Gimbal data cable extension

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I'm just starting a dedicated thread, for those interested and those who might not have seen the discussion in Rich West's thread.

So most of us have experienced jitters and vibrations in our footage. Addressing these fall into two categories - reducing the vibrations at the source by balancing props and motors, and isolating the gimbal from any remaining vibrations. Most have probably noticed that 3DR seems to have gone out of it's way to find the hardest, stiffest wire ever produced by man for the gimbal data cable! :D All joking aside, this is some of the stiffest wire I've ever seen.

To address this, I made up a small ~2.5 inch extension that goes in-line between the stock cable and the gimbal. Unlike the stock cable, this is made with the softest, most flexible 28 gauge silicon insulated wire I could find. I've been using these on my Solos for over a year with no ill effect.

This isn't a silver bullet, it's still advisable to balance the motors and props and possibly address the HDMI cable, but this is about the easiest way to all but eliminate the data cable from transferring vibrations to the camera.

I hope people don't think $20 each, shipped, is too much. They're not difficult to make, just time consuming between the cutting, stripping, crimping and soldering. I use the same color wire (generally) as the stock cable, double and triple check to make sure the wires are correct, and check each cable with a meter for shorts/continuity.

If anyone's interested, please just PM me your address and how many you want. I'll reply with my Paypal address when I'm ready to send them out. If I don't reply right away, it's because I just need to make another batch. I'll get them made up as soon as possible and get back to you.

Here's a picture of the cable, and how I have it routed in my Solo.
extension.jpg

Updating the post with some instructions for those who haven't already opened up their Solo:

Step 1: Remove the GPS cover. I've found squeezing the sides and pushing/pulling it towards the front to be the easiest (see video)
Step 2: Remove the 7 screws holding the battery tray in. Once it's loose, the GPS cable will need to be disconnected from the main board. There's a little tab in the connector, just squeeze and the connector should wiggle loose without much effort.
Step 3: Remove the data cable from the gimbal. The connector has the same tab as the GPS connector, and sometimes it's easier to use a screw driver to depress this tab if you have large fingers.
Step 4: Bend the cable more or less as shown in the photo below. I've tried a number of routings and have found this to be best. Basically, you just want the cable to loop into the front right arm a bit and then back.
Step 5: Connect the extension to the stock cable, and then loop it over the stock cable and into the gimbal. Try to ensure neither the stock cable or the extension will be touching the body or the battery tray when replaced. It takes some fiddling, but shouldn't be too hard. If you find a better routing, that's fine too, this has just worked for me.
Step 6: Reconnect the GPS cable and replace the battery tray. You might need to wiggle and fiddle with the battery terminals to get the tray to seat down fully, but it should do so without much effort.
Step 7: Replace all the screws, and snap the GPS cover back into place.

That's pretty much it. Here's a video showing the whole process:


steps.jpg
 
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Great Idea, I thought of something like this but like You said is
Time consuming. That wire bundle in effect is stiff like hell, my newest Solo with the gimbal installed and Rev B came with
Softer wire and the wires are shorter, posible Silicon from the factory,
 
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Great Idea, I thought of something like this but like You said is
Time consuming. That wire bundle in effect is stiff like hell, my newest Solo with the gimbal installed and Rev B came with
Softer wire and the wires are shorter, posible Silicon from the factory,
That's really interesting, none of my 3 came with the Rev B GPS, so they were all early or mid-production. This is the first time I've heard of that having been changed. I'm glad they addressed it, even if late.
 
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came with
Softer wire and the wires are shorter, posible Silicon from the factory,
Stranded wire maybe, but doesn't look like silicone.... Possibly they are equally effective to this patch cord. Time will tell.

User Name's patch cords flop around, they are dead soft. No bend and set to these wires.

I'm anxious for others to have them installed to confirm my results. I'm also hoping the weather is decent over the next two days.
 
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Yes I did, it shows in your messages or conversations
I checked and it was there but re sent anyway
I want two if you have them
 
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Stranded wire maybe, but doesn't look like silicone.... Possibly they are equally effective to this patch cord. Time will tell.

User Name's patch cords flop around, they are dead soft. No bend and set to these wires.

I'm anxious for others to have them installed to confirm my results. I'm also hoping the weather is decent over the next two days.
Rich I have one with and one without the compression mod, when I get my cables will test both ways
 
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Rich I have one with and one without the compression mod, when I get my cables will test both ways
That would be a really cool comparison, if you're taking bets I'd wager which one... I'm so wrapped up with how my gimbal is performing, that this is all a secondary conversation. Like talking to my children, "...that's nice, now got outside and play, daddy is working."...

The dynamics in how the settings and filters perform together is a whole new way of thinking. Is it perfect, NO. But any work around done previously is not required.

It's a closer comparison to working from a tripod than it ever was before. Reducing the micro vibes to this level allows the camera to adjust better to the light, it has reduced any halo effect by a large margin. Everything has a crisper edge. Post production efforts will be more satisfying to those that have the ability. You wont need heavy ND filters like you did before and slower frame rates will produce expected results, the camera is more dynamic now. That is what I've been messing with since this cable install....again Solo 2.0 for us 2015 "testers".

Honestly you'll just have to see your own results to fully understand. Get the cable, nice, now go outside and play....;)
 
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just waiting arrival
So far behind on my drone stuff.
My DIY is all set to be put back together after moving the escs for a smaller frame print. will get to that someday
Primary solo took a bad hit the other day (operator error) so I had to pull out my last new gimbal and order a battery tray. its ready to fly and has your isolator in it
Secondary solo is flying on Master with the green cube, but my very last ribbon failed again,. So I have to put a stock HDMI cable in it. Which arrived the other day.
Will add this mod to both, and using solex fly the same MPCC


Now that the wedding is over, I just need to find a break at work with the new software roll out
But yeah have not been able to go out and play as much as I would like
 
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Thanks for the orders everyone!

These are a bit rough, but I'm going to send anyone who's ordered a cable so far one of these. I'm not sure if it will do anything, I had the idea a while back and literally just finished it up tonight. Haven't even tested it.

The thinking is that the gimbal's bank arm sticks out into the prop wash of the #1 motor, and because it's an open H-beam, it surly gets buffeted quite a bit. Maybe this will reduce that, maybe it won't, but it's a little insert that gives the arm a slightly more aerodynamic slope. It'll still get hit with the prop wash, but hopefully this will divert the wind more smoothly.

I would secure it with a little hot glue so it's easily removable if desired. Probably a little drop at each end would be fine. It weighs next to nothing, and if you're using filters, it's on the side that needs extra weight anyway.

Please report back what effect, if any, you think it makes. If it gives an improvement, I'll refine it some more and probably cut them on my CNC mill, which would almost certainly be faster than the 3d printer.

gimbal_insert.jpg
 
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Well, it might do absolutely nothing at all, so it's a dubious bonus until proven otherwise! :D But it shouldn't hurt anything, so no loss if it's ineffectual.
 
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Interesting, looking forward to trying it out.

I had my battery tray off troubleshooting a battery related issue. Soldering iron was hot, so I did the deed....

P4300229.JPG
 
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Nice, loosing most of that heavy cable is sure to get you at least 4.5 seconds of additional flight time too! :D

I used as close to the same color wire as the stock cable so people could cut off the header end and solder to the stock cable like this if they wanted.
 
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Every second counts....

Like I said, the iron was out and I had a few minutes to make this minor effort. Being convertible is either a now or later option, I went with the shorta option, as I'm wanting to forward this cable on to another friend when I get the other cables.

Great videos from today....again.
 
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