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Repair, but Torx screw heads are stripped...

Hawkwind

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Apr 19, 2018
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45
Loc
AL, USA
So, we have acquired a second Spark that has been crashed. The gimbal mount is broken, but we have a replacement. When removing the first 6 T6 screws securing the top cover, we discovered the last one has a stripped head. This one is at the front and recessed, so not easily accessible. Ideas on how to remove it?

I don't know if it was stripped by the previous owner or at the factory.

What we've tried:
1) Rubber band between screw head and driver
2) Flathead (slotted) driver
3) Elbow grease

Anyone had success at removing one of these with a stripped head? I've considered just drilling it out.
 

Spark 317

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Jul 10, 2017
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4,145
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Indiana, USA
You might try a Dremal tool with a cutting wheel to cut a slot across the top to get a slotted screwdriver to fit?

They make screw extractors that grip stripped heads, but the Spark screws are so small, I don't think any of the methods I mentioned will work.
 

DameEdnaBrown

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Oct 22, 2017
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154
Age
71
So, we have acquired a second Spark that has been crashed. The gimbal mount is broken, but we have a replacement. When removing the first 6 T6 screws securing the top cover, we discovered the last one has a stripped head. This one is at the front and recessed, so not easily accessible. Ideas on how to remove it?

I don't know if it was stripped by the previous owner or at the factory.

What we've tried:
1) Rubber band between screw head and driver
2) Flathead (slotted) driver
3) Elbow grease

Anyone had success at removing one of these with a stripped head? I've considered just drilling it out.
Find a driver that will least fit in the head heat that up with a soldering iron while it's pushed in the head then try freeing it the idea is not melt the whole thing though
 
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I B Spectre

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Aug 16, 2019
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773
Being recessed is a problem. I would try drilling the head of the screw off with the appropriately sized bit no larger in diameter than the shank of the screw. Once the head is off, you can separate the pieces, then grip the remaining screw shank with a pair of Visegrips and unscrew it. This way, you don't damage or distort the plastic the screw goes into.
 

Hawkwind

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Apr 19, 2018
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45
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AL, USA
You might try a Dremal tool with a cutting wheel to cut a slot across the top to get a slotted screwdriver to fit?

They make screw extractors that grip stripped heads, but the Spark screws are so small, I don't think any of the methods I mentioned will work.
The issue with using a cutting wheel is the fact the screw is recessed, so I'd have to cut into the underside of the body, which I'd like to avoid if possible. I have screw extractors, and my smallest one *might* fit. I'm thinking I would need one a bit smaller for the T6.
 

Hawkwind

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Apr 19, 2018
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45
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AL, USA
Or a well placed drop of super-glue...

Good luck!
I failed to mention that was one of my methods. Maybe it wasn't well-placed- didn't get any bite on the screw.
 

Hawkwind

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Apr 19, 2018
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AL, USA
Thanks for the inputs, I'll try a few more methods tonight and let you know how it turns out.
 

Hawkwind

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Apr 19, 2018
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AL, USA
Attempted super glue again. Fail.

Attempting to drill the head of the screw out. Slow and it looks like it should separate, but hasn't yet...maybe I should drill a hole in the top cover above the screw...
 

Hawkwind

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Apr 19, 2018
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AL, USA
My son is saying he would be willing to buy a $10 top cover.
 

Hawkwind

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Apr 19, 2018
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AL, USA
Solution:

I drilled through the head using several bits, starting with smaller than shank size then working up to sizes almost the head size (diameter). Slowly, I ground away a low speeds using the newer, sharper bits, then the head popped off onto the drill bit.

Top cover is off!

No damage to Spark, so I could find a replacement screw if I need one, and it would fit back into place.
 

I B Spectre

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Aug 16, 2019
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773
Solution:

I drilled through the head using several bits, starting with smaller than shank size then working up to sizes almost the head size (diameter). Slowly, I ground away a low speeds using the newer, sharper bits, then the head popped off onto the drill bit.

Top cover is off!

No damage to Spark, so I could find a replacement screw if I need one, and it would fit back into place.
Way to go! Glad to hear it worked out for you. You did the right thing by progressively stepping up the bit sizes until the head popped off. 👍 I presume you were able to extract the remainder of the screw, leaving the body intact.
 

Hawkwind

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Apr 19, 2018
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AL, USA
Put it back together, and get errors. I'm concerned that we've broken something. We get:

air encoder error 0x800000
Camera sensor error
Gimbal disconnected
forward vision sensor error 4

Gimbal just doesn't move. I've reseated the connectors to ensure a tight fit. The camera was a pain to reassemble until we realized we were putting in 90 degrees off what it should be. :)

I've also done a factory reset (hold down the button until get 3 beeps).
 

I B Spectre

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Aug 16, 2019
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This may not be the total solution, but I Googled the air encoder error issue and there's a post on the Mavic forum that sounds a lot like what you're experiencing. It's worth looking at:

Possible fix?

The post that led to the above "possible fix" also states, "The problem relates to the Micro SD card and simply swapping out or re-formatting the existing card corrects the issue (note: if you try to reformat it attached to the MP, using the DJI GO 4 app, it won't work as it won't recognise the card, so you'll need to pop it out and use your PC/Mac) ".
 
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Hawkwind

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Apr 19, 2018
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AL, USA
There is no micro SD card in the aircraft. I could put a compatible card in the aircraft to see if it changes anything. Thanks for looking for me. My son was excited to have his own, so I want to get it working.
 
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Hawkwind

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Apr 19, 2018
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AL, USA
Tried a micro SD card, no difference (as expected).

I'm wondering if either the camera or the camera/gimbal wiring harness needs to be replaced. I did bend the connector on the camera board, so this could be an issue, but not sure why it would affect the gimbal so maybe the common wiring harness is bad.

Also no idea why forward vision sensor would be giving errors (different cable).
 

I B Spectre

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Aug 16, 2019
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As small and delicate as those cables and connectors are, it's certainly possible. If you've got to go back into it anyway, I suggest you double-check the connections. If a pin got bent, it might be possible to straighten it, particularly if the pin is on the board side in which case a new harness wouldn't address the root problem. Also, carefully inspect the cables and look for evidence of it having been pinched during assembly.
 
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Barbara

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Dec 25, 2018
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Algoma District, North Shore, Ontario
I see two errors, the forward vision sensor error and the Gimbal and camera errors that make me concerned that the problems may be on the main/motherboard. The forward vision sensors and the gimbal/camera connectors are separate.
 

Hawkwind

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Apr 19, 2018
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AL, USA
The main board was functioning fine before we opened it up. We did a test flight and video looked fine in DJI GO, prior to cracking it open.
When I get time, I’ll try doing the gimbal calibration and see if that helps.
It could be the main board has gone bad. We’ll see...
 

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