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Gimbal Overload Protection Question
1923 26 2018-2-12
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Sparkflyer
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I saw a message on another forum where the poster thought he may have causewd a Gimbal Overload error by leaving  the clamp on one too many times, causing damage to the gimbal ($$$).  I would expect that flying the drone into a wall, or dropping it on the sidewalk would damage the gimbal, but leaving a protector on????

If leaving the gimbal clamp on can damage the Mavic, then is a very poor design.   If that's the case, then the manual should explicitly and clearly say so, with a warning box.  Last I looked, there was no such warning. It would make me wonder how many other such poor design "features" are out  there.

The  design should be that if the protective clamp is in place (or anything else is obstructing the gimbal movement), the overload warning should come on, and power to the gimbal cut immediately to prevent damage, until the drone power is recycled.  I suspect that this could be done with a firmware mod.

Can anybody definitively address my concern?
2018-2-12
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fansc9486b7a
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China
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I don't think the DJI drone has no protection for gimbal, it is an easy work.
2018-2-12
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litho
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China
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Agree with 2#.
I have try to push the gimbal by hand. The force will reduce after few seconds.
2018-2-12
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DJI Elektra
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China
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Hi, there. Please provide a screenshot of your app with the error message. Thanks for your support.
2018-2-13
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Sparkflyer
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DJI Elektra Posted at 2018-2-13 00:49
Hi, there. Please provide a screenshot of your app with the error message. Thanks for your support.

My comment was about someone else's issue, so I don't have a screenshot.  
The question about gimbal overload still stands:
If the gimbal clamp/protector is engaged when the drone is powered ON, does the design protect the gimbal from damage?
If one uses the flight simulator, the drone must be powered on - I didn't see anything in the manual about removing the gimbal clamp before doing so.
2018-2-13
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Sparkflyer
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Sparkflyer Posted at 2018-2-13 12:50
My comment was about someone else's issue, so I don't have a screenshot.  
The question about gimbal overload still stands:
If the gimbal clamp/protector is engaged when the drone is powered ON, does the design protect the gimbal from damage?  

Can anyone from DJI address my question?
2018-2-21
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Wachtberger
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Germany
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I am not from DJI, but I can answer your question: The clamp is only for protection during transport and must be removed before switching the AC on. At startup the gimbal has to move for selfcheck, with the clamp on it can't and this causes the "gimbal overload" error message. The design of the Mavic Air protects the gimbal much better than on any other model, no need to fly with the clamp on. I find the design of the gimbal clamp excellent by the way. And that it has to be removed before starting is a matter of common sense in my opinion.
2018-2-21
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Sparkflyer
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Wachtberger Posted at 2018-2-21 08:27
I am not from DJI, but I can answer your question: The clamp is only for protection during transport and must be removed before switching the AC on. At startup the gimbal has to move for selfcheck, with the clamp on it can't and this causes the "gimbal overload" error message. The design of the Mavic Air protects the gimbal much better than on any other model, no need to fly with the clamp on. I find the design of the gimbal clamp excellent by the way. And that it has to be removed before starting is a matter of common sense in my opinion.

I understand, but the question remains:
When the gimbal lock is in place, and the drone is powered on, does that damage the gimbals?
2018-3-3
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Wachtberger
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Sparkflyer Posted at 2018-3-3 11:48
I understand, but the question remains:
When the gimbal lock is in place, and the drone is powered on, does that damage the gimbals?

Sorry, I had thought that this became sufficiently clear from my previous response. Yes, in my humble opinion leaving the gimbal cover on will cause damage over time because it stresses the motor. The Mavic Air is designed as a camera drone for taking great footage. If your priority is just flying, I am sure there are alternatives for that available on the market.
2018-3-3
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Sparkflyer
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Wachtberger Posted at 2018-3-3 13:11
Sorry, I had thought that this became sufficiently clear from my previous response. Yes, in my humble opinion leaving the gimbal cover on will cause damage over time because it stresses the motor. The Mavic Air is designed as a camera drone for taking great footage. If your priority is just flying, I am sure there are alternatives for that available on the market.

Whachtberger, thank you for your responses. I apologize for the confusion...apparently, I wasn't clear.

Background:  I've read a great deal on this, and other forums, about how fragile the gimbals are, and how common gimbal problems are.  I had a Spark for a few flights, with everything OK initially (no crashes, all hand launch and recovery), but after about 5 flights, the camera could not be pointed down beyond about 30 degrees.  I was using a gimbal protector from day 1, and removed it before every flight.  However, I left the protector in place when I just had the drone ON, doing "non-flying" things like downloading video.  There is nothing in the manual to say that a protector should not be installed when the drone is powered on, but not flying (i.e., you want to use the camera), so I don't think I caused the elevation control problem, but now I'm starting to wonder.

I've pre-ordered a Mavic Air FMC from BestBuy.com, and want to make sure I don't do anything that might cause excessive wear or otherwise damage that drone.  

Wachtberger, while I appreciate your effort to help, I was hoping that someone from DJI who is familiar with the actual design would tell me definitively about the design, and if a lock is in place, the motor message comes on, and the power to the gimbal motors is turned off, to prevent any excessive wear or damage.  Unfortunately, that didn't happen.  If I were designing the drone, I'd put in protection that, upon detecting inability of the gimbal to move, would display the appropriate message, and turn off power to the motors, until the drone is power-cycled.
2018-3-4
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Sparkflyer
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Sparkflyer Posted at 2018-3-4 10:17
Whachtberger, thank you for your responses. I apologize for the confusion...apparently, I wasn't clear.

Background:  I've read a great deal on this, and other forums, about how fragile the gimbals are, and how common gimbal problems are.  I had a Spark for a few flights, with everything OK initially (no crashes, all hand launch and recovery), but after about 5 flights, the camera could not be pointed down beyond about 30 degrees.  I was using a gimbal protector from day 1, and removed it before every flight.  However, I left the protector in place when I just had the drone ON, doing "non-flying" things like downloading video.  There is nothing in the manual to say that a protector should not be installed when the drone is powered on, but not flying (i.e., you want to use the camera), so I don't think I caused the elevation control problem, but now I'm starting to wonder.

Whachtberger, thank you for your responses. I apologize for the confusion...apparently, I wasn't clear.

Background:  I've read a great deal on this, and other forums, about how fragile the gimbals are, and how common gimbal problems are.  I had a Spark for a few flights, with everything OK initially (no crashes, all hand launch and recovery), but after about 5 flights, the camera could not be pointed down beyond about 30 degrees.  I was using a gimbal protector from day 1, and removed it before every flight.  However, I left the protector in place when I just had the drone ON, doing "non-flying" things like downloading video.  There is nothing in the manual to say that a protector should not be installed when the drone is powered on, but not flying (i.e., you want to use the camera), so I don't think I caused the elevation control problem, but now I'm starting to wonder.

I've pre-ordered a Mavic Air FMC from BestBuy.com, and want to make sure I don't do anything that might cause excessive wear or otherwise damage that drone.  

Wachtberger, while I appreciate your effort to help, I was hoping that someone from DJI who is familiar with the actual design would tell me definitively about the design, and if a lock is in place, the motor message comes on, and the power to the gimbal motors is turned off, to prevent any excessive wear or damage.  Unfortunately, that didn't happen.  If I were designing the drone, I'd put in protection that, upon detecting inability of the gimbal to move, would display the appropriate message, and turn off power to the motors, until the drone is power-cycled.
2018-3-4
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davidmartingraf
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I would hope not but don't think it can be ruled out, whether it's both left on while flying or simply left on only when the Mavic Pro is powered on.
2018-3-4
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MiniPalourde
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Sparkflyer Posted at 2018-3-4 10:17
Whachtberger, thank you for your responses. I apologize for the confusion...apparently, I wasn't clear.

Background:  I've read a great deal on this, and other forums, about how fragile the gimbals are, and how common gimbal problems are.  I had a Spark for a few flights, with everything OK initially (no crashes, all hand launch and recovery), but after about 5 flights, the camera could not be pointed down beyond about 30 degrees.  I was using a gimbal protector from day 1, and removed it before every flight.  However, I left the protector in place when I just had the drone ON, doing "non-flying" things like downloading video.  There is nothing in the manual to say that a protector should not be installed when the drone is powered on, but not flying (i.e., you want to use the camera), so I don't think I caused the elevation control problem, but now I'm starting to wonder.

Yea we need someone from DJI to answer this. The drone should have a feature that stops the gimbal if there's any kind of obstruction.

I really don't think there's this kind of safety feature right now. I once forgot to remove the gimbal clamp before turning on the drone and the gimbal still tried to calibrate. The gimbal was trying to calibrate and it was actively pushing until I removed the clamp.

This is a huge flaw in the design and I think it can be fixed quite easily. I always use a pre-flight checklist from now on to prevent these kinds of incidents.
I don't think it can actually break the gimbal but we can be sure that it's not doing anything good.  
2018-3-4
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davidmartingraf
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Wachtberger Posted at 2018-3-3 13:11
Sorry, I had thought that this became sufficiently clear from my previous response. Yes, in my humble opinion leaving the gimbal cover on will cause damage over time because it stresses the motor. The Mavic Air is designed as a camera drone for taking great footage. If your priority is just flying, I am sure there are alternatives for that available on the market.

Nonetheless, if you're going to invest your hard earned money into DJI drones, which have appearances of delicate cameras, I find it displeasing that DJI provides only the first 6 months into 12 months of warranty protection on its cameras?
2018-3-4
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Sparkflyer
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MiniPalourde Posted at 2018-3-4 10:39
Yea we need someone from DJI to answer this. The drone should have a feature that stops the gimbal if there's any kind of obstruction.

I really don't think there's this kind of safety feature right now. I once forgot to remove the gimbal clamp before turning on the drone and the gimbal still tried to calibrate. The gimbal was trying to calibrate and it was actively pushing until I removed the clamp.

I've started using checklists and flight planning...like in my flying days.

A red or orange (remove before flight) sticker for the gimbal clamp, would help too!
2018-3-4
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Sparkflyer
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MiniPalourde Posted at 2018-3-4 10:39
Yea we need someone from DJI to answer this. The drone should have a feature that stops the gimbal if there's any kind of obstruction.

I really don't think there's this kind of safety feature right now. I once forgot to remove the gimbal clamp before turning on the drone and the gimbal still tried to calibrate. The gimbal was trying to calibrate and it was actively pushing until I removed the clamp.

I've started using checklists and flight planning...like in my flying days.

A red or orange (remove before flight) sticker for the gimbal clamp, would help too!
2018-3-4
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Wachtberger
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I really do not understand what is so difficult with simply removing the cover before starting the AC. Never mind, I am out of this discussion now ;-)
2018-3-4
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MiniPalourde
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Wachtberger Posted at 2018-3-4 12:25
I really do not understand what is so difficult with simply removing the cover before starting the AC. Never mind, I am out of this discussion now ;-)

From time to time, newbies forget to remove their gimbal clamps before flying. It would be easy for DJI to implement a feature stopping the gimbal in case of obstruction. From what we've seen in the forum, some people have been saying that the gimbal clamp can actually damage the gimbal if left ON.

It's important because most DJI owners are newbies and it's an easy mistake to do.
2018-3-4
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Wachtberger
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MiniPalourde Posted at 2018-3-4 12:44
From time to time, newbies forget to remove their gimbal clamps before flying. It would be easy for DJI to implement a feature stopping the gimbal in case of obstruction. From what we've seen in the forum, some people have been saying that the gimbal clamp can actually damage the gimbal if left ON.

It's important because most DJI owners are newbies and it's an easy mistake to do.

Yes, but there is another aspect to take into consideration. Upon startup, the gimbal executes a self check to ensure flawless operation after take off. And for this self-check, it has to be able to move freely in all directions.
Therefore every pilot should make it integral part of his or her routine pre flight check that the gimbal cover is removed. There have been several good proposals in the forum over time already for those who tend to forget the cover, to simply attach a red ribbon to it similar to the red ribbons that have to be removed from "real" aircrafts before start. And our vessels are real aircrafts too, just a bit smaller.
2018-3-4
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MiniPalourde
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Wachtberger Posted at 2018-3-4 13:35
Yes, but there is another aspect to take into consideration. Upon startup, the gimbal executes a self check to ensure flawless operation after take off. And for this self-check, it has to be able to move freely in all directions.
Therefore every pilot should make it integral part of his or her routine pre flight check that the gimbal cover is removed. There have been several good proposals in the forum over time already for those who tend to forget the cover, to simply attach a red ribbon to it similar to the red ribbons that have to be removed from "real" aircrafts before start. And our vessels are real aircrafts too, just a bit smaller.

You're right, people should make a pre-flight checklist or use a ribbon. People should also fly responsibly, and they should not land on the White House's lawn.

However, people are dumb and not experienced with quads. If this wasn't the case, we wouldn't need to unlock our drone every time we want to fly in a new location.

My proposal is to stop the calibration (or self check) as soon as the "Gimbal overload" error kicks in. It should also stop the calibration if the self-check is abnormally long (more than 6 seconds per example). If it's able to give you a "motor overload" error, it should be able to stop the gimbal from calibrating and hurting itself.
2018-3-4
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Wachtberger
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MiniPalourde Posted at 2018-3-4 13:46
You're right, people should make a pre-flight checklist or use a ribbon. People should also fly responsibly, and they should not land on the White House's lawn.

However, people are dumb and not experienced with quads. If this wasn't the case, we wouldn't need to unlock our drone every time we want to fly in a new location.

"However, people are dumb and not experienced with quads."

Than they should either learn it or search for a different hobby, sorry to say it so frankly.
2018-3-4
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MiniPalourde
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Wachtberger Posted at 2018-3-4 13:50
"However, people are dumb and not experienced with quads."

Than they should either learn it or search for a different hobby, sorry to say it so frankly.

You do realize that DJI specifically targets these kind of people, right? The dumb people buying a Phantom without reading anything about it?
2018-3-4
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Wachtberger
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MiniPalourde Posted at 2018-3-4 14:09
You do realize that DJI specifically targets these kind of people, right? The dumb people buying a Phantom without reading anything about it?

Please forgive me that I prefer not to pursue this debate. If people choose not to read before putting an expensive device in operation this is their choice, but they have no right to complain if things go wrong afterwards. I sincerely apologise should this offend anyone, but I have grown up in a different culture where something called "common sense" is still an integral part of it.
2018-3-4
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MiniPalourde
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Wachtberger Posted at 2018-3-4 14:27
Please forgive me that I prefer not to pursue this debate. If people choose not to read before putting an expensive device in operation this is their choice, but they have no right to complain if things go wrong afterwards. I sincerely apologise should this offend anyone, but I have grown up in a different culture where something called "common sense" is still an integral part of it.

I'm afraid not. DJI actually have very good sales in Germany and the number of incidents up there are quite high. I must say that your childish and immature attempt at insulting America was unwanted and it is a good thing that we're ending this "debate".
2018-3-4
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Sparkflyer
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MiniPalourde Posted at 2018-3-4 14:09
You do realize that DJI specifically targets these kind of people, right? The dumb people buying a Phantom without reading anything about it?

It was not my intent to create a back and forth.  I understand the points you gentlemen have made.

Just for the record,
I DID read all the documentation (end to end) for the Spark that I had, as well as the Mavic Air that is on the way, and neither addressed my specific question.

I fully understand that the gimbal lock needs to be removed before flight, and I have removed it before every flight.

The question was about what mechanism, if any, DJI has to prevent damage to the drone if the gimbal lock is in place, when the drone is TURNED ON - notice that I said turn ON, and not flown.  
If you're going to copy data from the drone, or use the simulator (i.e., NOT using the camera) it's not obvious that the lock has to be removed.
2018-3-4
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DaveNZ
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Great thread to follow guys - and of course everyone is right one way or another.
Captain W - I agree with you re common sense (pretty rare these days) but I claim to still have this declining skill.
BUT - I too have connected my cable to download video - turned on the drone - with the clamp on - and yup - now I have a fried gimble motor or cable - whatever it turns out it is.
I agree with old mate Sparky tho - should be a simple firmware update to cut the power on overload detection and preserve the gear - if DJI really wanted to keep customers happy that's what they would do - but they are in the business of selling drones and spare parts - and nobody got rich outa making anything that lasted forever!!
Gotta say tho - awesome bit of kit and great value for money when its all going good - the preset video modes provide unreal footage - need to get mine fixed now ready for summer!!  
2018-7-27
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Tomcatuk
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Wachtberger Posted at 2018-3-4 12:25
I really do not understand what is so difficult with simply removing the cover before starting the AC. Never mind, I am out of this discussion now ;-)

I thought you was out of this discussion then a further three posts......
2018-7-27
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