Advanced Gimbal Issue After Crash

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Hello, everybody.

Being straight up to the point. I crashed my Phantom 3 Advanced against a building facade and it collapsed into the swimming pool. So, I put it into a bucket filled with silica (a drying material) for about 7 days. Well, the drone came back working almost normally except its gimbal. So, my Phantom flies, the camera records normally but the gimbal is turning, rotating or whatever it is called, but it´s acting like crazy. I recorded a video to show you guys what´s going on so you can help me to figure out what needs to be replaced in order to get it to function again.

I heard that it might be the ribbons or I would even need to replace the entire gimbal. I really don´t know...

Please, guys help me out with it...

this is the link to access the video:



I really appreciate your time and motivation in sharing your knowledge.
 
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Isn't that just a loose screw in yaw arm?
If the screw were so loose that the yaw arm can be way off from where it should be, I'd say yes, but I don't believe that if the screw is just "not fully tightened" that it will behave like that.
Also, there are several other causes for the gimbal to go berserk like that.
 
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Quaddamage’s suggestion is valid and very easy to check. I had a P3P brought in showing similar behavior. The yaw motor (which can rotate 360 degrees) kept trying to position itself but the owner had unwittingly stripped the threads on the yaw arm and the set screw couldn’t engage the yaw motor shaft, causing the motor to continuously hunt unsuccessfully. Installed a new yaw arm, snugged up the set screw, and the problem cleared up. Do this first: make sure the yaw arm set screw is snug. Do NOT over tighten - the set screw is steel and can easily strip the aluminum yaw arm threads.

Beyond that, chlorinated water is corrosive to electronic components. Hopefully you drenched the gimbal assembly with deionized water before putting it in the silica desiccant. If you didn’t, do it now. Allow it to dry then hose down the gimbal upper control board, ESC board, video board (after removal from camera), and the motors with a non-lubricating spray such as CRC’s 5103 QD Quick Drying Electronic Cleaner.

Your ribbon cable, gimbal ESC, and/or gimbal upper control board may need replacement. See if your problem clears up after cleaning first. If not, replace the ribbon first and see if it works. If not, then replace the ESC and see if it works. Then lastly the upper board, BUT realistically, at this point I’d try to find a working or refurbished gimbal assembly instead of a $125 crap shot replacement board. But that’s just me...get other opinions first.


Good luck!
 
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@d.witte
So you did not disassemble and re-assemble any part of the drone?
Or you did not have to re-assemble anything after the crash?
Actually, I haven't done anything besides drying out the water. I decided to find out more information before I opened up the case.
 
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Quaddamage’s suggestion is valid and very easy to check. I had a P3P brought in showing similar behavior. The yaw motor (which can rotate 360 degrees) kept trying to position itself but the owner had unwittingly stripped the threads on the yaw arm and the set screw couldn’t engage the yaw motor shaft, causing the motor to continuously hunt unsuccessfully. Installed a new yaw arm, snugged up the set screw, and the problem cleared up.

Beyond that, chlorinated water is corrosive to electronic components. Hopefully you drenched to gimbal assembly with deionized water before putting it in the silica desiccant. I would hose down the gimbal upper control board, ESC board, video board after removal from camera, and the motors with a non-lubricating spray such as CRC’s 5103 QD Quick Drying Electronic Cleaner.

Your ribbon cable, ESC, and/or gimbal upper control board may need replacement. See if your problem clears up after cleaning first. If not, replace the ribbon first, then the ESC, and lastly the upper board.

Good luck!
Thank you so much for your replies guys. Unfortunately I haven't washed the gimbal with deionized water, but I will try to follow the spets you mentioned. As soon as I have an answer about fixing the issue I will bring up to you guys.

Thank you so much again.
 
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Quaddamage’s suggestion is valid and very easy to check. I had a P3P brought in showing similar behavior. The yaw motor (which can rotate 360 degrees) kept trying to position itself but the owner had unwittingly stripped the threads on the yaw arm and the set screw couldn’t engage the yaw motor shaft, causing the motor to continuously hunt unsuccessfully. Installed a new yaw arm, snugged up the set screw, and the problem cleared up. Do this first: make sure the yaw arm set screw is snug. Do NOT over tighten - the set screw is steel and can easily strip the aluminum yaw arm threads.

Beyond that, chlorinated water is corrosive to electronic components. Hopefully you drenched the gimbal assembly with deionized water before putting it in the silica desiccant. If you didn’t, do it now. Allow it to dry then hose down the gimbal upper control board, ESC board, video board (after removal from camera), and the motors with a non-lubricating spray such as CRC’s 5103 QD Quick Drying Electronic Cleaner.

Your ribbon cable, gimbal ESC, and/or gimbal upper control board may need replacement. See if your problem clears up after cleaning first. If not, replace the ribbon first and see if it works. If not, then replace the ESC and see if it works. Then lastly the upper board, BUT realistically, at this point I’d try to find a working or refurbished gimbal assembly instead of a $125 crap shot replacement board. But that’s just me...get other opinions first.


Good luck!

So, I cleaned up the aircraft and tightened up the yaw screw and the problem persisted. So, I will order a new ribbon cable and hope that it works again. I should have done it when I was living in Houston. Now, I am back in Brazil everything is 100 times harder to get.

Thank you guys though. I will keep you posted on the outcome of this story.
 
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Oh, by the way, the metallic cylinder, the yaw motor at the edge of the arm of the camera was super-duper overheated. Do you guys have any idea the reason for that? I mean maybe ribbon cables or even the ESC?
 
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Contrary to some other opinions, it can be the ribbon cable, but it can be any of the 3 motors (Pitch, Yaw, & Roll) that is fighting to find it's neutral (center) position.
I'd contend that if your yaw arm was not properly secured to the yaw motor shaft, and the yaw motor shaft was allowed to turn 360°, that it would be able to find it's neutral position.
I replaced my damaged ribbon cable, and accidentally installed the pitch motor shaft into the side of the camera 180° off, and the result was identical to yours. Even though it was my pitch motor that couldn't find it's neutral position, the yaw motor seemed to want to keep turning towards the rear.
So IMO, any of the 3 could be searching, and the yaw motor can overheat.
The Yaw arm uses a set screw to set onto the "flat" of the yaw motor, & the camera uses a set screw to set onto the Pitch motor shaft.
However, the roll motor is friction fit, and it is possible that this one got knocked out of alignment. Remover the cover from the back of the roll motor housing, and see if the flat spot on the roll shaft is aligned with the flat top of the camera body.
FYI: The motor on the side of your camera is the pitch motor, not yaw.
 
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The ESC keeps trying to position the camera but can’t, causing the pitch motor to heat up. The ESC, ribbon cable, or pitch motor may be at fault. If the set screw holding the camera on the pitch motor drive shaft worked loose, it can cause this problem also. Disconnect the ribbon from the camera and unwind it one turn to expose the set screw and make certain it is snugged up to the FLAT side of the drive shaft. While the camera is opened up, check for residual moisture from the pool. If you find it, remove the board and drench with deionized water and allow to dry thoroughly. The camera’s ribbon connector is delicate. Be careful when reattaching the ribbon to the clamp connector. My fingers are too clumsy so I use curved hemostats to manipulate the ribbon.

If that doesn’t work, remove the ESC board and check for moisture. If there is order a new one - the potentiometer will inevitably fail from corrosion. Go ahead and order a couple ribbon cables while you’re at it. There’s a fair chance you’ll need to replace it anyway and you’ll have an extra one in case you screw up the first - which I dang sure did. Otherwise, you’ll have one for your next crash. If you use the same ESC and replace the ribbon but it’s still messed up, replace the ESC.

You’re investing this time and money in hopes the upper gimbal control board is working. It’s a gamble that’s probably worth the risk - at least in my book. Some folks may disagree.

It it all seems a bit much, get a replacement gimbal assembly and go fly. Vastly easier.

Your call....
 

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