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Trying to break into the hobby with my tricopter build, would love advice!

baddox

Senior Member
#1
Hello. I've been watching FliteTest videos and doing research for about 6 months now, and flying a little Syma X1 indoors and outdoors daily for a few weeks. That's my RC experience in a nutshell! I recently ordered the Titan Tricopter frame which I discovered on this article on FliteTest and purchased here.

Here's my current HobbyKing parts list. I have absolutely no other tools, parts, or accessories, so please let me know if there's anything missing or even something that might be nice to have. Some things are missing or sourced elsewhere, which I'll mention after this table:

Item

No.

Each

Total

HobbyKing KK2.0

1

29.99

29.99

NTM Prop Drive Series 28-26A 1200kv / 250w

4

14.99

59.96

Turnigy Plush 30amp ESC

4

11.91

47.64

8045 Props (several colors)

6

2.69

16.14

Turnigy nano-tech 2200mah 4S 35~70C Lipo Pack

3

21.06

63.18

Power Breakout Cable

1

2.88

2.88

Simple prop balancer

1

1.41

1.41

16AWG Silicone wire black

3

1.13

3.39

16AWG Silicone wire red

3

1.13

3.39

Male to male servo leads (for FC to receiver)

1

4.25

4.25

Scorpion Velcro Battery Strap

1

4.79

4.79

3.5mm bullet connectors

2

1.77

3.54

Customizable low voltage alarm with display

1

3.63

3.63

Turnigy Accucel-6 50W 6A Balancer/Charger

1

22.99

22.99

Charge sack

1

1.99

1.99

  

TOTAL

289.27



(The above total includes a bunch of heat shrink and other bits that I didn't actually list in the table but were recommended to me by you great people in the thread.)

I will also be getting the Hitec HS-82MG Micro Metal Gear Servo from Amazon and plenty of zip ties. I have a lot of leeway in my budget, so please let me know of any upgrades, accessories, tools, etc. that I could add to my HobbyKing order and don't worry too much about price (within reason!).

I also have several questions:

  • I plan to get my transmitter/receiver from Amazon. Is the Spektrum DX6i a good choice, and does it come with an appropriate receiver?
  • What size of heat shrink should I use? I haven't used heat shrink in ages and I'm not familiar with how much it shrinks.
  • What connectors am I missing? I know I need bullet connectors for my power, but I'm having a hard time knowing what products on HobbyKing are the right ones. Thankfully, I am comfortable with soldering. ;)
  • What adapters do I need to buy/build to flash my ESCs and KK2 board? From what I've read, both need to be flashed to get good performance, and I think I've found the right adapters on HobbyKing but it's hard to be sure so it would be great if someone would link me!
  • What's a good charger/balancer/power supply? I have seen several recommendations in this forum but I find it difficult to even tell which products come with power supplies, what power supplies are compatible, etc.
  • Can someone recommend a good simple prop balancer, either from HobbyKing, Amazon, or similar?
  • Are there more or other spare parts I should buy to spare me from a delay due to another order?

I'm sorry to bore you guys with another noob parts list post, but I have been lurking these forums for a while now and it seems like a very well-informed community that is very willing to help people like me break into the hobby. I really appreciate it!
 
Last edited:

FlyingMonkey

Stuck in Sunny FL
Staff member
Admin
#3
Hello. I've been watching FliteTest videos and doing research for about 6 months now, and flying a little Syma X1 indoors and outdoors daily for a few weeks. That's my RC experience in a nutshell! I recently ordered the Titan Tricopter frame which I discovered on this article on FliteTest and purchased here.
Excellent looking frame. I really enjoyed that article.

Here's my current HobbyKing parts list. I have absolutely no other tools, parts, or accessories, so please let me know if there's anything missing or even something that might be nice to have. Some things are missing or sourced elsewhere, which I'll mention after this table:
Looks pretty good.


I will also be getting the Hitec HS-82MG Micro Metal Gear Servo from Amazon and plenty of zip ties. I have a lot of leeway in my budget, so please let me know of any upgrades, accessories, tools, etc. that I could add to my HobbyKing order and don't worry too much about price (within reason!).
The metal gear servo is a must. I haven't bought Hitec in a while. The hs55's always were a disappointment... ;)

I also have several questions:

  • I plan to get my transmitter/receiver from Amazon. Is the Spektrum DX6i a good choice, and does it come with an appropriate receiver?
I used to recommend the DX6i to anyone getting into the hobby, but now... there's so many good, budget radios out there, I can't recommend that one anymore. The Turnigy radios look good, and the module system is nice if you plan on moving to a long range system in the future. Mr. Clean just posted about the new FrSky radio he purchased (I think the thread title was "my new headache" or something along those lines.)

  • What size of heat shrink should I use? I haven't used heat shrink in ages and I'm not familiar with how much it shrinks.
The bullet connectors that are being used with most of this sized electronics is 3.5 mm. I'd go at least 4mm on the heat shrink tubing then.

  • What connectors am I missing? I know I need bullet connectors for my power, but I'm having a hard time knowing what products on HobbyKing are the right ones. Thankfully, I am comfortable with soldering. ;)
http://hobbyking.com/hobbyking/store/uh_viewItem.asp?idProduct=68

I'd ditch the power distribution board, and just go with this.

http://hobbyking.com/hobbyking/stor...ullet_Multistar_ESC_Power_Breakout_Cable.html

  • What adapters do I need to buy/build to flash my ESCs and KK2 board? From what I've read, both need to be flashed to get good performance, and I think I've found the right adapters on HobbyKing but it's hard to be sure so it would be great if someone would link me!
This!
http://www.hobbyking.com/hobbyking/store/uh_viewitem.asp?idProduct=21321

Unfortunately it doesn't appear they're getting any more in stock. You can find them on ebay and amazon, be sure to get the 6 pinout version.

  • What's a good charger/balancer/power supply? I have seen several recommendations in this forum but I find it difficult to even tell which products come with power supplies, what power supplies are compatible, etc.
I have one like this.

http://www.graysonhobby.com/catalog/dynamsupermatedc6dcmultifunctionlipobalancecharger-p-1408.html

Hobbyking sells them, hobbypartz sells them. They're pretty much everywhere, for about this price or better. The most important thing to me, is being able to scroll through the menu and see how much I'm putting into which cells. If it's not a balance charger, and it won't display individual cells, I wouldn't buy it.

  • Can someone recommend a good simple prop balancer, either from HobbyKing, Amazon, or similar?
http://hobbyking.com/hobbyking/store/RC_PRODUCT_SEARCH.asp?strSearch=prop+balancer

  • Are there more or other spare parts I should buy to spare me from a delay due to another order?
Yes. There always will be, but I'm not sure which ones. :)

I'm sorry to bore you guys with another noob parts list post, but I have been lurking these forums for a while now and it seems like a very well-informed community that is very willing to help people like me break into the hobby. I really appreciate it!
Hope that helps.
 

Cyberdactyl

Misfit Multirotor Monkey
#4
My two cents is similar to the Monkey.

Nice frame. A bit over priced, by at least $30 or so, but you'll enjoy it. I see you didn't order any carbon fiber booms, which is probably a better idea at first. CF will still crack in a hard crash, and a few minor ones are pretty much a given. So better to get your feet wet with wood.

As was said, 3.5 bullet connectors work great. You bought enough wire and a good gauge. Heat shrink will shrink quite a bit, around 40-50% of its diameter. I suggest a heat gun used for wall paper and such, instead of a lighter. . .if you have it, but don't buy it. I use the clear 25mm almost exclusively now to strap/clamp ESCs to my craft. Clear is good to see what's going on if you have issues (burnt, broken solder connection, heat sink making contact, etc.) By with way, buy a bunch of red and black from 4mm 10mm. It's dirt cheap and can be used for all sorts of things.

If you indeed enjoy soldering and are halfway decent and can recognize a crappy joint vs and good one, skip all the pre-made connectors and power boards, saves money and you're not limited to lengths and placement.

As you said, you need connectors. The 3.5 bullets and the XT60s. Later on, you may want to get servo terminals to make your own connectors. But again, that's way down the road.

THIS prop balancer works great on the edge of drinking glasses or a homemade magnet jig.

My suggestion for a charger is THIS ONE. I've now charged maybe a couple hundred times and it's still going strong. BUT you need a 12V supply. If you have an old PC power supply lying around, you can get 12V, 5V and 3V off different rails (colored wires). Those 5V and 3V rails are great for testing servos, cameras, etc.

The DX6i was a decent choice. The only issue I have at all with it is you're somewhat limited to having switchable novelties onboard such as lights, camera manipulation, gimbals, etc. I have an DX8 and have hit the ceiling several times. But if you peruse this forum you know I do a bit more than the average flyer in that respect. :p Speaking of that, I would suggest you buy a switch or two JUST in case you want to so something down the road. They are not cheap, but not expensive either.

Also, these velcro straps are great. SO much better than the cheap velcro strips at home depot. One thing that surprised my about the Flitest multirotor kits is they send those crappy strips. Talk about cutting corners.

And last. If you want to fly at night, I would suggest some inexpensive LED strip lighting of a couple colors. They weigh nothing and put out a tremendous amount of light. A must for orientation at night, You can use the switch with them.

Good luck
 

xuzme720

Dedicated foam bender
Mentor
#5
Also, these velcro straps are great. SO much better than the cheap velcro strips at home depot. One thing that surprised my about the Flitest multirotor kits is they send those crappy strips. Talk about cutting corners.
I'm not sure they did that to cut corners. They have said from the beginning that they only wanted to use easily available and inexpensive parts. I know I use better straps on my stuff, but the cheap straps work and break away in a crash, as well.
 

Cyberdactyl

Misfit Multirotor Monkey
#6
I have a grey and black roll of that stuff. It's thin, the velcro loop and hook density is low, the base strap material is thin, so it curls fairly easily with age and use. It's simply not made for repeated use. But it IS cheap.
 

xuzme720

Dedicated foam bender
Mentor
#7
I agree that it's cheap and since I use much better straps on my multi's, I haven't given the cheap ones anywhere near a real endurance test. I'm completely with you on the quality of the straps, but for what it's worth, I didn't get my FT kit for the straps. That's all I meant.
 

Cyberdactyl

Misfit Multirotor Monkey
#8
Hey, I use them too. :) Just sayin' they become pretty much useless after several dozen times. If you lightly press them together they'll last twice as long. They also don't handle the sun well. I use them to hold together garden hose, and they're useless after a month or so in the sun.
 

baddox

Senior Member
#9
I see you didn't order any carbon fiber booms, which is probably a better idea at first. CF will still crack in a hard crash, and a few minor ones are pretty much a given. So better to get your feet wet with wood.
I actually did buy the overpriced carbon fiber booms, but I plan to make my own wood booms so I can break a bunch of them before going CF. ;)

My suggestion for a charger is THIS ONE. I've now charged maybe a couple hundred times and it's still going strong. BUT you need a 12V supply. If you have an old PC power supply lying around, you can get 12V, 5V and 3V off different rails (colored wires). Those 5V and 3V rails are great for testing servos, cameras, etc.
I don't have any spare PC PSUs lying around. I can't find any hint of what sort of power supply or connector that Turnigy charger uses. Is there a compatible one I can just grab from HobbyKing? Thanks!
 

baddox

Senior Member
#10
Great advice. I updated my first post.

I used to recommend the DX6i to anyone getting into the hobby, but now... there's so many good, budget radios out there, I can't recommend that one anymore. The Turnigy radios look good, and the module system is nice if you plan on moving to a long range system in the future. Mr. Clean just posted about the new FrSky radio he purchased (I think the thread title was "my new headache" or something along those lines.)
Cool. TX/RX is probably the thing I've done the least research on, so I'll take a closer look around and see what people are using and getting good results with.
 

baddox

Senior Member
#11
Thanks folks. I made several changes and additions to my build (and first post) based on the wisdom you so graciously imparted. I genuinely appreciate the thoroughness and speed of your replies!
 

Cyberdactyl

Misfit Multirotor Monkey
#13
I hope you guys will give an honest review once you get the kit.

It's the same price as HK's entire Turnigy CF Talon tricopter and close to three times more expensive than buying David W's tri-plates, HK CF square booms and the yaw mech (steering mount) combined.

I have to say, it does look well made.
 

baddox

Senior Member
#15
I hope you guys will give an honest review once you get the kit.

It's the same price as HK's entire Turnigy CF Talon tricopter and close to three times more expensive than buying David W's tri-plates, HK CF square booms and the yaw mech (steering mount) combined.

I have to say, it does look well made.
I'll definitely give an honest review, but honestly, the price issue is a very subjective matter, because people have varying budgets and because they have varying skills, time, and tools. I'm willing to fork over the extra money to get a kit that appears to have a lot of thought put into every angle, but perhaps more importantly, I just don't have easy access to even the basic tools or work area for doing my own plastic- and wood-working. I know I'll have to build those skills over time, but for starting out I would much rather just buy a design that looks very slick and smart. This already feels like deep waters to be diving into head first, so I'm spending a bit extra wherever I can to make the build a bit easier! :)
 

baddox

Senior Member
#16
Well folks, I placed my order on HobbyKing. We shall see what happens in a month or so when the stuff arrives (anything faster than a month is just bonus).
 

Timebom

Junior Member
#17
I, too have ordered this frame. My order # is 137 so there must be a bunch of us. lol
I am looking at 900kv motors as I am planing to haul a camera (Replay 720 at first) almost full time and not needing so much acrobatics. Just wondering if this might be a bit overkill of an motor though. I will be borrowing a lot from your list as it includes a lot of the little things I haven't thought of yet. Thank you for listing it. :D
 

baddox

Senior Member
#18
I, too have ordered this frame. My order # is 137 so there must be a bunch of us. lol
I am looking at 900kv motors as I am planing to haul a camera (Replay 720 at first) almost full time and not needing so much acrobatics. Just wondering if this might be a bit overkill of an motor though. I will be borrowing a lot from your list as it includes a lot of the little things I haven't thought of yet. Thank you for listing it. :D
I got in at #123. That guy must be cutting and shipping like mad! I am quite sure that the motor setup I've got here is WAY overkill for me, but I just went for it since it's a combination the creator is obviously comfortable with.
 
#19
I'll definitely give an honest review, but honestly, the price issue is a very subjective matter, because people have varying budgets and because they have varying skills, time, and tools. I'm willing to fork over the extra money to get a kit that appears to have a lot of thought put into every angle, but perhaps more importantly, I just don't have easy access to even the basic tools or work area for doing my own plastic- and wood-working. I know I'll have to build those skills over time, but for starting out I would much rather just buy a design that looks very slick and smart. This already feels like deep waters to be diving into head first, so I'm spending a bit extra wherever I can to make the build a bit easier! :)
This^^
Also i am#135!