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TK102 Tracker : Internal fitting mod

Discussion in 'Phantom 2 Mods' started by Jaybee, Mar 5, 2014.

  1. Jaybee

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    Disclaimer

    This is a tricky mod and most definitely NOT a walk in the park. It requires lots of time and patience and making modifications to your Phantom’s shell. If you are not comfortable with things like this, don’t do it and leave the tracker fitted externally. There is always going to be some risk doing things like this, so please be sure you understand this if you want to proceed. If you mess up, take your time and think things through. If you want to stop and ask a question I’m happy to try and help you out, so stop where you are and post below if you need to. Lastly, I take no responsibility for anyone’s actions / consequences. I am simply detailing the processes I went through. If you want to use this to help you do a similar mod, go ahead but it’s obviously at your own risk : )

    Tool List:

    • – Large flat head screwdriver
      – Small flat head screwdriver
      – Hex screwdriver (2.0 size)
      – Crosshead screwdriver (000 size)
      – Multitool such as a Dremel with a circular cutting blade and small drill bit.
      – Sharp craft knife
      – Masking tape
      – 2x small elastic bands
      – Vacuum cleaner (optional)
      – Patience (not optional)
      – Time (not optional)

    (A) Disassemble the TK102

    [​IMG]

    1) Remove the cover to reveal the battery compartment.

    2) Remove the battery and sim card.

    3) Locate the screw and remove it (this is usually hidden underneath a little circular sticker with Chinese text on it next to the sim holder).

    4) With a small flat headed screwdriver gently lift up and remove the inner plastic housing to reveal the circuit board.

    5) Prise off the curved plastic part from the top of the unit. You'll probably be best off using a flathead screwdriver and will have to apply some force here. Mine snapped in half and fell off cleanly. Generally be very careful with this as the curved plastic covers the GSM antenna which you will need to keep intact.

    6) Gently create a hole large enough to be allow you to slide the antenna strip free. You could use some snips here, I chose to slowly pick away a hole with a sharp blade, then gently folded the antenna strip lengthways so it could slide through without dislodging the attached thin red wire. Take your time and watch your fingers — you will need those ; )

    (B) Disassemble the Phantom

    [​IMG]

    1) This is the easy part. First flip your Phantom over and rest it on a soft surface.

    2) Next, remove the landing skids. There are two crosshead screws for each. Probably a good idea to snap a quick photo here in case you need to remember the exact location of all the cables etc. for when you reach stage H later.

    3) Gently slide all the cables through the holes to free the skids. Put them to one side out of the way.

    4) You now need to remove the top half of the Phantom. With it still upside down, remove the three hex nuts from each arm (these surround the LED windows) but make sure you leave the four nuts which hold the motors in place for now. Finally unscrew the tiny crosshead screws which are at the top of the arms, just in front of the motors.

    5) Flip the Phantom over and gently lift the top half, just a little, then unplug the GPS plug from the main board to free the lid completely. Put this to one side out of the way.

    (C) Remove the Phantom’s guts

    [​IMG]

    1) I won’t go into to much detail here as this is a lengthy procedure. The best thing to do is watch a few videos. Here is a good one http://youtu.be/A0QQctngzSg

    The guy is doing a P1 to P2 shell conversion but the majority of what he is showing will apply for this mod. The key differences are a P2 / Vision will have a fixed power plug assembly and a different USB socket to disassemble. The guy in the linked video had replaced his stock RX with an aftermarket system, if you have too, you will already know how to remove it. If not, just remove the stock RX board prior to the last step, the power plug assembly.

    For reference, the image above shows the locations of the screws you'll need to remove.

    The power plug thing is a little tricky, here’s what I did:

    Once you have removed all the screws + nuts (and motor nuts) which hold all the guts in place, you will not be able to remove everything fully until you release the power plug assembly by removing it's two screws. Essentially the red/black power leads are a tight fit and therefor will not be allowing much movement here, so you’ll need to gently move the main board into a position which allows you to access the two screws which hold the power plug assembly in place. Take your time and don’t force anything, there will be a way with a long screwdriver but just be mindful to try and keep the motors and boards from falling around. Also be aware that you can only do this when everything, including the motors, are loose/free. This will make more sense when you are actually doing the procedure.

    Once the two power plug assembly screws are out, carefully thread all the wires (compass, gimbal etc.) up through the lower shell. Then you can gingerly remove all the guts as best you can, and put them somewhere safe well out of the way. Do not let the motors get twisted.

    (D) Modify the inside of the shell

    Nb. This procedure is very tricky and needs much care as you can seriously injure your self. Please be careful!

    1) You need to remove enough of the plastic ribs on the left hand side (with the battery opening facing towards you) to create a good space to house the tracker. I used a Dremel style multitool. It’s not easy to fully access these plastic ribs with a device like this so don’t be tempted to go mad with the cutter -- try to work out a way to do what you can. I opted to first slice inwards with the lower shell positioned with the battery access hole to the right and USB hole on the left.

    – I carefully sliced into the ribs a few times to remove as much plastic as I could without doing any damage to the inside if the shell. Seriously, if you are using a multi tool please be extremely careful and don’t put your hands at risk either. Just take baby steps.

    – Once I was satisfied I couldn’t use the cutter any more, I then switched out to a small drill bit. Nb. before changing bits remember to fully unplug your multitool from the mains / remove the battery if cordless. Standard practice for things that can damage your maulers!

    – I then slowly used the drill bit to carve away more of the plastic. You can get it all out, again just take your time and be very careful not to hack away at anything important like the battery wall, and the poles for holding in the main board. Take a look at the before and after images to get a good idea how much plastic you will need to get rid of to create sufficient space.

    [​IMG]

    – A useful tip; have a vacuum cleaner on standby to get rid of the shrapnel as you go, it keeps your workspace nice and tidy.

    If you do not have a multitool, or do not want to use one — you will have to somehow remove this plastic with a knife. Once again exercise extreme caution as you can easily injure yourself. Please be careful either way. I told you this was a tricky step!

    Once you’re done, get all the bits of plastic out. A vacuum cleaner is the best bet here. Failing that, just blow and brush it all out.

    [​IMG]

    (E) Preparing the tracker and shell for access

    If you are going down this road you will have to permanently leave the battery attached to the TK, unless you plan on opening up your Phantom each time the battery needs charging ; ) There are a couple of options for charging the TK102 once it’s installed internally:

    [​IMG]

    Option 1: NIELS, who inspired my mod (info here), soldered a lead / plug to his TK board to allow battery charging with an external charger.

    Option 2: I decided to utilise the USB / data socket which is already on the TK’s board to allow me to charge the battery when needed. The USB lead you get with the device will charge the battery fine, Just to be certain I’ve tested the battery with a multimeter before / after plugging-in, so you're good.

    Either way you need to cable tie the battery onto the TK’s board. I did this laterally to firmly keep the battery in place, with it’s contacts firmly pressed onto the board's connection point. In case of any vertical movement I added a small elastic band vertically to ensure everything stays in place. In order to provide access to the USB / data socket, and the on/off switch, I positioned the unit as pictured. A slight concern was the GPS component was facing inwards, but it seems to be working fine so far, GPS signals work fine through plastic.

    1) If you choose to use my method, you will need to drill a small hole on the underside of the phantom which lines up with the on/off switch so you can power up/down the tracker with a paper clip. Take your time to get the positioning right. Drill from the inside of the shell (from the top) using the lowest speed setting on your multi tool. Add some masking tape to the plastic to prevent drill bit slippage. Be careful not to; a) drill into your hand, b) drill into the battery wall / poles etc. If you’re not using a multitool, you’ll need to work out a way to punch a small hole through. I would definitely not recommend using a power drill.

    [​IMG]

    2) You will also need to make a slot to enable plugging in the USB lead to charge the TK. Now this is where I had to make a compromise. Essentially the positioning of the unit meant the slot I created was just underneath where the H3-2D bracket is bolted on, as you can see above. Ultimately this means I will have to remove three of the bracket's screws and twist it out of the way (or remove it completely) when I need to charge the TK. It's not ideal but I’m okay with this as the battery lasts for quite a while especially as the unit is off most of the time. I tried to change the orientation of the TK to avoid this issue, but found it just didn’t fit snugly. There may be a way for you to try and get this to work, up to you if you want to play around but I ran into issues. You could always go for NIELS method and make a custom plug, fitting it somewhere easier to access.

    (F) Installing the tracker

    [​IMG]

    Once you have ironed out the details above and are happy everything fits well you can do the final tracker install.

    A few things to be sure of before continuing:

    – Make sure the tracker is not sticking up higher than the two poles for the main board. I had a few mm spare and if you’ve carved out a similar space you should too. In the final install I wedged in some tough foam to make sure the tracker doesn’t move upwards when I plug in the USB lead.

    – Also make sure you have enough space going on near the pole closest to the battery compartment hole. The reason for this is that the red/black power leads need some of this room, they are a bit of a tight fit.

    [​IMG]

    I used another small elastic band to strap the unit in, wrapping this around the TK and two poles.

    Finally I placed the GSM antennae to the side of the inside of the Phantom as pictured. The plastic was still sticky enough to hold it in place. All good.

    (G) Reinstall the Phantom’s guts

    Again, the video linked above will help you work this out. Only difference is that the guy puts his guts on top etc. You have to transfer it over in your own way. I used a cutting mat to hold all the guts, which I slid out bit-by-bit.

    [​IMG]

    Carefully reinstall the parts in the reverse order you removed them, i.e,

    • – Battery plug assembly
      – RX board
      – USB plug
      – Main board
      – Motor / LED boards
      – Motors

    The tricky bit here will be the battery plug assembly. With the TK in place things get even tighter than before. Just take your time and make sure no leads are being pulled too tight etc. before you re-screw the two screws which hold the plug assembly in place.

    I actually found when I screwed the board back in place it pushed my TK unit forward a touch (towards the Phantom’s USB socket). This was down to the negative (black) lead pushing on one of the cable tie blocks. No major drama, but the TK charge slot I had made needed widening with a scalpel. With hindsight I probably should have made the slot 1.5x / 2x larger than it needed to be to ensure any play wouldn’t cause any issues getting the plug in-and-out.

    (H) Reassemble the Phantom

    Again this is just a reverse procedure. Get all your leads through the right holes, then secure the top half of the shell in place before finally reattaching the landing skids. Finally reinstall your gimbal.

    (I) Test everything (indoors first)

    1) Run though basic motor testing, starting up, powering down to make sure all is as expected. Check motors run in the right direction.

    2) Test the TK. Make sure your modification work has allowed you to switch it on/off easily. Check the USB socket works — you can do this by simply plugging it into your Mac / PC. The computer should recognise that a device is plugged in, much like a memory stick, external hard drive etc. If nothing is picking up, you may have a connection issue with the lead. If you do have a good connection, charging will be taking place while plugged up to a computer / laptop.

    3) Plug the Phantom into a computer / laptop and check all looks as it should in the assistant app. The usual stuff, IMU etc. I'd recommend checking everything.

    4) Flight test. Definitely do a compass calibration and make sure the craft is flying as expected, the usual drill before you go off and try and nail that 5050m record ; )

    Conclusion

    I tested my P2 today after the mod and all is good so far. It’s really cool to have the tracker permanently installed internally. I tested it before the flights and it located to within a few meters, so all is working. I also tested RTH and FOC, all fine.

    After two flights (2 batteries) and around 40-60 mins of use, the tracker had 75% battery left. So it looks like it will need charging every 4 sessions in terms of my usage.



    Hope this is helpful if you're planning to attempt a similar modification.

    Feel free to post questions and I'll do my best to help.

    If you do this mod, left us all know how it went and if you did anything differently so others can yield the knowledge : )

    Cheers to NIELS and goldfishrock for their info.

    :cool:
     
  2. goldfishrock

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    Excellent guide. Thanks for taking the time to put that together Jaybee
     
  3. Kanzi

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    Very interesting Jaybee, thank you! I'm trying to fit a TK102 to my Vision, but it works on 2G, whereas the major telco signals here (Aus) are 3g and 4g, with no trackers made for them, that I have been able to find. 2G works, but only when I go much closer to the tower. So I've thought about removing that GSM antenna and installing a larger antenna on the top of the Vision. If I pulled off that plastic and connected up those wires to a better antenna, am I missing something or could that work?

    Thanks for any help ;)
     
  4. Jaybee

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    hmmm, I don't think simply replacing the antenna will solve this for you.

    Perhaps look into getting a 3G tracker like this: http://www.alibaba.com/product-detail/N ... 42602.html
     
  5. xgeek

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    Really great how to. Would love to try it myself but my TK102B does not turn on and off, so will need to leave mine outside so I can access the battery.

    Well done.
     
  6. NEILS

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    Very well done on the mod and instructions, that is way better than the way I installed mine, I can see me opening it up again to change to the way you've done it :D
     
  7. Jaybee

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    Cheers man! I'm already considering opening it up again to sort the power plug situation out...

    What is wrong with us?! Just...can't... stop... tinkering :lol:
     
  8. Jaybee

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    Quick update.

    I've got an annoying issue with the tracker. Basically it seems to 'wake-up' every 6-12 or so hours. I know this because if I move the Phantom from rest after a time (first noticed overnight), the green light starts flashing on the TK. This is despite having switched it off by holding the on/off switch for a few seconds. When it's off it's like when a mobile is off, you cannot call / text it etc.

    I've got it set to 'sleep shock' so what looks like is happening is the unit seems to wake itself (after several hours, 6-12 I think) and go into the sleep shock state, waking up again when I move it.

    There's a setting on the TK to get it to wake at certain times. It's off by default but I've sent a noschedule SMS to be sure, this didn't help. This waking stuff must be baked into the software either intentionally or it's a bug.

    The repercussions of this are that unless you continually keep turning it off it will use the battery unnecessarily (to stay listening for GSM signals) and after a few days will be flat.

    I really need a way to be able to somehow disconnect the battery when not using it. This is now tricky as it's fitted internally meaning the battery is permanently connected.

    Anyone else experienced this and have any ideas how we could work around this?
     
  9. saltire

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    Great job thanks for posting .Im sure in the not too distant future that smaller decives will come available but untill then this looks like a good option .
     
  10. Jaybee

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    UPDATE

    After more monitoring I can say with certainty that the tracker I’ve got (Rewire Security model) wakes every 8 hours, still no idea why.

    I’ve come up with a possible solution…

    You can send a ‘Deep Sleep / Start Work’ command to the tracker to put all radios and motion sensors on full standby via it's firmware. You can schedule the device to wake from this deep sleep state in n. days at n. time, the example they give in the manual is; daily, or weekly.

    So I’m testing this feature out to see if the deep sleep state can stop the device from waking every 8 hours.

    This is the command: schedulePASSWORD 7 12:00

    i.e, "go into deep sleep for 7 days and wake at 12:00 on the 7th day” (PASSWORD = your password).

    If this works, it should stop the unnecessary battery draining. Then whenever I fly, I can simply manually switch the tracker on via the on/off button, then send a noschedulePASSWORD command to take it out of deep sleep.

    Will check in the morning to make sure it hasn't disobeyed me :ugeek:.

    UPDATE

    So far so good, 14hrs in and the tracker is still in deep sleep.
     
  11. MonsieurAnon

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    Out of curiosity, have any of you come across a radio based GPS tracker? IE one that doesn't need a sim-card, just a radio receiver in the pilots pocket?
     
  12. ussvertigo

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    Hope you have the issue resolved. If I tackle this mod, I may also include a micro switch for the battery lead, possibly accessible when the P2 battery is out so its not too obvious. Will monitor your results to see if needed. thanks
     
  13. Jaybee

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    Yes it's sorted, scheduling the tracker when not in use kills all it's radios completely and saves the battery.

    It's actually an incredibly robust way to turn it off. When you turn it back on (while it's in schedule mode) it will turn itself back off within 2 mins and is 'unwakeable' without physically switching it on again.

    Whenever I fly, I switch it on, then immediately send an sms to disable the schedule (noschedulePASSWORD), then it gets back to it's usual tracking duties. Always good to test it by calling at this point, the resulting sms will also let you know the battery status. I find it's usually always got 100% battery after a period of non-use and I'll charge it when I notice it has around 50%. Will probably power drain cycle this from time to time as it's a LiPo.

    This system is working well :)
     
  14. UKKey

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    Seems like a fair amount of fannying around though. Can't you just power it up and down with the switch like others who have mounted externally do? Or is it a variant of the TK you have that seems different to others?
     
  15. Jaybee

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    If you read back to my previous posts on this thread you'll see why just turning it off via the switch doesn't work well (for my Rewire TK102 tracker at least)... in short, the only other way to prevent the thing's battery draining while dormant is to disconnect the battery which is not possible with the method I used to install it.

    btw. sending a single sms is hardly fannying about ;)
     
  16. UKKey

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    Hoping when my TK arrives next week it's a regular one that operates as it should ;)

    Nice internal mod though. Appreciated.
     
  17. Jaybee

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    Cheers.

    It operates absolutely fine in every respect, but the '8hr wake glitch' is odd and undocumented. As to being a regular one, potentially, they all do this as I'm guessing the firmware will be pretty standard across all the TK systems. Can't say for sure as no one else has had anything to say about it yet.

    Obviously if you're using your tracker externally, just disconnect / remove it when not in use.
     
  18. twodips

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    May I ask where you got the call if found sticker? Thanks...
     
  19. Jaybee

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    Sure, I made it.
     
  20. UKKey

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    Just an update Jay. Got my TK102B - it happily turns off and stays off. I'm going to follow your excellent write up when I get a few days free (and a Dremel!) and install it inside.

    £25 from eBay. I'm wondering if you flashed yours with TK102B firmware if it would solve your sleep issue?