Hot gimbal board and erratic movement after crash

Aug 2, 2020
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Please bear with me as I don't have much history on this machine:

I picked up a used Phantom 3 Standard for an awesome price, but at one point it was crashed hard. The previous owner sunk a lot of money into repair parts, and the drone itself flies awesome and there are no connection issues. The camera and the gimbal arms appear to be original and not damaged or bent (which makes me think the whole gimbal assembly remained in tact but was ripped from the drone body). The problem lies with the gimbal. It moves erratically all over the place and the video feed is there but blurry (out of focus). I have flown it this way, and the gimbal motors get hot (obviously from the constant movement) and the gimbal board gets incredibly hot (and the camera body gets pretty warm, but that could be heat transferred from the motor). I've had it out over a 1/4 mile and never lost connection to the remote or the app.

The antenna cables and the gray ribbon cable that runs from the main board to the gimbal board have been replaced and check out good. I have inspected the ribbon cable and have full continuity on all traces through the cable. I have 2 different roll motors and PCBs, of which any combination makes no difference. I have gone through the assembly many times making sure all the connections are solid. No improvements were noticed.

I took a chance and ordered a new off-brand ribbon cable from Amazon (this one). I now have crystal clear video feed, but the gimbal just hangs limp (no noise or twitching at all). The gimbal board still gets incredibly hot almost immediately, but I did not notice the camera body getting as hot. I reinstalled the original cable and it is back where it started.

Unfortunately I don't have any hair left to pull out :grimacing:. I don't know how hot the gimbal board should be getting. My next guess is that there is a problem with the gimbal board, but I am finding out that these units can be extremely finicky, so I figured I would ask for a second opinion before finding a replacement or selling for for parts.

So, I am wondering if there is any way to test the gimbal board, and if anyone knows how much heat this should be generating. Most of the heat seems to be coming from the metal heat shield, but even after just a few minutes it gets too hot to touch.
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Ok, just for reference: my gimbal board definitely did SOMETHING. The large square 2.2 resistor got hot enough to deform the plastic cover plate. Not sure how or why, but I'm writing it off as toast.

I picked up a lightly crashed but complete gimbal off eBay for about $100. The arm was bent, but resetting it so it wasn't stuck gave no errors and good video feed, but the camera just hung limp. I swapped out the arm for a good one, and then had nothing. I took a chance and installed the cheap ribbon cable I got from Amazon, and I was amazed that I now had full functionality. The gimbal board and the camera don't even get warm compared to the heat they were putting off before.

TLDR: for gimbal or video errors, check the resistance on the potentiometers and replace if necessary (I had 2 with either fluctuating or very high resistance). Replace the ribbon cable with a known good unit (I had full continuity across every pin, but changing it made it work). REMOVE THE BATTERY before opening anything up!

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