IRIS upgrade project

In order to satisfy my bloodlust for the Inspire 1, at least temporarily, I've decided to try and maximize the performance of my IRIS+ w/ Tarot 2D and GoPro, especially for video and photo. I have the following upgrades to make and thought it might be useful to post the process and results here as I go.

  • GPS/Compass: install a Ublox GPS + Compass Module with mast as a new primary GPS, retaining the existing internal GPS as a secondary source. I'll have a very similar mount to this. My current model is the + upgrade kit on the original IRIS, with the original covers and configuration.
  • GoPro lens filters: I'll test all three of the filters here. I have high hopes for these, although I might need to make some adjustments for the filters to fit all the way on the lens despite the blue Tarot bracket. I'm especially excited to see if I can get some decent nighttime shots with my basic GoPro.
  • FPV: The hit-or-miss aspect of flying photos and video without FPV and trying to frame shots at a distance with little depth perception is a fun and useful learning experience, but at this point I'd like more reliable outcomes. There's a very reasonable looking kit from Helipal here. With a splitter I'll power it off the gimbal power source exactly like the LiveView system does.
  • Gimbal Dampers: I've read that the Tarot rubber dampers on the 2D gimbal are not ideal, so I'll try a couple stiffer replacements, especially with the added filter weight and FPV cables.

The idea is to get the low-hanging fruit first, so I'm sticking with my existing GoPro Hero 3 White and the Tarot 2D for now to see what I can get out of it before I consider a camera upgrade or 3D gimbal. If you have any experience with these modifications, I'd love to hear about your results.

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    • Justin,

          Many, including myself, have had success with installing foam earplugs into the dampers .

      Or you can try ones all together.

      Todd H.


    • Hi Todd

      I bought a set of these and sadly they are too large for the holes in the Tarot 2D  frame.  I am afraid that we have to keep on looking for better dampers.

    • Justin,

      Yes. And I understand yours is a relatively new gimbal too.  I thought I had read on Helifreak that some users were stiffening the Tarot stock dampers by inserting something into the dampers. I will check that out and let you know what I find out.

    • And they look so good in the picture on the left...but cracked all to hell, especially along the lettering.

      For the record, this gimbal has been installed for just about a year with approximately 80 flights. I'm also in a high desert environment so dessication, and I had one "heat event" where the case sat in the sun for way too long and lightly cooked everything. In other words, I've probably asked enough of these little guys.

      Thanks to you and Todd for the tip on the earplugs/inserts, good to have alternatives and might be an easy fix for people.

  • here is my mast setup on an Iris/Iris+ upgrade. see attached pic.3701983939?profile=original

    • Thanks Mark, the link in my original post leads to your write-up on the GPS. Your experience and the nice work here definitely inspired me to do the mast and GPS addition.

    • I know a couple people that have the new Iris+ and they never have compass or GPS issues so the relocation of the Pixhawk and the copper shielding must have solved that problem. It's just that over a year ago when I put the mast on it solved so many problems I didn't want to take it off.


    • My internal GPS is OK, and I can generally get about a 1.9 HDOP, but I've run into a couple situations where 1) I have to wait well over two minutes for a GPS lock under clear skies and plenty of horizon, 2) even shallow canyons prevent any GPS lock, or 3) an auto mission takes the copter in and out of good GPS reception areas. I'm hoping the additional external GPS will improve HDOP, give me a more stable LTR, and clear up the weak reception issues.

    • That little guy on the top help improve GPS signal?

      Plus see you have your iris+ registered, is that for commercial use?
    • I had the original (BETA) version of the Iris in late 2013. there was a design flaw where the GPS was pressing down on the Pixhawk causing wild z axis vibrations and cutting into the wires on the Pixhawk I2C connector(not to mention the potential EMI issues. The first couple months were hell. Altitude control problems, yaw control problems, the works. That's when I put the GPS on the mast and it solve all my problems. 

      Later 3DR came out with a fix of moving the Pixhawk back(away from the GPS) and installing copper shielding over the GPS. I could revert to that but my HDOP and compass performance/reliability has been so good for at least 250 flights I don't want to change it. Makes it tough to travel though.

      Its not registered. The sticker on the top is my cell phone number in case I ever have a flyaway:)


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