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How to refocus your DJI FC 200 camera

Discussion in 'Phantom 2 Vision Discussion' started by FSJ Guy, Feb 5, 2014.

  1. FSJ Guy

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    How to refocus your DJI FC 200 camera:

    (All photos are courtesy User oukenfold. The crappy diagram is mine.)

    If your camera that came with your Phantom 2 Vision seems to be vision impaired, don’t despair. If you’re handy with a few hand tools and can be trusted with sharp razor blades, you may not have to send your camera back as defective.

    Two notes: You assume ALL risk. The procedure involves possibly voiding your warranty (if any) and requires the use of the previously mentioned razor blade. You are responsible for your own safety. You may also short something out, zap a component or break a ribbon cable. Essentially, you could “brick” your FC 200. You have been warned.

    Now that that’s over with….

    First, you will want to remove the flight battery and props. Now flip your P2V upside down. (See why you removed the props?)

    Next, remove the white plug. Now, pop the vibration dampeners out of the camera assembly to release the camera. Don’t pull it too far away from the Phantom body, as there is a servo plug that also needs to be removed. With the camera assembly free, carefully release the servo plug. A tiny flat blade screwdriver may be helpful in releasing the side tabs.

    Now your camera is completely disconnected from the P2V body.

    If you look at the bottom (side with air vent), you will see four screw holes. You will need to remove these 4 screws with a 1.5mm hex driver. DO NOT use a standard hex wrench. You really don’t want to strip any screw heads, do you?

    With the four screws removed, the bottom plastic cover can be removed. When you remove it, the RESET button will probably fall out. No worries.

    Now your camera should look something like this:

    [​IMG]


    You will have to remove the 4 screws holding the top PCB. There are two connectors on the back side of this PCB that connect to the PCB below it. GENTLY pull the board STRAIGHT UP and it will release. Be careful (of course!) because the ribbon cable is still attached to the camera’s PCB.

    Next, you will want to remove these two screws that hold the camera assembly:

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]


    Gently pull the camera assembly straight up. The front silver “cover” will probably also come up and out at this point. I have found that carefully spreading the camera body apart aids in removing the camera PCB.

    Your camera PCB and the previous top board are now free from the camera body.

    Your camera body should look something like this:

    [​IMG]

    Now take a look at your camera assembly. If you’ve ever used a “board camera” before, this housing should look familiar. I haven’t confirmed it, but it appears to be an M12 style lens housing.

    On your lens barrel, you will notice that it is threaded. You will also notice that it is covered in some sort of epoxy that prevents the lens from rotating. This is done to lock in the focus. That is great IF the lens is actually IN FOCUS!!!

    Here comes the life threatening danger part:

    Take a NEW Xacto blade and carefully cut off the epoxy. I started by making a sawing motion cut “into” the threads of the lens. The barrel appeared to be metal, so I wasn’t worried about ruining the threads. This allowed me to get into the epoxy and then use the blade as a lever to remove it. After this first cut, I also cut into the epoxy at a 90 degree angle to the first cut. Do this for all of your epoxy blobs. I had four.

    Be careful not to grab the camera assembly where the ribbon cable exits. You don’t want to risk damaging that cable!!!

    Now, how do you focus a lens on a camera that you can’t see an image on????

    Good question, but first you need to partially reassemble everything. Make sure that your lens rotates freely and start putting everything together. Reinstall the camera assembly and the front lens surround. I left off the rubber ring as it made the lens more difficult to rotate. You are going to adjust the lens once everything but the white plastic cover is reinstalled.

    Secure the lens assembly and the attached PCB. Replace all six screws: two for the camera, four for the PCB.

    Reconnect the servo cable and re-attach the whole camera housing to your P2V. Plug in the white cord.

    The only parts you should have left lying around are the white plastic cover, its four screws and a rubber grommet that used to be around the lens.

    Now, point your P2V outside at a scene at least one hundred feet or more away.

    Insert a charged battery into your P2V. Turn the P2v UPSIDE DOWN so you can see into the camera housing.

    Turn on your transmitter, turn on your range extender and then turn on your P2V. DO NOT turn your P2V over while it is turned on! You may get a compass calibration error and then you will have to turn it off and back on again to clear the error. (Don’t worry, even if you do get the error, your compass calibration is still fine.)

    With the P2V upside down, turn on your smartphone, connect to the range extender’s wifi and start the DJI app.

    Select the tools icon and change the VIDEO MODE to narrow view. This will give you the most magnification on your device’s screen.

    Now, take a small pair of pliers and rotate the lens until your image starts to come into focus. Once it starts to come into focus, KEEP ROTATING THE LENS THE SAME WAY until it goes OUT of focus. Now you know where the midpoint is. Turn the lens back to that midpoint for starters. While looking at your phone, you will notice that the image starts to get a jagged line effect as it gets sharper. That’s telling you that you are very close to being in focus.

    If you have the camera pointed away from you with the open side up towards you, I found that the correct focus was here:

    [​IMG]

    Even as a graphic, it's sort of confusing. But, as you'r gripping the pliers, you will move them from RIGHT to LEFT. When it snaps into focus, STOP!!! This technique gave ME the best focus. Trying to find the "midpoint" of the focus area resulted in my far-away objects being blurry.

    Take a photo or two, download it to your computer and check your work, viewing the image at 100%. It’s OK to be a “pixel peeper” for this!

    You may also want to fly your P2V and get an aerial photo to make sure that your infinity focus (anything beyond fifty to one hundred feet) is correct or not.

    To reinstall the plastic cover, turn off your P2V and your range extender and transmitter. Flip your P2V right side up. Place the reset button into the plastic cover. It only fits one way.

    Now take the cover with the button in place and fit it underneath the camera housing. Doing it this way prevents the reset button from falling out.

    Replace the four screws and you’re ready for a test flight!


    At this point, it’s a simple matter of removing and replacing that plastic cover to adjust your focus. I adjusted mine about 6 times because I wanted to make sure I had the sharpest image possible.

    I did not put any epoxy on the lens. I don’t see it vibrating loose. If you must secure the lens with something, DO NOT use CA, otherwise known as “super glue”. The fumes could cloud the lens or damage the sensor.

    Remember, this procedure could possibly brick your camera or hurt you. Use at your own risk!

    If I missed anything, please let me know. As always, comments welcome.
     
  2. Vicrimo

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    Nice write up. Very informative. Thanks
     
  3. gfredrone

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    Please post some pics of the refocused images. Is there any more detail added when zoomed into 100%?
     
  4. GetaGrip

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    Great post. How much of a rotation is required to change from a near focus to infinity? I'm thinking it may be possible to machine a small lever for focus adjustment and extend it out of a slot in the bottom of the case if it's minimal.
     
  5. arinvideo

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    Very nice, Any chance of making a vid or some sample pics :)
     
  6. LeoS

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  7. pault

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    Very interesting post. It leads me to think as to whether the camera module contains proprietary DJI hardware or whether it is a plug and play component. If it is standard maybe it would be possible to swap it out for a better quality one. I have long thought there must be people out there who have had this thought because the potential market for an improved camera would be enormous. I personally have never seen the point in spending money on a gimbal when the camera is so poor but would happily pay a couple of hundred £'s for a camera that is as good as a modern point & shoot.

    The focusing procedure would not help my problem which is a soft image on one side. Maybe the sensor was not aligned perfectly. Anyway my replacement camera is being delivered this afternoon from new stock so we will see If DJI has improved it's QC.
     
  8. urgno

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    wow ... thats great !
    I had already thought to dismantle my camera and try to refocus it
    your post will help me for sure in the process ... thank you ;)
     
  9. Peter Evans

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  10. pault

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    Hi Peter, I have sent you a pm but it is still in my outbox
     
  11. FSJ Guy

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    I don't think that's really necessary. The reason my camera focused OK at less than 100' was more due to a focusing error versus a lens design.
     
  12. skyhighdiver

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    :D :D ty +1
     
  13. FSJ Guy

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    Here is a pixel peeping version:

    [​IMG]

    I'll let you decide which is the "before" and which is the "after" version. : D

    Here are links to the full size versions:

    http://bigscaryjeep.com/web/before.jpg

    http://bigscaryjeep.com/web/after.jpg

    As you can see, it makes a remarkable difference. Both photos did not have any lens corrections applied, but I did apply some moderate sharpening to both photos. Both photos were taken at approximately 50 meters AGL according to the GPS data.
     
  14. skyhighdiver

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    First let me say I chose #2 that camera is almost on the great side now

    You Said

    If I missed anything, please let me know. As always, comments welcome.[/quote]

    Found this on a new topic here may save a few steps
    looks like the camera ribbon just unsnaps so may be able to leave boards in just unscrew camera

    https://drive.google.com/folderview?id= ... sp=sharing


    Re: Lens defect in new P2V Camera

    Postby gfredrone » Wed Feb 05, 2014 11:45 pm




    iDrone wrote:
    Both your P2V #2 images are out all along on the left side. Flat field focus on your first P2V image is pretty tight. I would insist on them doing better than the replacement they gave you, or if you have both in your possession swap the camera & its board, very easy to do. Not sure how dealer or DJI feel about that, but that's up to you.

    iDrone

    I didn't pull the board but did something similar to what you suggested. The ribbon cable just slides in and out of the clamp on the sensor/lens board so I went that route.

    I swapped the sensor/lens from the good camera (P2V1) to the bad camera (P2V2). Testing in the house the FPV is very clear and the stills I took look good after the swap.

    The P2V1 with the bad gimbal gear and camera is going back to Amazon and I'm keeping P2V2 with the swapped sensor/lens. Win win for everyone in my opinion. Less shipping and lees RMA stuff to deal with.

    Here are some pics of the swap. Don't worry that's an anti-static towel. Keeps the wife from giving me static when working on the wood dining room table.

    https://drive.google.com/folderview?id= ... sp=sharing

    Now we just need someone to come out with a third party sensor/lens that is DSLR quality.gfredrone
     
  15. oukenfold

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    Excelent post FSJ guy, god info, will wait for someone can change the camara for a better one.
     
  16. FSJ Guy

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    Nice info on the ribbon cable!!! Good to know.
     
  17. gfredrone

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    Thanks and here is a tip for removal and reinsertion.

    Just pull it straight out to remove and push it straight back in to reinsert. There is no clamp to lift or anything. Be careful on reinsertion or you could break the ribbon connector on the board. They looked pretty flimsy so dont force it back in the slot. If it's lined up correctly it will slide back in with minimal force.
     
  18. gfredrone

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    I would leave the grey cover part with the rubber ring (front piece that surrounds the lens) off while testing. Once you find the sweet spot put the grey part back in the housing. This way you are not having to pull the complete housing apart each time while dialing it in.
     
  19. FSJ Guy

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    MAke sure those lenses will cover the sensor completely. They may be designed for a smaller sensor and you'll end up with severe vignetting (darkening of corners).

    www.m12lenses.com seems to have some lenses. No, I haven't tried any yet.
     
  20. FSJ Guy

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    Unless you put something to fix the lens in place, I found it was hard to re-install the camera and the front plate and not twist the lens. Have you discovered a way to reinstall the front ring without disturbing the lens? That would help immensely!