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How to fix gimbal overload on a drone? (6 Actionable Steps)

Updated in 2023 by Paul Posea
drone gimbal overload fix

So, you have everything ready and rearing to go on your next aerial photography shoot. But wait, as you go to take off, a ‘gimbal error’ notification displays on your screen. You may also notice that your gimbal is shaking erratically.

Upon closer inspection, you realize that the culprit is your gimbal overloaded with the weight of your camera and lens. This is a common problem, especially for those that fly drones often. Fortunately, there are several steps you can take to fix this issue and get back in the air ASAP.

You can fix a gimbal overload error by ensuring the surface is clear of any obstruction. If you are flying in a windy environment, try to find an area with fewer gusts for a steadier shot. Always make sure all of your screws and bolts on the drone and gimbal are tightened securely. 

These measures will help distribute the weight evenly and prevent any excess shaking. Always check to ensure the third-party accessories are not too heavy. You may also want to check for any debris that may be interfering with the gimbal’s motor.

By the way, here are a few of my other articles on fixing drone issues you might be interested in:

Gimbal overload may be a common occurrence during drone operation, but this doesn't have to be. We take a closer look at this error to understand what causes it and how best to avoid it while in operation.

What Is Gimbal Overload in a drone?

Getting a gimbal overload error on your DJI drone can be frustrating. It means that the camera or gimbal is overloaded and may not be working properly.

Gimbal overload is a case where the device’s gimbal struggles to support the weight of the camera and lens. This can cause the drone to shake erratically and make it difficult to take steady shots. Anything that inhibits the gimbal's movement causes a gimbal error.

After installing third-party accessories, like a lens filter or ND filter, the weight of your camera and gimbal system could exceed what is recommended by the manufacturer. This will cause an error message to appear on the screen saying “Gimbal Overload”, "error code 4003" or “Camera Error.”

What Causes Gimbal Motor Overload?

Several factors can contribute to gimbal overload on your drone. While some of them are obvious, others may not be so apparent.

Gimbal overload can be caused by such factors as gimbal debris, obstruction at launch, broken hardware, heavy third-party accessories, or poor weight distribution. It can sometimes result from strain on the gimbal motor or the camera.

  1. Gimbal debris

Debris on the gimbal arm can cause it to overload and lead to a gimbal overload error. This is because the debris interferes with how the camera moves, resulting in uneven weight distribution or extra strain on one side of the system.

The best solution for this problem would be to thoroughly clean your drone’s gimbal before every flight. This helps ensure that there is no build-up of dirt or other materials that can cause the arm to shake.

  1. Obstruction at launch

An obstruction at launch, such as a tree branch or building, can also be a major contributor to gimbal overload. When the drone lifts off, the camera and lens are suddenly subjected to more strain than they are used to, which can cause the device to shake.

To avoid this, always make sure there is plenty of clearance at takeoff and be aware of your surroundings. If an obstruction is noted, try to find a different take-off point or use a smaller drone that will fly over the obstacle.

  1. Broken or faulty hardware

A broken screw or other hardware on your drone can also lead to gimbal overload. This is especially true if the camera and lens are not secured properly. It causes them to move around during the flight, resulting in uneven weight distribution.

It’s important that you always check for any loose screws or other faulty hardware before each flight. Ensure that all components are tightened securely to help distribute the weight evenly.

  1. Heavy third-party accessories

Adding heavy third-party accessories, such as a lens filter or ND filter, can overload the gimbal and cause the error message to appear. This is because they add extra weight to an already overloaded system.

When purchasing aftermarket accessories, it’s important to make sure they are lightweight and compatible with your drone. If necessary, install new screws that are strong enough to hold up under heavy strain but not too tight not to damage any components.

  1. Poor weight distribution

The weight of the camera or gimbal can sometimes be unevenly distributed. This causes one side to become overloaded and causes shaking or vibration during flight.

You can fix this problem by adjusting the center of gravity on your drone and ensuring all components are properly balanced. To do so, use a bubble level to ensure everything is in alignment before each takeoff.

  1. Forgotten gimbal cover

Sometimes, excitement can get the better of us during pre-flight preparations. As a result, the gimbal cover is forgotten and not removed from the drone before takeoff. Without realizing it, you fly off with your drone while its gimbal cover remains on.

If this happens to you, just ground your aircraft immediately after observing that something doesn't look right. Turn it off and remove the gimbal cover before you take off again.

Other notable fixes for gimbal overload

If none of the above fixes work, it could be an issue of poor calibration. Calibrating the drone's gimbal can help to improve its overall performance. You can also try using a different type of battery or lens if your camera and lens are too heavy for the drone.

Make your flights less aggressive by reducing the speed and height of your drone. You can consider taking off from an elevated platform, like a table or desk, to give your drone some extra space for takeoff (and landing). In cases where you can figure out the issue, it is best that you contact the drone manufacturer for support. Otherwise, if you’re still experiencing gimbal overload errors after trying all these fixes, then it may be time to upgrade your drone with a new one.

How do I fix gimbal overload errors on DJI drones?

DJI drones have a built-in system that alerts pilots when the gimbal is overloaded. This usually happens due to too much weight or imbalance on the camera and lens. When this error message pops up, it’s important to take action right away to prevent any damage from occurring.

You can fix gimbal overload errors on DJI drones by reducing the weight or changing orientation. Ensure that all components are balanced and secure before each takeoff. Adjust your drone's center of gravity by adding weights to the arms or swapping heavier batteries with lighter ones.

For a more focused fix, you can follow these steps: 

  • Turn off your drone and remove all cables from its ports (including USB).
  • Wait for about 30 seconds to one minute before restarting again. This is because some cameras may require time to cool down after being overheated by heavy usage or high temperatures outside.
  • Once you’ve restarted your drone, make sure there are no cables connected to it again.
  • If you’re using a lens or accessory that is too heavy for the gimbal system on your drone, remove them before taking off (or replace them with lighter ones). You can also try balancing all components evenly by adding weights like coins or washers to the drone's frame.
  • If none of the above solutions work, you can try recalibrating your drone's gimbal in its settings menu. This will help improve your aircraft's overall performance and stability during flight.

How do I fix the gimbal overload on a DJI mini 2?

The DJI mini 2 is a small, lightweight drone, perfect for beginner pilots. However, even this little guy can experience gimbal overload if too much weight is added to the camera and lens.

You can fix the gimbal overload on a DJI mini 2 by:

-Recalibrating your drone’s gimbal system in its settings menu

-Refresh its firmware

-Remove any accessories or lenses that may be causing an imbalance

-Reduce the weight of your drone or its accessories by replacing heavier items with lighter ones.

How do I fix gimbal overload on a DJI Air 2s?

The DJI Air 2s is a great option for pilots looking for an affordable, easy-to-use drone. However, even this model can experience gimbal overload if too much weight is added to the camera and lens.

You can fix gimbal overload on a DJI Air 2s by recalibrating your drone’s gimbal system. Alternatively, you can also refresh its firmware. Try removing any accessories or lenses that may be causing an imbalance and reducing the weight of your drone by replacing heavier accessories with lighter ones.

DJI Air 2s is one of the most stable drones on the market. If you’re still experiencing problems with gimbal overload after trying all these solutions, seek assistance from the drone manufacturer.

How do you calibrate a drone gimbal?

Drone pilots use calibration to adjust and improve the performance of their aircraft's gimbals. This process helps to ensure that your shots are smooth and level, regardless of how crazy things may get during flight. The gimbal calibration takes less than five minutes 

To calibrate a drone gimbal:

  • Tap the three dots on the upper right corner of your screen
  • Open up its settings menu
  • Scroll down and tap on "Calibration" option and then 
  • Hold your drone completely still in all three axes for five seconds. DJI drones will make a sound when successfully calibrated.

There are two types of calibration that you may need to perform on your drone:

- Gimbal calibration - This adjusts the position of the gimbal to improve its accuracy and stability.

- Compass calibration - This calibrates the compass sensor to ensure that your drone knows where it is in relation to Earth's magnetic fields.

You should do both types of calibration before every flight session. 

Conclusion- How do you fix drone overload quickly?

There are a few solutions that you can try if your drone experiences gimbal overload. 

Based on the error noted, try recalibrating the gimbal system, refreshing the firmware, removing any accessories or lenses that may be causing an imbalance, and reducing the weight of your drone or its accessories by replacing heavier items with lighter ones. 

If none of these solutions work, seek assistance from the drone manufacturer. DJI has a great customer service team, and they are always happy to help. Do some research to find out how heavy your drone can be and what type of gimbal it uses. This will help prevent issues in the future.

Hi, I'm Paul.
A big drone enthusiast, reviewing, comparing and writing about drones since 2015. I'm all about helping people enjoy and even monetize their hobby.

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paul posea
Paul Posea
Hi, I'm a long-time drone reviewer and I hope my articles and comparisons on this site as well as Dronesgator's youtube channel are of as much help as possible.
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