We recently got a phantom in to play with and see how it was put together, it's a great little drone for basic flying and features. Being an ArduCopter guy and having used APMs on our SD systems since the biggining I though it would be a fun project to stick an ArduCopter board in the Phantom. It was pretty easy to do! Will post how to in the comments, needless to say it's a different drone all together, much more agile and solid + it now has full GPS system with unlimited waypoints, auto, RTL, GPS hold, and a host of other cool features, all free :)

HOW TO: Simply opened her up, unplugged the naza and wires, installed APM, soldered tiny 3A uBEC onto the phantom's pcb for power for the APM, used the phantom's PPM receiver directly into the APM (with a small mod in the phantom's radio to get a switch on channel 5, not 6 as it is) ripped out the phantom's gps, installed our uBlox, connected motors as is and did the AC setup, took maybe 45min in total. She flies much better now

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Comment by David on April 4, 2013 at 8:51am

Great post Duran! What type of endurance can you get out of this system?

Comment by Duran - ALTI on April 4, 2013 at 9:02am

Thx David, have not flown noted that yet, too much fun with the AC :) Will note it, not sure it will be much better as I'm still using same ESC/motor/prop/lipo combo, but I've always prefered the 'loose yet solid' feel AC has compared to other systems that don't want to move, and are actually too 'clever' with AC I can quickly push the drone around and it moves, with other systems you have to fight it.

Comment by Morli on April 4, 2013 at 10:02am

Interesting Mod.  have fun . link to phantom source?

Comment by Oswaldo Angeles on April 4, 2013 at 10:07am

Does it works better? I think it does now because of the ardupilot and your mods... what do you think?

It seems that it shouldn't be that expensive, looking inside i can see is not that good quality...right?


Comment by Rob_Lefebvre on April 4, 2013 at 10:34am

Interesting.  Is there some kind of copper foil shield under the GPS?  Is that shield grounded in any way?

Comment by Duran - ALTI on April 4, 2013 at 10:55am

Oswald, flies much better with APM and latest code, stock setting. The insides are OK, made the cheapest way possible but they work. 

R, the grey sticker over the GPS has a coper 'core' yes but not grounded no. Trying to get stock Phantom to loiter was impossible, ArduCopter is rock solid first try as always.

Comment by Oswaldo Angeles on April 4, 2013 at 11:19am

"made the chipest way" I liked that!  Regards

Comment by theo van niekerk on April 4, 2013 at 1:26pm

Nicely Done Duran, i don't think you need the 3a BEC as the naza's led module has 5v Bec built in, and is also used to do battery voltage measurement. i don't have a Naza led/bec to open up and look inside but I'm pretty sure if you can remove it from the phantom you may very well be able to repurpose the led for motor led's on the APM and maybe even do voltage measurement (but i could be wrong re using the LED and Voltage monitor) but the bec works great.

Comment by Crashpilot1000 on April 4, 2013 at 1:35pm

Nice setup. Perhaps you can do a naza unboxing video of better quality than this: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mq90dWrFEiQ.

I wonder if the onboard magnetometer will work in that enviroment. Perhaps you should go for an external one next to the gps?

Cheers Kraut Rob

Comment by Max Levine on April 4, 2013 at 3:58pm


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