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First Quadcoter Build

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Old 09-26-2014, 02:47 AM
  #1
CommanderBlaine
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Default First Quadcoter Build

first thing's first i appologies if this is in the wrong section.

but i'm new to the forum and looking to build a quadcopter as my first ever build.

i have just bought this frame...
http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/New-HJ-MWC...item3ce51af74b

and i am looking to build ontop of that to make my first quadcopter

anyone know where i should begin with this, i have no previous experience
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Old 10-07-2014, 03:19 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CommanderBlaine View Post
first thing's first i appologies if this is in the wrong section.

but i'm new to the forum and looking to build a quadcopter as my first ever build.

i have just bought this frame...
http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/New-HJ-MWC...item3ce51af74b

and i am looking to build ontop of that to make my first quadcopter

anyone know where i should begin with this, i have no previous experience
This frame is good for a first quad copter build.

Things to consider:

Motors & Propellers - do you want endurance or higher performance? Do you want to lift a camera? or a gimbal?

You can get fast revving (High Kv) motors and use smaller propellors, this generally gives sportier performance, or you can use lower revving (Low Kv) motors and large props, this is better for endurance and lifting a payload.

Speed controllers (ESCs) - you will need 4 of these, same brand and calibrated the same - most quad copters fly better with ESCs that have SimonK firmware - this removes a lot of features from the ESC that are unnecessary in a Quadcopter, and also provides a faster response to throttle changes.

Flight control board - again many choices and decide what you want the quad to do? For sport flying you just need a simple board such as a KK2, Multiwii or Naze 32.

If you want your quad to be able to hover in one position, and return home and land automatically, you need a more advance board, something like a NAZA M Lite, or higher. These will let your quad hover hands free, and has a number of programable fail safes that will bring your quadcopter home and land even if you turn off your transmitter.

With no previous experience its a learning curve. I would suggest watching as many videos as you can and hook into one of the Quad copter build threads on RCG. Even if they are different models to yours the knowledge to be gained from others is invaluable.

Actually: a quick search and I found a thread for your exact quad here.

http://www.rcgroups.com/forums/showthread.php?t=1888133

Good luck with your build and please let us know how it goes.

Last edited by Rob2160; 10-07-2014 at 03:22 PM.
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Old 10-08-2014, 05:54 PM
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Hit this dude up for some info, I don't fly these but he seems to have a great deal of information about them:

Rob2160

I'd be interested in his thoughts on the floats. I've never seen a quad or anything similar on floats, I have to presume it's not a good idea.
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Old 10-08-2014, 09:10 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by porcia83 View Post
Hit this dude up for some info, I don't fly these but he seems to have a great deal of information about them:

Rob2160

I'd be interested in his thoughts on the floats. I've never seen a quad or anything similar on floats, I have to presume it's not a good idea.
I tend to agree, I'll keep my electrics away from water where possible, but it has been done successfully.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OleU6XNA-0s

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mrArOJUlE0E

Also, there have been several designs for fully waterproof multi rotors.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q0MxTKM2uVo
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Old 10-09-2014, 01:22 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rob2160 View Post
This frame is good for a first quad copter build.

Things to consider:

Motors & Propellers - do you want endurance or higher performance? Do you want to lift a camera? or a gimbal?

You can get fast revving (High Kv) motors and use smaller propellors, this generally gives sportier performance, or you can use lower revving (Low Kv) motors and large props, this is better for endurance and lifting a payload.

Speed controllers (ESCs) - you will need 4 of these, same brand and calibrated the same - most quad copters fly better with ESCs that have SimonK firmware - this removes a lot of features from the ESC that are unnecessary in a Quadcopter, and also provides a faster response to throttle changes.

Flight control board - again many choices and decide what you want the quad to do? For sport flying you just need a simple board such as a KK2, Multiwii or Naze 32.

If you want your quad to be able to hover in one position, and return home and land automatically, you need a more advance board, something like a NAZA M Lite, or higher. These will let your quad hover hands free, and has a number of programable fail safes that will bring your quadcopter home and land even if you turn off your transmitter.

With no previous experience its a learning curve. I would suggest watching as many videos as you can and hook into one of the Quad copter build threads on RCG. Even if they are different models to yours the knowledge to be gained from others is invaluable.

Actually: a quick search and I found a thread for your exact quad here.

http://www.rcgroups.com/forums/showthread.php?t=1888133

Good luck with your build and please let us know how it goes.

Rob, i've sent you a PM and a friend request, i'm hoping you can help me get my feet off the ground with this project and from there i can grow my knowledge in this field.

i think for a first build it would be better to go for endurance, i was hoping that it could lift a camera, you asked about weather or not i wanted it to lift a cameras or a gimbal

i don't actually know what a gimbal is.

also thank you for the quick search, as i said new to all this, new to the forums, i don't really know what i'm looking for so that quick search someone using my exact frame is going to be a big help, i can look at it and cross reference it with what you've written and hopefully learn something.

my main area of worry is that i don't know how to select these things, i'm sure people with experience can look at a frame and say "oh, i'm going to do X, Y and Z to this" they do it and it works, things such as selecting the right type of beoard etc i don't even know the different types of board to select, so it just goes to further express my level of knowledge, but i'm happy and keen to learn.

i will try and find as many videos as possible on this when i have a moment, right now lift is a bit hectic but i will work at it when i have the chance naturally.

i was also going to ask about water proofing techniques, but you've beaten me to that so i will watch those videos too.

thanks for getting back to me.
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Old 10-09-2014, 02:09 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CommanderBlaine View Post
Rob, i've sent you a PM and a friend request, i'm hoping you can help me get my feet off the ground with this project and from there i can grow my knowledge in this field.

i think for a first build it would be better to go for endurance, i was hoping that it could lift a camera, you asked about weather or not i wanted it to lift a cameras or a gimbal

i don't actually know what a gimbal is.

also thank you for the quick search, as i said new to all this, new to the forums, i don't really know what i'm looking for so that quick search someone using my exact frame is going to be a big help, i can look at it and cross reference it with what you've written and hopefully learn something.

my main area of worry is that i don't know how to select these things, i'm sure people with experience can look at a frame and say "oh, i'm going to do X, Y and Z to this" they do it and it works, things such as selecting the right type of beoard etc i don't even know the different types of board to select, so it just goes to further express my level of knowledge, but i'm happy and keen to learn.

i will try and find as many videos as possible on this when i have a moment, right now lift is a bit hectic but i will work at it when i have the chance naturally.

i was also going to ask about water proofing techniques, but you've beaten me to that so i will watch those videos too.

thanks for getting back to me.
Hi again, I replied to your PM and happy to help if I can. Are you wanting it to land on water?

A gimbal is a device that stabilises the image from your camera. It uses motors to keep the camera level regardless of the movement of the quad. You can also use it to tilt the camera up and down.

This vid shows a gimbal I am currently testing.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vUYQ2X8UkSQ

The reason I asked is that a gimbal and camera adds significant weight to a smaller size quad and that will reduce flight times. Motor and propellor choice is really determined by what you want to lift and how long you want to fly.

If you give me a day or two, I'll put together a list of the parts I would use on your quad frame for endurance and lifting a camera.

Last edited by Rob2160; 10-09-2014 at 02:17 AM.
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Old 10-09-2014, 04:12 AM
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the list of parts sounds fantastic! thank you so much!

a gimbal and a camera sounds good to me actually, even though it has significant weight.

honestly it might seem ambitious but all i was really hoping to achieve with this build was to have some rechargable batteriers, a small solar pannel and a camera (and now in this case) a gimbal also

this way i can fly it up into the air, do a bit of aerial survelliance, as its using power it can be charging. the idea was to have it land on ground, but given i live in england and it rains about 99.9% of the year, having it land on water and being water proofed sounds like a good idea all this of course adds weight i would imagine a lot of weight for a very (i am guessing) light weight frame.

this was my plan, my family have a peice of land, things have been stolen from it repeatedly, on several occasions right under our noses, so being able to investigate the local area from the air would be an advantage..... i don't know if its possible but i did have the idea of using an arudrino circuit to have it auotmaitcally charge, cut off the charge should the batterys reach 100% this way they don't over load and at set times fly a planned route around the land, i don't honestly quite know how to do all this, the arudino stuff and soldering i'm 50/50 on, pretty sure i can do it just need the stuff, not sure if the solar pannel would be too heavy for it, as well as the batteries, i guess it would come down to how much lift this thing can take to see how much it could carry.

i feel this might be a bit too ambitious for the frame, however if i could just make it a remote controlled with camera and gimbal, i think that'll be a good start, i'd be happy if i could do that.

what do you think? too ambitious or could it be done?
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Old 10-09-2014, 06:48 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CommanderBlaine View Post
the list of parts sounds fantastic! thank you so much!

a gimbal and a camera sounds good to me actually, even though it has significant weight.

honestly it might seem ambitious but all i was really hoping to achieve with this build was to have some rechargable batteriers, a small solar pannel and a camera (and now in this case) a gimbal also

this way i can fly it up into the air, do a bit of aerial survelliance, as its using power it can be charging. the idea was to have it land on ground, but given i live in england and it rains about 99.9% of the year, having it land on water and being water proofed sounds like a good idea all this of course adds weight i would imagine a lot of weight for a very (i am guessing) light weight frame.

this was my plan, my family have a peice of land, things have been stolen from it repeatedly, on several occasions right under our noses, so being able to investigate the local area from the air would be an advantage..... i don't know if its possible but i did have the idea of using an arudrino circuit to have it auotmaitcally charge, cut off the charge should the batterys reach 100% this way they don't over load and at set times fly a planned route around the land, i don't honestly quite know how to do all this, the arudino stuff and soldering i'm 50/50 on, pretty sure i can do it just need the stuff, not sure if the solar pannel would be too heavy for it, as well as the batteries, i guess it would come down to how much lift this thing can take to see how much it could carry.

i feel this might be a bit too ambitious for the frame, however if i could just make it a remote controlled with camera and gimbal, i think that'll be a good start, i'd be happy if i could do that.

what do you think? too ambitious or could it be done?
I will be honest, that is a very ambitious project. Thanks for detailing what you are trying to achieve.

Multirotors are powered by rechargeable batteries and the most common technology is Lithium Polymer (LiPo). They can be charged quickly and will supply the output needed. The power generated by a small solar panel fitted to the quad will not be sufficient to power the quad.

Realistically, a LiPo Battery will fly for 10-20 minutes in a quad your size. The weight of the solar panel will greatly offset any electrical charge it can feed back into the battery.

It is possible to have the quad fly a set route around your property. This can be achieved fairly easily with hobby grade items and even operated on an iPad. But you will need to replace batteries and charge them manually between flights.

Your last paragraph is entirely and easily achievable, IE having it radio controlled, carrying a camera / gimbal and having the video streamed live to a viewing monitor. I'll do my best to list the things you will need to make this happen.

This video uses a quad similar in size to yours and is flown by First Person View (FPV) This means the pilot is flying by watching a monitor (or goggles) that displays live video from the quad.

I have never tried FPV so there are plenty of others with far more knowledge than I have in this area. I'll find some threads that might be helpful.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i8bOJDLnBjU

Last edited by Rob2160; 10-09-2014 at 06:50 AM.
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Old 10-09-2014, 07:55 AM
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And this just popped up yesterday.

https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/p...raphy-a-breeze
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Old 10-09-2014, 11:24 PM
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damn, 10 - 20 minute, flight time, that doesn't sound like a lot, is there anyway to increase that?
yeah i figured the project was ambitious but it wasn't to power it while it was flying.

my plan for the solar pannels was to have two sets of batteries, one being used and the other being charged, when the one being used was running low, it would switch over and use the alternate supply which has been charging via the solar pannel, at the same time the solar pannel starts charging the set of batteries that were just used. but like you said that sort of thing will off set the power given off.

i'm going to start looking into batteries, (because even though its unlikely i'll still learn about whats available and all that)
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Old 10-10-2014, 12:08 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CommanderBlaine View Post
damn, 10 - 20 minute, flight time, that doesn't sound like a lot, is there anyway to increase that?
yeah i figured the project was ambitious but it wasn't to power it while it was flying.

my plan for the solar pannels was to have two sets of batteries, one being used and the other being charged, when the one being used was running low, it would switch over and use the alternate supply which has been charging via the solar pannel, at the same time the solar pannel starts charging the set of batteries that were just used. but like you said that sort of thing will off set the power given off.

i'm going to start looking into batteries, (because even though its unlikely i'll still learn about whats available and all that)
It is possible to get over an hour flight time with the right motor / prop and battery combination.


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Qvv985o_aOI
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I4IMu__vvhk

Last edited by Rob2160; 10-10-2014 at 12:10 AM.
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Old 10-11-2014, 08:31 AM
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i will be sure to watch all these videos!!! thank you so much for the help rob!
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Old 10-11-2014, 11:11 AM
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alright, so now that i've actually had a shot at looking at these videos, it got me thinking, naturally with these things the more weight it carries the less time it has to fly and thus is a lower performance, SO i've decided that i'm looking for an endurance build, now i see and hear talk of software used (some software has GPS on it and such, i checked out all the links you posted)

so i have a question about the camera, i assume the cameras you buy all come with computer chips and software as before mentioned about the GPS, is there any reason i can't use my own board and wire up the lense from a cheap webcam i can get off the internet, i mean the camera doesn't have to be sexy or anything providing it does the job.

and yes i know that means that the camera will sway and tilt with the drone.

with little thought i was thinking.... now i'm new to this so granted what i say might not even be possible but sod it, here we go!

if i could just rip out a cheap camera and use a small lense, i was thinking about adding in some electronic gyoscopes for stablisation (assuming thats what you use) this way it will only tilt when it actually flys forward or backwards, so effectly if i wanted to fly it in one direct, if i needed to go backwards and was using some kind of of first person view through a tablet or something i would have to stop, turn the thing and fly it back the way i came. which i am fine with doing.

i found this one on ebay from hobbyking..
http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/RC-HobbyKi...p2054897.l4275

specs here:
Specifications

Working voltage: DC 3.0 ~9V
Working current: 20 mA (@ 5.0v)
Working temperature: -5~60C
External dimensions: 21 21 10 mm
Weight: 8g (Inc plugs and wire)

now thats only
8g of wieght, i don't know how much the camera and gimbal would be, but i found some basic battery solar panels (still trying to see if my build is do-able at this end) each one does 2Volt 100MA, and weighs in at 12g so two of those is 24g + 8g (electronic gyro) comes to 32g total, i don't know if this is a good or a bad thing.

i also don't know what 100MA is i THINK a volt is how much energy is stored or something, i'm really behind with this stuff BUT moving on!

in regards to endurance and such, and watching the videos i saw this guy talking about batteries and how these are a better performance:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=adfydRg8PYU

batteries are:

[h=1]NCR18650B[/h]
now i did a quick google search and it says (if i'm reading this right) each battery is 45.9g according to this website here:

http://lygte-info.dk/review/batterie...n%29%20UK.html

however that could be per two batteries, i'm not sure, it has a lot of information there which i don't really know how to read correctly and all that. but i digress

having 8 of these like i had origonally thought of with my build would be

367.2g of weight
adding into the 32g weight from before (this is also not counting any wiring, soldering, a circuit board or motors etc)
thats a total of 399.2g of weight.

now, given i don't know anything about how to pick motors, or propellers or anything like that.

now after looking at this video you posted (i also think this is your video, i would imagine so but i'm not going to swear to that or anything)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vUYQ2X8UkSQ

i had a look at the Tarot T-2D Gimbal and found out it weighs about 200g without the camera from this link here...
http://www.helipal.com/tarot-t-2d-br...ro-hero-3.html

i also found out that the audrino board is relitively cheap for me.

Link: http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/UNO-R3-201...-/231220515308
and i found out from this site;
Link: http://proto-pic.co.uk/arduino-uno/?...AM0aAroA8P8HAQ
that it weighs in only at 41 grams

meaning my total (desired) build would only weight in (before motors, wires, propellers, extra protection from rain and water and such) would be

440.2 grams

it might be a bit annoying and might not be sexy to look at but if it flys stable, i can see it and can modify things like its power consumption with the audrino board and all that, i think i can live with that.

now i don't know what exactly my frame can lift, if thats too much, the charge time for batteries or anything, i'll be honest but i'm not sure how

volts, ohms, watts and all that work in relation to this stuff (according to thegeekshow video, watts is how long it can perform for, so the more wattage the better at least thats what i understood from the video)

i understand it might be ambitious, but i honestly would like to have a decent crack at this build, i'm not sure if i have the right materials even selected when it comes to the electronic gyroscopes. but i like to think i did my homework on the rest of it.

but now its over to you, i would like your thoughts on this, in way i feel like this would be something of a frankinstien's monster, sort of half drone, half robot, in a way it would have its own AI and way of doing things while at the same time allowing control over it.

but over to you for feedback rob, i would love to hear what you have to say on the weight and all that of this build, i've posted what i think is nessacery but then again, new guy and all that jazz.
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Old 10-11-2014, 02:01 PM
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Saw your post CB and sent you a PM.
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Old 10-12-2014, 12:41 AM
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Cool no worries, I got your PM, looking forward to your reply
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Old 10-14-2014, 01:15 AM
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Quote:
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Cool no worries, I got your PM, looking forward to your reply
Hi CB, I've had a bit of time now to read through your last post.

There are many good options using ready to fly parts that will save you a lot of time and perhaps frustrations.

An excellent camera that works well in Multicopters is the Mobius http://mobius-actioncam.com

This lightweight and has very good image quality.

You could built your own stabilisation system for the camera but again, buying a dedicated gimbal is much easier - they make one specifically for the mobius now.

The gimbals use an electronic gimbal controller that has gyros built in and this will be much easier and probably less expensive than building one yourself.

A quick explanation of Watts / volts / amps. Forget electricity for the moment, imagine your quad runs on petrol -

There are several things we need to understand, and it helps if you imagine a battery is just like a fuel tank.

A large capacity battery is like a large fuel tank. A fuel tank capacity an be measured in Litres or Gallons, but battery capacity is measured in Milliamp hours.

Imagine a 5000 Milliamp hour (Mah) battery. It can supply 5000 millamps in one hour, then it will be flat. Or it could supply 2500 millamps for 2 hours, or 1000 millamps for 5 hours… Get the idea?

In most Electric RC aircraft / multicopters the drain on the battery is much faster than this. If the quad needs power at the rate of 50,000 Milliamps per hour (50 amps) A 5000 Mah battery will last 1 tenth of an hour or just 6 minutes.

So the idea is to build a quad that has a low current drain and match it with a battery size that is most efficient. Too small and you lose endurance, but also, if the battery is too large, you waste most of the extra capacity just carrying the battery.

You will read of C ratings in batteries. This specification describes how quickly the battery can supply its capacity. It does not mean the quad will necessarily use it at this rate.

Lets look at an example. Imagine a Quad needs 20 amps to hover. We are using a 3 Cell battery ( each cell is 3.7 volts ) so the battery is 11.1 volts (actually slightly more when fully charged but this is the nominal voltage.) 3 Cells in a battery is called a 3S battery.

Think of Volts as the pressure of the fuel, and Amps as the flow rate of the fuel to the motor.

Watts equals Volts x Amps.

so we have 11.1 volts feeding 20 amps to the quad - we are using 222 Watts. This is typical of a medium size quad.

Now lets see how capacity works with batteries of different sizes. 20 amps is the same as 20,000 Milliamps.

So Battery 1 - 3S 2200 Mah This can supply 20 amps for (2200 / 20,000) hours = 0.1 of an hour (6 minutes)

Battery 2 - 3S 4400 Mah - This can supply 20 amps for (4400 / 20,000) hours = 0.2 of an hour (12 minutes. )

BUT… Battery 2 is heavier, so now the quad actually needs 25 amps to fly… the math changes.

(4400 / 25,000) = 0.176 hour ( 10.5 minutes)

Now lets try a really large battery, 8800 Mah.

This battery is 4 times the capacity of the first 2200 battery, but is so heavy that the quad now needs 40 amps to fly.

8800 / 40,000 = 0.22 hour (13.2 minutes)

So you can see by doubling the battery size, you won't get double the flight time. Also a very heavy quad will not fly as nicely.

The trick is to find the "Sweet spot" which is a nickname for the best combination of components, motors, batteries, propellors etc.

These numbers are theoretical, as you cannot use 100% of the battery capacity as draining batteries fully will destroy them quickly. Generally plan to use no more than 80%, of the capacity, which again reduces flight times.

I could write a lot more about this but here is my advice.

Build your kit as a simple project first, use standard components, motors, flight controllers etc and get it flying. Then try a small camera like the mobius.

As for flight control boards, you have so many choices. These are the heart of any quad, and control the motors via the speed controllers to achieve flight and stabilisation. You can buy a cheap control board like a Naze or KK for under $30, and the quad will fly ok. If you want GPS, you can spend hundreds or even thousands of dollars.

You can fly with a Radio control unit or you can now operate quads with iPads as per this video. You can program a flight course and press one button and the quad will fly the course automatically and you can follow it on the iPad. This is very easy to achieve with products costing several hundred dollars.

Building something like the quad in this video is not difficult and it may come very close to what you are trying to achieve.

This is what I would recommend for the kit you have.

Motors - Sunnysky 2212 - 13 980 Kv
ESCs - RCX 30 amp
DJI 10 x 3.8 propellors.
Naza V2 Flight controller
Battery, any good quality battery 30 C or higher, 3500 Mah to 5000 Mah will work nicely on your quad with these components.
A decent radio, something like a 6 channel Spektrum, Futaba or the Taranis will also work but has a higher learning curve.

I know this is a lot to think about but let me know your thoughts and happy answer any questions you may have on anything I have typed.

Last edited by Rob2160; 10-14-2014 at 02:57 AM.
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Old 10-16-2014, 04:02 AM
  #17
CommanderBlaine
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wow, this has been a lot to take in mate, thanks for the reply too, sorry its taken me so long to get back to you, i'm going to have to read this a few more times to make sure i get it all right. i took a look at the flight controller, that looks like its a peice of software, or am i looking at it wrong? i was also wondering, woudl cpaacitors be a better option for the motors, i mean they would be a fraction of the weight, i personally only got the chance to stop and actually look at one for about 3 seconds, but it was a big light weight thing it weighed less than a battery. i would imagine that they are susecptible to over charging and exploding though?
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Old 10-21-2014, 12:34 AM
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alright, i think i get it now, so i guess i just crack on and build the quad then?
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Old 10-21-2014, 08:54 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CommanderBlaine View Post
alright, i think i get it now, so i guess i just crack on and build the quad then?
Thats the best thing to do. You will learn and get new ideas as you go. Please keep us posted on the progress and have fun with your build!
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Old 10-23-2014, 12:00 AM
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will do mate, i'll PM you and keep you posted and if i have any further questions, i probably won't get to build it till after new year. once its all done i'll post a video of it flying or something
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Old 12-09-2014, 02:03 AM
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Learn a lot here, thanks for sharing.
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Old 12-10-2014, 06:20 AM
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Learn a lot here, thanks for sharing.
Thanks for the feedback foxvin,
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