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Old Feb 29, 2012, 04:41 PM
Fly it like you STOL it!
Endlesslag's Avatar
USA, VA, Spotsylvania
Joined Jan 2011
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Yippee!
Multicopter school project!

I'm taking an independent study course next year, and decided to do it on the build, programming, etc with multicopters and/or other autonomous flight.

It's great because I've been flying RC for quite a while, and therefore know how the RC and electronics work and how to set them up right..I just need to get a multicopter and start working.

I can basically do whatever I want as long as I keep a log of what I do, how I do it, and why.

Now my question for you guys(which you may or may not be answered with more questions based on the nature of all this)

Is there a good, general purpose multicopter (quad or otherwise) that is stable, can still move quickly when unloaded, has a decent carrying capacity(say a pound or two,but I dont know what's reasonable), and can be setup relatively cheaply (say, sub $400).

I'm probably looking initially at the programming aspect of this first, but I might move into fpv later on.
I'll probably use an arduino based board. I know there's one out there, just can't remember offhand. Reason being, I would like to be able to play with sensors and cameras and stuff easily.

If you guys have any input, let me know. I'm open to suggestions for everything.

I dont want a tiny quad, but I don't need a beast either. Something midrange that I can stack sensors or cameras on, or can just have fun and fly around by itself.
Since this is for an entire yearlong independent study course I need maximum flexibility and versatility.
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Old Feb 29, 2012, 05:07 PM
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Deutschland
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You may think about the size: The greater/ heavier/ stronger you build at the beginning, so more often something is broke so more money you need.

A small quad with light motors, of course around 30g with 8" props and an AUW not more than 650 g forgive many rude manouvers. Sometimes you must bend back an arm or replace an prop, but not that big deal.

But with an bigger quad, like 50 g motors, 10" props and an AUW 1 kg and below, near every rude manouver or even just hit a branch of a tree will cause in serious damage. Do not overestimate your modell plane flying-skills - it is not comparable to (multi rotor) helicopters where you need to manage 6 directions at any time.

The amount of effort and money within the first time exceed the invest for a small & cheap quad parts several times. And if you think you avoid damage just fly really carefully at the beginning until you think you are good enough - you will have a real boring time.

A small quality frame with light motors, ESCs, many many props e.g.and home depot alu square tubes should not cost more than 150-200 bucks. On top you need an Multiwii based board with at least gyro and accelerometers, an rx/ tx, some Lipos and a charger which could be moved easily to an bigger quad after you can manage it. Just add bigger motors, ESCs and Arms and you are fine.
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Old Feb 29, 2012, 05:12 PM
Fly it like you STOL it!
Endlesslag's Avatar
USA, VA, Spotsylvania
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I've got a good charger and a dx6i, so mark those off..and I most definitely agree with the "lighter is better" theory. I'm not going to be lugging around a DSLR camera or anything, maybe gopro at most.
Anything decent in the 2 foot diameter size range? using 3s lipos , esp. 2200s? I have quite a few of those.
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Old Feb 29, 2012, 05:20 PM
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Those 3s 2200 lipos are perfect! (dx6i too)

Check your sources for light motors (30-45g) with 1000 to 1200 kV. Many CC and CCW 8" props and cheap adequate ESCs (10-18 Amps depending on the motor).

For the frame I have no good suggestion because I do not know if you can get 10x10 mm alu square tubes from your home depot. If you can, I point you to www.flyduino.net. Otherwise some rcg ppl from near you may have a good advice.

Edit: Here is an vid from my early beginning -
David vs. Goliath (6 min 59 sec)

Both quads are have the same base, only difference are the size of the arms, props, motors and esc. The smaller one can carry a gopro easily. The bigger one can lift 2 kg without touching the limits.
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Last edited by zerosight; Feb 29, 2012 at 05:26 PM.
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Old Feb 29, 2012, 05:23 PM
Fly it like you STOL it!
Endlesslag's Avatar
USA, VA, Spotsylvania
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Quote:
Originally Posted by zerosight View Post
Those 3s 2200 lipos are perfect! (dx6i too)

Check your sources for light motors (30-45g) with 1000 to 1200 kV. Many CC and CCW 8" props and cheap adequate ESCs (10-18 Amps depending on the motor).

For the frame I have no good suggestion because I do not know if you can get 10x10 mm alu square tubes from your home depot. If you can, I point you to www.flyduino.net. Otherwise some rcg ppl from near you may have a good advice.
I honestly don't think this could be any easier, seems like lots of stuff I already have or can get a hold of easily. I should be able to get 10mm tube from HD, if not I know where to get some (used some for a slow stick fuselage)
I'll check on some motors and controllers. Thanks, I'll keep you posted.
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Old Feb 29, 2012, 05:27 PM
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United States, ID, Boise
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I'd suggest building one rather than buying one. For one, it'll save money. For two, if it's for a class, it looks more impressive. And really, they are very easy to build. Lots of options, so here's just an example:

4 of these: http://www.hobbyking.com/hobbyking/s...idProduct=4701
4 of these: http://www.hobbyking.com/hobbyking/s...idProduct=4312
A bunch of these: http://www.hoverthings.com/accessori...0x45black.html
One of these: http://www.hoverthings.com/accessori...rino-zoom.html
Some wires/connectors as needed.
4 channel or higher receiver
Home-built frame

About $300 total, plus some shipping costs.
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Last edited by FullmoonCat; Feb 29, 2012 at 05:41 PM. Reason: The original motor I listed is not as good as this one
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Old Feb 29, 2012, 05:38 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FullmoonCat View Post
I'd suggest building one rather than buying one. For one, it'll save money. For two, if it's for a class, it looks more impressive. And really, they are very easy to build. Lots of options, so here's just an example:

4 of these: http://www.hobbyking.com/hobbyking/s...idProduct=4700
4 of these: http://www.hobbyking.com/hobbyking/s...idProduct=4312
A bunch of these: http://www.hoverthings.com/accessori...0x45black.html
One of these: http://www.hoverthings.com/accessori...rino-zoom.html
Some wires/connectors as needed.
4 channel or higher receiver
Home-built frame

About $300 total, plus some shipping costs.
A pretty well proven setup for 10" propped copters but I suggest a smaller motor/ prop combo, like the KEDA 20-50s (29g) with 8" prop. The esc could be the 18 or 25 amp type to suite later configs with bigger motors.

Edit: to avoid "backorderking" visit www.giantcod.co.uk - it's my preferred KEDA and Hobbywing-ESC dealer with a way better supplied stocks.
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Last edited by zerosight; Feb 29, 2012 at 05:44 PM.
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Old Feb 29, 2012, 05:40 PM
Fly it like you STOL it!
Endlesslag's Avatar
USA, VA, Spotsylvania
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Yeah, thats what I'm thinking.
How bout-
4x http://www.headsuprc.com/servlet/the...lectric/Detail

4x http://www.headsuprc.com/servlet/the...-18-Amp/Detail

an Orange Rx
And then I'll pick a board later on when I have a better idea of the funding I have available.

Home built aluminum or CF frame
3s 2200's (in parallel if needs be.)
Quote:
Originally Posted by FullmoonCat View Post
I'd suggest building one rather than buying one. For one, it'll save money. For two, if it's for a class, it looks more impressive.
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Old Feb 29, 2012, 05:57 PM
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The emax budget escs are an oem from hobbywing, thats perfect. And the motors looks fine, too. For centerplates check this, they have a build in power distribution.

For the flight control, you have many options, especially on integrated boards. I suggest a plain support-board where you can place an arduino and the sensors you want. With an integrated board, you should can add other sensors, but you have to carry the unused ones always with you. Check the main site to start with: http://www.multiwii.com/connecting-elements
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Old Feb 29, 2012, 06:06 PM
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Dont forget about vibrations, using aluminium or cf is not good for absorbing vibrations. david windestal (rcexplorer) made his tricopter with wooden arms, excellent vibration absorber, here's a link to the build http://www.rcexplorer.se/projects/tr...copterv25.html
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Old Feb 29, 2012, 06:27 PM
Fly it like you STOL it!
Endlesslag's Avatar
USA, VA, Spotsylvania
Joined Jan 2011
3,996 Posts
Quote:
Originally Posted by zerosight View Post
The emax budget escs are an oem from hobbywing, thats perfect. And the motors looks fine, too. For centerplates check this, they have a build in power distribution.

For the flight control, you have many options, especially on integrated boards. I suggest a plain support-board where you can place an arduino and the sensors you want. With an integrated board, you should can add other sensors, but you have to carry the unused ones always with you. Check the main site to start with: http://www.multiwii.com/connecting-elements
That looks like a good option, thanks.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Munyuk View Post
Dont forget about vibrations, using aluminium or cf is not good for absorbing vibrations. david windestal (rcexplorer) made his tricopter with wooden arms, excellent vibration absorber, here's a link to the build http://www.rcexplorer.se/projects/tr...copterv25.html
I might try some different options, just for the sake of doing it..after all, there is supposed to be some research involved so I'll try out different arm types, props, things like that and note which works best ( and write a smart sounding report as to why, instead of simply stating that some materials dampen vibrations better than others)
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Old Feb 29, 2012, 07:05 PM
Fly it like you STOL it!
Endlesslag's Avatar
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Also, we have a 3d printer and (I think) a vacuform machine, so I can make pretty much any parts I want to, within reason. Maybe the landing skids or motor mounts or something.
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Old Feb 29, 2012, 07:58 PM
RCPlaye
United States, CT, East Hartford
Joined Aug 2009
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the rc explorer website is how I learned to build my tri, full of info
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Old Feb 29, 2012, 09:28 PM
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gardena, ca
Joined Feb 2003
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I also built the RC explorer tri, build was relatively easy. Learned a lot about to setup gyros too. Required minimal tweaking to make fly.
My next challenge to to replace the gyros with a multiwii FC board.
Btw, learn how to fly a heli on a simulator before you attempt to fly any multirotor craft. It'll save you time and frustration.
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Old Mar 01, 2012, 12:34 AM
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United States, OR, Portland
Joined Sep 2011
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If you're looking for something that's easy to add functionality to, you may want to check out AeroQuad. It's a little pricier than some other flight controllers but because they use Arduino boards for the processing, it's easy to add stuff. I've got two quads running on different AeroQuad boards and I'm pretty happy with them.
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