quad_feat

How to Build a Quadcopter – Complete Guide

Introduction:

The reason why you are looking at this article is because you have seen epic videos of quadcopter zipping across a field at unbelievable speeds, right?

Today I have created a setup that is focused on a balance point between price, performance and easy for a beginner to build. I do not want to share the cheapest setup like many other tutorials online, simply because they do not tell you how crappy it is once you fly it.

This article is going to be about " how to build a quadcopter " .

quad_feat

The parts I will be compiling, will be from a mixture of places; which will require some time actually to come in. Usually, standard free shipping would take roughly about 30 days depending where you are located.

The two sites I will be getting the parts are from Banggood and Rotorgeeks. The only place I would recommend purchasing batteries is at Hobbyking don’t bother ordering LIPOs from Banggood.com, they are disgusting.

quad_first

Here are the parts you will need to build a quadcopter. I can guarantee that this setup will get the most performance out of your money. The FPV stuff is optional but may as well purchase it in case you choose to fly first person view in the future.

How_to_Build_a_quadcopter_pic3

How To Build A Quadcopter - Quadcopter Parts:

  • Cobra 2203 2400KV (Purchase 4 of these bad boys) (Creates rotation)
  • RotorGeeks RG20 Electronic Speed Controller (Adjust the speed of the motors to allow different characteristics)

First Person View Stuff:

  • Eachine CCD 700tvl 148 Degree Camera Lens w/ 5.8G 200mW FPV Transmitter (Transmit video signals over 5.8ghz frequency)
  • 5.8Ghz FPV Mushroom Omnidirectional Antenna TX/RX Set (CHOOSE TYPE W RP-SMA MALE)

Battery Stuff:

  • Zippy Compact 1300mah 3s 40C lipo (Provides the power supply)

How To Build A Quadcopter - Tools and Misc. you will need:

  1. Soldering Iron
  2. Solder 60/40
  3. Wire cutters and strippers
  4. Heat shrink or electrical tape (preferably heat shrink)
  5. Lots of zip ties short and medium length
  6. Hex Allen screwdriver
  7. Blue thread Loc-Tight
  8. M3 Nylon standoffs
  9. XT60 female battery lead connector
  10. Liquid electrical tape
  11. Extra wire, less than 30 cm
  12. Soldering Flux
soldering_flux

So how do all these parts come together and work? I will explain how it works. The power from the lipo is shared across the power distribution board where the electronic speed controller then powers up the motors. A small voltage converter steps down the main power supply to a steady 5v into the Naze32. The signal wires from the speed controllers are connected to the Naze32 where then the software sends across specific analog values to vary the speed of the motors. The PID’s in the software works with the accelerometer and gyro and doing so will allow the quadcopter to fly with characteristics like self-leveling and headless mode.

To change the direction you are heading; you transmit analog values over the 2.4ghz spectrum with a transmitter where your quadcopter picks it up with its receiver and sends it to the Naze32 to process these values. The video transmitter is then screaming on its frequency and channel to allow the person on the other end to fly fpv. You may have an optional on-screen display to allow telemetry information on the fpv video. The Naze32 outputs values to an OSD where the values are overlayed with the video camera before it gets transmitted over the 5.8ghz spectrum. That sums up how everything will come together, in theory, now let’s get started with the building process!

Now that all the parts have come in, this will be the second hardest part to the “How to Build a Quadcopter” series. I will be teaching you to build everything together while keeping it clean.


How To Build A Quadcopter - The Building Process:

  • Now we need to flash the Naze32 with Cleanflight. To do so, download the Cleanflight Configurator from Google Chrome (Press here). Start up Cleanflight, and go under Firmware flasher, choose the latest firmware for the Naze board. Make sure you have “No Reboot sequence” and “Full-chip erase” checked. There is a small little solder bridge that needs to be done on the Naze32 before plugging it into the computer.There are two pads that say “Boot,” jump it with a blob of solder then connect the board to Cleanflight.This process brings the board into flashing mode. Don’t worry about bricking the board; the Naze32 can not ever be bricked as the bootloader is stored in the chip. Press “Load Firmware Online” and then press flash. Make sure you wait until the program says “successful.” Then finally, you can press connect on the top right.
  • config
  • The next thing I would do first is trim your RC receiver values with the little switches on the transmitter. Center roll, pitch, and yaw to 1500. You can leave the throttle value alone, just make sure it is centered on the transmitter itself. After you have done that, look at throttle value in Cleanflight this will be you “minimum throttle” in the “Configuration” tab. Move the throttle to middle and then maximum all while copying the throttle values to the “Configuration” tab. The next blank you will need to fill out is the minimum command, simply add 20-30 to the “minimum throttle” value and should work perfectly fine.
  • While still in the configuration tab, enable ONESHOT 125, Motor Stop, and enable vBat monitoring. After all the changes have been made, make sure you scroll to the bottom and press save; the board will flash its LEDs and will reboot.
  • Take off propellers and make sure the lipo is not connected during this step. Go under the Motor tab and check the little box and set the motors too full throttle. Then plug in the battery, the motors will start beeping a sequence; wait until its quiet and then pull the master slider down to zero. This will calibrate the speed controllers to be in-sync with the rest of the speed controllers. Wait till it is quiet and unplug the lipo.

How to tune PIDs for a Quadcopter:

If you tried to fly the quadcopter before it is tuned, you might see that quadcopter is jittering like crazy, or it may feel sluggish and unresponsive. The simplest way I can explain what are PIDs: a mathematical algorithm that processes the gyro, accelerometer, and user input values in a way that changes the behavior of the quadcopter. For example, if you want your quadcopter to have a more “locked in” feel, you would want to crank the I-gain so external forces like wind and turbulence would not change its set angle.

Everybody has their preferences and unique setup, so do not bother searching up some random PID values from the internet like many amateurs. Try to learn and understand it, as this will make you a better pilot.

tuning1

How To Build A Quadcopter - The Tuning Process:

  • By this time, you are finished with the PIDs, yay! I would then next adjust the TPA and TPA breakpoint with a simple method. The reason why someone would use TPA is when the quadcopter reaches a high throttle value, the quadcopter would start to shake and vibrate during its way up.This is because the quadcopter is trying hard to correct itself. What the TPA does is decrease the sensitivity of the PIDs when it reaches a certain throttle value. This is where you input the values for TPA breakpoint, so it starts the decrease. Roughly estimate, the whereabouts your finger rest on the throttle when the shaking begins and repeat the same position when you are in Cleanflight to determine the throttle value. Use this value for the TPA Breakpoint.

Do make sure P and I are tuned correctly before this process. Remember that TPA is the opposite of D-gain, where this time you are looking for vibration while it's rapidly ascending instead of rapidly descending.

  • You may find the quadcopter feel unresponsive and even maxing out on the sticks the quadcopter which takes forever to get into that set position. This is when you want to increase the rates. I would suggest adding .3 to roll, pitch and yaw; this should be perfect for starters. Later if you need high sensitive stick movements, like if you want to do a barrel roll while on the spot without losing any altitude, you would need to crank up the rates way to .5 or .6. Do not go up this high unless you know how to fly the aircraft with low rates.
  • final

Well, that is it, guys! I hope you like the tutorial. If you have any questions or problems you encounter while building this; please leave them as comments below. We do reply to our viewers. Check out other articles here .

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *