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Old 10-29-2014, 02:49 AM   #1
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Default Newbie questions and first Quad build

Im just beginning to do my research so I can build my first ever quad.

I'm going to do a scratch build largely because thats the kind of thing I like to do and because Im on a very tight budget.

Im trying to decide what controller board to get to start off with.

I have the power system already - 4ea small 1600 kv, +-80 watt outrunners and 4ea castle controllers.

I have a Taranis Plus and X8R and X4R receivers I can use along with a FrSky GPS-v2. They have FrSky S-Bus ans smart port capability but I have all smart port sensors.

I need to keep the controller board cost down as much as possible, but I dont want to have to buy a new board after just a few weeks to go to the next step either.

What boards do you guys recommend that will work with the FrSky stuff and, if possible, also work with the FrSky GPS for RTh etc functions?

Ive been looking at the KK boards and the Dragonfly/Flip32 and some sort of NAZA boards all under $40, but I dont know nearly enough t understand what will work with what.

Any tips, recommendations or advice is very welcome

Thanks,

Larry

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Old 10-29-2014, 04:39 AM   #2
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Hi Larry here is a List Of Flight Controllers and their functions, This is one area that you dont want to be to skimpy, as the controller is the main functioning device for a Quad.

http://robot-kingdom.com/best-flight...d-multicopter/

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Old 10-29-2014, 04:43 AM   #3
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Might want to check into this Controller, lot of people seem to like it. Its a full Functioning Controller

http://www.hobbyking.com/hobbyking/s...588&aff=588847

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Old 10-29-2014, 05:56 AM   #4
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Many on a budget have had success with the KK2.1 - version 1.9s/2.0 firmware combined with the Frsky smart port GPS sensor system.

Chk out the RCG thread:

http://www.rcgroups.com/forums/showthread.php?t=2061620


and

http://fpvlab.com/forums/showthread....-KK2-CPPM-help

and

http://hackaday.com/2014/06/06/droni...ller-round-up/

Another system like NAZE is popular but a little more pricey.......:

http://www.rcgroups.com/forums/showthread.php?t=2249610

You did say you were on a TIGHT budget......otherwise I recommend NAZA, but using Frsky could be a problem....not one that can't be overcome......but it will cost more $$$$$$$.........

http://www.multirotorforums.com/show...-and-Naza-M-V2

http://www.rcgroups.com/forums/showthread.php?t=2197099

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Old 10-29-2014, 08:08 PM   #5
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Thanks folks! I will check out those links

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Old 11-03-2014, 02:32 AM   #6
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Ok, after a lot of reading I have decided to start off with a mini APM 2.6 board and GPS. I may wait to order the GPS later - after I have most of my mandatory beginner crashes out of the way

Next question, as I work on the basic design, is motors and esc's.

I have enough motors to start with a tri-copter or a quad, but I only have two matching esc's that are big enough - 2ea Castle Phoenix 25's OR two Castle Phoenix 35's OR two Castle Phoenix 80's, etc.

Can I get away with using a Castle Phoenix 35 on the rudder/tail motor and two Castle 25's on the other two?

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Old 11-03-2014, 05:36 AM   #7
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The experienced guys I've shared scratch build ideas with have all gone with quads and matching ESC's and motors at all four corners.....mixing ESC's (paired) has been brought up, but no one I know has tried it.

From a purely technical stand point, it would seem if alike pairs were installed (front/rear) and all four motors were identical, the only issues you should have are programming differences, shut-off voltage perimeters and throttle response timing, since all of your ESC's are Castle types (Phoenix exception).......but, like I said, we have not tried that combo......So, if your time is not an issue, still keeping things low budget and ultimate replacement is on the horizon, what's the worse thing that could happen (if flown in a safe environment).....?

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Old 11-03-2014, 06:34 AM   #8
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Worst case ... the quad having uneven response causes it to randomly go flying off in an unpredictable direction, which could be straight at yourself and you get to meet a flying Cuisinart.

Depends on the sensitivity and response rate of the controller board as the imbalance would probably be seen as strange wind gusts by the board. I've seen some low end quads handle turbulent air really well and others that can't handle it at all.
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Old 11-03-2014, 06:41 AM   #9
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Thanks guys.

As usual, going too cheap can end up costing more. I know that, but was still hoping

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Old 11-03-2014, 09:29 AM   #10
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Keep motors and ESCs the same. A KK board is no good if you intend running a GPS in time.
A NAZE32 Fun Fly is the way to go. It is more expensive than the NAZE32 Acro but it has baro and magnetometer etc on it and that is required for RTH / RTL.
I have KK boards and a NAZE32 Acro and have fitted a GPS on that and the co-ordinates show on my Taranis. (in case I lose it in the bush around my home) My next move is RTH and that involves getting the FunFly board.
Cheapest around is this one but like all NAZE boards they require pins to be soldered on.
A D4R-II is probably the best Receiver to use due to it's small size and CPPM capability. It is the only RX I will use in Quads.
Good luck.

Pic of Hercules with GPS and D4R-II Rx.


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Old 11-03-2014, 11:32 AM   #11
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Larry

Check out the flight controllers from Ready to fly quads. Paul will send them to you with the code installed and as close to ready to fly as possible. Many options are possible. Use the same place for ESC's I have five sets from RTF and they work very well at under $10 each.

For the money and a beginner I would recommend a NAZA lite w/ gps system. You will be able to fly it right away and it can do the RTH and gps hold stuff so well. With the NAZA opto esc are best, but others just remove the red wire.

you can build a frame from Home Depot stuff like this one. I use these frame and Print motor mounts on a 3D printer. http://makezine.com/projects/make-37...ycopter-uav-2/
Good luck and have fun

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Old 11-07-2014, 03:26 AM   #12
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The comments from both of you have made me reconsider my choice of controller. I have questions for both of you below. Thanks!

Originally Posted by Panther View Post
Keep motors and ESCs the same. A KK board is no good if you intend running a GPS in time.
A NAZE32 Fun Fly is the way to go. It is more expensive than the NAZE32 Acro but it has baro and magnetometer etc on it and that is required for RTH / RTL.
I have KK boards and a NAZE32 Acro and have fitted a GPS on that and the co-ordinates show on my Taranis. (in case I lose it in the bush around my home) My next move is RTH and that involves getting the FunFly board.
Cheapest around is this one but like all NAZE boards they require pins to be soldered on.
A D4R-II is probably the best Receiver to use due to it's small size and CPPM capability. It is the only RX I will use in Quads.
Good luck.

Pic of Hercules with GPS and D4R-II Rx.
Being able to use FrSky telemetry would be a big plus for me. On that board you linked to it says it has a FrSky inverter built in. Will it only work with a D series rx or can I use my X series receivers?

What data is sent? You mentioned GPS position and that sounds like a very good one to have. Does it also send flight pack voltage, current etc, or will I need additional sensors?

Originally Posted by Flubber View Post
Larry

Check out the flight controllers from Ready to fly quads. Paul will send them to you with the code installed and as close to ready to fly as possible. Many options are possible. Use the same place for ESC's I have five sets from RTF and they work very well at under $10 each.

For the money and a beginner I would recommend a NAZA lite w/ gps system. You will be able to fly it right away and it can do the RTH and gps hold stuff so well. With the NAZA opto esc are best, but others just remove the red wire.

you can build a frame from Home Depot stuff like this one. I use these frame and Print motor mounts on a 3D printer. http://makezine.com/projects/make-37...ycopter-uav-2/
Good luck and have fun
Terry, I have been looking at RTF for a while now and was all set to get the minim APM board from him until the two of you started talking about the NAZA board options.

Im assuming you are referring to the Flip32 boards from RTF Quads? The Flip32+ looks like a close match to the one Panther linked to above, but it doesnt seem to have the FrSky telemetry mod.

Do you know if there is a way to add FrSky telemetry function to the RTF board and whats needed? Its cheaper than the one Panther linked to, but if I need to buy more hardware to get the same functionality, then that goes away.

There is also the DragonFlyPro32 board which is abojut the price of the Flip32+ but does seem to have the FrSky telemetry built in.

http://multirotormania.com/32-bit-/9...fly32-pro.html

Thanks to you both for the tips and links!!!

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Old 11-07-2014, 04:43 AM   #13
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Originally Posted by Larry3215 View Post
The comments from both of you have made me reconsider my choice of controller. I have questions for both of you below. Thanks!



Being able to use FrSky telemetry would be a big plus for me. On that board you linked to it says it has a FrSky inverter built in. Will it only work with a D series rx or can I use my X series receivers?

What data is sent? You mentioned GPS position and that sounds like a very good one to have. Does it also send flight pack voltage, current etc, or will I need additional sensors?



Terry, I have been looking at RTF for a while now and was all set to get the minim APM board from him until the two of you started talking about the NAZA board options.

Im assuming you are referring to the Flip32 boards from RTF Quads? The Flip32+ looks like a close match to the one Panther linked to above, but it doesnt seem to have the FrSky telemetry mod.

Do you know if there is a way to add FrSky telemetry function to the RTF board and whats needed? Its cheaper than the one Panther linked to, but if I need to buy more hardware to get the same functionality, then that goes away.

Thanks to you both for the tips and links!!!
Hi Larry
I was thinking ahead for you. I suggested that board as it has all the options and is still as easy as a beginner board. This way you will not outgrow the board.
I have the Acro model and by using a D4R-II receiver and using CPPM I can have all the telemetry I want.
I have GPS and voltage on Telemetry. Full pack voltage and the single lowest cell as well. Also RSSI.
My GPS is only for if I lose the Quad in the bush. The Acro board does not have the ability to have RTL / RTH or Loiter. Only the Fun Fly board has that. That is why it is more expensive.
Some folk are not aware that a GPS can be connected to the Acro Board and unless you have a spare GPS and a reason for doing it (like I do) then there is no point.
However if you want Loiter and RTH then you need the FunFly board.
My friend and I both use D4R-II Rxs but you can use an X8R if you have one. You would probably need the FrSky GPS that is set up for SPort in that case.

I use D4R-II Rxs in my KK boards as well but they are not suitable for GPS Loiter etc, however, they are a very versatile and reliable FC Board.
They still deliver telemetry eg Vario and Voltage etc via the D4R-II.

Cheers.
Doug

Screen capture of the GPS Co-Ords on Taranis.

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Old 11-07-2014, 05:48 AM   #14
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Doug, which of those telemetry items are you getting from the NAZA board and which via FrSky sensors?

It occurs to me I can get everything I need using my existing sensors and an X series rx except for GPS position info and baro/altitude info. I could even get those if I used my FrSky vario and GPS, but it seems silly to use duplicate sensors if I dont have to.

Thanks for the info!!

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Old 11-07-2014, 07:54 AM   #15
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Naza??

The only sensor I have on my Naze is the GPS. (from a Skylark system)
I get Cells and Cel voltages and RSSI without any sensors and using the D4R-II RX.
There is also a pin provided for a buzzer (beeper) if you want that. I have a LED I might hook on it as a visual warning of activation.

Doug
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Old 11-07-2014, 07:24 PM   #16
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Thanks!

Ive found some threads discussing these boards and am reading now....

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Old 11-09-2014, 09:03 PM   #17
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I'm baaaaack..

Hope Im not being too much of a pest, but I have been reading a ton and only some of it is sticking!

I realy like the idea of having easy FrSky telemetry using one of the Naze32 funfly clones - and the price is very tempting.

However, from my reading so far it looks like the Naze boards are great for fast flight, aerobatics etc but not so great for alt hold, stabilize mode, RTH etc. The APM boards seem to do significantly better in that requard - or at least are easier to get those things dialed in.

It looks like guys running Harikiri (sp?) on the Naze boards are doing pretty well with that stuff, but Harikiri looks like it doenst have as user friendly an interface as the other options - or at least it doesnt work with the windows GUI and requires a command line interface to program and adjust settings.

I will likely never do any extreme aerobatics. As much as I would like to try FPV Pod Racing, I cant see myself getting that good or being willing to spend the money to get there.

More than likely I will be limited to mild flying around and some experimenting with autonomous flying and FVP at some point in the future - if I can afford it.

At this point Im thinking the APM clone boards would be a better fit for me, but Id like to hear your experiences with alt hold, loiter, GPS hold, RTL, RTH etc. using the Naze clones.

Thanks again guys for putting up with newbie questions!

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Old 11-19-2014, 08:12 AM   #18
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I want to thank everyone for their advice and suggestions - even though I may have ignored it!

I have finally made a decision and ordered some parts. Here is the parts list. I did NOT stay within my budget. A bunch of Spektrum gear is going on sale now

I decided to go with a 32bit APM board - a PixHawk clone from Ready To Flyer - RTFHawk 2.4.5

http://witespyquad.gostorego.com/fli...fhawk-2-4.html

4ea 30 amp HV esc's
http://witespyquad.gostorego.com/spe...ultirotor.html

I got a heck of a deal on 4ea Waypoint 3014-20 1120kV motors for $5.49 ea! Hope they are half way decent. I can replace the bearings if needed.

http://www.allerc.com/waypoint-3014-...or-p-3859.html


I havent ordered a GPS yet. I am waiting to see the larger version of this mini Ublox M8N GPS from RTF Quads. Its GPS + GLONASS. Initial reports are pretty impressive for the cost. My usual flying site is surrounded by hills and tall trees, so I want a decent GPS module. It wil be a while before Im ready to mess with GPS stuff anyway.

http://witespyquad.gostorego.com/fli...d-compass.html

I'll be using my Taranis and an X8R reciever. I also ordered an Arduino Pro Mini board which should allow me to see all the Hawk telemetry data on the Taranis including GPS HDOP and position, heading etc.

For starters Im going to build a +- 700mm V-Tail using 1/2" PVC pipe and fittings. That should help keep my crash costs down somewhat

Wish me luck!

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Old 11-19-2014, 05:57 PM   #19
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Much luck Larry......your choices (from what I've been around) are solid...!.....You've done your homework....you did not "ignore" that most important aspect or advice.....

As you have realisticaly discovered, staying within an "economical" low end budget is almost impossible if you desire quality, reliability and proven technically sound equipment...and today, the selections are limitless, as you increase the budget amount......!

Seems the learning curve will be the only obsticle now to overcome.......and you've proven (by your homework) a good understanding. You'll be fine.....

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Old 11-20-2014, 01:57 AM   #20
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Thanks!

One up-date. The 1/2" thin wall sch 20 PVC seemed too flexible for the size/weight quad Im planning, so I went with 1" thin wall. I could only find sch 40 fittings though. Hopefully, it wont be too heavy.

We will see how that works out....

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Old 11-26-2014, 10:46 PM   #21
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My RTFHawk and accessories arrived today

Still early in the testing, but so far the Hawk board seems to be working fine. It connects to Mission Planner and Ive up-dated the firmware and done an initial magnetometer and accelerometer calibration successfully with it just plugged into the PC.

Now to connect everything else up and get the radio programmed and connected......lots more reading to do

Ive been debating starting a new thread for the actual build, but I think I will just keep it in this thread - with a possible thread title change.

More later....

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Old Yesterday, 08:00 AM   #22
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Well, things were going great until I decided to open up the RTFHawk case so I could add some foam over the barometer chip.

If you look at the sides of the case, you will see what look like two places you can stick a small screw driver in to release the case halves - but they are NOT for that.

Turns out they are access holes so you can reach two very very small re-set switches. Turns out these switches are very easy to pry off the board if you jam a screw driver into them hard enough.

If I had taken 1 additional second to look over the entire case, I would have seen the screws in the back side <sigh>

I lucked out though. After soldering both of the switches back on - using a filed down tip on my soldering iron, a magnifying glass and some tweezers - the board seems to be working fine - whew!!

So far, all the other things Ive done are going pretty well

I have my FrSky X4R rx bound and sending signals to the board and Mission Planner over the SBUS. I have successfully up-dated the firmware to the latest 3.2 version and done a preliminary calibration of the compass and accelerometer and radio.

I also got the 915mhz telemetry radio working. That part turned out to be plug-n-play. ReadyToFly Quads supplied the correct cables so I havent had to mess with any cable issues so far.

It took a while and a lot of searching and head scratching but I finally figured out how to set my frame type to V-Tail.

Next I need to build the frame so I can figure out wire lengths for the esc's, etc and start putting things together. Once I get the frame assembled it will be time to re-visit calibrations and finish the flight controller setup.


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I think I need a signature.
Larry
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Old Yesterday, 08:30 AM   #23
JetPlaneFlyer
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Larry,
Nice work fixing the board. Screwing up is ok providing you have the skill to fix the damage.
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Old Today, 03:37 AM   #24
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How does that old saying go - "I'd rather be lucky than good"?

I'll take either one

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