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Jun 23, 2016, 11:00 PM
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Build Log

Brushless Delta Ray with SAFE (DR brick)

My first brushless Delta Ray is being built from parts - mostly from Horizon Hobby, including an OEM Delta Ray receiver modified to connect to external ESCs and run on 3S. The ESCs now run DR Edition BLHeli firmware instead of their original Simon K firmware.

Parts listing (includes shipping)

$023.24 - Fuselage from HH via eBay (after $15 Paypal coupon)*
$007.99 - Rubber nose from HH via eBay
$006.99 - Pushrods/Horns from HH via eBay
$007.18 - Battery cover from HH via eBay
$007.99 - Gear from HH via eBay
$008.09 - Fairings from HH via Amazon
$001.00 - Vertical stabilizer - DT foam & tape

$062.48 - New fuselage subtotal

$021.00 - Receiver (shippping 3X for donated broken RX)
$000.00 - Y cable and capacitor for RX mod (donated)
$016.90 - 2204 CW/CCW motor set by Hobbymate via Amazon
$021.61 - Afro 20A Race Spec Mini ESCs from H. King
$002.92 - 2mm connectors for motors & harness from H. King
$002.00 - Wire and battery connector for harness
$000.00 - Servos (used & gifted by a friend)
$000.00 - Props, HQ 6C30 from GotHeliRC (promotion)

$064.43 - Electronics subtotal

$126.91 - Total plane, less battery

* - Wing tips with fuselage do not include wing fins, robbed some from another kit

With a Delta Ray to use for a similar project the cost would be just the motor/ESC and a few misc items if modifying your own receiver.

A remote receiver and a 6-axis CC3D Atom were bought for ~$20 to use in case the receiver modification and firmware did not work; those will now go to another project. An RX and gyro, or a 3-axis stabilized Lemon receiver, are inexpensive backup alternatives to the SAFE receiver modification. Some other SAFE receivers might also be used with a V-tail mixer and/or servo reversers.

An Arduino Nano clone to load firmware was previously purchased for <$5 from Banggood USA.

If anyone has a burnt out ESC on an OEM RX that they do not want to use for their own modification, ask around as someone may want to mod it. Let's not toss any more of these, if possible! Video and pics of the process in a pic below.
Last edited by GottaZoom; Nov 08, 2016 at 02:14 PM.
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Jun 23, 2016, 11:04 PM
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OEM receiver modification was described here.

After I can make/find a video of these modifications I will post it below.

Videos below are a different receiver, courtesy of Razzy8 with many, many thanks to my main flying bud who did so much of this mod.

Part 1 video

Part 2 is seen in the series of attached pictures

17 Oct 2016 - We decided to attempt the first mosfet (the burnt one) to see which method might work. What we found was that a couple different methods we hoped to use to lift up the mosfet were not successful for us.

We first looked at running wire under the mosfet, but there was simply no room to get behind it.

Next we tried to use a small copper wire to heat and desolder both top and bottom at the same time, but the mosfet fractured as we tried to lift it.

So we next used more solder braid to reduce the amount of solder at the pads and a needle to lift a corner, and ultimately work our way across the bottom. Braid was again used for cleaning up the pads.

For the 2nd mosfet, a bit of grinding broke and removed case and we used the same process, except that a razor blade was used at the corner with better success than the needle/pin.

Next the ESC wires were soldered down to the signal and ground pads. Unfortunately, the signal pad on the 2nd mosfet was as a bit damaged. To work with the smaller surface, a laquer wire was used as a bridge from the signal pad to the signal wire for the 2nd ESC connector.

The wires were tested and found to be open with no short seen using a meter, and hot glue was used to insulate and provide stress release.

20 Oct 2016 - 2nd brick was tested with the brushless DR gear and appears to work fine on 2S and 3S, just as the 1st brick does.
Last edited by GottaZoom; Oct 20, 2016 at 02:20 PM.
Jun 23, 2016, 11:16 PM
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ESC firmware loaded with these instructions (and a little luck) posted here.

The Afro 20A Race Spec Mini ESCs were selected because they were small, had the Atmel processor needed at the time I was flashing them - and very importantly - were on sale for a very good price.

When I do my next brushless conversion using the oem brick I will probably use Silabs-based ESCs.

17 Oct 2016

Waiting for the Silabs firmware - 20A FVT Littlebees on hand

25 Oct 2016

30A Afro RS Mini ESCs have Atmel processor like the 20A RS Minis I used previously. Totally forgot to video, and glad I did as I was stumped for a while today. Anyway, here is a brief summary of what we did with these.

1. Set up the DR Edition of BLHeli. I started here, which led me here.

a. I downloaded the most recent version (1.23) released so far using the link circled in the attached pic.

b. Next I extracted all of the files from the zip file from the step above by clicking on the zip file and right clicking the mouse to open the menu shown in the 2nd attached pic.

c. For some reason, these files are extracted into a directory 2 levels down. I moved them up a level and deleted the 2nd sublevel directory.

d. next I used the same process to Extract the mater and BLHeli zip files. Had the same issue with the double directories and moved those up as well to get the directory to look like the example in the installation PDF.

e. Next I ran the Copy... bat file so that it would fix the files needed in the BLHeli directory. I had to do this a couple times for it to work - not sure why.

f. The final step is to switch to the BLHeli subdirectory and run the EXE file. I had problems with my antivirus and had to fix that before it would run correctly.

g. Finally, I make sure to make sure BLHeli knows which USB interface I am using (for me it is Item 3 - Atmel SK Bootloader with 4wif).

2. Next I connected up my Arduino Nano that I had previously used. If you are not familiar with this, I suspect the Afro USB tool could work as an alternative.

- Arduino connects to USB cable to PC (make sure device is recognized and set up in PC OS and identify which Com port is used, then unplug Arduino)
- ESC servo connection connects to my servo socket wired onto correct signal and ground pins on the Arduino.
- ESC is powered, then Arduino is plugged back in

3. Open BLHeliSuite software if not already open from step 1.

4. Make sure correct Com port is selected (I forgot this and chased down power issues until I found this), then I usually will turn on the Log screen (found in Options), and next click Connect.

5. If all is good, I next click on Read Setup and the software determines the Afro ESCs do not have BLHeli and asks me if I want to flash them. I say yes and select the correct firmware for the ESCs I am using - Afro 30A Multi, at this time - and tell it to flash the ESC. The first ESC did not work. I shut it all down and reconnected and tried again - success. The 2nd ESC flashed correctly the first time.

6. At this point I changed a couple parameters in make the Beeps and Beacon louder but left everything else alone. To save these changes I clicked on Write Setup and after that worked I shut everything down.

7. Motor testing - connected each ESC up one at a time to my modified receiver, powering up normally with TX already one. Since the TX & RX had been previously calibrated, I was able to test that the motor ran normally with TX throttle stick movement.

Next steps will be to finish up another throttle signal wiring harness for a good unmodified receiver, along with an added harness to connect battery to both ESCs and the DR RX. We will test the harness and motors to make sure all works before installing the motors.

The new RX will likely need a calibration and may need to have the Input Polarity modified if the throttle runs at full with the stick down after calibration, plus adjusting the ESC for motor timing, if needed.
Last edited by GottaZoom; Oct 25, 2016 at 09:53 PM.
Jun 23, 2016, 11:37 PM
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There are many ways brushless motors have been mounted on a Delta Ray.

Below is how I did it.

First, I bought new fairings so that I did not have to disassemble my Pro180 DR. That ultimately led to building a new DR .... somehow parts seem to multiply if they are left in a bag or box for a while.

I wanted to use a method similar to EarHog's approach.

Modeling ply was used to for my internal firewall. To not make cuts in the plastic cuts were made into the firewall instead. The hope is this is lighter while leaving the plastic stronger - time and several landings will tell if this was a good idea.

The back of the motor I used is not flush, so a hole was drilled in the center (shown above) to provide relief for the shaft and cir-clip to rotate freely.

The result ....
Jun 24, 2016, 03:37 PM
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Most of the airframe parts arrived today. Assembly continues.

Hopefully the rest are still on their way.

6/24 - The postal agent gave me the one large package and then was shocked to see me open it right there . LOTS of padding but only the fuselage on the packing list and no small parts - sent her back to the pile to find another box. 2nd box had items shown below but the packing list was still short a battery cover - sent her back but not there.

Parts were split up to 3 different packages - each had its own tracking number - the last part still hasn't been given to the shipping company!

6/28 - HH online support says belly hatch cover is backordered to 8 Sep 2016!!! Update - after talking with HH by phone, my battery cover arrived today!!!
Last edited by GottaZoom; Jun 28, 2016 at 05:58 PM.
Jun 25, 2016, 12:27 AM
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Pushrods passed operational clearance check. More importantly, SAFE and AS3X passed bench testing again post install, so elevon servos were glued in!

Next up is the wiring and motor fairings. I've decided to install ESCs inside the fairings. As shown below, the servo wires from the ESCs are long enough to route through to the connectors that come off the modified receiver.

But the battery wires are too short and I will make a harness similar to the one shown below, but with connections for both sides. I'll also provide for the receiver to also connect into the battery lead to use the main battery when running 2S or 3S.

An alternative is to install the ESCs in the receiver bay to keep the battery wires shorter, along with improving venting.

All ground testing has completed perfectly, steerage with differential thrust is correct, automatic SAFE and AS3X correction by gyro is proper, TX is programmed for 2 modes and panic.

Throttle elevator mix by receiver is working. Beginner mode adds up elevator where Experienced mode is neutral.
Last edited by GottaZoom; Jul 09, 2016 at 06:13 PM.
Jun 25, 2016, 12:28 AM
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Dollar tree vertical stabilizer

DrBliS (for delta ray-brushless including SAFE) came in at 534g (18.8 oz) for All-Up-Weight WITH the 3S1200 in place. The difference from stock spec is 25g for the battery the the other 9g is connectors, harness, misc.

First balance was slightly tail heavy ... however pushing the 1200 ALL the way forward balanced .... carved a small (3/8") shelf at the front and will add velcro there so I can start nose heavy for maiden.


Post power install, SAFE testing - self-balancing and differential thrust

It flies! Short, but sweet maiden video
Last edited by GottaZoom; Jul 30, 2016 at 12:04 AM.
Jul 25, 2016, 12:33 PM
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Finally got a little time to write up a little more flight evaluation of this modification. I've had a handful of flights since the maiden. I now think most of the wobble mentioned in the maiden video was due to the mod brick not being fixed tight, as the screws were not fully seated on 2 posts.

Today I managed to get in 3 more flights in pretty calm air. The wobble is gone. Still feels like a different plane. But better for me in most every way.

Going to this mod with the oem brick has made it easier to see why they use the brushed motors and small thrust setup for beginners. What I noticed today more than anything is how much having the brushless motors spinning changes things. The plane leaps up at ROG, and it will get high and far pretty quickly. Took a lot more thought and effort to get it to come down than I remember, even comparing with higher thrust of the Pro180s. With throttle on high it takes a LOT more elevator for it to begin to descend more sharply. Even though I moved to the center hole back at the elevon end of the control rod.

I could easily control ascent and decent by throttle. It was holding level at 1/4 throttle and after that it just wants to climb!!! I'm sure this is the SAFE throttle/elevator mix kicking in. This got me more comfortable with hand tosses for the last couple flights - no worries as it almost flew out of my hand anyway - but also no drop/dive after release.

The 5x4x3 prop seems to be doing a lot less slipping than the 5x3x3 as I add throttle .. torque seems noticeably increased.

Reaction/impact of powered airflow with aileron deflection is MUCH faster/stronger than I remember. May still be getting some quirks from the warped elevon, but in reality is seems more like I am going to need to watch throttle a LOT more carefully with aileron input.

Powered in a couple (lucky but) gorgeous fast landings with no bounce and incredible roll out (grounds crew finished mowing grass very short just as I drove up).

I can see I'm going to need to add some silicone under top/bottom of the fairings - even though they are tightly screwed they move around on the wing a bit. ESCs are hanging tight.

Rudder turns are responsive. Still glides beautifully with a still low sink rate - very low with a little throttle!

With the 3S 1200mAh I'm getting 11.5v (storage 3.8+v per cell) after 6 minutes of easy flying.
Last edited by GottaZoom; Jul 25, 2016 at 10:55 PM.
Jul 26, 2016, 06:51 PM
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Props test results - 2nd pass using horizontal pull static thrust measurement.
Last edited by GottaZoom; Jul 27, 2016 at 12:42 AM.
Jul 26, 2016, 09:31 PM
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how does it fly on 2s? i have 5x4x3, 6x4.5 and 6x4.5x3 props to run on my 2204 2300kv build, but i am only hoping for a little bit more than the stock motors in terms of power and a bit better efficiency. btw, thanks for making the blog!
Jul 26, 2016, 10:50 PM
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My original goals were very similar to your thoughts.

The stock motor/prop combo thrust is ~300g for 2 motors, so 6x4.5x2 props on 2S could be similar to stock in terms of top speed. What remains to be seen is how it feels through the throttle range. Since I went from stock to Pro180 to 3S I haven't gone back and tried 2S - I'm not even sure if it will balance CG correctly.

At this point, the DTI 5x3x2 ghost props seem a good compromise giving better thrust with better efficiency for someone coming off of a stock DR to a 3S brushless setup. They do well on efficiency rankings by the quad guys and the same with my tests. It's a touch over the Pro180 thrust and that was pretty much what I was shooting for after I built the Pro180 DR - pretty big step up to almost 1:1 thrust to weight. Good chance a scale flier can stretch flight times with them, but remains to be seen.

If there is a 6x4x2 ghost prop made, that should be tried on 2S. Haven't broken out the 6x3x2 ghost props, yet - turns out I got all clear 5x3x2 ghost props.

Hope the blog is useful, too. Thanks!
Last edited by GottaZoom; Jul 27, 2016 at 11:27 AM.
Aug 03, 2016, 09:49 AM
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2S 1800 is a bit tail heavy but the 2S nanotech 1500s balance. Charging up to take to park ... if wind stays down and I can use the concrete ramp for ROG I'll give them a try this morning.
Aug 03, 2016, 10:27 AM
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Awesome! Cant wait to hear how it flys, and let me know what props you end up testing it with.
Aug 03, 2016, 12:24 PM
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Just got back in from flying 3 batteries very gently with very little wind, especially down low. 2 were 2S 1500s, plus my 3S 1200 and all of them were at 3.8+v/cell when I got home.

Started off with the 6045 Lantian on 2S with ROG and roll out was still reasonably short .. less than 15 feet and up elevator gave lift off. Bottom line first ... the 6045 is probably the prop I would use for 2S.

Ran about 3 minutes and changed to a HQ "C" prop but dropped to a 6030. This prop has a wider center section but tips are smaller than a bullnose to keep rpms up, I assume. I didn't run my normal 6045 but will probably try it at some point as it may have better rpms than the Lantian which is a less aggressive version of the C prop at the higher pitch.

The lower pitch gives a noticeable performance drop but still plenty enough for launch by hand instead of ROG. Nice scale flying with cruising barely over 1/2 throttle. Not much performance difference until all the way up to WOT. Another 3 minutes and time for a battery and prop change.

2nd 2S battery got a GF 6030 with a normal thinner blade and normal tips. And another hand toss launch. I had not balanced the GF and also noticed a cut in the blade that became a chip when I pulled on the loose material. Prop speed seemed better but performance was not really much difference from the C prop. Alternated WOT climbs with gliding descents and touring of the area. No effects of the blade noticed on 2S.

Switching to the 3rd battery I left the GF6030 on, but at WOT there was too much of a whine and I landed as I was afraid of losing a blade in flight.

Went ahead and put the Lantian 6045 on to test flight and heat. LOTS of thrust. Hand launch was just climb and rocket away. The plane will do a snap turn on its tail with full elevator. Unfortunately, I was quickly getting LVC warning again with this prop, backing off WOT I did a couple laps with no problems then ran it hard for minute and landed. Picking it up I did WOT holding the plane and hit LVC again. Motors and ESCs were barely warm to touch. Since the battery is 11.5v resting and 3.8+/cell my guess is it just needs a better, higher C-rated battery for the 1st tier props, as seen in the prop tests.

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