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CineSSD, what's inside.. can you upgrade it yourself?
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3789 68 2017-2-1 01:07:24
visionrouge.net
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lways wondering what's inside a DJI cine SSD and if you could get you way around it?

Not sure you can do that!

After opening it, you will find a Samsung SSD, connected to a sub board with a proprietary board to restrain from using your own system



If you take out only the SSD, you will find very close aspect of a Samsung EVO series SSD
to read the rest of this one, please follow this link
And, yes, you can exchange it for sure!
DJI Cine SSD Openned visionrouge shanghai.jpg
CineSSD back view dji inside video uav in china.jpg
CineSSD DJI photography in HK.jpg
2017-2-1 01:07:24
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I 2 Fly
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Interesting...  so where does the sky high price tag come from???
2017-2-1 02:04:50
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Ale
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Good question...
2017-2-1 04:33:15
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I 2 Fly Posted at 2017-2-1 02:04
Interesting...  so where does the sky high price tag come from???

Common Man! Samsung SSD internals?

Of Course, I never thought they would have designed and manufactured it on their own. DJI is the Apple of drones, except I'm sure their margins are much larger in areas like this.

2017-2-1 14:10:40
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Here is the big question:

If the internals are common and you only need a SATA cable, why are the transfer speeds so slow. I have several SATA SSDs, mostly Samsung, and they are super fast.
2017-2-1 14:14:17
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I 2 Fly Posted at 2017-2-1 02:04
Interesting...  so where does the sky high price tag come from???

Because they can... thats about it
2017-2-1 16:54:28
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Gybo102
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Puralist Posted at 2017-2-1 14:14
Here is the big question:

If the internals are common and you only need a SATA cable, why are the transfer speeds so slow. I have several SATA SSDs, mostly Samsung, and they are super fast.

The transfer rate of the drive is actually really fast... its the SSD reader that is the bottleneck. its hooked up via USB 3.0. A 2.5 inch rotating hard drive can saturate that BUS speed (ok, maybe slight exaggeration... but... not far off)
I am really suprised they did not make TB2 / USB C versions of the reader.


OK, Now the big question, If we put an off the shelf (samsung) NVME SSD in it... would it work??
2017-2-1 17:01:16
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Its so cool that some of you guys are digging into this.  Good job.
2017-2-1 17:19:35
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Puralist Posted at 2017-2-1 14:14
Here is the big question:

If the internals are common and you only need a SATA cable, why are the transfer speeds so slow. I have several SATA SSDs, mostly Samsung, and they are super fast.

I have a Mac Pro with a Promise Pegasus2 12 Gig Raid 5 array.  I get a transfer rate of about 400 megabytes/second.  This means that a full DJI 480 Gig SSD takes about 20 minutes to transfer a ProRes 442 HQ file.

I think the people that are complaining about slow transfer rate are using a 5400 RPM laptop drive.  The problem is not the DJI SSD, it is the disk you are writing to.  You need a fast disk on both ends.

Ray
2017-2-1 20:11:07
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vonbaron1 Posted at 2017-2-1 17:19
Its so cool that some of you guys are digging into this.  Good job.

Thanks, I have updated my post with more findings and pictures

The exact ref of the memory is this one.

http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/samsung-960-evo-pm961,4737.html

you need to get a M key Sata connector to connect later to your system, these goes for 10 bucks max.

2017-2-1 20:19:13
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Gybo102 Posted at 2017-2-1 16:54
Because they can... thats about it


Yep, that is the only real reason.  Pity though as Sony and Panasonic changed their "get rich by selling much over priced stuff to few" to "selling lots of affordable stuff to many".  DJI is milking the Inspire market as they (may) assume the I2 will be (mostly) used by film makers etc...  which I think may not be the case.  Isn't most of us hobbyists??  I guess this is what is called the free market - if there is a demand, they can ask what they want.  Currently the SSD is by far toooooooo expensive - that is the bottom line!
2017-2-1 21:26:17
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Thanks so much for posting this. It's really interesting. Have you had success using the EVO SSDs with your inspire 2?
2017-2-1 22:26:26
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rmaxwell.dccnet Posted at 2017-2-1 20:11
I have a Mac Pro with a Promise Pegasus2 12 Gig Raid 5 array.  I get a transfer rate of about 400 megabytes/second.  This means that a full DJI 480 Gig SSD takes about 20 minutes to transfer a ProRes 442 HQ file.

I think the people that are complaining about slow transfer rate are using a 5400 RPM laptop drive.  The problem is not the DJI SSD, it is the disk you are writing to.  You need a fast disk on both ends.

You are half correct, when offloading the SSD, you are limited by the weakest link. If you are using a computer with a 5400 rpm hard drive, that could be your weak link. Im going to assume that most people that are flying this drone and offloading a $900 480gb SSD are not using computers with 5400rpm drives.

Either way, for this application, USB 3.0 is the weak link. NVME SSD on usb 3.0 MAKES NO SENSE! NVME SSD's has the potential to exceed over 3000MBps (actual transfer rates) mine does over 1300mbps (read)
Usb 3.0 ranges from 100 to 400(ish)MBps (actual transfer rates) the average USB 3.0 hard drive will do around 100MBps

Why would you bottlneck that speed sooooo much DJI?? Even Thunderbot 2 (at 4 times the bandwith of USB 3.0) is a huge jump. and that still does not touch the potential of NVME SSD's

Im hoping that DJI is working on faster verisons of the SSD reader, because USB 3.0 is silly for the application this is bing used for. I get that not everyone has Thunderbolt 2/3 or USB C... but this is more of a "PRO" application and should fit the part better

Take a look at the pic... that is my external NVME SSD over thunderbolt 2. Just so you see what is possible on the right connection to support the available bandwith. And thats not even the fastest NVME SSD. The samsung 960 Pro (NVME) will saturate a TB2 connection. Its rated to do over 3000MB a sec on reads!!

So again... why is this SSD reader on USB 3.0?




IMG_9820.JPG
2017-2-1 23:22:46
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Gybo102 Posted at 2017-2-1 23:22
You are half correct, when offloading the SSD, you are limited by the weakest link. If you are using a computer with a 5400 rpm hard drive, that could be your weak link. Im going to assume that most people that are flying this drone and offloading a $900 480gb SSD are not using computers with 5400rpm drives.

Either way, for this application, USB 3.0 is the weak link. NVME SSD on usb 3.0 MAKES NO SENSE! NVME SSD's has the potential to exceed over 3000MBps (actual transfer rates) mine does over 1300mbps (read)

Thanks!  I think you have now given concrete evidence! We pay way too much and then the technology is not even up to scratch.  By the way I use 1Tb SSD drives in my PC.
2017-2-1 23:36:30
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rmaxwell.dccnet Posted at 2017-2-1 20:11
I have a Mac Pro with a Promise Pegasus2 12 Gig Raid 5 array.  I get a transfer rate of about 400 megabytes/second.  This means that a full DJI 480 Gig SSD takes about 20 minutes to transfer a ProRes 442 HQ file.

I think the people that are complaining about slow transfer rate are using a 5400 RPM laptop drive.  The problem is not the DJI SSD, it is the disk you are writing to.  You need a fast disk on both ends.

Agreed, Hopefully others will see this too.

I had to switch to all SSD's once I started working with the H265 files.
2017-2-2 08:45:38
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Gybo102 Posted at 2017-2-1 17:01
The transfer rate of the drive is actually really fast... its the SSD reader that is the bottleneck. its hooked up via USB 3.0. A 2.5 inch rotating hard drive can saturate that BUS speed (ok, maybe slight exaggeration... but... not far off)
I am really suprised they did not make TB2 / USB C versions of the reader.

Might be hard to convince someone to wreck their drive but it would be great to know.
2017-2-2 08:48:55
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Found more info on the drive, it appears it is the same drive as this one: https://www.amazon.com/Samsung-PM961-256GB-Solid-MZVLW256HEHP-00000/dp/B01M13Y2T7/ref=sr_1_1?s=pc&ie=UTF8&qid=1486056081&sr=1-1&keywords=PM961
2017-2-2 09:20:33
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If you read the OP  linked full article above, he says you can install a larger Samsung M 2 SSD to save some money.  New Egg has them link

very interesting read.

Rich
2017-2-2 10:28:49
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Has anyone successfully hacked this, i would sacrifice one my 120's in a heartbeat to upgrade it to a 5.2k dng  capable 480gb.  

It is unclear to me if the ssd reader will read the replacement drive if left in the cinessd stick housing.

And one more thing,

If you think DJI is bad take a look at red.com... they charge over twice as much for a 480.  While i do feel extorted everytime I buy any type of "proprietary" ssd,  i have come to think it is just the price of playing ball in the pros.
2017-2-2 11:17:36
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Do you know if the proprietary board in the 120 gb cinessd is different from the board in the 240 and 480?
2017-2-2 12:21:31
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thomasakira Posted at 2017-2-2 12:21
Do you know if the proprietary board in the 120 gb cinessd is different from the board in the 240 and 480?

According to the FCC website, it's the same board,

I'm ordering one 120 g next week and will check as soon as I received it.

First question is to check if the file can be read directly without the DJI reader. As they use their own connector, they may have switch some data pin to inverse and so, writing on a true SSD some corrupted data, only available if you use their connector.

Here will be my test sequence.
-> buy 120 gb Samsung SSD, This is not the EVO, but the EOM version, way cheaper, the board is green, the version 2 is black.
-> use it and write some file on it with the Inspire 2.-> Check the model actually inside, DJI may have upgraded sisn the FCC was filled.
-> open the cinedrive it and read directly from a SATA USB reader the sub SSD included.
IF all is fine, I do not need to buy a DJI reader anymore, first maney saved
-> if not, I need to buy their reader, but that do not mean the switch can't be done, I will only save money on the drive.
-> Buy another 120GB first (I'm not so rich, you can support this project by offering few coffee on my webpage) and try it
If it's working, I will buy a 960GB to test it right away
if, not, I will  just have lost 419 rmb(The eom version is there) wich is about 60 USD!!!!

I also quite sure DJI did not

If it's working well, I need to find a way to get the inside SSD to cool down a bit by using some thermal foam each time I'm flying and put a new one inside.
I alsways use a new memory for each flight, losing your drone is one thing, but losing a full day shooting is another, so buyin plenty of 256 SSD  (price is 639 rmb, 93 USD) makes a lot of sense. Also, I'm often outside with my UAV and go back later to a computer with a table and electricity, I don't like to upload my footage in the middle of nowhere and risk to break or damage one, so, a nice box with all the SSD awayting the evening is also a great thing.

Please follow my blog and post, I will keep you posted as soon as I have one. As it's Chinese New year, all order to DJI are pending right now..






2017-2-2 18:24:39
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Can. Just write your own transfer protocol code. That's on a proprietary chip.
2017-2-2 18:29:26
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I 2 Fly Posted at 2017-2-1 21:26
Yep, that is the only real reason.  Pity though as Sony and Panasonic changed their "get rich by selling much over priced stuff to few" to "selling lots of affordable stuff to many".  DJI is milking the Inspire market as they (may) assume the I2 will be (mostly) used by film makers etc...  which I think may not be the case.  Isn't most of us hobbyists??  I guess this is what is called the free market - if there is a demand, they can ask what they want.  Currently the SSD is by far toooooooo expensive - that is the bottom line!

wait. Yes, they are making a premium. But is anyone forcing you to buy? If anything, I think that the current model, where good camera quality can be had without paying for licensing fees to use RAW and ProRes makes sense to hobbyists. This way, if you choose to upgrade, then you pay the difference. Otherwise, there is no need to buy these expensive SSDs. 100 mbps on the microSD with subsequent conversion to ProRes on your workstation is a workaround.

DJI isn't obliged to make the Raw format more accessible. Or am I missing something here.

Like you, I wondered about the current design set up but on reflection, it is brilliant and I'm sure other companies will follow suit.
2017-2-2 18:46:02
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Mike-the-cat Posted at 2017-2-2 18:29
Can. Just write your own transfer protocol code. That's on a proprietary chip.

Sure!,
but to save time and money, I will stick to exchange the actual SSD only and buy their station for transfer.
If DJI was smart enough to write their own transfer protocol, I'm not sure I want to go this way and spend very long reverse  engineering there. Also, it may be hardware wiring, nothing a soft can do easy!

Switching SSD will already reduce the cost by 80%, writing a full protocol will only save me on the SSD reading station.
2017-2-2 18:53:49
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visionrouge.net Posted at 2017-2-2 18:24
According to the FCC website, it's the same board,

I'm ordering one 120 g next week and will check as soon as I received it.

Checking to see if there is any update? Im looking to do the same... Just am so scared to damage the original SSD. I do want to go straight for the 480gb...but am very nervous.
Also, how easy was it to open? will it stay closed after initial open?
2017-2-5 10:41:42
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I would have thought you can literally just swap them over. However you still have to purchase at least 1 in order to obtain the DJI - Esata connector.
2017-2-5 10:49:48
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dopey-tree Posted at 2017-2-5 10:49
I would have thought you can literally just swap them over. However you still have to purchase at least 1 in order to obtain the DJI - Esata connector.

well... i would assume, but whats not to say that the reader is not firmware locked to work with something specifically. there could be a special firmware on the SSD to match up with the I2 as well. lots of possibilities. For example, besides capacity, the 120GB ssd differs in transfer rate (not allowing 5.2k RAW). How does the I2 know this? is it based on the I2 seeing its the 120 gb vs vs the 240+480GB? or is it looking for a specific firmware to know what the SSD is capable of? lots of things can happen by swapping it out to an off the shelf SSD if anything custom was done to the firmware between Samsung and DJI.

On the bright side... If they did nothing with the firmware and the I2 or SSD reader are not looking for anything specific... Will be nice to drop in a 1TB NVME SSD.
2017-2-5 13:09:40
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ok, we just opened up our 120GB CINESSD and found exactly what was posted as internals above. To open the SSD is really simple. There are 2 T2 tore screws in the front side of it and when unscrewing those you can simply lift up that side panel of the SSD. Takes some slight pull, since the thermal paste inside is holding it together, but really quiet a simple procedure. Then you can just take out the original M.2 SSD blade and swap for a different one. We bought a Samsung 960 EVO 512 GB one and put that inside instead of the original one. Close the housing and plugged it into the DJI card reader. it showed up in our formatting software and we formatted as FAT32 and made it write protected as the original. All worked great and very much straight forward. We then also installed the original 120GB ssd into our M.2 slot on our motherboard and it mounted right away and showed all our clips that were on there. We copied the 100GB worth of date in about 2-4 minutes of the drive (680MB - 1.2GB/s transfer speeds), so as someone suggested above the drives are fast and the only thing crippling it is the USB 3 connector (Really don't understand what the sense behind that USB connection is). So all that was very encouraging and we thought this should be an easy thing, but once we plugged the cinessd into the Inspire 2, it of course did not show up and was a total no go. This means there should be some sort of firmware on the SSD's that shows the Inspire what kind it is and that it is actually a "verified" and "blessed" DJI disk :-)
So unfortunately this will not be an easy swap and go procedure and it might be smarter to just buy the real one's , but lets see what other people might find.

One thing is for sure - it does not really make sense to me why these things are backordered for weeks when they are clearly standard M.2 blades, just with some sort of firmware for verification on them.

Hope this helps someone somehow.

thanks
2017-2-5 17:44:19
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flybabe Posted at 2017-2-5 17:44
ok, we just opened up our 120GB CINESSD and found exactly what was posted as internals above. To open the SSD is really simple. There are 2 T2 tore screws in the front side of it and when unscrewing those you can simply lift up that side panel of the SSD. Takes some slight pull, since the thermal paste inside is holding it together, but really quiet a simple procedure. Then you can just take out the original M.2 SSD blade and swap for a different one. We bought a Samsung 960 EVO 512 GB one and put that inside instead of the original one. Close the housing and plugged it into the DJI card reader. it showed up in our formatting software and we formatted as FAT32 and made it write protected as the original. All worked great and very much straight forward. We then also installed the original 120GB ssd into our M.2 slot on our motherboard and it mounted right away and showed all our clips that were on there. We copied the 100GB worth of date in about 2-4 minutes of the drive (680MB - 1.2GB/s transfer speeds), so as someone suggested above the drives are fast and the only thing crippling it is the USB 3 connector (Really don't understand what the sense behind that USB connection is). So all that was very encouraging and we thought this should be an easy thing, but once we plugged the cinessd into the Inspire 2, it of course did not show up and was a total no go. This means there should be some sort of firmware on the SSD's that shows the Inspire what kind it is and that it is actually a "verified" and "blessed" DJI disk :-)
So unfortunately this will not be an easy swap and go procedure and it might be smarter to just buy the real one's , but lets see what other people might find.

Thank you so much for taking the time to test and report back. you have confirmed my fear about the "handshake" between the SSD and I2. It makes sense tho... how else would the I2 know if the SSD installed supports the required data transfer rate to record 5.2k RAW (120gb vs 480gb ssds)
Notice how no one from DJI commented on this thread at all... they knew we were going to hit a brick wall. LOL

Other than the customer firmwares being installed on the SSD's, I agree, there should not be so long of a back order on them. they are off the shelf products! Mine has been ordered from end of NOV, at the time est ship date was 5-7 weeks.... that time has come and gone, now it says 20-25 days... also come and gone... so... When will I be able to see my overpriced 480GB ssd?

Im waiting for DJI to announce the TB2 and TB3 / USB-C versions of the SSD reader. Now knowing that I can just remove the SSD and use it on my Mac, I may fab up something for the home... for on the road, I will still use the USB 3 reader. once they make one with TB2, I will of course throw my money at them LOL.
2017-2-5 18:30:42
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Wonder if you can clone the 128 GB onto a 512 GB or even 1 TB SSD using Macrium Reflect 6 which would then need to have the extra unallocated space joined into the 128 GB partition to make it a larger drive?  There could be some stuff on the stock SSD that Macrium might see as a master boot record rather than hardware based.  When I've cloned small SSD's to larger in notebooks, there are a couple of hidden partitions that are generally unseen in Windows 10 but are shown in the cloning software.

There are M.2 card holders with a USB cable to transfer the data.  Mine was off Amazon for about $20.  The SSD's do get hot and I see why they needed the blue thermal compound in the stock holder.  There are different voltages with some (12v, 5v, and 3.3 v) as well as SATA and others, and the notches at the plugs.  Computer shop who repairs them said people often get the wrong types when they do a customer's notebook.

I just did my notebook's 256 GB SSD M.2 to 1 TB with a Sandisk SSD.  Cost was about $260 or so.  Lot less than had the notebook company done it.  I was running out of video processing space which eats up memory quick.
2017-2-5 18:33:39
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flybabe Posted at 2017-2-5 17:44
ok, we just opened up our 120GB CINESSD and found exactly what was posted as internals above. To open the SSD is really simple. There are 2 T2 tore screws in the front side of it and when unscrewing those you can simply lift up that side panel of the SSD. Takes some slight pull, since the thermal paste inside is holding it together, but really quiet a simple procedure. Then you can just take out the original M.2 SSD blade and swap for a different one. We bought a Samsung 960 EVO 512 GB one and put that inside instead of the original one. Close the housing and plugged it into the DJI card reader. it showed up in our formatting software and we formatted as FAT32 and made it write protected as the original. All worked great and very much straight forward. We then also installed the original 120GB ssd into our M.2 slot on our motherboard and it mounted right away and showed all our clips that were on there. We copied the 100GB worth of date in about 2-4 minutes of the drive (680MB - 1.2GB/s transfer speeds), so as someone suggested above the drives are fast and the only thing crippling it is the USB 3 connector (Really don't understand what the sense behind that USB connection is). So all that was very encouraging and we thought this should be an easy thing, but once we plugged the cinessd into the Inspire 2, it of course did not show up and was a total no go. This means there should be some sort of firmware on the SSD's that shows the Inspire what kind it is and that it is actually a "verified" and "blessed" DJI disk :-)
So unfortunately this will not be an easy swap and go procedure and it might be smarter to just buy the real one's , but lets see what other people might find.

Great, you beat me, I still awaiting my order!

Can you post a picture of the actuall 120GB SSD you found, and also a close up of the connector from DJI and the small black chip you can see. something with enough resolution to read the IC ID number. Thanks
2017-2-5 18:56:49
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visionrouge.net Posted at 2017-2-5 18:56
Great, you beat me, I still awaiting my order!

Can you post a picture of the actuall 120GB SSD you found, and also a close up of the connector from DJI and the small black chip you can see. something with enough resolution to read the IC ID number. Thanks

I wonder if maybe it has to just be the exact SSDs, not just an other version in the family of products?
2017-2-5 19:01:40
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Gybo102 Posted at 2017-2-5 19:01
I wonder if maybe it has to just be the exact SSDs, not just an other version in the family of products?

It seems not possible to get a product like this where DJI is stuck to only one model possible. So maybe the handshake chip is writable to get a range of product. For sure, going for 120 to 960 gb seems like a dream, but opening yours and changing by the exact same model seems more doable.
Also, formating with a specific low level program seems also the right way to do.

It's already a good news that you can read it without any need fr data management in a simple Mkey Pci-e platform. will help a lot of people to flight with only one stick without waiting hours in between flight to upload the footage.
2017-2-5 19:17:07
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Thanks for testing! I wonder is there a secret partition or something? What happens if you try to format on the inspire instead of the PC? I wonder what happens if you clone a 128gb onto a bigger card.. does it show the footage in the inspire etc. Top work dji hackers we'll get to the bottom of this! ;)
2017-2-6 05:16:55
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dopey-tree Posted at 2017-2-6 05:16
Thanks for testing! I wonder is there a secret partition or something? What happens if you try to format on the inspire instead of the PC? I wonder what happens if you clone a 128gb onto a bigger card.. does it show the footage in the inspire etc. Top work dji hackers we'll get to the bottom of this! ;)

I just received it tonight and will try to order the similar memory.

Btw, did you knew that the 120 Gb model(and only this one) was not able to record video?
it's page 50 o the DJI manual
"The 120 GBCineSSD do not support 5.2K 30fps or 4K60fps CinemaDNG Videos"

2017-2-7 05:31:46
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visionrouge.net Posted at 2017-2-7 05:31
I just received it tonight and will try to order the similar memory.

Btw, did you knew that the 120 Gb model(and only this one) was not able to record video?

Yes, As I mentioned before, besides size, the 120 GB differs in transfer speeds. Its not fast enough to keep up and record the higher bit rates required for 5.2k RAW or 4k60fps.

That is why I was thinking there is a firmware "handshake" of some sort so the I2 sees what SSD is installed to know what formats the installed SSD can support.
The other possibility is the I2 is looking for a specific SSD part #... maybe it just has to be EXACTLY the same SSD... and may not need the firmware "handshake"
2017-2-7 06:13:04
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So got my 480GB ssd. Does anyone have a pic of where the screws are  to open the unit? I see what looks like 2 screw holes by the connector, and there is nothing there. were they not installed when they were built?
2017-2-12 12:01:25
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Gybo102 Posted at 2017-2-12 12:01
So got my 480GB ssd. Does anyone have a pic of where the screws are  to open the unit? I see what looks like 2 screw holes by the connector, and there is nothing there. were they not installed when they were built?

mine have tiny torx or hex screws in there... too small to tell which
2017-2-12 12:29:02
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thomasakira Posted at 2017-2-12 12:29
mine have tiny torx or hex screws in there... too small to tell which

very very small...
Actually, the crew don't screw to the top, but just push it.
As it's also very tight inside the drone itself, you may not need to put it back if you are carefull to save you the time to open and close.
The connector is not linked to these screw, just the cover
ssd screw.jpg
2017-2-12 18:25:00
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And slowy open by this side.

The connector inside is very fragile.

Good luck!


SSD opened

SSD opened
2017-2-12 18:28:50
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