Converting broken DJI Inspire 2 drone into gimbal

Repurposing the components of a crashed DJI Inspire 2 drone into a ground based gimbal without the drone components.

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I have a DJI Inspire 2 drone that was badly damaged so much that it was written off as would be cheaper to buy a new one than to repair it to the point of flight.

As most of the damage were to the frame, motors and flight mechanics, I thought I'd see if I could take it apart and repurpose the innards to produce a ground based system that would allow me to use DJI X5s and X7 gimbals on the ground rather than on a drone.

This is project page shows my progress so far. I could really do with some help here so if you have any suggestions or ideas to offer, please get in touch.

I've got an I2 that was made very much non-flightworthy a couple of years ago when I fell 230 feet down an alpine mountain with it strapped to my back in a LowePro bag.
Whilst it will never fly again, I'm now wondering if I can get it running to the point that I could re-build it into a naked Inspire2 for use on jibs and FPV drones, however, I'm running into a few problems.

For the most part it works fine. It powers up, I get a smooth and stable live video feed (though I feel that takes longer to innitially connect after power up), and full gimbal control.
However, there is some key functionality I'm lacking.

In this video I power it on, show what happens when you try to switch to video mode and take a photo, and then show that the live video and gimbal control works great.

In fact, it seems to be working fine except for the following.

The Issue(s)
It always boots in photo mode and if I...
- ...try to take a photo
  The live video feed freezes and the loading ring revolves around the on-screen record button, for 15-20 seconds. When it reconnects again, it has not taken any photos

- ...try to switch to video mode
  The live video freezes and goes grey and it seems to re-boot it's connection with the system. When it re-boots, it's still in photo mode.

What I've tried
- This is using a brand new X5s (which works fine on a new I2 so it's not the gimbal)
- To get it to work, I'd replaced the gimbal module and connector cable, so that's also new
- I've tried it with different controllers too

Things I've noticed
- The MicroSD card reader is definitely working as the 'shots remaining' figure changes accurately depending on the size of the card inserted, and if I insert a card with footage filmed on another device it recognizes the photos are there.
- If I boot it up with an SSD fitted, once it's connected it shows the SSD capacity up in the top next to the MicroSD for a split second then it disappears. If I go into the capture settings it's loaded in the photos mode, and if I switch to 'video' it says "switching SSD mode" and shows the loading ring, but you can then see in the background the video has frozen and greyed out again, and when it re-connects it's back in photo mode

Any suggestions on things I could try would be greatly appreciated.


Overview of the current setup, it's functionality, and it's issues

MPEG-4 Video - 49.65 MB - 05/28/2023 at 18:26


  • First update

    ByteTech01/28/2022 at 17:53 0 comments

    It has taken a while to get here. This is my first project since my accident and I can't move too much right now and have many other issues to work through so can only do an hour or so on this every now and then, but it's a fun and frustrating project so far.

    I've managed to get to the point that with an X5s and a single TB50 plugged in, I can boot it up, both the X5s and FPV gimbles calibrate, and the controller connects and shows a live feed of both cameras. So far so good!

    The next stage, and this is really what will make the difference between this being interesting, and this being actually useful is getting it to record.

    So here's my current issues:

    • The app on the monitor forces me to be in photo mode. Each time I switch to video mode it goes into a "loading" screen saying "Switching SD mode" and after around 15 seconds switches back to image mode again.
    • The SSD doesn't always show up and when it does, it never completes a format

    Now, it may be argued that this is a software issue, but I think it must be to do with one or more components rather than software. The controller, gimbal, card, battery, and monitor (which is running the app),  when plugged into a fully working Inspire 2 works absolutely fine. This means that it's nothing to do with the app, just the telemetry it's receiving. My guess is, I've either not got something plugged in correctly, or a component is broken and as a result the app is receiving incorrect information.

    I have no idea where to go from here so to help here, I've taken photos of all the components I have in use, with each used port/cable labelled at each end, to show what is plugged in where. For example "1" shows where a specific cable is plugged in at each end (one end may be in a different photo to the other but each number only represents one cable/wire).

    Here are the photos:

    Just through working on it so far, and not from anything I can find online, my understanding (based on guesswork) of the purpose of each of these is:

    1. Antenna
    2. Antenna (there are two more antenna ports but unfortunately the cables and antennas were too damaged for me to use, 2 should suffice though
    3. Unknown
    4. Gimble control
    5. Unknown
    6. FPV camera feed and gimble control
    7. Data feed from flight controller body to the SSD port (presumably the video feed is sent down this cable to be saved to the SSD card)
    8. Video feed for main gimble
    9. Unknown
    10. Power button
    11. Unknown (This was a sensor which was fitted in the middle of the block that the batteries used to slot onto but not sure what it actually is
    12. Battery 1 power supply
    13. Battery 2 power supply
    14. Unknown (Presumably Battery 2 ground or similar)
    15. Unknown (Presumably Battery 1 ground or similar)
    16. Switch checking if Battery 1 is locked in place
    17. Switch checking if Battery 2 is locked in place

    The only components which have been removed that I'm aware of seem to be:

    • Motors
    • ESC's for motors
    • GPS module (undamaged and have cable, I've just not plugged it in as not needed)
    • Downward facing distance sensors and landing cameras
    • Upwards facing distance sensors
    • Forward facing distance sensors
    • Landing gear motor

    So, that's the project as it stands, any help from this point would be really appreciated. Thanks all!

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