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Pro Tricopter Reboot

dezertdog

Senior Member
#1
After building up and crashing my tri a few times, I decided to go for a full rebuild of it and change up some things.

Here is the original build thread: http://forum.flitetest.com/showthread.php?1832-BumbleDrone-3000&highlight=bumbledrone

The original setup was very basic and used the non integrated PCB board, a Hobby King blue KK board, and 18" booms:

blacked_out.jpg


Here is a pic after the last big crash:

broken.jpg


The main goals are to rebuild to a diameter where it can be folded up into a backpack or a existing Pelican case. To upgrade the controller board to provide more automation, to rewire the main power distribution using the new PCB board, and to integrate a 5ghz FPV system.
 
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dezertdog

Senior Member
#2
Test fitting the replacement booms (HomeDepot 3/8" square dowel stock). Still to be shortened on hub end, also cutting out all the wiring from the old power dist setup.

IMG_20121015_130144.jpg
 
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dezertdog

Senior Member
#3
Mocking up the arms, the new final size is going to be based on how short it needs to be to fit in the hard case with the props attached. In the backpack they will stick out the zipper a bit.

IMG_20121015_132048.jpg
 

dezertdog

Senior Member
#4
Front booms cut and test fit to the new delrin body. Rotor span comes out now to 27" (was 34"). The overall length doesn't really matter so much as making sure the front two booms are 3" longer than the rear to keep the motors symmetrical.

IMG_20121015_141301.jpg
 
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dezertdog

Senior Member
#5
Booms wired up using the new power distribution board, and landing gear installed. I really like this new size, can't wait to see how it flies.

Decided to stay with the black/yellow theme, but inverted the rear boom colors for higher visibility and easier orientation. Time to start playing with the new controller board...

IMG_20121015_175303.jpg

IMG_20121015_180012.jpg
 
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dezertdog

Senior Member
#6
The APM board can be a little work, but it's not too bad. The board setup documents are here: http://code.google.com/p/ardupilot-mega/wiki/APM2RCSetup

To start you want to download and install the Mission Planner software: http://code.google.com/p/ardupilot-mega/wiki/MPInstallation

Select the Com port the board is using (from your device manager), connect the usb cable and once the board boots click "Connect" in MP.

apm2.jpg


Under the Firmware tab, flash the board with the rotor config (Tri)

mavsetup.jpg


Calibrate your Tx: http://code.google.com/p/ardupilot-mega/wiki/APM2RCSetup

MPradio.PNG
 
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dezertdog

Senior Member
#8
Here is a brief guide on how the APM2.0 is wired.

Start with the Rx and APM2 inputs. Follow the guide here: http://code.google.com/p/arducopter/wiki/APM2RC

APM2_pinout_print.jpg
FRAMES_input_ACM.jpg
straight_connector_APM2.jpg

The motors and prop rotation are wired up a little differently than a KK board (I'm running with one cw):

FRAMES_TRI.jpg


Once the hardware is wired up, you will want to calibrate the Tx and calibrate the ESCs: http://code.google.com/p/arducopter/wiki/AC2_ESC

"Automatic ESC calibration (all at once)

This method works once you have all the ESCs connected to the power distribution board and have connected all your RC cables as instructed earlier in the manual and have otherwise set up your quad.

Safety First! - Remove the props!

Disconnect USB
Put the radio throttle at maximum, then connect the Lipo to power the APM
When the APM boots, the ABC lights will cycle continuously
Leave the throttle at full, disconnect the Lipo and reconnect it again to reboot APM. The radio will now pass through APM directly to the ESCs, triggering calibration
You will hear a musical note and then 2 beeps. After the two beeps there is a pause, immeadiately after the two beeps and during this pause drop the throttle to full down. You should hear a confirmation/arming beep or two. Your motors will now spin if given a little throttle.
Move the throttle a little to confirm all ESCs are armed and the motors are working in sync.
Unplug the battery. Your ESCs are now calibrated. No further action is required.

Note: If after performing an Automatic ESC calibration the ESCs still beep quickly and continuously on power-up, you will need to do a Manual ESC calibration sequence as described below. "
 
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dezertdog

Senior Member
#13
Just got the props balanced, did a final once over on screws etc, and took her out for a maiden. Raging success! Lifted right off into a great hover (Stabilize mode), and wow - this is a stable hover like I have never seen with a KK board! Takes a little more stick input to "break" out into lateral movement etc, but so far loving it! Of course it started to rain and my fun was over 2 minutes after it started, but what a feeling to take the time with such a notoriously hard FC to master and get it working first flight!
 

Tritium

Amateur Extra Class K5TWM
#14
Congratulations. The APM2's are VERY cool when they are dialed in and working correctly. My quad and hex WAY outperform the KK2 (and all other KK's) in a hover and in Stabilize mode. I haven't played with the other modes too much yet. My APM2's are in the hard cases from 3DR so I can't mount them like the link I posted. I use 6 layers of 3M double-sided tape to great success. The 915mHz telemetry radios are great as well.

Thurmond
 

Tritium

Amateur Extra Class K5TWM
#16
If you ever get another APM I have to say I like the connectors that turn 90 degrees (you usually have to solder these yourself. They make for a much cleaner look and are more out of harms way in a crash. My first APM2 had top connectors, my Second had side connectors (my preferred configuration).

Thurmond