After receiving my crash kits for the VersaCopter I have rebuilt it without any further drama. The only change made on the rebuild was to flip the orientation of the capacitors across the power input on the two ESC’s adjacent to the flight controller. They now rest back over the top of the ESC rather than poking out along the wires. As previously mentioned they were causing interference problems with the USB connector and various other connections on the flight controller. No such problems exist now.
Also rebuilt over the weekend was the Spidex 220, when I last flew that I took off aggressively thinking it was in angle mode when in fact it was in rate mode. Needless to say the quad flipped on its head and smashed in to the ground. Thankfully nothing beyond the propellers was actually broken but the force of the crash was enough to pull it to pieces so I thought a full workbench rebuild was a wise choice to ensure there wasn’t any hidden damage.
Now having them both built I could get a photo of them together for a size comparison.
I also tried to get a buzzer working on the CC3D mini in the Spidex 220 whilst it was on the bench again but so far have not had success. The best way I have seen to achieve this is to move the buzzer output to motor channel 6 with a custom build of Cleanflight and a transistor to switch the buzzer. After having put everything in place as required it doesn’t work but I am unsure at the moment which piece of the puzzle is at fault. More investigation will be required. For now an external battery monitor on my new higher discharge rate batteries will suffice.
After coming across a great deal on most of the flight hardware for a Spidex 220 and realising I already had all the other required pieces to get it in the air I now have another mini quadcopter. For $130aud I got my hands on:
Spidex 220 frame kit
4 Emax 12 amp speed controls
4 DYS 1806 brushless motors
CC3D mini flight controller
To get it in the air I already had:
1300mAh batteries (unfortunately of the 25C variety I have since discovered)
FrSky X4R receiver
Misc. bits and pieces (heat shrink tube, wire, connectors etc.)
As with the VersaCopter, at this stage i have built this up without any FPV or camera equipment, that’s an expense for the future.
How to tackle power distribution and connection proved to be the biggest question of this build. Seen above is the solution I came up with which I think is really quite tidy. The rear two motors are joined together with another wire which travels forward to the power distribution board. In previous builds I have always been frustrated by the process of trying to solder multiple wires together, even two can be a frustrating experience. This time around I made a point of seeing how others tackled this problem and very quickly came across a wire wrapping method. The Flite Test crew illustrate it succinctly in the video below.
Using this method, and even splitting it into two stages, I found the process much more agreeable. The +ve and -ve runs are mirrored with one up each side of the frame. A couple of holes were drilled into the base plate to hold zip ties in critical locations.
The wires from the rear motors meet the battery wires and front motors at this small power distribution board made from a piece of strip board. The copper strips aren’t really carrying much of the power it simply provides an easy foundation onto which each wire can be joined. Also hinted at in the photo above is the fact that I have routed the battery wires through the base plate. This seemed the only tidy way I could route them whilst providing enough tension that the battery leads be pulled out of range of the propellers.
The battery connector flies freely out the bottom of the craft but is pulled taught when a battery is connected.
To fit the FrSky X4R receiver between the flight controller and the battery I striped it of its carboard housing and replaced it with heat shrink, using double sided tape it is then attached directly to the housing for the CC3D mini. For a tidy install I also shortened the wires from each ESC. On all but one connector the +5v wire is also removed and held back with a small loop of heat shrink. I have changed the software on the CC3D mini over to CleanFlight due to my familiarity with that. Installing it was quite simple using the OpenPilot bootloader and flashing software. In the future I would also change over to a CleanFlight bootloader as my experience with that on NAZE32 hardware is a little smoother.
To fit the ESC’s in to the designated spots on the arms the outer corners of the ECS’s need to be trimmed slightly. A cut out in the cross member on the frame was also required to pass the signal wire from the bottom of the board. The motor wires are soldered directly to the ESC and by paying attention to which wire was going where I was able to get a pair of CCW rotating motors and a pair of CW rotating motors without having to rework the soldering.
Initial flight impressions are a bit limited so far due to windy days but from what I have experienced it is a very punchy little rig. I am seeing some vibration induced instability/oscillation at hover which will need some work and the tuning could also do with a touch up. All in all though, a very fun little platform that I’ve picked up for minimal outlay.