Aiptek Z500 PLUS HD camera for FPV

After failing to get the Camileo P10 HD camera to work with a remote sensor head (for pan and tilting) I decided to have another go. I searched around found out that some of the Aiptek models with optical zoom had their sensors mounted on a ribbon-cable. I found a used Z500+ on a Swedish auction site for less than €50, so I gave it a shot.

Recording: 1440*1080p in 30FPS , 1280*720p in 60FPS
Weight: 204 grams (with battery), 178 grams (without battery)

720p in 60FPS is very nice! I look forward towards testing it out.

Time to start disassembling.

Remove battery

Remove the screw above the USB connector

Remove the metal-sticker on the top and remove the screw

Remove the mic protection plastic thing.

Remove the plastic piece on the front that is held in place with double sided sticky tape and unscrew the two screws.

Underneath the rubber screen protector you’ll find two screws.

Remove the plastic around the buttons on the back and unscrew the two screws.

Now the whole backplate will be loose.

Next, remove the metal collar around the lens. It’s held in place with double sided tape. Then remove the screw underneath.

Then remove the screw that holds the clear plastic in front of the leds and flash.

Then remove the screw under that.

And now you can take the back off.
Yay! It has a ribbon-cable!

The PCB is held in place with 3 screws, unscrew them to get it loose.

Unplug the LCD display cable.

Here it is, removed from its shell.

The ribbon-cable between the PCB and sensor.

I removed the zoom lens controller board from the main PCB.

I also disassembled the zoom lens and removed the flash and capacitor.

The backside of the PCB. The camera is built around the Ambarella A2-A1-RH-A270C chipset.

The front of the PCB.

I used my dremel to remove the unnecessary plastic left from the zoom lens. I plan on making a mount for a standard lens.

The back of the sensor.

Here is a comparison shot with with the Camileo P10.

After searching around for anything I could without to much effort modify into a lens mount I came up with this solution. It’s nothing more than two PG-7 plastic nuts that I glued in place. The treads on the nuts were way to steep but after screwing the lens in and out a couple of time they succumbed and the lens is perfectly straight and secured.

I also added some epoxy glue to the ribbon cable connectors to make sure that they aren’t stressed when panning.

Unfortunately I managed to destroy this camera in a crash with my Funjet. I though about building another one but the ribbon cable turned out to be shorter than I needed it to be to be really useful.

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