Having finally decided to build a QuadCopter I ordered components from HobbyKing. Now that I have everything I needed and some time to build it – it is time.
The list below is not exhaustive but provides the main components.
- Turnigy Talon V2 Frame
- KK2.0 Multi Rotor Control Board
- 4 x Turnigy Plush ESC
- 4 x NTM Prop Drive Series 28-26A 1200kv / 250w
- 3S 1800mAH LiPO Battery
Ordering from HobbyKing was great for price, but the delivery was expensive and their stock situation highly frustrating. Additionally when ordering the pieces it often wasn’t clear whether pieces I wanted would work together as I envisaged, necessitating much use of Google.
Calibrating the ESC’s
NB You also need to order the accessory pack for each motor as this provides the shaft and attachments for a propeller!
In addition to the above I also needed to do some soldering for various cable connections and the screws are hex (2 and 2.5mm as best I can tell) so suitable tools were required. I didn’t use screw lock for the frame as I was sure I’d be replacing broken parts 🙂
The horror stories about charging LiPO batteries aren’t hard to find and certainly deserve being taken seriously, so I wanted to get a charger with some “smarts”. There are so many conflicting views about this that eventually I bought an Accucel-6 50W charger/balancer and a power supply (though the power supply is likely overkill). As an additional safety precaution I also got a charging bag for the battery.
Actually using the charger proved interesting and required me downloading the manual and reading the appropriate section. This would have been easier (and more obvious) had they included a link to the manual in the box, but they didn’t.
The first job we did was to solder all the connectors onto the ESC’s and heat shrink them. This took a while as there are 5 connectors per ESC.
Assembling the frame was easy enough. The motor attachment plates appeared to have the countersunk holes on the wrong side, so we put them on upside down without any problems. I had been hoping to run the wires inside the arms but without fabricating extension leads this wouldn’t have worked, so we just tied them to the side (we decided early on to change our ESC so this was temporary). One thing we didn’t do initially was spend a little time ensuring that all the legs were level prior to tightening the legs, which with hindsight we should have.
Attaching the KK2.0 board was straightforward and connecting the RC receiver was simple enough (though without the online pdf manual getting them in the correct order would have been much harder). Once the ESC’s were attached to the KK2.0 board it was time to power it up 🙂
The layout is quadcopter-x and once selected it will show the correct numbering and directions. Again the pdf manual was very helpful for this. Once selected I checked the rotation direction and changed connections as required on the ESC’s to ensure they were all correct.
Calibrating the ESC’s
This turned out not to be as simple as it initially appeared. Reading the instructions for the KK2.0 board provided the basic procedure but as there are a lot of different ESC’s available knowing the beep sequences to wait for was the stumbling block. As I’m using Turnigy Plush ESC’s I eventually found this helpful video that explained where I was going wrong.
Essentially I was waiting too long and so the ESC’s went into programming mode (after playing their funky tune). Being quicker and moving the throttle from max to min after the 2 beeps was all that was required to correctly calibrate them.
After a lot of searching I eventually decided to use 8×4.5 propellers and decided to follow convention and have different colours at the front and rear – green for the front and black for the rear in this case. As you need both left and right rotation propellers for each, this means I should have ordered 4 packs, but managed to misorder initially and only got left handed propellers! When ordering the right handed ones I also forgot I needed both colours and so it took a while to have everything I needed! Hopefully this will act as a warning to others 🙂
One thing to note is that the propellers don’t have many markings on them, so it’s not always easy to quickly tell them apart 🙁 It would be better if they were clearer about what they were.
Having read the various guides online I did a receiver test early on in the setup and zeroed the controller, but by the time we came to fly they had changed so needed doing again. Failing to do this caused an early accident when it flipped on the ground and smashed a propeller 🙁
Between my initial ordering of components and the final assembly it has become possible to get 4 ESC’s on a single board, with integrated power distribution. To simplify the design and make things far neater we have ordered one of these boards which will allow the cables for the motors to be run inside the arms and removing the need for extra wiring for power distribution.
As I also plan on flying a GoPro I’m debating how to attach it and balance the frame.
Up, Up and Away…
Following some initial teething problems and after climbing the inevitable learning curve, today marked the first few flights 🙂 The next post will detail more about that though 🙂