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BetaFPV Pavo360 Banding Issue Fixed (update: see some warnings)

Pavo360 banding issue fixed
Pavo360 banding issue fixed

The BetaFPV Pavo360 banding issue has been fixed.  Going forward, BetaFPV’s existing inventories of Pavo360 should no longer have this issue.  If you already have a Pavo360, here’s how to fix it.

Pavo360 (reviewed here) is the newest 360 drone.  It is the first BNF 360 drone to have a retractable landing gear to protect its 360 camera lenses.  I’ve been testing it the past few weeks and I’ve grown to like it.  However, it has a banding problem in low light.

Banding issue problem and solution

In low light, the Pavo360 had very visible banding especially in shadow areas.  This was unusual because the Pavo360 uses the SMO360, which is based on the Insta360 One R.  When I tested the One R in low light in identical settings, it had no banding issue.

BetaFPV worked with Insta360 to determine the cause, which they found to be magnetic interference generated by a closed loop circuit formed by the power cables that go around both sides of the camera to the power distribution board at the rear of the quad.

The solution is to remove the power distribution board and instead use a series power cable from the same parts plus two shrink tubes.  For current Pavo360 owners, the solution can be implemented with basic soldering tools and skills.

The banding issue is fixed by reconfiguring the power cables as a series cable
The banding issue is fixed by reconfiguring the power cables as a series cable

Here is a step by step guide:

Step 1: Remove the top frame and the power distribution board attached to it.

Step 2: Desolder the power cables from the flight controller and from the PDB.   Desolder the XT30 cables and camera cable from the PDB.

Step 3: Create a series power cable:

  • From one XT30 pigtail, remove the black cable.  From the other XT30 pigtail, remove the red cable.
  • Connect the two XT30 pigtails with either of the long power cables.  Don’t forget shrink tubes.

Step 4: BetaFPV says to attach the camera cable directly to the battery pads because SMO360 can handle up to 6S voltage.  My camera worked for a little while but now has stopped working.  I suspect it could not handle the voltage.  I therefore strongly recommend a 9V BEC (there is no 9v pad on the flight controller) instead of connecting the camera cable to the battery pads.

Step 5 (new):  I strongly recommend adding a capacitor (I used 50v 1000uf).  See below.

Step 6: Attach the series power cable to the battery pads, with the wires facing outward to the side.  If you have the analog Pavo360, you’ll need to solder a capacitor (35v, 470uf) to avoid noise in your FPV camera signal.

Remember to check with a smoke stopper and/or multimeter for continuity.  I also highly recommend installing a swiveling magnetic USB connector to make it easier to connect a Micro USB.  I routed the power cable around it.

Does the solution work? (updated)

After implementing the fix, I tried shooting with the SMO360 in low light and yes it appeared to get rid of the banding issue.

However, later, my camera stopped working.  As I mentioned above, I believe the camera couldn’t handle the voltage.  I believe it would have been fine if I had used a 9V BEC.  I don’t have a new SMO 360 yet but I tested an Insta360 SMO 4K with the BEC and it is working fine.

The other downside of this repair is that this removes the capacitor.  Without the capacitor, I get ‘hiccups’ where the throttle suddenly jumps every few seconds.  I installed a 50v 1000uf capacitor and now it flies smoothly.   I got a generic one but I highly recommend getting a Panasonic low ESR capacitor.  Note: some pilots say 35v is adequate even for 6S.

I installed a 50v 1000uf capacitor and added a 9V BEC

I installed a 50v 1000uf capacitor and added a 9V BECTo make space for the capacitor, I had to move the Caddx Vista and cut the compartment for the receiver.

To make space for the capactior, I relocated the Caddx Vista
To make space for the capactior, I relocated the Caddx Vista

I can still access the Crossfire receiver bind button because there is a hole in the bottom of the frame.

I can still access the Crossfire receiver bind button
I can still access the Crossfire receiver bind button