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Here's a list of some things to consider for your Solo.

This list will provide some information to consider, but you'll need to search documentation, this forum or on-line for more details about each.

When to upgrade or modify really depends on your specific use of the Solo, preference, location, and budget.

1) Learn to fly manually - while not a mod or upgrade it is the single most important decision. Your Solo will fly when you hold the Fly button, but do you know how to fly your Solo? If you can't already manually take off and land (no GPS), hold altitude (no altitude hold), and fly the drone any direction regardless of its orientation (without a headless mode), consider purchasing an inexpensive drone to learn with first. While Solo is easy to learn with, when practicing in Fly:Manual or Stabilize modes, if you haven't learned on another drone already, you will crash. With Solo's size and weight, damage will result.

2) Configure button A on your controller for Fly:Manual. Practice with it. You can easily switch back to Fly mode by pressing the Fly button. If your Solo ever starts going a direction you didn't tell it to you will need to IMMEDIATELY switch to Fly:Manual. If GPS signal is ever lost, the Solo will automatically switch to this mode.

3) GPS - used for location and keeps Solo from drifting
Rev A - worst (only acceptable for very few)
Rev B - Tolerable, but still problematic at times due to limited number of satellites to work with
Neo-M8n - depending what effort you want to put into it, there are generic versions for drones, drotek, or mRo

4) GPS shield - decide for yourself - cardboard mod, V2 (3DR), IMP Concepts, or aftermarket GPS shielding

5) Gimbal - nice to have when taking pictures - a must if shooting video

6) Modified gimbal clip - will allow you to remove your SD card from your GoPro without removing your GoPro from the gimbal

7) GoPro Lens - replace if you don't like the fish eye look of pictures/videos - two basic options: swap the lens in the GoPro, or purchase a Back-Bone Ribcage Air that, among other things, will allow you to change lenses

8) Balance your gimbal - there are kits available (Back-Bone isn't currently manufacturing them, but you can still find them. I think IMP Concepts has a kit also) or you can modify it yourself. If you replace the GoPro lens or use a filter you will have to re-balance your gimbal after each change.

9) GoPro lens filter - there are polarized filters, neutral density filters, and filters that combine both. If you shoot video while your Solo is moving you may need a filter

10) Leg extenders - provide extra clearance below the gimbal. Some Solo kits came with leg extenders included in the box that had the gimbal weights. There are many aftermarket versions as well.

11) HDMI cables - Internally, the thick heavy cable that comes with the Solo can come in contact with the top of the gimbal and can also transfer vibration. Everyone using a gimbal should remove their battery/GPS cover and inspect the cable routing to ensure that it is not touching any gimbal parts. There is a vender, relish3d, that sells a modified HDMI cable. Some are also concerned about the cable on the back and side of the gimbal.

12) Data cable - the data cable that sits between the Solo's main board and the gimbal uses VERY stiff wires. This can cause vibration to transfer to the gimbal. This forum has a member (User Name) that offers an extension cable that uses very soft and flexible silicone wire. Search this forum for "Gimbal cable data extension" for more information. This available part is an extension that should work on all Solos. The way the original cable attaches to the main board varies - some soldered and some use a connector.

13) Battery diagnostic tool - the health of your Solo batteries is very important. You don't want them to fail while your Solo is in the air. Use a tool such as the "3DR Battery charging and diagnostic tool" available from Madhacker.org to monitor the health of your batteries.

14) Props - originals are expensive. Some feel that the aftermarket props are better. Master Airscrew has props available in black, green, or orange. APC also has props available that fit the Solo.

15) Prop Balancing - if you are shooting video, you'll want to balance your props and hub to prevent them from being a source of vibration

16) Antennas - the stock antennas work well out in the country away from any WiFi, cordless phones... If you are flying your Solo in an area congested with radio waves you can lose connection between your controller and Solo, in many cases this can happen with less than 200 feet between them. There are other antennas available that can help increase this range. Start with Peddles2Paddles thread "Basic Guide to Solo Antennas" for more info.

17) WiFi cards - there is a low power 2.4GHz WiFi card in the Solo and controller. These can be replaced with higher power cards that will improve signal between the Solo and controller. This upgrade with the stock antennas will give most users the most reliable connection between their Solo and controller. Users looking to send their Solo out long distance where it is a dot in the sky may need a directional antenna upgrade.

18) Backpack or case - you've acquired a lot to go with your Solo, now give it a home and protect it

19) Paint or wrap your Solo - make it your own. Think about your color choice though - light colors work best when flown low, and dark colors work best when the sky is the background.

20) Batteries - you need extras. Three batteries will give you an hour of flight time.

21) Battery chargers - if you have more than two batteries, you'll want at least two chargers.

22) Extended controller battery - the stock controller battery will give you a couple of hours of flight time. If you need more than this, get the larger battery.

23) Phone or tablet - start with what you have and see how it works. When time to upgrade, search the forum for recommendations. Post a message on the forum to ask about a device you are considering to learn if there are any limitations.

24) Phone/tablet sunshade - many options for purchasing - just as easy to make one yourself with sturdy cardboard or foamboard of the color of your choosing. This is especially helpful if you are flying long distances and are relying on your video screen for location and path. Wear a rimmed hat to block the sunlight from behind you when looking at the screen.

25) Motors - some feel that the stock motors are a source of vibration in videos. If they aren't when they are new, they will be if you have ever crashed your Solo. Consider a motor upgrade.

26) Lanyard - consider purchasing a lanyard to attach to your controller. The 3DR lanyard looks nice, but some say it is too short.

27) Lanyard mount - the controller is not balanced when using a lanyard. There are mods to move the lanyard mounting point and balance the controller.

28) Applications - the stock Solo application is no longer supported (although 3DR helped users with a recent iOS compatibility update) - if you are an Android user, consider Solex - frequently updated and has many additional features.

29) Lights - when mounted on your Solo you and others can spot it easier. Consider ready-made kits such as PolarPro or the brighter and flashier kit made by forum member Maddog - Brite Lite LED Lighting System.


I'm sure there are more to consider, but this is the list that I could put together during my breaks today.
 
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Awesome write-up! Thank you.
Is it possible to tell if vibrations are coming from motors or the props?
Had a rough landing afew weeks ago, no broken blades, now I can see minor vibrations when I hover about eye level. Also could you send some more light on the multiple options available under #3
 
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2) Configure button A on your controller for Fly:Manual. Practice with it. You can easily switch back to Fly mode by pressing the Fly button, but be aware this is now Solo's new Home position for the flight.

Are you sure? I often flip between Fly and Fly:Manual modes, but I have never seen it change my original take-off Home location.
 
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Awesome write-up! Thank you.
Is it possible to tell if vibrations are coming from motors or the props?
Had a rough landing afew weeks ago, no broken blades, now I can see minor vibrations when I hover about eye level. Also could you send some more light on the multiple options available under #3

Use a prop balancer such as this to check the prop and prop hub balance: Amazon.com: Dubro Products 6mm Drone Quadcopter Prop Balancer: Toys & Games

There are many youtube videos showing how to do this. Balance both the prop and hub.

If you were using original Solo props, check to see if the prop is coming loose or spun on the metal hub.

The only way that I know to check if motor is causing vibration is to start the motors with no props on, let them idle or bring them up in speed slightly, do not rev the motors up without the load of the props, feel the arm of the Solo for a difference in vibration below each motor.

Regarding #3 on the list, GPS - there are literally hundreds of discussions on this already. Do a search. Cheapest methods require fitting in the Solo, wiring headaches, and require programming. drotek requires less work, and mRo is plug and play. At $75 with coupon code FREE5, the mRo is the easiest way to go.
 
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Use a prop balancer such as this to check the prop and prop hub balance: Amazon.com: Dubro Products 6mm Drone Quadcopter Prop Balancer: Toys & Games

There are many youtube videos showing how to do this. Balance both the prop and hub.

If you were using original Solo props, check to see if the prop is coming loose or spun on the metal hub.

The only way that I know to check if motor is causing vibration is to start the motors with no props on, let them idle or bring them up in speed slightly, do not rev the motors up without the load of the props, feel the arm of the Solo for a difference in vibration below each motor.

Regarding #3 on the list, GPS - there are literally hundreds of discussions on this already. Do a search. Cheapest methods require fitting in the Solo, wiring headaches, and require programming. drotek requires less work, and mRo is plug and play. At $75 with coupon code FREE5, the mRo is the easiest way to go.

Thanks for the most response. I dont mind doing a bit of work. Katherine mRo more functional or just easier to pick up and go
 
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Does the LED light reduce flight time/make the batteries drain any faster? Is there a way to turn the LED on/off when you are in the air? Also, does the LED light bar interfere with any of the camera shots/videos?
 
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I Tore down the gimbal looking for the problem, pretty much had it all apart, I mean torn down as far as you could get it, other then the top cap covering the Circuit board which was almost impossible to get apart, when I did I found the one of the ribbons that attaches to the Circuit board was pulled out on one side about 1/4" from the ribbon connection, it was so gooped up with sealant that there would not be any way to repair without breaking something, not real sure if I could of started at the top end first, will to late now it's history, I used some of the pieces to build a stationary mount & ordered a new one.
 
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Does the LED light reduce flight time/make the batteries drain any faster? Is there a way to turn the LED on/off when you are in the air? Also, does the LED light bar interfere with any of the camera shots/videos?

No, the led light bar doesn't use much energy. No way to turn it off in flight . It does not interfere with filming as far as I know. I don't have a gimbal on my bird with the light bar.
 
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Awesome write-up! Thank you.
Is it possible to tell if vibrations are coming from motors or the props?
Had a rough landing afew weeks ago, no broken blades, now I can see minor vibrations when I hover about eye level. Also could you send some more light on the multiple options available under #3
Download and install a vibration meter app - available for iPhone and Android. Test for vibrations both with and without props installed by setting the phone on the back of Solo and watching the meter.
 
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Are you sure? I often flip between Fly and Fly:Manual modes, but I have never seen it change my original take-off Home location.
If you take off in "Fly Manual"( and no GPS lock), where ever it is when it gets a lock is your new "Home" location, so over all pretty dangerous. I land in a minute and lock in where I know the new "Home" location.
*With upgraded GPS this entire mess is rarely needed*
 

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