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Sep 17

Gopro Hero 3 Black – Teardown

I have to admit that the LKTR250 frame and my GoPro Hero3 black camera are not quite compatible. The frame is a bit narrow and the GoPro has to be the worst camera in the world regarding aerodynamics as it has the largest surface facing forward. Imagine a GoPro Hero with the lens on the side like a Mobius, Preferably lying down flat on the belly (battery hatch) Then it would be the best of 2 worlds.

When you are using the GoPro for FPV you also use the USB-port on the side to access video & audio and if you want to 5 Volts to charge the camera on the go as well, all readily accessible in 1 handy port – ready for a bladestrike!

On my version of LKTR250 I use 3dprinted arms from the Hovership MHQ.

It fits nicely and works great with the 5*3 props I use – until u crash…the LKTR-frame has isolated top/bottom ie dirty and clean frame and the rubber bobbins can flex so much that the propeller easily strike the USB connector for your TV-out. I was suspicious when I noticed a few dents on the propeller looking exactly like my USB-connector…

Anyway…at the latest joint flight with my friend MarkusB I flew low and lost FPV-link due to rocks and stuff on the ground forcing me to either hang on or drop throttle to land promptly, I choose to drop throttle and engage LOMA (lost model alarm)

When I go get the Quad I noticed massive dents in the propeller…the USB connector is loose inside the camera – DANG. but video still works…so did charging so no broken wires or traces on the PCB.

 

How do we proceed to rescue the camera? We visit Ifixit.com and their GoPro Hero3 Teardown

Looking at the pictures we can now disassemble the camera quite easy with some cellphone repair tools and most important the Torx #4.

5 minutes later the camera is opened up so we can access the damaged USB connector and yes – It has come loose on all 4 corners. the solderpads for the metal casing(groundplane) are broken away from the PCB – the solders to all wires are intact!

This means the solderpads for the casing came off the PCB with the connector…

No sweat – we fix this with some 15 minutes epoxy as there is plenty of room for some glue to hold on to so I apply with a needle and a BBQ-sqewer that I shaped flat in the tip.

 

Finally…here are some images showing the glue applied over, under and on the sides of the metal casing to give extra support.

GoPro hero 3 usb connector

GoPro hero 3 usb connector

GoPro hero 3 usb connector

GoPro hero 3 usb connector

GoPro hero 3 usb connector

GoPro hero 3 usb connector

 

 

Now I really hope this will hold up. I will most likely redesign the center plates to make the LKTR250 more GoPro friendly – widen it a bit and to make sure I do not get bladestrike again – use longer arms to get more clearance.

 

In the meantime when being grounded from LKTR250 FPV flights – I fly the Natrix DLG. In far from perfect conditions (very windy) I threw it 43 meters up but the wind was so strong I had to loop back. I hope there is less wind during my lunchbreaks this week…