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My First Build (Cheap250)
#1
On a Sunday a few weeks ago it was raining and miserable outside and I randomly fell into the HobbyKing website during a "Raining Cats and Drones" sale.
   

Yeah I fell for it and a bunch of random quadcopter/drone bits fell into my cart.  Angel

Then I decided to work out what I didn't buy, and whether what I did buyers actually going to work, to be honest I was  Confused by it all. 

By now I've done some research and worked out that while I haven't bought the latest, greatest or best bits I have a reasonable nomination of tried and proven parts which I can proceed to destroy by flying into things.

So what did I buy?
I stuck a post on my Blog about it (http://excesstext.com/2016/06/23/ive-dec...uadcopter/) with all the gory details but in short:
- HobbyKing/Diatone 250mm FPV "Long" frame (FPV250L)
- HobbyKing KK2.1.5 Mini flight control
- Emax MT2204 Motor/Prop/ESC set with the 20A Mini Opto ESCs
- 1300mah 3S battery

Then I did more reading and thinking over the next couple of weeks and ordered more bits from HobbyKing yesterday (http://excesstext.com/2016/07/08/quick-q...er-update/)
- Matek mini PDB (I need the BEC power anyway so may as well do it neat)
- Assorted cabling bits to link the yet-to-be-bought receiver to the flight controller
- Programmer to suit the KK2.1.5 so I can flash on the newest firmware etc
- XT60 adapter to get my old battery charger (LiPo friendly) up-to-date and back to work.

Grabbed a prop balancing stand via AliExpress for all of AUD5 delivered too.

So far it looks a bit like this:
   

   

Yep not yet assembled.  I intend on doing the basic assembly today/tomorrow - that is get the frame and motors together - have the CCW motors in the CW prop positions and all that kind of thing.  Will then start laying out wiring and so on.  

What's my investment so far?
About AUD90 which I think isn't too bad.  By the time I buy more props (suggestions?) another battery or two the flying cost will be at most about AUD150.

Haven't mentioned radio gear yet because I haven't bought any.  I know I could drop AUD60 on some cheap set but really really like the I deal of grabbing a Taranis and future proofing that side of things a bit.  It's always easy to buy more Rx units to sit down the track, but multiple Tx's i find are a pain (I have a box of 2ch gear from cars).  Naturally spending circa AUD320 on the Taranis isn't "budget" so I'm biding my time waiting for some kind of "sale" to fall into my lap.

What do you think?
Any hot tips asides from "don't forget the loctite" or "you got ripped"  Smile

Yes I haven't considered FPV gear yet..  Figure if I can't get this off the ground LOS spending more on FPV is a waste Smile
[-] The following 1 user Likes Aaron's post:
  • Oscar
#2
That setup will get you up and running, and as you said, will be fine for getting you flying and destroying stuff.

For Radios you can always try Gumtree as they have a lot of goodies from time to time, a mate picked up a Futaba T8J off gumtree for $60 AUS, Bargain price.

Without stating the obvious and what you already acknowledge , your parts list is all basic budget "get you flying" gear.

For props, get budget props to start with as you will break hundreds of them, pretty much any of the 5 inch props will suffice.
and get a few more batteries, for once you start and if you get hooked waiting for a lipo to charge is murder.  oh and get a lipo charger.

Prop balancer is really not needed as most props are pretty good anyways, and besides, the second you clip a branch and knock a chunk out of the prop it has gone to sh*t anyways. Prop balancers are good for carbon fibre props and for those who do aerial videos, for crash and bash racers you will hardly notice any difference.

Tips:

Read lots of info..the more the better
Ask heaps of questions if you get stuck.
Practice LOS flying as much as you can
Check and double check all electrical connections, paying particular attention to polarity.
Watch out for too long screws through frame into motors, as they will hit the windings.
Make sure you understand Google is your best friend.

And..  Please do not be "That Guy" who fly's recklessly over people, buildings, busy streets.

Oh and use loctite  Big Grin
My youtube channel

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#3
Finding a lot of Oscars Blog (and now this forum) great, really good at getting a broad coverage of the simple stuff like "which motor goes where" and what wire goes to what without getting all elitist about brands and price points Smile So thanks everyone!

What are peoples thoughts on direct soldering everything? Not worth the effort for a first time flyer? I will shorten up all the wiring to suit the frame layout.

I've got a good handle on the basics of the CASA regs on gumby drone use and am "that guy" who always has bad luck whenever I try to bend the rules so I just don't. The regs are one of the reasons why I'm building a 250mm as my first, wanted to be 100% sure I wasn't going to end up over 2kg.

Of course one part of me thinks popping over Costco and going for a RTF would be much easier but also no challenge!
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#4
If anyone ever built a 250 sized quad that weighs over 2kg's I want to see it fly. lol

My 210's with 1300mAh 4S lipo and a Gopro Hero4 and all fpv gear etc only come in around 600 grams.

RTF quads are great, but most will tell you to at least try and build one yourself, it goes a long long way into teaching you how the stuff works and goes together, and makes it far easier when time to repair.

The only 2 quads I have that I bought RTF is my Inductrix micro, and a phantom (for aerial steady video), The rest I have built myself.
My youtube channel

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#5
Today I pulled a few more parts from packets and did some test assembly.

Results are at best "mixed".

The old adage of "you get what you pay for" does mean something in this space.

The Frame Kit
I paid AUD7.66 for the frame and to be honest it's good enough to warrant that price but not much more.  See by the time you assemble it and realise that every screw is made from really nasty metal (although they are light) and a few mm too short to do the job well it doesn't take a genius to see another AUD5-10 being spent beefing up the hardware.  I, however, will persist with using the provided hardware for a bit.

   
As you can see theres only about 3-4mm of screw engagement into the posts of the upper/lower deck.  The posts themselves are super light ally and the threads were all nicely cut.

   
The camera mount fits securely and seems to allow some flexibility for camera choice.  I have a super elementary micro-servo based gimbal I could mount there quite easily.

   
The decks mount to the plastic "X" at four points with the same lousy too short screws.  There are two additional holes that I will use with screws and nuts to strengthen things a bit.

Anyway it all went together OK - quibbles about short screws aside everything lined up flawlessly and even the landing gear wedged into place (will have to improve on that system I think).


The Motor Set (EMAX MT2204/6045 Props)
The motors mounted up to the frame arms perfectly, this time the screws included in the EMAX kit were perfect, long enough to fully engage into the motor base but not jam the motor.  Two sets come in the kit, long and short.  I used the long - the short are probably perfect on Carbon arms.

It was when I mount the props I struck the snag.  Literally.

The 6" 6045s don't clear the body of the frame.  5" props are likely to "just" clear so I guess my next purchase of props will be a mix of lengths!  


In the mean time I switched the decks to the under-slung location which also looks pretty cool.  The other advantage is much easier access to the flight controller this way.  

   


Next Bits (like Wiring)
The whole reason for starting the assembly was to work out positioning and wiring of most of the elements.  My ESCs will lay neatly on the arms and I'll direct solder them to the motors.  This will be super neat looking.  On the other end of the ESC I'll shorten and run each control pair to the flight controller, each length customised to suit.

With the underslung deck I can mount my battery to the bottom deck (inside the frame) with velcro strapping.  I'm considering mounting the Matek PDB/UBEC underslung vaguely in the centre of the frame.  This keeps the power wiring routed well away from of there signal wiring.

The flight controller will need to mounted slightly rear-of-centre so that the buttons for setup are accessible, and that tiny little screen angled to make it more visible.

   

   

There you have it, todays taking and fiddling.  

Any advice before I start cutting wires and putting things into place?


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[-] The following 1 user Likes Aaron's post:
  • sloscotty
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#6
Just a couple of thoughts:

1.  Use all 5" props (don't mix sizes). "Just clearing" on these is good enough - just make sure you don't have any dangly bits that can get snagged.
2.  I recommend NOT soldering to the KK2.1.5 (and perhaps mounting it on top for button access).  The reason I mention this, is that I think you will rather quickly discover that you will want a different FC for this type of quadcopter.  Don't get me wrong I have a KK2.1.5 on my 450 quad that I built for aerial photography - it is great.  But for a racing quad, you will probably end up wanting a Naze32, F303, or something similar.  These boards were designed to be stacked in this type of "racing" frame, and the help and software you will find if you get into FPV racing/flying is geared toward this type of controller.
3. Yes get longer screws  Wink
[-] The following 1 user Likes sloscotty's post:
  • lorentz
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#7
Thanks Scotty, yeah I wasn't planning of soldering to the KK2.1.5, just tailoring my signal leads for the ESCs to suit (easy enough to redo). Have to admit the fancier/newer FCs are super cool and highly attractive to the inner nerd Smile

I don't think this is ever going to be a racing quad, well unless hacking around an oval with friends counts.

Dirty secret is that I probably won't ever fly FPV full on as just watching some of the YouTube videos is enough to make my lunch seek a new home. Some steady FPV to grab some nice GoPro footage or something on the other hand....
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#8
Don't forget Aaron, You have the chance to win a F303 FC, just get another 3 posts in and you are good to go for a try. Big Grin
My youtube channel

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#9
(10-Jul-2016, 12:39 PM)Aaron Wrote: Thanks Scotty, yeah I wasn't planning of soldering to the KK2.1.5, just tailoring my signal leads for the ESCs to suit (easy enough to redo).  Have to admit the fancier/newer FCs are super cool and highly attractive to the inner nerd Smile

I don't think this is ever going to be a racing quad, well unless hacking around an oval with friends counts.

Dirty secret is that I probably won't ever fly FPV full on as just watching some of the YouTube videos is enough to make my lunch seek a new home.  Some steady FPV to grab some nice GoPro footage or something on the other hand....

I just went back and looked carefully at your photos.  That's a great idea on how to use that frame!  It should work great for your intended purpose!
However, I suspect that your last paragraph could easily become "famous last words". (And I will remind you of that when I'm watching some of your future videos... Big Grin )
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#10
Box of wiring bits and my USBASP programmer turned up on Monday from Hobbyking! Woohoo!

Then as per my other thread I started to think about propellers.
Result: Another box of bits ordered from Hobbyking (Mixed 5" Props mainly)

Then I thought about my BLHeli EMAX ESCs and figured having the ability to update/flash them could be good.
Result: Arduino Nano ordered via Banggood

*sigh*
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#11
(13-Jul-2016, 03:37 AM)Aaron Wrote: Box of wiring bits and my USBASP programmer turned up on Monday from Hobbyking!  Woohoo!  

Then as per my other thread I started to think about propellers.  
Result:  Another box of bits ordered from Hobbyking (Mixed 5" Props mainly)

Then I thought about my BLHeli EMAX ESCs and figured having the ability to update/flash them could be good.
Result:  Arduino Nano ordered via Banggood

*sigh*

This hobby can get expensive real quick.  But so worth it.
My youtube channel

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#12
(13-Jul-2016, 03:53 AM)BigglesFPV Wrote: This hobby can get expensive real quick.  But so worth it.

Please provide words that will help my wife understand?

LOL

Then again when we met I was heavily into RC (including running a fairly large community and online store etc) so I guess she knows the drill...
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#13
I remember that frame! it was the first frame I used for my mini quad. Smile
but just a warning it doesn't hold up to crashes well, so practice strictly on soft grass lol...

I would hard solder everything together, make sure you solder everything really well, use a bit more solder and avoid cold solder joints...

cable tie everything especially your wires and RX antenna, so they don't get sucked by props

If you break that frame, then start looking for a Carbon fibre frame! Smile if you need help I might be able to sell you one of my spare fairly cheap...
Don't be a LOS'er, be a FPV'er :) -- Blog - Facebook - Instagram - Twitter - Google Plus
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#14
Bought a bunch of Props during the week, just some random cheap HobbyKing (AUD0.32 a pair) 5045's and some Diatone triple 5040's - now have 4 complete sets of props to break in my maiden flight Smile

Also grabbed some cheap micro-servos for the cheap and nasty gimbal (AUD4.95 gimbal, sub AUD4 servos)

Remembered (this time) to get a battery strap or two as well

   


Then this morning I got really brave and did the update of the KK2.1.5 to Stevies 1.19S1 Pro Firmware.  

         

All went well and while I'm a long way from flying I'm feeling pretty pleased that I can start reading the manual and making some notes on what settings need to be where.

Should be out with the soldering iron this weekend Smile
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#15
Took me a bit longer than expected to get to this step.  However I'm now largely assembled, wired and starting back through the "do it right" bits like Loctite!

Wiring:

Step 1:  
I stripped off the heat shrink so I could de-solder the signal wires - only 2 as my ESCs are Opto.  By customising their length at this end I don't need to play with new connectors at the F/C end.  

   

I'm leaving the motor leads long with their 2mm bullet connectors at least until I have worked out the motor rotation directions etc.  

Step 2:
I mounted my Matek PDB to the underside of the "X" section.  I've used 3M Automotive DS Tape.  It's not going to fall off. 
 
   

In this pic you can see I've biased it rear wards and soldered two of the ESC power feeds on.  The ESC wires are trimmed to length and protected with heat shrink tube.

   

Here's the PDB with all four ESCs soldered.  The semi-central location did make wiring easy and I think overall it looks pretty tidy.

Step 3:
On the upper side I've temporarily mounted the F/C on a foam block to let me get the wiring runs the way I wanted.  If it's not obvious yet I'm also mounting the ESCs on the underside of the arms (there's shallow recesses in the arm for this).

         

The F/C input from the RX will the routed on the other side of the F/C giving some balance.

Step 4:
Now that everything has a place I re-heatshrunk the ESCs, cable tied the wiring runs on the arms and generally tidied up.

The ESCs are DS taped into the recess, wiring held with cable ties at each end and then a loop of tape is used. 
             

Other Suff:
I've used Loctite on the lower deck screws and will do the upper screws in the next phase of assembly.  For the moment I've taken the Gimbal off the front.

I powered up the unit and rather satisfyingly got some beeps from the Warning buzzer, and a melody of sorts played on Motor - 2.  Not sure if thats normal.

The F/C could see the correct battery voltage.

Overall I'm really happy with my effort.
[-] The following 2 users Like Aaron's post:
  • Oscar, sloscotty
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