Add a knob to your Phantom remote for gimbal pitch control

For my non-Phantom quads, I use a Spektrum DX8 radio, which has plenty of channels including one on a knob, which is perfect for controlling the pitch of a gimbal (so you can make the camera look up and down during flight).

The Phantom radio has a secret 7th channel which can be used to do this, as well, but it isn’t easily accessible by default.

If you look at the back of your remote, you’ll see two little potentiometers that are accessible via small holes. If you stick a small flathead screwdriver through the holes, you can (carefully) turn the POTs, and there are already a couple third-party (mechanical) kits that modify the radio so you can access the POTs via an external knob.

Another way to access the 7th channel is to replace the onboard POT with an external one. I followed the excellent instructions laid out by my friend, Paul Wags, to a Facebook album by Allan Hollowell that shows pictures of how he did it.

I used the following parts: 

  1. 5K-Ohm linear potentiometer. I recommend the Philmore 16mm PC73 linear potentiometer. This is also available if you walk into Fry’s. A friend recommends this Amico pot, if you don’t have the tools to cut the long shaft of the Philmore model.
  2. Control knob. I recommend the Philmore No. 3060 knob. This is also available if you walk into Fry’s.
  3. Standard servo cable to connect the F2 output from your NAZA flight controller (inside your Phantom’s shell) to the pitch input on your gimbal controller. 

To complete the hack, one simply desolders the on-board POT (the top one) from the circuit board and connects the external potentiometer. I used a hacksaw to cut off extra length from the potentiometer (it’s way too long). If you do it like I’ve done in the pictures below, turning the knob clockwise will aim the camera down, and turning it counterclockwise will aim it up.

Good luck! 

See the gallery of pictures, here.

Update: the Philmore potentiometer and knob mounted on the back of the radio allows for pitch control while actively flying.

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