Before you think that this is an easy job, be advised that you have to take apart the complete drone!
There is no soldering required, only a bit of drilling.
The UpAir drone sometimes suffers from bad FPV signal, and especially when it comes to distance.
And if you have a look at the FPV antenna it’s not strange if you ask me. How can this be an antenna anyway?
Since the weather is too bad for flying I thought I would do this upgrade.
So I ordered 2 SMA cables, and a set of cloverleaf antennas.
Taking apart the drone is not hard, but you need to take time for it.
Before you start take the gimbal off, take it out off the dampers and remove the cable carefully!
Once that is done we can start with taking apart the drone.
First you need to remove the propellers if they are still on, and put the drone on it’s back.
Now take the antennas out of the legs, and remove the plug from the compass.
Now you need to take all screws out. there are 7 screws on every leg
4x for the motor
1x for the navigation light
2x for the landing gear.
When all the screws are out, you still have 2 to take out, and they are in the battery bay.
These are a bit hard to get to, but you can unclip the underside first. This creates just enough room for a small screwdriver to fit in.
All screws in the drone are allen, except these two, these are cross heads.
When you have them out you can start taking apart the two halves.
There is not much resistance, and the parts should come apart easy.
Beware not to pull if off just yet, there are still wires attached to the navigation lights.
Unplug these 4, and gently lift the upper half, you’ll see that there are still 2 wires attached, these are the gimbal power/camera feed and the FPV transmitter power/feed. the gimbal cable comes out because you have already unplugged it when you removed the gimbal. the transmitter cable needs to be unplugged and then you can take the top half off.
Gently feed the antennas through the holes!!
When you have split the two halves it should look something like this.
Now take out the FPV antenna that we are about to upgrade.
Now it is time to take the cover off from the FPV transmitter.
This is kept on with 2 screws, once removed you should see the FPV transmitter.
The little black wire is the antenna wire, take that off, and if you want you can also remove the red one so you can put the transmitter aside.
Once the antenna is loose, take it out completely
Now we need to prepare the drone to accept the new antenna.
The lead I use is a direct fit, and there is no modification required to the wire,
Still, we need to drill a hole for the other end, this is the place where you will screw on the antenna.
I have chosen to mount it on the right rear side, but you can basically put it anywhere you want, just beware that the battery needs room as well. This is the cap we just took off, it was mounted on with 2 crosshead screws remember?
Now that you have mounted your socket it is time to put things back together.
Putting it back is the reverse of taking it apart so I am not going through the whole sequence again.
Make sure there are no wires stuck between the 2 halves. if all is good the 2 halves come back together without any effort.
If you want to put the antenna in the same place I have, then don’t connect the wire to the transmitter just yet, you first need to put the 2 halves back together, once you are ready to put the rear cap back on you can connect the antenna to the transmitter.
If you have put it back together it could look something like this.
Now lets hope this upgrade makes the feed better than it was before.
Cloverleafs are known to be a lot better, and that’s why I did this upgrade.
I have bought the parts at AliExpress, and here are the links to the parts.
I haven’t done the remote, and in all fairness it’s not needed.
The antenna’s on the remote are good enough, it’s the low cost standard antenna on the drone that is the most important thing to upgrade.