Welcome to our Community
Wanting to join the rest of our members? Feel free to sign up today.
Sign up

How to mount external antennas on Skycontroller 3...or how to void the warranty

Dronographer

Well-known member
Joined
Feb 22, 2019
Messages
116
Reaction score
58
Hopefully this will assist people that want to mount an FPVLR, Whip, panel or amplified antenna. It may also dissuade some who have been thinking of it. It really is not that difficult to do but affords the chance to
screw up your controller if one is not careful.

I ordered the Titan 2.4 panel kit. Unfortunately the interconnects between the panel and controller were left out of the box. Fortunately I had paid $15 extra for the whip antennas too so can fly with those while I wait for the interconnects. The internal cable swapping did not require soldering but was way more involved than I had dreamed, and required completely disassembling the Skycontroller, which I slowly figured out how to do. There is one possible shortcut I will point out that MIGHT work.

Also I have not mounted the optional t-mount for the panel as the end of the Anafi controller has an ever slo slight curve, combined with thwo screwheads on the back of the t-mount, this keeps the mount away from the conroller case enough that the threads on the connections are not exposed and the nuts cannot be secured in place. I have a plan for that and will attach the t-plate when the interconnects arrive. This will allow swapping the panel antenna to my other drone as I have two t-mount plates. This mount also allows upgrade to the amplifier in the future if desired.

NOTE. The cables that come with the Titan kit may be too short as there is no Anafi kit. I ordered 12” cables elsewhere that are way too long. The ones that came with the kit might or might not work. If one wanted to slice off the stock antenna and solder/splice onto them that would work, but that joint would not be shielded etc unless one covered up with shielding. Anyway I wanted a clean install. So here goes.

Mark your holes on the phone holder and with a drill bit manually start a hole so the pilot bit will not skitter all over the place. Save drilling the holes for when the arm is disassembled so you do not push the drill bit into the stock antenna cavity and wreak havoc.

Start with a fine edged implement of your choosing to pry the two armature castings apart, then using a taped up flat screwdriver firmly and slowly work along the seam popping it apart as you go.

The on the other side of the phone holder look at the diagram sticker showing how to use the phone holder, and then peel back the rubber pad
underneath, exposing four screws and remove them. Now pull off the plastic plate and curved end piece that pushes on and activates the power off tab when one closes up the controller. You can see the cables routed down the slide arm.
 

Attachments

  • 5C6F72F8-5AD9-4EEC-908E-F1BC3A7778AF.jpeg
    5C6F72F8-5AD9-4EEC-908E-F1BC3A7778AF.jpeg
    822.4 KB · Views: 124
  • DD85FB69-3BCD-4AE9-8F99-68F0876B4BFC.jpeg
    DD85FB69-3BCD-4AE9-8F99-68F0876B4BFC.jpeg
    1 MB · Views: 113
  • 0F8F83B1-4079-4090-9350-3F1947541C32.jpeg
    0F8F83B1-4079-4090-9350-3F1947541C32.jpeg
    1.2 MB · Views: 114
  • 2AA5EB76-BEB5-46FA-B483-DD23640B5A2B.jpeg
    2AA5EB76-BEB5-46FA-B483-DD23640B5A2B.jpeg
    1.6 MB · Views: 121
  • CFE5DD68-627A-426E-923A-88CA3DBCB632.jpeg
    CFE5DD68-627A-426E-923A-88CA3DBCB632.jpeg
    1.1 MB · Views: 126
  • 23638C90-BA7F-419C-95E4-0AE83B4B025D.jpeg
    23638C90-BA7F-419C-95E4-0AE83B4B025D.jpeg
    2.2 MB · Views: 124
  • A833E28C-E60D-45AA-B055-140D75CE685B.jpeg
    A833E28C-E60D-45AA-B055-140D75CE685B.jpeg
    1.4 MB · Views: 127
Last edited:

Dronographer

Well-known member
Joined
Feb 22, 2019
Messages
116
Reaction score
58
Remove the spring at both ends, and disassemble the armature.

Proceed to removing the screws from the underside of the controller body and remove the lower half after pinching and separating the battery power lead from it’s socket. Separate the bottom shell and you can see the antenna cables where they mount to the circuit board. You really should probably use a wrist mounted ground strap.

On the circuit board will be hot glue dabbed on the antenna cables, remove the hot glue with needle nose pliers or pick at it with an o-ring remover. On the sliding arm there will be red loctite holding the antenna cables into their routing grooves, remove the red junk. Pull out the cables and your antenna is free.

Now...one MIGHT be able to thread through the new ipex cables and pull them up into the circuit board assembly...but you would likely destroy the ipex connections on the cable end. So you will likely have to do all the following:

Remove the screws and pull out the two circuit boards and reattach the main ribbon cable when you reassemble. Remove the forward bulkhead with the push button shutter and zoom switches.

Remove the inderside remaining screws and pull the bottom circuit board and control toggles away from the top plastic shell.
 

Attachments

  • BA971CDF-BAEE-471B-B7AD-9F22DEC2F159.jpeg
    BA971CDF-BAEE-471B-B7AD-9F22DEC2F159.jpeg
    1.4 MB · Views: 92
  • 68EF4C2B-ED09-4F84-A1B0-642369A733F5.jpeg
    68EF4C2B-ED09-4F84-A1B0-642369A733F5.jpeg
    1.9 MB · Views: 91
  • 9493822A-958E-4147-809D-F43C66C1917C.jpeg
    9493822A-958E-4147-809D-F43C66C1917C.jpeg
    2.3 MB · Views: 90
  • 05576A16-5AEF-468D-981B-ADF2D8A5FFC1.jpeg
    05576A16-5AEF-468D-981B-ADF2D8A5FFC1.jpeg
    1.8 MB · Views: 95
  • 816F571B-457D-4EBB-9B8A-B9B4D1BBE3D5.jpeg
    816F571B-457D-4EBB-9B8A-B9B4D1BBE3D5.jpeg
    2.4 MB · Views: 96
  • 876C5D42-CF72-4C59-AECF-47C6264D8CCF.jpeg
    876C5D42-CF72-4C59-AECF-47C6264D8CCF.jpeg
    3 MB · Views: 95
  • 320E7005-B9E8-4F0F-9323-2F1E4AB0DA83.jpeg
    320E7005-B9E8-4F0F-9323-2F1E4AB0DA83.jpeg
    1.1 MB · Views: 90
Last edited:

Dronographer

Well-known member
Joined
Feb 22, 2019
Messages
116
Reaction score
58
After disassembly it is easy to thread through the new ipex cables with antenna bulkhead connectors. Attach the tiny press on ipex connectors, dab on some hot glue where the cables sit in a pair of shiny metal guides.

On the sliding control arm route the cables through the plastic guide channels where they make the 90 turn up the armature, and add a dab or hot glue where the red locktite had been used.

Now drill the holes for the connectors on the tip of the plastic antenna hood/phone holder and mount the connectors with lockwashers and nuts.

Attach the spring at both ends and reassemble the armature with the small plate, four screws, rubber cover and diagram of how to use the phone holder.

Flip everything over. Reattach the ribbon cable, first loosening the black plastic clamp, slide in the ribbon cable, and push the black plastic clamp back into place locking the ribbon cable securely. Remount the two circuit boards. Attach the forward bulkhead plastic with the shutter and zoom buttons in place. Reattach the power cable to the socket and bolt the lower shell back into place.

Drink a beer.
 

Attachments

  • C3DB45DD-D808-4D91-84AA-C5F46DEE671C.jpeg
    C3DB45DD-D808-4D91-84AA-C5F46DEE671C.jpeg
    1.3 MB · Views: 96
  • 81FA1A0C-8E3B-47D2-ADC0-4EA7C36A9D32.jpeg
    81FA1A0C-8E3B-47D2-ADC0-4EA7C36A9D32.jpeg
    2.7 MB · Views: 99
  • 10FCE82D-0A7F-4581-A34D-97E72FACFC23.jpeg
    10FCE82D-0A7F-4581-A34D-97E72FACFC23.jpeg
    1.2 MB · Views: 102
Last edited:

Dronographer

Well-known member
Joined
Feb 22, 2019
Messages
116
Reaction score
58
The panel antenna with yet to be mounted t-plate, and what it will look like when completed.
 

Attachments

  • 8FE8B8AB-08EE-43A9-85C3-E70D76950DD0.jpeg
    8FE8B8AB-08EE-43A9-85C3-E70D76950DD0.jpeg
    2 MB · Views: 75
  • E2C890BC-9EBC-4A06-853F-6B7208CE5D2B.jpeg
    E2C890BC-9EBC-4A06-853F-6B7208CE5D2B.jpeg
    2.6 MB · Views: 70
  • 048B29BA-407B-4107-A3AE-A447D43560D9.jpeg
    048B29BA-407B-4107-A3AE-A447D43560D9.jpeg
    2 MB · Views: 69

Liger 1956

Well-known member
Joined
Aug 28, 2018
Messages
1,223
Reaction score
475
Location
Manchester, UK
Thanks for the very detailed write up and the photos. It will give other Anafi owners, including me, confidence to modify the antennas if we want to. How long do you think that the cables need to be as you say that the 12" ones are a bit too long? I look forward to hearing how the mod affects the control range and video signal stability when you get the Anafi back in the air.
 

Dronographer

Well-known member
Joined
Feb 22, 2019
Messages
116
Reaction score
58
I just measured the stock antenna cables, they are at 8". I would add another inc h anyway to reach then end of the casing, so 10" would be safe.

If one is patient, Aliexpress might be a source. If one uses the QMA bulkhead connectors which is what the Titan panel uses and is very convenient, the cables needed are QMA female bulkhead. The whips are something else but came with QMA adaptors, they pop on and off. The cables are 1.13 Ipex . The place I ordered from the cable price was OK but they only ship for $18 FedEx on a pair of cables! I bought two pair just in case and they did arrive two days later straight from Beijing.

So I have a 12” pair for $20 delivered if anyone is interested.
 
Last edited:
  • Like
Reactions: Macgr6

Dronographer

Well-known member
Joined
Feb 22, 2019
Messages
116
Reaction score
58
By the way, I initially was considering FPVLR circular polarized antennas but after sending me a couple photos of the Skycontroller antenna cavity (and no clue how to open it) he said be patient. After that no replies to my email stating I was ready to order, from Italy if neceassary but I asked if it was the same antenna the US distributors of FPVLR sold for the DJI drones. I never received a reply.

Three weeks later I saw reviews on the Titan panel antenna. James answered a slew of questions via their chat window. Having someone that I could actually communicate with, on top of being US assembled or made, sealed the deal. I like the swappability of the t-mount and quick connectors and they have amplifiers one can add on etc. My interconnect cables are on the way. Will report back in a new thread on the panel and whip antennas.

One thing to keep in mind, the Titan panel kit is made for DJI Mavic and there are no instructions for AnafI, hence my photos above. He does have a nice Youtube tutorial for Mavic installation.

But basically the photos and tips above will be helpful (I hope) for any external antenna connections or kit.
 
Last edited:

Dronographer

Well-known member
Joined
Feb 22, 2019
Messages
116
Reaction score
58
First flight, using the 5dB multiband whip antennas. Exactly doubled my flight range from my back yard, same elevation and flightpath as before. The whips are hinged so it is very nice to be able to aim the antennas on the swivels without tilting the phone away from me too. Video popped back much sooner on RTH. Pretty happy so far. This is not the worst environment but not easy. one block of residential wifi before heading out over woods. It will be interesting to see if the panel is any better here or in "noisier" environments. One flight is not enough to judge
the effectiveness but the fact that range exactly doubled I do not think is a one-off. I will also try at one point using my reflector behind the whips.
 
Last edited:

Latest threads

Members online

No members online now.

Forum statistics

Threads
4,948
Messages
43,235
Members
7,129
Latest member
estudiocad