DJI A3 Pro Flight Controller: The Correct Setup

DJI released their current flagship flight controller and upgrade modules back in 2016 and since then they have been used on a huge range of systems, one of our favourites is the Acecore Technologies: NEO – The design alone is enough to think you would have pinned up a poster of it back when you were a teenager.

With the A3 series, like most new technology in this industry there are teething issues with compatibility, and none more so than with DJI products. We’ve all heard about those that jump on DJIs products such as the Inspire range to be known as the beta testers. It is for this reason that you find many operators holding off for six months to a year in order to sit back and see what unravels.

DJI is a big player in our industry, some may argue the biggest. Sure they have the biggest reach with a ton of products but its when you go to the high-end of industrial applications that you see other manufacturers with much more refined systems – such as the Zenith – however saying that DJI have also just released their M200 series, and it looks very interesting, but without testing one and seeing how teething issues pan out over the next year, we are not ready to make a judgement.

The A3 on its own comes with the main flight controller unit, which houses the usual internal IMU, and comes with an attaching GPS puck. The pro system comes with the A3 main unit, 2 additional IMU units as well as the internal IMU of the A3, and 3 GPS pucks.

This all means that the A3 Pro has triple redundancy in IMU measurements and GPS readings, a bit plus for those operating in sensitive and tricky locations.

With all this kit though, you need to be able to know how to mount it correctly, and there is a ton of conflicting information out there on what the ‘best’ way is to mount the hardware to your drone.

The bottom line here is that DJI developed the A3 system and so what they say in regards to its installation should be taken above all unless there is a clear typo! With this said, you will find many operators telling you how they think its best to interpret the instructions – the most common is for the flight controller location to be entered relative to the centre of gravity and then both additional IMUs and three GPS pucks to be relative to the A3, this, however, is wrong.

The way to do it is simple, here’s a quick breakdown of how to do it.

  1. Mount the A3, IMUs, and GPS Pucks according to the manual.
  2. Get your centre of gravity in the middle, this may require movement of the batteries.
  3. Measure where your COG is – it should be in the middle and is usually a few inches bellow the top of the system (payload depending).
  4. Measure where all the A3 hardware is in relation to the COG.
  5. Input this data into the DJI Assistant 2 software.
  6. Remember – Everything is relative from the COG, not from the A3 main unit.

Here is our setup for the A3 Pro on a custom X5 series S900.

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