The 1st quadcopter prototype

June 20, 2016

I have built several drone so far, and they have one thing in common…..all were expensive, doesn’t matter the size. So for my first airPy equipped quadcopter I decided to use some material I already had bought to build a racing mini drone (180 mm motor-to-motor).

Following the list of the components:

  • 1x Frame Diatone Lizard 180 V2.0 Mini Quadcopter Frame with included power distribution board
  • 2x BX1806 R/L 2300Kv Multirotor Motor Pack (1 x CW, 1 x CCW)
  • 4x DYS XM Series BLHeli ESC (XM10A)
  • 1x FRSKY X4R Sbus Receiver
  • 1x Lipo battery 3S 1300mA

  • Of course I already had my radio controller, the Frsky Taranis 9XD.

    Step 1: ESC and Motors
    Due to the small size of the frame the best way to arrange esc and motors is to solder directly the two together by removing cutting the motor wires and de-soldering the esc ones. Following some pictures of the process.

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    Step 2: Power distribution soldering
    Once all the 4 motors are soldered to the related esc, the next step is to solder each esc to the power distribution board, and then screwing everything to the frame. I was particularly happy with this power distribution board since it has a 5v built-in converter very handy to power up the flight controller. At the end of this step the quadcopter start looking awesome:

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    Step 3: airPy flight controller and RC Receiver
    It is time now to screw the board to the frame and connect the 5v power wire, the 4 esc servo connectors and the SBUS receiver.

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    Step 4: Testing
    Believe me, a drone, even the smallest one, can be very harmful. This time i decided to tackle the testing phase in the safest way: i build a test bed. It took a couple of days but I’m quite satisfied with the result. By anchoring the quadcopter to the rolling bar it is possible to safely test the basic behavior and also tune the PIDs.

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