The Phantom 2 quadcopter is an excellent platform for those looking to get started in aerial video or photography. The Zenmuse H3-3D three axis gimbal and a companion GoPro 3 provide ultra-smooth visuals. With the addition of a small video transmitter, the user can have a real-time birds eye view through a pair of First Person View goggles (FPV). Click here to see a list of all the recommended parts.
Setting up the Phantom 2, Zenmuse gimbal, and FPV transmitter is relatively straight forward but will require some ability with electronics. This particular setup will require a small amount of soldering.
Besides a soldering iron, you will also need the following items and tools:
- Mini screw driver set
- Wire strippers
- Wire cutters
- Shrink tubing or electrical tape
- Allen wrench (The one supplied with your Phantom 2)
Step One – Remove the Top Shell
Remove the top shell by removing the one small screw and three hex screws from each of the four phantom legs. Make sure to set aside in a safe place. Once you’ve removed all of the screws, carefully separate the top shell from the body. Note that the top shell contains the Phantom’s GPS antennae and it is connected to the body with a cable and connector. Gently pull on this connector to detach the cable from the body and the top shell will come free.
Step Two – Mount the Filter Board Retrofit
At the time of this writing, the Zenmuse H3-3D gimbal ships with a small filter circuit board that is designed to remove interference from the video feed from the gimbal used for FPV. This seems to be a retrofit from DJI. Locate the Two Screws on the main board of your Phantom 2 indicated with red circles on the image below:
Remove the two screws from the main board and use them to mount the filter board onto the main board.
Step Three – Reroute the Zenmuse Ribbon Cable
You will now need to unplug the gimbal cable and reroute it to the opposite side of the Phantom 2 so that it can plug into one end of the filter board. Carefully use a pair of cutters to clip the zip tie that holds the bundle of wires containing the gimbal cable.
Gently unplug the gimbal cable from the Phantom’s main board noting where the cable connects as you will need to connect the provided short ribbon cable here in the next step. The word “Zenmuse” is printed small next to this connector on the main board.
With the gimbal cable disconnected from the main board, gently work it out of the hole in the Phantom’s leg. Once it’s free, work it back up into the Phantom through the hole on the opposite leg. Connect one end of the cable to the far end of the filter board.
Use the supplied short ribbon cable to connect the other end of the filter board to the Zenmuse port on the Phantom’s main board. It’s a tight fit, but the cable will just barely reach if you route it under some of the existing wires.
The bottom of your Phantom should now look like the image below with your gimbal cable rerouted to the other side. The other ribbon cable with four colored wires is the video and power supply that you will connect to your FPV video transmitter.
Step Four – Mount the Gimbal
The base of the gimbal should come with four white vibration dampening balls already installed. Locate this along with two of the supplied plastic retaining pins and fasteners. You will also need the supplied M3 X 5 screws to attach the base of the gimbal to the bottom of your Phantom 2.
Place the two plastic retaining pins through opposite sides of the gimbal base. These should should sit freely inside of the white rubber vibration dampeners. Secure the base of the gimbal to the underside of the Phantom with the supplied screws.
Attach the gimbal to the white rubber vibration dampeners by pinching the dampeners and working them into the holes in the gimbal.
Attach the gimbal cable to the back of the gimbal and press the plastic fasteners onto the plastic retaining pins. Be careful to press the fasteners only to the first notch. The white rubber dampeners should not be compressed by the retaining pins.
Attach the USB GoPro video connector to the ribbon cable on the gimbal. Place a GoPro 3 into the gimbal, connect the USB video adapter and secure the GoPro with supplied bracket and screws.
Step Five – Attach FPV Video Transmitter
This guide shows how to hook up a Fat Shark video transmitter specifically, but the steps would be similar regardless of the FPV system you choose to use.
Strip the four wires that make up the FPV ribbon cable.
Yellow = Video Out Signal
Brown = Video Ground
Red = Power
Brown = Ground
If the model of fat shark you have has a red 5 volt power wire next to the video signal wire, this will not be needed. I clip this wire near the connector. Strip the insulation off the remaining white (video signal) and ground wire and a small amount off of the red and black power wires.
Solder the four wires to the corresponding wires on the Phantom 2 taking care to double check your connections. Wrap your connections with electrical tape or shrink tube.
Secure the video transmitter to the underside of the Phantom 2 with velcro and zip tie or tape the wires in place as needed.
Attach the video transmitter antennae, power on your FPV goggles or display, turn on the GoPro, and then power on the Phantom 2 to test the gimbal and video Transmitter. I recommend doing a basic and advanced IMU calibration in the DJI assistant software before flying the Phantom with your new gimbal and Video transmitter attached. Also, remember to do a compass calibration before your first flight!
Good luck and happy flying!