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Our Boss writes this blog to tell you what we are doing! This is all about Apple iPhone, iPad & iPod Repairs and DJI Phantom, Mavic and Inspire Drone repairs too!

Crashed DJI Inspire 1 gets repaired by the Spark Angels! PART ONE

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Crashed DJI Inspire 1 gets repaired by the Spark Angels! PART ONE

We have repaired a lot of DJI series drones in the last twelve months, ranging from the DJI phantom 2, P3 Advanced and P3 Pro all of the way up to the Phantom 4 and the Mavic Pro. All crashed in one way or another which in all honesty is a difficult thing to accomplish, however always possible!

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This time we take on the mightily complex DJI Inspire 1 drone with its aircraft grade aluminium and carbon fibre chassis. This one was crashed and looked a little sorry for itself when it arrived at Spark Angels HQ in Kettering, UK, with a broken carbon arm and a very twisted chassis.

We purchased this DJI Inspire with a view to add it to our R&D schedule and a learning experience as we have recently finished our first DJI Mavic Pro complete rebuild after a watery end in a hot tub!

 DJI Mavic Pro repair after crash into a hot tub!

DJI Mavic Pro repair after crash into a hot tub!

After dealing with DJIs smallest 4K quality drone our jaws dropped in awe as we unpacked this huge behemoth Inspire in its custom built case with dual controllers and spare batteries. Despite a broken carbon arm, it still looked like a menacing vision of the future and a prop from a Terminator movie!

 DJI Inspire 1 arrival at Spark Angels after a heavy heavy crash!

DJI Inspire 1 arrival at Spark Angels after a heavy heavy crash!

I cut my teeth in the complex carbon fibre world of Formula One with Red Bull Racing

I cut my teeth in the complex carbon fibre and exotic material world of Formula One with Red Bull and evolved into who I am now by working around obstacles by repairing Apple handheld devices with zero support or parts supply from the manufacturer. Our main ethos is to get stuck in and learn as we go and DJI drones are no different, not scared of the lack of instructions or spare parts we jumped straight in.

We could tell by looking at it that it wasn't a simple case of a broken arm and tweaked nose cone, oh no... and as we lifted it out of its tight enclosure we soon realised that there was something of great magnitude wrong with this fallen angel!

 Removing the minimalist but beautiful Inspire bodywork shows a complex machine.

Removing the minimalist but beautiful Inspire bodywork shows a complex machine.

Never the less we started to strip the plastic body work off, exposing the skeleton, not carelessly I might add, watching snippets of people before us on YouTube and piecing the rest together ourselves we soon made progress.

One thing that immediately struck me was how beautifully engineered this drone was, everything looked like it had a purpose, all bolts carefully machined without an ounce of extra weight, made out of the highest grade stainless steel as not to corrode. Carbon work all very well trimmed and no glue spillage showing, this really was put together nicely, built to fly well and to fly fast!

 The left carbon arm of the DJI Inspire, very broken but that wasn't all...

The left carbon arm of the DJI Inspire, very broken but that wasn't all...

Dismantling the left main motor arm from the Inspire was the main mission objective and after removing all of the obvious bolts we were left with some rather tangly wiring. Motor power, controls and antennas all in the mix most of which when given the extra confident tug exposed rather straight forward block or bullet connections, easily popped apart.

The only challenge came with the coax antenna cables attached to small rectangular aerial boards on the face of each motor leg. There wasn't much spare cable to play with and we managed to desolder them quickly knowing full well that if we melted the insulation then we would struggle to rebuild them and resolder.

Once desoldered we were able to withdrawal the cables and remove the offending broken carbon parts and start work on the main chassis. This exposed just how lightweight the arms were, it makes sense really as this thing has to get airborne but for geeks like us it was great to see the engineering that has gone into these parts.

 DJI Inspire 1 Carbon arm removal after we desolder the antenna cables.

DJI Inspire 1 Carbon arm removal after we desolder the antenna cables.

The more that we dug down, the more damage was apparent resulting in a very bent aluminium frame and a bent pivot pin, the rest were just small components that wouldn't take much to replace or repair. We even found a slit in the main wiring which is something you really don't want to fly with as a short circuit could result in a downed drone and possibly even a firery end!

The keen eyed of you guys will see there is a feather in there too, this could very well be a clue as to why this bird was sent to the floor!?

 A damaged wire and a feather! which could very well be a clue as to why this bird went down!

A damaged wire and a feather! which could very well be a clue as to why this bird went down!

With a table full of parts and a very sad looking DJI Inspire we set to work on the net to research into parts supplies, it didn't take long to realise that if you want more than the body shell or a camera gimbal then we would have to dig a lot deeper and possibly get a little "creative"... but hey! That is what it is all about, the thrill of the chase!

First stop with a very bent main chassis was an old friend and former colleague from Formula One who now specializes in all things fast and metallic and racing cars in general.

 DJI Inspire aluminium chassis very bent indeed - This should be straight and vertical!

DJI Inspire aluminium chassis very bent indeed - This should be straight and vertical!

Tasked with attempting to straighten the rather twisted frame, I now move on to locate some of the smaller parts that we need and what may be one of the hardest parts to find, a replacement for the threaded pivot bolts for the landing gear.

Look out for part two when we will have an answer on whether the chassis was successfully straightened or we are looking for a new part...

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Former F1 Engineer Takes Pole Position in Apple Repair Rescue

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Former F1 Engineer Takes Pole Position in Apple Repair Rescue

Former Formula One engineer Neil Barker has taken pole position with the launch of his new Northamptonshire businesses. The former F1 mechanic swapped the pit lane and electronic systems engineering for leading racing teams and driving champions, to go for pole position with his own mobile phone repair business Spark Angels. Neil spent many years working all over the globe in F1 racing, working for elite racing team Red Bull alongside driving stars including Mark Webber and David Coulthard, before deciding to make his dream to set up his own business, repairing Apple devices, a reality.

 Neil with RedBull Racing Formula One Team

Neil with RedBull Racing Formula One Team

His entrepreneurial efforts have proved so successful he has just relocated to larger business premises in Pytchley Business Park, Kettering and opened a new outlet in Oundle as his business empire expands.

Spark Angels has an increasing number of business accounts working with corporate clients and smaller enterprises. His competitive contracts for businesses include a newly launched phone loan service providing clients with a temporary device while repairs are being carried out on their company phone.

We offer a premium service and what makes us unique is our track record & we have a very fast turn around, we even beat Apple on that.”

The company’s latest contract is with luxury boat building business Fairline Yachts in Oundle, where the latest Spark Angels outlet opened. Other corporate customers include AVON, Ricoh, Kettering Science Academy, Mahle and Weatherbys.

Neil said: “We offer a premium service only using the best parts available and what makes us unique is our track record we have a very fast turn around, we even beat Apple on that."

“We will repair in an hour these are not just phones anymore, these are people’s lives and they are at the centre of people’s working lives. We can carry out repairs while customers wait and what’s also proving popular is our 12 month warranty”.

“It’s all about offering a fast, high quality repair service whether we are replacing smashed screens or fixing iPhones, iPads or iPods. We pride ourselves on offering a very personal, professional experience.” Neil credited his career in F1 as giving him the drive to launch his own successful business.

 Simply the best iPhone Repairs in Northamptonshire

Simply the best iPhone Repairs in Northamptonshire

He said: “It was amazing working for many years in F1 and drivers like Mark Webber and David Coulthard were brilliant to work alongside. I used the money I gained from F1 to start up initially in my garage and it has grown from there. “My years in F1 were great but intense and made me a perfectionist. I launched my business in the county, expanding with the opening of Spark Angels in Oundle and most recently relocated to larger premises in Kettering too.”

Our corporate customers include AVON, Ricoh, Kettering Science Academy, Billabong, Mahle and Weatherbys.


With his latest Spark Angels shops, Neil is spreading his wings within the county by helping to create new jobs as well as offering premium services to corporate clients. He said: “It has gone from strength to strength. I always knew I want- ed to grow the businesses within Northamptonshire. What we offer is very different, including making our own replacement screens, we’ve had thousands of customers who’ve dropped their phones and devices and we’ve come to their repair rescue!
“Growing the business in the county means we are on track towards some very exciting future developments we have in the pipeline.” Contact Spark Angels at Unit 8 Pytchley Business Park, Orion Way, Kettering, Northants on 01536 609333 and Office 2, Oundle Wharf, Station Road, Oundle on 01832 275777 or go to SparkAngels.co.uk

Former F1 Engineer Takes Pole Position in Apple Repair Rescue 

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