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Pumpkin drop event

First Ever Quadcopter Build!

#1
Hi I am 15 years old and I am looking forwards to building myself a Quadcopter. Christmas is coming soon and for Christmas I am going to have a confirmed £150 to spend and I would like to put that money towards a Quadcopter. I am not worried about crashing it as I have flown them on simulators and also like to wizz my little hubsan x4 around for about an hour everyday, I will make sure I am very careful flying it for the first time. I have no transmitter so I would like that to be included in the cost, I would really like a Quadcopter to fly around for fun, I would like it to be fast and agile and be able to auto right itself. I am not good at soldering but if it is really necessary I might have to try. Could somebody help come up with a build for me? (I know I am not going to get a really fast Quadcopter but the more fast and agile the better!)
 

cranialrectosis

Faster than a speeding faceplant!
Mentor
#3
I have that transmitter. It works well. I converted mine to FrSky so I could use more advanced (smaller) receivers. The Taranis is more expensive but a far better transmitter and it can use the D4R-II receiver which uses PPM (one wire for all channels) and is much smaller than a Turnigy 9X.

The Naze32 Acro flight controller has angle and horizon modes which will auto-level the copter and is managed with a chrome app.

The KK2 flight controllers have an autolevel but will need to be flashed to a later firmware as the stock FW blows. KK2s have an LCD on board that allows you to adjust the flight controller in the field without another device.

Good soldering is a must for building copters. Use a good station and know what you are doing before you solder directly to boards like your flight controller or ESCs.
 
#4
Thanks for the advice

I have that transmitter. It works well. I converted mine to FrSky so I could use more advanced (smaller) receivers. The Taranis is more expensive but a far better transmitter and it can use the D4R-II receiver which uses PPM (one wire for all channels) and is much smaller than a Turnigy 9X.

The Naze32 Acro flight controller has angle and horizon modes which will auto-level the copter and is managed with a chrome app.

The KK2 flight controllers have an autolevel but will need to be flashed to a later firmware as the stock FW blows. KK2s have an LCD on board that allows you to adjust the flight controller in the field without another device.

Good soldering is a must for building copters. Use a good station and know what you are doing before you solder directly to boards like your flight controller or ESCs.
Hi thanks for the advice. Which of these flight controllers would be easier to set up?

I am going to try and make this build as simple as possible since it is my first build. I asked my step dad about the soldering and he said he would help me and so did my friend nearby as his Dad has built his own quad copter.
 

cranialrectosis

Faster than a speeding faceplant!
Mentor
#5
Both the KK2 and the Naze32 are simple enough for beginner builders/pilots.

Last year, I would recommend the KK2. This year after the updates to Baseflight, I recommend the Naze32.

If for no other reason than flashing the board is so much simpler with the Naze32 than the KK2, I recommend the Naze32.
 

FlyingMonkey

Stuck in Sunny FL
Staff member
Admin
#7
Both the KK2 and the Naze32 are simple enough for beginner builders/pilots.

Last year, I would recommend the KK2. This year after the updates to Baseflight, I recommend the Naze32.

If for no other reason than flashing the board is so much simpler with the Naze32 than the KK2, I recommend the Naze32.

Yeah, when will the put in a miniUSB port on the KK board instead of the pin outs that require the special cable you can never find?
 
#8
Thanks

Both the KK2 and the Naze32 are simple enough for beginner builders/pilots.

Last year, I would recommend the KK2. This year after the updates to Baseflight, I recommend the Naze32.

If for no other reason than flashing the board is so much simpler with the Naze32 than the KK2, I recommend the Naze32.
Ok thanks, I am getting my step-dad to help me with it, he might be a bit better than I am with this stuff!
 
#9
Yes

Yes I do celebrate Christmas, it is great! My friends Dad has built a quadcopter, he did pretty good with the money he spent, he definitely spent alot less than £190 and his flys great, although I do think it is a little underpowered.
 

cranialrectosis

Faster than a speeding faceplant!
Mentor
#10
Short term you can get in the air for not much money.

Beware though, RC flying is addictive. RC building is even more addictive. You may start out spending £190 but in a year or two that amount will likely be laughable.

Post your build, SamCollings15. Take hi-rez photos along the way and post them as you build the copter. When you are ready to fly, film the maiden flight. We will help you on your journey and cheer with you when you fly. You will encourage all the other guys who are reading this thread and working up the courage to place their first order too.
 

Tritium

Amateur Extra Class K5TWM
#11
Yes, unmanageable spending in a big hurry. I mainly build and have spent $4K for the year.

No children so I have to be both husband and child to my wife. Something I apparently accomplish very well (child anyway). ;)

I might need some professional help........flying that is! :p

Thurmond
 
#12
I will make sure to at least post a video of my first flight, I am looking to start out with planes first as they seem a little more easy and less technical. :) Thanks for the advice everybody!
 

Balu

Moderator
Staff member
Admin
Moderator
#13
I have to admit that I thought fixed wings are the more difficult option :). More difficult frame, CG, throws, 3 channel / 4 channel, etc...

That's why I started with a multicopter. The only "difficult" part is the Flight Controller. The other electronics are basically the same, just three times more ;).

But no matter what you do, make sure to have fun with it - especially when you crash. It's just part of the deal =)
 

jhitesma

Some guy in the desert
Mentor
#14
The 9x is a GREAT transmitter. But it's stock RF system is a HORRIBLE choice for multirotors. Thankfully it has a module bay so you can swap to a different RF system...but the antenna for the stock module is hardwired so you have to open the module, unsolder the antenna, remove the module and antenna, then remount and resolder the antenna if you want to keep using the module but actually be able to use other modules. It's not hard, but it is some fine soldering.

The 9XR is basically a 9x that's been upgraded with a backlight and USB port for programming but doesn't come with an RF module. That way you're getting a TX that's got the upgrades most people do to a 9x already done and you don't have to deal with the limited stock RF module.

The problem with the stock RF module is two fold:

1) A lot of people find it unreliable. Personally I haven't had any issues with it, but a lot of people say it's just not reliable and will loose link randomly.

2) None of the commercially available RX's for it have any kind of failsafe which is a MUST for a multirotor. Combined with the specter of #1 and bottom line is the "flysky" RF system that the 9x comes with is completely unsuitable for multirotor use unless you want to watch your nice new multirotor suddenly fly away by itself. (Note: Always put your name and contact info on the multi where it's easily visible and weather proof just in case it does fly off - that way you have a fighting chance of it finding it's way home. I would have lost my first quad if it wasn't for me having my name and phone number on it.)


Now. The issue with the FlySky RF system can be overcome if you build your own RX. I know that sounds intimidating but it's really not that bad. You only need about $7 worth of parts and the ability to solder about 6 connections. This is what I use on one of my quads and it works quite well.

I built my first quad for about $100 but I used parts I had on hand to make my own flight controller out of an arduino mega and an old wii controller. I have an article about it up on the main site and a thread here in the multirotor forum, click on my name and search my posts for lots more details.

There are lots of good parts to recommend...too many to list right now without knowing a bit more about your goals. So instead I'll share a few things experience has taught me to avoid:

1) FlySky RX's - no failsafe.
2) Multistar ESC's - the new v2's run blheli and are probably not that bad...but the originals really aren't good for multis at all (Again, I have a post with details about this if you search my posts) there are many better ESC's that are equally cheap and can be flashed easily with SimonK or BLheli...and there are more and more options available pre-flashed.
3) Nanotech batteries - They cost more and are supposed to be better...but I've been having more and more issues with them and am never buying them again. Pretty much every one I've ever owned has gone out of balance FAST even when babied. The plain "turnigy" batteries from HK last longer and stay in balance longer plus they cost less.

Other suggestions:

Learn to solder and budget for a nice soldering station. Even for $20 you can get a decent station now so there's not much excuse not to own one. It's a useful skill and isn't that hard for most people to learn. It will save you more money down the road and open up way more options for making your build(s) better.

Get a usbasp flashing tool and don't be afraid to flash your own ESC's and flight controllers. It's not that hard once you get things setup and can save you a lot of money by buying cheap generic ESC's and reflashing them instead of buying pre-flashed ESC's. It also will let you keep your flight controller updated and can be useful for things like reflashign OSD's and other stuff as you progress in the hobby (Can even be used to flash custom firmware to that 9x if you go with the 9x instead of the 9xR)

Build small and light to start. Bigger heavier quads crash harder and you spend a lot more time repairing when you crash...and you will crash. The FT Knuckle quad is a great mid-sized that's not as big as the 450's but bigger than the 250's so it can carry more stuff and run bigger packs for longer flights...but is still light enough it can crash with minimal damage. With zip tie mounted motors most crashes will only break a prop or two and maybe some zip ties. When you start flying harder and crashing harder you'll start breaking a few wood booms which are easily replaced since you can make 3 from a $2 piece of wood.
 
#15
Great Advice

The 9x is a GREAT transmitter. But it's stock RF system is a HORRIBLE choice for multirotors. Thankfully it has a module bay so you can swap to a different RF system...but the antenna for the stock module is hardwired so you have to open the module, unsolder the antenna, remove the module and antenna, then remount and resolder the antenna if you want to keep using the module but actually be able to use other modules. It's not hard, but it is some fine soldering.

The 9XR is basically a 9x that's been upgraded with a backlight and USB port for programming but doesn't come with an RF module. That way you're getting a TX that's got the upgrades most people do to a 9x already done and you don't have to deal with the limited stock RF module.

The problem with the stock RF module is two fold:

1) A lot of people find it unreliable. Personally I haven't had any issues with it, but a lot of people say it's just not reliable and will loose link randomly.

2) None of the commercially available RX's for it have any kind of failsafe which is a MUST for a multirotor. Combined with the specter of #1 and bottom line is the "flysky" RF system that the 9x comes with is completely unsuitable for multirotor use unless you want to watch your nice new multirotor suddenly fly away by itself. (Note: Always put your name and contact info on the multi where it's easily visible and weather proof just in case it does fly off - that way you have a fighting chance of it finding it's way home. I would have lost my first quad if it wasn't for me having my name and phone number on it.)


Now. The issue with the FlySky RF system can be overcome if you build your own RX. I know that sounds intimidating but it's really not that bad. You only need about $7 worth of parts and the ability to solder about 6 connections. This is what I use on one of my quads and it works quite well.

I built my first quad for about $100 but I used parts I had on hand to make my own flight controller out of an arduino mega and an old wii controller. I have an article about it up on the main site and a thread here in the multirotor forum, click on my name and search my posts for lots more details.

There are lots of good parts to recommend...too many to list right now without knowing a bit more about your goals. So instead I'll share a few things experience has taught me to avoid:

1) FlySky RX's - no failsafe.
2) Multistar ESC's - the new v2's run blheli and are probably not that bad...but the originals really aren't good for multis at all (Again, I have a post with details about this if you search my posts) there are many better ESC's that are equally cheap and can be flashed easily with SimonK or BLheli...and there are more and more options available pre-flashed.
3) Nanotech batteries - They cost more and are supposed to be better...but I've been having more and more issues with them and am never buying them again. Pretty much every one I've ever owned has gone out of balance FAST even when babied. The plain "turnigy" batteries from HK last longer and stay in balance longer plus they cost less.

Other suggestions:

Learn to solder and budget for a nice soldering station. Even for $20 you can get a decent station now so there's not much excuse not to own one. It's a useful skill and isn't that hard for most people to learn. It will save you more money down the road and open up way more options for making your build(s) better.

Get a usbasp flashing tool and don't be afraid to flash your own ESC's and flight controllers. It's not that hard once you get things setup and can save you a lot of money by buying cheap generic ESC's and reflashing them instead of buying pre-flashed ESC's. It also will let you keep your flight controller updated and can be useful for things like reflashign OSD's and other stuff as you progress in the hobby (Can even be used to flash custom firmware to that 9x if you go with the 9x instead of the 9xR)

Build small and light to start. Bigger heavier quads crash harder and you spend a lot more time repairing when you crash...and you will crash. The FT Knuckle quad is a great mid-sized that's not as big as the 450's but bigger than the 250's so it can carry more stuff and run bigger packs for longer flights...but is still light enough it can crash with minimal damage. With zip tie mounted motors most crashes will only break a prop or two and maybe some zip ties. When you start flying harder and crashing harder you'll start breaking a few wood booms which are easily replaced since you can make 3 from a $2 piece of wood.
Wow thanks for the advice I really appreciate it! :)