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Replaced my GPS antenna...

Discussion in 'Phantom 2 Vision + Discussion' started by Sandman1962, Dec 31, 2014.

  1. Sandman1962

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    This has been posted before, but I wanted to share a little mod success...
    I ordered the 4 mm gps antenna from digikey and performed the antenna exchange as described elsewhere on the forum.

    I got between 4 and 7 satellites inside my house on my kitchen table!
    I brought it outside briefly in the freezing cold and quickly got 6-8 satellites.

    In conjunction with the copper shield mod, I did not see any drop in satellites while filming on the ground.

    Anyways, I wanted to share and encourage anyone who might be so inclined to change the antenna that I had success.

    Happy New Year!
     
  2. phenom3030

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    Thats awesome, and great to hear! I'll be undertaking that mod in the next few days myself. Have any tips or tricks to share?
     
  3. Sandman1962

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    Hmmmmm....

    First of all, as you might already know, the antenna is affixed to the circular PCB with adhesive tape and a solder point.
    I worked the perimeter of the antenna with a thin x-acto blade between it and the PCB. After that, I used dental floss and worked that a bit to circumferentially free the antenna around the solder point. While using the dental floss to gently pull the antenna away from the PCB, I melted the solder and the antenna eventually separated.

    Other than that... I then took the time to more fully shield the GPS cable such that there were no unprotected spots.

    I'd say taking your time, it should take 30 minutes, with the majority of time committed to removing the original antenna.

    I'm anxious to fly now!

    Good luck!
     
  4. justin00

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    Thanks heaps for posting up :)

    I ordered some of those antennas on tuesday.. will take 2 weeks to get to Australia I imagine :(

    I get 0 satts in my house, so if I get more than 0 with the new antenna that will be a great result. I don't use it inside the house obviously, but for testing results it would mean its working nicely.

    BTW I ordered a few of these antenna's.. So if any body in Australia wants one let me know. It will cost $10 including shipping.
     
  5. Sandman1962

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    I'll report my results of my next outing and let you know !

    Flying indoors would be a trick! Though before the antenna change, I'd get zero satellites inside!

    I'm just hoping that this small upgrade will be cheap insurance against some badness.
    Plus once you start modding...
     
  6. justin00

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    Have a question for you.. Does it matter which way the antenna is installed ? I know its square, but does it matter which way round it is ?

    Thanks :)
     
  7. robinb

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    Which part number did you order from where ?
     
  8. justin00

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  9. Sandman1962

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    I have read it makes no difference, and in fact, I had to rotate the antenna a bit to clear the mounting screw holes for the PCB board. This makes total sense to me, eg your phone GPS works fine regardless of the orientation you hold it in.

    I'm still anxious to try it out!
     
  10. robinb

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    Thanks

    I did see some cirocomm ones on ebay had part number 585, same dimensions but not sure of spec.
    Shipping is a bit high at 34 dollars for something so small and light.
     
  11. Sandman1962

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    Ok! I just flew for a bit....
    I'm happy to report similar results to those found in other threads....

    First of all, satellite capture is very fast. Thirty seconds to satellite capture versus two minutes..
    The first satellite count was 8 (vs 4)
    Flying up to 70 feet, the count ranged from 7-12 with the average about 9. This really is about three more satellites than before the antenna change.
    And zero loss of satellite count while videoing.

    Before, I worried about the satellite count. Now with the antenna change and the thorough copper shielding modifications, I feel much more secure (and in the air faster!)

    If you have a satellite count problem, and lose satellites while videoing, I recommend these two mods.
     
  12. burlbark

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    Please examine the antennas thoroughly before mounting. I had a whole order of them damaged by improper packing. Dont force the pin through the board, use copper wick to remove solder restrictions. Use the double sided tape on the upgraded antennas. Here is a failed antenna from that order.

    It is not always easy to see the failure and it may only show up after the antenna thermally contracts. Microscopic cracks around the reception area and lead pin are not visible.

    This problem will cause intermittent issues that can be difficult to narrow down.
     

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  13. MapMaker53

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    Thanks for the photo, but is there anything there that we can see that would tip someone off that it's a bad antenna? Even zoomed in I can't see any cracks on this one -- so was that your point? Basically, just seems luck of the draw if you can't see anything wrong before installing.
     
  14. hunch

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    If you don't see anything wrong on the picture
    That burlbark posted then you need your eyes checked or
    Get yourself a much bigger monitor. :)
     
  15. Sandman1962

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    The pictured antenna shows a mushroom shaped protuberance. This should be flush against the antenna.
    The pin, which is soldered to the PCB is on the opposite side. I gather the pin pushed through the antenna, breaking the contact material with the ceramic. Forming a little mushroom. If you've not seen the antenna, it's easy to assume that this is the pin that is soldered into place, but it's actually on the other side.
     
  16. burlbark

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    If you mounted one up that looked like that consider it prone to loss of GPS intermittently. You can certainly push the pin back down but the radiating pattern and reception area are already compromised. You could try scraping away....oh never mind if it looks like this throw it away. :idea:
     
  17. MapMaker53

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    Got it. Didn't know that pin wasn't supposed to stick up like that. I just ordered one.
    Thanks!
     
  18. justin00

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    Lol sorry can someone please circle the damaged bit ?

    I ordered 5 of them, so hopefully if 1 is damaged it damaged in some way it will look ever so slightly diff to the other 4... hopefully :]
     
  19. phenom3030

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    Inside the yellow circle, the "pin" should not be detached as it is. It should be flat against the body.
     

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  20. justin00

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    Ah ok thanks for that.
    Yeah comparring that against pics of the internet it does look significantly deformed.