United States, WI, Saukville
Joined Dec 2013
How can I improve my quadcopter?
For the better part of this year I've been tinkering with my quadcopter... slowly adding components. Started LOS, moved to FPV, then added OSD and at the end a few other miscellaneous components. Here is what's on my build:
* Custom 3/4" pine frame with 1/4" birch plywood to mount components
* Naza-M Lite w/GPS flight controller
* FrSky D8R-II Plus receiver
* Turnigy 9X w/FrSky module transmitter
* Turnigy D3530/14 1100 kv motors
* AfroESC 30amp ESCs
* ImmersionRC 600mw vtx
* Sony 600tvl FPV cam
* Mobius Wide-Angle Action Cam for recording
* Flytrex Core 2
* TK102B GPS tracker
* 5000 mah 3s lipo (I have 6 of these)
* 10x4.5 carbon fiber props
All up weight is 1800 grams. Flight time is currently around 8-8.5 mins using 80% of the lipo.
I've attached some pictures of the build. I'm wondering if it's possible to upgrade and achieve 15 mins flight time with this quadcopter. I'm open to changing the motors, ESCs, and even move to a 4s battery. I'd like to keep the props around 10x4.5 but could go to 11 inch props if needed. Any ideas on this... ?
United States, CO, Centennial
Joined Feb 2006
It looks like you have a nice, simple yet robust build there. You should easily be able to get flight times in the 10-12 minute -plus range. Have you tried eCalc/Xcoptercalc? That would be a good starting point.
My gut tells me you will probably have to go with larger props to get the efficiencies you're looking for. You will find that turning a larger prop more slowly is more efficient than turning a smaller prop faster for the same thrust output. This is a tedious flight testing process to do on your own, so I would start with good data (HobbyKing has it) on your motors/props at eCalc, then try modeling different motors and see what happens. If their library of motors isn't enough, you can find fairly good, complete data at Innov8tivedesigns.com for their Cobra and Scorpion brushless motor lines. You will quickly see what numbers are important and you will be able to eliminate some motors just by looking at the Prop Data Charts they provide. Generally, I try to stay below 1000kv motors, and the trend is for kv's much lower than that with higher voltage battery packs. As you mentioned, moving to 4s will probably help but will likely involve new motors, longer arms and bigger props. Going from 3s to 4s brings up a whole new set of challenges regarding system voltages so be careful to ensure all your components can handle the higher voltage. If you don't have one already, you may need to add a regulator to run your 12v items from, and I found out my voltage sensor wouldn't work above 12v, so I lost my V readings on my OSD (but I still have the FrSky telemetry readout on the transmitter screen) when I made the switch to 4s.
Edited to add: One thing I forgot to mention is that you may find some improvement by changing your landing gear to something more streamlined. Try to minimize the area of everything in the propeller stream, as that just adds drag and steals lift. You are essentially increasing the weight of your quad by the force of the prop blast against your landing gear pads.
I agree with BD6. Try cutting weight from the frame first, then decide to either take your motors to 4s or get slower motors at 3s
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