Joined Apr 2010
Droidworx AD8 Hercules Photohigher MikroKopter , Professional Heavy Lift AP Build
DROIDWORX AD8 HERCULES PROFESSIONAL AERIAL PLATFORM BUILD
Hi guys, I Just finished building another AD8 Heavy Lift. I have a client wanting a heavy lift Octo using the Hercules boards. So I figured I should build one for myself, and thoroughly test it before recommending it to others. Since this was my first build using the much anticipated HERCULES Boards. I thought I would take some pics along the way, and do a quick build thread. Just a warning, I am by no means a master at this, and I am constantly open to learn new things. This is my first build thread so take it easy on me. I would like to note that allot of this build was accomplished, only with the help of fellow forum members. Without their support, I would have never gotten into this hobby. Anyway, hopefully this build will give some ideas or help someone else with a similar build in mind. I have included a few tips that I feel work great. Feel free to ask me any questions, and Iíll do my best to answer them.
So here it is, the recently completed AD8 HERCULES BUILD
First I put together the parts list and began getting everything together for the build.
AD8 Heavy Lift Extended (I ordered 2 extra booms, extra motor mount, Extra landing gear set)
Dual Battery Tray
(8) QuadroPower QC3328 Motors
AV200 Pro Mount, AV200 PRO w/ 360
(2) Flight Control V2.1 ME (1 for AD8, 1 for AV200 360)
MK GPS V2.1 and MK GPS Shield 1.1
(2) Hercules Power Board Pro
Active Cooling plate for Hercules October
XBEE Wireless Communication Set
PCB Extension (to Operate LEDís)
6V BEC for AV200 Servos
DC/DC 12v regulator for PCB
(5) Pairs Xoar 13x6.5 Beachwood props for testing (all props I have drilled to 6mm, to fit perfect to the MK or AXI prop adapters)
(5) Pairs Carbon Fiber 13x6.5 props for Filming
6mm prop adapters
(8) Turnigy Nano Tech 4S 6000mAh Lipo's
(4) Sky Lipo's 3S 2200mAh (For the AV200 360 servos and downlink)
JR 11x Transmitter
Spektrum AR9100 Receiver (for the 3 Satellites)
Spektrum Diversity Board
High Intensity LEDís (red and green)
Servo Wire (came in 50 foot length)
Servo plugs (DIY for making LED, PCB, Buzzer Connections and such)
Servo Wire Wrap
1 ĹĒ Clear heat Shrink Tubing (to cover LEDís)
This was pretty much everything excluding a few odds and ends that I already had.
This copter should easily get 10 minutes flight time while carrying a Canon 7D with downlink gear. I will be flying (2) 4S 6000mAh packs in Parallel.
AD8 HLE FRAME ASSEMBLY
I first open all the misc frame parts and components. I lay everything out nice and neat putting all similar parts and screws together in their own little piles. This also gives me the opportunity to inventory everything to make sure I am not missing anything.
Once you have a nice area arranged and to work on. Follow the following Build manuals from Droidworx.com.au.
Here is the Main Download page for Assembly instructions.
LANDING GEAR ASSEMBLY
This part of the process was pretty simple. Just make sure all the screws into the AV200 are tight. (I even opted to use a small amount thread lock on the metal to metal parts). I also use a tab of CA glue on the screws that went into the Carbon tubes.
I order and install the Dual battery tray. You can have them directly under the center plates. But this accessory makes the Lipoís mounting/removal very easy. Be sure to thread lock the screw on this part.
The stock Gear rail brackets that come with the frames are pretty weak. I had noticed stress fractures in my stock ones. Because I have Thousands of $ in camera gear and gimbals hanging from these two brackets. I decided to CNC Machine my own ALUMINUM GEAR RAIL BRACKETS. The parts I made are extremely durable, and yet they are very light. I feel this is a must have upgrade for anyone carrying nice cameras with pricey Gimbals.
The Stock Plastic Gear rail brackets cost $45 plus shipping. I sell mine for $44 Shipped. Contact me if you would like a set. I am running another batch this week, and they will be anodized Black
I use both the AV200 with Extended landing gear and a separate AV200 on 360. When I am flying alone I use the 2axis. When I have my camera man operating the gimbal, I quickly switch to the 360.
Here are a couple pics showing the process and then the two completely assembled.
Some things to pay close attention to here are. To make sure the Boom Brackets are facing in the correct direction. Make sure the Motor mount locating hole (on the outside end of the boom) is on the top. When looking at the top of your frame, you should see this hole. On my first AD8 Build, I had one that was upside down, and it can be a pain flipping it over. Check your standoff mounting locations with your electronics; just to be sure they are in the correct place.
When Using the HERCULES Cooling Plate. There ARE NOT holes in the center frame plates to mount the standoffs that would line up with the Active cooling plate. You will need to line up and drill 4 small holes. That way you can mount the stand offs lining up correctly to the Hercules cooling plate. Make sure the way you mount it has the arrow on the FC board Pointing right BETWEEN Motors 1 and 2. It should point towards the Notch in the Center plate.
Here is a Pic with RED drawing showing the Direction, and where I had to drill the 4 mounting holes.
TIPS during Frame assembly: If you are using LEDís.
I prefer to mount any orientation tape to the booms. I then lay the LEDís in their place. And finally I use 1 ĹĒ Clear Heat Shrink to cover them. Get a decent heat gun to make this process easy. This makes for a really clean and professional looking install. Mainly it gets rid of having to use zip ties. Do this before putting the motor mounts on, or you wonít be able to get the Heat shrink on (trust me on this hehehe). I also use this time to run any wires that you may want down the booms. Some like to run a wire to the end of a boom for the buzzer.
After installing the LEDís and Heat Shrink, they should look something like this.
Here is my completed frame. Ready to have the motors mounted.
MOTOR MOUNTING AND INSTALL
I like to prep the motor wires before mounting them. If you are using MK 3638ís like I did in a precious build. Then you may want to tin the wires before mounting the motors. I found this makes it easier and keeps the wires from getting frayed as you route them.
Place the 30mm screw through the motor mount disc before mounting it to the motor. When using the larger motors, you will not be able to get the screw in place once the motor is mounted to the disc. Again, I learned this the hard way.
I like to thread lock the screws going into the motor. On an older build, I used a screw that was 2mm longer. I felt that there was not enough threads going into the motor, and a little longer screw gave plenty more bite. Personally it just gave me a little more assurance.
APPLY HEAT SHRINK TUBING TO MOTOR WIRES.
This is a big must in my book. I put heat shrink over the motor wires right at the can. This helps protect the wires from rubbing against the carbon edge of the boom and shorting out.
Before installing the 6mm prop adapters, I thread lock and tighten the Set screws that hold the can to the motor shaft. I also thread lock the 3 screws used to mount the prop adapters. I do this to make sure they do not come loose, causing off balance vibrations. It also helps to ensure the prop stays on the motor hehehe.
Finally Go ahead, feed the wires through, and mount these bad boys onto the booms, ensuring the dimple in the mount lines up with the hole in the top of the boom.
Once you get the motors all mounted, and the wires all fed through. Go ahead and apply Heat shrink where the wires exit the interior on the boom. This will help protect the wires from the edges of the booms, and center plate.
This should finish up the AD8 Frame and Landing gear. Now itís time to move on to the Electronics.
ELECTRONICS STACK AND MOTOR WIRE INSTALL.
Being that this was my first build using the Hercules. I ordered my Hercules pre configured from Kopterworx. They were a great help, and my Hercules was ready to go. This really sped up my Build. More importantly, it gave me a great starting point for my future builds.
Here is how the Boards look laid out on the copter, and how the motors should be wired. Once you have all the motors wires going to the correct controller, you can check the direction of rotation.
WITH PROPS OFF!! Use the MK Tools ďMOTOR TESTĒ, to check configuration and rotation direction. If you find that a motor is spinning in the wrong direction, simply swap 2 of the 3 motor wires on that controller. Once you have the motors all confirmed and spinning in the right direction. Go ahead and install the rest of your stack.
DIVERSITY BOARD FOR SPEKTRUM SATELITES/ PCB EXTENSION BOARD
Once I received the Hercules board and FC Stack. I soldered on a satellite wire to the FC Board. When using the Diversity Board, make sure you solder the + wire to the 5V spot on the FC board. If using just a single Satellite, then you use the 3V spot. I draw power for the PCB EXT board directly from the FC. Solder on a +/- wire to the +/- spots on the FC board (number 14 and 16 on the diagram below)
Here is a good link showing the FC layout and connections.
If using the GPS shield, go ahead and solder that as shown here.
I like to cover all my wires with Mesh covering. I also prefer to make all my own connectors. In the following pic you can see the FC ready to go. I have one red wire to power the PCB EXT Board. The Wire with the White connector plugs into my Diversity Board, and the other red connector is for my Buzzer. I do this so that I can remove my whole Power dist and Flight control stack, without having to unsolder anything. It makes for easy repairs and transportation if needed.
On the PCB Extension board, I have 2 Red connectors coming off in the S1/S2 LED Spots. Those go to the LEDís that I have wired with the same plug. I have another Red connector that goes to the FC board (this is what powers the PCB). Then Finally, I have a Servo plug that goes from the PCB to the FC board in the Transitor Outp (right above the Nick Servo input). I put the PCB Board on a standoff. I will be drilling a hole and relocating it though.
Hereís a pic showing the PCB board, Diversity Board, Satellite Receivers and buzzer.
CONFIGURING THE FLIGHT CONTROL, SOFTWARE FOR MKTOOLS AND HERCULES
For configuring and or trouble shooting, you will want the following software.
Here is a link to the latest MK tools.
HERCULES SOFTWARE. In order to download the software, you will have to email them for a login.
After you have the stack all assembled to the frame. Bind your radio to your satellite. Then Go ahead and plug it into your MK USB and begin configuring your Transmitter to the Copter.
Here is a link to some great tutorials. Watch the Binding tutorial, AV 200 Servo Set up, and VERY INPORTANT Compass Calibration.
Here you can watch how to Configure your PCB EXT, How to upgrade Firmwareís with MK tools and some other great tips
The main things to do while configuring your radio. Make sure that all your ďKĒ Values go to +/- 125. Use the end point adjustment in your radio to get this accomplished. I like to set some Expo in my radio to slow the movement a little. For me I add 20 expo to my Aileron, pitch and rudder, this just seems to smooth the copter out for me.
Make sure you have the proper satellite selected in the MK tools under Channels. If you have the wrong one selected, not all channels will show up, and you will notice the bars on the channels bounce around. It is Critical to make sure the correct one is selected.
WHEN SETTING THE COME HOME/ CF/ALT HOLD.
While everything is plugged in and with the MK USB plugged in. You will want to configure your radio switches to properly operate the come home features and such. I use my Gear switch for Altitude hold, F-Mode 3 Position switch for Free/Position Hold/ Come home. I then use my Flap switch for the Care free mode. The key here is to make sure all switches are forward and that everything is disabled. Meaning that when the switch is down, care free is not active or come home isnít active. I had to reverse a couple switches in my radio to achieve this. To check this out. Open the Kopter tool and then click on OSD. Use this to make sure you have the Poti Switches operating correctly. When you move your switches, you will see if the PH/Come home /Care free are coming active or not. Use this to tell whether or not you need to reverse switches within your transmitter.
CALIBRATE YOUR LEVEL POSITION FOR FC.
Calibrate your Gyros level position. I use a small bubble level, and or an APP on my Iphone. I set it right on top of the FC. Once you have it perfectly level in all directions. Push your throttle stick up and right. This will set the level position for the gyros.
Make sure you compass is correctly Calibrated. Here is the link again with a great tutorial.
Once you have everything mounted/configured/And motors are spinning correctly. You may be ready for your first test flight.
Here is my AD8 all set and RTF
Unfortunately, it has been raining all day. But once you have finished everything, and your certain itís ready for a test flight. Go ahead and put your props on (make sure they are on correct direction/motor), and prepare for your MAIDEN FLIGHT
Here is the Maiden flight of my latest AD8 HERCULES. I recommend doing this outdoors lol, but I couldnít resist it.
As weather gets better, I will get out and get some much better pictures of this beauty. I can already tell that it will be the smoothest copter I have built to date. I am really looking forward to filming with it.
I hope this thread is helpful to someone. I tried to include enough pics for those that are more visual in learning (like myself). Feel free to contact me if you think I can be of any help. I will do my best. Thank you to everyone that has helped me along the way in this hobby.
For those that need assistance and or want to order parts/kits. Just let me know. I am a distributor for Droidworx, Photohigher and XOAR. I will do my best to accommodate you with anything you may need.
Take care everyone, and thanks again to those who have helped.
Have a Positive day,
Joined Apr 2010
I Build and Sell RTF copters for the film industry. This exact build here would sell for $15K. That would include spare props, dual radio config, Lipos, and a video downlink.
If you are confident in building and setting these copters up, then you could save yourself quite a bit of $. The people I sell to prefer to spend a bit more, and have peace of mind knowing their copter truley is RTF. A RTThat, and knowing they have live support to help them through the learning curve, is why they spend more for a RTF system.
It all really just comes down to personal preference, your knowledge of the systems, and of coarse your pocket book. Hope that gave you a rough idea.
Super build thread.
I am interested in the weight of the copter, as for easily 10 minutes with a DSLR i have my doubts.
Even with 12,000 may of batteries pulling 100amps to hover, my bet is you will get 5 minutes max...
Of course i could be wrong
Joined Apr 2010
before delivering it to them. I tested this AD8 HLE with (2) 6000 4s. This copter carried a 5.5lb Scuba weight as payload (no gimbal or camera, just the lipos and 5.5lb weight). It had a flight time of 10.55 min and used 9100mAh (75% of the lipo's capacity).
A friend of mine has an AD8 on 5s. 2x 6000 mAh with 2814 motors, large 465 booms and 13x6,5 xoar carbon props. av200 360 pan.
He is getting flight times around 10-12 min with 1,5kg camera.
Strange we have 4 XL Octo's (customers machines) with the weight you describe i cannot not get more than 6 minutes...
Even with our 16inch carbon props and new 360kv motors, i still cannot get the flight times you are describing here.
I guess when the weather clears up you can make a video of the new Octo flying for 10 minutes fully loaded, at hover you will be drawing 80amps plus...
I will only believe it when i see it:roll eyes:
The answer isn't larger speed controllers that consume more Amps, but powering the copter more efficiently using larger props and motors with a much lower KV.
All week i have been trying to fly a Quad for 1hour, without a payload, not just hovering but actually flying, obviously i haven't managed this YET, otherwise you would see a video of me flying a quad for an hour(boring yes)
Looking forward to seeing the new monster flying.....
I just uploaded a video of the SkyJib,
Details about the Video
This is the very first flight of the SkyJib, using standard Mikrokopter equipment.
We do not want to use larger speed controllers such as hercules and Aerodrone, we want to lift more for less amps not draw more amps and fly less :-))
We used our new 16inch paddle props and 340kv brushless motors. So far so good, some small changes are still needed with this setup.
We managed 20 minute flight time using 10,000mah 5cell batteries and NO payload.
More information coming soon.
Spain, PM, Baleares
Joined Nov 2011
@patrick21x : very nice job patrik! stunning octo!
@simonjardine: Hi Simon, how are you getting along with the engine prop combination. I also want to build a octo or with enough power to lift a epic if necesary using mk electronics.
Skyjib was too heavy, the epic would go in the air for only 1 minute:-(
Since then we have our own machines coming designed to lift more for longer!
Our new products should hit the store by the end of the month:-)
Spain, PM, Baleares
Joined Nov 2011
@simon jardine : yeah! I ve seen you new CF frame and it looks awsome!!
What do you recon http://diydrones.com/profiles/blog/s...ource=activity
is using as in motor-prop-batt combination?
I think thats a good platform for lifting the Epic, i doubt they could achieve 5 or more minutes of flight, let alone 10 minutes
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