3DR Solo Brain Transplant...

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Hi guys. Thanks for reading.

I crashed my first Solo and it has been replaced, and now I have an idea:

I want to transplant my Solo mainboard into a much larger drone. I have a bird that is based on a modified Tarot 650 frame with huge motors/props and a large gimbal that is way less sophisticated than Solo (it runs APM 2.6) that I want to be able to operate using Solo's capabilities.

I need to know a bunch of stuff, but here are some of the major things:

  1. Can I drive third-party ESCs with the Solo mainboard? - If so, what is the pinout, etc.?
  2. Will the Solo mainboard work with a third-party 3-axis Simple BGC-based gimbal?
My basic goal is to build a huge, highly capable "Cinema Solo", that I can use to fly a Sony mirrorless camera or RED or C300/C500 for big deal jobs.

I am aware that there's a bunch of development for Pixhawk on DIYDrones. I kind of just want to get some opinions on what's going to be involved and what I might be in for...or if it's more simple than I assume.

Other Notes:

  • A big part of this quest is for greater payload/range capabilities, the other is flexibility. If this works in the basic quad config I'd like to eventually move into hex and X8 configs for safety/redundancy, additional lift, etc., etc..
  • I would also like to use this research to explore custom solutions that involve using the Solo platform for humanitarian purposes.
  • I have all kinds (like a whole bunch) of parts and components lying around (like, a friggin' bunch) and I have a decent budget to work with if needed. Feel free to get creative if need be - "What would it take to do _____?" is a question I love to be able to answer.
  • I am fairly capable with the basics of flight controllers, ESCs, gimbals,etc., so I can hack my way through the majority of build tasks, but I am not an EE like the boys at work. Let's keep it simple for now. :)
  • I value solutions over opinions. If your opinion is that something "Cannot be done" then your opinion may not carry very much weight...'Just sayin.
  • I humbly accept all input and criticism. No answer is too basic or too cruel, but this knowledge will help all who find it. Let's be nice. :)
  • I will share my findings. Anything other than proprietary technology that you guys share as part of this project thread will be shared with the community. I really care about the community and what we do.
  • I appreciate what you guys have had to do in order to know what you know and I deeply appreciate your opinions and advice and the fact that you share your knowledge.
I encountered a few browser issues while posting this. This post may be a little disorganized, but I hope you get what I'm attempting to say and that I did not omit too much of the important stuff. :)

Thanks in advance for taking a look and taking part in the discussion. Good Luck. Cheers.
 
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Welcome Erich,

REgarding Putting the Solo brains in a larger quad, been there done that. As you can see in the video below, I put a Solo into a large quad running the very large and efficient U8 series motors from T-motor and 12s power. I have a custom built gimbal that fits a GH4 or Sony a6300. The issue is that 3DR has not released source for gimbal control. You can manually tilt using ch6 just fine, but no gimbal control in smart shots. That's something everyone is trying to overcome until 3DR decides to open that up.

 
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What is your flight time on that beast? Did you consider doing an X8 config for redundancy, and if so, what were your thoughts on that?
 
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What is your flight time on that beast? Did you consider doing an X8 config for redundancy, and if so, what were your thoughts on that?
Flight time is about 35min with the G4. Would like to do an X-8, but Solo only configured for 4 motors.
 
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I'm in the process of doing the same thing. I have several CF frames (4X & 6X) in multiple configurations which I've previously used with Pixhawk and APM controllers. I'm also using some sweet clearance large Black Widow ESC/Motor combinations on 4S & 6S configurations with up to 18" props. With the Best Buy clearance I now have 4 Solos which I'm planning to use at least 2 as the brains for these upgrades. I'm planning on using the 3DR gimbal and GoPro until the control interface is refined for the Smart Shots, and I'll continue to watch with interest and provide updates as I get rolling with my conversions. Ed
 
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Hi Jubair,
I am doing a build on a folding quad with mt 4006-13 kv740 pancake Tmotors and 30amp esc's. I am planning on using everything off of my solo including the gimbal. So my biggest hurdle where to connect the one Red and seven Black wires that leave the mother board towards the motor pod/ESC. Looks like you have solved that hurdle on your Solo Grande. Love the name btw. Any and all help would be most appreciated.
 
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Welcome Erich,

REgarding Putting the Solo brains in a larger quad, been there done that.
I also want to do something similar. You seam to have been quite successful. I have looked all around but can't find anywhere that you did a build thread. Is the info out there, and I just can't find it?
 
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I also want to do something similar. You seam to have been quite successful. I have looked all around but can't find anywhere that you did a build thread. Is the info out there, and I just can't find it?
Sorry, never done anything like that with anything I've done. Probably should sometime. But this particular build is a collaborative effort with someone that is more apt to FW/SW coding & electronics modifying. My builds have always been with off the shelf hardware and basic FC mods.
 

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