How to validate your new Phantom 4P. What to test for.

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I've had this (how to validate) question from others new to the P4P. When discovering a gimbal issue in my P4P at 24 days old, I thought this subject deserved some time to help pilots validate their P4P purchase. Please help by adding more suggestions to this list if you have others anomalies I haven't heard of. This will help create a "check off" list for those that buy P4P's, especially from Best Buy who seem to have the worst luck of poor quality from DJI.

Please understand, I think the P4P is the best all around drone available. This list isn't meant to erode the image of P4P, because it really is an awesome drone. Although this particular DJI design is superb, the manufacturing quality from DJI isn't consistent.

Here's what to test for when you get your new craft. Return it immediately and exchange it if you don't want to wait 2 to 4wks from DJI for warranty repair, and potentially new firmware you may not want.

1. GIMBAL FLIP. This exhibits itself mostly during high speed flying, and more at high speed when also turning left hard. Sometimes it will happen when hovering and simply yawing left of right, fast. What you'll see is your camera flip sideways 90 degrees for a few moments. This was a more frequent problem on early production craft, but many pilots still have it. Some pilots see this issue less frequent, and only when you try to make it happen, like me, so they live with it. Mine is so infrequent that it doesn't bother me. I have really try to make it happen, and then I can only see is about 10% of the time. So when I fly normal I never see the issue. Other pilots report this as more spontaneous without trying, it's very annoying. With OA enabled, you have a top speed of 30mph. You should never see this flip problem below 30mph. If you do, return it.

2. CAMERA RECORDING GLITCHES TO SD. This happens mostly when recording 4K video at 60FPS and 4096X2160 mode. It will occur about 15 to 20 times per flight. It appears to be the inability of the camera to write data to the SD card fast enough. It's not an SD card problem, as it does this with the finest and fastest cards on the market. When recording in 4K at 3840X2160 it's not a problem at 60FPS or 30FPS, so you need to simply always use 3840X2160 to have glitch free recordings. Many craft have this problem using 4096X2160, if yours don't, you're very lucky. This may be a firmware problem that hasn't been resolved yet, so this problem is NOT worth returning to exchange, since practically all of them do it, it's simply a wart to live with. Recording 1080 at 60FPS also works OK, no problem, and it's easier for newbies to edit.

3. GIMBAL VIBRATION. It took me almost a month to figure out I was getting jello in SD video from a gimbal vibration that's actually a H/W problem. Not all craft do this, but some do apparently. This is easily tested in your bedroom, no props, motors off. Simply turn on the craft and let it finish initialization. Pick up the craft from the top, then tilt the craft left, right, forward, backward about 45 degrees in all directions, which are normal angles during flight. If you have the problem you'll here a hum, and you'll hear it come and go as you tip it in that certain direction. When you touch the camera you'll feel the vibration. My particular symptom was at a 25 degree tip down on the left side. I doesn't exhibit the hum when tipped forward, rear or to the right, only left. The problem is the HUM noise that causes vibration is not apparent when the craft is far away, and the problem doesn't show up in the iPad display because it's such a fine vibration. But in the SD video, if you have the gimbal hum and vibration, you'll see the fine jello come and go as the hum/vibration occurs in the air. DJI replaced my gimbal/camera under warranty, works fine now.

There is also a symptom described as a "gimbal squeal" which doesn't seem to cause jello, it just makes a heck of a noise. Sometimes I can hear the squeal when I land, but I see no affects in the video. My P4 doesn't ever squeal, only my P4P.

4. CROOKED CAMERA. With the craft turned on ready to fly, looking down from the top of your drone, the camera should be pointing straight forward. Many craft are built with the camera pointing left or right 5 to 10 degrees. A dual axis gimbal calibration can fix this most the time. There have been reports of DJI recommending to simply twist the whole gimbal in the opposite direction and it will eventually slip and scoot into place, but most guys are too worried it will break first. IMO, if the dual axis gimbal calibration doesn't fix it, then return for exchange with your vendor, or return to DJI for repair.

Double gimbal calibration is first executing the calibration steps on a level surface, but with the craft front pointed straight up, balanced on two motor arms and two motors cases (see SteveNPhx photo below in next post). When balanced, the craft is pointed facing up, but not exactly straight up when balanced. That good enough though. After that odd calibration is completed while point up, then immediately do another calibration with the craft sitting level on the same level surface. This dual calibration trick worked for me, and it has reportedly worked for others

5. GIMBAL CALIBRATION SUCCESS. Make sure the gimbal will complete a calibration cycle on a level surface. This is fundamental to the gimbal integrity. If you ever get a "gimbal obstruction" warning, the craft may not be able to complete a gimbal calibration, which means it's time to send it in to DJI for repair.

6. HORIZON TILTED WHEN FLYING SIDEWAYS. This issue is sometimes hard to avoid. Some craft simply cannot avoid some horizon tilt flying sideways, other craft, lucky craft, don't have this problem as much. Make sure you have a good IMU calibration and the gimbal finishes a gimbal calibration on a level surface. With those two done, test the gimbal for level to horizon while flying sideways. This problem haunts DJI the most IMO. It seems like a sensor issue, I get this issue from time to time, but others get this way worse than others. So you'll have to make a judgement call, based on the severity of the tilt and the frequency of the problem. Don't forget, hold C2 and turn the photo wheel to change the horizon tilt while flying. Sometimes that helps.

7. BATTERY COMPARTMENT INTEGRITY.
There are reports of battery compartments not being molded correctly. When installing the battery some craft exhibit a sloppy fit, with gaps around the battery edge. In these situations the battery is loose and can move around a little after it's inserted and latched. It's hard to describe what is tolerable and what is not, but if the battery feels snug when installed, that's good. If the battery doesn't feel snug, try another battery. If the second battery is not snug, then you may want to return the craft and try another one. The fear of a sloppy battery is it ejecting during flight due to vibration. Although mid-flight power loss is rare, it may potentially cause power loss due to a loose battery fit. So far it's unproven that batteries can eject during flight, but mid-flight power loss does happen on rare occasions. A sloppy battery fit is a confirmed anomaly that occurs, some craft exhibit this bad fit. A loose battery fit is a feasible explanation of mid-flight power loss, but this could also be from pilot error, installing the battery haphazardly.
 
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Crooked camera can be fixed by a different gimbal calibration that DJI only mentions in their forums. To do this calibration, turn on your Phantom (I know this works on the standard P4 as well, I've tested both) and let it warm up. On a level surface place the Phantom as shown in the picture (it will balance) and run the gimbal calibration. After that calibration is done, cycle the power and run the calibration normally again. This causes it to calibrate on a different axis and centers the camera to the body. My camera pointed to the left when I first got it and now it no longer has this been an issue.

233525eaejcqis8xnka44z.png
 

GadgetGuy

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Crooked camera can be fixed by a different gimbal calibration that DJI only mentions in their forums. To do this calibration, turn on your Phantom (I know this works on the standard P4 as well, I've tested both) and let it warm up. On a level surface place the Phantom as shown in the picture (it will balance) and run the gimbal calibration. After that calibration is done, cycle the power and run the calibration normally again. This causes it to calibrate on a different axis and centers the camera to the body. My camera pointed to the left when I first got it and now it no longer has this been an issue.

View attachment 84606
Good to know, especially if it works. Thanks for sharing it. :cool: Certainly seems more reliable and trustworthy than the other "choking the chicken" method, which the engineers originally came up with, claiming the gimbal had been twisted in shipping, even though fully restrained and locked down tightly by both the styrofoam insert and the gimbal guard! :eek:
 
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Good to know, especially if it works. Thanks for sharing it. :cool: Certainly seems more reliable and trustworthy than the other "choking the chicken" method, which the engineers originally came up with, claiming the gimbal had been twisted in shipping, even though fully restrained and locked down tightly by both the styrofoam insert and the gimbal guard! :eek:
Yes I was surprised by it as well when I saw in an earlier post she had actually said to twist it.. I did that a few times before she posted the calibration procedure.. Since the new firmware, the gimbal is a lot more solid in flight.. HOWEVER I have been noticing some strange behaviors.. Yesterday when I went to fly, as the IMU finished its self check/calibration routine, the gimbal went limp.. This happened twice.. After the third reboot it was fine for the rest of the day.. Tried to get it to happen again today and I can't replicate it.. BUT --- while I looking at data from the flight recorder (I like to tinker with Assistant 2 log viewer), the camera rotated all the way around to the left - ALMOST to the stop. I am hoping that it's not a big deal, maybe because the USB was connected it decided it could space out or something. Either way I am keeping my eye on it.
 

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Yes I was surprised by it as well when I saw in an earlier post she had actually said to twist it.. I did that a few times before she posted the calibration procedure.. Since the new firmware, the gimbal is a lot more solid in flight.. HOWEVER I have been noticing some strange behaviors.. Yesterday when I went to fly, as the IMU finished its self check/calibration routine, the gimbal went limp.. This happened twice.. After the third reboot it was fine for the rest of the day.. Tried to get it to happen again today and I can't replicate it.. BUT --- while I looking at data from the flight recorder (I like to tinker with Assistant 2 log viewer), the camera rotated all the way around to the left - ALMOST to the stop. I am hoping that it's not a big deal, maybe because the USB was connected it decided it could space out or something. Either way I am keeping my eye on it.
I'm staying on 1.03.0509 and ver 4.0.0 of GO 4, for the life of my P4P's, after the removal of the Smart RTH toggle, and the GEO toggle in the most recent updates! No DJI mandatory GEO for me, and I'll decide when it's time to return home, not DJI! :eek:
 
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Holy crap that'd be amazing if the crooked camera calibration works! I couldn't film a straight line (abandoned runway) for the life of me! I'm just consistently amazed that some cheaper chinese electronics that I own are built better.

@John Locke - Another 'supposedly only me' funky thing I've noticed, after booting up the bird, the camera will cycle all the way up and all the way down non stop until I take off or pick up the bird by hand.
- And I wish the app would save settings separate for video and photo, but that's another topic.
 
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@John Locke - Another 'supposedly only me' funky thing I've noticed, after booting up the bird, the camera will cycle all the way up and all the way down non stop until I take off or pick up the bird by hand
What you describe would be apparent during the launch prep. My list of items are things that you have to look for and aren't so apparent, but important.

Can you elaborate on this gimbal anomaly? Does this occur every time you turn the craft on, or only a percentage of the time? What percentage?

Sometimes when launching in grass, the camera will detect resistance from touch tall grass, so it keeps going up and down, looking for normal "non-resist" movement. Could this be the problem you're having, or does it do this on hard surfaces too, such as asphalt and concrete?
 

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What you describe would be apparent during the launch prep. My list of items are things that you have to look for and aren't so apparent, but important.

Can you elaborate on this gimbal anomaly? Does this occur every time you turn the craft on, or only a percentage of the time? What percentage?

Sometimes when launching in grass, the camera will detect resistance from touch tall grass, so it keeps going up and down, looking for normal "non-resist" movement. Could this be the problem you're having, or does it do this on hard surfaces too, such as asphalt and concrete?
Not a lot of ground clearance on the P4P, so that sounds like a good guess, since picking it up stops the flipping up and down.
 
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I'm staying on 1.03.0509 and ver 4.0.0 of GO 4, for the life of my P4P's, after the removal of the Smart RTH toggle, and the GEO toggle in the most recent updates! No DJI mandatory GEO for me, and I'll decide when it's time to return home, not DJI! :eek:
i'm with you on that one.
I rec my new phantom and that was the numbers on it when I got it.
 

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i'm with you on that one.
I rec my new phantom and that was the numbers on it when I got it.
Glad you finally got a good one! :cool: Took me enough tries, too! Two good ones out of 10! :eek: Fortunately, I only need two good ones!
 
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check the lens alignment and make sure it is centred (it seems that quite a few aren't).

Take a 3:2 still image using jpeg and raw then look at the raw file in a view like Rawtherapee (not any of the Adobe products as DJI uses an embedded profile in their software) and check that any vignetting you see is equal - all four corners should be equally dark - if not, return it as your camera will never be 'right'
 
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I will try the new gimbal calibration routine and see if it fixes my tilted horizon when flying sideways.

This is a good thread. Does anyone know if there are other third party lenses you can buy, as for the P3 camera?
 

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I will try the new gimbal calibration routine and see if it fixes my tilted horizon when flying sideways.

This is a good thread. Does anyone know if there are other third party lenses you can buy, as for the P3 camera?
What third party lenses are available for the P3? That's new to me!
 
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Not a lot of ground clearance on the P4P, so that sounds like a good guess, since picking it up stops the flipping up and down.
When I need to launch my P3p from an area that I can't clear of grass I hold the quad in one hand from the top with two fingers, letting it hang level, then power the battery up.
Let it do the Gimbal startup dance , then set it down for actual props startup & take off.

Never have an issue with obstructed camera at all this way.
 
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I'm staying on 1.03.0509 and ver 4.0.0 of GO 4, for the life of my P4P's, after the removal of the Smart RTH toggle, and the GEO toggle in the most recent updates! No DJI mandatory GEO for me, and I'll decide when it's time to return home, not DJI! :eek:
Don't have anP4p yet- on the latest FW and Go (for IOS) you CANT turn off the SRTH?
It will decide on its own when to return????
 
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What you describe would be apparent during the launch prep. My list of items are things that you have to look for and aren't so apparent, but important.

Can you elaborate on this gimbal anomaly? Does this occur every time you turn the craft on, or only a percentage of the time? What percentage?

Sometimes when launching in grass, the camera will detect resistance from touch tall grass, so it keeps going up and down, looking for normal "non-resist" movement. Could this be the problem you're having, or does it do this on hard surfaces too, such as asphalt and concrete?
Dear my p4p gimble camera not straight position how to fixed???
 
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Dear my p4p gimble camera not straight position how to fixed???
Have you tried the dual axis gimbal calibration shown in post #2 of this thread?
 
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I have tried it, didnt fix the problem, still looking slightly to the left.
When its powered of i can move the gimbal more to the left also. Maybe i just take it apart and try to center the gimbal - would that help?
 
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