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Professional Post crash/repair camera & gimbal issues

Discussion in 'Phantom 3 Help' started by Steve G, Apr 1, 2016.

  1. Steve G

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    I crashed at about 50 ft. into the top branches of a tree and the camera and half the gimbal landed about 50 ft. from the aircraft. After replacing the ribbon cable and putting the gimbal back together, every time I start it up, the camera seems to do it's happy dance and end up tilted at an odd angle. A gimbal calibration gets it level for the time being, but restarting it results in the same issue. All other camera controls seem normal. All shafts are correctly oriented and camera is right side up. I've done a firmware update and IMU calibration to be sure, but it doesn't change. Unfortunately, that's not the worst of it. Looking at my DJI-Go screen, the picture from the camera only shows about 5 percent of the time and when it does, it has many many fine horizontal lines in it and is basically unusable. I've tried to record and it will record only when the picture is showing. It stops recording as soon as the picture disappears. I've had it back apart 3 times to clean and re-insert the cable ends to no avail. I've reset the camera and made just about every adjustment with the camera or LightBridge that I could think of and nothing works. At this point, I'm thinking I will have to send it in but I thought I'd put it out there to see if anyone might know of a way to determine whether it's actually the camera, the board in the gimbal base, or the aircraft itself that may be causing this. Also, if I must send it somewhere, where would be the best bet to get it properly and quickly repaired.

    Sorry if you've read this twice. I posted it erroneously in the discussion area instead of here in the Help Area.
     
  2. eaglegoaltender

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    So - when you say correctly orientated for the shaft - this means ...........you did remove the back cover (4 screws) off the camera and confirm or adjust the flat side of the shaft so it is square/level to the camera frame? If that flat side of the shaft is not lined up correctly it will give you basically what you are seeing right now.
     
  3. Steve G

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    Yes, when the camera is level, the flat is level to the camera frame. I had even taken the cover off an extra time to make sure this was the case. The video issue is really my biggest worry though. I could live with the gimbal problem for the moment, but the camera not working is a show stopper.
     
  4. Air Ontario

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    You may be working on the wrong item. If all is well with cables(ribbon, VPS and Gimbal) then it must be something else like an on screen display card or something.

    Sort of sounds like either that or the IMU and gimbal/camera are not thinking the same on orientation.
     
  5. mdowney58

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    And your pitch motor shaft that goes into the side of the camera has the flat side to the rear?
    I assembled mine to the front by mistake and the camera wanted to break it's own neck during startup.

    Sent from my SM-N910V using Tapatalk
     
  6. Steve G

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    Here's some more info on my issue. Once the aircraft is started, regardless if the motors are armed or not, the video feed will start and stop at irregular intervals. When there's no video, none of the camera settings are visible and I can't initiate a video or photo. When the settings and video re-appear, I can start a video for a few moments till it disappears again. I have attached a flight video so you can see what is showing when the video is operating. The aircraft flies perfectly BTW. All signals are 5 Bars and GPS location works fine. Camera controls work fine whether video is transmitting or not



    Another clue is that the DA...DA.DA sound is also intermittent just like the video. The LED on the gimbal base spends a lot of time blinking green, then goes off and starts blinking again. When a USB cable is connected, access to the memory card on my PC is also off and on.

    I took a video of the aircraft initializing so you could see it in action. I was surprised that there's so much of what I would call "RF interference" in the video. I've never made a video of the aircraft with my phone so close, so I'm not sure if that was happening prior to the crash.

    https://goo.gl/photos/qxHWTZtz6nC1ooyt6

    I'm not sure that this link will work, but I'll try it anyway.
     
  7. eaglegoaltender

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    Yup your link works fine - that is some crazy dancing with your camera. Sure looks likes an alignment issue - however since you stated all is aligned properly (shaft etc.) then perhaps it is a crack on the camera/gimbal board you haven't noticed yet (hairline crack/separation).

    After setting up the alignment of shaft (top flat side parallel and level with the rear of the camera frame) - did you open it up again to see if it had shifted out of alignment at all?

    Looking like you may have to send it out somewhere or grab a replacement gimbal/camera. Too bad - that happened to ya.
     
  8. Air Ontario

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    So all sensor readings are normal? meaning the bird knows its own orientation, attitude, etc?

    All the shafts are properly aligned and locked? and all the grey multiwire cables between VPS module, from belly of bird to top of gimbal are good and tight?

    How did the bird impact when you crashed straight forward, sideways, etc?

    It's almost like the bird's orientation is stuck thinking it is rolling so the camera thinks it should too.

    Was it a GOOD, DJI ribbon cable not a counterfeit one?
     
  9. Steve G

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    I used an OEM DJI cable. Grey cables are undamaged and tight. I am beginning to wonder if it isn't something to do with the access of the memory or processor board at the camera base. I had a crash a month ago which unplugged the grey cable and broke one of the clear pins holding the base to the bottom of the quad. After that, when the quad initialized, the camera was cocked at a weird angle and calibrating the gimbal didn't help. I had to use the adjust gimbal option to manually adjust the angle to get it level. After that it was fine. I am thinking that maybe the shaft was twisted out of alignment at that time and I just did a manual adjustment to compensate for it instead of removing that cover plate and twisting it back physically. NOW, my thought is that I've re-aligned the shaft since this latest crash and since I can't seem to get a good consistent connection to the memory card, maybe the craft is initializing to my skewed alignment settings and not saving any new adjustments. I don't know enough about how all the pieces talk to each other or where it saves setting changes, so I'm just spit-balling here. Did you hear the interference that showed up on the phone recording? I wonder if that's normal? I've seen other recordings of the quad from external cameras and have never heard that much.

    I am pretty close with it because the bird flies perfectly otherwise. Camera controls work perfectly too. Not much good without a picture though.... :(

    Steve
     
  10. eaglegoaltender

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    Wondering here after reading your latest pots if the alignment shaft is bent - or if the gimbal arm to the camera is bent (although I think you would still get video - just not a level one.

    Double check your antenna cables in the copter legs - any broken or shorted wires there would also give you a snowy and interrupted video feed to your device.

    Hate to state the obvious - is all well with your viewing device otherwise?
     
  11. Steve G

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    I would like to write this to complete the story for all those that wrote in to help me troubleshoot my ailing bird.

    I finally got to a point that I felt there was something else going on that I couldn't or didn't know how to fix so I made the call to DJI and sent it in for repair. I was totally up front with them about what happened and the process of getting it fixed was very straight forward and transparent. They opened a problem ticket, sent me a mailing label and had me send the bird to Ca. I got a link to a page where I could track the progress of the repair and see when it was on it's way back. They diagnosed the repair within 4 hours of receiving it and told me how much it would be. Here's what I got:

    upload_2016-5-1_17-23-27.png

    They paid all the shipping both ways and once they received confirmation of my payment, began the repair and sent it back. Quite painless and actually less $$ than I thought it would be. Also, once I got it back, I noticed that they must have replaced the entire camera assembly because there were some scratches on the underside of the camera base where the gimbal arm had rubbed and there was also a very small scratch on the camera lens that was now gone. All in all, I was a very happy camper about the whole thing.

    What have I learned from this? I fly much more conservatively now and treat my Phantom more as a flying camera than RC aircraft. I'm sure I'll crash it again sometime, but I am gonna enjoy my pristine Phantom very carefully now.

    There is one more chapter to this story though that I must add to see if anyone else has the same experience. Although the Phantom takes beautiful stable video and sharp photos once again, I have noticed a problem I didn't have before. Looking at my flight logs for my flights prior to the repair, the number of satellites that the aircraft would see was consistently in the 14-16 range. Now that my aircraft has been repaired and the firmware updated by the folks that did the repair, I rarely see more than 12 satellites with 9-11 being the norm. Often, I will get a weak GPS signal warning at 6 satellites in the DJI-Go app. I am reaching out to find out if there is any change I can make in the software or on the aircraft that can improve this situation. I am very concerned when the GPS warning comes up and prior to the repair, I never saw it. All firmware and software are at the latest version including the DJI-Go app. I sent this paragraph above to DJI asking about it and their reply was:

    upload_2016-5-1_17-34-55.png

    I've done all they suggested twice and still no joy. I'm very concerned that I will lose my bird if this isn't resolved, so any constructive suggestions would be appreciated. I will keep banging on DJI for an answer too, but thanks in advance for your help with this.

    Steve