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Conversion of Phantom 3S to full FPV / DIY camera platform

Old 08-31-2017, 05:38 PM
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solentlife
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Default Conversion of Phantom 3S to full FPV / DIY camera platform

In line with a previous post on this topic ... I have decided to start a new thread so that it can be found direct and relate to subject.

Start with :

I have a full Phantom 3S with Controller and batterys. It took a swim in the river and never flew again.

The choice was to revamp her as a P3S but that would only be sharing space with my better P3Pro.
The idea discussed with my pal who is a dab hand at FPV and Quads - was to rip out the dead DJI gear and replace with common Flight Controller and parts.

As far as we can tell - the motors are fine .. so that's one item we can leave. The shell is good enough .... that's another. That also allows us to use the battery holder built into the shell ...

The TX and Radio gear is to be my 9xr and FrSky DJT / V8JT ... so will be PWM based.

Parts ordered (Banggood) :

PWM to PPM encoder for on-board conversion from FrSky Rx to FC :

https://www.banggood.com/PWM-To-PPM-...p-1070269.html

Flight controller :

https://www.banggood.com/BETAFLIGHT-...p-1162891.html

4x ESC :

https://www.banggood.com/Racerstar-R...p-1105108.html

GPS with Compass :

https://www.banggood.com/UBLOX-NEO-M...-p-971082.html

I already have the combined Tx and camera from Hobby King :

https://hobbyking.com/en_us/fx718-6-...-play-kit.html

and I ordered adaptor for Rx to Android as a tester before going for full Goggles :

https://www.banggood.com/Eachine-ROT...p-1147692.html

Total price $98 .... a far cry from the ~$200 just to replace with DJI gear just to fly !

Hopefully this should get me started ... and on my way !

Nigel
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Old 08-31-2017, 05:41 PM
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Later I plan to add a simple gimbal and camera for on board video ....

Nigel
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Old 10-28-2017, 08:31 PM
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Ok - While waiting for the above gear to arrive, I kept looking at the P3S .. and decided that I would not use the frame.

I decided to get two SK450 kits from Hobby King .... which gives me all the spares I need in first days !

https://hobbyking.com/media/catalog/...24291-main.jpg

I opened up the P3S shell and removed the motors. Basically clipped the wires. Soldered bullets on and put aside.

The ESC's require tails as they are designed to be hardwired to the motor leads but because I like to be able to repair - will fit tails with bullets on. This also allows me to sort rotation of motors.

The DJI motors are good for 3 - 4S and being already setup with CW and CCW shafts / props are ideal for this job.

Here is swapping across gear :



Motors perfect fit to plates :





Next is to solder the tails to the ESC's and check rotation ...



Then to start fitting boards / GPS etc.

It will be a slow build - so if anyone wants to pass any tips / built this themselves etc. - please post ...

Nigel
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Old 10-30-2017, 07:13 PM
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Wiring up is a nightmare of working out where what and how !!

But anyway ... here is the frame partly disassembled to allow wiring up :



Here's the board with LiPo lead, PPM lead, Camera, VTX and GPS now soldered to it. I elected where suitable to use tails and plugs instead of hardwiring all ...



The Camera / VTX combo had to be split from its original out of box setup, to allow VTX to receive OSD data as well.

The Compass function of course is missing so no autonomous / RTH function possible. But this is a 'concept' job for me having not built one like this before.

Nigel
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Old 11-01-2017, 08:37 PM
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Tested the Eachine ROTG01 5.8Ghz adaptor RX for android ........

It worked a treat on my Nexus 7 ..... receiving the FPV camera video.

Its not for normal use - but for test purposes and setting up. I could in fact use my Samsung 8 in a DIY hood with it .... which depending on how long it takes for BG to supply my Dual Diversity Goggles.

Board all wired up now ...



The question remains now will the ESC's vary power based on the FC and not on Rx signal lead as would normally happen.

Nigel
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Old 11-01-2017, 08:38 PM
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OK the ESC throttling answered by my pal ... after he studied the board.

On one side of board are large solder pads for main power leads of each ESC ... on other side of board are smaller pads and they are the GND / Signal solder points for ESC control.

The PPM coder I have also supplies the 5V needed for the RX - so no BEC needed.

Today my Goggles arrived ...

I'm stuck at moment because the stand-offs to mount the FC board didn't come out very well from the 3D printer ... so waiting for some commercial ones.

Nigel
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Old 11-04-2017, 09:21 AM
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So how are you progressing Nigel.
I gave up on the F3 boards after a few failures. My mate is persisting but he still can't get any to fly properly. We were using iNav.
I also used 30A Racestar (BL Heli) Opto ESCs. They seem very smooth compared to some others I had been using. Very happy with them. My motors draw 13A each on full power.
I did LOTS of research and gave my buddy my old F3 boards and bought a PX4Pilot (Pixhawk)
Should have done it years ago.
In just 2 -3 hours I had it set up and flying so sweet I could barely believe it.
I programmed in Position Hold, Altitude Hold, Stabilization, Auto Landing and RTL (RTH) and they all just work.
Not so the F3s. They nearly broke my spirit. I felt like I should give up because I couldn't make any progress and when I did something else would happen and I would have to start again.
The poor old quad always suffered some sort of damage with the F3 but since I have installed the Pixy The thing flies so nice and lands so gently it is unlikely to break like it used to. My F3s would even change settings whilst flying! That was hard to accept.

I am ultra keen again now and ordered the 3DR telemetry radios (be here on Monday) and I'm setting up my old laptop with QGround control and Mission Planner. I also ordered a couple of the correct antennas for them instead of the 2.4 antennas they come with. (They work, but not perfectly.)
I already have all my cameras and FPV gear ready to mount. I bought a new Runcam Eagle for the FPV and have had a VTX etc for some time.
I am having a problem with a Banggood gimbal I bought and I think I should just forget it and buy a decent one too. Banggood sells too many clones and it is difficult finding the correct drivers sometimes. I am fast becoming wary of a lot of Banggood products for that reason.
The great thing about the Pixhawks is that most accessories, eg. GPS etc all come wired ready to plug straight into the Pixhawk type controllers. No stuffing around.
Anyway, keep us updated please.
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Last edited by Panther; 11-04-2017 at 10:09 AM.
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Old 11-04-2017, 10:49 AM
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I have to admit P ... that my pal and I are already wondering about the F3 ... especially that we cannot sort Compass with it.

I'm in the last items ... mount the FPV camera. I think when I dismantled the lens - it got 'smeared' because now the image is blurred terribly. I need to dismantle camera and clean it.

Of course I haven't got anywhere near programming setup yet !

Nigel
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Old 11-04-2017, 12:25 PM
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Originally Posted by solentlife View Post
I have to admit P ... that my pal and I are already wondering about the F3 ... especially that we cannot sort Compass with it.

I'm in the last items ... mount the FPV camera. I think when I dismantled the lens - it got 'smeared' because now the image is blurred terribly. I need to dismantle camera and clean it.

Of course I haven't got anywhere near programming setup yet !

Nigel
Oh, good luck with that. It is the worst part of all. I reckon it took me a couple of weeks to get that sorted. Sort of....
Motor won't arm and start if it isn't right. Has your F3 got a compass? Have you plugged in a GPS with a compass?

I have a suggestion for you... Toss it! LOL Sounds harsh I know but I wish I had tossed mine a lot sooner. I bought my Pix4Pilot from Hobby King but the ones from Banggood are supposed to be OK too. They are within a couple of dollars of each other but you have to pay freight with Hobby King. It gets to you quicker though. This is the GPS I got. It works well and plugs straight in.
Anyway I hope you can get it sorted mate.
We had one F3 almost going OK on a Wing. We had a couple of flights setting up the stability and the next flight the motor just wouldn't start. The board circuit for the motor had just died.
Hoping to forget soon.....
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Old 11-04-2017, 01:24 PM
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Working it out roughly, we bought 6 F3 boards altogether. $25 - $30 each + post,
None have worked as claimed
The Pixy and GPS $104 or so. Should have done it ages ago.

Last edited by Panther; 11-04-2017 at 03:05 PM.
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