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Phantom 2 FPV thoughts from a newby

Discussion in 'Phantom 2 Discussion' started by iowahill, Oct 19, 2015.

  1. iowahill

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    First, I'd like to express thanks to the folks who have posted many valuable tips and how-to's on this and other forums that have allowed me to get on the fast track to enjoying my new P2. Notably, the folks from oz seem to be particularly prolific on the subject since they , like us in the States, share less prohibitive government restrictions on use of airways and frequencies.

    I've been working toward the incorporation of FPV for my Phantom 2 with Zenmuse H43D gimbal and Hero 3+ Black camera for almost two months and can say with all honesty that everything has gone fairly easy and very workable, save for blowing a Boscam 832 transmitter while bench testing without an antenna. I highly discourage everyone else from power testing their video transmitter (despite make or model) without an antenna attached. The transmitter will certainly blow itself up with much heat and fire!

    My P2 came with the updated controller/transmitter, and the second version of the Zenmuse mount which DID NOT have the Hero 30-pin bus connector on it. This connector plus into the back of a Hero 3 or 4 series camera when you mount the camera onto the gimbal and allows power to the camera and video/audio from it to travel back to the Phantom's CAM bus so that you can dispose of using the micro USB connector or the battery in the Hero3, thus not only shedding precious weight but also make removal and installation of the SD memory chip in the camera easy and unobstructed.

    I bought an upgrade kit on Amazon.com for about $15 US that makes the Zenmuse mount equivalent to the earlier versions that incorporated the Hero bus connector. Seems that DJI didn't want to pay royalties to Hero for using the bus option, so just didn't ship the later mounts with the connector. But I LOVE the addition of the after-market upgrade kit, especially since my refurbished Hero3+ Black camera was missing the internals of the mini USB connector on the camera body!

    As mentioned above, I managed to blow up the first Boscam 832 while bench testing because I didn't have the antenna connected. Wish they had a little note enclosed in the packaging that warned about this, but they probably end up selling at least two for each customer who doesn't know any better! Disgusted, I bought the more expensive, but highly rated Immersion/Fat Shark 5.8 Ghz 600mw transmitter with their right hand circular polarized (RHCP) antennas for the drone and receiver sides. Only issue is that the Black Pearl receiver only sees the video feed on one of it's 32 channels, so no diversity mode.

    So, one valuable video on YouTube showed how to install the iOSD Mini on-screen display in the P2, and to move the CAM port inside of the main body for a cleaner and more functional appearance. I was going to use the Boscam 832 600mw video transmitter at first, so bought the plug-and-play connectors and Immersion/FatShark RHCP antennas to interface with my Black Pearl 2 channel monitor. The FatShark antenna come with a male SMA connector which DOES NOT mate up to the Black Pearl unless you buy the SMA-RP 90-degree adaptors for the proper match. This was part of my learning curve that added to the delay of finally getting a working system. Once all was installed, I now had/have full video feed with overlayed flight and system status reading on the monitor.

    I ordered a mount from England that allows mounting the Black Pearl receiver firmly onto the DJI transmitter, but it hasn't arrived yet. But my girlfriend and I spent three weeks at her place in Las Vegas where I took my UAV setup (absolutely no questions or problems clearing TSA check-in) since I had everything in an airplane-friendly carry-on case from GPC. Funny that you have to take your laptop out of the case and put it into a separate tray for x-ray, but the GPC case loaded with the P2, Black Pearl, chargers, batteries, etc goes through completely unchallenged! Las Vegas is ALSO home to Drones Plus; dealer and walk-in repair center for DJI products. I visited the store on South Decatur with hope of buying replacement decals for my P2 which were coming loose after several removals of the body shell halves while installing my FPV mods. The kind folks there GAVE me a set free of charge! I also got to see the newest DJI Inspire versions, ranging from around $3000 to almost $8000. Nice to wish for, but I really couldn't be much happier than I am now with my pimped-out Phantom2 with Zenmuse H43D gimbal and FPV!

    So, with a couple of hours flying time under my belt, I took the kit with a tripod stand to mount the Black Pearl monitor on to Las Vegas for our three week stay. All works as advertised, though I found the video feed to occasionally break up, possibly because of obstructions or antenna alignment. The Hero 3 was set for one-button operation to allow capture at 2900 as soon as power from the P2 comes up. Pure HD video is captured on the 32 Gig micro SD card on the camera, and video is then sent to the iOSD module, then funneled to the Fat Shark video transmitter.

    The Zenmuse H43D mount did an excellent job of maintaining perfect horizontal alignment despite a few flights that were breezy, causing the bird to wobble some. The main issue I was having was inability to see the screen of the Black Pearl at certain times because of glare from the sun. I'm really leaning toward getting some compatible goggles for my setup since I really want to fly the bird fully immersed.

    Upon getting back home from Vegas I ordered another Boscam 832, mainly because I should be able to run in diversity mode with the Black Pearl, and the Boscam allows selection of one of 32 channels, thus allowing choice of possibly better frequencies which I can't do with the fixed frequency of the present Immersion/Fat Shark transmitter. I have the transmitters set up with Velcro, so swapping between them as an A/B test should be easy. I'll post an update once I try them out. I might even have my FPV goggles by then, so I can fly immersivly, and visitors can watch the action on the Black Pearl. I found a portable DVR that will record the real-time video from the Black Pearl for under $50, so that will likely be another purchase that will enable me to record and play back video in the event of a fly-away or failure, thus enhancing my chances for a recovery of the P2.

    This has gotten to be long winded, but I want to share my experiences so far with others who are equally intrigued with FPV on their birds. If you would like to have a list of the items and links to the resources that I've used, let me know and I'll post them here. Happy flying, and please respect the space of others around you when flying yours
     
  2. Olusegun Adeniji

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    Why not just buy a Phantom 3, would have saved a whole lot of hassles
     
  3. iowahill

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    The P2 with Zenmuse bundle was a gift from my girlfriend, but after reading about some of the problems reported by users of P3's (especially fractures around the motor mounts), I think I'm doing fine with my P2 for now. The Inspires are intriguing, but I can't help but think another major innovation is on the near horizon.
     
  4. kenjancef

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    What exact upgrade kit did you get for the GoPro/Zenmuse? I have the same setup as you, except I have the ImmersionRC 600mw and Black pearl 7-channel. I wouldn't mind having the GoPro attach by the bus connector, as like you said, it's easier to remove the SD card.

    Thanks! And glad you're having fun!
     
  5. iowahill

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    Hi Ken. I bought the upgrade kit on Amazon.com and got it in two days as I'm a Prime member. Here's the link:
    [​IMG]
    FPV Upgrade Back-insert AV Output Connector for DJI Zenmuse H3-3D 3-Axis Gimbal Part56 Gopro Hero 3 3+
     
  6. jason

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    While that 30 pin connector can be used on a GoPro 3 & 3+ it will not work on any of the Hero 4's. You also stated that using the 30 pin connector would reduce weight it does just the opposite but I do agree that it is more convenient then the USB connector.
     
  7. iowahill

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    The weight savings is from not having a battery in the H3. Every gram shed is a bit more flying time.
     
  8. jason

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    Don't waste you money on that 30 pin connector as it will not work on your camera. The Chinese are good at using designs patents without permission or paying the patent holder for it's use. That is what happened with zenmuse H3-3D gimbal they got caught with their hand in the cookie jar so to speak and GoPro changed the pin configuration on the hero 4 line of cameras.
     
  9. jason

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    Sure you can do that but you also cause an imbalance for the gimbal as the it designed around a fully loaded camera.
     
  10. kenjancef

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    yea, I realized (and missed) that he has a Hero 3. Guess I'll stick with what I have for now...
     
  11. iowahill

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    I have had no problems with regard to balance issues. Over 15 hours of video, some shot in windy conditions with rock-solid stability from the Zenmuse H43D. Your mileage may vary, but I've used guidelines and suggestions from other Phantom users and Youtube to achieve my goals. My thanks are to all those who have posted helpful critique.
     
  12. AndreGtable

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    I purchased a connector like that and it functions great. The only problem is it didn't come with a bracket to screw it in so i just superglued it. I could upload a video probing that it works if you would like. Payed 12$ free shipping
     
  13. jason

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    So you're telling me you own a GoPro Hero 4 camera and have it connected to a 30 pin connector. Is that correct? If so send me the complete serial number (should be a total of 15 numbers & characters) which you will find in the battery compartment.
     
  14. AndreGtable

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    No sorry i have a hero 3+ Black

    I thought you were saying the 30pin doesn't work in general.
     
  15. iowahill

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    The Youtube video that I watched showed taking the original blocking plate off, then turning it around to serve as a means to secure the connector. The two threaded "legs" extend toward the rear which looks kind of odd, but it works. Note that the kit includes two longer screws which are needed to secure the original blocking plate. I'll see if I can find that link on Youtube and post here.
     
  16. AndreGtable

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    Flipping the plate doesn't work because the gopro sticks out a bit from the extra lip.
     
  17. iowahill

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    I had no problem with mine, but everyone's mileage varies.
     
  18. iowahill

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  19. AndreGtable

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    It's funny i was just looking at my old posts and found this amazing thing is that now i have a hero 4 black and it actually does work as long as the camera is recording. I have a video but i'm in Switzerland right now so my upload speed is terrible. I can guarantee it works
     
  20. jason

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    I just sent this Teslar on the same subject.

    I've seen the thread about using the LCD bac-pac and the handshake. I do have an older LCD bac-pac and tried it and it still doesn't work. But I'm not about to spend $79 bucks for new touch screen bac-pac just to use the 30 pin connector. It's not a big deal whether to modify the gimbal or not the ribbon works fine and you still have to use the mounting bracket or rubber band to hold the camera.I've seen the thread about using the LCD bac-pac and the handshake. I do have an older LCD bac-pac and tried it and it still doesn't work. But I'm not about to spend $79 bucks for new touch screen bac-pac just to use the 30 pin connector. It's not a big deal whether to modify the gimbal or not the ribbon works fine and you still have to use the mounting bracket or rubber band to hold the camera.

    In other words not going to make a mountain out of a mole hill.