Welcome to PhantomPilots.com

Sign up for a weekly email of the latest drone news & information

Modified/Split Operator Remote

Discussion in 'Phantom 2 Discussion' started by RobertMfromLI, Aug 12, 2014.

  1. RobertMfromLI

    Joined:
    Aug 12, 2014
    Messages:
    180
    Likes Received:
    2
    Hi all,

    Maybe this will sound silly (or something already exists - but I've been unable to find it), but we are planning on trying to make a "split" control station for the Phantom II (with Zenmuse H3-3D gimbal). We have years of electronics and soldering experience (and two spare DJI remotes), so, that aspect isn't an issue...

    Our goals are to allow:

    Operator 1:
    * Main flight controls (up, down, left right, forward, back)

    Operator 2:
    * Rotate (L/R on axis), gimbal control

    The goal is of course more precise camera aiming while Operator 1 controls a flight path. I've seen this available on one of their high end pro setups (though, instead of copter rotate, it allows full camera pan and tilt).

    So... is there such a way of doing this with two remotes? Or is there a package that already does this? Or is this something that's entirely DYI (and if so, anyone else try this?)?

    Thanks,
    Rob

    PS: Here's our second flight in our current config, and you can see the times where a bit more exacting control would have come in handy (especially since the GoPro in wide angle creates a very distorted FPV - the tree at 12:29 was actually numerous feet away):

    [youtube]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=anGh69wjmAQ[/youtube]

    Our other plans include (ordered and on the way) wider landing gear and a forward extension for the gimbal (so it no longer catches the rotors when the gimbal/GoPro is pointing forward)
     
  2. N017RW

    Joined:
    May 2, 2014
    Messages:
    6,245
    Likes Received:
    1,614
    Location:
    Palm Beach Co.- FL
    The simplest thing coming to mind would be similar to a 'trainer' cord set-up which allows the two pots for the yaw and tilt to be electrically separated from the main controller by a cord. The existing pots would stay in place but inserting the cord will transfer the input to the remote pots.

    I'm sure you'll hear other methods like separate radio systems and other ideas so it will be interesting to see what is brought to the table.
     
  3. RobertMfromLI

    Joined:
    Aug 12, 2014
    Messages:
    180
    Likes Received:
    2
    Hi N017RW,

    So far, that's the direction we are leaning... hence the purchase of two spares to rip apart for the pots. Also want to replace the gimbal pot with something better/easier to control (haven't opened it yet, and not sure if it's a matter of the pot, or simply the tiny control lever).


    Very interested as well. :D

    Next up will be figuring out how to do dual batteries... which I do have some sort of an idea for. Two batteries will fit on a Phantom 1 dual battery mount, and the plug in harness (the one inside the machine) is easy to obtain as a part... I am considering wiring the batteries in parallel, and running the ID portion off one of them.
     
  4. OI Photography

    Joined:
    Sep 23, 2013
    Messages:
    5,542
    Likes Received:
    17
    Location:
    Clarksville, TN
    The dual-receiver method won't work on a P2 since it would require separate inputs for each channel, and that's been locked out with the P2's firmware. It's possible on a P1 or other NAZA-equipped aircraft.

    Getting more flight time out of a P2 will require a reduction in weight not an addition of batteries...the P2 w/a single batt and gimbal and FPV is already at or above the practical weight limit for a Phantom, and each factory battery is in the 400g range if I remember correctly.
     
  5. RobertMfromLI

    Joined:
    Aug 12, 2014
    Messages:
    180
    Likes Received:
    2
    Thanks OI Photography! :)
     
  6. riblit

    Joined:
    Mar 9, 2014
    Messages:
    118
    Likes Received:
    1
    Location:
    NSW, Australia.
    I'm sure I have read on a forum that it's possible to replace the P2 transmitter and receiver with the frsky taranis and one of the frsky receivers. If this is the case you could use two taranis transmitters with a buddy cord between them. It's possible to select which channels the slave has control over so the master TX could be set up to give gimbal and yaw control to the slave at the flick of a switch during the flight.
     
  7. Fyod

    Joined:
    May 21, 2014
    Messages:
    684
    Likes Received:
    61
    Location:
    Central EU
    See viewtopic.php?f=23&t=21998
    I'm sure it won't be hard to make a secondary connection to an external pot, let's say through a headphone jack, so you can unplug it.
    Yaw L/R shouldn't be hard either, I've done some measuring and found the input pins from yaw to transmitter. If you have experience with this sort of thing, it should be pretty easy for you.
    You could possibly even play around with resistors to make the yaw a bit more sensitive and "cinematically slow" than the oem stick is.
     
  8. N017RW

    Joined:
    May 2, 2014
    Messages:
    6,245
    Likes Received:
    1,614
    Location:
    Palm Beach Co.- FL
    Absolutely.

    Minimum modification, minimum cost.

    But since the OP said he has two Txs make one Master the other Aux.

    Plug the Aux. into Master and... Yaw, Tilt are [automatically] 'transferred' to Aux.
    Or use toggle switch(es) to transfer signals manually (not preferred as requires second step).

    Remove the cord and now Master performs as originally purchased.

    No internal a/c modifications and Master can be 'bound' / 're-bound' to another a/c as required.
     
  9. RobertMfromLI

    Joined:
    Aug 12, 2014
    Messages:
    180
    Likes Received:
    2
    Ummm... wow, so, if I am understanding you correctly, I can:
    (a) run single remote, single operator
    (b) plug in a cable, configure channels, and run multi-remote, two operators

    ?

    That sounds like the perfect solution which handles both the times we're doing something precise (and for professional reasons) and for when we're just having some fun.

    Thanks!!
     
  10. RobertMfromLI

    Joined:
    Aug 12, 2014
    Messages:
    180
    Likes Received:
    2
    Awesome! Especially the bold.
     
  11. RobertMfromLI

    Joined:
    Aug 12, 2014
    Messages:
    180
    Likes Received:
    2
    ...and...

    So, theoretically, I just jump off the existing connections, and run them to the pots on the 2nd controller via a cable? Means original remote retains all functionality, and "slave" can assume any functionality that I've jumpered a connection for?
     
  12. Fyod

    Joined:
    May 21, 2014
    Messages:
    684
    Likes Received:
    61
    Location:
    Central EU
    I didn't notice you had extra remotes. Here's what I would do:

    Yaw is 3 cables - VCC, analog data, ground
    Iirc, the voltage for analog data is 1.25V full left, 1.55V center (no movement), 1.85V full right.
    I would pull the 3 lines to a switch on Master so you can easily switch which one is inputting. The second switch position for Slave would physically lead to a connector between Master and Slave. The same would apply to camera tilt. This way you wouldn't even need batteries in Slave. Another possiblity would be to have batteries in Slave and only be switching the analog data (one wire yaw, one wire tilt).
    I would also take out the yaw stick springs in the Slave. This would allow you to carefully yaw and even leave the stick in that position. What I find hard on the OEM controller is keeping a slow yaw rate because you're concentrating on the video while constantly fighting the stick's spring. That and/or test ways to make the Slave yaw less sensitive and slower for filming.
    In case of emergency or anything, Master flips back to Master switch position and can do what he needs.
     
  13. RobertMfromLI

    Joined:
    Aug 12, 2014
    Messages:
    180
    Likes Received:
    2

    Perfect! That seems like it will do the trick!!! Thanks Fyod and everyone else, for your input and suggestions! I'll post some pics of the finished thing later.

    Best,
    Rob
     
  14. riblit

    Joined:
    Mar 9, 2014
    Messages:
    118
    Likes Received:
    1
    Location:
    NSW, Australia.
    There are lots of reasons why a simple extension of the pots is not used in a proper master/ slave RC tx setup. There is no way I would risk an aircraft to a system with so many points of failure.

    The Phantom controllers were not designed for this and are pretty crappy to start with.

    The safest and most versatile system is something that is purpose designed to allow master/slave operation.

    For a P2 I would use a Taranis Tx and 8XR receiver- it's a simple change and has been done before. You connect the S-Bus output of the 8XR to the NAZA. This gives you a more sensitive RX and the ability to send telemetery to the screen on the Taranis, things like battery voltage, GPS coords etc., you can read the CAN bus data and spit out the bits you want to see as frsky telemetry by adding another board to the multicoptor.

    Is far as the slave TX is concerned, it doesn't need to have a transmitter module. You can use a cheap Turnigy 9XR without a module.
    The communication between master and slave is a PPM signal - a 2 wire circuit that can be realised with a mono audio cable with a miniature phone plug on each end. Stereo cables also work.


    If you want slow the yaw for the camera operator you can add a custom curve to the yaw stick response on the slave so the camera operator has a slow yaw and the pilot a normal one.
     
  15. OI Photography

    Joined:
    Sep 23, 2013
    Messages:
    5,542
    Likes Received:
    17
    Location:
    Clarksville, TN
    :shock: That's a new one on me...got any info on that?

    The Taranis + Turnigy 9X combo is a very affordable way to get a quality buddy box system on your Phantom. However I'm suggesting the new X4R receiver in place of the larger X8R, which is often overkill for this application.
     
  16. Paul K

    Joined:
    May 23, 2013
    Messages:
    109
    Likes Received:
    0
    My modification for 2 operator option was replacing the potentiometer inside radio, instal it in separate shell and connected with cable(short one for clipping the pot to the radio ,for tilt control by pilot, or 6 ft cable for control by video person) ;this way the video person could navigate pilot and mean time control tilt of the camera for smoothest transition by watching monitor. Very important is to make detailed plan and synchronize craft and camera operators task.
     
  17. N017RW

    Joined:
    May 2, 2014
    Messages:
    6,245
    Likes Received:
    1,614
    Location:
    Palm Beach Co.- FL
    That's essentially what I said.
     
  18. N017RW

    Joined:
    May 2, 2014
    Messages:
    6,245
    Likes Received:
    1,614
    Location:
    Palm Beach Co.- FL
    If you have the skills and experience (as the OP has stated) it is very easy to complete these types of simple modifications to to this equipment. We're talking DC voltages only.

    Trainer cables for decades were a multi-condictor cable that plugged into Tx connectors and transferred with a momentary toggle switch. Despite the number of points of failure none of mine failed.
    Nowadays digital electronics can allow these setups with just a serial comm. cable.

    Your solution is also viable for the person with the desire to experiment, make internal changes to the a/c, or more importantly have the budget.

    My experience has been different with making such changes ,custom wiring harnesses, etc. But I do pay close attention to detail and workmanship,

    These type of mods are the basis of the whole 'maker' movement and Hack-labs that are popping up all over the place.
     
  19. riblit

    Joined:
    Mar 9, 2014
    Messages:
    118
    Likes Received:
    1
    Location:
    NSW, Australia.
    The X4R will work.

    There is lots of info on the CAN bus and decoding it on rcgroups.

    Here is a good place to start http://www.rcgroups.com/forums/showthread.php?t=2071772

    There is mention of various projects others are working on within the thread
     
  20. RobertMfromLI

    Joined:
    Aug 12, 2014
    Messages:
    180
    Likes Received:
    2


    Wow, riblit, the features alone make me really want to go the route you suggested. I expect sometime in the future, I WILL go that route, but unlikely for it to be today, or in the next month or two... I've spent a lot already, and need to hold off on other purchases.

    But, as N017RW says, these modifications are indeed simple for someone with the experience (IBM trained at board level repair, decades of experience) who also has the professional soldering and desoldering equipment needed, and an idea of what type of cable interconnects are the most reliable.

    SO... I think my first go at it will be by "combining" two DJI controllers with a disconnectable interconnect cable, and either (a) switch controlled control re-routing (to "slave") or (b) a tiny auto-detect circuit (which is also simplicity). I might lean to (b) since it's rather failsafe, in that if the connection between the two units is broken, full control returns to the main (powered and transmitting) unit.

    BUT... I will DEFINITELY be going the route you suggest in the not too distant future. I love the idea of being able to get info back, as well as the added capabilities that the TX/RX combo will easily allow (and easily allow programming for). It's on my list of "must get... as soon as I can justify the expense" right up there with retractable landing gear and such.

    Either way, I've got a bunch of other things I need to do to the copter this weekend. New, wider, carbon fiber landing gear, gimbal extension mount (moves the gimbal/camera forward), FPV transmitter swap, antenna changes, etc. AND, in the last week and half, besides those parts, I also bought two more batteries and a spare set of cf landing gear... (hence I need to stop... for now...) :cry:

    Then there's the list of things I would like to do, such as 3 or 4 camera video feed (very easy in theory, perhaps not so much without miniaturized board that will do a 4 cam grid like a 4 channel household DVT) - but I've found that the GoPro in wide angle doesn't offer the best FPV view for flying... but that project would just be for fun at a far off date.

    Anyways, I'm rambling at this point. Thanks again, everyone!
    Rob