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Professional Gimbal failed mid-flight. Any advice before RMA

Discussion in 'Phantom 3 Help' started by CoreyNach, Jul 7, 2015.

  1. CoreyNach

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    I'm a P3 Pro owner and very early adopter. I ordered mine directly from DJI 4/8, and got it within a day of all the other first batch orderers in the US. I had Phantoms before (400+ flights on a P1).

    I haven't flown the P3 too much (only about 30 flight) due to business, but it has been a pleasure to fly when I did. No real problems with the craft (other than a short wait for the iOS app when I first got it). My video footage has been smooth, and I've been happy with the gimbal.

    However...

    Last Friday, I was with a friend, showing off the P3, and capturing some footage for him. My first battery flight when fine, then we moved locations. I was flying over water, at a popular dog park beach front. Anyways, the first ten minutes of the flight go fine. I was pretty high up, about 100ft over the ocean, on my way to a boat when suddenly, the video image on my mobile drops and swings! It looks like the craft is crashing. I stay calm, and happily, I realize it is not crash, but the camera is pointed straight down, and is swaying and the gimbal dial and button are unresponsive. Using the map, and LoS, I fly home, and land fine, but the gimbal seems dead. Here is a video of the experience:



    I turn it on an off, and the gimbal does NOT do its dance. It remains dead (the camera works fine though). I've tried the calibration, just to see if it kicks in gear. No go. I waited a day, tried again, and still dead.

    The Mobile app has an "Overall Status" section, and it says Gimbal pitch error: contact DJI support.

    Anyway, I've contacted US support, and they didn't ask many questions, or really troubleshoot, but gave me an RMA, and said it will take 7+ weeks, which sucks.

    I was just posting to ask if this group knew anything else I might try before sending it in as an RMA. It seems weird that the gimbal just failed... It was working well before. I love the P3, and would hate to have to wait 8 weeks. Any trouble shooting advice (that would totally kill my warranty)?
     
  2. C0ps

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    Could it be possible the ribbon is lose? Wet? Misaligned in the plug?
     
  3. CoreyNach

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    Thanks for the reply. I immediately visually checked the craft after landing. The ribbon looks ok, I checked it all around the gimbal, just to make sure there were no tears, and I don't see any. There was no obvious sign of mis-alignment, but I did push on it lightly, to be sure it was seated... That said, I didn't try to remove and reseat it... I will try that tonight (I want to be careful not to rip it though, any tips?).

    I didn't find any obvious signs of wetness. I was flying next to the ocean. I took off an landed quite a distance from it... I guess there is a chance of moisture in the air, but I wasn't particularly close, and it wasn't a windy day that might have thrown spray in the air.

    Anyway's good questions... just for sanity, when I get home, I will recheck, and maybe try to reseat..

    I do remember one thing... I'm not near the craft, so not sure if I can explain this right, but right near where the ribbon when into the camera head, a small part of the ribbon seemed split... I don't mean torn, width wise, I mean mean if the ribbon is made from two thin sheets of stuff, with trace in between, there was a small place where the two sheets of stuff seemed a bit separated (when I get home I can take a picture to see if I remember right). I'd never looked that closely at the ribbon before, so I couldn't tell if this was normal... it looked pretty normal, and not obviously messed up to me... but in hind sight, maybe I should check again.

    I would LOVE for this to just be a ribbon misalignment or something, but because maybe I could be flying again quickly. I'm kinda surprised the DJI US.Support rep didn't troubleshoot with me more, and just did an RMA.
     
  4. C0ps

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    There should be no sign of split on the ribbons. Take a picture and zoom in close to inspect. Also please DONT try to unplug the ribbon from its socket without lifting the lock plate.
     
  5. SnoozeDoggyDog

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    Ahhhh, my worst fears. My P3A has the "split" out of the box. It's where the ribbon cable bends under the gimble at the very bottom. I was going to post a PIC the other day but couldn't get the focus correct. I figured the bend in the cable is to severe causing the laminates in the cable to separate.

    I predict more users will report the cable problem if they look.

    My camera still works fine though. 7 flights. But it does worry me.
     
    #5 SnoozeDoggyDog, Jul 7, 2015
    Last edited: Jul 7, 2015
  6. C0ps

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    No that's normal. It's not a split.
     
  7. CoreyNach

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    I'll be sure to take a pic, but sounds like some ppl recognize what I am describing... Whatever it is, I think it was always there. If it's intended to be, no big, but if it is the ribbon separating, perhaps that is what moisture got into, to cause the problem (this is a pure guess).

    In any case, I'll investigate more closely soon, and share pics..

    Also, I do know I need lift the lock plate, I've worked with small electronics that have similar ones, my worry isn't not knowing about it, it's that even knowing about it my big meaty hands will apply more force than I want... I will have to find a small flat head and just take it really slow.
     
  8. C0ps

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    Let me know what you find. Don't use metal. I usually use a toothpick on ribbons that small
     
  9. CoreyNach

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    So I haven't tried to reseat, but I did try to take a picture of the (for lack of better word) "split" in the ribbon cable at the end. Here is an unedited picture:

    See IMG_2198
    IMG_2198.JPG

    And here is one I edited to better emphasize the "split"... is this normal?

    See IMG_2198.Edit
    IMG_2198.Edit.jpg
     
  10. SnoozeDoggyDog

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    Yep, that's just like mine.
     
  11. CoreyNach

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    Snooze... so sounds like it's normal then.. not a problem?
     
  12. SnoozeDoggyDog

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    I've no idea really. Stress cracks aren't "normal" but are quickly become so! I started a separate thread last night asking people to check. But so far no replies. I don't think it's normal personally.

    With any laminate that is bent, the "inside" laminate needs to be slightly shorter. You can simply replicate the same buy having two length of wires/string the Same length. Lay one under the other and then form a U shape. You'll see that the "inside" wire ends stick up slightly. It you you to make them conform then the stress will make a split where we are seeing our issue.

    I can't really explain the above very well. The Long and short of it is that the laminate on the inside of a bend needs to be slightly shorter. As in our case the ends have Nowhere to go because they terminate into the ribbon connector socket, so the stress relief point is the inside of the ubend. I'll try and do a YouTube demo if people are finding it hard to understand my theory.
     
  13. SnoozeDoggyDog

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    My Phantom 2 vision plus ribbon cable has NO kink/split ......
     
  14. C0ps

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    Perfectly normal.
     
  15. M D Page

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    What does the RMA stand for. My motors will not start on my Phantom 3 Pro. One day working fine and the next nothing. DJI said I need a RMA repair and to send it in. They said there is a recall on my drone from when I purchased it. I bought it one week before Christmas 2015.
     
  16. Wolfiesden

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    You got nerves of steel brother. I would it sit a brick thinking I had just drowned a $1200 Phantom.

    Return Materials Authorization

    Meaning they are authorizing you to return their product.
     
  17. buford

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    Camera pitch error sounds like the pitch board and shaft are out of whack. The potentiometer for pitch might be the one you can get to easily, the cover behind the camera with 5 screws. There are a ton of videos on YT about it, and how to fix it. And if your ribbon is screwed, you can fix that too. Its not hard, but it kinda small work and you have to dismount the gimbal, but it can be done in an hour or so. I would try like hell to fix it rather than send it to dji......I'm not big on dji. LOL