DJI F450 kit with OpenPilot Revo first quad build - RC Groups
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Dec 30, 2013, 08:24 PM
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DJI F450 kit with OpenPilot Revo first quad build

This is my first multirotor build. I've done plenty of land RC before (AE RC10GT, RC18T, HPI RS4) and i've always wanted to do some air RC. I owned a Blade CX2 for a brief while. But 70% of the RC hobby for me is the build itself! I didn't get the satisfaction I had flying the CX2 as I did driving my first RC10GT after building it myself.

After a lot of research I decided to start off with a DJI Flame Wheel F450 kit. I tried to find just the frame so I could pick my own ESC and motors. But all I can find are DJI clone frames (HobbyKing et al) and I wasn't interested in a clone. I found a F450 kit at a local hobby shop and, well, as you all know it is pretty hard to walk out of the shop without buying something

I've got the basic frame, ESC, and motors together (props just for show).

The only other parts I have so far are the BEC (Castle Creations 6S BEC).

So far I'm planning on picking up next:
  • Flight Controller: OpenPilot Revo
  • Revo Case: Fredrik Light Case (
  • Radio / Receiver: Spektrum DX6i / Spektrum 6210
  • Battery: LiPo 3S, 3300mah and 20C or better (I'm using to determine battery need)
  • Battery Charger: Thunder Power RC TP610C-ACDC (it seems most entry level LiPo chargers are only 50 watts max and this one claims 80 watts so hopefully will allow for better larger battery charging in future)
  • Some various leads and plugs to finish up wiring and soldering (I need a XT60 plug for the bottom board)

Would love any comments or suggestions for a first time build. I'll add some more build information as I get more parts and closer to maiden flight.
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Dec 30, 2013, 08:46 PM
Registered User
Out of curiosity, why did you pick the OpenPilot Revo as your FC? I've been reading a bit here and there about the platform and it seems to be a good bit of hardware (32-bit with hardware floating point.) It looks like it's limited to a hex, though, from what I can gather. My current preferred Open platform is APM, and soon to be the newer Pixhawk hardware which will be 32-bits as well. The ArduCopter software that runs on APM has been around a while and supports Octo.

Are you planning on getting GPS for your Revo? Very handy to have, especially for fail-safe conditions.
Dec 30, 2013, 09:31 PM
Registered User
I researched a couple flight controllers (Naza, KK, MultiWii, KK based HK, ArduPilot / APM). The APM and Pixhawk stuff looks pretty good! I mostly went with OpenPilot because it is easily configured via Mac, appears fairly user friendly, has GPS support (I plan to use altitude hold when it is available in the Revo), and the price is right.

A lot of the cheaper boards (the ones around $30 - $80) all appeared to be setup by flashing specific firmware and were not very user friendly and limited in the configuration I could do without a PC. Same with the Naza-M Lite (seems the software is only PC based).

I saw the ArduPilot / APM stuff. But I haven't seen the Pixhawk hardware until you just mentioned it to me. It looks a little more pricey than the OP Revo. But definitely something I might consider for a future build.
Jan 01, 2014, 01:07 AM
Registered User
Got some more parts today. No leads or controller yet so can't really continue wiring. But mocked up BEC and Spektrum satellite receiver locations.

The new Spektrum DX6i I will be running. I am actually a little surprised at the feel and build quality of it. It feels very 'plastic' and cheaply made. But I guess that is what I get for an entry level stick radio.

I also got a prop balancer. The stock props in the F450 kit are not that imbalanced to begin with. Some light sanding should bring them to a better balance.

I didn't realize that the DX6i radio and receiver came with the satellite receiver. Since the Revo supports the satellite directly, I ordered the adapter cable to run it instead of the full receiver and wiring harness. Hopefully, this will cut down on cable clutter and weight a little bit. The satellite is also pretty small and gives a lot of mounting options.

It looks like a popular place to mount a BEC or power module is on the side of the F450 arms. But it actually fits quite nicely on the underside of the chassis, as well as the Spektrum satellite receiver. I'll add some double sided foam to both of these with a zip tie if these end up being good locations.

I'm also wondering if I should take the time now to rotate the bottom plate 90 degrees. It looks like a popular modification for FPV and video to allow easier mounting on a GoPro to the bottom plate and have it facing forward.
Jan 04, 2014, 04:45 AM
Registered User
Got majority of parts now, can start doing some board mounting and cabling

Bare Revo board with PWM cabling. I have two cases coming for it, AirBugz and Fredrik.

Soldered my XT60 lead and BEC.

Since I got the AirBugz case first, it is first to go in. I decided to just mount it with some servo tape. It feels pretty stable and the servo tape should give it some vibration dampening. I also covered up the exposed solder joints with hot glue to lessen the chance of a short.

I decided to move the BEC to the right rear arm...

...and the receiver to the top of the bottom plate off to the left side using servo tape (to balance out the BEC being on the right).

Without props it sits at 940g.

Props and nuts will add another 60g so I'm right at 1000g. I think this is a decent starting weight to give some headroom for FPV or video recording gear. The takeout weight for the F450 is 800g ~ 1600g.

I've still got to balance the props, fix motor spin direction on two (apparently I have to just swap two wires to fix this), and calibrate the Revo. I'm excited that it looks like I might be able to get it airborne this weekend!
Jan 05, 2014, 09:34 PM
Registered User
She flies! I did two flights over the weekend. I started by just practicing hovering in my backyard. Had a few close calls. But it flies pretty well with the exception of some drifting towards the right-rear rotor. I set the countdown timer on my DX6i to 6 minutes and hovered around the entire time.

My next charge only took in about 1300mAh and the cells were all at around 3.9 volts so I probably had plenty of flight time left. I'm guessing I can do closer to 12 minutes on the 3300mAh 3S.

I went to a local park for my next flight and had a nice wide open field which let me stretch its...arms? It actually felt much more comfortable to be higher so when I made mistakes (and I did) there was much more room for error. I started to yaw around in circles and had a close call with a tree since I wasn't used to flying the opposite control coming towards me.

This thing can move pretty good when you lean on the sticks! After my higher speed flying and close call I was practicing some more precise hovering around. The drift was still there and seemed to be worse than it was in my backyard. I cut this flight time to only 6 minutes because there were some kids that came up and started pestering me and making me nervous.

I later realized that one of the motors was not spinning as freely as the others (and it happens to be the one of the direction for the drift). I'm guessing the bearings in this motor are not as great as the others and causing some drift because the load is a little greater on it. This is also the arm that I have the BEC mounted to and that could be a contributor to the drift.

I'm going to contact DJI about the bad motor and see what they say. Not a huge deal. But I would like this thing to be able to hover in one place using AxisLock mode on the Revo. I'll next start tuning the stabilization settings in the OpenPilot GCS.
Jan 05, 2014, 09:48 PM
Middle Aged Kid
Lantz's Avatar
Hey fellow Truggy racer/basher

I have way to much money in Truggies Mugen MBX6T, GS XUT Associated rc8te. I started flying in the 80's before getting into Truggys and just got back into flying but Multirotors now wow did this hobby change while I was tearing up the dirt!

Anyway I too have to ask, why the OpenPilot Revo.

Lets see a picture of the completed 450.