This thread will report the progress on my first quad rotor craft build. Actually, I have never owned one let alone flown one, so this is going to be new all around. At least it flys like a 4-channel helicopter (so they say) so I have that going for me as I have been flying FP and CP helis of various sizes for years.
If you have ever researched setting one of these up you probably discovered what I did; these thing can cost a small fortune. Very few hobby grade ones are available in ARF form. The Gaui 330X is probably the most popular one to start with but has some shortfalls leaving many to spend more on upgrades to get it flying like they want.
Enter the MultiWiiCopter based platform. Designed to use inexpensive off the shelf components and some soldering and assembly you can have a descent multi copter for a fraction of what some go for just the controller and gyros. I decided to go this route to learn the programming behind this as well as the satisfaction of rolling my own and saving money.
So far I have competed the controller board and have it mounted on a frame with patch/rx connected. I am waiting for my ESC's, motors, props and some LED lights to show up.
Here is the setup to date:
- warthox - MultiWiiCopter board - v1.2
- Arduino Pro Mini 328 5v 16Mhz CPU
- Wii Motion Plus Gyro board
- VC-20-450 Quad Frame
- AR6110 Rx
- Connectors and patch cables
- (4) KDA 20-22l Brushless Motors
- (4) Turnigy Plush 18 Amp ESC's
- LED strands of various colors.
Looking good cactus.
I thought i read somewhere about snipping the red wire from 3 of your BEC's going into the warthox board (and just using 1 BEC to power it). I cant recall specifically why, something about feedback into the ESC's. I could be wrong.
Got any pics of your power distribution setup installed?
Watching with interest :)
As far as power distribution goes, I have not come up with anything yet. I want clean looking, solid connections that can be swapped out quickly without unsoldering ESC's if I need to change one out. I also want to power LED's, so I need to put some thought into how I want it done.
This debate about using only one power pin from the ESCs have gone on forever and no one has ever offered any proof if this has been a problem.
I've set them up both ways and have never had a problem. That being said, I choose to use only one power pin to be on the safe side.
I'm also using the Warthox board and the Alex Black Paris board. Both seem to work very well.
What is the weight of your frame without any electronics or battery?
I'll let you know tonight. Question for you on the warthox board. How does the rx get power? Do you use the BEC pins next to the THR and make another patch cable to the rx to power it, or does it get power through the other pins?
Reason I asked is when I have the USB programmer connected, the Arduino is powered by the PC and I can see the values change in the GUI. When I checked the signals from the radio, I had to put an rx battery on the ar6110 in order for it to work....
Flight Controller Power
The RX gets it power through the flight controller board or you could use a separate battery. I've always let the Flight controller power the RX.
watched a video in the last couple days about routing your power to the RX first, then feeding the board to prevent "run away quad syndrome" if the RX loses power/TX signal. i think its in the multiwii thread or the 330x thread.
I could approuch powering the Rx several ways here, that is the confusion I have.
1. Rx battery. Adds weight, but would always keep radio link in esc/bec failure.
2. Use a patch cable from the warthox BEC pinout next to the throttle (If this is what it was designed for?)
3. Use one of the four ESC's red and black wire directly to the Rx and the signal portion going to the board....
This photo of the board shows the Rx to warthox connections (from the WiiMulti website) but nothing about how the Rx is getting powered. I drew a red line to the connection I think should be there.
you are right, the extra battery will add unwanted wait and why add that if you don't need it.
Never heard of runaway quad syndrome and I've been building quads for more than an year now. The only time I would be concerned about a loss of signal is if I tried to fly the quad out of site.
If the rx is powered through the board when the battery is connected, then the extra battery connection is redundant.
Looking at the front and back of the board shown below, I think have an idea how to do it now. It looks like the rear block (rear connections) all have a trace for 5V from the ESC. From there I can:
- Make a patch cable from the BEC board pins to my Rx like I indicated in the post above.
- Use a Y cable from the ESC to power the #3 connection on the board and the Rx and bypass the patch cable.
Seems both would work. The other 3 ESC's would only be providing the signal wire to the board. Thoughts?
I think what you have in mind will work. My focus is going to be (this weekend hopefully) on powering it in such a way that losing TX signal will kill the motors. Until i wire it up one way and test that, im not sure i can think it through well enough to know what works and what wont.
My loot showed up from Hobby King today. Was able to solder the bullets on each motor and get them mounted up on the frame. This weekend I hope I can solder up the ESC's and do some testing and setup of each set before building a harness to tie them all together to a single lipo.
I started thinking about all the things I have left to do before my first flight. This would be a good place to write it down so others can comment if I am incorrect or offer better advice.
1. Set the MINTHROTTLE parameter in the code to 1120 for Plush Esc's as per this post.
2. Calibrate my 9503 so each channel shows 1000-2000 range in the GUI
3. Verify my WMP movements are correct for each axis
1. Solder the motor bullets for Plush ESC's
2. Create a wiring harness for the ESC to LIPO connection that will allow them to be powered up seperatly for troubleshooting and step 3.
3. Individualy calibrate and setup each Plush esc for:
- Medium motor timing
- NI-MH for battery type
- No brake
- Soft-Start disabled
4. Hook up everything
5. Balance props
1. With props off, try arming and disarming board/esc's
2. With props still off, check motor reactions to inputs.
3. Put props on and do a test hop
Made some good progress over the weekend. Was able to solder up all the ESC's and I built a power distribution spider to power everything. I put a small JST on there so I can power LED's later on. I am not going to put the lights on it until I get it flying right.
All ESC's and motors appear to be working. I tested and calibrated each one separately to my Tx and mounted everything in the frame.
So all I have left to do before I can maiden is:
- Get the power spider into the center of the frame and connect everything.
- Balance the 3 blade props
- Secure wires and attach some Velcro/strap for Lipo
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