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P3-Pro 4K Camera Installed on P3-A

Discussion in 'Pro/Adv Discussion' started by AerialZ, Aug 6, 2016.

  1. AerialZ

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    I know I'm certainly not the first to make this swap, but there seems to be some interest in those owning a P3A that would like to upgrade the camera to 4K. I received the 4K camera in the mail today and completed the small project tonight in under an hour with several interruptions. This is a brief how-to for those interested in doing it themselves. I purchased the 4K Camera HERE

    20160805_181228.jpg
    Side by side...
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    The trick to removing the plastic pegs holding the gimbal on to the frame is to push the connector UP. Hold it up for a minute to expand the clips, then pull the tabs straight off...
    20160805_182910.jpg
    Starting with the side cable, carefully disconnect the two cables from the gimbal. They have small snap locks. Do not pull on the cables or you will most likely pull-out one of the wires. Follow the same procedure to reconnect the cables to the new camera. It's easier to connect the rear cable first to give you more room to work. Make sure both cables have all wires re-inserted to the clips to prevent issues. If you have an metal showing from the wires, they need to be pushed back in. Use caution as these wires are very thin. 20160805_183532.jpg
    The kit from DJI includes new rubber dampeners and clips if you choose to use them.
    20160805_185001.jpg
    Once installed, some are saying they needed to install FW on the AC. I did not have to. After firing everything up I initially had no signal so I started a reinstall of FW. The second time I started the RC & AC, it was recognized as a P3-Pro from the app.
    20160805_185756.jpg
    I recommend that you re-calibrate your IMU immediately before flight, then complete a LEVEL gimbal calibration, and a compass calibration. This should help keeping your P3 from Returning Home to China.

    This is a pretty simple swap and as stated, you instantly have a P3-Pro in impostor badging. All of the hardware necessary for the conversion is on-board the gimbal and should you need to update your FW, it will be recognized as a Pro. Doesn't get much easier than that.

    First test flight and impressions to follow.
    Happy Flying!
     
    #1 AerialZ, Aug 6, 2016
    Last edited: Aug 6, 2016
    Phantomic and Digdat0 like this.
  2. alokbhargava

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    Very well documented.

    Next step is to replace the stickers and the front label to golden.


    Sent from my iPhone using PhantomPilots
     
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  3. AerialZ

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    Thank you. I'm a little attached to the Silver though... Underdog. Or just mess with everyone and paint it blaze orange like an Autel. ;)
     
  4. Oso

    Oso

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    I read the thread title and at first thought to myself can this really be yet another person asking if it were possible? Your how-to was a very nice surprise, so I was glad to have looked. Maybe you can change the thread title to make it clear this is a how-to and not just a common question. Just a thought.

    Regarding your comment that a FW change to P3P is not required. My thoughts are that anyone doing this change would want to be sure that all of the different modules updated with each FW are all aligned. Also, unless I'm mistaken the P3P FW is required to enable the gimbal fan (not natively present on a P3A) to function once the P3P camera is installed. What are your thoughts on that?
     
  5. AerialZ

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    Point taken, but it will not allow me to edit the title on the post.

    I agree. I was expecting a need for a FW update when I placed the BIN back on the SD card that it would automatically update, however the AC did not go into FW update mode. I powered everything down and restarted again, at which point, the App recognized the AC as a Pro. The gimbal fan was turning on and off as expected. I would recommend that anyone doing this swap should plan on updating or reinstalling their FW routine. I've seen chatter that several people didn't need to do so and have been operating fine. The FW packages contain software for both P3's so I'm thinking that since the AC saw the BIN file, it recognized itself as a Pro now.
     
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  6. AerialZ

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    Let's talk about upgrade impressions.
    First-off, people are going to ask, "Why didn't you just buy a P3-Pro in the first place?"
    In my case, the Advanced was fine for what I needed when I purchased it having 2.7K res and the same 12MP still picture output (aerial still photography was what I was originally after.) I must add, I DID NOT realize that the Lightbridge downlink technology was limited on the P3-A. The marketing that I read made it seem that the only difference between the two Phantoms was 4K vs 2.7K video resolution and a smaller charger (which I've also already upgraded.) Somehow, I don't think I'm alone in those mistaken-ed assumptions.
    As time progressed and I added to my camera equipment, I found that I wanted 4K aerial video resolution, especially to match my Osmo. 4K gives me more creative freedom in post production, which has become a big deal. 4K DOES scale down better to 1080 no matter what your projects are. I didn't want to invest in another new Phantom as my next AC purchase is going to be something larger that can handle stronger winds better. So, my Advanced will soon become a back-up, or the go-to for tighter shooting locations til it's retired. This was a great upgrade option for me.

    Immediate observations in comparison...
    The higher rate video downlink is quite noticeable. I'm still noting the fluke that when you enter Picture mode, your display becomes lower resolution. But when switching to video mode, the difference is quite an upgrade from the standard P3-A experience. I've only shot a little test video and I was losing light tonight rather quickly at dusk. After resetting as many of my camera settings as possible, I took the AC up to altitude and saw that really annoying thing we all hate... the horizon tilt. $(^%*%^#!! I'll look into fixing that later. My Advanced camera had the same issue when new. Other than that PITA, I'm quite happy with the upgrade. The two major selling points to upgrading are obviously the 4K video resolution, and the better Lightbridge downlink providing much crisper video on your display.

    I shot this footage this evening after the installation and all of the calibrating/setting adjustments. Nothing spectacular. I was attempting to get some contrast in the diminishing light to see what this tiny sensor can do. We all know this is not a good low-light camera, but that was never the intention for it. This short video has a modest grading done during post. I'll continue to report back any issues or changes.

     
  7. Phantomic

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    Nice written how-to, especially with the photos and all. In my case i just couldn't get the plastic pegs to get loose, without using more force than i was willing to. I ended up with just cutting and replacing them. No problem because the new camera included two sets, and there was also the replacement set from the advanced camera.

    I changed the camera primarily for the increased preview bitrate, very nice to have when FPV flying with high (720p) resolution goggles. I've set the recording resolution back to 1080p since none of my equipment can handle it anyway, but it is nice to have the option for the future.
     
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