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Jul 14, 2014, 07:01 PM
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Quanum Nova/Cheerson CX-20 Starter Guide

This is an attempt to aggregate all the information in the thread:

Mission Planner (Windows only) - Once installed, update it using the help menu, the version they supply has a bug and cannot do compass calibration.

APM driver available here(in case you need it):

Base Firmware coming with most novas:
Stable Firmware:
Available Firmwares:
3.2 (beta)

Types of quads:

Nova - Seems to be pure open source for every model ordered?
CX-20 Cheerson - Seems to come in three variants, 2 of which are not Mission Planner compatible
1. Open Source
2. Fatshark/Bigshark
3. Zero UAV
My unscientific summary of this is, if you are buying this, then you are probably wanting mission planner to work with it, in which case you have only one option to worry about getting(open source). HK is Guaranteed open source apparently, BangGood offer it, but you need to make sure you pick the right one, no idea about tmart.

Power on Procedure
1. connect battery on quad
2. turn on transmitter (within 5 seconds of connecting battery)
3. wait for solid green light (gps lock)
4. throttle down and to the far right corner(hold it here until step 5 occurs)
5. motors are unlocked when red light is constant

Power off Procedure
1. throttle down and to the far left corner (hold it until step 2 occurs)
2. motors are locked when red light blinks

Default modes printout

Calibrations(steps 1-3 are first because they are done in mission planner):

1. Compass Calibration:
This is based on a Mode 2 controller (left stick throttle)

Basic way:
1. Power on the quad, when powering on the controller, have the left stick at zero and the right stick held in the lower right corner.
Note: this needs to be done for over 5 seconds, the instruction manual isn't clear about that.
2. If this was successful, the left light will be flashing red and yellow, the gps light will be unchanged.
3. Hold quad horizontally and do 3-5 circles
4. Point the nose to the ground and do 3-5 circles
5. Remove Power - Quad will auto save the calibration

Better way:
Alternatively, if you want to follow the Mission Planner procedure. This requires you being plugged into a computer, so you will need a long usb cable. This seems like a more reliable way of doing it because you will get feedback on the gui if you stuff it up.
Do the calibration dance
This links to multiple youtube videos on how to do calibration

The wiki says both methods work, the guy doing the outdoor dance(in the wiki) seems to do what I would consider inconsistent movements, the youtube video below is what would make me feel safer in my readings. (I personally just did the one with the guy sitting down and rotating it in my hands).
This is in italian but seems to be relatively logical in the approach:

2. Calibrate the controller/transmitter

This is following the below youtube video

This is based on a Mode 2 controller (left stick throttle)
1. SWB to position 1, SWA to position 0
2. Center the left stick
3. Push the Y Axis on the right stick up and hold it.
4. Power on with step 3 still being held up
5. Let go once powered on
6. Make circles with both sticks simultaneously (unsure if this next bit is critical or not) in opposite directions, start by bringing the sticks inwards, then up and out and do three circles.
7. Center both sticks
8. SWB to position 0
9. you will hear a series of beeps completing with a higher single beep.
10. Throttle to zero, power off transmitter.
There is also a mission planner calibration version, this might be a better option because you get feedback you didn’t screw up.

3. Accelerometer Calibration

4. Check RTL is enabled
Mine was enabled by default, there has been a case of someone flipping this switch and their quad deciding to race a stone to the ground.
This image shows what it should NOT look like.

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Description: A bad configuration

Here are the menu options available:

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Description: A good configuration

5. Trim Calibration Mode

From normal mode (both switches to 0)

1. Hold the throttle stick down and to the right UNTIL (can take 15-20 seconds) the amber/yellow light starts to flash
2. Raise the throttle and take off
3. Keep the quad as steady as you can using the sticks if you have to (this is better done at a wind free time)
4. Keep it there for 20 seconds (the amber light will stop flashing)
5. Land and DISARM (it's important to disarm)

6. Test for interference to the compass

Too extensive, just use the wiki link. This will fire up your props so make sure it is tied down securely.

7. Calibrate PID values

8. Autotrim - Automate trim actions
The first method will save your trims and make them the default for your transmitter
Autotrim will actually dynamically do a roll and pitch trim - This feels close to the trim calibration mode mentioned as step 1

Loiter Mode
Here is some specific information from

Translation form APM to QN/CX-20 modes: APM Loiter mode is "Stable" mode, APM Alt Hold mode is "Altitude Sensor" mode, and APM Stabilize mode is "Manual" mode.

"Common Problems"
Loiter mode incorporates the altitude controller from AltHold mode. Alt hold issues are on the AltHold wiki page.

1. The vehicle circles (aka “toiletbowls”). This is normally caused by a compass problem the most likely being magnetic interference from the power cables under the flight controller. Running compassmot or purchasing a GPS+compass module normal resolves this. Other possibilities include bad compass offsets set during the live calibration process or incorrect compass orientation.
2. The vehicle takes off in the wrong direction as soon as loiter is engaged. The cause is the same as #1 except that the compass error is greater than 90deg. Please try the suggestions above to resolve this.
3. The vehicle is loitering normally and then suddenly takes off in the wrong direction. This is generally caused by a GPS Glitch. There is no 100% reliable protection against these which means the pilot should always be ready to take-over manual control. Beyond that ensuring a good GPS HDOP before take-off is always good and it may help to reduce the GPSGLITCH_RADIUS and/or GPSGLITCH_ACCEL parameters (see GPSGlitch wiki page for details) to tighten up on the glitch detection.”

Arming outside of Manual Mode
Set your switches to Loiter. If you carefully look at the Red light, you will notice that it is blinking twice, pause, then again. It is hard to notice, but look for it. When it is blinking twice like that it means that it is still waiting on some pre-arm items. Maybe the GPS HDOP isn't low enough...things like that. Wait a few more seconds, maybe a minute. Soon the Red light with blink a single time, pause, single blink..... It really is hard to tell the difference between two blinks and one.

Once you get the single red blink, it is ready to arm.

You need to wait a little longer for the GPS parameters to get within range. It takes more than just the green GPS light coming on.

How to fix your compass

g2d setup
Walkera G-2D Brushless gimbal setup (3 min 1 sec)

the first thing is to unplug the battery. Make sure you have a Hero3 camera installed in the frame. Now set the V1 and V2 screws in the center of their travel. Set your Aux knobs on your Tx in the center of travel. Set your slide switch on the side of the gimbal controller to position "1".

Connect the main battery, and don't touch the copter at all until the gimbal has initialized and the LED has turned green. Should only take a few seconds and you should see the camera move.

Now rotate an Aux knob and see if the camera pitch or roll changes. On mine, it moved but very very little. According to the manual, now you should make a small adjustment on the V1 or V2 screw depending on which function you are adjusting, pitch or roll. The manual says to turn the screw "counter clockwise". I turned the screw 1/4 turn CCW, and then tried the Aux knob. Bingo! The camera moved nicely, slowly, and did not jitter. I tried the other function, same thing. Adjusted the screw 1/4 turn CCW and the result was perfect.

settings to tweak
ANGLE_MAX - this determines the maximum "tilt" that the FC will command the Nova. I changed it from the factory setting of 2200 (22 degrees) to 3500 (35 degrees) to give the Nova a bit more oomph when flying in the wind.

RTL_ALT - This is the altitude that the craft flies when in the Return To Launch mode. I raised it from 1500 (15 meters) to 2000 (20 meters) just to give it a bit more height to clear obstacles in autonomous flight.

WP_YAW_BEHAVIOR - This determines which way the craft points when flying a mission in auto mode (or RTL). The factory setting of 0 doesn't yaw the craft when moving from waypoint to waypoint. I changed it to 1 so that it points the front of the craft in the direction of the next waypoint. It just (to me anyhow) looks cooler in a video to see in the direction you're headed.

The outputs on the bottom labelled G +5v S1 and S2 are the servo outputs from the receiver to the gimbal
They would be used for driving a servo using the dials on the transmitter or for manual control of the gimbal tilt and roll

MAKE CERTAIN to remove the centre (red) wire from one end of your male to male servo cable when using these for manual gimbal control, you don't want or need the 5v going into the Gimbal controller and you may also find that the centre pin on the gimbal already has voltage on it as it is powered by the main battery via either the balance lead or the G +12v pins

Also if you are going to use the 5v outputs for other applications (5v camera, charging a GoPro etc) make sure the load isn't too high as it would be possible to cause a "brown out" (pulling the voltage down too low on your receiver and causing it to go dead in the air)

Bigshark/Zero Tips (i don't have one so can't help you with it, but when I see specific solutions to those, I will try to put them here.

Zero Version ESC calibration
If you have the "Zero" version then you won't be able to connect to Mision Planner or perform the ESC calibration

Your only hope will be to disconnect one ESC at a time and connect it directly to the receiver (throttle port) and calibrate each ESC that way one at a time

before removing any wires/cables, label them so you know where to put them back afterwards, take photos to help too.

Once an ESC is plugged direct into the receiver
2. Turn on the transmitter
3. Put your throttle to maximum
4. Power on the quad (PROPS REMOVED ! )
5. Listen for one beep from the ESC that's plugged into the receiver, as soon as you hear the single beep lower the throttle to zero

That ESC should now be calibrated
Repeat above for the remain three esc's by plugging them into the receiver throttle channel one at a time

Compass Calibration for the BigShark
1. Power on the quadcopter, then turn on the transmitter.
2. After the sounds finished, switch the "SWA" button fleetly in 16 times.
3. The yellow is on, lift the quadcopter and turn in a horizontal direction until the yellow LED flashes.
4. Nosed the plane down and turn in a horizontal direction until the Red LED and Green LED flashes. And finish calibration.

How to add a MinimOSD for OSD on FPV (soldering involved)

ToDo List:

GPS calibration

ESC Calibration on RTF

RTL Firmware possible issue?
Upon Signal lost it will go to RTL for both the firmware

But to activate back the radio transmitter

Firmware 3.12 - On Back transmitter SWB-0 , TOGGLE SWA-0 TO 1
Firmware 3.15 - On Back transmitter and Push Throttle down and to the right (same as arming the motors) SWB-0 , TOGGLE SWA-0 TO 1

Accessories and Gadgets List:

Here are a couple more US domestic online retailers I have had good luck with:

Upgraded Carbon Fiber landing skids

photos of them fitting

Replacement screws and tools for the crappy screws (in case you strip them)

Carry bag for quad

prop guards

Case for quad with props and gimbal attached

High Capacity battery that fits

Suggested props:
Giving increased flight times apparently.

9 inch props that fit (helps with lifting)

Upgraded Landing gear to the DJI Phantom Carbon Fiber landing gear upgrade
According to this post:
These will fit on our quad.

Thanks go to Dogdude for being awesome and a human encyclopedia on this quad, Yakulis had a cheat sheet which supplied some of my links. If I missed a thanks, then sorry and let me know if you want a thank you here.
Last edited by nerdybails; Aug 27, 2014 at 05:49 PM.
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Jul 14, 2014, 09:31 PM
Suspended Account
Nerdy thanks for all that info, you guys are out of control there Only wish I knew what the hell you lot where talking about!

Jul 14, 2014, 09:39 PM
Grumpa Tom
Kmot's Avatar
Very nice of you to do this!

I think you need to change something though. "Power On Procedure", #2 should be "turn on transmitter".
Jul 14, 2014, 11:10 PM
Registered User
Thread OP
Originally Posted by Kmot
Very nice of you to do this!

I think you need to change something though. "Power On Procedure", #2 should be "turn on transmitter".
Haha, well spotted. Updated.
Jul 14, 2014, 11:19 PM
Registered User
Can anybody do a procedure for ESC CALIBRATION for CX20/NOVA. Following the Arducopter esc calibration doesn't work for me. Im using NOVA. Thnks.
Jul 15, 2014, 01:06 AM
Registered User
I just got my nova, pnf from hk, I cant get the board to talk to the computer at all, no matter what updates I get... really lost here. fire up mp, and I try to get it to connect, but the connection just times out, no packets etc... computer doesn't even show the board on any of my usb selections...
Jul 15, 2014, 02:56 PM
Registered User
Thread OP
Originally Posted by Felix_Dinel
I just got my nova, pnf from hk, I cant get the board to talk to the computer at all, no matter what updates I get... really lost here. fire up mp, and I try to get it to connect, but the connection just times out, no packets etc... computer doesn't even show the board on any of my usb selections...
Hey Felix, those types of questions are best kept in the normal forum post (linked at the top of my blog post) as they will be much more knowledgeable on that stuff.
Jul 15, 2014, 04:03 PM
Registered User
Perhaps you could add the default parameters of the CX20 / QN.
Jul 16, 2014, 01:28 AM
Registered User
Thread OP
Originally Posted by salibaj
Perhaps you could add the default parameters of the CX20 / QN.
Sounds like a plan, I'll have to figure out what those are, but mine is in default right now so that should be easy enough to grab once i figure out how to easily pull them.
Jul 16, 2014, 05:52 PM
Registered User
Originally Posted by ben17
Can anybody do a procedure for ESC CALIBRATION for CX20/NOVA. Following the Arducopter esc calibration doesn't work for me. Im using NOVA. Thnks.
Got the same problem, no matter what I do I can't seem to get into ESC calibration. I was hoping to avoid doing them all individually.
Jul 23, 2014, 04:24 PM
RC pilot by soul
Hello guys,
is there a MP parameter file that my friend can load on its CX-20 with APM? he got the zero controller version and changed to a standard APM controller.
Jul 30, 2014, 04:49 PM
I land with enthusiasm
Arck's Avatar
Aug 07, 2014, 11:53 PM
Let the future tell the truth
Tesla1856's Avatar
Originally Posted by ben17
Can anybody do a procedure for ESC CALIBRATION for CX20/NOVA. Following the Arducopter esc calibration doesn't work for me. Im using NOVA. Thnks.
It works, but the tones and led flashing is a little different than the posted "all at once" YouTube video (since he had stock controller).

What makes you think it's not working?
Aug 12, 2014, 01:53 AM
Registered User
Nice thread, NB. You might want to add the gyro calibration procedure. Some people call this trim/fc calibration. Hold throttle stick to lower right corner for 5-8 seconds until the yellow light flashing, then hover for 20 seconds.
Aug 12, 2014, 02:01 AM
Registered User
Nevermind, it's already there

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