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Autel Announces Discontinuation of Support, Parts, and Batteries for the Evo 1

tuxontodd

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I don't know about FPV drones. I actually don't know much about drones in general. But I know quite a bit about aviation in general and I know about electronics: so there are fewer blanks to fill in.

LiPo batteries are energy-dense, lightweight, and can handle very high draw, which makes them ideal for aviation and vehicle applications.

Lifespan, however, is not one of their strong points. 100 - 150 recharge cycles is about the best you can hope for even with superb, textbook battery care. But even with ordinary care, I think you should have done better than 35 cycles.

Maybe the last use ran it down too low to accept a charge? There are ways around that if it happens, but there is some danger involved. You shouldn't do it yourself if you're not experienced. You probably shouldn't do it even if you are experienced; but sometimes that choice is taken away.
There's been a few articles that state even if you do all the right things and manage to make it to the recycling center there's still no guarantee that things will actually get recycled. Many times I wonder if sorting the recyclables is nothing more than a feel good exercise that is a waste of time.



I have never owned a single drone battery that lasted that long. I don't claim to be a battery expert and I know on paper the batteries should last that long but I've been flying drones since 2014 and each iteration has gotten worse and worse battery life. The P2 had the longest lasting batteries for me and the Mavic Pro had the worst. The DJI P4's batteries might last 100 cycles if you are lucky; no idea yet how long the EVO II's batteries will last....I'm thinking 1yr at most.
I wonder if battery life is a function of time and cycles? All four of my batteries gave a battery error. I'm thinking the cells weren't balanced. I bought two more refurbs at $80 each and when they die I am done with this. I was quoting the life cycle because I was shopping for solar battery banks and for lithium you are "suppose" to get 500 cycles and LIPO up to 2000. And our cell phones will last a couple of years being charged/discharged daily.
 
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GeekOnTheWing

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I wonder if battery life is a function of time and cycles? All four of my batteries gave a battery error. I'm thinking the cells weren't balanced. I bought two more refurbs at $80 each and when they die I am done with this. I was quoting the life cycle because I was shopping for solar battery banks and for lithium you are "suppose" to get 500 cycles and LIPO up to 2000. And our cell phones will last a couple of years being charged/discharged daily.
I'm pretty sure the source you used was mistaken.

LiPo batteries are great for devices with high draw and where low weight is important, but they do degrade relatively rapidly due to breakdown of the polymer gel and delamination due to vaporization. That's one of the reasons why they've largely been replaced by Li-ion or NiMH batteries in most rechargeable consumer applications.

Most phone batteries are Li-ion, which was considered an improvement over the much-older LiPo chemistry for low-draw applications where weight was not an important factor. They're safer, more resistant to "memory" effect, and degrade more slowly (which translates into many more charging cycles). That's why your phone batteries last longer. They're a different chemistry optimized for that application.

In any case, I don't fault Autel (nor other manufacturers) for the inherent limitations imposed by a battery's chemistry. Everything is a compromise. LiPo batteries in highly-demanding applications will not last as long as Li-ion batteries in low-stress applications. That's just the way it is.

What I do fault them for is using proprietary battery designs and closed-source circuitry that serve only to artificially obsolesce a device that could otherwise continue doing whatever it was designed to do. They may have no control over the inherent characteristics of the chemistry, but they certainly have control over how they package the cells.
 
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kenautelevo2pro

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saw the video on the right to repair as well. unfortunately we live in a totally different world today when it comes to politics, the role of government, terrorism, the free market, monopolies, product liability, personal responsibility, china, intellectual property, the internet, the rapid change in technology, technical and engineering expertise and knowledge, education, etc. lot of factors go into where we are today, we didn't get here to where we are overnight. I remember some of the things mentioned in the short clip and the complexity today is 1000 times more. honestly, I can see both sides.
 
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UasDriver

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product liability
As an engineer, I probably have the skill-set to fix most drones to at least the board level, maybe deeper, batteries also, BUT I don't have the money for lawyers, Govmnt compliance, ya de da. so EVEN if I could get parts it's a losing preposition
 
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GeekOnTheWing

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saw the video on the right to repair as well. unfortunately we live in a totally different world today when it comes to politics, the role of government, terrorism, the free market, monopolies, product liability, personal responsibility, china, intellectual property, the internet, the rapid change in technology, technical and engineering expertise and knowledge, education, etc. lot of factors go into where we are today, we didn't get here to where we are overnight. I remember some of the things mentioned in the short clip and the complexity today is 1000 times more. honestly, I can see both sides.
You left out greed. As in Samsung gluing the batteries into their phones using adhesive you could use to build a spaceship. That sort of thing.

In the US, it'll have to be solved with legislation. I hate to say that, but there's no other way. I say set the threshold at USD $100.00. Manufacturers would have to make parts and repairs available for any device with an MSRP of $100.00 or more for ten years. That doesn't mean the warranty has to be ten years, but the parts and repairs have to be available, either directly from the company or through licensees.

They also need to make phone batteries replaceable. The argument that you can't make a phone with a replaceable battery water-resistant is bovine excrement. I can strap any of my GoPro cameras to a dolphin's nose to get underwater video -- and they have replaceable batteries, You don't even need tools.
 

JuanPablo

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Six months warning to stock up on spares (eg batteries and propellers) seems more than adequate notice for a tech product-- especially a device dependent upon smartphone operating systems, and particularly since the Autel Evo 1 has been out in the marketplace now three years, and virtually nothing interchanges with the current model. It's not an automobile, it's a consumer level drone. What I see is Autel falling over themselves with this gracious announcement (likely due to the Evo II versions 1 and 2 debacle of late) and getting trolled by some of the usual suspects here
My Evo I cost more than my first car, and newsflash- a lot of people spending hundred of dollars a year to keep their sub $1500 dollar cars on the road. Planned obsolescence and western throw away culture is why our landfills are overflowing, our planet is dying, and 70% of households in the US don't have enough money in the bank to pay for a $1000 emergency. I fail to see the graciousness in a press release telling me that the drone i bought 18 months ago will soon be an $1600 paperweight!
 

claudius62

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In short, this is the kind of supplier that should be avoided from now on. Now purchases must be made according to the specifications of the sellers. My washing machine just broke down, I had the choice between using the same brand and when I went to the purchase site and at the bottom of the page, marked 2 years warranty, 3 years parts availability. I will see on the AEG site and there it is guaranteed for 2 years, normal, but availability of parts for a period of 10 years after purchase. Which do you think I took?
To come back to drones, For the Inspire (7 years old), batteries are becoming rare, but we can still find them. Repairs and parts, no problem.
For the Mavic 3 Pro which is three years old, no worries about parts, repairs and battery and Dji, to my great surprise, has just offered me a new Care-Refresh for one year for the modest sum of 109 €. Friendly.
For the H520 which is 5 years old, repair still possible, the orange batteries are starting to decrease at the sellers but they can easily be replaced by those of the H + which exactly the same
but in black.
I don't want to say anything, but the Inspire, the M2Pro, the H520 can still last a little longer, the horizon is more than sinking for my Evo1 which has not yet celebrated its two years and has already loosely abandoned by its creator. ..........
 
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kenautelevo2pro

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In short, this is the kind of supplier that should be avoided from now on. Now purchases must be made according to the specifications of the sellers. My washing machine just broke down, I had the choice between using the same brand and when I went to the purchase site and at the bottom of the page, marked 2 years warranty, 3 years parts availability. I will see on the AEG site and there it is guaranteed for 2 years, normal, but availability of parts for a period of 10 years after purchase. Which do you think I took?
To come back to drones, For the Inspire (7 years old), batteries are becoming rare, but we can still find them. Repairs and parts, no problem.
For the Mavic 3 Pro which is three years old, no worries about parts, repairs and battery and Dji, to my great surprise, has just offered me a new Care-Refresh for one year for the modest sum of 109 €. Friendly.
For the H520 which is 5 years old, repair still possible, the orange batteries are starting to decrease at the sellers but they can easily be replaced by those of the H + which exactly the same
but in black.
I don't want to say anything, but the Inspire, the M2Pro, the H520 can still last a little longer, the horizon is more than sinking for my Evo1 which has not yet celebrated its two years and has already loosely abandoned by its creator. ..........
so you fell for the "marketing" huh?

10 years parts availability is a marketing ploy, it's not a technical guarantee. they could have an earthquake and fire at the parts factory in china after 7 years and you could never see parts for your device never again. and you won't even get a technical bulletin or advance warning or notification about the event. nobody can predict the future....things change, often times beyond your control.

just be careful, when the next guy comes around and claims he'll have parts for 25 years, just know what you are dealing with. it doesn't mean they have sat down and done the math. you could get an email that says we merged with another company and your time is up; end of story. we live in a new world now.

the only way you are legally protected is if there is a law. afaik, there is only a law on the books in america pertaining to automobile....not drones.
 

GunnerBAC

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so you fell for the "marketing" huh?

10 years parts availability is a marketing ploy, it's not a technical guarantee. they could have an earthquake and fire at the parts factory in china after 7 years and you could never see parts for your device never again. and you won't even get a technical bulletin or advance warning or notification about the event. nobody can predict the future....things change, often times beyond your control.

just be careful, when the next guy comes around and claims he'll have parts for 25 years, just know what you are dealing with. it doesn't mean they have sat down and done the math. you could get an email that says we merged with another company and your time is up; end of story. we live in a new world now.

the only way you are legally protected is if there is a law. afaik, there is only a law on the books in america pertaining to automobile....not drones.

I guess anything is possible but if DJI has the better track record, then I'm going with them...Only time will tell what Autel's new CEO does...I'm actually willing to wipe the slate clean for Autel since it's under new management. But, as of right now, DJI still has the better track record so I have to go by that...
 

MattMPA

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As a car-guy, I had to look up the "law" requiring factories to make parts available for given period of time. It seems, at least in the USA...there is no such law.

I understand the plight of those with electronics that are no longer supported. My first iPad first started losing abilities to use certain accessories and now is truly worthless for anything other than showing.pdfs. At the time, Apple said that these accessories used to much "power".....
 
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GeekOnTheWing

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the only way you are legally protected is if there is a law. afaik, there is only a law on the books in america pertaining to automobile....not drones.
There's sort of a rule for aircraft; but it's somewhat obtuse and meanders through multiple subparts of FAR 21 and FAR 43. It also applies only to certificated aircraft. At this time, FAA does not issue airworthiness certificates for sUAS.

In a nutshell:
  • Any aircraft owner or operator is allowed to produce parts for their own aircraft, provided those parts are installed in accordance with the relevant subparts of FAR 43 (which defines, among other things, who may install the parts).
  • Any manufacturer may apply for PMA or TSO approval to manufacturer any parts for any aircraft, as long as it wouldn't violate any patents.
Patent issues are pretty unusual in general aviation. On the contrary, other than composite airframe design, most of the tech is ancient. Most recip engine designs currently in service (except in LSA and ultralights) haven't been changed in 50 years or more due to the complexity of getting new designs approved.

There also have been a few cases where FAA supported suspending or revoking patents when the manufacturers stopped making parts or went out of business, to clear the way for PMA or TSO aftermarket parts to be produced.

The short story is that FAA has decided that it is in the public interest for high-quality spare aircraft parts to be available, and has built a whole branch of the bureaucracy around that decision. They could easily bring drones under similar requirement if they wanted to. They don't even need an act of Congress. All they have to do is file a NPRM and wait the requisite time for people to comment.

If the proposed rule were reasonable, I, as a certificated pilot and mechanic, would support it. I would define "reasonable" as:
  • Ten years of parts and repair availability (either directly by the manufacturer or through licensees).
  • Publication of any and all tech specs necessary for aftermarket manufacturers to make the parts after the 10-year period, or if the manufacturer no longer manufactures the parts nor licenses others to do so.
  • Patent waivers after the 10-year period, or if the manufacturer no longer manufactures the parts nor licenses others to do so.
 
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UasDriver

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Buying EXPENSIVE medical equipment, the Boss would get in writing the length of time the manufacture would provide parts and service. typically 8yrs. So when you buy your NEXT widget, ask for that before you buy. since the 'ol adage was "buyer beware"
 
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kenautelevo2pro

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As a car-guy, I had to look up the "law" requiring factories to make parts available for given period of time. It seems, at least in the USA...there is no such law.

I understand the plight of those with electronics that are no longer supported. My first iPad first started loosing abilities to use certain accessories and now is truly worthless for anything other than showing.pdfs. At the time, Apple said that these accessories used to much "power".....
im not a huge fan of federal laws telling private companies what to do so I probably should stop characterizing this as a "law." a car has a million parts and obviously all parts are not required; however, the way I understand it, it's implied that certain emissions standards and components need to be maintained for a certain period like 10 years. clearly you don't want a ton of older cars scrapped because they are polluting the neighborhood and can't be repaired. I agree the government has some interest there. but overall, i'm going to agree with you it is not an explicit federal law (can't speak to the states) but pretty sure a good lawyer can argue it is implied by magnuson-moss warrant act.
 
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GeekOnTheWing

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Legalities and ethics aside, I think Autel is doing themselves a disservice by passing up an opportunity to grow.

Accurate market data is not easy to come by in this sector. The various sources I checked rank Autel somewhere between Number 6 and a very distant Number 2 in the consumer drone market. Even assuming Number 2, how do they become Number 1? They distinguish yourself in ways that matter -- such as product support.

Let's suppose that instead of announcing the end of support for the EVO 1, Autel had announced that henceforth, all of their drones would receive 10 years of parts support beginning on the last day of manufacture. It wouldn't cost them anything because the parts are already engineered, the production lines are already tooled, the parts are already in production, and people pay for them. They're not freebies. They create revenue.

If demand is shrinking because older drones have been retired or crashed, scale back production to meet current demand or sub it out. Either way, they could continue to enjoy both the revenue stream on an already-tooled product line, and the good PR that would result from the policy. It would keep existing customers happy and attract new ones. It would set Autel Robotics apart from literally every other drone manufacturer.

But no, they pissed that opportunity away.

The other befuddling thing is that it makes no business sense to shut down an already-tooled production line for a product for which there still exists demand. Engineering a new product is a huge cap cost. The cap cost recovery and the profit come when you sell that already-capitalized product for years, and years, and years. Why give up that revenue stream now that the cap costs are paid off?

To say that it's to focus on new products is bovine excrement. Existing products already in manufacturing don't distract from development of new products. The engineers aren't on the factory floor banging out batteries. That's just ridiculous.

That's why I say it has to be intentional obsolescence. There's no other explanation that makes sense, from any point of view, including (and especially) customer retention.
 

claudius62

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In Europe, the situation has changed a bit in this area. Laws have been passed to avoid some excessive waste.
And the fines could be hefty for companies that don't play the game.
A summary of what is happening with us or what will happen.
It is high time to give a good sweep to all these companies which think only profit. (and really think we are plucked pigeons.)

Spare parts and repairs: an obligation in Europe?​

April 15, 2021
To achieve the objectives stated in its green pact, Europe has taken measures to promote the circular economy: new energy labeling, eco-design standards, right to repair, availability of spare parts, etc. France is it is the first European country to impose a repairability index on 5 electronic devices and household appliances since 2021. More information in this article.

Household and electrical appliances: new rules in Europe​

In March 2020, the European Commission published its action plan for a circular economy with, in particular, great ambitions for the lifespan of products . In order to reduce waste and encourage consumers to buy green, the plan contemplates lifespan labeling , service manuals , an EU-wide reparability index and a right to repair , including availability. spare parts and access to repair.
On November 25, 2020, the European Parliament voted in favor of a “right to reparation” in order to make reparations systematic, cost-effective and attractive.
For this, spare parts for products must be available within a reasonable time and at an attractive price. This is the meaning of the regulations on eco-design which set minimum requirements for energy efficiency and even repairability and recyclability for certain products placed on the EU market (dishwashers, washing machines, etc.) and which impose new rules on manufacturers since March 1, 2021 :
  • spare parts for refrigeration devices (refrigerator, freezer, wine cellar, etc.) must be available for a minimum of 7 years after purchase,
  • They must be available for 10 years for washing machines, dryers and dishwashers .
  • Manufacturers must ensure delivery of spare parts within 15 days.
  • They must provide consumers with a list of spare parts available on the Internet.
  • They have the obligation to clearly explain through documentation, the faults likely to occur, how to carry out the repairs and their cost.
  • They must ensure that the parts of the device can be replaced with conventional tools.
More information The new ecodesign measures: explanations (europa.eu

In France, obligation to inform and not to provide spare parts​

Despite the actions taken by France to fight against planned obsolescence, there is currently no obligation to provide spare parts but only to inform about the period or date of availability of spare parts .
In practice, it is the manufacturer or the importer who informs the seller who himself must inform you of the availability of spare parts. This obligation applies only to in-store purchases , and not to online purchases for example (even if the seller is free to make the availability of spare parts a commercial argument and to indicate this on his site).
There is also no obligation to inform about the non-availability of spare parts.
Changes from 2022
  • The seller will be required to inform the consumer on the availability but also on the non-availability of spare parts . If no information is given, spare parts are assumed to be unavailable.
  • The manufacturer or the importer will have 15 days (and not 2 months) to supply the spare parts.
  • For certain electronic and electrical products, spare parts must be available at least 5 years from their placing on the market.
  • In the event of repair of certain electronic and electrical products, second-hand spare parts may be used.
  • Any technique , including through software, which makes it impossible to repair or recondition a device by a repairer other than the one approved by the brand will be prohibited .
  • Any practice which limits the access of a repairer to spare parts, instructions for use, technical information or any other tool, equipment or software allowing the repair of the product will be prohibited .

France, 1st European country to impose a repairability index​

As an incentive to buy more durable goods and manufacturers to design products more repairable, France forces since 1 st January 2021(Law n ° 2020-105 of February 10, 2020 relating to the fight against waste and the circular economy) display of a repairability index on 5 household and electronic products :
  • window washing machine,
  • smartphone,
  • laptop,
  • TV
  • electric lawn mower.
This index informs you about the ability to repair the affected product . Whether you buy these products in a store in France or on the Internet, on a French or foreign site if it is aimed at French consumers, you should now see the repairability index displayed on the product or its packaging and on the place of sale or next to the price for online sale.
Concretely, it is a colored uniform pictogram with a score from 1 to 10 : 1 your device is not very repairable, 10 it can be easily repaired. The index is established according to a calculation grid defined by the Ministry of Ecological Transition : duration of availability of spare parts, delivery time of spare parts, their price in relation to the selling price of the product, ease of dismantling etc.
Good to know : it is the manufacturer, the importer, the distributor who assigns this note and communicates it to the seller, who must display it. Checks must therefore be carried out by the DGCCRF to verify the veracity of the self-assigned score.
The repairability index should soon be extended to other product categories and from 2024, it will evolve towards a durability index incorporating new criteria such as robustness or product reliability.

Measures to encourage reparations in European countries​

Several European countries are currently considering this issue of circular economy and spare parts.
 
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Auburnweedkiller

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I can understand dropping support but not parts and especially not batteries. This is what soured so many X-Star owners on Autel. Someone needs to rethink this decision as it stands. At minimum Autel should allow a 3rd party to make the parts and get the batteries made to keep these really good drones in the air for 3-8 more years depending on use even if that means the parts and batteries would cost more.

I have 3 X-Star Premiums and I assure you they don't give a damn !
 
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