As you can see from my other instructables I run a tractor on a small farm and have been working to get it all set up. Recently I bought the 3DR Solo Drone so that I could video some of the Hay making process from above. It has taken me a while to get to the point of testing the follow me feature of the Solo but after I finally did I decided it was time to set up a mount on the tractor to hold the Solo controller while the drone followed me around.
This instructable will walk you through the materials, set up, pricing, the final outcome and other possible mounts for other vehicles.
Step 1: Gather the Materials
Since there really isn't a mount made for the Solo controller I had to do some measuring and digging. I already had a bunch of Ram Mount items so that is where I started. Also I chose ram mount because of its durability, and the ability to remove it easily from the tractor to protect it from the elements.
All of these items are available online through either RAM Mounts or you can get them from Amazon
So lets start with the Materials list.
- The base mount is the RAM-235U which is a U-Bolt mount with a 1.5" Ball designed to go around a pole. I chose this because it is a heavy duty mount and should be able to hold up to the tractor environment pretty easy. - $21.99
- The next piece is the socket arm RAM-201U. This is the arm to go between the base and the Solo Controller Mount. They are made for 1.5" Ball. I bought two of these. One to go to the Solo Controller Mount, the other to go to a tablet mount. - $12.48 *2 = $24.96
- Next you need a piece to allow the Solo Controller Mount to connect to the arm. RAM-202U, 2.5" x 1.5" Ball base. Again I bought two of these. - $6.99 *2 = $13.98
- Now we need the Solo Controller Mount. This took some digging and measuring to find but I used the RAM-VPR-104, Universal small Printer Cradle Mount. This has a spring in it that will hold the controller tight. The nice thing about this is it also has holes on the sides to be able to attach other bases to allow more items to be mounted. - $42.98
- The next thing I actually had on hand for a different tablet. But I used a tablet mount for a Lenovo thinkpad Tablet 2. I need to get a new one that actually fits my Samsung Galaxy Tab.
- I am debating between the X-Grip
RAM-HOL-UN8BU - $35.49,
The next one is a little more pricey as you need two parts but would allow me to charge the tablet on the go. The RAM Vehicle Dock with GDS RAM-GDS-DOCK-V2-SAM16U at $79.99 (From Ram Mount Website) Along with the GDS Skin RAM-GDS-SKIN-SAM16U- $49.49 For a total of $129.48
- I already own the Tab-Lock Backplate RAM-HOL-TABLBU - $57.99 And I could buy the adapters to work with my tablet for - $13.49
- I am debating between the X-Grip
As it stands right now I have about $170 in this mount set up. At least I will have about $185 if I take the cheapest option out on the tablet mount. If I opt for one of the other tablet mounts I will have up to $300 in the set up. I know that is not really cheap but this is a on a tractor which shakes and rattles a lot, and the tablet and Solo controller need to hold still and not fall off into other equipment being pulled by my 12000 lb tractor.
Step 2: Assemble the Controller Mount
Take the RAM-VPR-104 Mount and put it together. You will notice there are channels that you can determine the size or width the mount will open. Put this into the smallest setting.
Next take one of the RAM-202U Mounts and attach it to the bottom.
Next I took the other RAM-202U Mount and affixed it to the solid side of the mount not the springy side.
The smaller 1" Ball mount RAM-B-238U I attached to the other side of the Mount.
After everything was all together I took weather stripping and put it onto the mount in order to both protect the Solo controller and make a tighter fit.
Step 3: Drill Holes or Mount the Vehicle Base.
In my case I took the pole mount RAM-235U and used the u-bolts to mark where I needed to drill holes to mount it to the tractor. I am not using the u-Bolts so I set those aside for later.
I used the mount and some 5/16" - 18 carriage bolts to mount to the tractor.
Step 4: Put Everything Together.
Now that the base is in we can take the arms and put everything together. Take one RAM-201U and go from the vehicle base to the Solo Controller Mount.
Next take another RAM-201U and go from the right side (non springy side) of the Solo Controller Mount and attach the tablet mount.
That is it. The unit is assembled. You can move the arms until the controller and tablet are in the position you want.
Step 5: Time to Fly
Alright now that everything is together we need to make a test run. Now this mount is recommended for off road and slow moving vehicles only as some of your attention may be diverted from driving. Especially if you are not use to the follow me feature of the Solo. The best option is to have a passenger watch and control the drone or you control it and have someone else drive. Unfortunately on a tractor this really inst an option but it does move really slow.
Here is a video of the drone following my tractor as I rake hay, on its first run in the mount and my second time using the follow me feature of the Solo.
Thanks for taking a look at my instructable and let me know if you use my suggested mounts for your solo or even if you find a better one.