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Changing ND filters powered on vs off

DrRockzo

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Hi there,

I am a new owner of a Mavic Air and have access to a couple of polar pro ND filters.
My question is, is it safe to switch filters while the Mavic is on and laying upside down, or will this potentially damage the gimbal? Is it better to turn it off, switch filters, then power it on again?
 

msinger

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It would be safest to change the filter while the Mavic is powered down. You don't really want the gimbal fighting to stay pointed straight ahead while you're attempting to screw the filter on/off.
 

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is it safe to switch filters while the Mavic is on and laying upside down, or will this potentially damage the gimbal? Is it better to turn it off, switch filters, then power it on again?
There is third option. Power up the drone, let the gimbal initialize and calibrate, then install the filter without flipping it on its back. Certain filters will not allow the gimbal to fully calibrate all of its axes to their limits because the filter will strike the pitch arm due to their larger diameter. If you leave the filter on too many times and it does this, it could damage your gimbal motor assembly.

There is no harm in putting a filter on after the drone is powered on. Just try not to manhandle the motor assembly, and it will be fine. As a matter of habit, try to learn to remove the filter after every flight.
 

Prismatic

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... As a matter of habit, try to learn to remove the filter after every flight.
I generally leave the ND filter on (PolarPro), as it’s likely I’ll want it on my next flight. I change to a different density when necessary, and leave that one on, too.
 

Former Member

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I generally leave the ND filter on (PolarPro), as it’s likely I’ll want it on my next flight. I change to a different density when necessary, and leave that one on, too.
It might be ok to do that if your filter does not limit gimbal autocalibration. Some Polarpro filters did.
 

CanadaDrone

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Always do it powered off and support the gimbal with your fingers while you do it - do not torque it. Polar Pro's for the Air have zero issues with the gimbal calibration so you don't need to worry about that.
 
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DrRockzo

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Thanks for your input. I think I will play it safe and only switched when powered off.
 
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Jameslavis

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The new polars pass calibration no problems. I change while powered down. I run the nd16 pl all the time and just leave it on.
 

Squamer

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The new polars pass calibration no problems. I change while powered down. I run the nd16 pl all the time and just leave it on.
Right, who is still buying filters that won’t pass calibration? It’s 2018
 

CanadaDrone

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Right, who is still buying filters that won’t pass calibration? It’s 2018
People thinking that filters is a good area to try and save a few bucks, I imagine :) The price is already so low and the potential issues with the gimbal and image quality are not worth saving a few dollars - just buy the good stuff.
 
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msinger

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People thinking that filters is a good area to try and save a few bucks, I imagine :) The price is already so low and the potential issues with the gimbal and image quality are not worth saving a few dollars - just buy the good stuff.
Unfortunately, spending top dollar for drone filters doesn't guarantee you'll get a problem free product. As @Thunderdrones noted above, even companies selling top dollar filters (like PolarPro) still get it wrong sometimes. The good news is that those companies always seem to resolve those issues pretty quickly. I'm not aware of any commonly used Mavic Air filter brands that have calibration issues, so people will likely not run into this issue with the Mavic Air.
 

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Always do it powered off and support the gimbal with your fingers while you do it - do not torque it. Polar Pro's for the Air have zero issues with the gimbal calibration so you don't need to worry about that.
Not necessarily the case for the MP. What happens if you buy a used Mavic with older Polarpro filters that had problems?
 
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Former Member

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These are a few damaged gimbal motor assemblies in my gimbal graveyard. This is a small fraction of the number of gimbal motor assemblies that I have replaced for customers. Anyone who says that a filter can not damage a gimbal, has never repaired a gimbal.


Gimbal motor assembly graveyard.jpg Gimbal motor assembly graveyard.jpg
 
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CanadaDrone

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Not necessarily the case for the MP. What happens if you buy a used Mavic with older Polarpro filters that had problems?
We were talking about the Air I thought. The PP's have no issues on the Air unless I suppose if you were unlucky enough to get a defective item. Your repair experience highlights why people shouldn't buy any filters without first doing their research - that is quite the 'graveyard'!
 

Former Member

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My question is, is it safe to switch filters while the Mavic is on and laying upside down
Another reason to apply the filter when the Mavic is rightside up is that the gimbal goes crazy when you flip the drone upside down. It's an unnatural position for the gimbal.
 

charlas

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Always tend to switch em with it off, just thumb on the gimbal to hold in place, and screw it on, just nip it tight it doesn't have to be 'locked down' onto the thread.
 

mad monkey

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Does the cover /clamp fit with filter in place?

On an other thread it was suggested to buy the neewer ones.. Good middle of the road price.
 

yamahu

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I just get set of ND Polar filters including ND 4 and I lost it “ND4” i didn’t have chance to try diferente light situation but I think ND4 is pretty useless so I need no to worry to get a new one. What do you think guys?
 

msinger

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What do you think guys?
An ND8, ND16, and ND32 should be your most used filters. You likely won't use an ND4 often.
 

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