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Gimbal Unresponsive and Limp: Cold Weather to Blame?
3184 18 2017-1-7
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Mims
Second Officer
Flight distance : 1686991 ft
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United States
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Went out to shoot the snow. It was about 25 degrees under sunny skies.

During a second flight, the gimbal starts rolling. At first, I thought the UAS was crashing, but the gimbal would come to a rest until I moved and then it would start rolling again. I finally realized that the gimbal was having problems. I thought maybe a bird had hit it or something. I flew it slowly home expecting to see the camera hanging by a thread. Instead, it just looks like it's been turned off. Gimbal was completely non-responsive, but I was able to see video from the camera.

Because it was so cold, I wondered if maybe the gimbal had stopped working because of the temperature (my iPad wouldn't work without some heat nearby and turned off during the first flight). I took everythingl home and after letting things warm up, I restarted the drone, and the gimbal seems to be in perfect working order. Did a calibration and moved things around. Absolutely no problems.

Has anyone had this problem before? Is it a termerature problem?


2017-1-7
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Aardvark
Captain
Flight distance : 384432 ft
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United Kingdom
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You're not accidently pushing the C2 button are you ? The default function of that is gimbal switches between 'Follow' (gimbal always stays level) or 'FPV' (gimbal rolls left and right as aircraft turns) mode.
Also C1 switches gimbal to camera forward/down, so that might have come into play as well.
2017-1-7
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Mims
Second Officer
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Aardvark Posted at 2017-1-7 14:52
You're not accidently pushing the C2 button are you ? The default function of that is gimbal switches between 'Follow' (gimbal always stays level) or 'FPV' (gimbal rolls left and right as aircraft turns) mode.
Also C1 switches gimbal to camera forward/down, so that might have come into play as well.

Thanks for the response and helping me troubleshoot.

I've actually reprogrammed my C2 button (flip between map and camera), but I've used the follow mode. This was different. Rolling might not be the right word. It really looked like the Phantom 4 was falling out of the sky. There was definitely a problem with the gimbal. When the UAS landed, the camera was sideways and pointed downward.
2017-1-7
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Aardvark
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I've read about gimbal problems on the P4 Pro that seem to be firmware related (DJI say a fix is on the way). I've not noticed anything on my P4, but there again I've not had a chance to fly for a few weeks now. But if it continues to happen then a roll back of aircraft might be worth a try. Or perhaps a dodgy ribbon cable, connections maybe just needing re-seated.
2017-1-7
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boykintom
lvl.4
Flight distance : 124656 ft
United States
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Aardvark Posted at 2017-1-7 16:21
I've read about gimbal problems on the P4 Pro that seem to be firmware related (DJI say a fix is on the way). I've not noticed anything on my P4, but there again I've not had a chance to fly for a few weeks now. But if it continues to happen then a roll back of aircraft might be worth a try. Or perhaps a dodgy ribbon cable, connections maybe just needing re-seated.

The same thing happened to me a few weeks ago, the gimbal stopped working in mid-flight.  The camera never quit, but I had to use RTH to get back, because I couldn't see the orientation with the gimbal flopped over to one side.  I landed, swapped batteries and checked the gimbal function on the ground and it was working perfectly.  I re-calibrated the gimbal when I got home, and it has worked well since then, except for a slight twitch in one flight where the gimbal was near its maximum down angle.
2017-1-8
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Aardvark
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Just had a thought, was it windy at all when you were flying ? A strong gust might affect it in some way.
2017-1-8
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jwt-873
First Officer
Flight distance : 5946467 ft
Canada
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As mentioned above, there have been a few reports of people experiencing  a problem with  a sudden loss of gimbal operation.  It's happened to me once.

The cold most likely isn't to blame.  I've flown at temperatures as low as 22 below zero (-30C) with no issues.  
2017-1-8
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Lyle
lvl.2

United States
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I had this problem a year ago with my Phantom 3 Pro. It was very cold and I blamed the cold then. Haven't had a problem again until today. It's about 30 deg F and sunny and a bit windy. I bring it inside, swap batteries and all is good. I'm blaming the cold for now. This is a problem, because I need to fly a surveying job in a couple days.
2017-1-28
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Lyle
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United States
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My symptoms are a limp, dangling, camera. It will not respond to the RC controls. In fact, after flying a small 10 acre site with a survey pattern, it was looking upside down on the way back. In other words, the camera went from looking straight down, to looking beyond straight down and backwards, so the image was upside down. Makes me nervous for my upcoming job.
2017-1-28
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Focus4
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United States
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Lyle Posted at 2017-1-28 11:17
My symptoms are a limp, dangling, camera. It will not respond to the RC controls. In fact, after flying a small 10 acre site with a survey pattern, it was looking upside down on the way back. In other words, the camera went from looking straight down, to looking beyond straight down and backwards, so the image was upside down. Makes me nervous for my upcoming job.

It's a gimbal roll error. I have had it happen three times - most recently today. I land, reboot the aircraft, calibrate the gimbal and everything is fine. I think it happens when the gimbal gets overloaded for one reason or another. I have had it happen in cold weather and warm, but always in fairly high winds and when making fairly quick moves with the aircraft. I think the gimbal tries to make a move outside of its capabilities and just waves the white flag. I don't think its something that requires maintenance...just a software reboot. A previous respondent said a firmware update might be coming for this. It would be nice if the gimbal could recover from the error without having to end the flight.
2017-1-28
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airspace_media
lvl.4
Flight distance : 190 ft
Australia
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Maybe this video will help you fix the problem?
Try downgrading firmware
2017-1-28
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puredata
lvl.2

United States
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same happened today

2017-1-28
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Lyle
lvl.2

United States
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Well, misery loves company! I was flying in windy (15 mph) weather yesterday using Drone Deploy for an automated flight pattern and Drone Deploy does some violent turning. Since I'm looking straight down all the time anyway, I'm tempted to wrap the legs in plastic wrap (Saran Wrap) to shield the camera from the wind.
2017-1-29
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$gambino$
First Officer
Flight distance : 1563980 ft
United States
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With my p4 happened once it was 28°f looked like i was crashing! Came back rebooted fine ever since. Def a weird anomaly
2017-1-29
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Lyle
lvl.2

United States
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More experiments. Inside and warm, all good. Outside 38 degrees F, gimble unresponsive after a few minutes. I've seen other posts blaming a bad ribbon cable.
2017-1-29
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Focus4
lvl.2
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United States
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If this were a bad cable, it wouldn't resolve with a reboot of the aircraft. I'm also not convinced this is due to temperatures. I flew 13 battery charges on Saturday - more than 4 hours of flight time. It was fairly cold - mid 30's all day with gusting winds. My gimbal roll error happened halfway through my day, and it never happened again. If this was a temperature related issue, I expect I would have seen it again. Temperatures MIGHT be a factor, but I think it may also have to do with the gimbal being asked to fly outside of its envelope. My error occurred in fairly gusty wind as the aircraft was transitioning from full speed flight to a hover. Maintaining the gimbal attitude at a moment like that is asking a lot from the device, and perhaps it goes into a "safe" mode if the stresses and movements exceed what it's designed to do. Perhaps it's cold temps affecting the hardware, combined with the challenge of quick movements?
2017-1-30
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ernestfeist
lvl.1
Flight distance : 665741 ft
United States
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I have had the same thing happen on two occasions recently.  Temperature does not seem to be a factor for me, it was 45 degrees on the first occasion and 61 degrees when it happened today.
2017-4-2
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Lyle
lvl.2

United States
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Update. Always have this problem when it's cold. Never inside or when it's warm. Replaced ribbon cable last week. Gimbal is stiffer now. Doesn't do its `dance` properly when turned on unless given a manual nudge. All is fine indoors when warm, but after a few minutes of flying in 20 degree F it becomes unresponsive. May just have to get the Phantom 4 now... I'm tired of messing with this.
2018-2-10
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Porkhunt
lvl.3
Flight distance : 1417 ft
Australia
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Lyle Posted at 2018-2-10 10:30
Update. Always have this problem when it's cold. Never inside or when it's warm. Replaced ribbon cable last week. Gimbal is stiffer now. Doesn't do its `dance` properly when turned on unless given a manual nudge. All is fine indoors when warm, but after a few minutes of flying in 20 degree F it becomes unresponsive. May just have to get the Phantom 4 now... I'm tired of messing with this.

My "Willy" has the same problems, all ok when it is tucked away in the warm! No good in the cold!
2018-2-10
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