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Phantom 3 Crooked Horizon - What is Acceptable / Normal

Discussion in 'Pro/Adv Discussion' started by D. Greene, Dec 15, 2015.

  1. D. Greene

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    Hello everyone,
    I purchased a Phantom 3 Advanced last Friday and noticed on my first flight that all of my pictures and video had crooked a crooked horizon. I have tried calibrating the IMU and Gimbal multiple times over the last few days following all the recommendations of cooling the device and battery, ensuring the mounting surface is flat and level, etc.

    I cannot get a level photo by auto calibration alone. If I adjust the Gimbal roll by -.8, I can get what appears to be a level photo on my table.(I was not able to check photos from the air because it got dark before I could test it.)

    My vendor has a good return/exchange policy and I have already gotten a return shipping lable and was planning on exchanging the drone. Due to what I am reading in the forums, I am concerned I may get a new Phantom 3 that is worse than what I already have.

    I have three questions.

    1. Does anyone have a Phantom 3 that calibrates to a perfect or near perfect horizon?
    2. Is a Gimbal calibration that is off by +- .8 ok, or can I expect better?
    3. Are there any additional problems I need to worry about by having to manually adjust the Gimbal roll?

    I'm a long time photographer who is completely new to drones and am looking for advice.

    Thanks,
    Dolan
     
  2. Oso

    Oso

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    If you are able to fix it with the gimbal roll adjustment and it actually stays level even in flight while yawing, I would have to say you are probably fine. Since you haven't tested yours yet, it's hard to say.

    Mine has had a drifting horizon since May which wont go away with any amount of calibrations or gimbal roll adjustments. It will look fine at home for a while, but then as soon as it's in the air it starts to drift again. As I yaw, it changes from level to tilted to level to tilted the other way. Sometimes at home it will go more and more out of level just by switching between menu screens in the app.

    I don't mind much with still photos since they are so easy to fix. Video however is another story. Since the horizon drifts back and forth, it is effectively impossible to fix the video in post. This is by far the most disappointing thing for me personally with regards to my Phantom.

    Most people will tell you to do more calibrations, do cold calibrations, adjust the gimbal roll, do a gimbal calibration, do a mid air gimbal calibration, etc. I've done them countless times with no luck, and I've always just assumed the next firmware would fix it. Now it's too late for me. If I had the chance to replace mine with a new one, I would do it instantly.
     
    #2 Oso, Dec 15, 2015
    Last edited: Dec 15, 2015
    skyhighdiver likes this.
  3. Dirby

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    do a cold imu calabration and gimbal calabration too.
     
  4. RedHotPoker

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    My Phantom 3 Pro' Gimbal has been good here, always evenly lined, with a straight horizon.
    Also, works great when switching from Follow to FPV in the app, the horizon stays flat, as long as the drone is flying square to the ground.
    Don't chill the battery, in the drone, before a cold IMU calibration, remove the battery first, keep it room temp. ;-) I know you probably did that, just mentioning this for anyone, who may have misinterpreted what you said.

    Could be a weird little glitch in the Go App, you may have, picked up.
    You might Try uninstalling the App and reloading it.?

    Not sure what else to suggest, Or why you would think a replacement drone may be worse? Please be positive, this is a serious investment, and complicated photography drone. Look forward to enjoying it.

    RedHotPoker
     
  5. D. Greene

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    Thank you Oso,
    I believe it stays level during flight, it is just off a constant degree or two. I will check it again tomorrow.

     
  6. D. Greene

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    Thank you Oso
    Thank you Dirby, I left both the drone and the battery in my garage for an hour or so at ~45 degrees. It didn't seem to be any different than when I tried calibrating at room temperature. Maybe this was not cold enough?
     
  7. D. Greene

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    Thank you RedHotPoker, I'm glad to hear that your drone works well out of the box. I did leave the battery in my cool/cold garage, I did not realize that would be an issue.

    I was hoping to hear from someone without the horizon issue. I am going to follow through and get a replacement hoping for better results. :)
     
  8. RedHotPoker

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    Why are you freezing the battery?
    Doing a Cold IMU calibration, is a chilled down drone only.
    Never any reason to frost your intelligent flight battery and then use it in that condition.

    RedHotPoker
     
  9. Oso

    Oso

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    That's great news. Cheers!
     
  10. Goldni

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    I have turned off "synchronous flow" in my gimbal settings.
     
  11. D. Greene

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    I received my replacement drone and went through the cold calibration steps on the IMU and gimbal a couple of times. I placed a little 9 inch beam level one foot in front of the camera to check if the camera is tilted. It is off by .6 of a degree. Interestingly it is tilted in the opposite direction of my last drone. Adding +.6 with the manual roll adjustment corrects the tilt.

    I'm concerned that if I do an exchange again, I'm just going to get another one that is slightly off. I'm wondering if I should just do the manual roll adjustment and live with it, or try sending this one in for repair.

    What do you recommend?
     
  12. jimerb

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    Do a gimbal calibration. Put the p3 on a very level surface first. You can also adjust the gimbal roll in the same area.. That you can do while in flight and looking at the horizon.
     
  13. D. Greene

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    Thanks jimerb,

    Unfortunately, I am finding that doing both the IMU and gimbal calibrations, will get camera close to level but not perfect. Also, I am using a perfectly flat and level surface to calibrate on. I am on my second drone and neither one of them can be "perfectly" calibrated automatically. I have to tune them in with the roll adjustment. I'm wondering if I am being too picky, or if I keep exchanging drones I eventually get a perfect copy?
     
  14. phantom13flyer

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    If all those other solutions don't work . You can try what work for me. On a day with no wind do a gimbal calibration while in the air. You might get a window saying something like you need to be on the ground for auto calibration but it will still do the calibration in the air. This worked for me a couple months ago I'm assuming that it's still possible to do this. Anyway it may be worth a shot. Good luck!!
     
  15. D. Greene

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    Thank you phantom13flyer. If I decide not to exchange it over the next couple of days, I will definitely give this a shot.
     
    phantom13flyer likes this.
  16. tcope

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    I'm not sure what the issue is. The manual adjustment was added by DJI because camera tilts are not always perfect. If there were not many tilted cameras they would not have needed to add that adjustment.

    There are two ways to correct the tilt. You can use the manual setting or you can figure out what tilt is needed, manually angle the drone the reverse amount on a table and then do an auto camera calibration. You will then have fooled the camera into being level. This last "fooling" setting will give you the same result as the camera being perfectly level from the factory.

    Here are photos from the P3P that I just bought. First uncorrected and second corrected. Problem solved.

    DJI_0014.JPG DJI_0016.JPG
     
  17. D. Greene

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    Thanks tcope,
    Did you use the manual roll adjustment, or did you shim your drone on the table when doing the auto calibration? If you shimmed it a bit while auto calibrating, did you do it for the IMU calibration, gimbal calibration or both? I was thinking of placing a couple of pieces of paper under the left side of my drone before auto calibrating to see what would happen.

    Just to be clear, I'm not complaining or angry. I'm new to drones and am just trying to figure out what people normally expect from these. If fine tuning the camera roll using the manual adjustment in the app is something people typically do, than I'm good with it. :)
     
  18. KMD1984

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    Good question. I would also like to know more about how exactly he does the "fooling" method...

    Thanks.
     
  19. jimerb

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    After I did the gimbal calibration and adjusted my roll I still had the prob. I then realized I no longer needed the roll adjustment in subsequent flights. Just the first one for some reason.

    Your paper trick sounds interesting. I'd love to know if that makes a difference.

    I was also staring at those rubber shock absorbers wondering if they needed to be adjusted / replaced. Not sure...