How to fix a P2V+ camera gimbal
Underneath find some useful tips from a forum on “How to fix problems with your P2V+ Gimbal”
It appears that after a crash or even a modest hit the camera may get life of its own. As shown in the link bellow, the gimbal starts to vibrate and shake with no apparent reason and the remote has no control over it. Sometimes it will get fixed by itself and you can fly, but you should expect it to go wild again and need to fix the gimbal.
What may look like control / firmware issue is a simple mechanical failure of the gimbal’s X axle which upon good side impact will get loose from its base. As shown in image A below, the axle marked green should be firmly snagged in the yellow marked bore.
Once the axle is released from its base, the only thing that holds the motor in place is the round magnet of the brushless motor. It will hold it with enough strength and you may have no clue that it is broken. It also may work for some time after the impact but once the axle turns freely it will misalign the camera position and the trimmer-potentiometer located on the other side of the motor will not read correct physical position of the camera.
Image B shows a post impact trimmer and its misalignment with the camera on the X-axle. The trimmer is the feedback mechanism of the micro-controller which reads the trimmer resistance based on its angular position (like a volume button) and assumes the camera is aligned with it. When the reading is extreme to one of the ends, the controller tries to fix it and starts bouncing quite radically.
The proper alignment of the trimmer is shown in the image C, note the blue lines, the trimmer flat notch should be parallel with the flat edge of the PCB. Don’t worry about slight misalignment, the gimbal can work with that.
To fix the problem I remounted the axle using extreme strength treads locker (Loctite or similar) and clamped the motor in place overnight to allow the bond to fully cure.
Not knowing in advance what I am dealing with, I took the camera off the quad but you don’t have to, you can do the work leaving the gimbal attached to the body. If you do take it apart, you can use plastic wire fasteners instead of the anti-drop pins which you have to cut during disassembly.
A test flight I did today gave very good results, no evidence of the problem. However, I am not sure how long this will hold, the axle might be released again and I will have to repeat the fix. This is why I used soft Loctite and not hard metal bonding formulas that will make it difficult to remove residues in due time.
I’d love to see a picture of your configuration. I think we are talking about different motors. The tilt motor has the silver cap on the end of the magnets. This is the motor that allows the camera to tilt straight down and back up to the horizon. We aren’t talking about that motor, we are talking about the motor that is on the rear of the camera assembly which stabilizes the horizontal axis of the camera to keep it level with the horizon.
If you can pull this motor apart (in other words – if the magnets are all that’s holding your camera to the rear down shaft) then this is your problem.
I know you think it might be too strong but I am telling you – a small dab of JP Weld epoxy does the trick. In all honesty, if you crash this thing too many times the camera is bound to get destroyed at some point anyway. If the thread lock isn’t holding then what’s the point?! JB Weld!!
My camera is like that too. We aren’t talking about that motor. There are three. Two have the silver caps (the one you are looking at and the one that goes through the base plate that attaches to the Phantom). The third motor doesn’t have a silver cap. It’s the motor directly behind the camera. This is the one that appears to have the failure issues.
There should be no “play” in this motor where the magnets are located. If you can gently pull this motor apart where the magnets are located then your motor has the problem. It should not come apart.
The potentiometer is probably working correctly but the motor rotates the silver pin that protrudes and fits flush through the aluminum housing that holds the camera. (See my picture). The pin is press fit through the aluminum housing. There are no “teeth” on the pin – it appears to be a friction fit. That’s the only thing holding the camera in place. If the camera takes a hit, the camera housing can rotate on the pin. This would cause your camera to be “off horizon” when you power it back on. If it were my camera, I would remove the three screws from the back of the motor and make sure that the half moon pin is oriented correctly (flat portion of the half moon on the top and level with the horizon). Then (me personally) … I would put a dab of JB Weld on the silver pin on the side nearest the camera (where the arrow is pointing on my picture) and let it dry for 24 hours. As long as the silver pin is locked in place with the aluminum housing, the camera will rotate when the motor activates based on the potentiometer.
My ribbon cable wasn’t wrapped around the shaft. It was folded back on itself and tucked into the cover. I just moved it enough to get to the screw. Be careful pulling out the ribbon cable from the motor. It actually has a very small lever that holds it in place. You really need to unscrew the motor and pull the circuit board away from the housing to properly remove the ribbon cable. You need to lift the lever to release the cable and you need to press the lever back down once you reinsert the ribbon cable. (The lever is shown with the red arrow in my photo).
I would NOT forcibly pull the camera away from the motor if it is not completely loose. When mine took a hit, the motor assembly was loose and only the magnets were holding it together. Mine came apart easily and I put the JB Weld on the inside of the housing at the pin and the put it back together and clamped it. If yours is still together but getting loose I would just put JB Weld on the outside and cover the pin and aluminum housing with a little dab so that it will lock it in place. Just a little dab where my arrow is pointing in the picture on my previous post.
I might add – if the half moon pin is level with the horizon, your camera should be level with the horizon as well. In other words – if the pin is level with the horizon but your camera is NOT level with the horizon then your camera has already turned slightly on the pin. Make sure that you get the camera level with the pin before gluing anything!! When the Phantom powers up, the potentiometer/gimbal motor levels the pin with the horizon so if your camera is not level with the pin, your camera will not be level with the horizon when you fly. I hope this makes sense!!
If you need to level your camera with the pin you can remove the three screws from the back of the motor, carefully pull the circuit board away and you can get a pair of needle nose pliers and hold the pin level while rotating your camera on the pin until its level.