal factor in the accident. Note that the Matrice 200 series is IP43 rated, although there is not complete protection against moisture ingress.

DJI provided the AAIB with statistics on 44 accidents with the Matrice 200 series occurring internationally in the 6 month period October 2019 and March 2019. 10 accidents were due to ESC failure, of which 4 were reported as being water damage. 17 accidents had unknown cause and 12 were due to failure of a propeller motor.

The report also tabulates the results from a total of 16 Matrice 200 series inflight failures in the UK from December 2017 to July 2019 (table 4, p. 19). Five incidents were due to firmware issues, four were due to ESC failures in light rain.

The same AAIB Bulletin also includes “correspondence investigations” for the following accidents:

Reported Accidents Involving DJI Matrice 210, UK, October 2018 – July 2019
DateCause and ConditionsPage(s) in AAIB Bulletin
15 October 2018ESC failure, drizzlepp. 71-73link
19 January 2019ESC failure, light drizzlepp. 74-75link
3 March 2019Motor failure, rain and drizzlepp. 76-77link
18 March 2019Motor failurep. 78link
20 April 2019Motor stall, arm breakagep. 79link
11 June 2019Likely motor or ESC failurepp. 80-81link
28 July 2019Propulsion error No 2 motor, light rainp. 82link

These accidents generally resulted in the total loss of the UAV.

Note: This data should not be taken to indicate that the Matrice 200 series is any more dangerous than any other UAV. Rather, it is indicative of the types of failure that might occur. In addition, accident reports tend to be made by the more professional operators so will reflect the type of craft utilised by those operators.

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