Since the launch of the Vortex, there have been several reports of issues with the LED board on the rear of the craft.
These issues seem to be divided into two categories:
1) LED board ‘just stopped working’ after relatively minor crashes.
2) LED board seriously damaged by folding rear arms, with parts missing, etc.
The second case was easy to explain, and has been avoided by the design of some metal straps which prevent the rear arms from colliding with the LED board in a high-speed crash.
The first case had puzzled us, until this last week, when we received two customer units with the same fault.
What we found is the following. The LED board is connected to the PDB by four solder pads, on the rear of the quad. These four pads correspond to Gnd, +5V, Rx, and Tx (the comms interface).
On the failed quads, there are broken connections between these pads, and the processor on the back of the LED board.
The reason is fairly simple, on the production quads, extra solder joints were made on the inside of the PCB, in addition to the outside (rear of quad). These extra joints restrain the PCB much more rigidly than we had on all of the pre-production test units (which didn’t experience LED failure).
In a crash, what we believe is that the slight rocking motion of the upper CF plate, relative to the PDB, causes stresses in the PCB traces on the rear of the board, and fractures them. Three traces are potential problems, +5V, Rx, and Tx.
Now that we finally understand the root cause, there are several steps that we are taking to prevent future issues:
1) The production team are soldering just the rear pads (rear of quad), and not the front pads (inside the quad). This is how the pre-production test quads were built, and worked very nicely.
2) The LED board PCB has been redesigned to eliminate this failure point, while still remaining 100% backwards compatible with existing systems.
For customers who wish to attempt a repair on a LED board that has failed in this way, we will be publishing a procedure shortly, with a short video, explaining the technique.
The basic idea is that the LED board gets removed, protective coating removed carefully with a knife, and a solder bridge is placed on these internal traces.
For customers who have already purchased a replacement LED board, when installing the new board solder only the rear pads (the ones accessible from the rear of the quad, with no dis-assembly), and not the front (internal) pads.
Service Center Repair
As with all ImmersionRC products, manufacturing defects will be repaired free of charge at one of our global repair centers. Drop an email to firstname.lastname@example.org explaining the fault, and one of our expert service technicians will get back to you quickly.
ImmersionRC is committed to deliver a quality products, designed to bring endless smiles to our customers.
If you were affected by LED board issues, we will do whatever is necessary to get you flying again, with a fully functional set of tail-lights.