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DJI Phantom 4 Gimbal Failure (& How to Fix It)

A common problem with drones is gimbal failure. From crash landings to disturbances during the flight, a gimbal becoming loose, broken, or uncalibrated has to be fixed in order to operate the drone correctly.

The most common fix for gimbal issues is a simple recalibration or readjustment, and this will fix the majority of issues.

Other issues may be fixed by software upgrades (or downgrades), or in extreme cases you may need to replace parts such as the yaw arm or gimbal motor.

In this article, we will discuss why this happens to the DJI Phantom 4 model and how to fix it. 

Why is my DJI Phantom 4 gimbal not working properly? 

One of the reasons a drone’s gimbal can become disabled or even broken is due to a crash landing.

The crash doesn’t even have to be detrimental to the entire drone, but the gimbal is the most exposed and vulnerable piece of the UAV. 

If you do not land the DJI Phantom 4 on a landing pad or in your hand, you run the risk of landing on an uneven surface which could possibly damage your gimbal. 

For instance, if an object that’s only half an inch off the ground is directly under the gimble when you land, this could jam the gimble, scratch the camera, or even break the gimbal entirely. 

Preventative Measures

The best way to avoid having to fix a gimbal is never breaking one. Therefore, it’s good practice to have a landing pad prepared when your flight has finished, and you are ready to land.

» MORE: Best Drone Landing Pad

Alternatively, you can grab the DJI Phantom 4 as it makes its descent to the ground. 

Another common reason why your gimbal may be jammed or broken could be due to disturbances during flight. Disturbances during flight can range from an impact, to large gusts of wind, to rain or water droplets getting in the gimbal’s crevices. 

The DJI Phantom 4 has consistent updates on wind speed as well as object avoidance. As a Part 107 pilot, you usually shouldn’t be flying in rainy or cloudy conditions anyway.

This means that good practice is to follow guidelines placed by DJI and by the FAA. In general, this is a good rule to follow to increase the drone’s longevity, your and others’ safety, and the health of your gimbal. 

One of the most common reasons why gimbals become jammed, broken, or uncalibrated is that they are not well taken care of when not in use.

While the gimbal cover can be frustrating to put on and take off every time you begin and finish a flight, it acts as a rigid structure to protect your gimbal. 

It may be useful to look up videos or through your manual to understand the correct and proper way to place your gimbal cover on your gimbal.

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How to fix your DJI Phantom 4 gimbal 

Recalibrate & readjust – for non-severe impacts and disturbances. 

Fixing your gimbal is sometimes as easy as recalibration. If it has suffered a light disturbance, this may be all it takes to resume normal operations. 

How to Recalibrate: 

  1. First, you’ll need to turn the drone on. 
  2. Pair your DJI controller to the drone and open the flight app. 
  3. Navigate to camera control settings and select advanced.
  4. Here you’ll be able to press “recalibrate gimbal”.
  5. If your gimble isn’t too badly damaged, it will readjust and recenter as long as you have the DJI Phantom 4 on a level plane. 

Alternatively, you can always try rebooting the DJI Phantom 4 to try and alleviate any issues

>> Read More: DJI Inspire 2 Gimbal Failure (And How to Fix It)

How to Readjust: 

As simple as it may seem, you may be simply trying to launch your DJI Phantom 4 from an improper launch area. As covered previously, landing in a safe zone is crucial for the longevity of your gimbal. 

However, it’s nearly as important to secure a safe launch pad to minimize disturbances to the gimbal. As the DJI Phantom models progressed through the years, the proximity of the gimbal to the ground became closer. 

This can cause issues with the gimbal during its test/warmup during the DJI Phantom 4 boot-up. The camera will look up, then turn to a 90-degree angle straight down and, then an extra 20 degrees towards the back of the drone. 

If the launch area is not a flat surface, the camera will not be able to complete its test, becoming stuck in a loop, turning up, then down, and repeating this process until damage occurs. 

It cannot be overstated how important a safe launch zone is. But the good news is that it may be your only issue! 

Check Your Hardware – For moderately severe impacts and disturbances.

Your gimbal has a lot of moving parts. Read on to diagnose the issue.

  • Check the black cables. If your cables are loose, this could result in failure to record video, or it can limit the movement of the gimbal. Push the cables lightly back into the ports they are plugged into if loose. 
  • Downgrade the software. While this sounds unlikely to help, many users have found that this method miraculously works. This guide on DJI Assistant 2 will help you navigate the downgrading process.
  • Replace the yaw arm/yaw motor. On the far end of the moderately-severe spectrum of impacts and disturbances, you may need to replace the yaw arm/yaw motor. There are many videos on YouTube giving detailed walk-throughs. It is possible that dirt is stuck in the motors and arms, causing these issues. You’ll have to take apart the gimbal to find out. 

You’ll know this is necessary when: your gimbal reports “overloaded,” your gimbal is stuck in one position, and yaw control isn’t working, and your gimbal is rapidly moving up and down.

» MORE: DJI Assistant 2: A Complete Guide (Step-by-Step)

Make sure you try all the options listed before replacing the yaw arm. You can find a yaw arm replacement below.

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Replace Your Hardware – For severe impacts and disturbances. 

Hard impacts and heavy disturbances can break your equipment. The gimbal, being the most vulnerable piece, is no exception. 

As covered previously, the yaw arm and motor are common weak links. If there isn’t any dirt in the motors, and the arm is in good condition, this may be your issue. However, a less common occurrence may be your issue.

The speed controller. If you’ve inspected the yaw motor, yaw arm, and main arm, and everything looks fine, It could be a circuit board issue.

On the back of the gimbal is a rectangular-looking panel held together by 4 screws. Beneath this is the smart controller.

Remember, this isn’t common, so really give it an effort to check all other issues before purchasing one of these rare parts.

Here is a video walkthrough showing you how to replace it. 

Replace the entire gimbal. This is your last resort. It’s not the worst thing, though. The DJI Phantom 4 is a piece of equipment full of expensive technology, such as its unit and IMU, its propulsion technology and motors, and its receiver.

Luckily, the gimbal is among one of the more affordable parts of this drone. 

Make sure you are taking care of your DJI Phantom 4. Keep it in its case, and keep the gimbal cover on when not in use.

Note: Don’t take off or land on uneven or dusty ground.

Most of all, try not to crash, but if you do, this article has what you need to diagnose your issue and fix your drone.

Always use your warranty to fix your drone, but if it has expired, you now have the know-how to repair your DJI Phantom 4 gimbal.

>> Read More: DJI Air 2S Gimbal Failure (& How to Fix It)