The DJI Inspire 2 is a powerful, professional tool used in many industries, notably film and television. Investing in an Inspire 2 drone can provide incredible aerial photography and videography results.
As a drone camera operator in the film industry, I’ve used the Inspire 2 for over two years and have become intimately familiar with its capabilities and limitations.
Unfortunately, one of its common problems is gimbal failure, which can cause significant issues during flights.
DJI Inspire 2 gimbal failure can occur for many reasons, such as hardware damage or software issues, and can cause unreliable or shaky footage.
In this article, we’ll discuss Inspire 2 gimbal failure, its causes, and how to fix it
Inspire 2 gimbal failure: Causes and symptoms
Inspire 2 gimbal failure can occur for several reasons, such as excessive vibrations, motor malfunction, software bugs, or physical damage.
The consequences of a gimbal failure can include the camera’s inability to stay level or sudden camera jerks, blurred images or videos, or even a complete inability to control the camera during flight.
One of the most common reasons for Inspire 2 gimbal failure is improper calibration.
When the gimbal is not calibrated correctly, the drone’s vibration can cause the camera to shift from its original position, resulting in shaky footage.
Additionally, a bad motor can cause the gimbal to fail, which could result in the camera becoming completely unresponsive.
This can be incredibly anxiety-inducing when you’re out in the work field.
When it comes to any piece of firmware technology that requires periodic updates, there’s always a risk of new bugs affecting your system, so this one is worth mentioning.
Always test each component of your drone after a software or firmware update to make sure everything is in working order.
Finally, in my experience, physical damage has to be the most common cause.
The gimbal is a very sensitive component of our drone and can easily be knocked, tampered and damaged by negligence, accidents, or just poor maintenance and handling in general.
Keeping a dirty drone can affect the physical working order too, such as excessive dust/dirt, rocks lodged in places they shouldn’t be, etc.
If you do not clean your drone of debris frequently enough, this can cause damage to any part of your drone, not just your gimbal!
Fixing Inspire 2 gimbal failure: Step-by-step guide
If you’re experiencing issues with the Inspire 2 gimbal, don’t panic. Here are the steps you can take to troubleshoot and fix the problem.
Step 1: Diagnose the issue
The first step in fixing any gimbal issue is to diagnose the problem.
With the Inspire 2, common symptoms of a gimbal failure include shaking or vibrating during flight, an unstable horizon, or a complete failure to stabilize the camera.
Once you’ve identified the problem, you can move on to the next step.
Step 2: Check for physical damage
Before proceeding with any repair, inspecting the gimbal for physical damage is important.
Check for cracks, dents, or other signs of impact or wear and tear. If you find any damage, you may need to replace the entire gimbal assembly.
Step 3: Reset the gimbal
Sometimes, the issue can be resolved with a simple reset of the gimbal.
To reset the Inspire 2 gimbal, power down the drone and remove the camera.
Next, hold down the power button on the drone for 10 seconds, then release it. Reinsert the camera and power up the drone to see if the issue is resolved.
Step 4: Update firmware
Outdated firmware can also cause gimbal issues.
To update the firmware on your Inspire 2, connect the drone to your computer using a USB cable and launch the DJI Assistant 2 software.
Follow the instructions to download and install any available firmware updates.
Step 5: Calibrate the gimbal
If resetting the gimbal and updating the firmware doesn’t fix the issue, the next step is to calibrate the gimbal.
To do this, open the DJI Go 4 app and navigate to the settings menu. From there, select “Gimbal Settings” and then “Auto Calibrate.” Follow the on-screen instructions to complete the calibration process.
Step 6: Check the roll motor
The roll motor is a common point of failure in the Inspire 2 gimbal. Power off the drone and remove the camera to check if the roll motor is the issue.
Next, manually move the gimbal to its limits in all directions. If you hear any clicking or grinding noises, the roll motor may need to be replaced.
Step 7: Replace the roll motor
To replace the roll motor, you must order a replacement part and have the proper tools on hand. You can find replacement parts online or through a DJI-authorized repair center.
Once you have the replacement part, carefully remove the old roll motor and install the new one, following the manufacturer’s instructions.
It’s always my suggestion to consult a professional if you don’t know how to replace the motor yourself.
Step 8: Test the gimbal
After replacing the roll motor, reassemble the gimbal and test it to ensure the issue has been resolved. Power on the drone and check if the camera is stable during flight.
If it is, congratulations – you’ve successfully fixed your Inspire 2 gimbal!
Inspire 2 gimbal failure can be frustrating but can be fixed with patience and the right tools. Following these step-by-step instructions, you can diagnose the problem, repair your gimbal, and get back in the air.
Always be careful when handling your drone and gimbal, and consider seeking professional help if you’re uncomfortable with DIY repairs.
If none of these steps fix your gimbal, contacting DJI support for further assistance is recommended.
What happens if your gimbal isn’t failing but having other minor issues?
Non-failure issues: The roll/horizon problem
Apart from the gimbal failure, another common issue with the Inspire 2 gimbal is the roll/horizon problem. This is the issue I encountered most while working as a camera operator on the Inspire 2.
The roll/horizon problem occurs when the camera’s horizon is not level with the drone’s horizon, resulting in crooked or tilted footage.
This issue can be fixed by calibrating the gimbal, but sometimes the calibration may not solve the problem.
Or, you may be in the air during a shoot and don’t have time to bring it down for calibration.
Now, of course, this problem is not the end of the world, you can always fix it in post, but it’s always better to not have that issue in the raw footage in the first place.
One of the solutions my colleagues and I like to use is the drone spin. Spinning your drone 360 degrees in both directions can help balance out the camera and straighten out the horizon.
Another quick fix is to customize your controller to adjust the roll manually on the go.
For example, with the Cendence controller, you can customize one of the controller inputs, whether a dial, a joystick, etc., to adjust the roll.
This ensures on-the-go level footage but is an additional axis to control as a framer, which could overcomplicate your workflow if you are already responsible for many cameras and gimbal controls.
Other Common DJI Inspire 2 Gimbal Issues
While the DJI Inspire 2 gimbal failure and horizon/roll issues are the most serious problems that users may encounter with their drone’s gimbal, there are a few other common issues to be aware of.
These issues may not necessarily be classified as failures, but they can still impact the quality of footage captured by the drone and can be frustrating for users.
Here are a few examples.
Gimbal motor overload
Users may encounter an issue with the gimbal motor getting hot and the drone giving an error message stating “Gimbal Motor Overload.”
This can be caused by a few factors, such as the gimbal being overloaded with weight, the gimbal being bumped or hit during flight, or a firmware issue.
Another issue is the gimbal drift, where the camera slowly starts to tilt or rotate on its own.
This can be caused by a few factors, such as a loose connection between the camera and the drone, the drone being flown in high winds or turbulence, or incorrect camera settings.
Finally, there is the issue of gimbal calibration. Sometimes the gimbal may need to be calibrated to function properly.
This can be caused by various factors, such as a firmware issue, the drone being flown in high winds or turbulence, or the drone being bumped or hit during flight.
By understanding these common issues, users can ensure their Inspire 2 gimbal is functioning properly and can capture high-quality footage during every flight.
The DJI Inspire 2 is an exceptional drone that can take stunning aerial footage. However, its gimbal is prone to failure, particularly with the tilt motor and ribbon cable.
These issues can be resolved by the steps outlined in this article, which include diagnosing the problem, ordering replacement parts, carefully installing them, etc.
If you’re experiencing the roll/horizon issue, the first step is to calibrate the gimbal. If that doesn’t work, you can try the 360 spin or adjust the roll manually in flight using a customized controller.
Taking the necessary precautions and performing routine maintenance on your Inspire 2’s gimbal can prolong its lifespan and prevent costly repairs.
If all else fails, don’t hesitate to reach out to DJI’s customer support for assistance. Happy flying!