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Camera and gimbal replacement after crash
834 5 2019-11-28
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Mirek6
First Officer
Flight distance : 609724 ft
Canada
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Hi,

After over two years of flying I have finally managed to crash my Spark. I crashed it at full Sport mode speed - failed to clear a tall pine, ricocheted to another pine and came down from about 10 meters high onto rocks. Broke one arm and destroyed battery.

I managed to plastic weld the arm back - looks almost intact - but I started to get Air encoder error and camera sensor error. My camera would work for few seconds, than go black and white and freeze, errors would appear on DJI Go 4 app, than camera would start working again for a few seconds, freeze and this loop will repeat itself.

I tried to reflash the firmware just in case something got messed up when my battery was ejected from Spark during crash. Despite multiple tries using DJI Assistant 2, it failed.

So I took the Spark apart to check all the connectors and, sure enough, found two tiny wires going from camera and gimbal to the mainboard broken off.

I can order replacement camera and gimbal but when I was searching for them I ran across a warning that after replacing camera assembly, one need to calibrate it with a special software (not DJI Go 4).

Is this true? Can broken camera and gimbal assembly be simply replaced without any special equipment which only DJI has or special equipment and software is required?

Mirek
2019-11-28
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MartyTravels
First Officer
Flight distance : 346722 ft
Thailand
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I recently replaced the gimbal motor housing on my spark myself. Everything you need can be found online. There is a special software tool for engineers (I believe it's based on Python).

Good luck with your endevour but I have to say your crash sounds very severe...are you sure you want to risk it dropping from the sky due to a main board failure? Well it's illegal to fly over people in every country anyway so good luck :-)
2019-11-28
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DJI Stephen
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Hello and good day Mirek. I am sorry to know what happened to your DJI Spark. Since there was a crash that happened. I would recommend you contact our support team to start up a ticket at https://www.dji.com/support?site=brandsite&from=nav for further assistance. We have the professional team who would do their best to fix the said issue.  Please note that DJI will not perform data analysis for cases occurring after the expiry of the warranty period; otherwise, valid charges will apply. Just a reminder that  DJI do not recommend doing a DIY in fixing the said DJI drone to avoid further damaging the said unit. Thank for your support.
2019-11-29
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Mirek6
First Officer
Flight distance : 609724 ft
Canada
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MartyTravels Posted at 11-28 20:59
I recently replaced the gimbal motor housing on my spark myself. Everything you need can be found online. There is a special software tool for engineers (I believe it's based on Python).

Good luck with your endevour but I have to say your crash sounds very severe...are you sure you want to risk it dropping from the sky due to a main board failure? Well it's illegal to fly over people in every country anyway so good luck :-)

MartyTravels,

Thanks for you quick reply. Did you need to do any special calibration between camera, gimbal and mainboard after replacing gimbal housing (outside of regular IMU, compass and gimbal calibration via Dji Go 4)? Does your Spark work well after your fix?

I am asking because one of the Chinese sellers of camera assembly mentioned that it must be calibrated by special equipment after connection to main processor board. I found this warning only with one seller and nowhere else.

I took apart my camera and gimbal module and, I believe, only transmission signal cable is damaged (two tiny wires broke off). At least this is what is visible. I found replacement on eBay and will order it. This cable is extraordinarily weak and poorly designed.  

Python tool I am aware off, is an SDK for hacking the firmware but not for post-crash calibration (if such is even required).

Yeah, if my Spark ever flies again, I will make sure to stress test it over the forest :-).

Mirek
2019-11-30
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MartyTravels
First Officer
Flight distance : 346722 ft
Thailand
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That sounds like the tool I used to calibrate the gimbal. I guess the position feedback from the motors of the gimbal housing are different. In my case the standard position of the gimbal was totally screwed. If you only replace the camera module you might be lucky since you're using the same housing, right?

And yes, my spark works even better than before. Maybe there was a lose cable which is not lose anymore :-)
2019-11-30
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Mirek6
First Officer
Flight distance : 609724 ft
Canada
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MartyTravels Posted at 11-30 07:09
That sounds like the tool I used to calibrate the gimbal. I guess the position feedback from the motors of the gimbal housing are different. In my case the standard position of the gimbal was totally screwed. If you only replace the camera module you might be lucky since you're using the same housing, right?

And yes, my spark works even better than before. Maybe there was a lose cable which is not lose anymore :-)

MartyTravels,

I did find couple of YouTube videos explaining how to calibrate gimbal using Spark firmware toolkit available on GitHub. It appears that it may be necessary when replacing camera gimbal.
For reference to other forum members I include links to these videos:



Since I am only replacing transmission cable from camera and gimbal to the main board (this is the only part which is visibly broken) I hope that this type of callibration will not be required in my case. Well - we'll see once I get it and put Spark back together.

Interestingly, when removing camera from the camera gimbal casing, I have noticed that camera assembly (camera with a circuit board) was secured to the gimbal casing using some kind of black, gummy looking goo. It does not look like something designed to keep camera in place since camera is sufficiently secured by casing. I am speculating that this is perhaps a vapour insulator which prevents water vapour getting between camera lens and camera casing glass. It may be that if water vapour gets there, it may be difficult to dry it out?

Does anybody know if this is what this black goo is for?  

Mirek

2019-12-2
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