How to fix a vibrating / shaking / crazy P2V+ camera gimbal

It appears that after a crash or even a modest hit the camera may get life of its own. As shown in the video 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 axis which upon good side impact will get loose from its base. As shown in image A below, the axis marked green should be firmly snagged in the yellow marked bore.

A

Once the axis 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 axis 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-axis. 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.

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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.

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To fix the problem I remounted the axis 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.

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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 axis 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.

As for DJI, it seems to me they are aware of the problem but will not tell you how to fix it, they will however ask you t ship it back.

Throttle Tester

Home made accelerated life tester for hall sensor based throttle.

Remote Control for shop Dust Collector

Few years ago, when I made this remote control for my shop dust collector I did not think it was worth publishing. Recently I noticed a forum discussion asking for details so here it is.

No experience in electronics, just basic understanding of electricity and current flow, and some basic tools are needed in order to build this unit, which essentially is a collection of off-the-shelf building blocks we integrate into a working system.

Installed remote control for dust collector

We start with a remote and a receiver used for garage door opening and similar applications. Usually they come as a set but you can also buy them separately and teach the receiver to recognize a specific remote. The other two parts in the box are a power supply needed to provide current to the receiver. You can use an open frame power supply mounted inside the box as I did or a wall-socket power supply that will keep the box smaller and less packed. If you have electronics junk laying around, most probably you can find a power supply you can use from an old printer and many other devices, just make sure it provide the same voltage needed by the receiver. The relay, which switches the dust collector on and off, is also not a specific component and can have many implementations. In my case I used a Solid State Relay (SSR), which acts like a mechanical relay but has no moving parts. It is more reliable but for this application, any relay that can hold the power needed by the dust collector will do. Make sure to check the power (Volts X Amps) your DC drawn and match the relay to support it as minimum.

dust collector remote control

Finally, you need to wire the power supply to the receiver, pair between the receiver and the remote control (usually done by removing the “teach” jumper from the receiver’s PCB, clicking on the remote button and replacing the jumper), and wire the relay from the main supply to the dust collector using standard plug and socket.

 

 

Memory Eraser

This Neurological Short Term Memory Eraser was built for a film my son was part of in a summer camp. It is made according to MIB spec, an aluminum tube holding the battery and a strip of high intensity white LEDs. It works well except for a software glitch causing some people to lose entire memory instead of set period.

 Neurologic Short Term Memory Eraser

Off-road SUV roof shower

When my friend Ziv was looking to buy a portable shower for his jeep, I suggested building one for him. To be honest I has no idea how complicated it would be and how much struggle it would take to squeeze all the features I offered.

The tank part was easy, welding a Geberit pipe and some covers. The difficult part was installing an electric pump, two faucets, and plenty of cupper tubing in small space, which could easily be extended, but I wanted to keep it small and serviceable.

To make a very long story short, it works and delivers sun-warmed water.

The pictures are not showing the side 12V water protected socket and the hand held shower spiral hose, which connects to the tank, and utilizes the pump.

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DIY Electrical Go-Kart for kids

I guess I should,  and probably will in the future, write more about this project which took most of my time and effort in the past three months. The short video below is just an intro showing the final product in action.