Todd Harper's Posts (5)

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Part 2 Feiyu Tech gimbal / SOLO

Once connected, navigate to the Standard Parameter's screen, scroll down and change the CH6_FUNCTION from Disabled to RCPassThru. This opens the connection for the tilt function via the paddle. Once changed click Write Params at the top.

3689662324?profile=originalOnce Written then click on Initial Setup, Optional Hardware and then Camera Gimbal.

The only area of concern is the top portion labeled TILT. Match your setting's to the setting's shown.

3689662238?profile=originalOnce the TILT area matches go ahead and exit out of MP.

You can now take SOLO outside to safe clear wide open area and test the modification.

Due to the gimbal causing a Magnetic Interference issue to come up, you will need to attach and power up the gimbal after SOLO has completed it's pre-flight check.

Once SOLO has informed you that it is ready to fly and has a solid gps lock, bring the gimbal (GP installed but turned off) over to the hull, feed the 3 wires through the center hole of the plate but do not make the main connection to power the gimbal up yet.  Attach the mounting plate/gimbal to SOLO using the 3 philips head screws. Once attached and secure go ahead and push in the harness connector to the FY gimbal plate. The gimbal will power up and go through it's calibration process. Do not touch it. After a few seconds it should be ready to go. If you do not see it power up check all your exterior connections. If they look good, power down SOLO and you will need to check your modified internal connections.

When the gimbal is stable pick up the controller and move the paddle on the top left off the controller. You should see the camera tilt down and up. Make sure it corresponds to what the controller display is showing as well. The haptic feedback will let you know when the limits of each movement have been reached. 

From here you can turn on the GP and launch SOLO.

Items to note:

  Flight time will decrease slightly due to the fact that the battery is now also supplying power to a gimbal.

  If/when you swap SOLO's battery, you will need to remove the gimbal fully and start the process over or you may see

  the Magnetic Interference warning come up. SOLO will not allow you to launch with that warning in place.

  You may experience some noticeable vibrations transferring to the gimbal. This is currently a work in progress to

  reduce that.

   Depending on the damper balls you choose, the gimbal may sit close to the ground. As such you may need to raise

   SOLO slightly to compensate for that. I use 2 lengths of deck material cut to size and place them running lengthwise

   under SOLO's landing gear. You will also need to remember that for when you land.

   Take care when packing up and/or transporting SOLO with the gimbal attached.

At the time of this writting there is no video feed back to SOLO's app, I will be looking into solving that. Do not use the GP wifi in order to gain the video feed. If you choose to do so, you are putting SOLO at risk.

Lastly, if you have completed this mod I wish to remind you that the 3DR SOLO warranty is now no longer valid for your SOLO. Any/all repair or flight issues that you need assistance from 3DR with will be handled at the discretion of 3DR.


Todd H.


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This is how I went about installing a Feiyu-Tech MINI 3D Gimbal to my SOLO.


I would like to strongly emphasize that this modification will void your 3DR SOLO warranty completely and entirely. If you are not comfortable with the voiding of said warranty please do not attempt this modification.

I am not responsible if you experience any issues with your SOLO if you choose to do this modification. This takes a certain level of skill as well as some personal responsibility. Please read the entire how-to before doing anything to be sure you are comfortable with procedure.

Again, this will 100% void the 3DR warranty on your SOLO. 

Things you will need:


  Feiyu-Tech MINI 3D Gimbal

  GoPro Camera (3+ or newer)

  Philips head screwdriver

  Flat head screwdriver

  Soldering Iron w/solder

  Small gauge electrical wiring

  Some hobby grade electrical connectors

Be sure that SOLO's battery has been removed from SOLO. Then remove the front GPS shroud with a small flat head screwdriver by gentle prying up and forward from the rear of the shroud. There are 4 tabs holding it in place.

Once removed take a philips head screwdriver and remove the 7 screws that bold the battery tray in place.

Lift up and slightly backwards on the tray gently to remove it. You will need to disconnect the GPS connector as well. Set the tray aside.

With SOLO facing you nose first you will see where the battery plugs into the battery board. That board will need to be partially removed so that we can solder the positive and ground wires to it for the gimbal.


On the bottom left side of the board is a small tab holding it in place, use a small flathead screwdriver to pry that tab back slightly. While doing that pull straight up on the board itself. You can also disconnect the smaller electrical wiring running from the battery board to the main board.

You will need to solder some wiring and a connector to the backside of the battery board.

3689662351?profile=originalMake sure that the solder point's are good and somewhat flat so that the board can fit back in the slot where it came from.

Once done you can then reconnect the small wiring harness and put the board back into position making sure that it is securely in it's place.

Next you need to solder a single wire with connector to the BUS pinout board. This is the connection for the tilt control of the camera.

3689662416?profile=original3689662455?profile=originalAgain, make sure the solder connection is good before moving on.

*Above pics courtesy of Jason Short. Mine look identical expect for I used white wiring.

That completes the necessary soldering for this mod, you can now put the parts you took off SOLO, back on.  Before re-installing the battery tray make sure the newly installed wiring is running to SOLO's gimbal bay opening and will not pose a threat to any of the other electronics that may result in an electrical issue. 

On the Feiyu-Tech wiring harness you will see a grouping of wires, for this mod you will only need use of the solid red, solid black and solid blue wires. Red = +, black = - and blue = tilt function.

With the gimbal we do not make use of their top mounting plate. The hole pattern of the gimbal plate is fairly close to matching SOLO's plate so you may use the supplied damper balls to attach the gimbal to SOLO's plate. I chose to use a set of ARRIS balls instead as I prefer them over most of the other ones on the market. IMP Concepts is working on an adapter plate for the FY, IMP

Once the gimbal is mounted to SOLO's plate connect the red,black and blue wires from the harness to the 3 new wires and pull them through the center hole of SOLO's plate and to the rear of the gimbal. Check and make sure that you can easily connect all 3 wires and that you have enough left to easily connect them to the gimbal. (These show a white wire coming out of SOLO, it's the same as the single red shown above.) 3689662429?profile=original3689662480?profile=original

Once you have established that you can connect the gimbal to SOLO, go ahead and remove the gimbal from SOLO and set it aside.

In order to control the tilt of the camera via SOLO's controller you will need to make some adjustments to it through the use of Mission Planner.

You can use your laptop's wifi to connect to SOLO. Ahmed Agbabiaka made a great video on how to do that

Connecting SOLO to MP

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ESPN's Winter X Games allowed to film with UAV.


Thought everyone might want see/read this.

ESPN is adding camera-carrying drones to its coverage of the Winter X Games, using the cutting-edge technology to cover snowboardcross and snowmobiling events this week in Aspen, Colorado.

Full story: Winter X Games using drones

This being in my "backyard" so to speak, I am pleased to see a major US event stepping up and using a UAV to film with.

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Helping other pilots make better decisions.


I'd like to share a story about an interaction I had this past week with a quadcopter/drone operator.

  Where I work most everyone who knows me knows that I pilot UAV's and have done so for several years now. So when something in our area comes up involving UAV's they call me. Case in point happened one day this past past week.

I received a call from a co-worker asking if I could stop over at a location and speak with a guest who was flying, what I later found out was, a Phantom. I said of course and made my way to them.

Upon arrival I extended my hand and introduced myself. He, we will call him Joe, extended his hand as well and we shook hands.

 I asked Joe how his day was and what he was doing today. He said that he was flying his drone to get some video footage of our area for his own use. I said great, I operate them myself and have for many years. I asked if I could see his drone since at the time it was in a case. He opened up and it was a second gen Phantom.

I then asked Joe again what his purpose was and again he said it was just for personal use. He then started to tell me of his piloting experience, how many years he has been around R/C vehicles and piloting drones. That he has done x amount of commercial shoots as well as filming extreme athletes in action. And that he is a great pilot and he has never crashed or crashed in to anyone or anything, ever. And that he always operates with safety in mind.
I told him that I was very glad to hear that he is being safety aware when he is piloting. I then asked if he had any formal training or guidance with any of his RC equipment and he said no, just his own personal experience.

Now here comes the good parts.........I asked Joe to point to where he was flying and he did. The area he pointed to is place people gather when visiting our mountain resort. The area where he was flying is about the quarter the size of a football field and at the time he was flying there was aprox 150 to 250 people standing around. Guests talking to one another casually, most of them had no clue that Joe had been flying above them.

  *We initially received 3 calls from various guests who were in the surrounding area, not in the area in question, who were worried about it.  

I asked him if he thought that flying over unsuspecting people was a good idea, to which he said " Yes, I'm a good operator nothing would have happened "

I said "ok", "What if something went wrong with your Phantom?"

Joe said " Those things happen to other people who don't know what they are doing, it has never happen to me because I know what I am doing."

I then asked him, "but what if something did happen how would you react?"  To which he replied again that nothing would happen. Because, he said, he is a good operator and flies with GPS all the time. 

He said he always gets a good GPS lock and the Phantom has never had an issue. He stated that so long as he has GPS nothing can go wrong.

  *For everyone's info who is reading this, we have tall mountains surrounding us and I know for a fact that GPS lock (6+ SAT) is not 100% all the time everywhere here.

I then mentioned the possibility of a mechanical failure, to which he stated that it never has and never will happen to him because his equipment is always in great shape.

After a bit more about GPS and the likelihood of a mechanical mishap I asked if he was familiar with the any of the current guidelines surrounding UAV's. He said with a strong tone that yes, he is well aware of all the guidelines and so is his Phantom.

Those last few words made me pause for a moment. "he is well aware of all the guidelines and so is his Phantom."

I asked " what do mean when you say your Phantom is aware of the guidelines?" and he replied back "It knows where it can and cannot fly." "It wont allow me to fly it into certain areas."

I asked him if it came that way when he purchased it and he said yes.

Just to be clear I asked the question again, "Does your Phantom know where it can and cannot go without any input from you?"

He said yes.

Leaving that alone for a moment I moved on and asked if he was familiar with any of the other general guidelines for safe UAV operation. He stumbled around with his thoughts for a min or two but quickly came back to the fact that he was a good pilot and nothing would have happened and where he was flying was ok.

 *The area in question where he was flying over is USFS land.

Seeing that he was standing his ground I didn't want to just ask him to leave and be done. I wanted to make sure he would get some direction on safe flying. I make it a point to help educate anyone I come in contact with about the safe operation of their UAV's. I want this industry to grow and become better for all of us and if I can help one person then maybe they will learn and in turn help someone else down the road. 

I took out a pad and pen and gave Joe a few websites to look up when he got the chance. I asked him to spend some time reading through these sites to learn a bit more about UAV's and the safe operation of them. He said ok and took the piece of paper.

I then politely said that flying where he was is not appropriate, we have guests that may be uncomfortable with the Phantom above them. I let him know that some people are not comfortable with a UAV's flying near them, especially when they are not informed of it prior to it being over their heads. And that since you were standing well off to the side, a good 200+ feet, from where the Phantom was above them, that they have no clue who is operating it or your level of piloting skills.  

He understood and apologized for his actions. Saying that he didn't think about that part. He did, however, mention again that he is a good pilot and that nothing would have happened.

I reached out and shook his hand and asked him to please not fly here again and to, more importantly, please take a moment to read up on the current guidelines for safe UAV flight. I said, it's our responsibility as operators to know how to fly safe and then help educate others do the same. In the long run it will help not only the industry but we as operators. 

Then lastly I asked him to become more familiar with the capabilities of his Phantom, mainly the "it knows where it can and can not go" function. To make sure he fully understood what the term "No Fly Zone" means and if, in fact, his Phantom automatically knows these areas. And he ok.

I watched has he put his Phantom back in the case and walked away. Hoping that what we talked about sunk in and that the next time I see him, if I do, that he will be flying safely.


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Drone Flights Illegal.

Excerpt from above article:

Some very bad news for drone pilots this morning: An appeals board has ruled that the Federal Aviation Administration has wide latitude to make all drone flights illegal in the United States.

​The decision, by the National Transportation Safety Board, determined that the FAA's existing "aircraft" regulations can apply to model aircraft, drones, and remote controlled aircraft, which is perhaps the most restrictive possible outcome for drone pilots in a legal saga that has dragged on for more than a year.

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