Super Simple Mini H-Quad FPV V3.0

photo 1

Bill of Materials:

[Qty. 1] Super Simple Mini H-Quad FPV V3 Frame

[Qty. 1] CC3D Flight Controller

[Qty. 2] APC 5545E Electric Prop {or} 5030 Prop

[Qty. 2] APC 5545EP Electric Prop {or} 5030R Prop

[Qty. 1] 36mm Power Distribution Board

[Qty. 1] 1800mAh 3S 40C LiPo

[Qty. 1] XT60 Connector Pair

[Qty. 12] M2x12mm Bolt

[Qty. 4] Tiger MN-1806 2300KV Motors

[Qty. 4] Afro 12A SimonK ESC

[Qty. 4] M3x6mm+6mm Nylon Spacer

[Qty. 4] M3x8mm Nylon Screw

[Qty. 4] M3 Nylon Nut

[Qty.~] Cable Ties

[Qty.~] 16AWG Red Wire

[Qty.~] 16AWG Black Wire

[Qty. 1] Sony Super HAD CCD 660TVL Camera

Assembly:

For further assembly tips and photos, please see my build log for the Super Simple Mini H-Quad.

Super Simple Mini Spider Hexacopter

Capture

Bill of Materials:

[Qty. 1] Super Simple Mini Spider Hexacopter Frame

[Qty. 1] CC3D Flight Controller

[Qty. 2] APC 5545E Electric Prop {or} 5030 Prop

[Qty. 2] APC 5545EP Electric Prop {or} 5030R Prop

[Qty. 1] 36mm Power Distribution Board

[Qty. 1] 1800mAh 3S 40C LiPo

[Qty. 1] XT60 Connector Pair

[Qty. 12] M2x12mm Bolt

[Qty. 3] RCX 1804R Brushless Motor {or} [Qty. 3] RCX 1804 Brushless Motor (6 Total)

[Qty. 3] RCX 1804 Brushless Motor

[Qty. 6] RCX 10A SimonK ESC

[Qty. 8] M3x5mm+6mm Nylon Spacer {or} [Qty. 8] M3x8mm Nylon Screw

[Qty. 8] M3x5mm Nylon Screw

[Qty. 8] M3 Nylon Nut

[Qty.~] Cable Ties

[Qty.~] 18AWG Red Wire

[Qty.~] 18AWG Black Wire

Assembly:

This frame ships as two frame halves. The frame halves should be carefully assembled by applying thick CA glue to both faces of each side of the joints before joining. If necessary, add more CA glue into the joints once compressed to insure minimal air gaps within the joints. After applying adequate CA glue and ensuring minimal air gaps, CA accelerator may be used to help rapidly cure the joint. The roll bar may be attached using four zip ties.

For further assembly tips and photos, please see my build log for the Super Simple Mini H-Quad.

PX4 Development Kit for Simulink

Through my research at the Marshall Space Flight Center and continued development as part of my undergraduate honors thesis, I have chosen to publish my PX4 Development Kit for Simulink. This toolkit includes a configurable dynamic model for a wide range of multicopter configurations, as well as a more complex position control system using a Kalman filter for navigation estimates with velocity updates provided by a downward facing on-board camera. The PX4 provides greatly improved processing power in a conveniently sized and inexpensive ARM based 10-DoF flight controller. Please contact me if you have something that you would like to see added or corrected. Click on the picture below to view and download the guide. Beneath the guide you will find download links for the latest version of the toolkit.

px4_sim

Requires MATLAB 2014a with Embedded Coder

This project is a work in progress. Files and documentation are subject to frequent changes.

PX4 Simulink Development Kit Download
8/03/2014 - v0.60b
- Simulink now automatically handles rate transitions
- updated model

7/22/2014 - v0.51b
- updated to latest firmware and toolchain
- reduced size of firmware archive
- improved pwm arming sequence

7/18/2014 - v0.50b
- fixed startup script for use with PX4FMU (No IO shield)
- verified full compatibility with PX4FMU and Pixhawk

7/15/2014 - v0.40a
- added GPS support
- updated startup script

7/03/2014 - v0.30a
- updated to latest firmware
- inline parameters to fix boot failure
- improved sensor noise characteristics 
- updated simulation GUI with scale slider
- replaced experimental navigation system with simple PID ACS

4/24/2014 - v0.22a
- updated to latest firmware

4/18/2014 - v0.21a
- updated to latest firmware
- new customizable startup script for PX4FMU, PX4IO & Pixhawk
- further memory optimization
- added Pixhawk RGB LED support
- cleaned up wrapper code

4/02/2014 - v0.20a
- updated to latest firmware
- updated makefiles for PX4FMU v1 and Pixhawk v2
- new startup script with mavlink output to QGC
- memory optimization
- added timestamp to debug outputs
- fixed missing 25Hz loop

2/01/2014 - v0.11a
- added brushless motor transfer function
- added script to generate brushless motor transfer function
- added LiPo battery model
- simulation code optimization
- modified solver
- improved altitude control system

1/20/2014 - v0.10a
- initial release

Super Simple Mini H-Quad V2.0

Flight Video:

Bill of Materials:

[Qty. 1] Super Simple Mini H-Quad V2.0 Frame

[Qty. 1] CC3D Flight Controller

[Qty. 2] APC 5545E Electric Prop

[Qty. 2] APC 5545EP Electric Prop

[Qty. 4] MT-1306 10 3100KV Tiger Motor

[Qty. 1] USB Programmer

[Qty. 4] Turnigy Plush 6A ESC

[Qty. 1] 1000mAh 25~50C 2S Nano Tech LiPo

[Qty. 8] M2x12mm Bolt

[Qty. 4] M3x8mm Nylon Screw

[Qty. 4] M3 Nylon Nut

[Qty. 4] 5.6mm x 14mm M3 Nylon Spacer

[Qty. 4] Zip Ties

[Qty. 1] 16AWG Red Wire

[Qty. 1] 16AWG Black Wire

Assembly:

Each frame is 3D printed with plastic. The frames are printed with a semi-hollow infill. This core provides great strength without compromising the weight of the frame. At less than 80 grams the frame is light and extremely strong. Before assembling the quadcopter, clear any obstructions or loose plastic pieces from the holes of the frame.

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Glue four M3 nuts into the nut traps on the frame using a small drop of super glue (CA glue). Be sure not to fill the holes of the frame or apply glue to the threads of the nuts. Mounting holes are available for all standard fight controllers, including 45x45mm (KK2, Crius, Megapirates, etc..), 61x35mm (Ardupilot Mega), and 30.5×30.5mm (CC3D, PX4, etc…).

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Use two M2x12mm bolts to secure the motors to each arm. The motor mounting slots support hole spacing from 12 to 15mm in diameter for motors such as the MT-1306 Tiger Motors or the cross mount of the Turnigy 1811 motors.

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Standard 6A Turnigy Plush ESCs are recommended; however, the stock firmware is not well suited for multirotors. Replacing the firmware with BLHeli will improve the performance of the aircraft, but it is not entirely necessary. To replace the firmware, begin by removing the plastic heat shrink and sticker.

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Using the USB programmer, connect the programming cable to the appropriate solder pads on the ESC. Pay close attention to the color of the wires and make sure they match the photo below on both the ESC and programmer side. Use BLHeli-Setup to flash BLHeli Multicopter (multi) firmware for the Turnigy Plush 6A ESCs. From the setup tool the ESC can be configured for a ppm min throttle of 1000 and a ppm max throttle of 2000. The remaining settings should be left at their default values. The min and max throttle can be calibrated from the radio, but the stick commands and tones to reach the calibration mode are rather complicated. I recommend setting the ppm min and max throttle for each ESC from the setup tool before removing the programming cable.

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Align the four ESCs to the frame and cut the red and black power cables to the appropriate lengths so that they can join at the center of the frame. Be careful not to cut the cables too short! Cut two battery cables from the 16AWG wire and solder all four ground wires together with the battery cable. Do the same for the red power wires and add any lighting or accessory power cables to the harness before soldering the two halves together and covering them with heat shrink or electrical tape.

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To keep the wires and cables clean, the header pins can be removed from the flight controller; however, this may result in damage to the flight controller if not performed properly. Do not remove the header pins unless you are experienced with doing so.

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Once again, align the ESCs with the frame to determine the proper length of the signal wires. If the flight controller has no header pins, then the cables can be cut and soldered directly to the board, otherwise the cables need not be cut to length and they can simply be plugged into the respective ports.

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The radio receiver can be secured to the bottom side of the flight controller using double-sided foam tape. It may be necessary to use a micro receiver or remove the plastic case from larger receivers. For this build I chose to use a FrSky V8FR receiver.

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A ground and power cable from the CC3D must be shared with the receiver in order to provide the receiver with power. The cable included with the CC3D can be used to connect the receiver channels to the flight controller, or jumper cables can be soldered directly between the receiver and flight controller as depicted below.

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At this point the 3/4″ Velcro battery strap should be looped through the slots at the bottom of the frame and cut to wrap securely around the battery.

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Using four nylon threaded spacers and four M3x8mm nylon bolts, attach the flight controller to the four mounting locations. Carefully situate the wiring harness above the battery strap and beneath the bottom of the flight controller.

IMG_5802

Line up the ESCs on each arm and cut the motor wires to the appropriate length. The motor wires may be coated with resin, so be sure to use solder paste with a capable soldering iron to prepare the tips of each wire. Be sure to cross the wires of the ESCs so that motors 1 and 3 rotate clockwise while motors 2 and 4 rotate counter-clockwise.

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With the frame complete check all connections and be sure that there is no continuity between the positive and negative terminals of your battery connector. Plug the flight controller into a computer to configure the settings and calibrate the sensors. Default setting will work fine with the CC3D, but I suggest that the rate P be reduced, rate I increased and attitude P increased depending on your style of flying. If all of the polarities and cables are checked, plug in the battery and test the rotation of the motors without props attached. If all is well, attach the props and you are all ready to fly!

IMG_5807

OpenPilot Settings:

High value ==> more agile, low value ==> less aggressive
Attitude Responsiveness = 120 deg/s
Rate Responsiveness = 240 deg/s
Rate Yaw Responsiveness = 400 deg/s
Rate P = 25
Rate I = 40
Rate Yaw P = 35
Rate Yaw I = 35 
Attitude P = 30
Attitude Yaw P = 20

CC3D Carbon V4

This frame was designed for AP and FPV with the idea of reducing as many vibrations to the camera as possible. The carbon tubes and rubber dampers are common parts for XAircraft frames that can be purchased at a low cost. The V shape allows cameras to be mounted above the loading pipes without the need for extended landing gear hanging beneath the frame. It opens up the space between the front arms to allow a prop-free view from the camera.

Bill of materials:

[Qty. 4] MT-2208-18 1100KV Motors

[Qty. 4] 10A Turnigy Plush ESCs

[Qty. 1] M3x8mm Bolts (20)

[Qty. 1] 18AWG Red wire

[Qty. 1] 18AWG Black Wire

[Qty. 1] 2200mAh 3S 45-50C Nano Tech LiPo

[Qty. 2] 8×4.5 Carbon Props

[Qty. 4] 300x10mm Carbon Tube (2)

[Qty. 1] 10mm Plug (4)

[Qty. 3] Rubber Dampin Rings (4)

[Qty. 1] OpenPilot CC3D

[Qty. 1] 400mW 5.8GHz Video TX

[Qty. 1] V8FR-II Receiver

 

Assembly:

(Custom frame components available here)

All parts can be assembled by applying CA glue to the inside of the carbon tubes. Applying CA accelerator to the plastic parts will help reduce bonding time.

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Cut two 138mm tubes and two 122mm tubes.

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Set the video transmitter heat sink into the slot and secure the receiver to the top of it using sip ties.

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Secure the CC3D using four M2x8mm self tapping screws.

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Software configuration:

Choose custom mix and apply the following mixer settings in the OpenPilot GCS.

mixer

 

 

DJI F450 Naza + GPS FPV/AP Multicopter

My previous Xaircraft X4 build never really served the purpose for which I had intended it to be used for; an AP/FPV platform with a reliable autopilot fail safe. The problem with my X4 was that the Avroto motors were quite large and created lots of resonating vibration throughout the frame. This created lots of jello, or rolling shutter, in my GoPro’s video. My previous choice of flight controller worked alright, but it required lots of adjustments and was not a reliable autopilot fail safe.

To correct the resonating vibrations, I decided to start with smaller 9″ props, higher KV motors and a 4S battery. My hope was to increase the RPM and frequency that the motors operate at, reducing low frequency resonating vibrations to the flight controller and GoPro. I also added a vibration dampening gel pad beneath the gopro. With the 4S 3300mAh Nano Techs I get just over 14 minutes of flight time. The T-Motors hardly exceed ambient temperature after a 14 minute flight in 80F weather, whereas the original NTMs reached over 180F within a few minutes.

Bill of Materials:

[Qty. 4] T-Motor MT2216 900KV**

[Qty. 1] DJI Naza GPS

[Qty. 1] DJI F450 Flame Wheel

[Qty. 4] Hobbyking 20A ESC

[Qty. 3] 4S 3300mAh Nano-Tech LiPo

[Qty. 2] 3.5mm Bullet Connectors

[Qty. 1] XT60 Connectors

[Qty. 4] Graupner E-Props 9×5 R/L

[Qty. 1] Align PU Adhesive Gel

 

** Originally I had purchased NTM 28 motors from Hobbyking. Upon their arrival, the lack of quality control was clear (damaged bearings and a bent adapter). The motors reached extremely high temperatures under Hobbyking’s specified ratings and frequently bind when armed. One of the motors failed in flight after binding at 90ft in the air. I DO NOT recommend NTM motors and I have chosen to use the T-Motors instead.

I began by soldering bullet connectors to the motor side of each speed controller and removing the heat shrink.

This is the programming adapter I used to flash the speed controllers. The adapter connects to a USBasp programming card.

The adapter aligns with the six programming pads of the 20A ESCs. Flashing the ESCs follows the same process as outlined here.

After flashing the ESCs I shortened the power leads for fitting the ESCs beneath the arms of the F450 frame and covered them with PVC heat shrink. I soldered each ESC, the battery connector and the DJI VU cable to the lower frame plate.

The naza is mounted at the center of the plate with the motor outputs facing forward. The ESCs are strapped to each arm with two cable ties.

Finally, the remaining equipment is mounted to the frame.

After flashing my Turnigy 9X transmitter with ER9X, I configured the following mixes for my controls:

I wrote the following ER9X model with mixes that can be downloaded here.

Within the Naza assistant I began by changing the basic settings such as the GPS antenna placement and motor mixer. With SimonK ESCs I set my idle speed to low.

I chose to use a standard receiver setup with intelligent cut off. The ER9X mixer settings should be tested to ensure that the three position switch changes between manual, attitude and GPS mode.

I first set the X1 (dual gain) switch to off and input the following settings. After toggling the X1 switch on, the gains should increase to the second set of values. This allows more control over the aircraft for FPV at low gains, and highly stable flight for AP at high gains. The X2 switch is set to enable course lock, I have chosen to use this instead of home lock, given the lack of an additional three position switch on my transmitter.

V6 FPV Multicopter

Bill of Materials

[Qty. 3] 3/8″ Basswood Square Rods

[Qty. 1] 1/32″ Birch Plywood Sheet

[Qty. 1] M2x8 Screws

[Qty. 1] Cable Ties

[Qty. 1] 20AWG Red Wire

[Qty. 1] 20AWG Black Wire

[Qty. 6] 2900kv Brushless Outrunner

[Qty. 6] Plush 6A ESC

[Qty. 1] 26AWG Servo Wire

[Qty. 1] Servo Terminals

[Qty. 1] Male to Male Servo Leads

[Qty. 1] KK2 Flight Controller

[Qty. 1] 2200mAh 2S Nano-Tech Lipo

 

To construct the frame I began by cutting two 13″ arms from the 3/8″ basswood rods. The arms sweep out 14.5 degrees from the center placing the rear two motors about 7.25″ apart and the front two motors about 13.5″ apart. The cross arms are approximately 11″ long and they have been notched to rest across each other. It is best to cut and align the outer arms to a template before measuring up and cutting the inner cross arms.

The center plate was cut to about 2.5″ x 5.5″ and slotted to mount the battery and radio gear. Before mounting the motors and ESCs I removed the servo wire of each ESC and replaced it with a longer wire. All three of the connections were soldered to the first ESC, but the reamaining ESCs only have a signal wire. I also soldered the supplied bullet connectors to each ESC and motor. The motor mounts are fixed to the frame with two M2x8 screws. The correct rotation for the motors is described in the KK2 motor layout.

The power wires for the front two motor ESCs are daisy chained to the middle motor ESCs to clean up the wiring. In order to support the current of both ESCs I replaced the power wires of the middle motor ESCs with 20AWG wire.

As shown below, only on the first motor ESC are all three servo wires routed back to the flight controller. The remaining ESCs have only a single signal cable routed back to the flight controller. Since the stock leads aren’t long enough, it is much easier to only solder an extended signal wire where necessary.

The center of the flight controller is positioned just behind the middle motors so that the center of the frame is aligned across the sensors (mounted at the top of the board).

I mounted a Pico-Wide FPV Camera beneath the front plate of the frame. The fatshark 5.8GHz 100mW video transmitter is secured on top of the 8-channel 2.4GHz receiver.

Finally, the 2200mAh 2S LiPo was secured beneath the rear of the center plate using a Velcro strap. The props are mounted with the supplied prop savers as they are the easiest and most well balanced method of mounting the props. Flight time with the 2200mAh LiPo is approximately 13 minutes.

I also modified the V6 mixing for better yaw control. The default settings cause the aircraft to sweep very wide as it yaws. Imagine a point at which the arms intersect to the rear of the frame; with default settings it is as if the aircraft yaws about this point. By modifying the rudder mix the yaw control is improved, but it remains quite slow.

CH1 Rudder: 100

CH2 Rudder: 71

CH3 Rudder: 42

CH4 Rudder: -42

CH5 Rudder: -71

CH6 Rudder: -100

 

My current PID settings are as follows (These may still need some adjustment):

Aileron & Elevator

P Gain: 60     P Limit: 10

I Gain: 30     I Limit: 10

Rudder

P Gain: 150     P Limit: 20

I Gain: 50     I Limit: 10

 

After spending an hour adjusting the auto-level settings, I arrived at the conclusion that the control algorithms of the KK 2 are not designed for true “auto-leveling” so much as they are for drift compensation. The algorithms are not calculating the precise angle of the controller, but they are instead compensating for acceleration due to gyro drift. This results in a huge amount of lag compared to that achieved through true auto-leveling with an AHRS algorithm. I eventually installed a MWC Crius MultiWii flight controller with a custom V6 mix. The flight performance far exceeds that of the KK2 in both auto-leveling and yaw authority. A tutorial for writing custom motor mixes for MultiWii can be found here. I also added some LEDs so that it looks like a Cylon Raider ;)

 

Micro FPV Multicopter

After giving FPV a go for the first time with my X4 Drone, I found it rather difficult to fly on such a large and heavy platform. I was too overly cautious of crashing. Therefore, I decided to build a durable micro to practice FPV. I began with the intention of making a hexacopter frame, but after damaging two motors I decided to make it into a quad instead. Here I will document the build of the hexacopter up until it became a quad. At this price, I would suggest ordering at least one or two extras of each component.

Parts List:

[Qty. 6] 2900kv Brushless Outrunner

[Qty. 6] 6A Brushless ESC

[Qty. 1] 6x 5030/R Props 

[Qty. 2] 2S 1000mAh Nanotech LiPo

[Qty. 1] Pico 5V Wide Angle Camera

[Qty. 1] Camera Cable

 

I built the frame from a thin sheet of aluminum and some basswood. The arms are made of two 1/4″ x 3/16″ pieces of bass wood separated by several small 1/8″ pieces. This allowed me to place gaps between the arms for the bolts without having to drill out the small holes. This is a schematic of the frame, it can be scaled to fit various size components, but it is designed to be used with the parts listed above:

The aluminum plates and legs were cut and drilled using these templates:

The original model used the standard Fatshark CCD killer camera, but I decided to use the pico camera instead.

After reflashing the 6A ESCs with SimonK firmware, I covered them in black heat shrink and directly soldered them to the motor wires. The motors are all bolted to the frame and the wires secured with small cable ties.

The power distribution includes an additional lead for powering the video TX.

Finally, I assembled the top plate with all of the electronics and a MWC Crius SE flight controller with MultiWii 2.0.

I used the camera with my 100mW Fatshark video transmitter, it should be compatible with any other NTSC FPV setup as well. The pico camera is extremely small, easily hot glued into place and removable if necessary. The weight of the camera is hardly even measurable and it seems to have quite good light sensitivity, even in very low light. I must mention that the props I ordered are very well balanced, perfect for this micro, however, they must be installed carefully as to not damage the motor. To install the props I removed the lower mounting bracket of the motor to expose the base of the shaft near the c clip. Placing the prop around the tip of the shaft I secured the motor in a vice and applied pressure until the prop was completely secured. The key is to remove the lower mounting bracket and ensure that the base of the shaft near the c clip is flush against the wall of the vice, otherwise the force will push the shaft through the bearing and damage the motor. If this happens then the motor will not function properly and must be replaced. Another option is to use the prop adapter supplied with the motors and some 3 bladed props such as the 5x3x3 or 5x3x3R. However, these props and prop adapters are horribly balanced, I haven’t even attempted balancing them yet.

After damaging two of my motors, I decided to make my hexacopter into a quadcopter. I redesigned the frame to resemble my X4 drone. It uses thin aluminum plates and some 3/16″ by 3/8″ bass wood for the arms.

With a 1000mAh LiPo I get about 7 minutes of flight time with fpv gear. The motors supply more than enough thrust to recover from fast drops and the flight controller required absolutely no PID tuning. It is extremely agile, stable and responsive. With such little weight it takes many crashes without any damage to the frame, motors or props.

Hybrid Xaircraft Y6 DIY Frame

First I started with the power distribution wiring, all of which was salvaged from my hexacopter build.

Three arms were cut and drilled from 10mm aluminum tubing.

I used six Hobbyking 25A Red Brick ESCs flashed with SimonK firmware and six Turnigy L2210C-1200 Brushless Motors.

For more information on flashing the ESCs see my tutorial here.

Using the standard supplied mounting hardware and some M3 bolts, I mounted each of the motors to the arms of the frame.

After completing the arms, I cut and drilled two frame plates from sheet metal. I also secured the top mounting plate, loading pipes and landing gear from my Xaircraft DIY frame to the new Y6 frame. Before bolting the two frame plates I connected all ESCs to the power distribution harness and concealed the wires between the two frame plates.

Finally, I secured the ESCs to each arm using zip ties and completed the wiring of the ESCs to each motor.

Black Vortex Megapirates 2.5.1 R2

With the release of Megapirates 2.5.1 R2 I decided to test it out on my Black Vortex. With the latest software I was also able to use the apc220 wireless telemetry module with mission planner 1.1.54 without any modifications to the megapirates software. I found the connection much more responsive than with 2.0.49 using the apc220.

 

Download Megapirates 2.5.1

Download MissionPlanner

A list of PID settings and model specifications can be viewed here.

 

‘APM_config.h':

#define PIRATES_SENSOR_BOARD PIRATES_BLACKVORTEX

#define TX_CHANNEL_SET TX_mwi

#define CONFIG_BARO AP_BARO_BMP085_PIRATES

#define MAX_SONAR_RANGE 400

#define GPS_PROTOCOL GPS_PROTOCOL_BLACKVORTEX

#define SERIAL0_BAUD 115200
#define SERIAL2_BAUD 38400
#define SERIAL3_BAUD 57600

#define FRAME_CONFIG QUAD_FRAME

#define FRAME_ORIENTATION X_FRAME

# define CH7_OPTION CH7_DO_NOTHING

 

For enabling the relay functionality of the Black Vortex I modified the following lines of code. With these additions to the code you will be able to trigger the relay from a spare channel on your radio. If you would like to change the channel or the pwm value to detect, the only line that must be modified is “ if(g.rc_6.radio_in > 1500)”.

 

‘APM_config.h':

#define USERHOOK_SLOWLOOP userhook_SlowLoop();

#define USERHOOK_INIT userhook_init();

#define USERHOOK_VARIABLES “UserVariables.h”

 

‘usercode':

void userhook_init()
{
pinMode(relay_pin,OUTPUT);
digitalWrite(relay_pin,LOW);
}

void userhook_SlowLoop()
{
 if(g.rc_6.radio_in > 1500){
digitalWrite(relay_pin,HIGH);
}else{
digitalWrite(relay_pin,LOW);
}
}

‘uservariables.h':

int relay_pin = 37;

 

 

Xaircraft X4 Drone

This is my build log for the Xaircraft X4 drone. The accompanying bill of materials can be found here. This build is intended to be priced somewhere between the budget multicopter and a professional aerial photography platform. Some of the components used for this build rival those of professional aerial photography platforms, however, it has not been designed to lift incredible amounts of weight with the assistance of an expensive professional autopilot system. That being said, this project is for hobby grade purposes although it is a quite capable aerial photography platform. The flight controller used for this build runs using open source software and has been designed to incorporate autopilot navigation functions and telemetry. At a premium price, the avroto motors are very nice and run extremely smooth with little resonance and no vibrations. Additionally, the customer service of Monto RC was outstanding and I would highly recommend purchasing the motors with them.

 

I received my frame, power distribution board and wireless modules from GoodLuckBuy.

The frame was very easy to assemble and included all of the necessary hardware. Being that this frame can also be used for an X8 configuration, it included 4 additional motor mounts as well as the accompanying hardware. I can say that the carbon fiber is a very nice finish and it adds a noticeably increased amount of rigidity to the frame without the sacrifice of added weight.

I began the wiring by soldering male JST connectors to each LED strip and female connector directly to the power distribution board.

More information on how I flashed the speed controllers and wired the motors can be found here. After flashing the speed controllers I braided and soldered the motor wires to the ESCs and then pulled each of the ESC wires through the top plate of the frame and soldered them directly to the power distribution board. I also added the XT60 battery connector and two 12v auxiliary power outputs for the flight controller and fpv gear.

Testing the power distribution, everything seems to work. I zip-tied the LED strips to the bottom of each arm and used a larger zip tie to fasten the speed controllers and motor wires to the top of the arms.

I would say that the blue hobbyking LEDs are the brightest I have seen yet. They are extremely visible at night and surprisingly visible during the day, even against a blue sky.

Finally, I wired all of the radio gear and the flight controller to the accessory mounting plate.

Mounting of the MaxSonar LV EZ4 and 108dB Piezo Siren.

The flying weight of the aircraft with a GoPro and FPV gear mounted and a 3300mAh 3S LiPo is approximately 1.5kg, therefore, I added some 11×4.7″ props to improve the lift.

WIRING GUIDE

Power Distribution Board:

  • [+] <====== Speed Controller + [x4]
  • [-] ======> Speed Controller – [x4]
  • [+] <====== LED  Anode [x4]
  • [-] ======> LED Cathode – [x4]
  • [+] <====== 5.8GHz Transmitter VCC
  • [-] ======> 5.8GHz Transmitter GND
  • [+] <====== Auxiliary Power
  • [-] ======> Auxiliary Power
  • [+] <====== LiPo Battery +
  • [-] ======> LiPo Battery -

30A BlueSeries Speed Controllers and Avroto Motors:

  • M 1 & 3 A <======> A                                            [+] <====== Power Distribution Board +
  • M 1 & 3 B <======> B        Speed Controller
  • M 1 & 3 C <======> C                                            [-] ======> Power Distribution Board -
  • M 2 & 4 A <======> C                                            [+] <====== Power Distribution Board +
  • M 2 & 4 B <======> B        Speed Controller
  • M 2 & 4 C <======> A                                            [-] ======> Power Distribution Board -

APC220 Wireless Module:

  • SET                       No Connection
  • AUX                       No Connection
  • TX  ======> Black Vortex RX
  • RX <====== Black Vortex TX
  • EN                       No Connection
  • VCC <====== Black Vortex +5v
  • GND ======> Black Vortex GND

Black Vortex Flight Controller:

  • B[+] <====== 9CH RX +5v
  • B[-] ======> 9CH RX GND
  • RX <====== APC220 TX
  • TX ======> APC220 RX
  • +5v ======>APC220 VCC
  • GND <====== APC220 GND
  • Trigger ======>MaxSonar RX
  • Echo <====== MaxSonar PW
  • +5v ======>MaxSonar VCC
  • GND <====== MaxSonar GND
  • Relay IN ======> Buzzer V+
  • Relay OUT <====== Buzzer GND
  • R1 <====== 8CH RX CH3* (Throttle) Signal Only
  • R2 <====== 8CH RX CH1* (Aileron) Signal, +5v, GND
  • R3 <====== 8CH RX CH2* (Elevator) Signal Only
  • R4 <====== 8CH RX CH4* (Rudder) Signal Only
  • R5 <====== 8CH RX CH6* (Mode) Signal Only
  • R7 <====== 8CH RX CH7* (Aux) Signal Only
  • M1 ======>Front Left ESC
  • M2 ======> Back Right ESC
  • M3 ======> Front Right ESC
  • M4 ======> Back Left ESC
5.8GHz Video Transmitter:
  • V[+] <====== Power Distribution Board +
  • V[-] ======> Power Distribution Board -
  • Audio In <====== GoPro Composite Audio Out
  • Video In <====== GoPro Composite Video Out
  • GND <====== GoPro GND

GoPro HD Hero 2:

  • Audio Out  ======> Video TX Audio In
  • Video Out  ======> Video TX Video In
  • GND  ======> Video TX GND

8CH 2.4GHz RX:

  • CH1* ======> Black Vortex R2
  • CH2* ======> Black Vortex R3
  • CH3* ======> Black Vortex R1
  • CH4* ======> Black Vortex R4
  • CH6* ======> Black Vortex R5
  • CH7* ======> Black Vortex R7
  • BAT [+] ======> Black Vortex B[+]
  • BAT [-] <====== Black Vortex B[-]
108dB Piezo Buzzer:
  • V[+] ======> Black Vortex Relay IN (12v)
  • GND <====== Black Vortex Relay OUT (Switched Ground)
MaxSonar Module:
  • GND ======> Black Vortex GND
  • +5 <====== Black Vortex +5v
  • TX                       No Connection
  • RX <====== Black Vortex Trigger
  • AN                       No Connection
  • PW ======> Black Vortex Echo
  • BW                       No Connection
*Channels may differ depending on your radio programming and setup.

To setup the flight controller I would suggest following this guide.

Originally, I found that Megapirates 2.0.49 and Mission Planner v1.1.37 work best with the Black Vortex, however, I recently updated to Megapirates 2.5.1 R2 and Mission Planner v1.1.54, you can find the guide here.

The guide and files for setup of the APC220 Module can be downloaded here.

A guide to PID tuning can be found here.

A list of PID settings and model specifications can be viewed here.

MultiWii 2.0 for the Black Vortex