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Mar 26, 2015, 09:34 PM
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Build Log

ZMR250 + Naze32 + Taranis full build log


Wow, it's been a while since the old make your own arduino MWC shield and wooden tri copter. I can't believe how far the hobby has gone in just a few years. From re-flashing plane ESC to full blown out multirotor KISS/BearHugs !!!

Seeing all the fun in 250 class FPV racing I decided to jump back on the band wagon and as usual went for a cheap frame and what I think is a sensible build. No waste

I'll start with the parts list, I'll try to be super complete with it so it can help friends build their own and make sure they have all the right tools for the job!
  1. Frame:

    - ZMR250.
    * * * * * MRM V1 kit - $38

    - Frame spacers. Thingiverse link
    * * * * * MRM Moray spacer kit - $11.50

    - Tilted motor mounts. Thingiverse link

    - Frame skids. Thingiverse link

    - KISS ESC Tray. Thingiverse link

    - D4R-II antenna holder. Thingiverse link or use the zip ties with heat shrink trick.

    Total cost: $50 to $60

  2. Power:

    - 12-20A ESC.
    * * * * * Flyduino KISS ESC 2-4S 18A v1.1 X4 - 80 (Really good and light ESC, make sure you read the thread on them and inspect them for solder balls)
    * * * * * sn20A ESC X4 - 60 $
    * * * * Rotorgeeks 12A BLHeli ESC V4 - Quadpack w/ USB flash tool and extra heat shrink - $72.50 (If you want to go for more 'traditional' ESC)

    - Motors.
    * * * * * Rotorgeeks Cobra 2204 1960kv - $84 (These motors offer great flexibility from 5030 props on 3S all the way to 6045 4S speed machine)

    - Props.
    Get some 5030, 5045 blunt nose, 6045 all in CW and CCW. You will break a lot of them, so go for a good stock up around $30

    Total cost: $186.5 to $210

  3. Batteries:

    - 3S
    * * * * * GetFPV Lumenier 1300mAh 3S 60C-120C - $22
    * * * * HKing NanoTech A-Spec 1400mAh 3S 40C-80C - $14
    * * * * HKing NanoTech 1300mAh 3S 45C-90C - $14

    - 4S
    * * * * * GetFPV Lumenier 1300mAh 4S 60C-120C - $30

    Total cost: $50 to $100

  4. Flight Controller:

    - Naze32 Acro clone. A CC3D would be just fine as well.
    * * * * * GetFPV Naze32 Acro - $25

    - 5V step down regulator, at least 500mA for LEDs. Only if you dont have a built in BEC in your ESC. And even so, I would get a separate vreg.
    * * * * * GetFPV 5V Step-Down Voltage Regulator - $6

    - Servo connectors.
    * * * * * HKing servo plug 10 pairs - $2.50

    Total cost: $28 to $33

  5. FPV gear:

    - Video Transmitter.
    * * * * * fpvmodel Hawkeye mini 5.8GHz 600mw vTX - $61 (I really liked their UHF products and the heatsink on the 600mw version is really nice to have as even the 200mw vTX tend to get super hot!)
    * * * * * GetFPV ImmersionRC 5.8GHz 600mw vTX - $70 (The classic and proven IRC vTX)
    * * * * surveilzone Aomway mini 5.8GHz 200mw vTX - $29 (Pretty decent vTX from my testings. I really really liked the sleeved cables. Seems just as good as the boscam ones so it's a good cheap option)

    - FPV Camera.
    * * * * * surveilzone CC1333 Sony Super HAD CCD 600TVL FPV IR Block Camera 2.8mm Lens - $26 (Classic PZ)
    If you choose this camera you will need a 12V regulator like the GetFPV Pololu 12V step up/step down voltage regulator - $5
    * * * * * surveilzone HS1177 DC5V~22V Plastic Case mini 600tvl Sony Super HAD CCD Super FPV Camera 2.8mm Lens - $35 (Mini PZ, takes 5V so can be powered from the vTX, me wants this )

    - FPV vRX / Googles / Screen. Many options here here are my two picks
    * * * * * GetFPV Headplay HD - $250 (It just can't be bad from the videos I have seen and the gear on it. Can't wait to have one!)
    * * * * * GetFPV Fat Shark Teleporter V3 Video Goggles w/ PilotHD V2 - $200 (Save yourself some cash and make it simple. This includes all you need, googles, vTX and camera!)

    Total cost: $200 to $355

  6. Transmitter and RX:

    - Taranis 9XD Plus. Save yourself some time and money and just get this radio
    * * * * * HKing FrSky Taranis 9XD Plus - $200

    - LifePo for the Tx.
    * * * * * HKing Turnigy 1500mAh 3S LifePo - $8

    - D4R-II Rx. The best for our fpv racing use. Absolutely no need for anything with more range when you can only fly for 5-7 minutes
    * * * * * HKing FrSky D4R-II - $22

    Total cost: $230

  7. Hardware:

    - 35mm nylon standoffs. I went for the standoffs as the weak part.
    * * * * * MRM 35mm nylon standoffs black 10pcs - $4

    - 10mm nylon standoffs for the naze32.
    * * * * * MRM 10mm nylon standoffs black 10pcs - $2.50

    - M3x8mm button head screws for the standoffs, longer than stock kit M3x6mm, you could also go M3x10mm here if you only have that.
    * * * * * M3x8mm x12

    - M3x20mm button head screws for the arms with spacers and landing bumpers, longer than stock kit M3x12mm
    * * * * * M3x20mm x8 (or x12 if you want to use them for front and rear bumpers as well)

    - M3x18mm button head screws for the front and rear bumpers.
    * * * * * M3x18mm x4

    - Nylon nuts.
    * * * * * MRM Nylon nuts black 10pcs - $1.75

    - M3x6mm nylon screw.
    * * * * * MRM M3x6mm nylon screw 10pcs - $1.75

    Total cost: maximum of $20

  8. Accessories:

    - 2.5mm zip ties, must have for about everything.
    * * * * * HKing 160x2.5mm zip ties black - $2.50

    - Battery straps.
    * * * * * HKing Scorpion straps small 3pcs - $5.50 (Best ones by far, no reasons to use anything inferior. Those will glue your battery in place )

    - Velcro straps for the Mobius.
    * * * * * HKing small velcro straps 2pcs - $2 (Just saw those, could replace a heavier scorpion strap)

    - Velcro tape.
    * * * * * HKing Peel n Stick velcro 1m - $3

    Total cost: $13

  9. Wire, connectors and heatshrink:

    - XT60 power connector.
    * * * * * HKing XT60 male x 5 - $2

    - 14 AWG wire for the power connection.
    * * * * * HKing 14 AWG wire black 1m - $1
    * * * * * HKing 14 AWG wire red 1m - $1

    - 18 AWG to go from power distribution to ESC. Same reasoning here, keep runs short.
    * * * * * HKing 18 AWG wire black 1m - $1
    * * * * * HKing 18 AWG wire red 1m - $1

    - 20 AWG to repair motor wires.
    * * * * * HKing 20 AWG wire black 1m - $1
    * * * * * HKing 20 AWG wire red 1m - $1

    - 24 AWG servo size wires.
    * * * * * HKing 24 AWG wire black 1m - $1
    * * * * * HKing 24 AWG wire red 1m - $1
    * * * * * HKing 24 AWG wire yellow 1m - $1

    - 2mm heat shrink for the 24 AWG wires
    * * * * * HKing 2mm heat shrink black 1m - $.50
    * * * * * HKing 2mm heat shrink red 1m - $.50

    - 3mm heat shrink for the 20 AWG wires
    * * * * * HKing 3mm heat shrink black 1m - $.50
    * * * * * HKing 3mm heat shrink red 1m - $.50

    - 4mm heat shrink for the XT60 connectors
    * * * * * HKing 4mm heat shrink black 1m - $.50
    * * * * * HKing 4mm heat shrink red 1m - $.50

    - 10mm heat shrink for the power spider.
    * * * * * HKing 10mm heat shrink black 1m - $1
    * * * * * HKing 10mm heat shrink red 1m - $1

    I can't be sure on all the sizes so do yourself a favor and grab some 14mm and maybe 30mm as well.

    Total cost: $20

  10. Tools:

    - 2mm hex driver. This should cover all the screws in the kit.
    * * * * * MIP 2.0mm driver - $15 (Best rc hobby quality tools)
    * * * * HKing Turnigy Pro 2.0mm driver - $5 (Looks decent enough not to ruin your screws, haven't got one to be sure)

    - 5.5mm socket driver. To be used for the nyloc nuts that come with the frame.
    * * * * * HKing Turnigy 5.5mm socket driver - $6

    - 8mm socket driver. To be used for the nyloc propnuts of most motors.
    * * * * * HKing Turnigy 8mm socket driver - $3

    - Long neck pliers, must have to use as a cheap man crimper and to hold various stuff during the build
    * * * * * HKing 5" Long neck pliers - $2

    - And when that doesn't do the job, you need tweezers!!
    * * * * * HKing Hard steel tweezers set - $3

    - Wire cutter and stripper, and you'll be doing a lot of it!
    * * * * * HKing Wire cutter and stripper - $3

    - Soldering station, or at least something with temperature control and a fine tip.
    * * * * *HKing soldering station - $19 (Had one, lasted for over two years, so good bang for the buck!)

    - Soldering helping hands.
    * * * * * HKing Helping hands - $3

    - De-soldering braid, you never know when you'll need it!
    * * * * * HKing De-soldering braid - $2

    - Solder
    * * * * * Buy good quality solder locally - $5

    Total cost: $51 to $61

    DISCLAIMER: I am not affiliated but would love to be, hint hint to any of these shops. I just took the links from where I ordered in the past and had open in my browser at the time. Shop around, find the best deals and try to order from as few places as possibles to make tracking stuff manageable lol

Preparing the frame

Save yourself some frustration and use a 3mm drill bit to go through all of the holes of the frame plates and make them 'loose'. Also use the same 3mm to widen the motor mount holes in the arms, you'll need to for the Cobra motors. It is also a good idea to sand the angles where cable could rub against. I also like to use thin CA glue that you let run on the edge fo the CF plates to 'seal' them. Didn't bother on my first build but will when ever I need to rebuild it.

Test fit everything. You will most likely need to sand down the camera plate as it tends to be a bit too tall, at least on mine.

That sums it up for that prepping part.

Preparing the Flight Controller

I like to have my ESC signal cables run out from under and do not connect the GND wires. If you have sync issues then connect them, but a clean wiring with the correct size and length of wires should be enough.

First I prepare my 5V pololu vreg to be mounted on the naze32 itself. I leave out a bit of ground to solder to some adhesive copper tape for RF insulation. You can find this tape on amazon

The other side with two pins to solder on the bottom of the naze32, I also wrap it with thin clear tape to prevent shorts from the copper tape!

All wrapped up with the copper tape.
Watch for the solder bridge I did from VIN to SHDN. You do NOT want to do that. Older version of those needed it, but I killed two of the 12V ones before figuring out that I should have read the newer docs... Anyways, just leave SHDN alone

Doing the same treatment for the 12V vreg I am using for my FPV cable since I need 12V for my current camera.

The pololu all shrinked up and soldered to the bottom of the naze32.
A few things are worth noting. I used a 6 pin header on the bottom, but two pins are straight. Those will be for the battery voltage coming in (3S-4S). It then goes to the 5V regulator and a wire also runs to the bat monitor next to the telemetry and buzzer pins.
I also have two wires running from the naze32 5V rails to a 3 pin header soldered to RC PIN 5 for my leds.
This means I am using the little Pololu 500mA almost to it's max. 100mA for the Naze32, 80mA for the D4R-II and about 20mA X 6 for my LEDs. So do not plug anything else 5V on this output. If you want to fly a 5V OSD make sure you disconnect the LED and that the OSD is not pulling more than 200mA!!!

View from the top. Connection for the PPM signal to the D4R-II and the FrSky telemetry output

Preparing the Power distribution

I decided not to use any power distribution board and do a simple wire spider. 14 AWG towards the XT60 connector and 18 AWG towards the ESCs. I also added two 24 AWG wires for FPV and flight controller power inputs.

Tin the main 14 AWG wire and wrap the others around it using a very thin wire so they hold together while you heat the hell out of them

Make sure you get a nice big shiny ball of solder, this is important for a good running system!

I run my power cables out the side rather than the back, shorter wire runs.
Note the 6 pin female header that will connect to the naze32. It has the 4 ESC signals and a power pair. You can always use two servo plugs and some heat shrink to make it.

Now the bottom is all wired with the LED power cables. They need to be in series so a long 3 wire in 24 AWG needs to run from front to back.

Finishing the bottom plate

Now I wanted to secure my ESC, they were only resting on double sided tape. So a bit of hot glue first to hold them in place better.
And then pour a healthy dose of liquid tape (plastidip stuff)

Same treatment for the LEDs

All buttoned up!

Middle plate gear

The naze32 also got the plastic treatment and you can see the buzzer on the side. I used an old lipo monitor buzzer I desoldered.

The FPV Camera got the liquid tape treatment as well. Use a drop of hotglue to hold the weird looking silver cap sticking out the back and note the use of zip ties and nylon standoffs to mount them. Added some rubber orings on the top to give it a tad of an angle. I used the aomway cable since the hawkeye had the same pinout and molex plugs.

All the components mounted on the middle plate

Build finished, comes out at 417g as you see it in the picture

Cleanflight programing

Taranis and OpenTX programing

Make sure you flashed the latest version of OpenTX on your Taranis and start the Companion app.

Let's create a new model and start with the Setup screen. This is all very standard with a timer that triggers when Throttle is not at 0 and gives out voice alert every minute. I also like center beeps on THR and my sliders/knobs.

The next relevant tab is Inputs, pretty straight forward AETR order

Now we get into the meat of things with the Mixer tab.
This is my setup, the different offset and weights were so that I had as close as possible to a 1500s mid stick and 1000s / 2000s endpoints. Use the throttle curve to adjust the throttle.
Connect to the Cleanflight GUI to see your actual endpoints. You can tune those on the radio once connected to the Naze32 and all powered up.

The logical switches are like virtual switches that activate on certain conditions.
I wanted two different battery voltage alerts and an RSSI alert. You will notice that the first 3 logical switches also need the L4 switch to be active. This is just an AND statement on my arm switch, since I only get telemetry once armed and it takes a bit to come through so I used a 5 second delay so I dont get a low voltage/rssi alarm at each power up AND arming. The L5 logical switch is for a music player script, I'll post how I set it up later.

These alone doesn't do anything, just like your regular switches. We can assign special functions to them or even use them in our mixes!

The first ones use our newly created logical switches and everything else is pretty self explanatory.

TOCOME: Telemetry script, Profile change script and Music player script

Last edited by Nek; Apr 19, 2015 at 01:05 AM.
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Mar 27, 2015, 06:33 AM
Registered User
This a great build thread. Where can i get that soldering jig?
Mar 27, 2015, 01:36 PM
Nek's Avatar
Thread OP
Hey Turbinetester, thanks!

This is the jig I use from Sparkfun.

It's a bit pricey but really good!
Mar 29, 2015, 03:44 AM
Registered User
Awesome build Nek!
i'm gonna be putting together my first 250 soon. Will use this as reference.
Like that you made your own wire harness (or Wire Spider as you put it) instead of the usual PDB.
Apr 01, 2015, 06:43 PM
Registered User
Are you using the D4R-II with the stock 18ms firmware or are you doing the update to 27ms yourself?
Last edited by Updraft67; Apr 01, 2015 at 07:27 PM.
Apr 02, 2015, 04:05 AM
Nek's Avatar
Thread OP
I updated it to 27ms firmware
Apr 02, 2015, 05:39 PM
Nek's Avatar
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Updated with my cleanflight setup since I wanted to redo it for the 1.8.0 release It is still a WIP and the Taranis is coming soon as I just did it again for a buddy this morning
Apr 05, 2015, 09:42 PM
Registered User
Originally Posted by Turbinetester
This a great build thread. Where can i get that soldering jig?

Instead of ordering the whole jig i just ordered the arms and i'll mount them to a custom base plate. Thanks again for the source on that! How is the build coming along? I maidened my first quad yesterday, RCX250 that is soon to be my first racing fpv system. I wish i had been reading this more closely yesterday. Your screen shot of the Port TAB in cleanflight solved my problem where i couldn't get the Cells voltage from the Naze to display on the taranis. So simple, yet for the new like myself it's hard to Notice that i need to Set the telemetry output on UART1 to FrSky. Thanks again!
Apr 19, 2015, 11:13 AM
Registered User
Very good information! There are very few build threads out there with this level of detail. Very much appreciated.
Apr 19, 2015, 03:37 PM
Nek's Avatar
Thread OP
Originally Posted by JohnOCFII
Very good information! There are very few build threads out there with this level of detail. Very much appreciated.
Thanks for the kind words! I have done some changes as I switched to a 5V camera, added a micro minimosd and changed my vreg to a RECOM 5v 1.5A so I can run everything, the 500mA of the Polulo was cutting it really close for Naze32 + D4R-II + LED + Micro MinimOSD

I'll edit my initial post with those changes soon. I first want to redo the Taranis setup part in a separate blog post, and do my Micro MinimOSD config as well
Apr 20, 2015, 03:17 AM
Registered User
Thanks for the updates Nek.
Would the 5V pad on the Naze32 not be sufficient (instead of using the RECOM 5V)?
Apr 20, 2015, 06:20 AM
Nek's Avatar
Thread OP
Well the naze is only passing through the voltage really. You have to feed it 5V at some point and this is that power source that matters. The Pololu is rated for 500mA which I would be getting really close to or over if I had the Naze32 + D4R-II + Micro MinimOSD + LEDs running of it.

So I chose to regulate my voltage with something more beefy that can handle up to 1.5A, so I have plenty of headroom now.
Apr 30, 2015, 12:22 PM
Registered User

It's a very clean build ! I like the orange. I would like know where buy the sheath for hide the motor's cables on the arms.
Tanks you !
Sorry for my english ....

Apr 30, 2015, 05:17 PM
Nek's Avatar
Thread OP
Got it from there:
Sep 05, 2015, 06:00 AM
Registered User
Dear Nek you became for me a reference point!
I saw that you used a tray for Kiss 18A, I went to the Thingiverse link but I do not understand how do you buy it! Do you have a link to buy it?
Thank you.-

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